Facebook should get on with it and ban ‘Draw Mohammed Day’ group as row grows

[UPDATE, 15:00:] Pakistani is going ban crazy and has now extended its Facebook block to include YouTube and about 450 other web pages (including some on Flickr and Wikipedia) over what it described as “growing sacrilegious content”.

According to a report in the New York Times the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) moved to block YouTube after it spotted increased “objectionable content”.

PTA spokesman, Khurram Mehran, said: “Earlier we were blocking the links, but when content increased we had to block the whole Web site.”

From earlier – Facebook says it might now ban the provocative ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!’ group after Pakistani courts blocked the social networking site yesterday. Really Facebook should get on with it. This is doing nothing, but stir up pointless trouble, what is it waiting for?

More than 75,000 people have now joined the group that is organising a day dedicated to drawing the prophet Mohammed while more than 37,000 have joined an opposing group called Against ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day – May 20′.

Yesterday afternoon, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked access to Facebook after the Lahore High Court issued an interim ruling as lawyers milled outside chanting “Down with Facebook”. They should have been chanting “Twitter is down” as it was constantly falling over yesterday.

Facebook has responded saying it was disappointed with the Pakistani courts’ decision to block Facebook without warning. It said it wanted Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others. Fair enough, but it shouldn’t be a place where people pointlessly stir up religious and racial trouble.

“While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion.

“We strongly believe that Facebook users have the freedom to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content, groups or pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas,” Facebook said in a statement.

Khoram Ali Mehran of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority described the material on the group as “objectionable” and said it had been blocked it for an indefinite amount of time. He’s right it is. Most of the pictures on there are Islamic charactertures.

A message on the group’s information page said that it was not trying to slander the average Muslim, but spark debate.

“Hopefully this page will spark seroius debates in international forums. This page will continue to exist and the date will remain the same. PS: We are not trying to slander the average muslim , its not a muslim/islam hatepage. We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Mohammed depictions, that we’re not afraid of them.”

The page appears to have been set up by a Seattle-based cartoonist and contains dozens of caricatures of Mohammad and other pictures such as the one above. The original of that image features the caption “Leave Mohammed alone” and features little images of the prophet.

Does no one have a life? Facebook should just get on and ban both groups. Whoever set up the original ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day must have know what the outcome would be. It is highly provocative and looking at the comments is simply stirring up religious hatred. Who has time for any of that I do not know.

The site claims that it has been set up to spark serious debate in international forums and is “not trying to slander the average muslim”. Well if that is the case why is the main image on the draw Mohammed day group and image of a Islamist with several large knives? If that is supposed to be Mohammed why has the group depicted him as a jihadi?

Facebook should get off the fence, close the book down and everyone else should have a sit down and think about the stupid comments they’ve been posting.

This is another instance where Facebook really shows a lack of leadership. It was the same over the child protection issues being advanced by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre when the social networking site initially refused to back panic button idea.

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  • Stephen Davis

    When is draw Jesus day?

  • sakpaki

    Great Gordon MacMillan, we need to promote common human values

  • Gordon MacMillan

    I have no idea why people get out of bed in the morning and do this kind of stuff, but I do wish they would stop.

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  • jesus touches children inappropriately

    The idea is the freedom of speech. The right to say anything about anyone’s religion anytime. It’s not something for you to pussy about with and cave into.

  • Haseeb

    This page did nothing more than to spread hatred among today’s people because we all know how strongly Muslims all over the world feel about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

    Freedom of speech or any freedom comes with responsibility. Just because I’m free doesn’t mean i can hurt people. So we believe in freedom of speech, but it has to be within ethical bounds. And we did nothing to endanger anyone’s right to expression in the first place.
    There is a shared responsibility in a shared society, which includes
    defending each others human dignity. We are endorsed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

  • jesus touches children inappropriately

    “So we believe in freedom of speech, but”

    No. No buts. You can’t believe in the freedom of speech, so long as it’s not something you personally don’t like. That isn’t freedom of speech.

  • Gordon MacMillan

    Here we go again. Freedom of speech is precious that’s why it shouldn’t be abused in this way. If that group truly wanted to raise debate they would not have, as I said, depicted Mohammed as a cartoon jihadi. Seriously defend that @Jesus — what message does that send out?

  • jesus touches children inappropriately

    “Freedom of speech is precious that’s why it shouldn’t be abused in this way.”
    No. Freedom of speech is the right to say even the most ridiculous malarky you can come up with. Why not say ‘water is great, so long as it’s not wet?’
    “If that group truly wanted to raise debate they would not have, as I said, depicted Mohammed as a cartoon jihadi.”

