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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet 915

New submitter StarWreck writes "Police in Kuala Lumpur detained Hamza Kashgari, 23, 'following a request made to us by Interpol' on behalf of the Saudi authorities. Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet which read: 'I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you I will not pray for you.' Said tweet sparked outrage in Saudi Arabia and resulted in multiple death threats. Kashgari faces the death penalty in Saudi Arabia."
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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet

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  • by tonywong ( 96839 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:56PM (#39006575) Homepage
    Apparently the Saudis put out the warrant and the Malaysian authorities detained at the airport and are shipping him back. Apparently the Malaysians are really amenable to the foreign governments about extraditing and returning people, so even if this guy faces the death penalty the Malaysians just don't want to get in the middle of things.

    I guess the moral of the story is that if you are going to flee to another country, try some place like Canada or Sweden first.
  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:08PM (#39006683) Homepage Journal
    One of my favorite readings about religion is Dostoevsky's The Grand Inquisitor, which is featured in The Brothers Karamazov. Basically, Jesus returns to earth in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition. He goes around and does his Jesus thing, giving sight to the blind and healing the sick. The church gets word of this and arrests Jesus, putting him in a holding cell and sentencing him to death.

    The Grand Inquisitor, knowing it's really Jesus, goes to Jesus' cell and asks him what the hell he's doing. Jesus wants to know why the church is treating him this way and the inquisitor says, "You're bad for business. Now that you're here, what the hell are we gonna do? Sorry man, it is in our best interests to make you disappear."

    Jesus, somewhat homoerotically, kisses the inquisitor on the cheek and says, "I love you, brother." The Inquisitor, very moved by the gesture, opens the cell and releases Jesus, saying, "Get the hell out of here, and don't come back." Jesus walked off into the darkness and was never heard from again.
  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:11PM (#39006701) Journal

    Maybe the true reason why he fled is a completely different one, and the Saudis just used that twitter message because they couldn't use the real reason, and because they expected Malaysia to accept that one.

  • by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:14PM (#39006731)

    Wow, that's a compelling argument. I'd put it a step above "You are a doody head" and a step below "Nuh uh".

    I suggest you go to Sweden and preach how you find homosexuality to be abhorrent and against "God's" will. Or maybe go to Germany and say really love Hitler. Or that you think Arabs in poor neighborhoods are dangerous thieves.

    I don't agree with any of that, but it's a fundamental right to be an idiot and to express that idiocy as you will. But I'm just preaching to the choir, as you clearly already know that.

  • by Fulminata ( 999320 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:17PM (#39006755)
    That's not entirely true, Interpol is not supposed to get involved with any cases that are of a "political, military, religious or racial character." This was obviously of a religious character, and is why the agency is being taken to task.
  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:25PM (#39006829)

    The Bible describes this as idolatry. Basically, if you can take a concept and put it into a box, you can gain authority over the idea in people's minds and substitute your own voice for the idea. The Bible is actually a good example of this itself. Even though the Bible never actually claims to be the word of God (in fact, it never claims to be true or accurate either) pastors have an easy time holding it up as a physical manifestation of such ideas. Form there it's a fairly simple matter to pick and choose through it, adding their own words here and there, and presto! Suddenly they've got their own words accepted by people as being from God.

    The principle is easily applied elsewhere, and you see it all the time.

  • Depends... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:26PM (#39006837)
    A former colleague once spent six months in the Soviet Union as part of a technology project. One of the staff at the engineering company at which he worked was always pestering him about life in the West, asking questions and saying "isn't it true that such and such is much better than here in Russia". So he formulated the idea that this was some sort of KGB plant trying to get him into trouble so they could detain him.

    When the time came for him to leave they had a big party and he asked someone if this guy really worked for the KGB, only to get the reply "No, no, so-and-so is the KGB rep, he's OK, that other guy just thinks everything is better in the West and keeps trying to prove it to us."

    As my colleague remarked, imagine an American engineering company where one of the engineers kept trying to tell everybody that life was better in the Soviet Union. All right, he would be massively wrong, but he would also get fired very quick.

