A Tweet To Mohammed

Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year old journalist and blogger from Saudi Arabia, is currently in jail in Jeddah awaiting trial on apostasy charges. On February 5, the day Moslems celebrated Mohammed’s birthday, Hamza sent the following tweet addressing the prophet:

“On the day of your birthday, I won’t bow before you (…) I loved certain things about you, but I abhorred others, and there is so much I don’t understand about you.”

It was too much for Saudi Arabians’ monochrome mentality. It caused an outrage among Twitter users and netizins who alerted the authorities. A facebook page was created and has now over twenty thousand members clamoring for Hamza’s execution. Why facebook is allowing such a masquerade is unclear at this time.

The following day, he sent another tweet recognizing his “sin” and apologizing, but it was too late. The religious authorities, known to have an animus against shaving kits and free thinking which they believe is the work of Satan, decided to try him for publicly repudiating Islam. This of course makes Islam sound like a mafia; once you’re in, it’s for life. In accordance with the unreasonable and angry sharia law, Hamza will most likely face a stiff sentence to “restore his soul,” if not the gallows.

Hamza Kashgari

After having received hundreds of death threats, Hamza boarded a flight on February 9 to New Zealand via Malaysia. Unfortunately, upon arriving to Kuala Lampur, he was arrested at the behest of Saudi authorities and deported two days later back to Jeddah. International human rights associations accused Interpol of disseminating a warrant for his arrest and deportation knowing that Hamza would face an unfair trial and a possible execution. Interpol categorically denied involvement.

Without the support of the international community, Hamza has little chance of walking out of this ordeal alive. In a country crisscrossed by red lines, a minefield of known and unspoken taboos where he is considered a radical fringe, the young journalist has very few sympathizers. Those who support Hamza’s right to free expression are part of a small group of Saudi secular literati known as the “enlightened Moslems.” Their point is not to change the conservative majority, but rather to allow a free thinking minority the right to self-actualization.

Saudi conservative intellectuals seized the opportunity to attack the “enlightened Moslems.” Dr. Suhayla Zinalabidin Hamad, a prominent academician and a member of the Saudi Human Rights Association nonetheless, bemoaned the alarming pervasiveness of secularism in the Saudi society and accused the proponents of freedom of speech of encouraging the desecration of Islam ‘sacrosanct symbols. She called for an inquisition of those writers who, she claims, use creative license as an excuse to irreverence.

Ironically, it hasn’t been two years since Prince Saud al-Faisal said to an American journalist that Saudi Arabia is “breaking away from the shackles of the past,” since Jedah hosted Art Pure, an avant-garde exhibition similar to the ones organized in New York City, Paris, or Rome, without a raid from the marauding mutawas.

The Hadith relates the story of Abdoullah Ibn Oubay, a follower of the prophet who was known to be a hypocrite. It was reported to Mohammed that Ibn Oubay insulted him and was urged to kill him to deter others from similar disrespect. Mohammed refused. And so, this is not about why I and so many others are critical of Islam’s unsparing posture vis-à-vis those who question its precepts, but rather why Islam today has grown less tolerant than during the time of its prophet.

A. T. B. © 2012

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venture down those ominous ways thread into that austere city
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6 Responses to A Tweet To Mohammed

  1. marocain says:

    You have hit the nail on the head when you compared Islam to the Mafia: once you’re in, it’s for life.
    religions, all religions, are nothing but brain washing. They are for the weak that find comfort in numbers. For those that are afraid of dying. For those hoping, against all logic, to have an eternal life.

