Saudi Man Insults Islam, Causes Twitter War

A Bahraini man browses the internet on his laptop in a coffee shop in the capital Manama on January 29, 2013. Twitter's unmatched platform for public opinion is emboldening Gulf Arabs to exchange views on delicate issues in the deeply conservative region, despite strict censorship that controls old media. AFP …

A Saudi social media user has been the target of widespread threats and condemnation after he labelled Islam “garbage” and “primitive” and advocated free encounters between men and women.

“I am not a liberal, I just disavow your religion,” the man said in a video that led to an outcry. “In the past, men and women could meet freely, but primitiveness and the tribal garbage heap was ushered in by Islam.”

Calling on women to disavow Islam, he said: “Hashtags won’t help single and divorced women. What you need is to leave your sh*tty religion. We need sexual encounters, we need alcohol, and I have no problem with prostitution. It’s what humans need.”

The controversial jibe did not go unnoticed. The hashtags #behead_the_infidel and #arrest_the_atheist were launched and used by large numbers to call for his prosecution. At the same time, many others sided with him.

To a great deal of abuse, Saad tweeted: “He’s right. Your religion is like garbage.”

Young Ahmed was of the same opinion: “Your religion is like garbage, come out to us.”

Dr Majed Mohammad wrote: “Your religion is like garbage. What religion allows so much unemployment in an oil-producing country? And so many charity cases, like mothers who beg outside banks and supermarkets?”

Many said that, even if arrested, the man’s claims about Islam’s primitiveness and the injustices it produces will not go away. Others wondered why some, in the name of religion, call to behead a man just because he criticized religion and society.

But most were fuming at his remarks. “His neck should pay the price for what he said,” wrote one.

“That as-h-le speaks rationally in the name of openness and freedom, but in effect he doesn’t practice what he preaches by telling us that our religion is like garbage,” Khalil Alsaaran tweeted.

He later wrote: “He wants us to respect women, but he doesn’t respect his own people. He filmed himself holding a cigarette, he looks disgusting.”

“Clearly he’s not mentally stable, and you can get that from his look,” Muna wrote. “Inshallah you’ll grasp the meaning of what you said about our religion when you go to your grave.”

“In the name of freedom of expression he trashes Islam and says that our religion is like garbage,” Ahmad wrote. “Is that freedom of expression? Even in the United States it’s considered racism.”