Update on Kashgari’s Case

Just a quick update on the Hamza Kashgari case since many people have been asking: The young man is now in detention, his family visited him and he is reportedly in high spirits and being treated respectfully. Several sites and petitions have been set up to support him and call for his release.

Prominent human rights lawyer Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem has announced that he will defend Kashgari, arguing that he will push for this case to be handled by a committee in the information ministry instead of a Sharia court.

Meanwhile, several people on the right are claiming that Hamza is a member what they believe is a “sleeping cell” to spread atheism among Saudi youth. Al-Hayat has a thinly sourced story saying public prosecutors are likely to summon people that supported or agreed with Kashgari, which opened the door widely for something like a witch hunt.

People like Mohammed al-Hodaif are accusing Abdullah Hamidaddin of being the cell leader but so far they have failed to provide a strong evidence to support their claims.The two men faced off on TV today where al-Hodaif threatened Hamidaddin, who is currently traveling to the US, to return to the Kingdom for a trial in a Saudi court.

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Abdullah al-Eyaf, Ahmed Bin Baz

  • If you enjoyed reading about Abdulmohsen al Mutairi and young Saudi filmmakers, you probably want to read this interview with director Abdullah Al-Eyaf. His latest film, “Ayesh,” has been well received and won the first award of the Gulf Film Festival that was recently held in Dubai.
  • In the second part of a series on Saudi Arabia, GlobalPost runs this piece by Caryle Murphy who profiles the upstart scholar Ahmed Bin Baz. I have been reading for the young Bin Baz for a while now, so I’m not surprised by the opinions he offers in this interview. However, I’m a bit surprised to see Dr. Mohammed al-Hodaif, father of the late Hadeel al-Hodaif, likens Bin Baz to Paris Helton in the sense that he is using his father’s name to become famous. Totally uncalled for.