Pakistan Blocks Access To Facebook Over “Draw Mohammed Day”

Out of solidarity with the recently threatened South Park creators, tomorrow will be “Draw Mohammed Day”, an international day of defiance and protest by secularists against religious extremists’ attempts to silence free expression through death threats.  A Facebook group was created advertising this event.  Pakistan considers Facebook‘s willingness to allow such free speech so inappropriate that they will be blocking their citizens’ access to the entire website, (at least for the time being):

“Obviously it (the blocking of Facebook) is related to the objectionable material that was placed on Facebook. That is why it is blocked,” said Khoram Ali Mehran of the telecommunication authority.

“We have blocked it for an indefinite amount of time. We are just following the government’s instructions and the ruling of the Lahore High Court. If the government decides to unblock it then that’s what we will do,” he told CNN by phone.

The organization has not received any complaints from internet users about the Facebook group so far, he said.

While it would be outrageous enough if Pakistan censored Facebook, a private company, for itself initiating a free speech affirming event, it is even more insidious, in my view, that they are attacking Facebook for simply allowing other, private people to express their opinions on the site with a Facebook group.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Capt’n John

    It is totally within the rights (as they see them) of a theocracy to ban whatever is unacceptable in the eyes of the leader(s) of that theocracy. That, of course does not make it right, but when a religion “knows the TRUTH”, then freedom of speech, and even freedom of thought must take a place behind that which is known to be right by the holders of power in a theocracy. While this current assault on freedom of speech is in relation to the Islamic religion, If (and when) a fundamentalist form of Christianity manages to achieve political power (again) in the Western world regardless of the Constitution of the USA speech and mind control will be occurring here as well as in places far removed from where we live.

  • Jonathan Speke Laudl

    I concur with your thought that muslim culture is still mired in religion such that
    one is branded a traitor to the group if apostate. This cultural norm resembles a prevailing norm of Christian medieval Europe (the inquisition being one of its manifestations). Though islamic culture is 1500 years old, it shows no sign of beginning a transformation as Christian Europe did when it was 1500 years old—called the Renaissance—-leading to a generally secularized, democratic, scientific and liberty-loving civilization. But in another 500 years who knows–islamic culture may yet resemble the west. Until then it is best to be wary and guard the valuable and unique gains the west has made through development and struggle over two

  • Jonathan Speke Laudl