Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Cretinous Republic of Pakistan

How cretinous can we be?

The Lahore High Court has ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block Facebook in Pakistan because of some lame-ass campaign originating out of Seattle to make caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). According to the wire new agency Xinhua:


"Judge Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry instructed the Ministry of Telecommunication to enforce the ban on the use of Facebook in Pakistan and submit a written reply by May 31.
Officials told the court that the government has already blocked parts of the Facebook relating to the caricatures competition but the petitioner argued that no part of any website can be banned unless the whole website is blocked.
Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali, lawyer for the Islamic Lawyers Forum, said that the competition of blasphemous caricatures created concerns among the Muslims across the world."



Widespread evidence, including personal, indicates that this ban has already come to pass.


Now, I should point out that I am no fan of this allegedly 'free speech' campaign, which is Western liberal cretinism taken to its extremes. Why? Because I personally think it is entirely hypocritical. There are laws in many parts of Europe for example (even in Denmark which flew into a rage over the Islamic world's reaction to the earlier blasphemous cartoons issue) which make any questioning of the scale of the massacre of Jewish people during the Nazi era, a jailable crime. You simply cannot even say anything that goes against officially sanctioned history and a number of people have been jailed for writing books that have been deemed to be a denial of the Jewish Holocaust. There are also laws (in Europe) that make blasphemy a cognizable offence, with the caveat that blasphemy is considered to be only against Christian beliefs. The US 1st (free speech) Amendment does legally protect all forms of speech but even in the US, it is socially and politically suicidal to say anything in the mainstream media that questions certain sacred cows, such as the right of Israel to exist, having sex with those 'under age', or to make fun of Jesus. I am not weighing in on the merits of these prohibitions, only pointing out that the freedom always exists within certain limits prescribed by society. The clash in this case is that the limits in the West are different from those other cultures or societies have set for themselves. And that what happens in one part of the world is immediately transmittable to another part through the power of the internet.

Secondly, my problem with this campaign is that it is not a little bit patronizing - as if the only issue left to ensure freedom of expression in the West is that these 'uncivilized and illiberal' Muslims need to be taught a lesson. In a world wracked by the perception (right or wrong) of a clash between Islam and the West, it is grossly irresponsible to further fan flames of bigotry and racism.


Having said all that, however, one can only rue our own immensely cretinous response to this silly campaign. Why do I think that? Consider:



1. Why, oh why, does everything in Pakistan boil down to banning this or that? Will we ever realize that 'banning' things does not really make them go away? Remember, Indian films were banned in Pakistan in the early 1960s and alcohol was prohibited for the country's Muslims in 1979...

2. Does Judge Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry even know what he is passing judgement about? Does the moron Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali? I have serious doubts they even understand what social networking sites - indeed the web - are all about. Did the court even take advice from any technical expert? Or did it base its judgement on what a moronic Islamic Lawyers Forum lawyer said to it? What does that say about the competence of our legal profession and higher judiciary?

3. Are we masters of cutting off our nose to spite our face or what? Will Pakistanis not being able to access Facebook in Pakistan stop this campaign? Will it prevent those Pakistanis who want to access the cartoons from accessing it in a number of other ways? Will we ban email subsequently?

4. What the hell does Facebook even have to do with this? From what I can gather, someone merely created a page in support of this campaign - like the millions of other pages hosted by the site - while the main campaign is hosted here, which is accessible still. It is akin to banning Facebook if Geo runs something the government does not like, just because Geo has a fan page on Facebook, while letting Geo continue its television transmission. But before some other bureaucratic moron decides to block that link, however, let me just quickly point out that there are a number of other places on the web where the same material is hosted. The only way you can block it all is by banning the internet altogether.


Given our history of legal and bureaucratic cretinism, I wouldn't be surprised if that's the next thing Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali demands. And gets.

67 comments:

MSS said...

I hear you XYZ, I hear you. I'm bored too.

nayyares said...

even this sort of protest helps the cause of culprits, it directly goes to masses, i am leaving outside Pakistan, have access to all such material still never had any interest in visiting such pages...

the person who wants to see such stuff will always get it!

to be honest, it seems same kind of a ban as they did on late night mobile packages! these crazy ass politician and religious leaders are going fast at idiot & baseless protests.

Newton said...

yeah, what has fb got to do with it? Thank God for the blogs. And again why the insistence on banning the whole site? khair, good op to discover what else is on the internet :-P
Note: Still accessible by phone but can't harvest crops on phone!

btw, the link you posted is also restricted.

banning the site is actually a manifestation of the same mentality which leads us to silence our critics, and strangle the dissenters. Not that fb was directly dissenting in this case. I just wish we would learn to handle dissent with dignity.

That said, the lady who started this stupid drawing competition needs a life (not death). Religious sentiments MUST not be hurt, no matter whose they are. They keep coming back like street kids poking at a sleeping animal at the zoo.

Still, the man who killed the swedish cartoonist wasn't exactly in his senses too.

Killing is not an answer. it is an unnatural act that unleashes a chain of events only someone with God like powers can handle or put right.

There, three fb status updates right here. Thanks ! :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't really get it. If you accept that free speech has limits as prescribed by social norms, then you should be alright with a ban on facebook if the facebook everybody draw muhammad page was considered objectionable by a majority within Pakistani society (which it was).

It's one thing to observe that it's not a complete ban on the draw muhammad phenomenon since there are obviously ways of getting around it, but it's largely symbolic as a way for the LHC to express its promotion of certain social norms.

Since you yourself consider the everybody draw muhammad day to be ill-advised, pointless, insensitive, and all that, why are you upset that that the LHC is simply taking your logic and running with it?

Marx said...

Hey guys,

Its stupid and all( the whole scenario), but I feel that banning facebook is a good move for now. Its non-violent protest and not on our streets( we need those for target killings ),and shows that our government is taking a stand. I imagine all the people not logging on to facebook from Pakistan will be a cause of concern for the facebook admin. Wouldn't you think ?

Imagine if we made fun of Jesus or Abraham .. My Mom would've kicked my ass .. Why cant they just continue to just make fun of muslims. Its just so unpleasant this way ... and yes,Internet by itself cannot promote anything but facebook can sure help you out with that

mahnat kar hasad na kar said...

mahnat kar hasad na kar

Let Muslims find a different kind of solution...banning, fanning violence, is not likely to put fire out..the fact of the matter is that the rule of jungle prevails. They have the power and know how to use it...all that Muslims can do is to take the kicks on the ass and run riot on the streets...poor me

Anonymous said...

Hamid Mir was obviously behind this decision.

Anonymous said...

i used facebook several times a day. the only way i have even up to now heard of the drawing campaign was through zealous idiots campaigning *against* it. anyone who doesn't want to associate with it would be perfectly able to ignore it as it deserves to be, which is exactly how the internet works as a whole. you morons who think this is the right thing to do haven't the first clue about freedom of expression and the whole concept of how strong ideas win in the marketplace of ideas. censorious dictatorships and corrupt megalomaniacal despots and self-serving taliban-praising journalists are what you deserve and what you get. just fuck off to paradise already and leave the rest of us in peace.

sahafi_braadri said...