  2. karim de Taza says:

    Q: Why don’t they allow him to ask for refugee status in a civilized country?
    A: Because the Twitter servers would melt the next day ;-)

  3. I question, therefore I am says:

    Sidi Ahmed,
    You would think this piece would be enough therapy for Fawzi and would relax him fro at least a couple of weeks. But noooo.. apparently, unless you increase his doze by declaring Islam to be the source of all evil, expect him to come back for me. ( chill out ba fawzi)
    On a serious note, I found your piece to state what most read and lay people know about Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is known for “Intellectual Terrorism” (I am using the term “intellectual” very loosely here) Al Saudi are known to do anything that would appease those Mutawa3een elites. In order to understand that, you have to have a good handle of the symbiotic relationship between the ruling family and the religious elites.
    This type of intellectual terrorism is very much alive and kicking in America. Espousing to Marxist views can land you in some hot waters. I am not drawing any parallels here, I am just saying that witch hunts can be waged under different names and in different context. This fellow was not too wise. As a supported of Morocco’s claim over the Sahara, I cringe at the shit that befell those who even suggest that Sahraouis have a real grievance that ought to be considered. Need I remind you of what happened to those who openly say that Morocco is waging a cleansing war in the Sahara? Well, some of them found themselves with very cushy jobs and a generous expense account when they decided ” to reconsider” the others, well the others… no on really know for sure.
    Now, it is not just religious groups that are engaging in this kind of terrorism, others who have interest in fostering an environment of “policed thoughts” are doing the same thing and guess what they are draped in the flags of secularism. Can I interest you in a piece I wrote a couple of days ago.

    http://moroccoworldnews.com/2012/02/from-religious-to-secular-manicheans/29208

    Thank you

  4. I question, therefore I am says:

    Fawzi,
    You are right, I tend to ramble a lot after smoking weed. My doctor thought it would help remedy exposure to bloggers hypocrisy and double standards. I am sorry I was not too clear in stating one simple point.
    Sanctioning thoughts is not a new phenomenon. When it comes to cherry picking, you my friend, have made up with the whole damn cake. Hamza is not the first and is not going to be the last. If you are going to advocate for Hamza’s right to be speak his mind (as gratuitously as he wishes). Remember that the salafi Imams who were recently issued royal pardon, were in jail for attempting to speak their minds. I didn’t hear you speaking about their plight. When you decide to know Islam for its treatment of Homosexuals, enlighten us a bit about what Mark Warren and the millions of $$ he is pumping into exterminating homosexuals in Uganda and other African countries. I once came across a blog where someone with your moniker was knocking Sayed Qutb. Something tells me it was none other than you. Well, Qutb was executed for standing his grounds defending his ideas. I am sure you sympathized with Salman Rushdi as his life was threatened. Show a little balance and fairness (not the FOX news kind), switch your attention a bit to Salafi Santorum.
    Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go see Lady Gaga. She is in town supporting the “I was born that way” campaign. I bet you It will be FABULOUS
    Wa3alaykom Assalam

  5. I question, therefore I am says:

    Deflections??? you assholes read from the same script; and you accuse me of pack mentality.
    Please refrain from mentioning Benshemsi and Jamai in the same breath, the latter may find it offensive

  6. I question, therefore I am says:

    Si Fawzi,
    Now that you are done thumping your chest, listen to this. All you have done throughout this entire exchange is try to box me into what you think I believe and what you think defines me as a thinking being. In fact, assholes like you who see things as black and while tend to see the world that way. This polarizing shit does not impress me at all. So, don’t flatter yourself buddy. Those you mention are way out of your league. Joining their league will cut into your livelihood. I was thinking about mercenaries like Beck, Nabulsi, Geller, Shoebat and others, those are your peers. You are all handed the same script and keep blurting out the same package garbage. You are no different than those Imams delivering the Friday Sermon that was written by some poor underpaid slob from the ministry of interior. You are all a bunch of paid cheap whores.
    As for Jamai, I got to know him when he came to Harvard as a Nieman fellow. He strikes me as a very descent, bright, BALANCED human being who could have made a fortune as a 20 something year old when he worked for Azoulay. I can’t say the same thing about benshemsi. I usually don’t discuss people, this is definitely stooping and this is my last comment here. I will let you have the last word; I know how you assholes like to have the last word. Just try to put the script aside and tell us something new
    Have a great weekend…

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