How does banning Facebook help us?

May 20, 2010 at 7:03 am 53 comments

People certainly know how to push our buttons and get us to react in a way that is detrimental to ourselves. Yet again history is repeating itself. Someone puts up a page on Facebook announcing a competition of caricatures of the Prophet, and what do we do? Do we speak up against it in a civilized fashion like:

– Writing blog posts and opinion pieces in mainstream media
– Signing a petition
– Pursuing Facebook and asking them to take down the page because it is offensive
– Writing to our parliamentarians and asking that the government officially protest
– Protesting using all sorts of media

No of course not (well some of us do, but most of us don’t). Why would we do something as sensible as that, and have our voices heard? Instead we do what people have come to expect from us. We stifle our own voices by banning a social networking site where 2.5 million Pakistani could have been heard. We hide our head in the sand like ostriches. We react like little children do – closing our eyes and pretending that if we don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

How does that affect the ‘offensive’ page? It doesn’t. They go on to do exactly what they were doing – and now there are no voices of protest on Facebook from Pakistan because we can’t access Facebook in Pakistan. How ridiculous is that?

When I tweeted about this yesterday, some young people angrily wrote back asking why I could not live without Facebook for a cause as important as this? That, my friends, is not the point. The question is not whether I can live without Facebook. The question is why should someone else – court or government – have the right to make a decision regarding what I can or cannot access online? Why should I allow my freedom to be compromised because some idiot somewhere has decided to push our buttons by starting a competition such as this? When will we learn that giving up any of our rights results in more rights being infringed each time.

Nothing justifies the taking away of my right to access information online or offline, to use the networks i want to. I don’t need the government to make such decisions for me. I am quite capable of doing that for myself. If I want to protest against something I find offensive, I will (and I do). The PTA and the courts have no right to deprive me of my freedom to do so.

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53 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ali Rashid  |  May 20, 2010 at 7:20 am

    All the five things that you mentioned are very commendable to do: like “Writing blog posts”, “Pursuing Facebook and asking them to take down the page because it is offensive”, etc. However, almost all of these things have been done already by different people and groups. Top Bloggers of Pakistan have posted blogs against it, and it was the student’s and public rallies that caught the attention of the court for such an action. Infact, there were people from all walks of life present at the time of verdict, not just judiciary.

    None of your five points are objectionable: but so is the PTA order. Your five points are one way of showing democratic disapproval, and PTA’s step is just one another way. Just as Danish Companies have lost millions due to they being banned by Muslims (as reported by BBC), similarly banning facebook from PK will have substantial effects. It is not PTA exhibiting their power to control the content, but only an attempt to exhibit disapproval by banning facebook only till 31st May, not forever. Besides, there are reports that it was facebook itself who broke its own terms clause 3 and 4 by not putting down the page when it had already been reported as an abuse by 3 times more number of people than legally required.

    Reply
  • 2. Sonia  |  May 20, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Just to answer a few of your question :

    I’m not sure if there posts were written, but yes, petitions were signed and facebook was pursued. There were also groups made such as “against everybody draw mohammad day” where people came together to post hadeeths, incidents and videos to “fight” peacefully and follow Prophet Muhammads PBUH way of teaching. People called facebook headquarters adn complained, I would really give you a link to all of this but I will not be going on facebook from now so I can not. But if you search the groups name I mentioned you will find it and other groups that were made. You say what will banning facebook do? I don’t know. but if facebook can not take an action against this group and instead provide a platform for these people to carry out this action, then I really believe we (I) should not increase facebook’s revenue by visiting the site. You do know that facebook earns from every click, right? Thats what banning facebook in a country where 2 million users exist will do; cut down its revenues. Facebook has deleted thousands of pages calling them racist, and indecent I don’t see why this could not be done to this page.

    This is not to close our eyes and pretend that things don’t exist. 30 000 people were willing to boycot facebook prior to this ban (you can search for this group on facebook too) and now that this ban has been implemented, I think that just makes everything a lot easier. Boycotting was a form of protesting, and this ban is also a protest.