  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:32PM (#39006873)
    If you know shouting "Fire" is likely to cause injury to others, and you do it, you may not be arrested (but you might be taken into custody for your own safety), and you may not be subject to criminal proceedings. But expect civil lawsuits that may well ruin you, and the bar for proof is lower than for criminal activity. Since damages in civil lawsuits in the US tend to be much higher than in the rest of the world, you could argue that, unless like the Westborough Baptists, you investigate the law beforehand, the consequences of anti-social behaviour can be much worse.
  • by TheABomb ( 180342 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:53PM (#39007053)

    Or a person in Saudi Arabia. Damned if you do, damned if you can't.

  • by Killall -9 Bash ( 622952 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:05PM (#39007139)
    Its just a political tool. Islam isn't that different from Judaism or Christianity. Plenty of things in those religions are punishable by death, but not many people are getting stoned for sodomy in America.

    The Kingdom of Saud is a place where there is no justice. Its like Mexico-- all billionaires and peasants. Life is inherently unjust, so those in power have to make a big show of dispensing 'true' justice.

    "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world"
  • by elgo ( 1751690 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:16PM (#39007233)
    GP may be disingenuously trying to square the circle by turning this story around on left-wingers, but you are wrong: one does not have to be ignorant to see that left-wingers restrict speech all the time. I am very left-wing and I am disgusted by the fact that left wingers try and succeed at restricting speech in the U.S. and abroad. To me, it flies in the face of what progressivism should be about. What you are missing is that both left and right wing restrict speech in America, Saudi Arabia, Holland, etc. It is a phenomenon that occurs, regardless of ideology, when people get to a point where they see themselves as the sole judges of what is good and righteous, whether they are Mullahs or elected officials in a socialist country. Maybe given enough power, you could get frustrated enough to restrict GP's right to blame things on left wingers, or I could restrict your right to make gross generalizations about right wingers. In the US, the left wing often tries to suppress speech through social means like shaming people and protesting un-P.C. speech. They try to tell people which words they can and cannot say. Worse, as mentioned above, many progressive European countries without our history of codified "free speech" have actual laws against denying the Holocaust. Incidentally, if I were an adolescent growing up in Germany, the fact that it is illegal to deny the Holocaust - which is on its face a crazy opinion to have - would make me think that paradoxically there might be some truth to Holocaust denial. After all, why are they trying to stop discussion about it? In America, we let idiots like Fred Phelps and company spew all the hatred they want, without fear of official reprisal. It makes it easier to keep tabs on them and to know what we are dealing with. In countries like Germany, forbidding people to speak openly about their history has arguably aided the resurgence of neo-naziism. Moreover, restricting hate speech makes it harder to keep track of these hate groups and to know what their true goals are. The smarter/saner ones don't dare deny the Holocaust in public. Many of the most powerful neo Nazis are polite businessmen in suits and ties, hiding in plain sight like an antisemetic Gustavo Fring.
  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:34PM (#39007335) Journal

    True as that may be, what the hell was Interpol doing passing on the arrest note? Don't they at least bother to look at what it's actually for?

  • by canadian_right ( 410687 ) <> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:43PM (#39007381) Homepage

    Interpol is involved BY forwarding the Saudi request as a RED CODE. Interpol has rules saying they are supposed to stay out of politics and religions. They broke their own rules by forwarding this request.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:48PM (#39007411) Journal

    Whoa, that's a pretty broad brush you are painting with there. Let's not forget the millions of Muslim people who do not support terrorism and are as peaceful and law-abiding as most of the Christians in the world.

    You know, I used to buy that line - that there are a few very vocal extremist Muslims that tarnish the real image of the religion of peace, but otherwise they're all really nice and mostly like us except for a few meaningless rituals. Then I ran into some interesting stats - from Wikipedia:

    A survey carried out by the Indonesia Survey Institute found that 43% of Indonesians support Rajam or stoning for adulterers.

    A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found relatively widespread popular support for stoning as a punishment for adultery in Egypt (82% of respondents in favor of the punishment), Jordan (70% in favor), Indonesia (42% in favor), Pakistan (82% favor) and Nigeria (56% in favor).

