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ignominy

The case of Hamza Kashgari, a young Saudi journalist who has just been deported from Malaysia to face trial on charges of blasphemy, is one that should frighten and disgust anyone who cares about freedom of speech or religion.

His supposed offence was to have tweeted part of an imaginary conversation with the prophet Muhammad. "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you," he wrote; and: "I will not pray for you."

(...)

But the really chilling fact about this story is that his persecutors are the online commenters in Saudi. Some 30,000 tweets, mostly condemning him, came within 24 hours. A Facebook group has been set up to demand Kashgari's punishment (and Facebook has not taken it down). There are 20,000 members already. Some bloggers, it's true, have defended him; but they too have been threatened by the more orthodox contingent.

The bloodlust faced by the 'blaspheming' Saudi journalist | Andrew Brown | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

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