Saudi Arabia is studying new regulations to criminalise insulting Islam, including in social media, and the law could carry heavy penalties, a Saudi paper said on Sunday.
The potential regulations come five months after a Saudi blogger and columnist Hamza Kashgari, 23, was arrested for tweeting comments deemed as insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Kashgari said there were things he liked and disliked about him.
“Within the next two months the Shura Council will reveal the outcome of study on the regulations to combat the criticism of the basic tenets of Islamic sharia,” unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter told al-Watan, adding that there could be “severe punishments” for violators.
Criticism penalised under the law would include that of the Prophet, early Muslim figures and clerics, it said.