Sandwiched between irrelevant and baseless ad hominem attacks on authors, this blog is often criticized for laying into Israel too much with negative criticism. What I understand from this is that those readers would like a more balanced criticism of Israel (scrutiny of Palestinians). Well, here it is, criticism of the other side of the Green Line:
The same standards by which I hold Israel should, ideally, be held for our Palestinian neighbors. Sadly, however, freedom of speech and freedom of religion are even more fleeting on the other side of the partition fence. A recent headline renewed my concern for those Palestinians (and indeed they exist in no small number) who do not conform to mainstream or radical Islam and who wish to express their views freely and peaceably. Walid Husayin of Qalqiliya, an anti-theist who criticized Islam, Mohammed, and Allah on Facebook, has been detained and charged with "insulting the divine essence". He may get away with only life in prison, but some are calling for some good, ol'-fashioned burning at the stake to teach the young man--and others-- a lesson.
What kind of Palestinian state shall come into existence in this sliver of land? A Salem Witch Trial sharia state that burns dissenters to death or one that embraces Western ideals of free speech, free religion, and tolerance? This development in the West Bank casts a dark shadow on the Palestinian Authority, an organization that supposedly walks a totally different walk than their Hamas counterparts. There has been little outcry over the infringement on Walid's free speech-- both in the West Bank, in Israel, or internationally. The Palestinian judges set to hear his case will hopefully recognize the gravity of their decision: free Walid and he will be lynched by a mad Muslim mob, lock him up and set a malicious precedent in a nascent proto-state striving for secularism.