Published On: Sun, Feb 12th, 2012

DANGER: Freedom of Expression

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Malaysia has deported Hamza Kashgari, the Saudi journalist and blogger accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in comments made on Twitter, Al Jazeera reported. Kashgari, a newspaper columnist based in Jeddah, was detained upon his arrival in Malaysia – a Muslim majority country – after his tweet led to outrage, and calls for his execution.

In his tweet, sent last week on the prophet’s birthday, Kashgari said:

“I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you … I will not pray for you.”

The remarks, which spurred more than 30,000 responses, were condemned by Saudi clerics as blasphemous, the BBC reported. Although Kashgari apologized for the tweet, he decided to leave the country after continued death threats. Rights groups say he was on his way to New Zealand when arrested.

In Saudi Arabia, blasphemy is a crime punishable by death – and Kashgari’s deportation comes despite protests from various rights groups. In a statement, Malaysia’s Home Ministry said the country had a “long-standing arrangement by which individuals wanted by one country are extradited when detained by the other.” As such, it said that Kashgari was being “repatriated under this arrangement.” However a lawyer for Kashgari’s family said he had obtained a court order to block the deportation, and that the move was therefore unlawful, Al Jazeera reported.

I’m all for limits to Freedom of Expression. Limits as in responsibility. Responsibility as in not to harm someone intentionally. Intentionally as in deliberate insults. Insults as in not being sincere. But sending someone to the gallows for a tweet like this has nothing to do with either of these necessary ‘limits’ nor is it blasphemy. This has to do with only one thing; tyranny! And to tyrants hiding behind religion I have only one thing to say: F*ck you!!

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- As a creative strategist I work on complex (digital) communications issues for international industry leading companies, organizations and agencies. I'm interested in how technology integrates with (and influences) traditional marketing, media, human behavior, society and culture.

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  1. [...] in certain parts of the modern world you will be executed for expressing your opinion about religion in a single tweet there are nations where the ‘old days’ no longer set the moral [...]

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