Friday, I wrote about
Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year old Saudi writer who tweeted about
the Prophet Muhammad. His tweets were seen as "apostasy," which
could merit the death penalty under Sharia law. He soon
fled Saudi Arabia, but was arrested in Malaysia, while en route to
to seek asylum in New Zealand. Amnesty International even called
"prisoner of conscience." However, on Sunday, the Malaysian
government deported Kashgari back to Saudi Arabia.
Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein defended the
decision, arguing that Malaysia is not a "safe transit" for those
wanted by their home nations. He also labeled Kashgari a
"terrorist." In addition, Hishammuddin blasted the idea that
Kashgari could be executed for tweeting as "illogic,"
Allegations that he would be executed, abused, do not make
sense. The country being accused is a dignified country. These are
serious allegations against Saudi Arabia.
I hope this issue is not politicised on the basis of freedom and
human rights...We received a
request from Saudi Arabia and we will not protect anyone who is
Unfortunately, capital punishment is all too common in Saudi
Arabia. Since Wahabi Islam is the official religion of Saudi
Arabia, it enforces a very strict (and literal) form of
Sharia law. Between 2008-2010, Saudi Arabia executed
people, all by public decapitation. In December 2011, a Saudi
woman was beheaded for practicing
"witchcraft and sorcery," while in 2009, the
leader of a jewelry thief gang was
"crucified:" He was decapitated, his severed head was
impaled, then his body was publicly displayed. As for Kashgari, if
he is convicted of apostasy, he would be guilty of
hadud, or "crimes against God." These crimes often led
to the death penalty.
In addition, Kashgari's supporters in Saudi Arabia might also
face a similar fate. According to Khaled Abu Rashid, "Those who
supported the contents of Kashgari's tweets are considered criminal
exactly like him," and thus, would merit the same type of
punishment Kashgari receives. However, this comes with
Kafkaesque legal contortions:
If the support was for general principles like freedom of
expression, then this is a different matter, but if the support was
for the attacks on Allah and His Prophet, then the supporters
should be tried for apostasy.
The criminal was tied and blindfolded. With one stroke of the
sword I severed his head. It rolled metres away...People are amazed
how fast it can separate the head from the body.
No one is afraid of me. I have a lot of relatives, and many
friends at the mosque, and I live a normal life like everyone else.
There are no drawbacks for my social life.