Saudi Writers Risk Flogging to Challenge Islamists

(Reuters/Khaleej Times-UAE) For a man just sentenced to 200 lashes and four months in jail by an Islamic court, Saudi academic Hamza al-Mozainy is strikingly cheerful. The 57-year-old professor is confident he will not serve his punishment. Just hours after the verdict, de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah issued a strong letter saying this judgment is null, void, and baseless and the court does not have jurisdiction over this case. The showdown was triggered by an article Mozainy wrote about the spread of religious "fanaticism" at King Saud University. "I wrote that something happened to the university in the last 20 years with the Muslim Brotherhood coming into the kingdom," Mozainy said, referring to an influx of Islamists to Saudi Arabia in the 1960s and 1970s, many of them from Egypt. "There was an explosive chemistry between a fanaticism here and the Muslim Brotherhood. That introduced a brand of fanaticism which used not to be the case in Saudi Arabia."

2005-03-28 00:00:00

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