Saudi Arrested Over Muhammad's Beard

A Saudi activist was arrested for a statement in which she said that the Islamic saying that men should have beards to distinguish them from non-believers did not make sense.

Gulfnews reported that religious figures made formal complaints over a tweet Suad al Shammari posted online last year, which they deem was offensive to Islam and the prophet Mohammad.

Ms al Shammari is a co-founder of a Saudi Liberals group along with Raef Badawi, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence on charges of setting up a web site that undermines general security and ridiculing religious figures.

The controversy that led to her arrest stems from a posting over the obligation for Muslim men to wear a beard. "Several atheists, Jews and Communists in the past had, and in the present have, beards, and even Abu Jahl [a polytheist pagan leader] had a beard that was longer than that of Prophet Mohammad," she reportedly said in the tweet.

Shammari said she was not targeting Islam claiming earlier tweets supported her argument. However, several senior religious figures in the Saudi kingdom condemned her tweet, accusing her of denigrating Islam and targeting the Prophet, and calling for severe action against her, including putting her on trial.

According to a local news site, a commission to support Prophet Mohammad repeatedly called on Shammari to put an end to her 'misleading and misinformed' tweets that were offensive to Islam.

The commission also called on Saudi telecommunication authorities to shut down her accounts on social networks.

Shammari recently posted pictures on Twitter of a man kissing the hand of a long-bearded Islamic cleric. In her comment about his beard, she wrote, "Notice the vanity and pride on his face when he finds a slave to kiss his hand."


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