Let us ban thinking…

Thanks to Yasir, I found this rather simple but powerful poem illustrating the sad reality on the way we have reacted to the Facebook saga. Raza Rumi

As muslims lets be outraged and have shut down or at least boycott the site that was sacrilegious
then close or at least boycott facebook
then close or at least boycott the email
then close or at least boycott twitter
then close and or at least boycott the internet
then close or at least boycott email
then close or at least boycott sms
then close or at least boycott mobiles
then close or at least boycott books
then close or at least boycott paper
then close or at least boycott the pen
then close or at least boycott speech
then close or at least boycott gesture
then close or at least boycott thinking
now my brother we have arrived
lets make a pile of these things and burn them till they are smoke
and fire the nukes till there is no trace left_

_then lets pick some of that charcoal, and some fireproof sheets
and have a draw satan day.




Filed under Pakistan

31 responses to “Let us ban thinking…

  1. yasserlatifhamdani


    The problem Raza bhai is that no one is ready to file against the LHC order in the Supreme Court…

    And why should they…. Pakistan’s constitution of 1973 condones such restrictions …

  2. Dear Yasser
    Indeed this is a great critique of our predicament. But let me add – Article 2-A about which you have written (and please post it here) was used to get this ban imposed. I am afraid that 2-A was not part of the 1973 Constitution as this article was inserted by a dictator who must be very happy today!!

  3. They have banned wikipaedia also…

  4. Laila Isphandyar

    The problem with us is:We think ANYTHING goes in name of Freedom Of Expression.Sad!Where were these voices when france imposed veil ban on muslim women? Do THEY not have a right to express their views?
    What pseudos!

  5. banjara286

    freedom argument cannot be used to justify hateful practices such as the “draw muhammad day” on facebook. Muslims have a right to express their indignation over such disgusting incidents.

    it is possible that the court’s decision has helped to contain the reaction on the streets within manageable limits.

  6. Ummi

    Raza Agha Rumi:

    Muslims are exercising same “freedom” which France exercised against Scarf. Either reject both or embrace both. Why is it hurting you?

  7. Rabia

    fair enough, banjara. But how do you respond to the claim that that same logic was applied by the ZAB govt to promulgate the 2nd amendment in order to prevent street violence and a repeat of 1953 anti ahmadi riots? Do you support that?

  8. Rabia

    and also, do you think preemptive legislation in the case of the anti-ahmadi movement helped to “curb” anti-ahmadi sentiment? Or would you agree that it instead gave it a boost and also helped it to expand to anti-Shia and even anti-Barelvi sentiment.

    Similarly, how are you going to argue that this kind of insane blanket banning of almost every popular internet site is not going to strengthen the jamaat-e-islami activists to call for even more irrational curbs on free speech?

  9. Ummi

    Rabia when how would you react if someone acts “Blasphmeous” and abuse already damned Mirza Qadyani on facebook and other sites. Would you advocate same freedom of speech

    Or how would you react if someone posts your nude pictures on facebook or myspace. will you call a person backward or Taliban if he protest against such pictures

  10. banjara286

    rabia, it is not much of an explanation but i was a student here in america in the days when zab was doing his machinations. maybe i should have, but i did not follow all the arguments (pros & cons) about the 2nd amendment or the anti-ahmadi legislation in the constitution of pakistan.

    for the record, i have disagree with the column for “religion” in the pakistani passport, and with the requirement for the people to sign a dumb affidavit in order to get the passport issued/renewed.

    at the same time, for the sake of clarity and being above board, to me (personally) the argument is not about ahmadis being muslims or not. that is for g_d to decide. whether i will accept someone as muslim is very much up to me and there is no way that i can be bamboozled into accepting someone as muslim if i believe that they are not. and i do extend that reasoning to infer that if a clear majority of muslims do not accept ahmadis as muslims, thy can’t be forced to by any principle that i am aware of.

    it is the responsibility of the state is to protect all the civil rights and the freedom to practice their faith for all the citizens, and that right clearly extends to the ahmadis as well. i would, therefore, agree that the persecution of ahmadis in pakistan, simply for being ahmadis, is despicable and it is the responsibility of the state to protect them at all costs. needless to say, along with christians, hindus, and other minorities in pakistan, the state has done an atrocious job of protecting the lives, possessions, and civil/moral rights of ahmadis in pakistan so far.

    i really don’t know if this addresses your question. if not, could you please explain to me how the “freedom” argument ties in with the issue of ahmadis being accepted as muslims or not in pakistan?

  11. Rabia

    banjara, I think you missed what I was asking. You argued that the ban on facebook and other sites was a pre-emptive measure that potentially saved a lot of lives.

    I’m just asking whether you see the similarity between that argument and the argument that by giving in to the khatm-e-nabuwat movement by promulgating the 2nd amendment the ZAB government also saved a lot of lives by acting pre-emptively to prevent the situation getting out of hand like in 1953.

    Do you see the similarity between the two situations? I’m just wondering how you would differentiate between the two? Like one approach could be that a ban on a website is not the same as a constitutional amendment declaring one group as non muslim.

  12. Rabia

    I don’t know what country you are talking about. In Pakistan it’s already socially acceptable to abuse Mirza Ghulam Ahmed (as you just did) and to post private pictures of people like Salman Taseer’s family. In fact I am sure that you did both.

  13. Well said. This is the problem with Pakistan. Raza

  14. banjara286

    rabia, the observation that the court’s decision may have actually helped to contain the level of protest is a side-effect at the most. it is definitely not the main crux of my argument.

    while i have not done research on this subject myself, i do feel very strongly that a major factor which is responsible for extremism is driving agitated people to the point where they are left with no recourse other than mindless violence. as long as all that the rest of the “civilized” muslims will do is to also further insult, ridicule, and attempt to forcibly suppress this cornered segment by blatantly siding with their tormentors, i can assure you that we shall all keep on getting even more of the same from them.

    i have learnt long since that taking the stance that i do is little more than “bhains ke aag’e been bajaana”. this occasional lament is, sadly, for the record only. in the end the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

    oh well …

    mujhe fitrat navaa par pae ba pae majboor kartee hae
    abhi mehfil mein ho shaayed koi dard aashna baqi

  15. banjara286

    rabia, i vaguely recall the mayhem in 1953 as a young child. i am not sure that there were any anti-ahmadi riots in the 1970s.

    i suspect the zab may have put in the clause declaring ahmadis as non-muslims, not so much to defuse or to preempt but, rather, to curry favors with the religious parties at that time. he may have felt that, as a result, he would become their hero and will be able to count on their support.

    i am sorry, but since i had no first hand experience of what the situation in pakistan was like between 71-78, i can’t intelligently comment on the likelihood of a parallel between what zab did, and the present decision of the lahore high court.

  16. AZW


    Now you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Think carefully before you answer this question.

    We all condemn Holy Prophet’s depiction in caricatures. He is an extremely revered figure for all Muslims here. That his divinity is contested by majority of human beings is not the question. The ridicule on the Facebook uses freedom of speech to hurt feelings of hundreds of billions of human beings who hold the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in very high esteem.

    Now Holy Prophet (PBUH) is not revered by billions of human being in this world as well. So our whole idea of protesting against Facebook is that any action that should disparage a revered human being who is a religious leader of many human beings is unnecessary, and flouts the responsibility that comes with the freedom of speech.

    Fair enough, but let’s see what we, the Muslims are doing ourselves, and here is a question for you and your religious folks who are yelling about the abuse of the Holy Prophet. And for the record, before I ask this question I would state clearly that I am not an Ahmadi and I do not have any predisposition towards that faith.

    If disparaging revered religious figures is wrong because it hurts their followers feelings who obviously hold their religious leader in very high esteem, and considering that Ahmadis by constitution belong to another religion, would you also condemn the disparagement and abuse of the founder of that religion? Would you also boycott the forums or websites where founder of that religion is maligned and ridiculed?

    Please think before shooting your mouth off. I have no love or hatred for Ahmadis. What they believe is their private matter and I don’t think it is my or the state’s job to decide if they are indeed on the right or the wrong path. This forum is not about religious arguments. This forum is all about religious equality. Commonsense requires that if our prophet should not be maliciously maligned, then no other prophet should be either, no matter how right or wrong he and his followers may seem to be.

  17. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ummi is a crook. He can’t make sense if his life depended on it.

  18. pHaze


    If your ‘sisters’ in France cant wear the ‘borka’.. then what about us kafirs in Islamic states? My point is the French will decide what is good/bad for their citizens. If blasphemy laws are ‘legal’ in Pakistan, then why should the French worry about some ideology rather than their own nation/culture/history/traditions?

    Drawing cartoons of Prophet Mohammad is definitely in bad taste. This doesn’t look like freedom of expression to me, rather an attempt to ridicule Muslims across the globe.

    “… hurt feelings of hundreds of billions of human beings who hold the Holy Prophet…”.

    hundreds of billions is a huge number!!

  19. AZW


    Can’t even blame Freudian slip to that error. But somewhere along the road, M became a B. My bad.

  20. -N

    I think the poet is taking it too far. banning facebook has nothing to do with banning thinking. facebook was a dumb pointless website which was a breeding ground for gossip that often distracted youngsters from constructive activities. We as Muslims should show show some reaction if an assault is being made on our religion.
    how would you feel if theres a “Razas moms a whore day” and people make lots of obscene caricatures of your mother. wouldn’t it make your blood boil?wouldn’t you want to badly hurt the offender?
    well your love for the Prophet pbuh should be greater than that of your parents.
    i applaud the governments decision to ban facebook

  21. Hayyer

    This is not about anyone’s mother or sister. The issue began as one of free speech.

    In the west they hold the right to free speech inviolable, subject to the laws of libel and blasphemy where ever or in which ever form they may apply, but no one uses the blasphemy law in the UK at least.

    Christians in the west have long been used to having their faith mocked by atheists and even believers. Scorcese’s movie even has Christ succumbing to lust.
    Bill Maher the TV talk show host once showed the picture of a dog’s rear end on his show that seemed to resemble Christ. You can locate a thousand images on the net which blaspheme Christ. Devout Christians have to lump it. No one gets killed or threatened with termination for blasphemy any more. The west has moved beyond it.

    When those so inclined began to criticize Islam or say things that could be called blasphemous death threats were issued and even carried out. It got to a point that journalists and TV channels felt threatened and pulled programmes off the air that might be construed as blaspheming Islam. This led to a feeling that freedom of expression in the west was under threat from Muslim fundamentalists.
    The deplorable call to draw pictures of Mohammad is a reaction to the threat.

    Christians in the west believe that if they can make fun of their own faith they can do that to other faiths as well.

    Every belief system can be considered as blaspheming other religions, but we co-exist tolerating each others beliefs. In the west toleration includes the right to have your say without fear of execution. Their civil rights are a product of centuries of strife over ideas and they are not going to give them up.

    Arguably, there are Christians who love Christ just as much as Muslims love Mohammad. When living in the west or co-existing with it it is the whole package or nothing. That seems to be the message.
    On the other hand if the Pakistan Government believes that law and order is threatened it can very well ban something (not the courts).

  22. -N

    people in the west have become completely immune to any sense of belonging for their religion. they mock anything divine. and we can see the negative consequences. we do not want to end up like them. if we silently accept blasphemies like these in the name of freedom of expression and tolerance there will come a time when we will stop getting affected by these things and moreover may acquire a flippant attitude toward religion and our higher purpose in life ourselves. this would strip our society of morality and values which have been cultivated over centuries.
    freedom of speech should be strictly limited to constructive criticism expressed in an air of mutual respect and consideration for other peoples feelings. derogatory remarks against any religion or race should be considered criminal. therefore the facebook page was not only criminal it was also destructive and of cheap taste.
    the west, hypocritically acting as a bastion for all kinds of freedom, takes a shocking U-turn when the holocaust comes into question. no historian is allowed to probe into this event which makes mattters fishy. if someone denies the credibility of its facts they are branded as anti semitic and prosecuted.
    in fact the way america prevents free thinking so subtly and covertly amongst its citizens and to some extent throughout the rest of the world would put any iron fisted communist government to shame.
    all beliefs contradict each other but that doesnt mean that they are blasphemous for each other. they can peacefully coexist in an environment of respect like the christians jews and muslims did in the middle east until the zionists illegally occupied the Holy Land. this environment of respect is completely marred by abuse of the freedom of expression.
    a hadith says that our faith isnt complete until we love the Prophet pbuh more than we love our parents.

  23. -N

    azw is write in saying that all religions should be respected be it hinduism , judaism or islam.
    but when it come to Quadianis things are a bit more complicated. quadianis CLAIM to be muslims when in fact they dont believe in the seal of the Prophethood. theyr funded by the jews and have a history of infiltrating through Pakistan’s government system and damaging it through covert means. mirza ghulam quadiani claimed to be a divine messenger. he was an apostasizer and the penalty for aposatasy in Islam is DEATH. hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique, may Allah be pleased with him waged many wars against apostasy.
    are all of you seculars saying that he was an extremists restricting freedom of religion?

