Jordanian writer charged with insulting Islam, shot dead

27 Sep 2016 | By Vijaya
Nahed Hattar's death over 'anti-Islam' cartoon

Nahed Hattar, a well-known Jordanian writer was shot dead outside a court in capital city of Amman, where he was due to appear for trial, for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam.

According to the State news agency, Hattar was shot at thrice after a gunman opened fire outside the court building.

Reportedly a suspect was captured at the scene of the shooting.

In context: Nahed Hattar's death over 'anti-Islam' cartoon

ProfileWho is Nahed Hattar?

Nahed Hattar was a prominent Jordanian writer from the country's Christian minority and a left wing political activist who wrote regularly against Islamic extremism.

He was a columnist for al-Akhbar, a pan-Arab Lebanese newspaper.

Hattar was a staunch supporter of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

In the past, he was arrested several times for his criticism of the Jordanian government.

13 Aug 2016Hattar arrested for sharing offensive cartoon

Hattar was arrested for sharing a cartoon on social media which was deemed offensive to Muslims. He was charged with "inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam."

The cartoon "shows an ISIS militant in bed with two women and asking God to bring him a drink".

Social media backlash was immediate where users accused Hattar of being anti-Islam and called on government to arrest him.

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Hattar's apology and subsequent release

ApologyHattar's apology and subsequent release

After the backlash, Hattar took down the cartoon and deactivated his Facebook account.

He apologized and said that he did not intend to offend anyone and shared the cartoon to point out the hypocrisy of ISIS.

Hattar also said that "as a non-believer, he respected the believers who did not understand the satire."

In early September, Hattar was released on bail.

27 Sep 2016Jordanian writer charged with insulting Islam, shot dead

Jordanian government condemns Hattar's killing

Government spokesperson Mohammad Momani condemned Hattar's killing as a "heinous crime" and said that the "government will strike with an iron hand all those who exploit this crime to broadcast speeches of hate."

Similar killingsRecent violence involving cartoons allegedly offending Islam

Hattar's killing is the latest in episodes of violence that involved cartoons allegedly offending Islam.

This includes the killing of 12 people from the French satirical news magazine "Charlie Hebdo", in Jan 2015, minutes after tweeting a cartoon of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The French magazine, with a history of publishing controversial cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, had been under threat for years.