Saudis took to Twitter on the anniversary of the controversial tweets by Saudi poet and columnist Hamza Kashgari yesterday.
Kashgari’s social media posting, made on the occasion of Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, was perceived to be blasphemous by a large number of religious figures and their followers.
This sparked a huge controversy in Saudi Arabia.
As a result, Kashgari tried leaving the country to Malaysia but was returned to Saudi Arabia by the Malaysian authorities where he has been held for a year.
Marking the anniversary of these dramatic events, activists on twitter created a hash tag which has been very active since yesterday.
Kashagari, now 24, was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad despite him writing a letter of repent and an apology regarding his tweets; this was still not enough for many religious figures who have called for his head.
According to some news reports, he is to be charged with blasphemy, although no charges have been officially filed. Blasphemy is simply defined as insulting God and/or insulting a holy person, things or beliefs.
The hashtags are creating a heated debate among people who think that his letter of repent is enough and he should be forgiven. Some opposers wish for the opposite and say he should be punished with death.
Twitter and social networks in general have been an outlet for many people in the Arab word to express their opinions and beliefs whether these beliefs be religious or political. Many credit social networks such as twitter and Facebook with facilitating the Arab Spring that changed the political map in the Middle East.
The young Saudi blogger was a strong voice during the Arab spring in Egypt, according to reports.