Lebanese judge sentences Virgin Mary insulters to read verses from Qur’an

A judge’s punishment meted to three men who insulted the Virgin Mary went viral on Lebanese social media earlier this week. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 February 2018

Lebanese judge sentences Virgin Mary insulters to read verses from Qur’an

DUBAI: A judge’s punishment meted to three men who insulted the Virgin Mary went viral on Lebanese social media earlier this week.
Instead of slapping them with jail time or a fine, Tripoli judge Jocelyn Matta ordered the three men to memorize verses from the Holy Qur’an’s Surat Al-Omran, which glorifies the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.
The sentence sent shockwaves across Twitter in Lebanon, and even caught the attention of Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri.
The PM tweeted: “A salute to judge of investigations in North of Lebanon chief Jocelyn Matta. Her ruling against the three young men in Virgin Mary’s case, and sentencing them to memorize the Holy Qur’an’s Surat Al-Omran, is the epitome of justice and promotes co-existence between Christians and Muslims.”
The case, which was tried in a Tripoli courthouse last week, was uncommon due to Lebanon’s strict laws concerning offending religions or beliefs.
In her closing statement, the judge said that the sentence “aimed to educate the men on Islam’s reverence for Virgin Mary.”


German foreign ministry backtracks after sense of humor failure in trending tweet gaffe

Updated 17 January 2020

German foreign ministry backtracks after sense of humor failure in trending tweet gaffe

  • The meme was the hashtag #SeduceSomeonein4Words
  • Twitter reaction was mixed

BERLIN: Social media can be a minefield for the strait-laced world of diplomacy, as the German Foreign Office just found out, when it was forced to delete a tweet and apologize for its contribution to a mildly off-color Twitter meme.
The meme was the hashtag #SeduceSomeonein4Words.
Submissions on Thursday ranged from “You hungry? I’m cooking” to “Donald Trump Is Impeached”. Then @GermanyDiplo, the foreign ministry’s English-language channel, came up with “Your visa got approved”.
That got hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes. But it also got a fair amount of criticism, much of it from people suffering through the process of acquiring a German visa.

Germany attracts migrants from the world over, with its free universities, strong economy, high wages and almost full employment. In 2015’s migrant crisis, hundreds of thousands from the Middle East and Africa overwhelmed Europe’s border controls and flooded into Germany.
But eye-catching influxes like that mask the thousands of daily frustrations and family tragedies that take place at the consulates of rich countries. Would-be immigrants spend fortunes and wait weeks and months applying for visas that would let them work, study, or be reunited with loved ones far away.
That gives the consular officials who award the coveted stamp immense power. British and US officials have been investigated for abusing that power, allegedly requiring sex in exchange for visas.
So Twitter reaction was mixed.
“Even though it’s terribly hard and sometimes humiliating to try to get visa from German Consulate, the joke is still very funny!” wrote Turkish journalist Rahsan Gulsan.
GermanyDiplo rapidly backtracked, deleting the tweet and four hours later issuing a rueful apology.
“Being funny is apparently not always our strong suit,” the ministry wrote. “We know the visa process is complex, and visa decisions can deeply affect peoples’ lives. Our colleagues take these decisions very seriously.”