The man whose less than wholly respectful tweets about Mohammad made King Abdullah cry fled to Malaysia. This baffled me, and with good reason, as they’ve shipped him back to Saudi Arabia

The two countries do not have a formal extradition treaty but Malaysia has good relations with Saudi Arabia as a fellow Muslim country, says the BBC’s Jennifer Pak, in Kuala Lumpur.

Okay, a nation’s borders are its business but refusing sanctuary to a man who – in lieu of a stink that would make the outcry that followed Yousef Nadarkhani’s prosecution look like a polite cough – is destined to be killed is nauseating.

Then again, it doesn’t come as a surprise. The Malaysian government is proud to declare that it’s “moderate”, not “extremist”, but as noted in Back Towards the… passim its state and civil society are marked by communitarian rhetoric; hostile exclusivism and absurd paranoia. Deviations from the lifestyles and beliefs of the religious majority – effeminacy, say, or apparent sympathy with minority religions – are liable to get you packed off for “re-education”. Elsewhere, more traditional and straightforwardly punitive sentences like caning are enthusiastically upheld.

There are major difference between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia – and they’d seem really big if you lived in either – but the cruel absurdity of Islamic law unites them nonetheless; they’re kindred, at least, in spirit. And, thus, “moderation” remains barely meaningful.


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