28 September 2016

Arab TV host cheers secular writer’s assassination on television

On Sunday, a prominent Jordanian writer was assassinated on the steps of an Amman courthouse, where he was to face charges for having shared a supposedly blasphemous cartoon on social media.

Nahed Hattar's accused killer, it later emerged, was a 49-year-old former imam from an impoverished neighborhood in the Jordanian capital. The offending image, which had prompted his arrest and myriad death threats, depicted God checking in on an extremist militant in heaven.

The killing of Hattar unleashed a wave of understandable angst in Jordan, a country that is buffeted by the tumult of a wider region in conflict. It led to the now-familiar hand-wringing over the limits of free speech in Arab societies. And it shined a spotlight once more on the perils of extremism in a nation that has seen the resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood, a party that embraces political Islam, in elections last week. [The Washington Post] Read more