Gulf | Saudi Arabia

Saudi mufti rejects call to try Hamza by non-religious court

Saudi Arabia's mufti, the country's highest religious figure, has rejected calls to shift the trial of Hamza Kashgari, the controversial former columnist, from religious courts to the information ministry

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 17:51 February 17, 2012
  • Gulf News

Manama: Saudi Arabia's mufti, the country's highest religious figure, has rejected calls to shift the trial of Hamza Kashgari, the controversial former columnist, from religious courts to the information ministry.

"We are in a Muslim country and we have a fair justice system," Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al Shaikh said. "All matters related to justice should be reviewed by Shariah courts as God the Almighty said in the Holy Quran. The justice system in Saudi Arabia is fair," he said, quoted in the local Arabic daily, Al Watan, on Friday.

Young Saudis should avoid using "bad words", the mufti said in reference to Kashgari who waded into deep controversy after he posted remarks on his Twitter account that were seen as highly disrespectful of God and Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

He subsequently fled to Malaysia on his way to New Zealand reportedly to seek refuge after thousands of angry Saudis called for stringent punishment against him.

Hamza was arrested at Kuala Lumpur airport as he was checking out and was handed over to Saudi Arabian authorities.

"I advise young people to follow God's teachings and to preserve religious values and avoid bad words and expressions that they might regret later," the mufti said.

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