If you follow the news you may have already heard about Hamza Kashgari the Saudi blogger/journalist who was sent back to Saudi Arabia from Malaysia after fleeing to the southeast Asian country due to death threats arising from three allegedly blasphemous tweets.
As for the controversial tweets which sparked the controversy? According to the Daily Beast, Kashgari tweeted on the prophet’s birthday:
“On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.
“On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.
“On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.”
For his honesty, the 23-year-old journalist may receive the death penalty in a country where apostasy is a capital offence. That, however, might not be enough for some: The National Post reported that an online reader of al-Madina had written, “The only choice is for Kashgari to be killed and crucified in order to be a lesson to other secularists.” A Facebook page, “Saudi people want punishment for Hamza Kashgari”, was reported to have grown to more than 20,000 members, but appears to have been removed by the administrators.
Unlike many Americans, I do not hold the religion of Islam in contempt or fear its followers. There are Muslims in my own family. Also, I feel that the United States would better advance its aims in the Middle East by taking a more Arab-friendly stance rather than continuing to do the bidding of Israel, a country which I believe is the second greatest source of instability in the region after the United States.
That said, I can’t help but feel that Muslims do a great disservice to their cause whenever they overact like this. How do you expect us in the West to take you seriously when your hypersensitivity to questions of religion brings all debate to a crashing halt? With almost one and a half billion Muslims in the world today, your faith should be more than strong enough to permit those few who harbor doubts to speak frankly.
Free Hamza Kashgari!