Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police Friday said they had detained a young Saudi journalist who fled his country after Twitter comments he made about the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) triggered calls for his execution.
Hamza Kashgari was taken into custody after flying into Malaysia's main international airport on Thursday, police spokesman Ramli Yousuf told AFP.
Kashgari was detained at the airport upon arrival following a request made to us by Interpol after the Saudi authorities applied for it-Police spokesman Ramli Yousuf
"Kashgari was detained at the airport upon arrival following a request made to us by Interpol after the Saudi authorities applied for it," he said.
AFP could not immediately confirm where the 23-year-old Kashgari flew in from.
State news agency Bernama said Kashgari was arrested in Muslim-majority Malaysia "for allegedly insulting Islam and the Prophet Mohammad" (PBUH).
Malaysia and Saudi Arabia do not have a formal extradition treaty. However, an official with the Malaysian home ministry who asked to remain unidentified said Kashgari could be extradited under other bilateral security agreements.
Last week, on the prophet's birthday, he tweeted: "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you. "I will not pray for you."
The controversial tweet sparked some 30,000 responses, according to an online service that tracks Twitter postings in the Arab world.
Insulting the prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam and is a crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Kashgari apologised for his remarks but that has not stemmed calls for his head.
A committee of top clerics branded Kashgari "an apostate" and an "infidel", demanding he be tried in an Islamic court. Malaysia has warm relations with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi King Abdullah praised Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as "a Muslim leader" when the premier performed a Haj pilgrimage to Makkah in November.