Na­hed Hat­tar shot dead ahead of car­toon trial

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

A GUN­MAN has shot dead prom­i­nent Jor­da­nian writer Na­hed Hat­tar out­side a court where he was fac­ing charges for shar­ing a car­toon deemed of­fen­sive to Is­lam, state news agency Pe­tra re­ported.

Hat­tar was struck by three bul­lets be­fore the as­sailant was ar­rested yes­ter­day, Pe­tra said. Wit­nesses said that a man had opened fire in front of the court in Am­man’s Ab­dali dis­trict.

The 56-year-old Chris­tian was ar­rested on Au­gust 13 af­ter post­ing a car­i­ca­ture on his Face­book ac­count that de­picted a beared 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. How­ever, many Jor­da­nian Mus­lims con­sid­ered it of­fen­sive and against their re­li­gion. The authorities said Hat­ter 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.

Sara Wil­liams, a Jor­dan-based jour­nal­ist, told Al Jazeera that Hat­tar had been de­tained in the past over crit­i­cal post­ings about the Jor­dan’s king.

“The was not his first brush with the law but peo­ple I have spo­ken to are shocked about to­day’s events,” Wil­liams said.

“This morn­ing, out­side the hospi­tal where mis­ter Hat­tar’s body was taken, some fam­ily mem­bers of his were scream­ing in rage at the in­te­rior min­istry, which is re­spon­si­ble for se­cu­rity, and par­tic­u­larly curs­ing the min­is­ter of in­te­rior.

“A cousin said to me that the fam­ily would be call­ing for the res­ig­na­tion of the gov­ern­ment be­cause they see this as­sas­si­na­tion as a re­sult of the neg­li­gence of Jor­dan’s se­cu­rity ser­vices.”

The back­lash against Hat­tar was im­me­di­ate with Jor­da­nian so­cial me­dia users lam­bast­ing the writer for pur­posely caus­ing of­fence to Mus­lims.

So­cial me­dia users also called on the gov­ern­ment to ques­tion and ar­rest Hat­tar, and some at­tacked him for be­ing Chris­tian and a sec­u­lar­ist.

At­tempt­ing to ex­plain his mo­tive for shar­ing the car­toon, Hat­tar said that he did not in­tend to cause of­fence to Mus­lims and wanted the car­toon to “ex­pose” the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIL) group and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

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