By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
Free-speech claimed another victim in the Middle-East after Jordanian Journalist Nahed Hattar, who is accused of sharing online an “anti-Islamic” cartoon, was assassinated outside a courthouse where he was facing trial for insulting Islam.
Hattar was arrested in August after posting a cartoon titled “God of Daesh”, which garnered not only outrage on social media for depicting God in illustrated form, but drew the attention of authorities who accused Hattar of inciting sectarian violence and insulting Islam. He was released on bail in September.
The cartoon was featured on Hattar’s Facebook page and depicted a man smoking and lying in bed with two women. The man in the illustration addresses God as a servant and demands that he be given wine, and cashew nuts, that someone clean the floor, and barks at God, telling him to knock before he entered.
Hattar removed the cartoon after the row, explaining that he the cartoon was a fun way of portraying “terrorists and how they imagine God and heaven, and does not insult God in any way”.
Jordan’s attorney general declared a media blackout on court proceedings against Hattar after Prime Minister Hani al-Malki ordered his interior minister, Salam Hammad, to summon the writer and to initiate legal proceedings against him, according to al-monitor.com.
The Jordanian government, through Spokesman Mohamad Momani, denounced the killing as a “heinous crime”.
“The law will be firmly applied to the person who committed the crime and the government will strike with an iron fist anyone who dares to take advantage of this to spread hate speech,” he said.
A source reported the assailant, a forty-nine year old resident of Amman wearing conservative Islamic clothing, allegedly shot Hattar three times as he ascended the courthouse steps. He then surrendered to police at the scene.
Hattar died after arriving at the hospital.
By Darren Smith
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