Jordanian Writer and Cartoonist Murdered in Broad Daylight by Religious Extremist

Few would have known Nahed Hatter who had written on Islamist violence and narratives for decades. A writer who had left Jordan for the Lebanon for his views, he had returned to his country only to be murdered this morning for a cartoon that he had posted on his Facebook page.

The post initially was made around early August leading to charges being laid against Nahed Hattar based on insulting religious identity. Hattar subsequently deleted the post and was summoned to attend court to explain his actions. The initial post is listed below and mocked the world of IS or Daesh and implies that they make up what suits their worldly needs and that they have made themselves judges over God, who is drawn as the bearded man in the background. The cartoon and the work of Hattar was focussed on challenging Islamist narratives and the writer, who lived in a Muslim majority country, distinguished this line from the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims who seek to worship and lead their lives in peace.

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Nahed Hattar was murdered on the steps of a Jordanian court today. The perpetrator shot Hattar on multiple occassions and graphics highlighted the senseless murder through postings on Facebook.

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The killing has shocked Jordan and highlights how sensitive issues are regarding faith and how delineating between Islamist narratives and Muslims has become deadly work.

Charges

The State prosecutor has charged the perpetrator with 3 charges. These include, wilfull premeditated murder, a terrorist act leading to the death of a person and carrying and possessing a firearm without a license. The case has also been referred to the State Security Court.

According to a source close to the investigation, the killer, who worked as an engineer at the Ministry of Education, said during the interrogation ‘he had planned to commit the crime for some time. He did not know or hear of the writer, Hatter, till he re- published his cartoons on his Facebook page.’ The perpetrator then searched through websites and he became aware of the court date where Hatter had been summoned to attend.

The source said the offender confessed to the crime, adding that the killer had bought a gun a week beforehand. This morning he walked on foot to his office towards the Palace of Justice in Abdali – Amman. According to a confession, the killer remained in wait for the writer for almost an hour, and after seeing Hatter with his friends he followed him onto the back stairs where he fired several times hitting Hatter in the neck and arm.

The source also noted that the killer stated that he was,

“convinced that Hatter offended God and should be killed and that anyone who offends God should be killed.”

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