Malaysia arrests Saudi blogger over Prophet Mohammad tweets

KUALA LUMPUR Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:03am IST

A Twitter page is displayed on a laptop computer in Los Angeles October 13, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

A Twitter page is displayed on a laptop computer in Los Angeles October 13, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian police have arrested a Saudi Arabian columnist who fled his country after making comments on Twitter deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad, prompting a surge of online outrage and calls for his execution.

"It is confirmed that Malaysian police have detained the Saudi writer. This arrest was part of an Interpol operation which the Malaysian police were a part of," a police spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

He gave no further details and would not comment on whether the writer, Hamza Kashgari, would be extradited to Saudi Arabia, where some Islamic clerics have called for him to be put to death for his comments.

Malaysia is a majority Muslim country with a close affinity with many Middle Eastern nations through their shared religion. The Southeast Asian nation is also a U.S. ally and a leading global voice for moderate Islam, meaning that any decision to extradite Kashgari certain to be controversial.

Blasphemy is a crime punishable by execution under oil-rich Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law. It is not a capital crime in Malaysia.

The 23-year-old Kashgari reportedly posted the comments on his Twitter feed to mark the Prophet Mohammad's birthday on Saturday, drawing thousands of outraged comments on Twitter and other social networking sites.

Reuters could not verify Kashgari's comments because he later deleted them, but media reported that one them reflected his contradictory views of the Prophet.

Kashgari later said in an interview that he was being made a "scapegoat for a larger conflict" over his comments.

"I view my actions as part of a process toward freedom," Kashgari was quoted as saying in the interview with the Daily Beast website.

"I was demanding my right to practice the most basic human rights - freedom of expression and thought - so nothing was done in vain."

(Reporting by Stuart Grudgings and Niluksi Koswanage, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS EXCLUSIVE

Reuters Showcase

Documents' Leak

Documents' Leak

India widens oil leaks probe to defence ministry  Full Article 

Jim O’Neill Interview

Jim O’Neill Interview

'India can become world’s fifth-largest economy by decade’s end'  Full Article 

Food Security

Food Security

India will not cut multi-billion dollar food handout programme - PM  Full Article 

Ola's Expansion Drive

Ola's Expansion Drive

Taxi group Ola steps up expansion drive  Full Article 

Sahara Saga

Sahara Saga

Sahara's Grosvenor House hotel in London put up for sale   Full Article 

Suzlon Energy

Suzlon Energy

Suzlon expects to turn profitable in fiscal 2016: chairman   Full Article 

Eicher Motors Stake

Eicher Motors Stake

Volvo selling up to $300 mln worth of Eicher shares  Full Article 

Beef Trade

Beef Trade

Maharashtra clamps down on beef trade through new act  Full Article 

Budget 2015

Budget 2015

Budget announcements and reactions from the industry  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage