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Malaysia Detains Saudi Writer Accused of Blasphemy Against Islam
("Voice of America," February 10, 2012)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Malaysian police say they have arrested a Saudi journalist who is accused of insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad on his Twitter feed last week in Saudi Arabia.

Twenty-three-year-old Hamza Kashgari fled Saudi Arabia after his controversial comments prompted online calls for his execution.

He was detained by Malaysian authorities upon his arrival Wednesday at the country's main international airport. Malaysian officials said Friday the arrest was made following a request by Interpol on behalf of Saudi authorities.

It was not immediately clear whether Kashgari will be extradited to Saudi Arabia, where insulting the Prophet Muhammad is a crime punishable by execution. It is not a capital offense in Malaysia, which is also a Muslim-majority nation.

Kashgari posted a series of comments last Saturday to mark the prophet's birthday. In one post, he said, “I love many things about you and hate others, and there are things about you I don't understand,” in apparent reference to the Prophet Muhammad.

The writer later apologized for the posts, but insists he was only exercising his right to freedom of expression and thought.


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