Jordanian writer charged with insulting Islam

AMMAN: A Jordanian writer was charged on Tuesday with insulting Islam after incorporating verses of the holy Quran into a poetry book he printed in June without government approval, his lawyer said.

“The prosecutor general of a magistrate’s court in Amman charged Islam Samhan with insulting Islam and the holy Quran, as well as violating the press and publications law,” said Zeina Karadsheh.

But 27-year-old Samhan, who was arrested on Sunday, denied the charges, saying that he did not mean to insult Islam or the holy Quran, Karadsheh said.

The writer, a freelancer for the independent Al-Arab Al-Yawm Arabic daily, was arrested on Sunday following a complaint by the Muslim country’s press and publications department, which said it did not approve the book.

The department must approve any book before it can be printed and Jordanian laws ban publications that could be seen offensive to Islam.

If convicted, Samhan faces up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of 20,000 dinars (US$ 28,000).

Jordan’s highest religious authority, Sheikh Nuh Qdah, told a local radio station, “What Samhan did was a type of atheism and blasphemy.”

The Kingdom’s Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists demanded the “immediate” release of the writer on Tuesday.

“Arrests related to issues of freedom of expression are not in line with international standards and treaties to which Jordan is a signatory,” the centre said in a statement.

In 2006, two Jordanian newspaper editors were jailed for “attacking religious sentiment” by reprinting cartoons by a Danish artist deemed offensive to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

The cartoons were subsequently re-published by numerous mainly European papers, triggering the fury of Muslims around the world, sparking often-violent protests and triggering a boycott of Danish goods in several Muslim countries.


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1 Comment

  1. hada

     /  October 22, 2008

    shame on those who cause this fuss…samhan is a sensitive poet who believes in love and life


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