Many of us have had a moment when we've sent an e-mail, Twitter or a Facebook comment only to think, oops, that was not the best idea. We grin and bear the ensuing onslaught of trollish comments until the entire thing passes.
For a young Saudi Arabian,Hamza Kashgari, 23, it is not that simple. The young man tweeted about the Prophet Mohammed last week, saying, "I have loved the rebel in you, you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me," Hamza Kashgari, 23, wrote in a tweet addressed to Mohammed. But "I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you,”
That tweet has set off a sandstorm in the kingdom. The young man is being hunted by vigilantes, his home address has been published on Facebook and tens of thousands have responded to his original tweet.
It is reported that a leading cleric has called for his head, literally. The cleric wants him tried for apostasy which is punishable by death. Apparently the king has issued a warrant for the lad's arrest.
My middle guy Liam, who is nine, has been on kick lately about Jesus. He continues to question how Jesus could be the son of god. At times he sighs and says, "I guess when it comes right down to it dad, I might be Jewish."
Just imagine living in a culture where those kind of thoughts are not rewarded. Instead, they are treated with disdain and could cost you your life.
It certainly makes one re-think our hypocritical support for the brutal suppression of freedom of thought, and expression, in countries like Saudi Arabia. The demands of the recent revolutionary uprisings across the Middle East have been overwhelmingly secular, universal demands for freedom, human rights, and economic justice. Demands that will be brutally stamped out in nations where Western interests are entrenched.