    Reply
  • 3. umersultan  |  May 20, 2010 at 10:00 am

    actually banning the site works. I am totally against to the Pakistani response to this issue (can check my blog) but today when i came to know that Pakistan blocked FB, i was left wondering what impact will it have.

    China banned Google from its country because Google showed few things about China that Chinese government said it was against their state or culture etc.

    It was a huge news in America, calls of freedom of press and blah blah, at the end Google had to accept the demands of Chinese government in order to have it’s market in China!

    Can Pakistan do that! I think it can, but it needs more than just banning the site, it means the Pakistani government take this seriously as the matter of state’s honor (haha our politicians talking about state honor)

    So this is a dilemma, it can be productive, but since the ban is imposed the controller of this game is in the Pakistani gov, they can make a fool out of themselves or they get their demands met!!!

    Reply
  • 4. Muhammad Wasim  |  May 20, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Its a very good step taken by PTA. Many requests were sent to report the page, but facebook took no action. So blocking the facebook is the next logical step.

    Reply
  • 5. Sooban  |  May 20, 2010 at 10:33 am

    @jehan ara, agree on the points mentioned. agree that we have apparently drawn retreat from the game saying the rules are unfair.
    you know the public is really sentimental sometimes, Anything can spark a riot. So banning can also be to preserve the sentiments of people ( i am sure i didnt word that correctly but i assume you get my point)

    @Ali Rashid banning facebook will not cause them much of a hit in terms of generating revenue.

    @Sonia, i do agree that a whole country banning facebook because of a page might show some sort of big step. i wonder if it is close to sending the ambassador of an abusing country back.

    Reply
  • 6. Ali  |  May 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

    This is first official response of Facebook on Pakistan’s decision of banning access: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/facebook-slams-pakistan-ban-over-prophet-mohammed-contest-page/story-e6frf7jx-1225869199058

    Even this mere acknowledgement that facebook is ‘upset’ and that something went wrong came after Pakistan ‘banned’ access to them, it didn’t came after working on all 5 points you mentioned above and which ‘Ali Rashid’ rightly confirmed that people already pursued those 5 options.

    I am all for civil liberties however one has to weigh things when it comes to a point like this. Nations even suffer sanctions, brave wars etc. for their ideologies and opinions. Here we are only talking about abandoning facebook for a while. We should stand with govt. on this to give this solid message across.

    Reply
  • 7. Hammad  |  May 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Ban on the FB is outright stupidity !

    You are so very right, our freedoms should not be comprised and believe me a ban in Pakistan won’t stop those idiots who are making all those silly cartoons ! They will keep on mocking us !

    The solution is to use all mediums of expressions like Facebook to counter balance the propaganda.

    May God give us the wisdom, banning Facebook is so typical ‘ Pakistani ‘ !

    Reply
  • 8. baan  |  May 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    i couldn’t agree with you more jehan. on the other hand banning facebook was the eventual final solution which should have come about not yesterday but maybe a week or so from now.

    in my opinion the government should have taken democratic action rather than something flowing through the courts. banning the blasphemous page would have been the best thing to do while using the media to promote the protesting groups and pages to get as many people going against this. this could then be leveraged to pressurize facebook to remove the campaign at the national level giving them a time frame after which the banning should have occurred. the way this has unfolded has actually made us axe our own feet with BlackBerry services being shut for at least 9 hours. does anyone know how much of business we lost there?

    i’m not a facebook junkie and can/will live without it but the thing that bothers me is that i cannot access the against everybody dram mohammed day or the now annual mohammed day (www.mohammedday.com) to connect to people with like minded thoughts and communicate on a global protest.

    Reply
  • 9. Zohaib Ather  |  May 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    You are almost right but,

    The action by PTA has taken place just because fb was not letting down the page or group which is an abuse. I think fb should be banned completely because if its banned until 31st May so it is useless to block either and in this way we cant stop the people around the world to stop for drawing competition. Fb will realize itself loosing the countries before like China, Iran, Vietnam, Syria and now Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

    Reply
  • 10. Munir  |  May 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Banning whole Facebook which is the largest Social networking site doesn’t make any sense! People need to understand that there is a difference between individual boycott and collective ban!

