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.

From The Guardian:

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.

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21 thoughts on “The Hamza Kashgari Tweet

  1. This is overwhelmingly sad. I found the tweet heartfelt and intelligently written. I fear a government that punishes the questioning of religion with death, and more so a populace that supports such a government.

  2. August Pamplona @ # 1 – Uh-oh, you just dissed beards.

    The Pharynguhorde will pursue you with wrath beyond Interpol’s ken.

    You and Kashgari will both be recorded as suicides.

  3. August Pamplona,

    how do you know that?

    He hasn’t been charged yet, and it is well-known that the current King is a liberal trying to push back the radicals. In several high-profile cases, if the death penalty had been brought at all (insults to Islam can also result in corporal punishment, and prison sentences of several years, seeing that Saudi Arabia has no codified penal code), the King has been known to commute sentences and even pardon people, usually after they expressed some kind of penance. The more high profile, the better the chances for this, actually, as the King is aware of international repercussions.

    I’m not trying to justify the Saudi theocracy here in any way, but let’s not get the facts on the ground right. A death penalty is far from certain.

  4. If a further example was actually needed to back Dawkins and the late (sob) Hitchens militant position on religion, up crops another head banging insanity case. No doubt the other ‘my imaginary friend is really real, honestly, this is no joke, stop laughing or i’ll get mad’ groups will offer telepathic support whilst not actually condemning blasphemy in any way shape or form. The heads of Western governments will publicly decry the treatment without acually doing anything because of the fear that it will disrespect the ‘beliefs’ of the nutters, and Humanity steps two further steps backwards.

  5. August Pamplona,

    how do you know that?

    I do not know that. It’s just human nature expressed within the context of this particular society that makes me think it is so. What makes you think the king really cares about international opinion? If there’s one thing the king cares about more than religion or international opinion it is about remaining king. You can’t do that in the country of Mecca and Medina if the beards are in serious opposition against you.

    Sure, you can point to me how sometimes apostates get away with “only” a lashing. Sure you can point to how Hadi Al-Mutif was just released after a death sentence stemming from similar charges (after 18 years on death row!). Then again, Saudi Arabia executed someone for “witchcraft” only last December!

    But the thing we have to realize here is that international pressure is a double edged sword. While for the king having Saudi Arabia being exposed as the barbaric society that it is is a bad thing, it is also a bad thing to be embarrassed before the clerics by being seen to cave in to international pressure. The practical consequences of the former are, effectively, nil. The practical consequences of the latter may be a contribution to unrest which could, ultimately, lead to the fall of the House of Saud.

    In any case, they are not going to have any trouble in coming up with two witnesses or more.

  6. August Pamplona,

    easy, I know he cares about international pressure, because he has responded to it before. As far as clerics go, don’t forget that he just appointed a liberal head of the Muttawah.

    So unlike you, I base my opinion on observable facts. It doesn’t mean that he couldn’t face the death penalty, and it doesn’t mean that Saudi-Arabia is a despicable theocracy, but posts like yours in #1 are contributing to the rather simplistic view of Islamic countries many have in the West.

  7. So we are supposed to feel comforted about the fact that, with a new appointment, thugs on the street may check women’s veils a little less strictly now?

    Bread and circuses. The people and the clerics are demanding blood. You really think the king is going to have the balls to stand up to that because he might dislike feeling misunderstood by people in the rest of the world?

    I wish that you are correct.

    As for “the rather simplistic view of Islamic countries many have in the West” I think some countries do well in promoting such views of barbarism all by themselves. I have not invented these death sentences in Saudi Arabia (and elsewhere). Not the ones for witchcraft, not the ones for adultery, not the ones for homosexuality. None of them.

  8. my goodness, not because of being misunderstood, but because of their national interest.

    Various incidents have shown that Saudi Arabia, at times, cares about international pressure, usually of economic nature, but as far as Saudi Arabia feels like it needs US support, then it will also be more amenable to US pressure (with the rising tensions in the Strait of Hormuz, this might be one of those times).

    Saudi Arabia also arranged to have three Indonesian maids returned to Indonesia even though they had been sentenced to death for murder (in the West, some of these cases would have been self-defence, and negligent manslaughter). (Of course, this was because after Saudi Arabia had beheaded one Indonesian maid last summer without even notifying Jakarta, Indonesia stopped sending maids to Saudi Arabia, so there were certainly economic considerations behind the pardons).

    Of course the Saudi system is barbaric, but by giving the impression that a death penalty was a clear-cut thing and by ignoring (or at least not mentioning) the rather complex political situation behind the scenes in Saudi Arabia, you contribute to a monolithic view of Islam. That’s what I mean by “simplification”.

  9. The Indonesian incidentally shows what I mean. In your post, you were using “Islam” as though it represented one monolithic block.

