Pakistan And Facebook Play Nice…For Now

Filed as News on May 31, 2010 4:06 pm

Two weeks ago we reported that Facebook was banned from Pakistan, losing nearly 45 million users. The ban occurred after the group “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day!” remained on the site after drawing outrage from the Muslim community. It’s considered a punishable offense to draw pictures of Mohammad under Islamic belief and Facebook had refused to remove the group.

A lower Pakistani court issued the original ban which was a temporary block put into place until May 31st, at which time a final decision on the sites existence in the country would be determined if Facebook didn’t take the necessary steps to remove the offensive material.

The Facebook team chose to apologize to the Pakistan community and the material was removed from within the country. It’s also believed that the group may have been removed from several other Islamic countries, although several draw Mohammad groups can still be found when searching from within the United States.

The location based restriction is a nice move for Facebook which allows them to keep freedom of speech in place in the United States, while offering a sympathetic stance for Islamic countries.

Lawyer Azhar Siddique told Reuters:

“The government has assured the court on behalf of the website that the blasphemous material would not be seen in Pakistan.”

Siddique works with the Islamic Lawyers Forum, the group which called for the ban against Facebook.

What are your thoughts on a regional ban? Do you believe religious attacks on the site should be removed from all regions or did Facebook take the right stance in allowing the material to remain in non-Islamic countries?

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  1. By Rony Parvej posted on May 31, 2010 at 5:14 pm
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    Facebook is also banned in Bangladesh.

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  2. By James Johnson posted on May 31, 2010 at 5:21 pm
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    Rony, given recent moves by Islamic states that makes sense. Facebook will surely block freedom of expression in that area soon and work to bring back their services to Bangladesh. I personally would prefer that countries provide users with their own rights to ignore what they would prefer not to see, but I concede that sadly most governments do not offer those types of freedoms to their citizens.

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  3. By Mic posted on June 2, 2010 at 5:16 am
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    When u attack Black people, they call it racism. When u attack Jews, they call it anti-Semitism. When u attack women, they call it sexism. When u attack homosexuals,they call it intolerance. When u attack a Country, they call it treason.When u attack a religious sect, they call it hate. But when they try to attack our Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), they call it freedom of speech? (make it your status if you care)

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  4. By James Johnson posted on June 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm
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    Actually Mic, in the United States Of America if you don’t physically attack a person or incite a riot with direct actions that would incite a riot, it’s called Freedom of Speech, so when you verbally or through cartoons attack a black person, it’s still freedom of speech, when you attack Jews, it’s still called freedom of speech, when you attack homosexuality it’s called freedom of speech, when you attack a religion (this happens all the time) it’s still called Freedom of Speech.

    Do I think it’s repulsive when people attack these groups. Absolutely! I might not understand the state of Islam, but I respect their rights to practice their religion however they see fit, just as I respect the right for American’s to practice their rights under the constitution.

    BTW, it’s not considered treason to attack the U.S. through words or drawings (unless those words specifically state you are going to attack the country or it’s people). With cartoons typically we call that Satire here, as most of it is drawn in comics or stated by opponents to the political system in word.

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  5. By Johlo posted on June 8, 2010 at 9:59 am
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    All religions are made fun of or criticized in North America, Europe, Australia, NZ and South America. However, you are free to practice whatever religion you like. All of this is part of being in what is called a free society. In China, all religions are suppressed… especially Islam, yet China is Pakistan’s closest ally. In most Muslim countries including Pakistan, all other religions are suppressed. For example, if you are not Muslim and try to practice you religion openly in Pakistan, there is a good chance you will be attacked and persecuted. So pardon us if we feel that Pakistanis in their selective outrage are being hypocritical and trying to suppress others free speech rights on the Internet. If you don’t like the free and openness of the Internet, don’t go it!!

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  6. By Banking posted on November 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm
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    I’d have to be of the same mind with you one this subject. Which is not something I typically do! I love reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind!

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