KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Authorities here said they will likely repatriate a Saudi Arabian writer who fled Saudi Arabiaamid calls for him to be executed after he posted Twitter messages considered insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, Malaysian authorities said Friday.
Malaysian police detained the writer, Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year-old columnist for the Jeddah-based Al Bilad newspaper, when he arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Thursday, Hishammuddin Hussein, the Malaysian Minister of Home Affairs, said in a statement.
“The police have contacted their counterpart in Saudi Arabia to determine the next course of action,” Mr. Hussein said.
Rights groups have expressed concern about Mr. Kashgari’s safety after religious conservatives in Saudi Arabia called for him to be arrested and executed after he directly addressed the Prophet Muhammad in a series of posts on Twitter. Amnesty International called for Malaysia not to deport Mr. Kashgari, to immediately disclose where he is being held and to grant him access to a lawyer.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
(Be sure to scroll down the page where you will find before and after pictures of mosques that the Bahraini government has destroyed in its ongoing effort to discredit and marginalize the majority Shi’a population of the country)
MANAMA, Bahrain: One can understand the dignity and honor of a Mosque by the fact that Allah (SWT) calls Mosques as His homes. There is a Hadith that states whoever comes to mosque; Allah (SWT) will make him His guest in Jannah (The Paradise). Allah (SWT) loves the people who take care of mosques.
Unfortunately, Saudi-backed Bahraini forces in their crackdown against civilians protesting for their rights in Bahrain have bulldozed several mosques.
According to McClatchy Newspapers report, in the ancient Bahraini village of Aali, where some graves date to 2000 B.C., the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood for more than 400 years — one of the handsomest Shiite Muslim mosques in this small island nation in the Persian Gulf.
Today, only bulldozer tracks remain.
FULL ARTICLE WITH PICTURES FROM JAFARIYA NEWS
Saudi forces are preparing to intervene in neighbouring Bahrain, after a day of clashes between police and protesters who mounted the most serious challenge to the island’s royal family since demonstrations began a month ago.
The Crown Prince of Bahrain is expected to formally invite security forces from Saudi Arabia into his country today, as part of a request for support from other members of the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council.
Thousands of demonstrators on Sunday cut off Bahrain’s financial centre and drove back police trying to eject them from the capital’s central square, while protesters also clashed with government supporters on the campus of the main university.
Amid the revolt Bahrain also faces a potential sectarian conflict between the ruling minority of Sunnis Muslims and a majority of Shia Muslims, around 70% of the kingdom’s 525,000 residents.
The crown prince, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, said in a televised statement that Bahrain had “witnessed tragic events” during a month of unprecedented political unrest.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN (U.K.)
by John Hubers
In the summer of 1991 our family was home on leave from Bahrain where I was serving as pastor of an international church. It was the summer of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. One night we had the privilege of getting together for dinner with three other families with decades of experience in the Arabian Gulf and Egypt. It was good to be together as our shared experience gave weight and immediacy to what was on everyone’s minds at that time – the invasion.
Kuwait wasn’t the only thing we talked about that night. Our conversation ebbed and flowed around familiar expatriate themes served up with a dash of nostalgia, a pinch of friendly controversy (old Middle East hands can be a contentious lot) and some thoughtful reflection about what the future might bring. It was then that my former mentor in Cairo put on his prophet’s robe, saying something that I have never forgotten:
What we see in the Gulf are countries that have been artificially kept under autocratic rule at least partly because of American support. We support them because they represent stability even though we claim to want democracy. This can’t last, however. These well educated, increasingly sophisticated young Arabs are not going to remain silent much longer. They will soon be demanding the same freedoms we have. Hopefully America will be on the right side when they do.
This prophesy is now coming true in Bahrain. Encouraged by the successful revolution in Egypt, this otherwise peaceful little country – our home for seven years – is experiencing the very convulsions towards freedom that my mentor saw coming twenty years ago. And now similar uprisings are taking place in other countries in the region.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DES MOINES REGISTER
The revolutionary fervor unleashed across the region in the wake of Tunisia’s revolt on Sunday spread to Oman and Saudi Arabia, two countries in the oil-rich Persian Gulf that had hitherto seemed relatively immune to the turmoil.
A group of 119 Saudi academics and activists called for the replacement of the current government with a constitutional monarchy that would dramatically reduce the hereditary powers of the royal family, raising the specter of unrest spreading to the world’s largest oil producer. On Twitter and Facebook, activists called for demonstrations on March 11 and 20 to demand reforms, echoing the “Day of Rage” dates set by activists elsewhere.
Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with riot police in the northeast port city of Sohar on Sunday, and Oman’s state news agency, ONA, said two protesters demanding political reforms, jobs and higher wages were killed after the governor’s residence, a police station, houses and cars were set on fire. Shortly after the violence, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has led oil-rich Oman for the past 40 years, gave orders to create 50,000 jobs and payments of $386 a month to every job seeker.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SEATTLE TIMES