    Note that Indonesia is generally considered to be one of the most civilized Muslim majority countries - it's not officially an "Islamic state", and it clearly sets out freedom of religion in its constitution. Yet almost half of their population - exactly half if you only count Muslims - support death penalty, carried out in public, in a very nasty way that's deliberately designed to be prolonged and painful, and performed with active involvement of the community (to remind, rajm is generally meant to be carried out by the observers throwing stones). I'm not ashamed in the slightest of calling that half barbarians, because that's what they are in this day and age.

    Turkey, now, is a different matter - practically an exception. But Turkey got where it's at by virtue of a single man who was leading it at the time embarking on what was, essentially, a very secularist and anti-religious campaign, forcing it upon the population - he was just careful enough to never openly say it was aimed against religion, but rather against "barbarous customs" and such.

    (As an aside, this is also why democracy and human rights are, at present, concepts that are diametrically opposite in most Muslim majority states - so when you wish for democracy in Egypt or Libya or Syria, be sure that you understand well enough what it implies.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:51PM (#39007437)

    What? Seriously? Where did you learn your history?

    The reality is that Muslim controlled Andalucia was extremely tolerant compared to Christian governments at the time. Granada was a melting pot of Jews, Christians, and Muslims living in peace, to take only a single example. Sure, the Jews and Christians were social minorities, but they were unmolested and had relatively equal rights. Christians were even known to be included in civic and other governmental positions.

    During this time period, it's far more accurate to view the Christian Crusaders as ignorant barbarians, as compared to Islamic factions in Southern Europe, and in the Holy Land for that matter.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:57PM (#39007495) Journal
    It is really confusing. One of the fundamental tenet of Wahhabism, [] was to reduce the amount of veneration of Mohammad. They claim even having the idea of a holy site associated with mortals is idolatry. Wahhab was worried Muslims of elevating Mohammad to the status of God. Sunni's fundamental complaint against Shias is that the Shias worship many saints in addition to Allah. Now the bastion of Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia, is turning against a journalist for treating Mohammad as a human being?
  • by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:12PM (#39007601) Homepage

    And what about issues that matter [] ?

    An equally valid point would be that the definition of a muslim is one who agrees on at least this issue (and frankly, ask a few you think "western"/"moderate" on the apostate killing, you'll be scared by the responses).

    Another argument would be that they don't act on this due to local laws (which would leave the issue that they will of course try to overturn religious freedom in America, for example). In short, that they don't act on this, and the law is perfect.

    The trials of two "honor killers" are underway in America this week: one in Buffalo, New York, and the other in Arizona.

  • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:22PM (#39007667) Journal

    But according to Islam, didn't early man fall away from God, causing death to exist in the first place?

    No, Islam is not Christianity, and does not have the idea of mortality as a punishment for, or consequence of, sinning and thereby falling from "perfect state". Rather, mortality is seen as inherent to humans, Adam and Eve included (that, by the way, is why Muslims consider the Christian idea that Jesus rose from the dead, in human form, as a blasphemy).

    The story with forbidden tree is present there as well, but with a twist - Satan was actually tempting the humans with becoming immortal if they tasted its fruits, like "perfect beings" (i.e. God and his angels). Consequently, the tree itself is referred to as Tree of Immortality, rather than Tree of Knowledge.

    It is not really treated as "falling away from God", either. It was a sin, confessed and such, and forgiven as such - and so it only applied specifically to Adam and Eve, not their descendants.

  • by DaveGod ( 703167 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:26PM (#39007693)

    Once you read that, it's sort of like, "oh shit, now I understand why they're pissed off." Basically he's just saying that Mohammed is just some guy- an inspirational figure, but just a human being, not necessarily divine or divinely inspired. In Western theological terms, that's like saying that Christ is an inspirational person with some really interesting teachings, but not the Son of God. That's about as blasphemous as you can get.

    Thanks for the context, but the comparison offers no understanding.

