More on the implications of the Hamza Kashgari case and the scandal of silence about it in the West, as well as the appropriation of Interpol to arrest him. “How the West Is Fanning Islamic Extremism,” by Ali Sina for Faith Freedom, February 14:
Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi columnist may face death for sending three tweets. Addressing the Prophet Muhammad he wrote, “I have loved the rebel in you,” but “I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.” He also wrote, “I shall shake [your hand] as equals do “¦ I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.”
The Saudi Twitter-sphere exploded with responses to Kashgari, with commentators accusing him of blasphemy. A Facebook account was immediately set up calling for his death and in no time over 13,000 Muslims subscribed to it.
Kashgari escaped to seek asylum in New Zealand, but he was detained in Malaysia. Despite pleas from several human rights organizations and a High Court injunction obtained by his lawyer to not extradite him back, where he would not receive a fair trial, he was quickly deported in a private plane. Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.
What makes this case even more disturbing is the fact that Saudi Arabia is reported to have used Interpol’s “red notice” system to locate and arrest the 23 year old journalist. Police in Kuala Lumpur said Kashgari was detained at the airport “following a request made to us by Interpol.”
Muslim dissidents face dire consequences in Islamic countries. To a great extent the western media and the western governments are to be blamed. Not only they don’t condemn these human rights violations, they are often reticent to report them. This silence is interpreted as a green light by the governments in Islamic countries and a seal of approval.
Muslim dissidents face constant threats to their lives and in western countries, their voices are systematically gaged. The actions of the Saudi government, the Malaysian government and the thousands of fanatical Muslims who demanded the death of Kashgari are deplorable. But not a single government or news media condemned them. Human rights organizations pleaded for his release, but none reproached the conduct of these two Muslim countries and the reaction of the people calling for this man’s death.
Those who speak out blame the victim instead of the abusers. Jago Russell, the chief executive of the British charity Fair Trials International, which has campaigned against the blanket enforcement of Interpol red notices, said: “Interpol should be playing no part in Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of Hamza Kashgari, however unwise his comments on Twitter.”
Unwise!? There is nothing unwise in criticizing any religion. All religions are regularly criticized. Why Islam should be an exception? Comments like this give Muslims the confirmation that Islam is above criticism.
Why not tell the truth and call the blasphemy law inhumane, evil and barbaric? Killing someone for expressing his views is not civil. Why not call a spade a spade?
Millions of people in Islamic countries live in constant fear. They are the ones who can bring moderation. Instead of protecting them and supporting them, the western media ignores them and in most cased cooperates with Islamic fundamentalists to shut them up. Critics of Islam are called “haters” and “Islamophobes.” Thus name calling is designed to silence the legitimate criticism of Islam and the result is more extremism. […]
The truth is that for Muslims, anything that is not complimentary of Islam is inflammatory. Take the example of Kashgari’s tweets. They are not irreverent or inflammatory at all, and yet thousands of Muslims were inflamed by them and want him dead….
There is much more. Read it all.