    Facebook ban is not a peaceful and harmless protest. No, not at all. When you boycott anything individually, you do it with your own will but this forceful ban on every citizen of this country is totally against human rights and individual freedom!

    You can promote awareness, but you can not forcefully restrict anyone from access to any kind of information.

    Reply
  • 11. Muhammad Jehanzaib  |  May 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Facebook, Youtube, Wikipedia, Blogger……………………….and finally Google so what’s your next step nation Pakistan. When will you be able to revive your sub-standard thinking? I think blocking the internet would be better. So you are just like that coward who has no ability to counter his enemies gracefully, so what he does? He finally never listens to what is against him because he is coward enough to counter his enemies. You are coward and you will remain coward. Long live the coward Nation Pakistan🙂

    Reply
  • 12. Ahmed  |  May 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    So this is a form of protest? So the government gets to volunteer every single person in Pakistan to take part in the protest? What if I don’t want to protest? What if I don’t care who draws what and think it’s childish nonsense? The point being made in this blog post is people’s “right to chose”, which was stripped by this [sarcastic quotes] Democratic Government [/sarcastic quotes].

    Reply
  • 13. irfan ahmad  |  May 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    While i agree with Jehan about the usurpation of my rights to browse the internet, i think the Lahore High Court decision and PTA’s implementation created a media impact that could not have been achieved by the bloggers or anti-FB groups. The blocking of FB by Pakistan was headline news in ALL major media worldwide – CNN, BBC, NYTimes, etc. I think this form of protest has created the impact that should force FB to ban the offending pages. There are times when we can let our rights be trampled for a greater cause. I think this is one of those greater causes.

    But then, YouTube has also been banned in Pakistan today – I am not aware of the reasons – but i think here we may have gone overboard as we can ban selected/offensive videos rather than close down the entire site. Yet another usurpation of my rights .. this one i may not agree with. But i need to learn more why this has been done to make any categorical statement.

    irfan

    Reply
  • 14. irfan ahmad  |  May 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Now that wikipedia also appears to have been blocked … maybe i will tend to agree a little more with Jehan about the infringement of my right to access information … the situation and my opinions continue to evolve…

    Reply
  • 15. Arshad Vayani  |  May 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I totally agree with above two commentators. We used each and every civilized way but still facebook didn’t took any action against such a brutal act. I myself reported that group to facebook few days ago and surely many other people did as well.
    Facebook is popular for quickly deleting user accounts and pages for violating their tos but in this case they didn’t even noticed it. PTA should not unblock facebook until they apologize and delete that group.

    PTA has blocked youtube and numerous proxy website as well.

    Reply
  • 16. Wajahat Abbas  |  May 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I still remember, 2 or 3 years back, when Danish cartoons issue was hot. I read on news that some Iranian newspaper runs a competition worldwide over internet as well.

    They run a competition on “Holocaust” ask everyone to draw cartoon on Holocaust.

    Drawing cartoon for religious personalities in term of “expression of freedom” is allowed in Western World, but drawing something related to Holocaust is not allowed.

    That competition really challenged the West on their “Expression of Freedom” note.

    That kind of reaction is more appropriate.

    I read yesterday, someone suggestion “Lets draw Jesus” in response. Again to be follower of the religion of peace, we have the right to protest, but in a sensible manner.

    Banning one site or asking everyone to stop using FB is not a solution.

    Reply
  • 17. Ali  |  May 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Well said. To add to this – we should always remember one hadith where an old lady repeatedly threw trash on prophet PBUH and the day she didn’t he came to visit her as she was sick.

    The thing is that people have been doing this for years and years and it would not stop. But, our patience is the key. Besides facebook doesn’t really generate that much money from Pakistan as the adds are mostly for the first world countries. It just helps with numbers.

    I can write a whole blog post to this. May be I should.

