In qualified support of the facebook ban – by Muhammad Amir Khakwani

While a number of valuable articles have been posted on the LUBP criticising the facebook ban, here is an alternative, thought provoking perspective by Muhammad Amir Khakwani. Unlike our tradition, we are placing this newspaper article on the front page in order to invite a constructive debate on this perspective. Also provided below Khakwani’s article is another equally interesting article on this topic which was recently published in the Digital Journal:

Source: Express, 22 May 2010


Also of interest is the following article on the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”:

‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ Controversy Still Raging Worldwide

Source: Digital Journal

Saudi Arabia banned Facebook’s EDMD page. Indian Muslims are demanding that India do the same. Pakistan lodged protests with the UN and US, even as the issue divides its people. Sweden closed its embassy there. Now the controversy threatens the World Cup.

UPDATE: Few non-Muslims today are more vehemently opposed to EDMD than its creator,Molly Norris. Not even the Against EDMD F/Bpage, of which Ms. Norris is now a member. In fact, Ms. Norris is now recruiting visitors at her website to join the Against EDMD page as well. Unfortunately for Ms. Norris, YouTube user MrBeydoun4Palestine just posted a brand newominous video that uses her earlier enthusiastic words against her. The message of the edited video cuts and soundtrack is unmistakable. Doesn’t look like joining the opposition helped hermuch, though she did dodge one fatwa. So far. The original EDMD news roundup as follows.

The Everybody Draw Mohammed Day controversy continues to rage on worldwide, and shows no signs of abating despite its May 21 expiration date. Sweden closed its embassy in Islamabad for an indefinite period due to security concerns. That act appears to stem from the controversy surrounding Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has gone into hiding.

Yesterday the Lahore High Court (LHC), which issued the injunctions banning Facebook and YouTube in Pakistan, petitioned Pakistan’s Foreign Minister to lodge an official sovereign protest to the US over the blasphemous Facebook page. Today, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States complied. Pakistan has also filed a grievance with the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Yet even in Pakistan itself, as the Economic Times is now reporting, the controversy is causing rifts in Pakistani civil society between the Islamists who want social networks like Facebook banned, and modernists who oppose the bans as self-defeating. Thesweeping social networking ban are even starting to affect many major Pakistani businesses.

Those same kinds of societal rifts are now surfacing in India. As the usanewsweek.comwebsite is now reporting, Indian Muslims have been petitioning the national government to ban Facebook over the row. Though predominantly a secular society, India was the first nation to ban Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Many in India who consider that ban a national embarrassment are calling for the government to repeal it as its 21st anniversary approaches. In related news, Xinhua reports that the government of Saudi Arabia is also now blocking the controversial EDMD Facebook page. The Christian Science Monitor is reporting on news that the cartoon controversy is casting a dark shadow over the upcoming World Cup in South Africa. Local Muslims were outraged over a relatively mild sketch drawn by famed South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (aka Zapiro) syndicated internationally May 20.

South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council issued a press release on its website this past weekend condemning the Zapiro cartoon. Zapiro himself has received a number of death threats from enraged Islamists, as well as a defamation lawsuit from South African President Jacob Zuma. South African officials fear heightened security risks for the upcoming World Cup beginning on June 11. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) had already threatened to launch terror attacks against the World Cup venue last month, and now local Muslim anger is mounting. Mr. Zapiro’s own response to South African Muslims aggrieved by his cartoon? “Get over it.

Ironically, the creator of the original EDMD cartoon, Molly Norris, has attempted to distance herself from the controversy by disavowing the campaign and apologizing to Muslims for it. Yet she is still facing death threats from offended Islamist extremists, while proponents of the EDMD contest are now accusing her of cowardice for disowning the campaign she herself inspired. It is an entirely no-win situation for cartoonist Norris who, like Martin Luther, only wanted to make a mild statement of protest but wound up sparking a cultural conflagration far beyond her ability to extinguish. Even her fellow cartoonists are greatly divided on the issue. Much more on the EDMD controversy at and Google’s search page.

UPDATE: It looks like some Muslims have come up with a creative idea to counter EDMD, to wit EDHD: Everybody Draw (the) Holocaust Day. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about EDHD is that no one will likely get killed over it. Food for thought. A banquet, actually.



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