Saudi Arabia is studying new regulations to criminalise insulting Islam, including in social media, and the law could carry heavy penalties, a Saudi paper said on Sunday.
The potential regulations come five months after a Saudi blogger and columnist Hamza Kashgari, 23, was arrested for tweeting comments deemed as insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Kashgari said there were things he liked and disliked about him.
"Within the next two months the Shura Council will reveal the outcome of study on the regulations to combat the criticism of the basic tenets of Islamic sharia," unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter told al-Watan, adding that there could be "severe punishments" for violators.
Criticism penalised under the law would include that of the Prophet, early Muslim figures and clerics, it said.
"The (regulations) are important at the present time because violations over social networks on the Internet have been observed in the past months," the sources said.
The Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari has been under indefinite detention (for 157 days) since his extradition to Saudi Arabia from Malaysia. #FreeHamza
I lol'd at this part:
"I don't want anything to affect my freedom and we don't want Saudi Arabia to be another Iran."Iran is way more 'free' than Saudi Arabia. They actually have presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections every four years, unheard of in Saudi Arabia. Women enjoy considerably wider freedoms there: for example they are not prohibited from driving or traveling without a male chaperone, and they do not prohibit the 'mixing' of sexes in schools, government institutions and public gatherings. There is an entertainment, art and music scene. Religious minorities are not frowned upon and can worship freely. There is a vibrant atheist community and they openly have publications and discussions without fear of retribution from authorities. They do not have a 'Religious Police' that roams the streets and shopping malls to enforce an archaic dress code on women. Clerics are not immune from criticism or even ridicule. And, the best of all, their country is not named after the ruling dynasty.
This is Saudi Arabia:
And this is Iran: