We have witnessed internet users in Muslim world adopting different strategies in reaction to “Draw Mohammad” (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa-aal-hi-Wasallam). Millions of Muslims are protesting against the intents of a community on Facebook that is planning to conduct a contest for Prophet Mohammad’s Drawings.
Background of Draw Day
To discuss it further, it is necessary to understand how and why this Draw Day came into existence.
The Idea to make funny cartoons of Prophet Mohammed [PBUH] came from a Seattle Cartoonist Molly Norris who thought of this campaign in reaction to Comedy Central’s decision to censor an episode of South Park with depictions of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH].
South Park was threatened by Muslims if it showcased Prophet Mohammad’s depictions.
Supporters of Draw Mohammad day say that the campaign is in reaction to killing threats by Muslims; however, they ignore the fact that Muslims’ threats were actually the reaction of South Part depictions. If Draw Mohammad Day supports want to react on reactions, then this chain is not going to stop anytime soon.
Later, on 27th April after a wave of anger from Muslims around the world, she decided to withdraw this activity justifying that she didn’t intend to hurt or disgrace some particular religion.
As always there is a third party to take advantage of a situation so here as well. A page was created on Facebook to continue the similar activity. Owner identity is unknown. The page created even more response than the original activity since page owners put completely disgracing sketches on it.
Supposedly and apparently, admins of this page, allegedly the jewish, created hundreds of groups and pages in order to help removing that page. This advertised the page even in thousand more way in result.
Freedom of Speech and Mohammad’s Depictions
Many argue over this fact that depicting Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] is their basic human right, given to masses by the law of many countries. But, this freedom of speech comes with limitations – Wikipedia Notes:
Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws.
There are exceptions to these general protection, including the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws, speech that incites imminent danger, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising.
Within these limited areas, other limitations on free speech balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons (restrictions on fighting words), or the use of untruths to harm others (slander). Distinctions are often made between speech and other acts which may have symbolic significance.
Now for those who are depicting Prophet Mohammad [PBUH], they clearly know that this will create hatred, mass violence and worst possible impact on Muslims’ feelings.
How Muslims are Reacting?
- Some go to said Fan page and they abuse the owners and non-Muslims there
- Some go to Fan page in question and argues on different topics giving their logics to prove the Fan Page unnecessary and indecent
- Some users are creating their Fan-Pages either opposing the fan page in question or otherwise for Prophet Mohammad praise (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa-aal-hi-Wasallam)
- There are people who are ignoring the situation but are feeling really bad in their hearts, and are unable to do anything
- There are people who are just not only ignoring all the happenings but they are not even concerned about the outcomes
- There are people who are sad over the incident but accepting it as they can’t do anything
Facebook’s Role in Promoting Draw Day [Allegations]
Facebook, allegedly, is supporting the Draw Day, and here are our arguments:
- Facebook is governed under its Terms of Services. Item 3.7 of Facebook TOS says “You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence”
- “Draw Mohammad Day” was reported by at least 35,000 Facebook users, however, page is still live – giving the page a direct support (while it is spreading hatred – a violation of Facebook TOS)
- During the campaign, Facebook is banning pages created by Muslims against Jews. In this one example, Facebook banned a Page with-in 20 minutes of its reporting by jews
The people from all over the world have reported the page but even after thousands of reports, Facebook hasn’t removed the page, giving its indirect support for the cause.
For instance one may think that it may be Facebook itself! And why not, while controversy will result in clicks, impressions, visits to this page making them earn more as well as the creation of hundreds of other new pages and groups with lot more activity as an investment for future.
Facebook is bone of contention: Because its only the Facebook that could create such an impact. With power, there was responsibility on Facebook, which it never met.
If Facebook had banned the Draw Mohammad page, in early days – none of this could have happened.
What will happen on Draw Day?
On the 20th, people will post pictures on Blogger, LiveJournal, wordpress.com, vox.com, TypePad, Flickr, Picasa, imgur, yfrog, twitpic, and of course, on their own blogs and in videos on Youtube and elsewhere. But again, Facebook is the root cause.
Why Draw Day is Worst than Previous Blasphemous Acts?
This instance of blasphemy is not like what it had happened before in Sweden and Norway. We know that there are websites that spreads blasphemous content across the web.
But, in this instance, Web Giant Facebook is part of the game, and while Facebook has roots to each corner of the world, you can calculate the scale of blasphemy on May 20th, 2010.
What Best we can do?
Unity, under one leader!
Large scale ridicule on May 20th will ignite worldwide riots and unrest. Even worst, anti-Islam elements now have found a way to tease Muslims.
As initial response: Pakistan government has reacted and banned said Fan Page (only one URL), under Pakistan Penal Code, article 295 and 298 that is related to blasphemy law.
Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom decides on what to ban and not to, based on the rules of the land.
It merits mentioning here that MoIT has already banned around 8 million pages on internet (As per Jang News) that has any in-appropriate content and which comes under blasphemy.
On 20th, MoIT will ban as much URLs as possible.
But, let’s go bigger – governments and Media from Muslim countries must unite at this time.
This war can’t be won on roads and battlefields; instead a strategic media campaign is needed to make the western world realize that they are acting in uncivilized manner. It is them who are creating unrest and doing extremist activities.
To Boycott or Not to Boycott
There are opinions for and against boycotting the Facebook. There are people who think boycotting the Facebook is a form of protest – to make the Facebook administration realize their biased strategy, while others think they will stay on Facebook and will fight on the platform.
We are Boycotting the Facebook on May 20th, 2010 and we will abandon all our activities on Facebook ever after. We have this stance because:
- Staying on Facebook for reporting the bad URLs is pointless, as Facebook has made its mind to not to listen you
- ProPakistani (not saying about you) can’t preach at a platform where people are abusing and using indecent language
Note: ProPakistani’s stance is an individual opinion, and is not imposed on anyone.
Note: This article has input from Jabran Rafique as well.