Monday, 26 September 2016

Jordanian writer who posted cartoon mocking ISIS and Muslims killed outside courthouse (photos)

A prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar standing trial for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam was shot dead by an lone gunman outside a court house in Amman, the capital of Jordan. 56 year old Hattar was struck by three bullets as he made his way into the court house yesterday Sept. 25th.

He was preparing to enter the courthouse for a hearing when the gunman shot him at close range.

Hattar, a Christian, was arrested on August 13th after posting a caricature on his Facebook account that depicted a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews. He removed the cartoon shortly thereafter, saying "it mocks terrorists and their concept of God and heaven. It does not infringe God's divinity in any way".

It is not known who produced the cartoon. Many Jordanian Muslims found the cartoon offensive and against their religion. Authorities said Hattar violated the law by widely sharing the caricature. He was charged with inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam before being released on bail in early September. Spokesperson of the Jordanian government, Mohammad Momani, condemned Hattar's killing as a "heinous crime".

"The government will strike with an iron hand all those who exploit this crime to broadcast speeches of hatred to our community," he told the Petra agency.

The gunman who shot him has been arrested and is to face investigation and trial.
Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning journalist and director of Community Media Network, told Al Jazeera Hattar's killing represents a "scary situation where people with opinions we don't like or the government doesn't like become susceptible to assassination". 
"It's a clear case of intellectual terror," said Kuttab. 
"The omen is that many people are now going to be worried about what they say ... It's a scary situation for people who believe in the freedom of thought and opinion and the right of expressing their opinion."

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