Qatari newspaper editor Jaber Al Harmi resigned from his post today after this image of a henna tattoo showing intricate drawings of a couple engaged in a sexual intercourse appeared on the pages of a health supplement in Al Sharq Arabic daily. The image may have slipped through the cracks, when it appeared in an article warning about the dangers of henna.
In a letter published in the newspaper, Al Harmi apologised for the “mistake” which happened in the 112-page issue, taking full responsibility for publishing the “offensive” drawings in a daily newspaper in the conservative Islamic country.
His stance was described as brave and was hailed on social media by Qatari netizens, who launched the hashtag #الحرمي_استقالتك_مرفوضة, which translates to “Al Harmi, your resignation is rejected.”
The newspaper did indeed reject the resignation of the journalist, whose career spans 25 years.
This Twitter user tells his followers:
#الحرمي_استقالتك_مرفوضة كمغرد ارفضها أستاذ اعجبتني شجاعتك والاعتراف في وقت كثير جدا يفتقدون الاعتراف بالخطأ لهذا استقالتك مرفوضة أستاذ
— ✳ الأدعم#قطر (@sul535) June 1, 2015
As a Twitter user, I refuse your resignation. I admire your bravery and for your admission [of your mistake] at a time when many refuse to face up to their actions. This is why your resignation is rejected
Faisal bin Jassim Al Thani tells his 267K followers on Twitter:
استقالة الاستاذ جابر دليل انه شخصية امينة تتحمل مسئولياتها بشجاعة وتقدر الامور حق قدرها وقد استطاع عمل نقلة بالصحيفة #الحرمي_استقالتك_مرفوضة
— فيصل بن جاسم ال ثاني (@althani_faisal) June 1, 2015
Mr Jaber's resignation is proof that he is an honest person, who bravely shoulders responsibility and is able to assess situations. He has transformed the newspaper.
And Al Harmi's own son, Salem, confesses:
لم أرى في حياتي شخص أحب مهنته مثل ابوي، وان سألته لماذا؟ يقول: كل يوم شيء جديد وتحدي جديد. ٢٥ سنة اتممها في الصحافه #الحرمي_استقالتك_مرفوضة
— سالم جابر الحرمي (@SalemAl7rmi) June 1, 2015
I have never met anyone who loves his job like my father. And when you ask him why, he says: Everyday there is something new and a new challenge. He has completed 25 years in journalism
In an old post on Paraglider, Dave McClure, a Qatar resident, explains why any hint of sex is a problem in the conservative country:
The government takes the view that pornography is anti-Islamic and should not be allowed in the country. Possession of pornographic material can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment and deportation. Pornography is treated in much the same way as illegal drugs, with similar consequences if caught.