Jordanian cartoonist jailed for “offensive” anti-Daesh cartoon

Published August 14th, 2016 - 01:58 GMT
Jordanian cartoonist Nahed Hattar (Twitter)
Jordanian cartoonist Nahed Hattar (Twitter)

Jordanian cartoonist and political satirist Nahed Hattar recently turned himself into the police after a warrant was issued for his arrest this weekend, Jordanian news sources have reported. 

This comes after he published a cartoon on his Facebook page lambasting Daesh (ISIS), and how they “envision heaven”. The cartoon shows the inside of a tent with a member of Daesh flanked by two women in bed with God peeking in through the tent’s opening. When God asks if the Daesh member needs anything, he replies that he'd like a beer, then the Daesh member repurposes several Islamic phrases from the 3rd person to the 2nd person in a mocking manner.

Almost immediately after posting, the controversy started with social media users infuriated by the depiction of God and Hattar’s indelicacy with the subject matter.

Hattar, a Jordanian Christian and self-described non-believer, is not a stranger to controversy. He was has previously come under fire for both being insensitive to religious views and for striking up ethnic differences - Hattar is a strong supporter of restricting Jordanians of Palestinian descent certain rights and privileges, a taboo topic in the ethnically-split Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. 

Hattar is also a strong supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which hasn’t made him popular with certain personalities in the region, including host of al-Jazeera’s flagship debate program “Opposite Directions” Faisal al-Qassim

"Nahed Hattar, one of the biggest defenders of Bashar al-Assad in Jordan, is in custody after sharing a cartoon insulting religion."

Al-Qassim wasn’t the only one to take to social media and criticize Hattar. Nahed Hattar is a trending topic on twitter in Jordan, with many attacking the cartoonist for manufacturing discord between religious and ethnic groups in the Kingdom, which is home to a 6% Christian minority. The vast majority of Twitter users seemed to be concerned first and foremost with civil order, fearing that actions like Hattar’s could cause issues across sectarian lines.

“He only represents himself. That’s what all of our Christian brothers are saying. May God protect the country from all who seek to do it harm.”

"Differ with Hattar politically, criticize him harshly if you want to. But don’t republish the cartoon - we don’t want to add fuel to a religious battle nor to sectarianism. That doesn’t suit us."

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