Pakistan court bans Facebook in row over prophet

May 19, 2010 by Post Team 

Lahore ProphetPakistan court bans Facebook in row over prophet:A court in Pakistan has ordered the authorities to temporarily block the social network Facebook.

The order came when a request is submitted after the site has a contest with cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The petition, filed by an advocacy group called the Islamic Movement of Lawyers, said the contest was “blasphemous.”

Facebook denied that he was “trying to smear the average” Muslim, in its information page for the contest.

“We just want to show the extremists who threaten to harm people because of their depictions of Mohammed that are not afraid of them,” the statement said.

“They can not take away our right to freedom of expression, trying to scare us into silence.”

Correspondents say that the publications of similar cartoons in Danish newspapers in 2005 sparked angry protests in Muslim countries – five people died in Pakistan.

Internet is free in Pakistan but the government controls the content by routing all traffic through a clearinghouse.

Justice Chaudhry Ejaz Ahmed of the Lahore High Court ordered the communications department to block the website until May 31 and to submit a written response to the request for that date.

An official told the court that parts of the web that were celebrating the competition had been blocked, reports the BBC Urdu service of Abdul Haq in Lahore.

However, the petitioner said a partial blockage of a website was not possible and that every link had to be blocked.

The lawyers’ group says Pakistan is an Islamic country and its laws do not allow activities that are “un-Islamic” or “blasphemous.”

The judge also directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan to raise the issue at international level.

In the past, Pakistan has often blocked access to prnographic sites and sites with anti-Islamic content.

It was considered such material offensive to the political and security of the country, says the BBC M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad.

In 2007, the government banned the YouTube site, apparently to block offensive material to the government of Pervez Musharraf.

The action resulted in widespread disruption of access to the site for several hours. The ban was lifted later.

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