Sketches of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are considered an act of blasphemy by Muslims and by refusing to go along with deleting the offending page, famous social networking site Facebook has earned not only criticism from several Muslims but also been banned in Pakistan for unlimited time period as per Lahore high courts order which deem it to have broken blasphemy laws. Islamic Lawyers’ Forum asked the Lahore High Court to order the government to fully block Facebook.
The offending Facebook page called (nauzubillah) Everybody Draw Mohammed Day has triggered outrage over cartoon versions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The campaign was launched after criticism on the creators of South Park received for portraying Muhammad (SAW). The campaign page on Facebook quotes;
“That they can’t take away our right to freedom of speech by trying to scare us to silence.”
Does freedom of speech gives you the right to spread religious hatred or torture people on the basis of their religious beliefs?
Minister of religious affairs in Pakistan, Hamid Saeed Kazmi, said the country wide ban was only a temporary solution and suggested the government organize a conference of Muslim countries to figure out ways to prevent the publication of images of the prophet, which have caused backlashes among Muslim populations.
It remains to be seen how successful the move will be but citizens often have little trouble working their way around the ban using proxy servers and other means. The saddest part of the controversy is rather than protesting against such shameful competitions people are busy condemning ban on the site.
Facebook was criticized not deleting the group despite it being provocative and people lodging complaints against it. Owaies has reported in his blog that; Facebook proved itself totally racist. The anti-holocaust page got deleted within 20 minutes of reporting but the anti-Muhammad (PBUH) event page is still there.
A chain-SMS has also reached thousands of mobile phone users across Pakistan (I also received it) urging to download and run a bug to help crash the website.