Sharia Alert. From Reuters:
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Up to five people have been arrested for involvement in publishing articles seen as insulting to Islam, a day after they sparked protests by hardline religious students, Iran’s judiciary said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of students demonstrated and some university classes were cancelled in a “day of mourning” on Tuesday to protest against the articles that reportedly appeared in four student publications at a prominent Tehran university.
A proportional response would apparently be insulting as well.
Alireza Jamshidi, a spokesman for the conservative-controlled judiciary, said four or five people, none of them students, had been arrested but gave no further details about the case.
“Insulting sacred values is a crime mentioned in Islamic law,” he was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency, referring to sharia law introduced in Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Iranian universities are often the scene of rivalries between conservative, religious students and pro-reform groups demanding more political rights in the Islamic Republic.
Both camps regularly print their own student publications, but those who usually publish the four named by Iranian media denied involvement. The media did not disclose details of the articles apart from describing them as disrespectful to Islam.
“In Islamic society it is expected from the judiciary system to take action against insulting Imams (descendants of the Prophet Mohammad revered by Shi’ite Muslims) and sacred values,” Jamshidi said.
Tehran’s Amir Kabir University, one of the capital’s largest, was in the past known as a hotbed of student activism.
At the same university last December, dozens of students burned pictures of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and threw firecrackers in an apparent effort to disrupt his speech.