"The only way you can block it all is by banning the internet altogether."


As if on cue, message from Mobilink,
"Dear Blackberry Customer: BB Services are being suspended in lieu of LHC order to block Facebook due to blasphemous content to comply with PTA instructions."

The whole Blackberry service. Which means, the whole of the internet for Blackberry users!
"....in lieu" though, which might mean Mobilink is also being the cretin here?

Anonymous said...

Though times have changed now, but one is reminded of Ghazi Ilam Din Shaheed everytime something like this happens. I am not promoting violence, but considering what you said yourself, before contradicting your own views, freedom of speech has its limits in the western society... where it suits them... and when it comes to Muslim Ummah... a dead and ignorant society spread across the globe in my view... its all about doing things that would inflame the situation further... be it drawing cartoons or banning the head scarves in France... I think Pakistani govt did the right thing. Who cares if the judge knew anything about the web at all. The purpose of this is to make a statement... and that we have done. Try starting a Hitler Fan Page on Facebook and see how long it lasts? I am sure the Facebook page in support for this event was reported to the facebook admin millions of times... but it was never removed.

XYZ said...

@MSS: Actually MSS, I'm not even that obsessed with Facebook, but the underlying stupidity of this action is what really gets my goat.


@Newton: Yes, that link is now blocked. Guess they'll be blocking Google next since you can access all of these cartoons via Google Images too.

@Anon1030: Wow. Your logic is so confused and full of holes that you must either be 1) a post-modernist liberal or 2) a member of Islamic Lawyers Forum or 3) Munawwar Hasan. In the off-chance that you are neither of these things, I apologize and let me try and point out a few things:

1. Arguing that free speech in the West has always been constrained by certain societal paradigms and it is hypocritical of the West to pretend otherwise is NOT the same thing as arguing for a ban based on 'majority' opinion (I'll come back to this claim), especially when I am at pains to point out why a ban makes no logical sense!

2. You write: "...the facebook everybody draw muhammad page was considered objectionable by a majority within Pakistani society."

Your assertion has so many holes, I don't know where to begin. But let me try: a) The majority of Pakistanis do NOT use the net. b) The majority of those that do, do NOT use Facebook. c) The majority of even those who use Facebook were NOT aware of the page you claim they were offended by until Facebook was banned. Ergo, your claims are wrong. Yes, if someone had bothered to ask Pakistanis in general whether they are offended by caricatures of the Prophet, it is extremely likely a vast majority would have said yes. But how does such an admission / acceptance translate automatically into wanting Facebook to be banned? Particularly when, as I have pointed out, it was NOT Facebook where this caricature campaign originated.

3. You write: "[The ban on Facebook is] largely symbolic as a way for the LHC to express its promotion of certain social norms."

Say what? What 'social norms' are we talking about here? And I never knew that the LHC was mandated to 'express its promotion of certain social norms'. If you mean symbolically expressing how moronic it and the unthinking Pakistani right-wing can be, however, I fully understand where you're coming from.

4. You write: "...why are you upset that that the LHC is simply taking your logic and running with it?"

You, sir/madam, are an illiterate idiot. Learn to read before commenting. Or ask someone to explain the post to you. I take back my apology.


@Marx: You write: "I feel that banning facebook is a good move for now. Its non-violent protest and not on our streets( we need those for target killings ),and shows that our government is taking a stand."

Once again, I have to ask: how is this put in the lap of the government? And stand against what? If you want to protest against the caricature campaign, do so by all means. But by doing silly things like banning an unrelated website, you end up making yourself look really silly. I keep thinking of things like the government announcing strikes as protest, which governments have done in the past. Who are you protesting against? And how does it benefit anyone?

You also say: "I imagine all the people not logging on to facebook from Pakistan will be a cause of concern for the facebook admin. Wouldn't you think ?"

Really? Which delusional world are we living in now? Perhaps you can explain to me why exactly the facebook admin would be quaking in their shoes. I really am at a loss to imagine why.

@Anon1219: I agree that the first time most people even heard about this whole issue was when those protesting it brought it to their notice. But that's opportunistic politics for you: they have to keep inventing emotive issues when they have nothing to say on substantial matters. What is far worse in my opinion, are high court judges that pass judgements without thinking things through.

XYZ said...

@sahafi_braadri: Really? I haven't got any such message. Yet. But you know what, we deserve it all.

@Anon147: Sigh. As I said above, we ARE cretins. We ARE the Cretinous Republic of Pakistan. We deserve it all.

Anonymous said...

XYZ,

1. Even you are not stupid enough to claim that Pakistan does not have a societal paradigm supportive of restricting free speech seen as blasphemous to Mohammed or Islam in general. So even if majority opinion didn't define societal paradigms (though in fact it does), your point is irrelevant.

2. You seem to think there is a hole in my assertion due to the fact that the majority of Pakistanis don't use the internet, don't know Facebook, etc. You are stupid. Societal paradigms are generally unrelated to the medium and focus on the content. A blasphemous depiction of Mohammed is blasphemous whether it's on the internet, on a billboard, in a magazine, or anywhere else and in any medium. But anyway...

3. When you ask, "When you ask, "But how does such an admission / acceptance translate automatically into wanting Facebook to be banned?" you are confusing the basis for the judgment with the solution given by the court. If you agree that Pakistanis would find the pictures blasphemous, and thus illegal under Pakistani law, then the specific method of addressing that blasphemy taken by the court (i.e. banning Facebook for 2 weeks) is kind of irrelevant. It is definitely supported by the law and supported by the societal paradigms in Pakistan.

4. "Say what? What 'social norms' are we talking about here?" -- really? The social norm we're talking about is the widespread support of blasphemy laws and restrictions on free speech related to blasphemy. Did you really not know that?? That would explain why your post is so confused sounding.

5. "And I never knew that the LHC was mandated to 'express its promotion of certain social norms'." The court has a duty to uphold the law, and social norms find their expression in the law, thus the court upholds those social norms. Blasphemy laws are the expression of one of those social norms. That law was upheld here.

Tying all this back to your post, here's the deal. In the first half of your post you argue that free speech can be constrained "within certain limits prescribed by society." But you end by suggesting that Facebook should not be banned for a variety of reasons that don't address the actual reason it WAS banned -- which is consistent with your own argument -- namely that in Pakistan, blasphemous speech is one of those "certain limits prescribed by society." You try to make a conclusion without taking the step of saying that blasphemy laws in general are wrong. You cannot carve out an exception for your precious Facebook and leave all that intact.

If you were to give a moral justification for why anti-blasphemy laws are wrong, you would have to temper some of your self-righteousness when dealing with "Western liberal cretinism" because any argument against anti-blasphemy laws is essentially the same as the argument being made by these people.

Anonymous said...

oh and by the way, I'm a free speech absolutist. I was simply pointing out the flaw in your argument! On second thought it seems to me that your post is simply a bad jumble of essentially contradictory emotive positions.

1)"outrage" at bad western cretins and

2) embarrassment at the LHC judgment that makes you, as a moderate and urbane Pakistani look bad.

You need to resolve this contradiction but you're probably too pompous to admit that it exists, so good luck!

Anonymous said...

Websites make money through click-through advertisements. The more people log on and visit their pages the more money they make. The point of the ban is to hold a non violent protest by hitting these websites where it hurts; that is loss in revenue. Facebook is privately owned and relies heavily on ads for revenue the point of the ban was to make the facebook authorities see that this page is hurting the religious sensitivity of Muslims so they should take it off and if they wont then they will suffer revenue losses. In the past such a boycott has worked: in sept 2006 a one day boycott was publicized against facebook if it didnt change a few settings and later facebook agreed to comply with their demands and the boycott was called off. Here's the link:
http://daywithoutfacebook.blogspot.com/
The point is it was completely rational to call a ban against facebook which will have tangible results and if its done at a national level its impact will be more resounding and will get the point across more effectively.

Anonymous said...

@ anon who wrote
"you morons who think this is the right thing to do haven't the first clue about freedom of expression and the whole concept of how strong ideas win in the marketplace of ideas. censorious dictatorships and corrupt megalomaniacal despots and self-serving taliban-praising journalists are what you deserve and what you get. just fuck off to paradise already and leave the rest of us in peace"

since you know so much about freedom of expression my question is whether telling people to fuck off to paradise and in general cursing people and making derogatory caricatures of holy figures just for the sake of ridiculing them is this a part of freedom of expression?

If yes then in response to your very eloquently put curse words am i entitled to use a much worse curse word?

And if i do, in the marketplace of curse words which curse word will win?

Pointless huh? thats because if freedom of expression is used to derogate people it just leads to emotional outbursts and nothing productive can be discussed hence its no use to humanity where people cant even sit together and discuss ideas. And its veryy verrrryyy important to discuss ideas. So to have a marketplace which is conducive for the discussion of ideas and freedom of expression please learn to respect others.

and XYZ you wrote "I agree that the first time most people even heard about this whole issue was when those protesting it brought it to their notice. But that's opportunistic politics for you: they have to keep inventing emotive issues when they have nothing to say on substantial matters"

wow that is such a conceited overly generalized statement...you have in one sweep relegated people who are voicing their concern against ridiculing of their religion to those inventing emotive (non substantial) issues. Its sad that people fail to understand this but its genuinely offensive and hurtful when a figure like Prophet Muhammad PBUH who is so close and dear to muslims is ridiculed in such a pompous arrogant fashion like having a contest to see who ridicules him the best!!! those protesting are doing it out of genuine concern that such ridiculous childish acts should stop....and again for the likes of my freedom of expression friend above this protest is ALSO a show of freedom of expression....a way muslims are trying to get their point across that its wrong to ridicule holy figures

Annie said...

so no more pyala if the drawmohammad campaign moves on to blogspot? this is so lame. and this court decision is seriously offensive to many facebook users in this country who didn't even know/didn't give a shit about this page till the continually bersek LHC decided to promote it. Btw, is it possible to file a case against this ridiculous institution for promoting an otherwise unknown and of course 'blasphemous' page? weirdos.

Annie said...

So no more pyala if drawmohammad decides to move on to blogspot? I guess the Lahore High Court just loves to stand out or something. Weirdos.

Anonymous said...

"Cretin" is far too kind.

"Fucking morons" gets a little closer to doing justice to the situation.

"Hurts their sentiments"? Then these d-bags shouldn't look at it. Tons of stuff happens in the non-Muslim world which would probably offend or "hurt the sentiments" of these medieval cunts. Get over it.

I'd laugh if I wasn't so annoyed, but given that Muslims consider their religion to be the absolute truth, and that they are guaranteed success in the "Hereafter", why are they so insecure about their beliefs and their history? If I was blessed with the absolute truth, I'd simply not give a shit about such sentiment-hurting stuff.

anas said...

CHOOTARH REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN

Alpha Za said...

Our courts are just trying to be as ridiculous as our government.

Attention Seeking Man Whores.

I bet they've never heard of Proxy sites....dumbt shits.

Anonymous said...

Youtube and Wikipedia (English version) is blocked also. They are also trying to block Youtube at IP level so Google may be blocked as well.

Well done. Only in Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Hahahhaha... so they ban everything related to this "blasphemous" act except for the Draw Muhammad Day website!

http://www.drawmuhammadday.com/

Magnum said...

But there was no facebook during Muhammad's time ...

MSS said...

facebook responds...

http://tribune.com.pk/story/14635/facebook-disappointed-mulls-solution/

Marx said...

Don't get cranky just because you didn't get your dose of social networking on the net.

Anyway XYZ, I am so unimpressed with your unconvincing counter comments. Facebook is not an unrelated website in this matter. Its like renting a room to a terrorist. Isn't that harbouring a terrorist ? And a STAND against Facebook facilitating these people. FB has to be more responsible , Its a huge company now. Stupid artists can do whatever they want. 'Shit' on whoever they want. Responsible acompanies need to take a stand. And a major portion of the internet goers in pakistan are using FB, infact people who never used the net are using it now because of it. And as delusional as i may be, dont they get business when people log on and use their services? Dont they advertise pakistani products and services? You think its for free? What delusional world have YOU been living in?

Another thing , how can you even say ' it makes us look silly' THAT is exactly what all the youngsters feel like that being muslim is silly, because 'the prophet was a pedophile' and his funny turban and unkept beard and . Not everyone goes about and researches things or take things in their own light. How can anyone shame me into losing my faith? I believe in losing it conciously and through a rational thought process(:)) They want people to lose respect for their ideals.

And this is not about freedom of speech or expression. Its to do with muslim bashing and thats it. For all the millions of tolerant muslims living in the states who held their calm while facing insults since the Danish cartoons? Why not have a 'Piss on Jesus' day or 'fart at Abraham' day? because its got nothing to do with freedom of speech. This BLOG ( or any medium for such discussions) shows the meaning of the freedom of speech, not calling others names and ridiculing them.( ofcourse its not worth taking a life). Now I find this funny and unoffensive.

http://minibytes.mondominishows.com/alqaeda/main.asp

Marx said...

This is funny though and i get the idea of the sillyness you were probably talking about.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/14474/facebook-ban-gets-twitterati-joking/

Satrangi said...

Freedom of speech ends when some body abuse your father.
Ask your "loving FB people "
to allow us to have page on "Draw the holocaust"

Nadir said...

Trying to ban Facebook to protest the drawings is like trying to win a football match by walking off the field.

Those who wish to protest the cartoons should ask themselves: How does this ban effects the cartoonists?

They don't stop drawing, and Facebook doesn't stop supporting them. In fact Facebook's response has been to think about blocking that FB community in Pakistan.

So now thanks to our amazing move, the previously offended protesters in Pakistan will be totally ignorant of any activities this group organizes in the rest of the world. Sleep tight now that you can't see what you're fighting.

Anonymous said...

@anon at 4.50... you sir, are precisely the moron i refer to. you basically refuse to understand the distinction between a ban, which is censorship, and a boycott, which is protest. as i said before, the only way most pakistanis even heard of the drawmohammad campaign was through their countrymen who suddenly jumped up to protest some random page. but in fairness to them they simply called for a boycott by users who wanted to register their protest. that is the right way to show your indignation. how on earth does that give the state sanction to ban access? as expected of every slippery slope, within hours you have the over-zealous banning youtube, wikipedia and god knows what next. the sheer hypocritical mindlessness of such moves is breathtaking. this is the space you provide obscurantist kneejerkers to control your lives, and that is why i say this is what you and your ilk deserve. so don't try to dress up your point of view as one in line with "freedom of expression", since you really don't get it.

Anonymous said...

so on this blog its okay to call people "Fucking morons" "medieval cunts" "tell them to fuck off to paradise"....cafepyala i think your comments section is just becoming a platform for hurling nasty abuses. Way to go freedom of expression!!!

Anonymous said...

oh, and thanks to pta's shenanigans even access to bbc website is crippled. way to go all you "sensitive muslims". waisay it's about time we started catering to all our sensitive types. someone please ban music and women in public for a start. humaaree ghairatmand quom kay ehsaasaat majroo ho rahay hain!

Anonymous said...

In many ways, this is a true clash of civilizations.

BTW, CP seems blocked too (can somebody confirm?)

Zahoor said...

By banning FB, Pakistani politics suffers heavily, i mean real threat to Musharraf (200,000 fans) :-)

Anonymous said...

fear not all righteous muslims! the porn is all still accessible :))

TLW said...

Hey Cafe Pyala,

Fucking Wateen blocked youtube. Goddammit google might be next. A protest outside the press club is in order.

Just to make us all angrier, Cafe Pyala, I think this hipster news blog called Boing Boing may have plagiarised your Women's Day Abusive ad collection.
Their entry is here: Vintage Ads Depicting Abused and Domesticated Women. Unless you guys got it from Web Urbanist.com.

Harassing these two for an answer, as well as the Pakistani government might be necessary.

Anyway,

I thought I would add some fuel to our collective rage fire.

Sincerely,

These
Long
Wars
(TLW)

K2KaPakistan said...

I don't really care about caricatures of the holy prophet or any prophet, infact some are just hilarious though others are plain offensive with no aim but to rile muslims up

The main offenders in this case are not really the Danish cartoonists, who published 12 cartoons in 2005 which were only mildly offensive, but the Danish imams who went on a road trip spreading and showing these images through out the middle east and on BBC and Al-Jazeera. Not only that they turned in some of their own pictures which were far worse than the Jyllands-Posten images and were never published in the newspaper or any paper for that matter. There is a secretly taped video of them by a French-Algerian Journalist as well. They had absolutely no reason to do this but cause chaos amongst the Islamic world.

This can be seen as the starting point of all this drama. The Dutch imams are the main cause of the problem and now the threats and the barbaric reactions of muslim religious leaders are a confirmation of the stereotype we have grown into. The recent censorship of the South Park depiction just triggered this movement fuelled by their intolerance of islamic intolerance, so they are using the only weapon they have and are trying to give us a lesson in tolerance(which is needed though not maybe in this particular fashion). Let a barking dog bark, you don't go and kill the poor thing. However there are all kinds in everygroup and its hard to filter out the satire from the pure ignorant hatred.

Banning FB and Youtube , I understand the pressure an Islamic country can put on you or you are just plain stupid but Wikipedia? WHY?. I hope they end this ban soon and we can move on. Isn't censorship what started all this?

theselongwars.blogspot.com said...

Anyway, a protest outside the Press Club might be necessary!

And yeah Cafe Pyala, a bunch of Gora's may be plagiarising your ideas.

Cheers!

TLW

Anonymous said...

I think this is a positive step and will most probably result in a decent social networking site for Pakistan and like minded countries.

A search engine should have transparent page ranking methods. No body knows hows Google gives priority to its search engine results and it always keeps on changing.

Similarly Wikipedia. Just check out their page on our Prophet (PBUH). It is nothing but a promoter of distorted history so openly taught in our private schools these days. Children have no choice but to go here and grab stuff for their essays and absorb their claims at an early age.

Ironically if you are on Wikipedia then Google just loves you and you are on their first search engine result page.

YouTube has some seriously hidden methods of showing relative videos to the user as well. Just click on a link for a video and notice the videos links on the right.

All in all, if we need such platforms then we must think of launching them ourselves with transparent policies and no hidden algorithms. The technology (software) is openly available and can be hosted in Pakistan for faster access.

Yak said...

I think one stern warning by the Lone wolf(Hillary Clinton) will remove all the bans.

Anonymous said...

This is isolation...isn't that what the jihadis want? first, international cricket goes, then a working peace process with india, and now the internet...We may be beating them silly in S. Waziristan, but they're winning the war

anas said...

Can the Lahore High Court shut my mouth? Lahore High Court KI MAA KI ANKH MADARCHOD CHUTARH court ISLAMIST FUCK.

Anonymous said...

We may be beating them silly in S. Waziristan, but they're winning the war

Well, yeah, the Jamaat-e-Islami types have the agenda of "changing" society. So international isolation would work to their advantage.

Sincerely

TLW

K2kaPakistan said...

You want to know everything you weren't told growing up, you can find it on the net. Wikipedia banning is censorship plain and simple. My guides at LSE give me wikipedia references and I am also having my exams. I like to use the net for studies and even youtube hosts numerous lecture on a variety of subjects. I dont give a shit if it tells you that Mohammad was human and not a God. I want my right to information. Its like banning a library because you don't like a book.

ZNF said...

Look. Im all for the rights of freedom of speech and think it is essential in a world so full of dissent. But that said, freedom of speech ends where you start infringing on other people's sensitivites and beliefs. The "draw muhammed day" is nothing short of a hate act, as it gives the creator nothing to gain from it but sheer sadistic joy from causing strife in the muslim world.
Im not a hundered percent sure if i am for or against the banning of facebook in this light, but i do know that the courts are taking it too far with the banning of you tube and wikipedia etc. Being the large social network that facebook has become, it should take responsibility in reducing hate crimes and in the way that it seeks to eliminate fraudulence and spam, it should seek to eliminate hate and filth. Just as no anti-christ or anti-holocaust groups would be tolerated, no anti-muslim groups should be tolerated either, specifically those that attack such an essential sentiment of our beliefs.

Anonymous said...

ZNF "Look. Im all for the rights of freedom of speech and think it is essential in a world so full of dissent. But that said, freedom of speech ends where you start infringing on other people's sensitivites and beliefs"

No it doesn't. I have the right to offend you and you have the right to be offended. There's all there is to it.

Now let's say I am a follower of Zardarism - Zardari is my prophet. Hence, my now on I proclaim no one can criticize Zardari and offend my sensibilities and beliefs. You would say that is completely ridiculous. Exactly - Muhammad is simply a Zardari to non-Muslims. Just because there a billion Muslims doesn't change that fact.

