NPR logo Facebook Blocked By Pakistani Court For 'Draw Muhammad' Day


Facebook Blocked By Pakistani Court For 'Draw Muhammad' Day

A Pakistani court ordered Internet providers to block access to Facebook following an uproar in the Muslim nation over a "Draw Muhammad Day" page posted to the social-networking site as an expression of free speech and rejection by non-Muslims of that faith's tenet against depictions of Islam's founder.

The Facebook page was created after the creators of Comedy Central's South Park program were threatened on a jihadist website following an episode in which the Prophet Muhammad was depicted in a bear suit.

In reaction, some inventive person created "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" with at least one Facebook page to go with it. One Facebook page has intentionally outrageous and derogatory drawings of Muhammad.

The Pakistani protests and court's actions are the response.

An excerpt from a piece on Pakistan's The Dawn newspaper web site describes events there:

LAHORE: A Pakistani court Wednesday ordered authorities to block Facebook in the country over a page encouraging users to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on the site.

Thousands of members of the social networking site have launched an online campaign demanding a boycott of Facebook over the offending page.

The depiction of any prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam as blasphemous and Muslims across the world staged angry protests over the publication of satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in European newspapers in 2006.

A Facebook user set up a page called "Draw Mohammed Day", allegedly inviting people to send in their caricatures of the Muslim Prophet on May 20.

Justice Ejaz Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court directed the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to block Facebook after a group of lawyers moved a petition in the court.

An interim order has been issued until May 31, when the court is to start a detailed hearing of the case.