by WorldTribune Staff, September 26, 2016
A Jordanian writer and long outspoken critic of Islamic terrorist organizations was shot dead on Sept. 25 in front of the courthouse where he was on trial for posting a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed deemed offensive to Islam.
Nahed Hattar, 56, was preparing to enter the courthouse for a hearing when a gunman shot him at close range.
Jordanian media identified the shooter as Riad Abdullah, 49, a former imam in the northern Hashmi neighborhood of Amman. The reports said Abdullah had recently returned from a trip abroad, but did not elaborate.
The cartoon posted to Facebook by Hattar depicted a bearded man – assumed to be the Prophet Mohammed – smoking and in bed with two women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews. Cartoons of the prophet deemed to be insulting have enraged Muslims around the world on several occasions and are linked to several terrorist attacks in recent years.
Hattar was detained in August after sharing the cartoon on Facebook. Relatives said the cartoon was meant to illustrate what Hattar viewed as the twisted religious views of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) jihadists. While born a Christian, Hattar considered himself an atheist.
Hattar, an outspoken critic of ISIL and Al Qaida, had also claimed that the late King Hussein had arrested and tortured him many times for his critical writings and vowed not to mourn the king, who died in 1999.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Momani condemned Hattar’s killing as a “heinous crime,” adding that “the government will strike with an iron hand all those who exploit this crime to broadcast speeches of hatred to our community.”