Yes, the Draw Muhammad Day group is antagonistic and adds no value to societal discourse, but you can't simply declare it useless and it be shut down, because then governments can use that excuse against anything.

As for facebook, I don't see why facebook should be banning that group or any other group, they should all be allowed to say whatever. Yes there is a double standard in the West, particularly when it comes to antisemitism and Nazism because of the historical legacy and burden of the Holocaust that I don't agree with. But not with Jesus or anything else religious, you can see this quite clearly in print, tv and the internet. The reason why people don't make groups specifically targeting Jesus is because it doesn't draw the kind of dramatic and violent response that you get with Muslims and it only serves to confirm their views that Muslims are an irrational, oversensitive and violent bunch.

That being said, the fault for all this ultimately falls with extremist Muslims. If there weren't instances of terrorism in the name of Islam, then people wouldn't be considering Islam to be a rigid, violent and absurd religion and making cartoons criticizing what they think the founder of the religion must be espousing since some of its followers were doing those things. Yes, I know, that was a horrible run-on-sentence, so please forgive me.

Muntaha said...

I am all for the facebook block. In fact i think this should have been done long ago. Because this is what we do and are good at. We are a blocked nation. We live in blocks. Is it raining? Cut the power! Low on electric power? Cut the CNG! We live by elimination. Blasphemous film? Ban it. Blasphemous literature? Ban it. Don't read it. If you don't read it, you will not even answer it. Why bother when we can get away by a "wajib-ul-qatal fatwa" on the writer. Kill the writer, producer, director, kill the whole cast. And if we can't kill them, we can surely set our own houses on fire. Our "ummah" might not be doing so good as far as science and technology, development research projects and matters of governance are concerned, but we can put up one hell of a defense.

So it is only natural that we blocked and banned facebook and all the other "blasphemous" websites we could lay our hands on. And by doing so, we have curbed the evil. Congratulations! Bravo! I wonder if Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H)is proud of us? After all we have done whatever we have done for his honor. And it is then that i am engulfed by this terrible feeling of guilt and frustration. As a nation that has not produced anything of considerable importance in human development (sorry bombs don't count), that is torn between "modernity" and "extremity", that feels cornered and suppressed and blames the whole world for it, we are ourselves the biggest disrespect to out religion and the teachings of our Prophet. We are all wajib-ul-qatal. So who would throw the first stone?

A known mouse said...

anonymous at 2.38 p.m.

"No it doesn't. I have the right to offend you and you have the right to be offended. There's all there is to it."

To offend is one thing.


But "communication which is hateful, threatening, abusive, or insulting and which targets a person on account of skin colour, race, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation" is a punishable offence even in the bastion of free speech that is the UK.

- It was offensive, deragotary and touched upon the sensitivities of many muslims INCLUDING moderate muslims.
- Most muslims over-reacted, gave it publicity etc etc. especially given this sort of event would have no significant impact on our religion or practices/beliefs.
- A ban (temporary, hopefully), while not the best route, is necessary. Zero action on the issue would lead to unnecessary violence/rioting/destruction.

Anonymous said...

Way to go people, Musharraf's modern enlightenment has really turned you into morons. Most of the people here who are against the ban on facebook are just hypocrites.Pathetic!!!!

Anonymous said...

uh, no anon@12.02pm... we rejected his self-serving dictatorship as much as we reject your religious selfrighteous dictatorship. it's only you Bush-alikes who see the world as "with us or against us". dweeb.

XYZ said...

First up, apologies all round. I suppose I brought the name calling upon myself by losing my cool. But contrary to what Marx thinks, it has nothing to do with social networking withdrawal. As I have said before, I don't even care so much about Facebook as the principle of the whole issue. My testiness was probably a result of the frustration at seeing the inability of some people to understand my basic argument and the general proclivity among Pakistanis in general to substitute emotion and so-called symbolism for rationality and logic (and once again, it has nothing to do with feeling embarrassed about how we are perceived abroad, it has to do with what we are. The SMS I received urging Muslims to answer the "lalkar" to their "ghairat" probably didn't help. In any case, that's why I decided to take time out.

Unfortunately, nothing that has happened since has changed my mind about the fact that we are cretins. We now have Youtube, Wikipedia and some claim Flickr and Twritter also banned by certain ISPs. It only reinforces my belief that the logical conclusion to this line of thinking must be a complete ban on the internet and on email. In addition, as a friend pointed out, there should also be a complete ban on international travel since poor sensitive Pakistanis might get accidentally offended abroad.

Obviously I cannot answer all the comments here but I do want to make some remarks about a few...

(cont.)

Surkha said...

"If you're offended by the Prophet cartoon thing, here's an easy solution ,
Just change your religion or become atheist .
You'll be just fine."

XYZ said...

(..cont)

@Anon303 and Anon313: I am not going to get into a tit-for-tat with you particularly because I find your comments more a lashing out at me because of my calling you stupid (see apology above) than of real substance. But I do want to correct some misunderstanding / misrepresentation of my post for the last time.

You write: "In the first half of your post you argue that free speech can be constrained "within certain limits prescribed by society." "

No, I don't. My point was NOT prescriptive, only descriptive. I did not argue that free speech CAN be constrained, only that it IS even despite claims to the contrary.

You continue: "But you end by suggesting that Facebook should not be banned for a variety of reasons that don't address the actual reason it WAS banned -- which is consistent with your own argument -- namely that in Pakistan, blasphemous speech is one of those "certain limits prescribed by society.""

No, my issue with the ban was/is not with the idea that the state has the right to block offensive material (although personally I am not in favour of bans), only with the logic of it in this case. My point was that neither does it stop the offensive material from existing (and still being accessible in a variety of ways), nor does it take into account far less heavy handed and destructive methods to achieve the same goal. And perhaps most importantly, it supposes that the best way to combat offensive speech is to become an ostrich, put one's head in the sand and pretend it does not exist.

You are welcome to continue to believe that this was a symbolic blow for Islam and Pakistan or that Pakistan's business to Facebook is substantial enough to force Facebook to its knees, but no sense of logic or actual facts support such theses. It is instructive to note, however, that NONE of the other Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, have bothered to go to the extremes Pakistan has.

@Anon450: You say: "you have in one sweep relegated people who are voicing their concern against ridiculing of their religion to those inventing emotive (non substantial) issues"

No, I actually respect the fact that religious sentiments have been hurt. I am relegating the so-called solution and the target of their ire. I am also denigrating Mullah politics that have done more to publicize this crass campaign than anything it could have achieved itself.

You also say: "for the likes of my freedom of expression friend above this protest is ALSO a show of freedom of expression...."

Indeed, it would be if it did not threaten violence to anyone disagreeing with them or anyone who thinks blocking Facebook and Youtube and Wikipedia is not the answer. Violence or the threat of violence is no freedom of expression my friend.

Finally, I'd like to leave you all with one of my favourite couplets from Akbar Allahabadi:


Faaltu aql mujh mein thi hi nahin /
Mazhabi behas main ne ki hi nahin

Magnum said...

The best tweet of the day (by Dawn columnist, NFP):
"Let's draw Hamid mir."

