Kuwaiti jailed for 10 years for blasphemy in his Tweets

Why do religions fear words so?

A court in Kuwait has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for endangering state security by insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in messages on Twitter.

Hamad al-Naqi was also found guilty of mocking Islam and provoking sectarian tensions.

Mr Naqi, a Shia Muslim, had said his Twitter account was hacked and that he did not write any of the messages. Some Sunni activists had demanded that he be sentenced to death for blasphemy.

An amended law endorsed by the Kuwaiti parliament last month stipulates capital punishment for any Muslim who, through any form of expression, insults God, his prophets, messengers, the Prophet Muhammad’s wives or the Koran, unless the defendant publicly repents.

If the defendant repents, a sentence of at least five years’ imprisonment will be imposed. Repeat offenders will receive the death sentence…

About a third of Kuwait’s 1.1 million citizens are Shia. The emirate’s Sunni-led government is concerned Shias may launch protests demanding more democracy and an end to discrimination, mirroring those in majority-Shia Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia’s predominantly Shia Eastern Province.

They don’t appear to be concerned in the least about freedom of thought or speech, though. Would you expect anything different from a monarchy supported by theocracy?

Think what we get to look forward to – between the FBI looking over our cyber shoulder at Tweets and blog posts and the all-American possibility of fundamentalist crazies and their flunkies in politics attaining complete control of the federal government some day?

TV presenter gets death sentence for ‘sorcery’

Drawing by Larry Roibal

Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to stop the execution of a Lebanese man sentenced to death for “sorcery.” The international rights group condemned the verdict and demanded the immediate release of Ali Hussain Sibat, former host of a popular call-in show that aired on Sheherazade, a Beirut based satellite TV channel.

According to his lawyer, Sibat, who is 48 and has five children, would predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience.

The attorney, May El Khansa, who is in Lebanon, tells CNN her client was arrested by Saudi Arabia’s religious police (known as the Mutawa’een) and charged with sorcery while visiting the country in May 2008. Sibat was in Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic religious pilgrimage known as Umra.

Sibat was then put on trial. In November 2009, a court in the Saudi city of Medina found Sibat guilty and sentenced him to death.

According to El Khansa, Sibat appealed the verdict. The case was taken up by the Court of Appeal in the Saudi city of Mecca on the grounds that the initial verdict was “premature.”

El Khansa tells CNN that the Mecca appeals court then sent the case back to the original court for reconsideration, stipulating that all charges made against Sibat needed to be verified and that he should be given a chance to repent.

On March 10, judges in Medina upheld their initial verdict, meaning Sibat is once again sentenced to be executed.

I try my best to understand other cultures – even sillyass nutballs mired in superstitions leftover from whichever Dark Age they favor. The fact remains that executions, flogging, deliberate acts of murder and cruelty which satisfy the spooky beliefs of religious ideologues – simply are not acceptable.

The community of nations should shove these clowns from the mainstream of worldly political life. I realize our “leaders” won’t walk away from commerce. Greed counts for more than principle and I agree that commerce extends the possibility of bringing about real change.

But, c’mon, folks. You threaten war over percentage points of purity in Iran’s yellowcake – and crap like this doesn’t even make the daily briefing.