Yesterday we reported about a Saudi Arabian blogger whose three tweets about Muhammed on his birthday incited outrage among Islamic conservatives, with the king calling for his arrest and some seeking his execution. Hazma Kashgari, who fled the country for his own safety saying he would never return, has since been detained in Malaysia.
The New York Times reports that Kashgari was detained by authorities at the Kuala Lampur International Airport Thursday and is likely to be returned to Saudi Arabia but officials are still determining next steps:
“The police have contacted their counterpart in Saudi Arabia to determine the next course of action,” [said Hishammuddin Hussein, the Malaysian Minister of Home Affairs.]
The 23-year-old's tweets that began the controversy, which included a Facebook page with more than 13,000 supporters calling for his execution, were directly addressed to the prophet Muhammad and considered blasphemous to some. Here's the text, as reported by 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.
With more than 30,000 responses on Twitter in one day, Kashgari quickly removed the tweets and apologized. But it was too late and he fled the country.
The Times reports that groups such as Amnesty International are asking the Malaysian officials not to send Kashgari back to his home country:
“We are calling on the Malaysian government to stop any deportation proceedings they may have started,” said Cilina Nasser, a London-based researcher with Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program.
The Times also reports a Malaysian official as saying "It is not our practice to grant political asylum."