LOL!

KING said...

Mr. XYZ I totally agree with your views regarding our Government and LHC. They don't even know the meaning of "Social Networking", hell they don't even know what WWW stands for, and they are taking decisions for Pakistani Internet Geeks (THAT FREAKS ME OUT!). This kind of thing shows us that our (Pakistanis') future is going far to worst.

I DON'T GIVE A FUCKING DAMN TO ANY ISLAM OFFENDING PAGE ON FACEBOOK !!!! I WOULD SIMPLY IGNORE IT AND WANT EVERYONE ELSE TO IGNORE IT SO IT GET'S IGNORED BY EVERYONE AND BECOMES FORGETTABLE!

I have seen worse things than this sick "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day" campaign. Nauzubillah I have seen Christians and Jews posting pictures of Quran Shareef being used as Toilet Papers. Where was the BELIEF of Muslims then? Nowhere! They were all just chatting, having cybersex, talking to their spouses on Phone and IGNORING THAT CRAP.

Now everyone's GOODWILL has awaken and they are criticizing Facebook.

FOR THOSE ILLITERATE PEOPLE FROM PAKISTAN I AM TELLING THIS IN ROMAN URDU:- Facebook ek Chai ke Hotel ki tarah hai, jahan 2 alag alag Political Parties ke groups daily baithay hotay hain, 1 din dono mein larai hogai and 1 party ne us HOTEL ko BAN kar diya or bol diya ke AYENDA YAHAN KOI NAHI JAYEGA, Us hotel ka kia qusoor tha is mein? SIMPLY HA HA !!!

Pakistani Government and Pakistani Judges, all of them are LAMERS !!

alizeh said...

I was all for the ban on the 20th. But the 20th alone.

Why is fb still banned? and I am angry now. Angry because this is all we ever do, shove our faces in the neck like a bunch of ostriches when anything we don't like comes around. How IGNORANT of us. I am angry because I am unable to defend my religion. Instead I just hear about how they're going on mocking everything I believe in.

Sure it will make no difference to them, but I should still be allowed to defend what I want. Just because YOU want to shove your neck in the sand and look away doesn't mean I want to do the same. Not everyone is an intolerant moron, some of us can actually try to make a differences with our words.

Pakistan is starting to piss me off.

Smci said...

I'm surpirsed that no one has mentioned the idea that the LHC ruling itself was unconstitutional.

Section 295C, or the "Blasphemy Ordinance," adopted by the Parliament in the 80s only addresses individual persons as offenders, and the prescribed sentences bear this definition out in the text.

Nowhere in our Penal Code or in the Constitution has ANY court in Pakistan been granted the authority to intercede with an injunction banning the product of a foreign-based corporation.

By the way, has anyone actually read the the justice's ruling itself? I can't find it anywhere. By what judicial logic did he come to his ruling?

I've heard rumors that the opinion itself was severely flawed in its logic, and at one point, the justice quotes an emotive article from the United States?

---

As for the Islamic argument, anyone jump in and correct me if I'm wrong, but the Seerah doesn't provide a SINGLE example of the Prophet killing, ordering the killing, or passively agreeing to the murder of a person who insulted his personage. In fact for the first 13 years he was spat upon, ridiculed, starved, stoned, and defiled, and didn't lift his hand on a single person. Yes, some of those same people later went on to die at the hands of Muslims in war, but it wasn't because of their ridicule, it was because of their armed opposition that they suffered death.

There are examples from his life where those that hated him would mockingly distort his name and call him "Mudhamdham." To which he would simply smile and reply, "they're looking for the blameworthy [Mudhamdham], and my name is the praiseworthy [Muhammad]."

There's the sound saying attributed to Ibn Abbas wherein he says "Whosoever has seen the Prophet (s) will go to paradise." To which someone asked, "but many of his enemies looked at him, and died as rejecters." He replied "They didn't see the Prophet, they saw the Orphan of Bani Hashim."

The point is simply to remember that the person they are drawing or ridiculing isn't our Prophet, it's someone they think was an opportunistic, sadistic, pedophilic, tyrant. And we can't teach them otherwise if we keep erecting walls between us and them.

"... And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and conscious of Allah – indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.” [Aal-i Imran: 186]

Anonymous said...

I came on this blog after a week or so, hoping to read something interesting, and i find all these pathetic,idiotic comments. Really, people, get a fucking life! I want my facebook back!

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing by this: "The US 1st (free speech) Amendment does legally protect all forms of speech but even in the US, it is socially and politically suicidal to say anything in the mainstream media that questions certain sacred cows, such as the right of Israel to exist, having sex with those 'under age', or to make fun of Jesus." you do not live in the US.

First off having sex with those 'under age' is against the law here and I'm pretty sure even you wouldn't want someone having sex with your 12 year old brother or sister. Although check out NAMBLA and you will see people are free to talk about it all they want. It is a fine line between speech and action, but you are free to speak to it. As to political or social suicide, that all depends on the crowd you’re in. Funny thing about people here in America, we rarely all think alike, despite what the media portrays.

On "the right of Israel to exist" that debate does go on, although you're partially correct, it is not often debated publically because the US recognizes the sovereignty of Israel, so there is little debate on Israel’s right to exist, the debate is more of how to deal with the Palestinian issue. Since Pakistan was “created” in 1947 we could also debate "the right of Pakistan to exist" but that is a moot point because we, the US, also recognize the sovereignty of Pakistan. Typically it’s the hard core anti-Semites who question the right of Israel to exist, and we do have them here, it’s just that we tend to marginalize narrow minded bigots who hate.

Now to “make fun of Jesus.” Ever watch South Park? They make fun of Jesus frequently and it’s a very popular show. Popular late night comedians make fun of Jesus and Christian beliefs. There are groups in America who want crosses removed from all forms of public property. New York has sponsored an art exhibit where the Virgin Mary (Jesus’ mother) encrusted in elephant dung. Pretty weird and there was an outcry, but no one was killed, no riots, no flag burnings, no mayhem. Some were more pissed because tax-payer money was partially used to fund the exhibit.

Me, I’m an atheist so I could give a shit about people making fun of Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah, or Mohammed, or Zeus for that matter. But I also don’t care if crosses are on public land, or any other religious symbol, as long as tax payer dollars were not used to put it there. The cross/menorah/crescent are of no threat to me or my beliefs. I respect others for their beliefs as long as they equally respect me and mine.

But when people mock Jesus, or Christianity, or Jews, or Buddhism, or Hindus they are pretty sure that, while they certainly will probably piss off some people, they are not going to be physically attacked or killed.
So why does Mohammad get a pass? Usually because people are afraid of having their heads cut off or of being killed. That my friend is not freedom, that is just wrong.

Should people be respectful of other’s cultural and religious symbols? Yes, but that’s not the world we live in. That world will only arrive when all people show equal respect to all others regardless of religion, race, or nation. I am 100% sure neither you nor I will live to see an absolutely tolerant world. But tolerance has to start somewhere and it's usually not in the hearts of religious fundamentalists.

Anonymous said...