    In the West, that would generally be considered a very moderate (pretty much the majority) view about Christ. I've had very amicable, respectful discussions with priests where I've expressed views broadly along similar lines and they've been perfectly comfortable - no, I'd go so far as to say agreeable. It was they suggesting that the important thing is the principles of his teachings, whether you learn them from him or elsewhere. You'd really have to find some devout evangelicalists before you'd find anyone who'd even desire some kind of law against saying such a thing, people commonly referred to as "whack-jobs".

    Or maybe that is why it is a good comparison. But for the contrast, not the similarity.

    Personally though, I'm not convinced that we're all that different. Noisy and powerful people get all the attention. It's tempting to take from this story that Islam is some fanatical thing that thinks you should be killed for noting that you do not believe in it. I suspect however that, as with everything, the impression of fanaticism comes from the few noisy/powerful fanatics. Who probably sit and read news reports about the few noisy/powerful fanatical Christians in the West.

  • by snowgirl ( 978879 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:08PM (#39007937) Journal

    What are you talking about? Who modded this up? This is completely, flat out, undeniably wrong. The very phrase "shouting fire in a crowded theater" comes from a US Supreme Court case known as Schenck vs. United States, when justice Oliver Wendall Holmes used it as an example of speech that would not be protected if it was factually inaccurate (eg: you can still shout fire in a crowded theater and cause a panic/stampede that gets people hurt, but there _has_ to be a fire, you are not allowed to shout fire and cause the same harm if there is no fire).

    Except you forgot about Brandenburg v. Ohio...

    "Imminent lawless action" is a standard currently used, and that was established by the United States Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), for defining the limits of freedom of speech. Brandenburg clarified what constituted a "clear and present danger", the standard established by Schenck v. United States (1917), and overruled Whitney v. California (1927), which had held that speech that merely advocated violence could be made illegal.


    The First Amendment holding in Schenck was later overturned by Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969, which limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot). The test in Brandenburg is the current High Court jurisprudence on the ability of government to proscribe speech after that fact. Despite Schenck being limited, the phrase "shouting fire in a crowded theater" has since come to be known as synonymous with an action that the speaker believes goes beyond the rights guaranteed by free speech, reckless or malicious speech, or an action whose outcomes are blatantly obvious.

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:25PM (#39008043)

    Islam isn't that different from Judaism or Christianity. Plenty of things in those religions are punishable by death, but not many people are getting stoned for sodomy in America.

    The main point behind Christianity is that all sins are punishable with death, but that God acted as the scapegoat thus sins are forgiven. So you shouldn't expect many people to be stoned for sodomy in America.

  • Dear Saudi Arabia: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:29PM (#39008063) Homepage Journal

    If you had no oil, your women would be going topless and your sons would listening to death metal. Because you'd have no power structure to impose your medieval thinking in the modern world. The only reason you can, is because we, in the part of the world that actually builds things and actually works and actually tries to build civil and fair societies, we need to pay you for your oil.

    But we in the modern world are pretty sick of your backwards thinking, and someday we'll figure out how to get off our addiction to the stuff I guess Allah buried in your sand. When we do that, you can be pretty sure that there will be no more force left in your ability to impose your ridiculous absurd thinking about religion on anyone, most definitely including your own children and grand children. AND YOUR WAY OF THINKING WILL DISAPPEAR.

    In short, I have every respect for Islam, but I have nothing but disrespect for your way of thinking of your religion. Fuck you you backwards ignorant tribal assholes. You don't stand for Islam. Any REAL Muslim with REAL CONFIDENCE in their religion would not care what some doubtful journalist tweets. Any cowardly, spineless, and completely without confidence person, who does not represent anything good about Islam, would get upset so easily.

    When the world's reliance on your oil comes to an end, your society disappears into the sand in a heartbeat. Nothing props it up but oil. Certainly not the glory of Islam, because you don't represent the glory of Islam, you represent feeble cowardice, lack of confidence and frailty, masquerading as religious devotion. And you call that your faith? It's pretty sad that this Westerner has more knowledge of the DIGNITIY and NOBILITY of YOUR FAITH than you do, judging by the cowardly way you think your religion needs to be defended. Congratulations on making your religion a joke by your cowardice and lack of confidence.

