Monday, February 13, 2012

A man by the name of Hamza Kashgari has been detained by Malaysian authorities. Kashgari is a 23-year old Saudi writer and blogger who publicly expressed his personally views about Prophet Muhammad via Twitter. His tweets caused and uproar and strong reactions from many Saudis. The people who were angered by the tweets responded back with their own hate-filled tweets, Facebook posts, and even resorted to Youtube videos demanding that kashgari be arrested and punished. In Saudi Arabia, this crime is considered apostasy, in which they separate themselves from the renunciation of a religion. This crime can be punishable by death under Saudi law and that is just what many people want for Hamza Kashgari. In the following video, you can see a man, Sheikh Nasser Al Omar and his outpour of emotions over the situation begging the king to execute Kashgari.  

The following are the tweets that have caused the intense reaction. Tweet #1 “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.” Tweet #2 “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.” Tweet #3 “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.”
Kashgari later removed these tweets and apologized. Realizing his life was in danger, Kashgari decided to flee to New Zealand. However, he was detained along the way by Malaysian authorities at the request of Saudi authorities. His purpose for fleeing to New Zealand was to seek political asylum.
There has been much controversy over this matter and surprisingly there are many Muslim supporters of his release. Even more shocking, those Muslims who support him are from predominantly Muslim countries. This shows that people are trying to move forward and allow more public expression. I can understand why people would be angered if someone said something against their beliefs but that is something that occurs everyday in the world. The only reason Hamza Kashgari is being punished is because he publicly stated his opinion. In America, you’re given this freedom through the first amendment. I know we can’t assume the same for other countries since they have specific rules against such crimes but is it really fair and have we not come far enough to treat everyone equally across the world? Why does someone not have the same rights as a person who lives in another part of the world? I am a Muslim and I honestly see why the people of the country are upset. However, it is not possible for everyone to think alike and I do not see any extremely rude remarks in his tweets.


kathryn y. said...

I am intrigued by this post. While we become heated over such issues that occur in the United States, when we are faced with a judicial system that is not of our own, we see how freedom of religion and speech are both honored. While we may not agree with the context in which they are being "honored," it could be completely different as in cases such as this that you have presented us with.

Aanal P. said...

This is a very good post to allow Americans to reaffirm their beliefs about radical Muslims and also allow Americans to challenge their belief that all Muslims are radicals. This also allows us to see that the judicial systems around the world vary according to the type of government and the amount of influence religion has on the government. It is clear that the tweets by others Muslims weren't as harsh, but the words of the man in the video exaggerate the situation. The fact that most Muslims are working for his release is evidence of lack of seriousness of the issue. It is also important to notice that the New Zealand authorities complied with the Saudi authorities because allowing Kshgari to be there is almost to defend him and becoming part of this issue. No matter what kind of beliefs and laws a country upholds, they have to be respected by other countries to allow that country to solve its own issues. Now there have been issues in the past, like the holocaust, which have required foreign intervention but that type of intervention must be a collaboration between among several countries.

Angela S. said...

I am not sure why it is surprising that Muslims from predominately Muslim countries are also in favor of his release. Perhaps it would be a bit surprising if any from countries that are as extreme in their blasphemy laws were calling for release, but that is not a symptom of the people agreeing so much as a symptom of them wanting to keep their own life safe. To be honest I would not be shocked to discover that a case like this has more to do with keeping control of a population than promoting religious belief.

bethd said...

This is an interesting post. He was accused of apostasy for his remarks. It is clear that the Saudi government has strict punishment for this crime .One thing I was not clear on was he actually in Saudi when he tweeted these statements. Also could he have tried to seek political asylum in Malaysia or are there certain countries that grant it?

crunchycheetos said...

Sociology is my minor so I find it absolutely fascinating to compare topics in a global perspective. I find it interesting that his tweets were made into such an ordeal. He doesn't even specify who he is talking about-although it is implied and his words were not blasphemous or crude. I would even argue the tweets were thought provoking. When I see instances like this it makes me grateful for the few semi-rights we are granted as Americans.

Preston L.