  24. @ -N

    the west, hypocritically acting as a bastion for all kinds of freedom, takes a shocking U-turn when the holocaust comes into question. no historian is allowed to probe into this event which makes mattters fishy. if someone denies the credibility of its facts they are branded as anti semitic and prosecuted.

    There are several matters conflated into these series of statements.

    First, putting a label around ‘the West’ in this context is extremely misleading. There is no ‘Western’ position on this subject.

    We need to remember that there are two legal systems prevailing in the so-called West, if we refer to the European countries, the UK, and the North American countries, the USA, Canada and Mexico. England & Wales and the USA, and Canada, follow the old English system of Common Law. The rest follow Civil Law. Most of our own concepts of Free Speech stem from the broad permissive provisions and outlook of Common Law. The Continental systems, on the other hand, tend to be restrictive, and tend to determine what may be done, as well as what may NOT be done, which latter is the epitome of the English system.

    It is in this connection that we have to see the existence of laws in several European countries, all following Civil Law, which do not permit Holocaust denial.

    Second, there are reasons for the legislation which has been passed, the fact that denial of the Holocaust has been used to incite anti-Jewish feeling. As a result, although such legislation has been attacked by those infused with the principles of Free Speech inspired by Common Law, European institutions have upheld these, in spite of the argument that they are inimical to Free Speech.

    It is perfectly logical to argue from both points of view in this instance.

    It is possible to argue from the Common Law point of view that Free Speech must be allowed, and that therefore, the page in Facebook should not have been banned legislatively.

    It is just as possible to argue from the Civil Law point of view that promoting hatred of a religious community must be prevented. Therefore the page in Facebook should certainly be banned, by administrative action initially, by legislation subsequently, if necessary.

    As it happens, Pakistan initially inherited the system of Common Law from its colonial past, and therefore, there is no scope for the Civil Law point of view, if one may be pedantic about it. Obviously, no responsible administration will permit this lack of fit on theoretical grounds stop it from taking action to prevent hate against a religious community.

    But then the logical extension of this intervention is that maligning other religious communities is also not permissible. If this view is taken, then much Pakistani educational material may need revision.

    The essential thing is to be consistent. What will not appear legitimate and consistent is to argue one thing for one religion, and another thing for another religion.

    What is done in defence of Islam must be done consistently for all others. Otherwise, it should not be done at all.

  25. harbir singh nain

    “he was an apostasizer and the penalty for aposatasy in Islam is DEATH. ”

    This gets to the nub of the whole kerfuffle. There is no point telling the world how much muslims love their prophet because that only avoids the real issue which is the intolerance in Islam of heresy and apostasy.

    Saying things like the “penalty for apostasy in Islam is death” does muslims no favors.

    In most free secular societies, death is a penalty for crimes such as murder. Many western societies have abolished the death penalty altogether, regardless of the crime. In such societies, talking without embarrassment of death for apostasy is something out of a primitive past. It is infinitely worse here to talk of death for apostasy than it is to offend religious sentiment or insult religious personages. A Muslim’s love for his prophet does not begin to justify violence over the disagreements about the individual’s rights and freedoms vis a vis religious and social orthodoxies.The fact that death is prescribed by God in the book he gave Muslims carries no sanction for non-muslims.

    The humanist west, and other secular societies influenced by the west, are unlikely to be sympathetic to the muslim who has difficulty reconciling his faith with enlightenment values, nor is there any reason for them to be so. Which leaves muslims with a difficult choice. They could either be purists and live with the reaction they get, or they could put aside the parts of the dogma that puts them at odds with the rest of the world. widespread ambiguity on this amongst muslims is extremely problematic for muslims.

  26. Prasad

    -N: //a hadith says that our faith isnt complete until we love the Prophet pbuh more than we love our parents.//

    you are heavily indoctrinated. When a well educated ( my assumption) man can sound like this, imagine millions of madrassa educated men out there doling all kinds of interpretation. Dangerously skewed

  27. -N

    you conveniently forgot the part of history in which the objectives resolution was passed.which was supposed to be the basis of our constitution but sadly isnt followed in spirit. it clearly established Islam as the foundation for this country. it also said that adequate provision shall be made for minorities to freely profess and practice their religion and develop their culture.
    i don’t think Pakistan’s educational material contains stuff to incite violence against minorities or ridicule their beliefs.
    furthermore i for the Muslim Ummah, Islamic Law is superior to any other law, whether its common or uncommon or civil.

    i am a proud Muslim woman and prefer to look at everything in the light of the Quran and Sunnah. if that is your definition of being indoctrinated then maybe i am indoctrinated.

