A court in Pakistan has ordered the authorities temporarily to block the Facebook social networking site. Send your cartoons to Bare Naked Islam. We haven’t been blocked. Yet.
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The order came when a petition was filed after the site held a competition featuring caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
The petition, filed by a lawyers’ group called the Islamic Lawyers’ Movement, said the contest was “blasphemous.” A message on the competition’s information page said it was not “trying to slander the average Muslim.” (Um, no, in this case we are only slandering Muhammad)
“We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Muhammad depictions that we’re not afraid of them,” a statement on the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” said. “They can’t take away our right to freedom of speech by trying to scare us into silence.”
The information section of the page said that it was set up by a Seattle-based cartoonist, Molly Norris. (Try as she might to distance herself from this, Molly will forever be tied to it) It contains caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and characters from other religions, including Hinduism and Christianity, as well as comments both critical and supportive of Islam.
Publications of similar cartoons in Danish newspapers in 2005 sparked angry protests in Muslim countries – five people were killed in Pakistan.
Already the Pakistani press has reported protests against Facebook on Wednesday by journalists outside parliament in Islamabad, while various Islamic parties are also reported to be organising demonstrations.
Correspondents say that the internet is uncensored in Pakistan but the government monitors content by routing all traffic through a central exchange.
Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court ordered the department of communications to block the website until 31 May, and to submit a written reply to the petition by that date.
The lawyers’ group says Pakistan is an Islamic country and its laws do not allow activities that are “un-Islamic” or “blasphemous”.
The judge also directed Pakistan’s foreign ministry to raise the issue at international level. In the past, Pakistan has often blocked access to pornographic sites and sites with anti-Islamic content. BBC H/T Janice
Thanks to FRANKLY OPINIONATED for graphic