Writer shot dead over cartoon 'offensive to Islam'
A prominent Jordanian writer was shot dead by an Islamist gunman yesterday outside the courtroom where he was due to stand trial for offending Islam by sharing a cartoon on Facebook.
Nahed Hattar, a 56-year-old intellectual from Jordan's Christian minority, was gunned down on the steps of a courthouse in Amman in what appeared to be a religiously motivated attack.
The gunman was arrested at the scene and a security source identified him as Riyad Ismail Abdullah, a 49-year-old imam who was wearing traditional Islamic robes at the time.
Abdullah recently returned from making the Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, the source said. He is believed to have acted alone.
The killing is a fresh blow to Jordan's image as a bastion of stability amid the sectarian violence that is wracking much of the Middle East and the latest in a string of killings linked to cartoons about Islam.
Mr Hattar was arrested last month for sharing a cartoon on Facebook which showed a jihadist smoking in bed with two women while Allah waits attentively at the window for him. The jihadist orders Allah to fetch him some wine and take away the dirty plates while demanding the archangel Gabriel get him some cashew nuts.
Mr Hattar said the cartoon was intended to mock jihadists and their twisted interpretation of Islam but Jordan's government charged him with insulting the faith and "provoking sectarian rifts". The writer rejected the charges and planned to fight the case. (© Daily Telegraph, London)