A prominent Jordanian writer – charged with offending Islam after allegedly sharing a satirical cartoon on his Facebook page – has been killed today outside the court in the capital Amman where he was standing trial, state news agency Petra said.
Nahid Hattar, a Christian, who was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, was struck by three bullets on Sunday before the assailant was apprehended, said Petra.
Sources who witnessed the incident told AFP that an armed man had opened fire in front of the court in Amman’s Abdali district.
The 56-year-old Christian writer was arrested on August 13 and detained for 15 days after sharing a cartoon which allegedly mocks jihadists on his Facebook account.
According to local media, he was detained on charges of insulting God, inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam before being released on bail in early September.
The cartoon he shared depicts a bearded man lying in bed with two women and smoking, asking God to bring him a drink.
The cartoon features an illustration of God under the title “God of Daesh”, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
He stated on Facebook that the cartoon made fun of “terrorists and how they imagine God and heaven, and does not insult God in any way”.
The publication provoked ‘monumental’ outrage on social media as netizens accused him of being anti-Islam.
While he removed the cartoon from his Facebook page, Hattar, however, said he had not meant to cause offence and wanted to expose radical Islamists’ view of heaven.
But the authorities said he had broken the law by sharing the cartoon.
Jordan is a leading member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in neighbouring Iraq and Syria, and was the target of a June 21 suicide bombing that killed seven border guards.