    Reply
  • 18. Adil  |  May 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I know only one thing and that is this is bad for software industry… I dont get the point, why only Pakistan has to protest only? Where are those so called other Muslim countries? Why they are not blocking it? You are much better Muslim?

    Secondly what will happen of this blocking action? Only we will get bad reputation and our business will suffer…

    Today they have blocked this site, tomorrow they can block any website… This is the problem with our country, we only think in short term… What if tomorrow PTA decided to cut everyone from pakistan from net? This is totally nonsense…

    I was surprised to see the activity on that page on facebook, people have added that page but no activity on that page… but since now we have make it a big fuzz, those who dont even care will come to that non-sense page….

    Good luck Pakistan, we are only proud to heart our self.

    Reply
  • 19. Bala  |  May 20, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Jehan,

    We are based in India and have linked to your views.

    Thank you

    http://www.techgoss.com/Story/355S11-Pakistan-tech-protests-Facebook-ban.aspx

    Reply
  • 20. obaid ahmed  |  May 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    What difference did this ban made to the bottom line of Facebook? Zilch, zero, nada!

    How much money did small business, developers lost due to unavailability of Facebook? More than zilch more than zero.

    Think of it this way. If you want to show other’s that their point of view, their opinion, their voice is wrong, is against your values, than is it better to just shut the door at them or is it better to have a dialog with them?

    Also, why are we acting as if this is the first time someone has tried to attack the personality of our Prophet (PBUH)? We had ppl attacking his personality even when he was alive. History tells us that the best course, the course that the Prophet (PBUH) took himself was of mercy and consistently telling them about the message.

    His status can’t be harmed by a bunch of cartoonist. All this ban has done is that now you (living in Pakistan) can’t see the cartoons. The rest of the world can.

    And i think we have also lost the plot during this whole saga. Are we doing this to go against Facebook or to go against those who planned that event?

    Knee-jerk reactions never produce any results.

    My suggestion is to create content. Yes we have the power as well. Let’s create so much content that whenever someone searches for “Muhammad Cartoon” the first 20 results are all our articles that tell ppl in rational way, why is it prohibited.

    Let’s use twitter to tweet one hadith a day to show ppl how amazing his character was. lets create value over fuss.

    Reply
  • 21. Malik Wahaj Ahmed  |  May 20, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    I just want to say :

    SAUDIA-ARAB ZINDABAD ! 😀 LOL

    Reply
  • 22. Jehandad  |  May 20, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    http://www.sizzledcore.com/2010/05/20/how-to-access-facebook-in-pakistan-uae-saudi-arabia-iran/

    @Adil: as far as i know facebook is banned in KSA as well.

    Reply
  • 23. Jehandad  |  May 20, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Banning facebook protects the ideology of Pakistan!! Thats how it helps Pakistanis. This act of government unlike other acts of government unites people. This was the decision of majority of Pakistanis and hence democratic. Other people must respect it even if they disagree.

    I know most people in Pakistan are tending western ideology of materialism. And they tend to measure the Productivity by material loses and gains. But things like this are also important and sacrificing material is far then enough, for protecting our domains from these diseases.

    Reply
  • 24. Abshar Rashid  |  May 21, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Excellent Posts by Obaid Ahmed and Jahandad.

    I agree to the fact that a partial ban for a certain time period against facebook by the government is righteous and commendable.

    On the other hand, we could also follow the approach devised by Jehan Ara and Obaid Ahmed. PTA’s approach is Not mutually exclusive with yours. Both could be followed.

    Reply
  • 25. Adil  |  May 21, 2010 at 10:09 am

    @Jehandad

    Your link is not working. Plus in news they have only saying about “Pakistan”, not about iran and saudia arabia. In Iran it was blocked during election in Iran. I dont know anything about Saudia Arabia. But we are talking about this event, dont we?

    Reply
  • 26. Sooban  |  May 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Hurting Business:
    Banning websites hurts IT business and infringes on privacy and the will to do what one pleases in the country. So in face of making money we will let someone mock our religion.Such indifference to Islam and your Prophet. When will we really take a stand against someone(even if they are crazy) for the cause of respecting our religion.I mean is it too much to ask someone to respect my beliefs cause I am respecting theirs. Or can they just bully us around like this is a school playground with no teachers.

