A journalist and media personality has been arrested by the government of Jordan for photoshopping the “Salt Bae” meme into the “Last Supper,” a move that was deemed offensive to some believers.
The “Salt Bae” meme portrays Nusret Gökçe, who went viral for his passionate method of sprinkling salt on his food. When journalist Mohammad Al Wakeel inserted his image in the famous picture of Jesus and his apostles, he found out the hard way about the thin skin of believers with power in Jordan’s government.
Although Jordanians love photoshop (and Salt Bae) making fun of religion in the Kingdom is widely regarded as 'not okay.'https://t.co/Mgym21QUil
— Al Bawaba Node (@_thenode) December 10, 2018
The cartoon was posted on a Jordanian news website on Saturday, December 8, but was taken down after dozens of Jordanians were deeply offended by the “insulting” image.
Infuriated social media users told the website that the religiously-insensitive drawing would cause strife between Muslims and Christians in the Kingdom.
A statement released by the Latin Patriarchate Schools called on the Ministry of Education to condemn the cartoon and urged them to take legal action against the website that published it.
They said that “the cartoon works to deepen the spirit of hatred amongst people.”
In a statement addressed to its critics, the website said that the cartoon was “mistakenly published by one of our editors.”The Attorney General of Amman has ordered an investigation into the “cartoon ridiculing Jesus.” The Cybercrime Unit at the Public Security Directorate (PSD) has now opened an investigation into the matter.
It’s just salt, people. Relax.
The image itself isn’t even offensive. It’s funny. The salt adds to the idea of this being an actual “supper.” But even if we grant that it’s offensive to some people (somehow), it shouldn’t lead to the arrest or prosecution of anyone. Yet, here we are.
Not only was Al Wakeel arrested; he and his editor were denied bail.
Jordanian media personality Mohammad Al Wakeel and an editor who works at his website, Al Wakeel News, were denied bail by the Attorney General of Amman on Tuesday, December 11.
For the time being, Al Wakeel and his employee, who published the cartoon, will remain at the Jwaideh Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre for the next week on charges of incitement of sectarian and religious strife, as stipulated in Article 150 of the Punishments Law, Article 15 of the Cybercrime Law and Article 38 of the Press and Publications Law.
This is completely insane. The image isn’t even a mockery of Christianity, yet archaic laws treat anything outside of reverence as a crime against humanity. If anything, Salt Bae deserves credit for giving that meal a little more flavor.