    Freedom of speech isn’t all about debate. Sometimes it’s the right to make a completely stupid statement. I can say the sky is red without fear of someone threatening me with violence for refusing to take it as blue.
    “Seriously defend that @Jesus — what message does that send out?”
    There doesn’t HAVE to be a message. Free speech means taking the rubbish with the true gems of the world. Free speech isn’t all doctoral theses.

  • David Anderson

    This idea that freedom of speech gives you the right to “say even the most ridiculous” is the biggest load of bullcrap I ever heard – you have to accept that certain views as simply offensive.

    You can make all the stupid statements you like — but if you want to spew racism and stir up hatred you should be challenged. If you want to publish such views then they should be taken down.

    What gives you the right to insult and attack another group of people? Freedom of speech is not the answer Jesus.

  • Buddha ate my baby

    “You can make all the stupid statements you like — but if you want to spew racism and stir up hatred you should be challenged. If you want to publish such views then they should be taken down.”

    Firstly, a religion isn’t a race. Secondly, challenged, sure. Exercise your freedom of speech to disagree! Lopsided censorship isn’t the answer.

    “What gives you the right to insult and attack another group of people? Freedom of speech is not the answer Jesus.”

    But it is. If not, there’s a slippery slope to not being allowed to offend anyone. Would you like it if you were legally banned, or had violence taken against you for eating beef, because it offends Hindus? Before you scoff, consider how offensive any fast food commercial could be to them. Small wonder they don’t make threats, hmm?

    Freedom of speech is the right to say things which may offend others, that’s the very basis of stating it as a freedom, otherwise if everyone had a homogenised opinion, there’d be no point. Ants don’t need constitutional rights. The whole point of it is the right to say things contrary to the opinions of your government, neighbours, relatives, or even contradict yourself. Nobody deserves any special treatment to be protected AGAINST the freedom of speech. This isn’t racism. This isn’t a hate group. Believe it or not, it’s not all people trying to poke a bees nest for fun. There is a serious issue at hand with one group expecting special rights no other is given. Mockeries of Jesus are all in good fun. Insulting any other deity or pantheon doesn’t spark such knee-jerk outrage. How many Catholics swore death to anyone that made fun of the paedophillic priest scandal? Notice how nobody called for my posts to be removed for insulting Jesus in my previous username. I predict an equally nonexistant outroar by the Buddhist community for this one. Why should Islam expect different? Freedom of speech is freedom of speech across the board, unlimited.

  • Alex Slyder

    Let’s see if Facebook has an opinion if following pages are created:

    1. FUCK MARK ZUCKERGERG IN THE ASS!
    2. POPE BANGING MARK ZUCKERGERG AND HIS MOMMY AT THE SAME TIME!
    3. NIGGERS, SPICKS & KYKES GETTING TOGETHER TO FUK MARK’S MOMMY IN THE ASS!
    4. MARK ZUCKERBERG LOVES TO DEEPTHROAT OSAMA BIN LADEN.
    5. MARK ZUCKERBERG IS THE MOST GAY DICKHEAD ON THE FACE OF THIS EARTH!

    I wonder if above page are created, what would Facebook’s opinion be?

  • Whatever

    LOL @ the person trying too hard to explain freedom of speech!
    Luk buddy, nobodys interested what-so-ever in yer so called freedom of speech. And about the examples you gave of scandals, well if it really hits where it hurts people do scream! { unless, ofcourse, they are dumb or don’t want to bother with their ‘delicate sensibilities’ }
    Muslims have all right to shout it out and be outraged. Its their religion AND their freedom of speech. It makes YOU stand in no way of objecting to THEIR “quote” ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH’. If they don’t like it, they don’t and atleast they have the GUTS to come out and say it AND do something about it!

    So you can say all you want. Its ok its your freedom of speech because the sky is red for you. LOL.

    P.s: people in mental asalyums also have a freedom of speech. So we’ll all just allow Your freedom of speech. Now its ok, you don’t have to waste you breath or amybe your energy in typing. Go out and play under that red sky :) :) :) and sweetheart your right. people have Freedom of speech and your sky is really red, I believe you :). Buhbye dahling!

  • Ash

    Good to know that you don’t support FREE SPEECH Gordon….

  • Kory Schaubhut

    I very much disagree with you. Facebook should issue a statement saying that Pakistan’s decision is wrong. Like you said, “Pakistan is going ban crazy.”

    The “Everybody Draw Mohammed” Facebook group is not a pointless exercise in cruelty toward Muslims. It’s a statement about the rightful limits of free speech and the fundamental rights of all people to enjoy it — Muslims and everyone else.

  • Buddha ate my baby

    “LOL @ the person trying too hard to explain freedom of speech!
    Luk buddy, nobodys interested what-so-ever in yer so called freedom of speech. And about the examples you gave of scandals, well if it really hits where it hurts people do scream! { unless, ofcourse, they are dumb or don’t want to bother with their ‘delicate sensibilities’ }
    Muslims have all right to shout it out and be outraged. Its their religion AND their freedom of speech. It makes YOU stand in no way of objecting to THEIR “quote” ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH’. If they don’t like it, they don’t and atleast they have the GUTS to come out and say it AND do something about it!