    But from the reaction of Indonesia to Saudi Arabia beheading a fellow Muslim for acting in self-defence against her abusive employer, created so many protests in the most populous Islamic country in the world that the government suspended the guestworker agreement with Saudi. This alone shows you that “Islam” is not monolithic, Indonesians were not in agreement with the way Saudi Arabian justice worked.

    Likewise, if someone had blasphemed the prophet in Indonesia, “Islam” would not demand a blood sacrifice, but 4-5 years, in accordance with Indonesia’s blasphemy law. (Which is also a horrendous sentence, but it’s different from the potential death sentence that you could get in Saudi)

  10. I have emailed a letter to:
    Human Rights Council and Treaties Division
    Complaint Procedure
    1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
    email address :
    I wrote:
    Hamza Kashgari is in Saudi custody for writing tweets on Prophet Mohammad’s birthday. King Abdullah had ordered his arrest. Article 19 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights guarantees free speech. Article 18 includes leaving or dissociating from a religious group – apostasy – as the freedom of religion. Saudi Arabian government violates natural rights of citizens with impunity. People have no participation- right to vote. Women must wear a certain garb. The worst form of capital punishment, beheading by sword is carried out in full public view. It could be followed by crucifixion – public display of the beheaded body.

    I, on behalf of the members of Facebook group ‘Save Kashgari’ bring to your notice that Hamza Kashgari could face death penalty in Saudi Arabia for perceived balasphemy/apostasy. Please intervene in the matter and stop the Saudi government from persecuting a citizen for free speech and
    freedom of religion. Thanks.

    Malik Rashid
    Please join my facebook page ‘Save Kashgari’, suggest action and build a strong response against trampling of human rights

  11. I think it is good that he will be punished by death sentence. It will act as a deterrant for others. There is a good reason why in shariah law, apostasy or leaving Islam carried the death penalty. Imagine what would happen in this day and age of internet and mass communication…there would be large number of people wanting to leave Islam so they can live their lives the way they choose to, not as chosen for them by Allah and his messenger.

    It is a crime to leave the Muslim ummah in the lurch and join some other faith, and in some cases, no faith at all(as Atheists)

    We should be glad that even in the face of all these “western” ideals, there are a handful of countries who have adopted the shariah code. It remains to be seen whether they will implement it.

    Allah knows best.

  12. Mohd ibn Juferi,

    What do you mean Allah know best? Aren’t you contradicting yourself? It is CLEARLY stated in the Al Quran and said by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that, “There is NO compulsion to religion and that Allah knows best”

    Who are you to act like God and pass judgement on another human being especially with regards to religion, and even say it is ‘good’. Oh my Allah is all knowing and all merciful and only on Judgement Day will we know.

  13. Mohd Zaini,

    Leave him be. I do not believe that you understand Mohd ibn Juferi’s position. His position is fear driven. It is the position of a small man feeling threatened, afraid and insecure. Hamza must die because some followers of Wahhabism fear that leaving Hamza’s perceived transgression unpunished may lead people away from Islam.

    But no one has that power: the power to make someone else or oneself believe or not believe anything by merely wishing it. If I put a gun to your head and tell you to believe that 2 + 2 = 5, you will tell me that 2 + 2 = 5 but I will not truly have made you believe that 2 + 2 =5. Even if, in your fear, you may fervently wish to believe, you will not believe it (though you may tell me otherwise to make me believe that you believe).

    In the end, killing Hamza will only deter people from leaving Islam with their words but it will do nothing to stop people from leaving Islam in their hearts. It will not stop a single person. Instead it will plant doubts: to some it will make it clear that Allah is but a human creation and to others it will make it clear that a compassionate and merciful Allah would not wish his beloved to live under tyranny (religious or otherwise).

    Every call for this man’s death, by the likes of Mohd ibn Juferi, is an admission that their personal Islamic belief is nothing but a farce. Deep down, those who call for his death know, as certainly as they know that 2 + 2 = 4, that it must be done this way because their own personal conception of Islam is too weak to stand on its own and needs to be defended by force.

    I have read of believers & clerics weeping over Hamza’s supposed offense. Maybe Mohd ibn Juferi is also one of these pathetic weepers. They should not waste any more tears on the prophet as neither he nor their Allah would approve of such. These fools should be crying for themselves.

  14. Dear all,

    I am the real person behind the kunya “Ibn Juferi”. Please be warned that there is someone out there trying to impersonate me using my kunya and has been going around on other blogs posting inflammatory blog comments. I have NOT done any blog-hopping for the past several years and even if I did, I would always use the name “MENJ” and not my kunya.

    Here is the expose of this troll impersonating as me:

    Thank you.

    – MENJ

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