Walid Husayin, 26, from Qalqiliya in the West Bank led a double life, reports Ha Aretz
today, and the report sketches the surprising and volatile situation:
Known as a quiet man who prayed with his family each Friday and spent his evenings working in his father's barbershop, Husayin was secretly posting anti-religion rants on the Internet during his free time.
Now, he faces a potential life prison sentence on heresy charges for insulting the divine essence. Many in this conservative Muslim town say he should be killed for renouncing Islam, and even family members say he should remain behind bars for life.
"He should be burned to death," said Abdul-Latif Dahoud, a 35-year-old Qalqiliya resident. The execution should take place in public to be an example to others, he added.
The latter quote gives some insight into how upset many people are about what the apparently shy barber from a backwater West Bank town has done, and it is all the more surprising when one considers that the Palestinian Authority is regarded as among the more liberal Arab governments in the region.
However, even though his Arabic-language blog had more than 70,000 visitors in addition to his Facebook friends, people in his town, in Palestine and in surrounding countries are generally not amused. There have been many death-threats, which is why his mother hopes he'll remain in jail and will never be freed.
Earlier, the mother had disabled his Internet account after seeing some of his atheist writings on his computer, but this action eventually led to his discovery. He was deemed suspicious for spending too many hours in a nearby internet cafe, the owner of which contacted the police.
Rather than wanting to admit that he had turned against Islam, two of his cousins now claim that he suffered from depression, says an article in bad English on Brand Imposter
Presently, Walid Husayin is under arrest but has yet to be charged. Should he be found guilty, writes a website called Staho
, he risks a life sentence, all depending on the Islamic judge. The article ends by saying
The Islamic community suggests imprisoning and execution in order for him to became an example for all Arabs proclaiming atheist views.