    So you can say all you want. Its ok its your freedom of speech because the sky is red for you. LOL.

    P.s: people in mental asalyums also have a freedom of speech. So we’ll all just allow Your freedom of speech. Now its ok, you don’t have to waste you breath or amybe your energy in typing. Go out and play under that red sky :) :) :) and sweetheart your right. people have Freedom of speech and your sky is really red, I believe you :) . Buhbye dahling!”

    See, I fully support your right to drunken retarded babbling, because even those that don’t know their arse from their elbow deserve the right to speak their mind.

  • vickykahn

    freedom of speech is what the talk is all about. Why dont people express their freedom of speech in a positive manner. Instead of creating a day like this one which has ignited muslims they should create things like create awareness for younger childrens in poor countries, protest against the injust killing of innocent people in countries such as afhanistan,iraq and palestine. Actually people like these who are behind this who drama purposely want to ignite a fight with muslim community as a whole. These are the people who dont want to live peacefully side by side with muslims and then blame them if they take actions against them by protesting or boycotting facebook as it has been done in this case.
    It is very sad to see people fight with each other over religion. I respect christians, hindus and other religions and being a muslim i am proud to say that i am one of them whom the whole has turned a blind eye. They can just see the ones which are shown on TV or as the media potrayes muslims. We are peace loving people and who said there are no bad people in a society. I could bet anyone on that to find a 100% perfect society. Hope people start thinking in the right way and get their thinking on the right track.

  • Buddha ate my baby

    “freedom of speech is what the talk is all about. Why dont people express their freedom of speech in a positive manner.”

    Because freedom of speech means the right to express themselves in any manner they choose, positive or negative. People don’t have to promote charitable causes all the time, every waking breath doesn’t need to be used for the purpose of solidarity.

    “Actually people like these who are behind this who drama purposely want to ignite a fight with muslim community as a whole. These are the people who dont want to live peacefully side by side with muslims and then blame them if they take actions against them by protesting or boycotting facebook as it has been done in this case.”

    It’s not about igniting a fight. It’s about saying “Hey look, nobody else has to fight when this happens to them, why do you?” I can draw obscene pictures of Mahavira without Jains threatening me with death, why not Islam, a religion of peace and tolerance, by it’s own book? Why can’t Muslems learn to live with other people having their own rights and freedoms respected? Don’t tell me you’ve never heard an Imam speak about how blasphemous other religions are, just like religious leaders from all other walks of faith. So why can’t a negative eye be turned against them?

  • Gordon MacMillan

    @Ash I support freedom of speech, its the foundation of a liberal democracy (small “l”), but I think it comes with responsibility to respect out religions and races and I don’t see that happening with this group. Period.

  • Hairy Hairy Krishna Bollocks

    Firstly, insulting Islam is not racist. It’s a religion, not a race. In fact, insisting that it is is in itself racist, with some archaic prejudice concept that it’s a religion of “brown people”, when infact there are over a billion muslems in the world, as ethnically diverse as can be. There are blond haired, blue eyed, pure stock Caucasians that are just as fantatical about Islam as any Saudi Arabian.

    With that out of the way, anything can be seen as insulting by someone. Freedom of speech is the right to say those things, as well as the right for people to openly disagree.

    To use my other example, if I were to say the sky is red, you have the right to contend that it is in fact blue, and give evidence to your argument. We could discuss it as adults in a proper setting, or we could fling childish insults about how stupid the other person is. That’s free speech. Infantile argumentative outright trolling is just as represented by it as intellectual discourse. What is a problem is when blue skyers decide to resort to violence for insulting the glorious azure heavens. At some point Islamists as a whole are going to have to learn to ability to agree to disagree. Naturally, it’s not only them, but any group that attempts to curtail everyone’s freedom to appease a section of the whole.

    If person A doesn’t like what person B is saying, they have the choice to either talk about it, or ignore them. They don’t have the right to stop them.

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  • Jean

    All seem to be forgetting!!!
    Freedom of speech.
    Means Without Fear – that I -You- They – don’t like it …. so will burn your flag- assasinate you- blow you too smithereens because – you upset/ offended me.
    Known as intimidation – People ought to be shouting from the roof tops about this Intimidation- why is society cowering/making excuses- oh yes- Someone might not like it- and then they will burn ….

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  • http://www.marmadukegrimwig.com Chris Lonie

    The group is not the issue here. It’s the fact that certain groups of people seem to think that it is ok to threaten to kill people simply because they express a viewpoint that they find ‘offensive’. This is not the middle ages.

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