Azhar Siddique (Advocate) is linchpin of the Islamic Lawyers .
Azhar Siddique (Advovate) is the owner of MillatFaceBook and he just got FaceBook blocked due to personal interests. No one would have joined MillatFaceBook in presence of Facebook

Its not love of Holy Prophet but MillatFacebook which made him exploit religion for personal ends.

http://www.millatfacebook.com/core-team/

A.W. said...

Aaron Worthing, here, proprietor of one of the website sites participating in the Draw Mohammed movement, called simply “Everyone Draw Mohammed.” I’d like to offer a few points in response to this post.

I think frankly you miss the point and purpose of these protests. I would invite you to my site to see for yourself how it is promoted, but frankly I am on the ban list. Then again who knows what kinds of work arounds, proxy servers you might utilize. So here is the address, for what it is worth. http://everyonedrawmohammed.blogspot.com/

Let me start with what the idea of the thing is. As I say on my site:

> We are Calling the Terrorists’ bluff!

> The terrorists threaten to murder anyone who insults or even depicts their prophet in a cartoon. And as long as it is a handful of individuals being threatened—Salman Rushdie, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and the Danish cartoonists—that threat is effective. You might even look at the murder of Theo Van Gogh and conclude it is not a bluff.

> But it IS a bluff. Because if enough people do it at once, they will not be able to carry through their threat. They can’t kill us all. It’s that simple.

> That is why we must draw Mohammed.

So what we are doing is we are intentionally exposing ourselves to the same danger that others have faced for insulting Islam or even depicting Mohammed, as a way to show the terrorists that we are not afraid of them.

Now the unfortunate reality is that the mechanism by which we are exposing ourselves to the danger is by doing a thing that offends not only the terrorists, but the good Muslims who love both free speech and their prophet. I mean it would be so much easier if the terrorists said they would kill anyone who drew a kitten, because then we could draw kittens all day long without offending anyone but the people who richly deserve to be offended. Sadly, these terrorists have glommed onto your faith and thus your sensitivities end up as collateral damage. I have tried to think of another way to address this ongoing problem, and I can think of no other. I’ll flesh out the problem, as I see it, as we go on in response to something you said.

You say you oppose it because it is hypocritical. Well, first that is a cop out. If a person is right on one issue and wrong on the other, you will oppose them where they are right because they are wrong on the other thing? It is a classic case of making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Second, it may be hypocritical for much of the free world, but it is not the case in America. In America for instance, a man may take a likeness of my savior Jesus Christ and submerge him in urine and photograph it. And not only do we not ban that sort of them, he actually gets a government grant for his trouble. Now, I do object to him getting a government grant, because our constitution says that the government may neither promote nor denigrate any religion, but I don’t particularly care if he makes it and sells it to private individuals.

A.W. said...

(cont)

As far as your complaint about social limitation you say “but even in the US, it is socially and politically suicidal to say anything in the mainstream media that questions certain sacred cows, such as the right of Israel to exist, having sex with those 'under age', or to make fun of Jesus” you seem a little unclear on the concept of freedom of speech. What’s the alternative? To create a situation where you would say something appalling to us, but we would have to pretend we are not appalled? If you are free to say what is appalling, then we are free to express our feelings on the subject. Indeed, that applies directly to this Everyone Draw Mohammed controversy, because you are free to tell me I shouldn’t do it, or even to retaliate by blaspheming and insulting the figures I care for. Indeed, the correct response to speech you don’t like isn’t to ban it, but to engage in counter speech such as that.

And your complaint that it is politically suicidal in America to express certain unfavored views is just bizarre. Again, what is the alternative? When a person votes for a candidate for office, they evaluate what they say in order to predict what they will do in office. So if a politician says he would like to legalize sex with children, isn’t the voter allowed to base their decision on whether to vote for that person on that public position, as in “I don’t want the age of consent lowered, so I am not voting for him.” I mean, isn’t that how democracy is supposed to work?

This movement is opposed to the use of force to limit debate, whether that force is exercised by the government or a group of terrorist thugs. I could care less about mere social pressure. You have a right to speak freely, but there is no requirement that we have to like what you said.

Now, one argument that has been raised is this: if you oppose those European laws against denying the holocaust, why aren’t you protesting that? Well, it goes back to the method of protest. I can’t run afoul of the rule in Germany banning Nazism, without going to Germany. And frankly the will is willing, but my wallet is weak. By comparison, it is relatively easy to run afoul of the terrorists’ demands because they have asserted universal jurisdiction. I mean I see you use blogger, too, so surely you know speech on blogger is truly free, as in no cost (besides basic internet access).

And that leads me to another point. You speak of the cultural limitations. Well, we have a culture here in America, too. In that culture, we freely discuss and even insult religions and religious figures. For instance in the very same episode of South Park that was censored under terrorist threat, Buddha was shown doing drugs and Jesus was shown viewing porn on the internet. What the efforts of these terrorists represent is an attempt to impose their culture on our culture. If it was only banned in “islamic” countries it would be an improvement over the current situation.

A.W. said...

(cont)

> Secondly, my problem with this campaign is that it is not a little bit patronizing - as if the only issue left to ensure freedom of expression in the West is that these 'uncivilized and illiberal' Muslims need to be taught a lesson.

Well, let me be very clear about something. This isn’t about muslim society in general but those specific terrorists who are trying to silence people with threats of violence and acts of violence.

The fact is that there is a unique problem here. I mean this didn’t start with South Park. This has been going on for 20 years, starting with Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Versus.” There has been a massive, organized campaign of terror for 20 years that has attempted to suppress all criticism of Islam or Islamic culture, or even a mere depiction of Mohammed. It is in fact a unique threat unlike anything seen since the enlightenment began.

And you say that this merely a matter of respecting the boundaries your society has placed. Well, to be blunt, if Mohammed cannot be insulted or criticized, or even depicted, then you do not believe in freedom of religion, at all. In fact, if this an accurate copy of Pakistan’s constitution, I don’t see one word in it authorizing this ban: http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/ And even if the ban was legal, it would still be unjust. Freedom of religion is the freedom to choose one’s religion. The right to choose is the right to an informed choice. But how can you possibly make an informed choice if people are not free to discuss, criticize and even insult your religion?

A.W. said...

(cont—last part, I promise)

For instance I spoke with a man who told me he recently stopped being a muslim. I asked him why and he stated that he learned something about Mohammed that broke his faith. What did he learn? Well, I am frankly unable to tell you without running the risk that your blog might be censored next. I mean it would be a shmucky thing for me, as a commentor, to cause your blog to be banned, so I won’t do it. So I suppose you might never learn this fact that broke his faith.

And think of the damage done. Can you say you are freely choosing to be a Muslim if you can’t hear the argument this man made? And meanwhile the argument is spread around the west all the time. It is in fact one of the favorite themes of the cartoons. What if the argument was wrong, somehow? You couldn’t hope to counter it, because I can’t even tell you what the argument is.

