Saudi citizen and journalist Hamza Kashgari tweeted, on Muhammad’s birthday, this:
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.
He was not talking about an ex-girlfriend, but rather, Teh Profit. There was outrage, there were death threats, and Kashgari fled Saudi Arabia. Later, Malaysian police picked him up after the Saudi’s used (abused) Interpol’s Red Notice System to alert authorities to grab him.
There was, for a while, a Facebook group called “The Saudi People Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari” which had 13,000 members, and there were 30,000 tweets directed at Kashgari in outrage over his statement.
Clerics in Saudi Arabia called for him to be charged with apostasy, a religious offence punishable by death. Reports suggest that the Malaysian authorities intend to return him to his native country.
Kashgari’s detention has triggered criticism by human rights groups of Malaysia’s decision to arrest the journalist and of Interpol’s cooperation in the process.
Police confirmed to the BBC that Hamza Kashgari was sent back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday despite protests from human rights groups.
Mr Kashgari’s controversial tweet last week sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats.