Nahed Hattar, Jordanian writer, Died at 56

Nahed Hattar was born in 1960, and died on September 25, 2016.

He was a prominent Jordanian writer and political activist.

He led progressive and left-wing political movements, in particular, he held a leadership role in two political groups: the National Progressive Current and the Jordanian Social Left Movement.

Hattar was openly critical of neo-liberal economic policies in Jordan.

Nahed defended the right of Arab Christians to armed resistance against terrorist groups such as Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

And also, he was a strong supporter of current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Hattar was also outspoken against Jordan becoming an “alternative homeland” for Palestinians and defended the Palestinian right of return.

During August 2016, Hattar shared a caricature on the social media network Facebook that depicted a bearded man in a tent in heaven smoking in bed with two women and asking a corporeal God to bring him wine and cashews.

The character also orders God to clear his dishes and build a door for his tent so God can knock before entering.

That cartoon image sparked controversy among some Jordanians as it was regarded insulting to Islam.

Because of that, he was charged with the crime of inciting “sectarian strife and racism” in violation of article 150 of the Jordanian Penal Code, which punishes any form of speech that drives sectarian or racial prejudices or incites conflict between different sects.

Nahed Hattar was also charged for violating article 278 of the Jordanian Penal Code, which prohibits the publication of printed material, image or drawing intended to offend religious beliefs.

Nahed Hattar was shot to death by a gunman near the Palace of Justice in the capital Amman, where he was on his way to attend a court hearing.

The shooter was arrested at the scene.

During an attempt to explain his motive behind sharing the cartoon that led to his killing, Hattar claimed that he was a “non-believer” and that he respected “the believers who did not understand the satire behind the cartoon”.

Nahed Hattar passed away at 56 years old.