A 31-year-old Indian living in Dubai has been arrested and put on trial for allegedly making blasphemous remarks about Prophet Mohammad and Islam on Facebook. The man, whose name has not been disclosed by the authorities, was arrested after a complaint was lodged against him by a person who claims to have seen those messages on Facebook.
What is interesting, and shocking, is that the complaint against the Indian man, who worked as an electric welder in Dubai, was lodged by a fellow Indian who has been working as a grocery store worker in the same city. This fellow Indian not only complained to the police about the offensive Facebook post, but also revealed to the police the address and other personal details of the electric welder leading to his arrest.
The “blasphemous” Facebook message was posted on November 6, 2016 and the electric welder soon after deleted them, but the fellow Indian working as store worker had taken screenshots by then and he followed it with a police complaint on the following day. The store worker knew the electric welder in person.
The store worker says that he found the electric worker drunk when he confronted him. He felt angry due to comments made against the Prophet, and thus went to the police station and shared all the details. Some reports claim the welder was arrested from his residence, while others claim that he was arrested two days later from the Dubai International airport, apparently trying to leave the country.
His phone was seized through which those messages were suspected to have been posted. The accused is reported to have claimed that his account was hacked, but police says that their investigations suggest no hacking had taken place.
Charges related to blasphemy have been framed against him and he was brought to a Court of First Instance on Sunday. The judge adjourned the trial till March 21. If found guilty, the man can face jail term, fine, or both, and deportation.
Blasphemy is serious charge and it can be punished even with death in many Muslim countries including in Pakistan, but UAE has relatively moderate laws regarding the ‘crime’.
This is not the first time that such an incident has taken place in Dubai. In May 2015, another Indian man was accused to have insulted Prophet Mohammad online. He was jailed for one year and deported from the country afterwards. Incidentally, even in that case, the complaint was registered by a fellow Indian.