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Mystery about controversial Saudi columnist's location deepens

The Saudi national has reportedly fled Saudi Arabia after he was accused of blasphemy

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 22:22 February 9, 2012
  • Gulf News

Manama: News that controversial Saudi columnist Hamza Kashgari wanted for "heretic attacks" has been arrested in Malaysia were not confirmed late on Thursday.

The Saudi national has reportedly fled Saudi Arabia after he was accused of blasphemy and of abusing Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), amid popular and official uproar.

The Saudi embassy in Kuala Lumpur denied reports he had been arrested in the Malaysian capital, saying that they did not receive any official note about his alleged detention.

The embassy said that it was not aware of his presence in Malaysia. Reports said that he had been arrested and that he would be quizzed by Malaysian authorities before he is handed to Riyadh.

According to Saudi reports, thousands of scholars, students and online users reacted angrily to his open "sacrilege" and filed cases against him calling for stringent legal action for heresy.

Social media networks have been extensively used to highlight and condemn Kashgari's comments and to call for prompt and decisive action against him, even after he announced his repentance.

King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud ordered his arrest for crossing red lines and denigrating religious beliefs in God and His Prophet. People are put on trial for offending other people, and the matter is far more critical when there is a profanation of God or His Prophet, King Abdul Aziz reportedly said in the instructions to the interior minister to arrest Kashgari. Abdul Aziz Khowja, the Saudi information minister, had ordered that Kashgari who wrote for a Saudi daily be banned from writing for any publication.

"When I read his what he posted, I wept and got very angry that someone in the country of the Two Holy Mosques attack our Prophet (PBUH) in a manner that does not fit a Muslim address the best of men," the minister posted on his twitter account.

Al Bilad, Kashgari's paper, said that it had sacked him five weeks ago and that his views did not reflect those of the editorial team.

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