  28. Prasad


    I may not be able to convince you but hopefully you and many others will understand (eventually may be) that there are far too many factors involved in making our lives (and a society ). Faith is just one of them not ‘all’

  29. @-N

    It is surprising to see that the discussion has been hijacked and converted into a discussion on Islamic Law. We were discussing your mistaken perception of the west as hypocritical, insofar as its attitude towards the Holocaust is concerned.

    No, I did not, conveniently or otherwise, forget the part of history in which the objectives resolution was passed. The fact is that there cannot be a legal system which is a forced amalgamation of two completely different systems. Pakistan can either follow the Anglo-Saxon Common Law or Islamic Law; the two systems contradict each other at many points (leaving aside historical tracings of mutual influence), and cannot be reconciled.

    To be consistent and logical, with the passing of the ‘objectives resolution’, the Common Law based courts of Pakistan, the entire system of the lower and the upper judiciary, the whole business of trial by jury, writ and judicial process should have been scrapped. It was not.

    Apparently, judging only by actions taken, Pakistan was not ready for Islamic Law.

    That is wholly a matter for Pakistan to consider, and as observers, we can only note that the resolution said one thing, actions of the people in authority said another, diametrically opposite thing. You are aware, of course, that the present action of banning certain sites on the Internet has been taken by a court of the Common Law kind, and not by one of the Islamic kind. Therefore, it is more to the point to consider Common Law and Civil Law, particularly since the point raised by you had nothing to do with the introduction and validity of Islamic Law in Pakistan, but had to do with your perception that the west is hypocritical in its outlook. To quote:

    the west, hypocritically acting as a bastion for all kinds of freedom, takes a shocking U-turn when the holocaust comes into question.

    It was this that was sought to be explained.

    The ‘adequate provision for minorities to freely profess and practice their religion and develop their culture’ is not relevant in any way in this context.

    Regarding the material used for instructing children in schools, a reference to the actual material might be instructive.

    Finally, your last sentence cannot be understood.

    furthermore i for the Muslim Ummah, Islamic Law is superior to any other law, whether its common or uncommon or civil.

    Pakistan does not follow Islamic Law, it follows Anglo-Saxon Law, known as Common Law. How does it affect your argument about western hypocrisy whether the Ummah considers Islamic Law superior or inferior to any other legal system. The last time I checked, the hypocritical west was not part of the Ummah, and they are not therefore bound to consider Islamic Law superior to any other.

    There is nothing known as uncommon law as a legal system; presumably your use of this phrase is sarcasm, intended to divert attention from the singular irrelevance of the arguments put forward.

    We must count ourselves fortunate that it did not occur to you to indulge in word play with the title of the other European legal system.

  30. harbir singh nain

    Firstly, laws against holocaust denial from free speech countries do smack of hypocrisy. It is simply not right to talk of freedom of speech when it comes to criticising muslims and then of law and order when it comes to holocaust denial.

    However, I have never encountered anyone who supports both holocaust denial laws AND freedom of speech. Every European that I know who has defended holocaust denial laws has also taken a strong position against unlimited freedom of speech. They will argue that it is hitler’s untrammeled freedom of speech that lead to the calamity of WWII, that free speech cannot be allowed when it incites hatred and violence.

    The countries that have laws against holocaust denial are almost all countries that participated in the holocaust or collaborated with the Nazis (France deported thousands of french jews to germany of whom only a handful survived, Belgium was run by a pro-Nazi government). These countries have largely taken this step to deal with their own failing. it is hardly an attempt to impinge upon the freedoms of people in other countries. However, in the view of free speech proponents, that does not justify the laws and you will not find any sensible free-speech proponent defending holocaust denial laws, only hypocrites. Which means you cannot use holocaust denial laws to undermine free speech proponents, only the hypcrites.

    Secondly, the west can be said to composed of the 50 countries of Europe, (including Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia if you’re generous), plus the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, Making up 54 countries in all. Of these only 9 have laws against holocaust denial(Austria, belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania) The countries that have laws against holocaust denial have to answer for themselves on how they reconcile that with free speech. The remaining countries have no such obligation.