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PA Blogger Arrested for Upsetting Muslim Facebook Readers

An anti-religious Palestinian Authority Arab student blogger has been arrested for upsetting Facebook readers with his posts against Islam.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/11/2010, 1:48 PM / Last Update: 11/11/2010, 5:01 PM

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A 25-year-old Palestinian Authority university student who blogs in his spare time was arrested by PA security forces for upsetting his Muslim readers on Facebook. He was caught at an Internet café in Kalkilya, in western Samaria.

According to a report published by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, the controversial blogger “claimed divinity” and said he was angry with his subjects, infuriating Muslim readers.

He was updating his Facebook profile when security forces caught up with him, some two months after they started tracking down the altered verses from the Koran and the caricatures from Danish newspapers that he posted.

Waleed al-Husseini started his blog, Enlightenment of Reason, after the social networking site closed his group following a request by hundreds of Facebook members demanding that his account be deleted.

Supporters who have written in a Facebook group since his arrest noted that “criticizing religions is pretty much allowed in countries with Muslim majority; people publicly criticize Christianity and Judaism in mosques, published books, national and pan-Arab TV stations, and even in public schools. It’s criticizing of Islam that is only not allowed.”

The pivotal blog post that apparently became the proverbial “last straw” was posted in August.

“Muslims often ask me why I left Islam,” al-Husseini wrote. “What strikes me is that Muslims can’t seem to understand that renouncing Islam is a choice offered to everyone and that anyone has the right to do so."

“They believe anyone who leaves Islam is an agent or a spy for a Western State, namely the Jewish State," he wrote, "and that they get paid bundles of money by the governments of these countries and their secret services. They actually don’t get that people are free to think and believe in whatever suits them."

Al-Husseini, a Palestinian Authority Arab who reportedly worked as a barber, added that he did not imply that Christianity or Judaism was any better than Islam. He wrote that all religions “are to me a bunch of mind-blowing legends and a pile of nonsense that compete with each other in terms of stupidity.”