    A few points to raised

    1. Pakistani mentality. (in one of the comments above)
    This one hurts me, everything we do will be Pakistani mentality. Because we are Pakistani. We can’t have an American, western or Non-pakistani mentality. Sometimes you have to stop using it derogatory term.

    2. Banning is the way to go, go ostrich.
    The ostrich puts her head in the ground and hopes everything will be fine. So is it? No, its not the best response. But it is one of the responses. It takes away our voice. But it also makes it a diplomatic mark. Consider this, Facebook is a huge country, and we might have just expelled the ambassador of facebook from Pakistan because they didn’t take action on something offensive that was happening in their country.A lot might want to go to facebook country, but visa restrictions apply for now.

    3. Freedom of Speech OR Freedom of Religion.
    So everyone is up for freedom of speech. Where is the freedom for my religion to exist as it wants to? Some might argue, practice your religion and let someone speak what they want. But you see I cant let someone make fun of something I take so seriously.
    As mentioned in the article on Wikipedia among other things, “ The president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists opposed involvement because “something like that can be too easily co-opted by interest groups who, I suspect, have an agenda that goes beyond a simple defense of free expression.” ”
    [citation: Michael Cavna, THEIR TURN: 12 top cartoonists offer their take on ‘Draw Muhammad Day’, The Washington Post blog Comics Riff (May 20, 2010). Citing from Wikipedia.com]

    The Unintentional Goal:
    So I was looking at the decision and to me it seems that the LHC/government unintentionally has done by banning content.
    1. Reduced the probability of riots.
    Reading or watching offensive content can cause rage in the usually mild mannered citizens (my understanding of human psychology), who would need a spark to lash out at something. [why this frustration will boil up is another matter, lets not open that endless argument here].From past experiences we know that one cartoon caused so many riots in so many parts of the country. You cant ensure that riots wont happen, but you can shield your kid from watching gory scenes

    2. Protected against hurting the sentiments of many in the region
    Something facebook failed to do.We know for sure that these pictures will hurt the sentiments of the 1.2 billion muslims or quarter of the population of the world, So we took to making sure we don’t hurt majority of Pakistani muslims, we took a step that is not popular in some circles but it helps keep people from being instigated.

    The point of banning the whole sites:
    I would have slightly distance myself from the ban here if facebook were fair. ( one argument against this is If the ban can be placed more targeted. we can atleast raise our voice against it). But Facebook wasn’t fair. We saw holocaust offensive content being taken off immediately. In one of the links above you see the facebook said that Pakistan didn’t contact them (ahem, how many people reported the site as abusive again?) So you see, the argument was not on the content, It was against the inaction of the website which failed to act fairly.

    Wikipedia & Youtube banning:
    For the wikipedia site, i would say, they are reporters of fact. banning wiki is not right. They give you the full picture. On youtube. Again it’s the tv. You can ban content like sony bans videos which cant be played outside U.S.

    The Porn argument (for banning)
    Q.So why don’t you let your kids watch porn?
    [yes, i am assuming people dont want their kids to watch porn]
    Q. So why don’t you let your kids watch the competition?
    the above two questions should have the same answer.

    The too small a thing blown into a huge mess argument
    How many of you will hit the person standing in front of you if they call your mother with indecent terms? I am assuming that is also a small thing for you. So you will let the person curse your mother and say what not. [no offense intended, just for sake of argument] you will not do anything, and stand there listening to it?

    The why are we giving a knee jerk reaction and no other muslim country is:
    I will not be responsible for the other muslims on the Day of Judgement who did not raise their voice against a mockery of Our Prophet (peace be upon him).
    If no one has the guts to actually stand up against something like facebook, doesnt mean that we should not. The argument is that facebook is also constitutional.

    Other things people want to raise their voice against for facebook:
    Is individual privacy more important issue than your prophet (peace be upon him) being mocked.

