Release of the Malayali rationalist sought
Rationalist groups have urged the Union government to help free a Kerala free thinker who was jailed in Dubai for alleged blasphemous language against Islam through writing and videos.
According to sources, Kasaragod’s Abdul Khadar Puthiyangadi has been running an IT-related company in the Gulf country for five years. Arif Hussain Theruvoth, Chairman of Non-Religious Citizens, said The Hindu Sunday that Mr. Khadar was previously a strong believer, who had learned Islam in the traditional way. He used to criticize those who speak, write or campaign against Islam. Mr. Khader has delved into religious texts to confront anti-religion activists. In the process, he is claimed to have become a critic of the religion.
“Later, he began to criticize Islam with the same vehemence with which he once defended this religion, especially through social media platforms,” Hussain said.
This has apparently not been well received by a section of Kerala Islamists based in the UAE. Mr Hussain said they had translated his writings and the text of his speeches from Malayalam to Arabic and presented them to the authorities in Dubai, requesting prosecution against him in accordance with the relevant laws. This led to Mr. Khader’s arrest on April 22 and later to a three-year sentence.
KN Anil Kumar, President, and Shooranad Gopan, Member of State Secretariat, Kerala Yutkthivadi Sangham (Kerala Atheists‘ Society), CM Liyakathali, President, Former Muslims of Kerala, and Mr. Hussain underlined in a joint statement that the same group of Islamists were “the champions of secularism and freedom of expression” in India.
“In another country, they are trying to suppress the freedom to express criticism against religion by using their political influence there. It is also quite ironic that Mr. Khader, who was a sharp critic of the Islamic laws taught in the madrassas of Kerala, had to suffer this fate, ”they added.