The other problem is that an anti-blasphemy rule is utterly unworkable, because most religions are blasphemous to at least one other faith. For instance, Muslims deny that Jesus was the Son of God, they claim that he was just a prophet, and they claim that he didn’t actually die on the cross. Each of these beliefs are highly blasphemous to my faith, Christianity, and these are not small details, either. The fact that Jesus was, in our opinion, the Son of God, and the fact he died on the cross are central features of our faith. His lineage as the Son of God gives him authority; and his suffering and death, in our faith, absolved us of our sins and opened the door to heaven. We believe he literally saved our souls from perdition. The truth is just about every faith blasphemes at least one other faith. So its not even realistic to tell a person not to blaspheme your faith—it’s inevitable in the exercise of one’s religion that he or she will blaspheme another.

I do hope eventually this works toward a greater harmony between people of all faiths. I don’t think the average muslim on the street is my enemy. I have too much faith in humanity to ever believe that. But the way we learn to live together is to understand that we are not going to share the same faith, that every sides will say things on matters of faith that the other sides profoundly disagrees with, often to the point that one man’s gospel is another blasphemy. We will never learn to live together in peace by prohibiting the discussion of those differences of opinion, but rather by accepting that we have these differences and learning that violence is not the correct way to settle a debate.

And again, most Muslims get that. But we have a violent and effective minority that doesn’t and you are going to have to sit tight while we handle this problem, by calling their bluff. I mean to be very blunt, I think I speak for the majority of people who have engaged in this when I say that I never would have done any of this, if not for this campaign of terror, and when it is finally defanged, you can be sure that I won’t continue. Let’s all hope that day comes soon.

Reply to AW said...

@ AW
While I couldn’t agree with you more that terrorists who misuse Islam and the concept of Jihad should be condemned and stopped, however the means used to stop these terrorists really need to be well thought out (so that they are not infringing on the rights of peace loving Muslims). We already live in a world which is marred by hatred and violence we need not through our actions create more instability around us. You rightly pointed out that this draw Muhammad campaign will hurt the sensitivities of the good Muslims too. Let me tell you my friend the terrorists are only a handful of miscreants (NOT Muslims) and the good (or real) Muslims number in the billions the world over so by using this means you decided to outrage billions of Muslims who are on your side as far as upholding freedom of expression and not using violence is concerned while the handful of miscreants will only use this provocation to indulge in more acts of violence or use this as an example to indoctrinate na├»ve minds: for your intention was not to take part in a hate crime against Muslims but those very terrorists in their training camps will surely use these images to convince their recruits how the intolerant west is ridiculing Islam and rile up their emotions.
Now you are requesting Muslims to sit tight while you teach terrorists a lesson. But as I have argued the terrorists might not attack you guys per say but they might use what you are drawing for far worse activities. What’s the point in provoking more violence? It’s not an effective means that you have chosen and it may backfire. Secondly from a Muslim point of view its just not possible to sit back and be ok with people drawing ridiculing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), no matter how nobel the purpose, because it’s forbidden in Islam to draw caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Also how can someone whether a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew be OK with humiliating caricatures of a figure they hold in high esteem. As a Muslim im offended at the example you have given about a figure of Jesus smeared in urine being photographed. I find that extremely humiliating. You say you were ok with that but If Jesus is your savior shouldn’t you hold him in a higher esteem than your mother or father or even your own self? If someone abuses your parents or you and calls you names are you ok with that? Don’t you get offended?
You say “Indeed, the correct response to speech you don’t like isn’t to ban it, but to engage in counter speech such as that.” So, im assuming your response to such a name calling incident would be you hurling back abuses at the said person. But is this how civilized people behave? It will just end up in an abuse hurling competition with emotions flaring up and either one of the two persons getting violent. Similarly you say that if someone draws a caricature of your holy figure you insult their holy figures in return. I don’t think this is freedom of expression this is just abuse and an extremely uncivilized behavior.

Reply to AW said...

continued
While you say the aim should be, “I do hope eventually this works toward a greater harmony between people of all faiths. I don’t think the average Muslim on the street is my enemy. I have too much faith in humanity to ever believe that. But the way we learn to live together is to understand that we are not going to share the same faith, that every sides will say things on matters of faith that the other sides profoundly disagrees with, often to the point that one man’s gospel is another blasphemy. We will never learn to live together in peace by prohibiting the discussion of those differences of opinion, but rather by accepting that we have these differences and learning that violence is not the correct way to settle a debate.” How in the world will you create harmony by hurling abuses or by drawing humiliating caricatures of respected holy figures? If you really wish for harmony among different faiths and there to be an informed debate about these faiths then the most important pre requisite is respect for others. If you don’t show respect you won’t get it and then forget all hopes of harmony. A debate in a respectful environment will bear fruit, if you are respectful of others they will listen to your point of view while in an abuse hurling competition or a ridiculing holy figures fetish no body will be willing to listen or accept the others point of view. By being respectful I don’t mean that voices of dissent should be silenced, if you have an opinion that is contrary to my faith you have every right to express it but within the bounds of decency. Drawing humiliating caricatures of holy figures is not DECENT nor CIVILIZED by any stretch of the imagination. And you also agree to it that it’s insulting, “Well, we have a culture here in America, too. In that culture, we freely discuss and even insult religions and religious figures.” I hope you get what I’m trying to say. Your aim is commendable: terrorists should be taught a lesson but you are doing this at the expense of hurting the sensitivities of billions of other Muslims; and there should be harmony and debate amongst different faiths, but that cannot be achieved by insulting other religions but by talking about differences of opinion in a respectful manner. Debate has nothing to do with insults. Insults are not a debate. Humiliating caricatures are insults not debate.
Another thing just because it’s become the norm to insult religions and make humiliating caricatures of holy figures doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Please don’t jump on the bandwagon without fully understanding what your actions imply. By insulting the religion of others you are insulting the values they hold dearly to and in short you are insulting that person.

XYZ said...

@A.W.: You raise some important issues. Unfortunately, I have not had the time to respond in detail. However, I just want to point out that it's not that I don't understand the concept of free speech as it pertains to the US constitution. But I also know exactly how much freedom there is or isn't to say unpopular things in the mainstream media and, believe me, certain things are circumbscribed which have nothing to do with electoral politics. My issue is 1) with the assumption that denigrating religion or religious figures (which comes easy to the West because of its particular history regarding the 'Enlightenment') is by itself a marker of free speech and 2) that offensive and provocative tactics bordering on and indulging in hate speech are some means to create understanding between differing points of view. You may value your freedom to do what you want in your own corner, but if you're going to be oblivious to the repercussions of your actions, particularly in a context of past colonialism and racism and current neo-imperialism in an inter-connected world, you really are living in a fool's paradise.

Do keep in mind that my post actually was addressed primarily to the issue of why banning Facebook in Pakistan was NOT the right response.


@Reply to AW: Thanks for articulating your thoughts. Agree with most of them.

For those interested, the following link probably offers a better and far more patient response to some of the issues A.W. (Aaron Worthing) raises about the cartoon controversy than I could.

http://goatmilkblog.com/2010/05/25/a-facebook-conversation-on-the-cartoon-controversy/