What are the consequences of just three tweets? For Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi blogger who tweeted about the Islamic prophet Mohammad on his birthday, the result was more than 30,000 responses in one day, death threats and a call by the king of Saudi Arabia for his arrest.
The Daily Beast reports that Kashgari removed the tweets posted last week, apologized and asked for forgiveness. But it was too late. He has since had to flee the country for his safety.
Here is what Kashgari originally tweeted, according to the Daily Beast:
“On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you,” he wrote in one tweet.
“On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more,” he wrote in a second.
“On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more,” he concluded in a third.
Since leaving for Southeast Asia yesterday, Kashgari told the Daily Beast that he will never go home, saying "It is impossible. There is no way."
International Business Times reports that some have placed a 10,000 riyals (about $2,666) reward on Kashgari's head with others saying he was a "dead man walking."
Watch as Islamic cleric Sheikh Nasser Al Omar breaks down in tears during a speech while asking the king to have Kashgari arrested and charged with apostasy, which is punishable by death:
The Daily Beast reports Ahmed Al Omran, who writes the blog Saudi Jeans, as saying that more conservative Saudi's often watch social media sites for controversial statements, such as Kashgari's. He says he believes they are using Kashgari's statement to "take advantage of the situation, make an example out of him, and show their strength.”
According to the Daily Beast, even though Kashgari retracted his statement and deleted his Twitter account, he still says he sees these events playing out in the "process toward freedom," considering himself a "scapegoat for a larger conflict."