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Islam insult leads to arrest of Saudi writer

Published: 31/12/2012 09:03:00 AM GMT
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Jeddah: Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested a liberal writer on the charges of insulting the religion Islam last week as he posted some objectionable comments on his account of a popular social networking website, Twitter.

By Farhan Iqbal


Jeddah: Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested a liberal writer on the charges of insulting the religion Islam last week as he posted some objectionable comments on his account of a popular social networking website, Twitter.

According to the family members of the writer, Turki Ahmed has been arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities for making comments on his Twitter account that are allegedly insulting to Islam.

They said that he was arrested earlier this week on orders of Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdel Aziz, who was tipped off by a religious organization.

However, the interior ministry has not confirmed the arrest of Turki Ahmed and its spokesman was also unreachable for comments.

Ahmed on his Twitter account attacked radical Islamists when he said that they are twisting the Holy Prophet Mohammed’s “message of love” and what he described as “a neo-Nazism which is on the rise in the Arab world – Islamic extremism.”

His comments paved a way for a fierce debate on social networking websites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The supporters and critics of Ahmed are arguing on the statement by the writer and trying to prove their points with logical and illogical statements.

Separately from this incident, an online activist Raif Badawi, another Saudi, was arrested in June in Jeddah and accused of apostasy, which carries the death penalty in the Gulf kingdom.

Badawi helped set up a liberal Saudi website, which declared a “Day of Liberalism” on May 7, calling for protests against the domination of religious officials on public life in the strict Sunni-ruled monarchy.

Amnesty International condemned Badawi’s prosecution.

“Raif Badawi’s trial for ‘apostasy’ is a clear case of intimidation against him and others who seek to engage in open debates about the issues that Saudi Arabians face in their daily lives,” said Philip Luther, Director of the organization’s Middle East and North Africa division.

“He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally,” he added.

Arrest of Turki Ahmed is also likely to attract criticism from the western liberals who do not let go any chance to attack the Islamists who strictly favor application of Islamic laws in the kingdom.



Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdel Aziz

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