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Saudi king orders columnist' arrest for abusing Prophet, blasphemy

Riyadh , Thu, 09 Feb 2012 ANI

Riyadh, Feb 9 (ANI): Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has ordered the arrest of a local newspaper columnist who was accused of blasphemy and abusing Prophet Mohammed.


The King's order followed public outrage inside the country over some articles written by Hamza Kashgari, in which he expressed doubts about the existence of God and abused Prophet Mohammad.


Thousands of scholars, students and online users reacted angrily to his open "sacrilege" and filed cases against him calling for stringent legal action for heresy, Gulf News reports.


According to Sabq in Saudi Arabia and the London-based Al Hayat daily, King Abdullah ordered his arrest for crossing red lines and denigrating religious beliefs in God and Prophet.


"People are put on trial for offending other people, and the matter is far more critical when there is a profanation of God or His Prophet," King Abdul Aziz reportedly said in the instructions to the interior minister to arrest Kashgari.


According to the report, Kashgari retracted his tweets and announced his repentance.


"My tweets were posted during a [difficult] psychological state. I erred and I pray to God that He will forgive me for what I did. I declare my repentance and I distance myself fully from all the misleading ideas that had affected me and made me write expressions that I do not support," Kashgari said in a statement on Tuesday.


"I bear witness that Mohammad is the messenger of God. I strongly adhere to the testimonies that there is no deity but Allah and that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah," he added.


Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz Khowja, the Saudi Information Minister, has banned Kashgari from writing for any publication. (ANI)


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