Malaysian police have arrested a Saudi Arabian columnist who fled his country after making comments on Twitter deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad, prompting a surge of online outrage and calls for his execution.
"It is confirmed that Malaysian police have detained the Saudi writer. This arrest was part of an Interpol operation which the Malaysian police were a part of," a police spokesman told Reuters on Friday.
He would not comment on whether the writer, Hamza Kashgari, would be extradited to Saudi Arabia, where some Islamic clerics have called for him to be put to death for his comments.
Malaysia is a majority Muslim country with a close affinity with many Middle Eastern nations through their shared religion. The Southeast Asian nation is also a US ally and a leading global voice for moderate Islam, meaning that any decision to extradite Kashgari certain to be controversial.
The columnist said in an interview that he was being made a "scapegoat for a larger conflict" over his comments. I was demanding my right to practice the most basic human rights - freedom of expression and thought - so nothing was done in vain" Kashgari said.
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