    What has the issue turned into:
    The issue has moved away from some crazy person setting up a group or starting the campaign to inaction from the company which is responsible for not putting up abusive content. What is the definition of abusive content on facebook anyways?

    Kids have minds that can be moulded into anything.
    Not everyone is mature who accesses internet. A viral video on fb showed hw starplus dramas are affecting the kids. Same thing, how will you stop your kids from doing the same as this stupid group goes on and on about. (honest question) is our religious education so strong for kids that they realize that drawing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is wrong and why is it wrong.

    Concluding remark:
    Although it might not be the best thing to do, it is something to do. What will you do if this spins out of control and tomorrow they mock your religious teachings (which let me emphasis for others are not centric on Jihad). What will you do tomorrow when the mock you as a muslim. When will you actually take a stand and tell them to stop it.(yes, even if it means telling the whole world to stop it.)

    One simple request.
    Don’t make fun of my Prophet (peace be upon him) by drawing cartoons.

    Reply
  • 27. obaid ahmed  |  May 21, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    @Jehandad how is this democratic? Why does this need to be considered from that angle anyways? This is all political. If you are so offended by this “group” on facebook than heck why not ban the whole internet?

    I am not supporting the activities of that group but the fact remains that there are much worst groups onine and offline that are propagating hatred.

    This is an act of hypocrisy and to score political points.

    Let us also ban all social networks. Let’s ban ORKUT and let’s ban Google and let’s also ban Microsoft / Apple / Linux product as they are definitely the main source that enables ppl from conduction these hatred acts.

    Banning ain’t going to solve our problem.

    Reply
  • 28. Adil  |  May 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    @Jehandad

    Please explain me what is ideology of being Pakistani? To my understanding this whole thing is happening because masses has nothing to do… they are frustrated with economic and political situation of the country and this is a way for them to release their stress and frustration! You are talking about ideology of Pakistan? Is this the ideology of being pakistani is that you disobey the religion in your day to day life and when such thing happen you try to re-ensure yourself that you are still a muslim! This society has got a very big problem… This country has become full of hypocrites….

    Reply
  • 29. Sooban  |  May 22, 2010 at 12:53 am

    @obaid.
    I agree banning is not the solution. What action do you propose we take to stop such groups in the long term. Petitions and emails and blogs apparently arent working. And we certainly shud not be caught standing doing nothing. the school bully will keep on bullying us.

    Reply
  • 30. Jehandad  |  May 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Hey, there is lot against me here, i want to clear somethings:

    1. Ideology of Pakistan is not practiced by government nor the people, though this action just supports it.

    2 . A lot of groups are promoting this because of their personal interests.

    3. Fb is banned in SA, my source is internet and i have been myself hearing different things. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/sci/2010-05/21/c_13308892.htm.

    4. I wasnt in favor of banning but i have to stand beside my people or majority. I know its like adding fuel to fire, by banning it.

    5. I still believe this was a democratic decision.

    6. I am not trying to ensure that i am a muslim. Please, i am as before as always trying to be the best muslim and will keep on trying.

    7. I believe the point regarding ideology, the way i was going to explain is well explained by Sooban. Thankyou Sooban.

    8. The rest can be proved by a simple test. Put a page on facebook with insulting pictures of Barrack obama and his relatives. Facebook will ban it right away!
    As far as i know there was a recent event in the past due to which google had to apologize.

    And sum good news:
    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/muhammad-facebook-page-removed-20100522-w2j8.html
    I dont Know if it is correct.

