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Palestinian blogger arrested for criticism of Islam on Facebook

Categories: Palestine, Advocacy, Legal Threats

Palestinian blogger, Waleed Khalid Hasayin (pen name: Waleed Al-Husseini) [2], a 26-year-old barber from the West Bank city of Qalqilya [3], has been arrested by the Palestinian authorities for creating a facebook page named “Allah”. According to blogger Marwa Rakha [4], the page has been reported and shut down, but Waleed has created another page [1]. It's worth noting that other facebook pages carrying the same name “Allah” are still active here [5] and here [6]:

On his blog “Nour Al Akl [2]” or The enlightened Mind, he refuted all religious arguments – specially Islam – and he wrote long detailed posts on the fallacy of religions. In the beginning of Summer 2010, a facebook page titled “Allah” was created by an anonymous user. The creator of the page used his excellent command of the Arabic language and composed poetic stanzas that mimic Qura'anic verses. The page attracted many fans; there were those who liked the creativity of the author, those who were offended and joined to defend their religion, and those who were merely curious.

According to this report [7], an Internet cafe worker, where Waleed has been spending several hours a day, after his mother cancelled his Internet connection at home, has provided the Palestinian intelligence services with a snapshots of his Facebook pages. His online activities have been monitored for few months before arresting him in the cafe on October 31, 2010. Waleed has not been charged yet. A facebook group [8] and a petition [9] dedicated to his support have been created recently [10]:

News has surfaced that [Waleed] is undergoing torture where he is being detained and that his life is at the stake because he could very likely be facing a death sentence (at best prolonged imprisonment), and in addition, the angry Muslim masses are demanding his head, as also evidenced by their comments on reports of his case in the internet. The Palestinian intelligence has reportedly told the media that he will be referred for a martial court. His legal position is not clear, and all evidence is pointing to that he will be brutally persecuted for using his right to freedom of expression. Waleed's case is of utmost importance because it also signifies the persecution of a whole minority class which is atheists and freethinkers in the Muslim world. Waleed needs the attention of the international media, plus strong legal assistance which his friends and supporters unfortunately are not able to provide for him.