Image of Salt Bae seasoning Jesus' food at Last Supper prompts arrests in Jordan

Published 11.12.2018 13:09
Updated 11.12.2018 13:16

Two journalists were arrested in Jordan for publishing a religiously offensive image, said a judicial source Monday, after their news website shared an altered version of "The Last Supper."

Mohammed al-Wakeel, who runs al-Wakeel news website, and an editor were detained after complaints were filed over an image showing Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting with celebrity Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, known as Salt Bae, standing behind Jesus and doing his famous salt-sprinkling gesture.

In the retouched photo, Jesus' face is also seen tattooed on one of the disciple's legs.

Al-Wakeel's website deleted the image and apologized for the "mistake" by one of its employees.

The website added that it meant no offence to Christians in Jordan and that the image was circulated on Arabic and international pages to show "cultural diversity" and that "classical paintings continue until the present."

Al-Wakeel was arrested on Monday and held in custody for one week, according to Jordanian media.

The photo sparked controversy in Jordan, and many in the Christian-dominated city of Fuheis, 20 kilometers west of Amman, threatened to cancel Christmas celebrations if the government did not take action against "those who are inciting sectarianism" in Jordan.

The arrests come as the Jordanian government withdrew amendments to a cybercrime law from parliament after the controversial bill was deemed by critics as a limitation on freedom of expression in Jordan.

On Monday, tribal chiefs in Sahab district in capital Amman, to which the journalist hails, issued a statement of support for al-Wakeel.

In their statement, the tribal chiefs called for "containing the issue so it would not open a room for seditionists to ignite sectarianism."

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