    The prophet was a man, you are frightened little children. You destroy your own religion.

  • by djlowe ( 41723 ) * on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:47PM (#39008165)

    The concept of unalienable rights is a product of the 18th century

    Which doesn't make the concept itself wrong due to age, nor any less desirable as a goal for society.

    and inextricably linked to religious belief: rights are inalienable because they are endowed by a Creator

    While that was certainly thought to be true when conceived, it needn't be irrevocable: My suspicion now is that the concept of unalienable rights in the 21st century, at least in the US, has long since moved beyond religion to become an inextricable part of its fabric, its foundation, and most US citizens think that such is right and proper, regardless of historical or religious origin.

    Speaking only for myself, I believe that we as humans have inalienable, inherent rights, regardless of whether there is a Creator (whose existence I will neither confirm nor deny, as it isn't relevant to this discussion, and is, for me, a deeply personal, individual matter).

    now follows some variant of utilitarianism where rights are a convenient and mutable legal fiction to ensure general quality of life.

    I apologize in advance if I am incorrect, but you seem to state that as though it's a bad thing, while I think that it cannot be such. For those that believe that unalienable rights are given by a Creator, they can continue to do so. Those that believe that they come from simply being human can do so as well. So long as all of us fight for them, seek to preserve them, we all benefit, no?



  • by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @10:18PM (#39008909) Homepage
    It was a couple -- whether married or just boyfriend/girlfriend, I don't recall. The debate here on /., from my reading of it, was that it is stupid post 9/11 to say that you are going to "destroy" a town in the U.S. before coming to visit. The entire debate was pretty ignorant, IMHO, as several English residents explained that the meaning of that phrase in British English slang is considerably different than the way American English interprets it. Sounds reasonable to me, and shipping the couple back to England sounds kind of stupid, IMHO. Makes us Yanks look like a bunch of ignorant dweebs.

    Also don't forget the Canadian man of Arabic descent who recently was investigated on terrorism charges after tweeting to his coworkers at a trade fair here in the U.S. to "blow away" the competition. IIRC, his coworkers had a lot of fun trying to get back across the border into Canada after the trade fair because they were known accomplices of a suspected terrorist <facepalm>

    "Free speech" must surely mean "as in beer" because it's for sure not "as in libre" anymore.
  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday February 12, 2012 @04:49AM (#39009955) Journal

    Oh, for sure. Stoning for adultery goes all the way back to Torah, Muhammad wasn't particularly inventive in that department, he just revived the old practice. So I'm not surprised that Christians in middle age societies also subscribe to that kind of thing.

    Still, it would be really interesting to see the distribution between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria when it comes to that question. Thing is, the doctrine of most Christian denominations today emphatically denounces that punishment as not applicable (with most of the Old Testament regulations); indeed, even in Christian Middle Ages, death penalty of any form for adultery was far from universal in Europe. In Islam, on the other hand, the validity of rajm as a divinely prescribed punishment is disputed only by the liberal minority.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday February 12, 2012 @06:19AM (#39010169) Journal

    I was not talking about standing law in the post above, I'm talking about religious doctrine.

    The majority of Christian theologists do not believe that stoning (or, in general, death penalty) is prescribed for adultery according to Christian dogmas. The vast majority of followers agree, and would strongly denounce any fanatic who'd do otherwise, as in your example.

    In contrast, the majority of Islamic ulema agree that stoning is prescribed for adultery according to Islam, in no uncertain terms (there is some dissent on it even among non-liberal faqih, largely because it is derived from Hadith, and seemingly contradicts a less stringent punishment outlined in Qu'ran - but the broad consensus is that it's valid). And, as evident from the numbers I've posted, a significant part of the followers - the majority in more than a few countries - also agree with that interpretation.

    Simply put, death penalty for adultery (and apostasy and blasphemy) is much more mainstream in modern Islam than it is in modern Christianity, regardless of politics.

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