Pakistan blocks Facebook over ‘Draw Mohammed’ Day

Pakistan’s government ordered Internet service providers to block Facebook on Wednesday amid anger over a page that encourages users to post images of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Islam prohibits any images of the prophet.

“We are not trying to slander the average Muslim,” said the information section of the Facebook page. (More info here.) “We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Mohammad depictions that we’re not afraid of them. That they can’t take away our right to freedom of speech by trying to scare us into silence.”

In an attempt to respond to public anger over the Facebook controversy, the Pakistani government ordered Internet service providers in the country to block the page Tuesday, said Khurram Ali, a spokesman for the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.

However, the Islamic Lawyers’ Forum asked the Lahore High Court on Wednesday to order the government to fully block Facebook because it allowed the page to be posted in the first place, said the deputy attorney general of Punjab province, Naveed Inayat Malik. The court complied with the request and ordered the government to block the site until the end of May, Malik said. Later in the day, the telecommunications authority ordered all Internet service providers to block Facebook, it said in a statement.

“While the content does not violate our terms, we do understand it may
not be legal in some countries,” the company said in a statement. “In
cases like this, the approach is sometimes to restrict certain content
from being shown in specific countries.”

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