Riyad | A Saudi man has been sentenced to the death penalty for publishing pictures on social media of a snowman whose resemblance to the prophet Mohammed caught the attention of Saudi authorities, reports the Gulf News this morning.

Amir bin Said, a 24-year-old engineer student, posted his pictures of a bearded snowman on Instagram last night after Saudi Arabia was hit by freezing temperatures yesterday covering the desert with a powdery snow cover.

Authorities have accused the young man of blasphemy and idol worshipping, crimes punishable by death according to Sharia law.

The accused has committed an act of blasphemy and idol worship. He has insulted God, the prophet and our religion and will pay with his life accordingly to the Law

– Malik El Shabiz, Sharia court judge

Saudis have taken to the streets as snowfall in the country is an extremely rare phenomenon which could cost Amir bin Said’s life after he built a snowman in the image of the Prophet Mohammed for his own amusement

A ‘fatwa’ on building snowmen

A prominent religious scholar in Saudi Arabia had issued a fatwa last year against building snowmen in the kingdom, stating the practice is not acceptable to Islam.

Mohammad Saleh Al Minjed said people must not build any snowmen or snow models of animals, according to Gulf News.

Making snow models of soulless objects, such as women, ships, fruit and buildings, was apparently acceptable in Islam, the scholar said.