Tuesday, November 09, 2010

PA Arrests "Divine" Blogger

Talk about close to home -- the GodolHador of Qalqiliya has been arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces. The PA News service, Maan, reports:
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) -- Residents of a conservative northern West Bank city were surprised when security forces detained a controversial blogger whose postings on Facebook had infuriated Muslims.

A high-ranking source in the general Palestinian intelligence services told Ma’an that the detainee, who was not identified, was arrested in Qalqiliya. He refused to give specific details and would not identify the detainee. However, Ma’an has learned from other security sources that the man “who claimed divinity” is a 25-year-old university student.

The sources say security services have pursued the man for more than two months until they finally caught him at an internet café in Qalqiliya while updating his Facebook profile on which he claimed he was God and that he was angry with his subjects.

Conservative Muslims had been angrily following the blogger's postings, many of them altered verses from the Koran, the Muslim holy book, as well as caricatures of the prophet Muhammad that had been published in Danish newspapers. Hundreds of Facebook groups had asked that the man's account be deleted. After Facebook closed his group, the young man started a blog, Enlightenment of Reason.

Although he had not been identified by the PA, supporters of the blogger have indicated that he is 26 years old. He has identified himself as Waleed Al-Husseini and, in an August blog post, defended his beliefs.

"Muslims often ask me why I left Islam," he wrote. "What strikes me is that Muslims can’t seem to understand that renouncing Islam is a choice offered to everyone and that anyone has the right to do so. They believe anyone who leaves Islam is an agent or a spy for a Western State, namely the Jewish State, and that they get paid bundles of money by the governments of these countries and their secret services. They actually don’t get that people are free to think and believe in whatever suits them."

He added: "I would like to emphasize that by writing this article, I did not mean to imply that Christianity or Judaism were better than Islam, and the reader should not fool himself into thinking that I only reject Islam among religions, all of which are to me a bunch of mind-blowing legends and a pile of nonsense that compete with each other in terms of stupidity.

Although secular political beliefs are not uncommon in the occupied Palestinian territories, the expression of views seen as hostile to the dominant religion is viewed by many as incitement rather than free speech."
Arabs following my blog seem to feel the same way about the following statement as it sort of describes me rather well:
The positions taken by the blogger were so out of the mainstream that many in Qalqiliya were surprised to learn that he was Palestinian.
OK, so I'm not Palestinian...

The article claims there's now a support Facebook group for the blogger: "In Solidarity With Waleed Al-Husseini," that states "Criticizing religions is pretty much allowed in countries with Muslim majority; people publically criticize Christianity and Judaism in mosques, published books, national and pan-Arab TV stations, and even in public schools. It's criticizing of Islam that is only not allowed." However, I haven't found a link to it yet.

The post added: "Allowing such action is not only double standard, but a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also could make a dangerous precedent that may open the door for further persecution, than already is, for irreligious and other religious minorities in societies with major Muslim population."

Moral of the story: This is just a sampling of what we can expect to see in the budding pseudo-State of the Palestinian Authority.

...And blog under a different name.

h/t: David H.

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Anonymous said...


NormanF said...

He is going to be sentenced to death in accordance with Islam's rule that whoever changes his religion: "kill him."

There is no place for freethinkers and atheists in the Muslim World.

Lurker said...

It is unfortunate for Waleed Al-Husseini that his blog didn't have a haskoma from the Gadol Hador, as the Muqata does. I'm sure they would have left him alone if he had...

Anonymous said...

So you would like Halackically inspired legislation in Israel but ridicule Palestinians for wanting the same and not conforming to secular human rights focused liberalism?

In any case, I applaud your concern for this Palestinain free-thinker in the face of religious intolerance and hope you will extend your attitude to fight for Israeli atheists and other secualr people affected by religious intolerance in Israel such as gays.

Anonymous said...

Gays have more rights in Israel than in half the states in the US.

Search the Muqata


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