    Reply
  • 31. Hammad Ahmed  |  May 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    @Adil, Obaid and Sooban
    I know we all are not pure and clean Muslims. We disobey the rules of our religion in everyday life. We commit sins everyday but we do have a thing named “CONSCIENCE” right? As far as I know the religion tells us that any step taken by a sinful person in the favor of Islam must be appreciated because it might become a beginning in his/her life for the right path. The step taken by the Government of Pakistan is justified in this manner if we do not think materialistically. I don’t know whether the Pakistani Government is playing politics or not but if a FAIR and Unbiased poll is conducted then I am damn sure that people favoring the action of blocking FACEBOOK will be more in numbers (75% will definitely support the decision of the Government and that’s what the democracy is as far as I know). That’s not because all Pakistanis are emotional (75% doesnot mean that all emotional people are supporting it there will surely be many intellectual people as well and I don’t know what’s your definition of INTELLECTUAL and EMOTIONAL so pardon me for that). I don’t know either that whether this step would be a beginning in our lives or not (The step towards the right path which i mentioned above) but the step should be appreciated as it shows that still we have our conscience alive. I am not talking emotional but I strongly agree with JEHANDAD. We all tried our best to get it in the notice of FACEBOOK creators that the page and its content was inappropriate. Many people (thousands and millions) reported it as abuse, Millions joined the group against “draw Muhammad Day” but where were the rules and regulations of FACEBOOK (If you think about it without getting emotional) ?

    Reply
  • 32. Malik Wahaj Ahmed  |  May 22, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Recently i have given a presentation about ‘Islamophobia’, when i was preparing for that i searched about the incidents happened in this decade related to it and i found so much stuff that i could’nt even summarize the incident names in my presentation…… so what is the point of becoming emotional/intellectual ?

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

    Let me quote some lines from the creator of that page who wrote it in its intro:

    “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. That they can’t take away our right to freedom of speech by trying to scare us to silence.”

    http://teeth.com.pk/blog/2010/05/18/facebook-ignoring-religious-hatred-group-everybody-draw-mohammed-day

    And i personally think this whole incident is just another episode of this drama known as Islamophobia started after 9/11which will continue for a long time…..

    Today the difference is that some educated+emotional people have agreed to protest by banning facebook… otherwise the people would have gone to the streets and destroy the private property of their own people and set a fire to some fast food restaurant to show there love towards Prophet Mohammad(P.B.U.H)……..

    [I think a strike have been announced rite ? but no problem we have a rocking economy so it will not effect us]

    Chaos !

    Reply
  • 33. Ali Rashid  |  May 22, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Just because we are not praying or following other doctrines of Islam in our daily lives; it does not imply that we have to leave all other practices that we are following. It is as silly as ‘throwing the baby away with bathwater’.

    Governments decision should be supported: atleast they did show some disapproval, and facebook did react to it saying that it was upset. However, i think it would be a much better idea to use the facebook platform in propagating our own ideology and fighting such menaces: government should open rest of the facebook besides blasphemous content.

    Reply
  • 34. Adil  |  May 23, 2010 at 5:54 am

    @Sooban

    We dont have to loose our freedom because of those bullies. Today are they are blocking facebook, tomorrow they can block the whole internet!

    Reply
  • 35. Adil  |  May 23, 2010 at 6:22 am

    @ Ali Rashid

    About what other “practices” are you are talking about? A practice to say “you are not allowed to say this or that”?

    @ Hammad Ahmed

    I understand from where you are coming from, but what you are saying “any step taken by a sinful person in the favor of Islam must be appreciated” is any “favor”, I dont think your actions are doing any favor to Islam. If they are can you please explain me how? It is just a good way to give yourself a false hope, nothing else!

    @all
    Our nation is going through a process/disease called “self harm”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-harm

    And the only way i see people getting out of it is when they have good economic and social conditions.

    Reply
  • 36. Untitled  |  May 23, 2010 at 7:48 am

    @Adil

    Get some lessons in grammer and effective communication. Your post is as unclear to understand as German.

    Reply
  • 37. Adil  |  May 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

    @ Untitled

    Can you suggest book or class?

    Reply
  • 38. Malik Wahaj Ahmed  |  May 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Guys chek dis out:

    http://www.techi.com/2010/05/facebook-vs-canada-its-about-to-get-ugly/

    Reply
  • 39. Yasser  |  May 23, 2010 at 11:45 am

    i don’t think banning the whole site served it’s purpose till we have a competitor from with in our society who can compete with it

    Though banning has given satisfaction to majority, who are not aware of current circumstance that in today’s world how to stand tall and face the reality

    Reply
  • 40. Untitled  |  May 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    @Adil:

    Ah, boy. You’ve done it again.

