Salman Latif has sent us his rational views on the Facebook saga. I am glad that PTH is attracting the wise and the sanguine. Yet, we seem to have invoked the ire of our zealous compatriots who think that by opposing the ban, we are (God forbid) guilty of blasphemy. We condemn the myopia of those who want to provoke Muslims and display lack of respect for the Prophet (pbuh) who is central to our belief system. At the same time, PTH holds that banning of information flow in the 21st century is not acceptable. Today it is ‘blasphemy’ excuse, tomorrow it will be something else. There are other ways of protesting and we should employ them before resorting to blanket banning of the Internet. (Raza Rumi)
Guess what? The cartoon controversy is back. And this time with a bang because of the celebration of a ‘Draw Muhammad Day’ on May 20th in reaction to the death threats received by certain cartoonists. The day has drawn a lot of noise, more so because of the Muslim reaction than perhaps the original participation of those supporting the cause.
One is yet again to witness a very interesting phenomenon in the Muslim protests against the said act. Not only is it a vivid picture of the average Muslim take, it also is a clear answer to the fake claims made by pseudo-intellects about the moderation of Muslim Ummah. The issue has sparked a grand controversy within Muslim circles, both home and abroad, with eager preachers forwarding bulk of messages condemning and often, abusing it.
Intriguingly enough, this time, the axe has grinded on Facebook. Apparently, the cause of such sudden resentment among FB’s Muslim users is over its refusal to remove certain pages inciting the message. Much to the chagrin of Muslims, FB’s policy allows for a freedom of speech and so would not take a page off on the grounds quoted by the followers of Islam. And our Muslim brethren have then resorted to the regular course – boycotting FB, claiming that’d bring it million-dollar repercussions in revenue and inflict a heavy loss. A rather misplaced hope considering a recent history where Telenor suffered a boycott on the same grounds in Pakistan though coupled with a much more violent backlash by Pakistanis and yet again became a mainstream mobile operator company within no time. No doubt FB would have had it offices burnt had there been any within Pakistan. Continue reading
Another exclusive post from Ahmad Nadeem for PTH – comments are welcome (Raza Rumi)
“Is there a competition going on in Pakistan between institution to earn shame and notoriety for their nation?” my colleague asked me casually while we were having some drinks and watching a news television. “We are on that path for last 40years”, I answered stubbornly. Can there anything such shameful to force you behave that stubborn over your national pride? There is, hold your breath, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the top body of media and custodian of ‘freedom of speech and civil liberties’, in a press release issued by its Secretary General, Mr Shamsul Islam Naz, has “officially’ appreciated the blocking of the Facebook Website.
This was followed by the Lahore High Court orders of a blanket ban on entire social media website depriving 2.5 million Pakistani’s an access to major internet services. Just because there was ‘one page’ out of millions, set by a silly American kid to make cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The same could have been blocked instead, but things work differently in Pakistan. A decision has to be popular rather than sane, the illiterate bearded men on streets with sticks and guns ought to be satisfied. Continue reading
Faraz Rana, a lawyer based in New York, has authored this exclusive piece for PTH. We welcome his contribution and hope that he will contribute regularly. (Raza Rumi)
Depictions of the Prophet (pbuh) are banned in Islam so people (presumably, Muslims) don’t idolize the images. The lawyer in me will tell you that a non-Muslim drawing a similar image, especially in jest, will not violate that rationale. Nor will Muslims ever confuse a cartoon with a serious depiction. Of course, using technical legal arguments to quell incensed religious rhetoric is about as effective as eradicating objectionable content on cyberspace by blocking it. Oh, wait.
The debate on FacebookGate and the underlying arguments on the limits of free speech will never be resolved by rational minds. So, in case you missed it, here is just a quick sampling of the conversations sprouting all over, coincidentally, Facebook.
The Facebook group was a collective effort to malign Muslims. The group was intended to be a demonstrated exercise in free speech by some bloggers, as a direct response to the decision by the producers of another TV show to curtail their creative outlet in the face of death threats. As often happens on the Internet, the ones with the most pent up vitriol for just about everything under the sun tend to have the most free time to vocalize it. The group was hijacked and the posts became offensive. What is interesting, though, is that the group was not very popular until people started pointing fingers at it. After that, it went Facebook viral and the offensive content just perpetuated itself. It is as if Muslims snatched the offensive content from the jaws of obscurity and brought it back to life for the whole world to see. Continue reading
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.