Jordanians stage protest over writer’s assassination

Sep 27, 2016, 7:24 AM EDT
Jordanian flag
(Source: Martin Holland/flickr)

Hundreds of Jordanians gathered near the Prime Minister’s office demanding the government to step down over its failure to protect a prominent writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead on Sunday for sharing on social media a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam. Hattar was arrested last month for contempt of religion and inflaming religious tension but was later released on bail. The writer’s family says that Hattar was not provided any security by the government despite receiving several death threats.

Hattar, a Christian, was an astute supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and had extremist nationalist views, reports Reuters. Hattar’s death has escalated tensions between the Muslims and the minority Christians, who play a significant role in the country’s politics and economy.

Hattar’s supporters accuse Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki of creating a hostile atmosphere against the writer, which eventually led to his shooting, writes Al Jazeera. Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning journalist and director of Community Media Network, described Hattar’s assassination as “intellectual terror,” warning that the assault could stifle liberal voices in Jordan.

Hattar’s killing drew sharp criticism from U.K.-based rights group Amnesty International, which called on the Jordanian government to revoke strict blasphemy laws and investigate the murder.