    “Can you suggest book or class?” (Wrong)

    “Can you suggest a book or a class?” (Right)

    No sorry. I don’t have any suggestions for your improvement except this one: try not to jump into a discussion only for the sake of argument or a display of your presence. This will help you in participating on only those forums which better fit your caliber and mentality. Hope you got this clearly enough: I couldn’t make it any less easier to comprehend. Cheers.

    Reply
  • 41. Adil  |  May 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    @ Untitled

    At least I have something to contribute, and you have nothing except just pointing out some “grammatical” errors and that shows your caliber, and how childish you are! You have nothing to say about my argument and that shows what you have to offer!

    Reply
  • 42. Muhammad Wasim  |  May 23, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Facebook should be banned in Pakistan FOREVER. We will not die if one site gets banned. Try to understand, this is not a restriction on us, this is the answer to Facebook for what they did.

    Freedom of speech doesn’t mean insulting someone or hurting someone emotionally.

    People are feeling that it has given a set back to their online social presence and it might be bad economically. But that was just one door you know. If one door closes Allah opens one hundred doors for you. So, be united at this.

    Reply
  • 43. Kaleem  |  May 24, 2010 at 1:44 am

    My company and other FB developers were doing lots of work related with Youtube API and FB application development. I ask respectable judge, does he even know this?

    Regardless of reasons of this ban, everyone knows that FB and Youtube are not just fun websites for Developers.

    How LHC is going to compensate for our losses?

    PLEASE LETS PUT OUR HANDS TOGETHER TO FILE A PETITION IN THE SAME COURT, ASKING FOR EXCEPTION FOR IT INDUSTRY.

    Reply
  • 44. Maria Ajaz  |  May 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I feel Pakistanis are very reactive in nature. There are more very important issues to deal with. 20% of Pakistan’s population live under $ 1.25 per day. What do we “Muslims” done for them on such a united way?

    We should follow the prophets way, yes. But I oppose the ban. It is creating more hatred from non-Muslims. I love the Prophet Mohammad, and i oppose the competition. But Facebook was my way to stay connected with friends. And i miss it. That doesn’t mean that im less of a Muslim, or I love the prophet less.

    The PTA could have blocked just that particular page/group. They also blocked 800 more websites. Why not just pull the internet plug from Pakistan?

    Reply
  • 45. Muhammad Wasim  |  May 24, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    About double standards of facebook:

    http://khawerkhan.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/an-open-letter-to-mark-zuckerbergs-mom/

    Reply
  • 46. Sooban  |  May 25, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Saad Warraich wants to register his discontent over facebook’s double standards as well.
    http://propakistani.pk/2010/05/23/one-facebook-two-faces-one-is-real-ugly/

    Reply
  • […] Ara at In The Line of Wire writes that instead of speaking up in a civilized fashion Pakistan authorities are acting in a bizarre way: […]

    Reply
  • […] Ara at In The Line of Wire writes that instead of speaking up in a civilized fashion Pakistan authorities are acting in a bizarre way: […]

    Reply
  • 49. Ariel Shaver  |  May 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    If I had a nickel for each time I came here… Incredible article!

    Reply
  • 50. Jack  |  June 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Banning facebook or other sites similar to it (twitter, youtube) is completely useless.
    Anyone can use proxy sites to Unblock Facebook or similar sites.
    If you want to do something, try to educate!

    Reply
  • 51. Adam  |  August 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    You can use this to unblock Facebook in China, Vietnam, Iran, Syria :
    http://howtounblockfacebook.net/

    Reply
  • […] In a similar vein, Jehan Ara, President of Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) wrote on her personal blog: […]

    Reply
  • […] Jehan Ara, President of the Pakistan Software Houses Association and a civil society activist, wrote a blog suggesting that banning Facebook would not help Pakistan. She said “We stifle our own voices by […]

    Reply

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