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Posted at 3:52 PM ET, 05/20/2010

'Draw Muhammad Day': Pakistan bans YouTube; Facebook still blocked [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

UPDATE: The primary "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" and "Against 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!' " Facebook pages each have more than 100,000 "supporters."

Elsewhere, the DC-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued "a Muslim response" to Everybody Draw Muhammad Day that urges understanding, tolerance and forgiveness from all sides.

As the Facebook-ignited campaign "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" arrived today, Pakistan expanded its Internet ban to include YouTube.

A day after ordering that Facebook be blocked, the government also banned the video-sharing site, citing its "growing sacrilegious content," reports The Washington Post's Karin Brulliard from Islamabad.

A Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) says the decision to block YouTube was made after government monitors discovered that references to the primary "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" Facebook page -- which now has more than 80,000 "supporters" -- were growing on the video-sharing site.

The page, which Jon Wellington told Comic Riffs he started in a "whimsical and nonjudgmental spirit" last month, quickly became a forum for a hate-laced war of word and image, as both pro-Muslim and anti-Muslim posters often spewed vitriol.

The campaign also spawned an "Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" page, which as of Thursday has nearly 100,000 supporters who "like" the page. Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist whose posterlike illustration titled "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" last month spawned the protest, has herself joined the "Against" page.

"I will not be drawing Mohammed on May 20," Norris told Comic Riffs on Wednesday. "I joined 'Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' and folks from there write to me. I never even set up a place where people could send images to. Other people started Facebook pages for this day but I never did."

Islam is the majority religion in Pakistan. Some Muslims consider any depiction of Muhammad to be blasphemous.

"We are an Islamic republic, so we are monitoring the Muslim content," said the PTA spokesman, Khurran Mehran.

The Post's Brulliard reports that Wikipedia also seems to be blocked today in Pakistan -- though it wasn't immediately known whether this was because the government banned access. The cellphone company Mobilink said access from smartphones to Facebook, YouTube and other sites with "blasphemous content" were also blocked.

Shortly after 9 a.m. ET, a status update on the primary "Everybody Draw Muhammad" Facebook page said: "We are back online after some page trouble, thank you facebook-gang. Enjoy the rest of the day and draw Mohammed however you may like. We will of course encourage you to make a creative and humourous picture, instead of something hateful."


DRAW MUHAMMAD DAY: 12 top cartoonists offer their "pro" and "con" takes on the protest campaign.

By Michael Cavna  | May 20, 2010; 3:52 PM ET
Categories:  General, The Political Cartoon  | Tags:  Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, Facebook, Jon Wellington, Molly Norris, Muhammad cartoons, Pakistan, YouTube  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: THEIR TURN: 12 top cartoonists offer their take on 'Draw Muhammad Day'
Next: THE RIFF: A day after 'Draw Muhammad,' the political cartoon gets a powerful reminder


Social media, it seems, are incompatible with certain cultural core values.

There is certainly no such thing as a new media emerging creative class in Islamic countries, for instance.

Check out this interesting, relevant blog post by a recent Harvard graduate on YouTube's recent birthday, its altering effect on the TV industry, and its provision of a platform for a new creative class to emerge:

Posted by: SteveRDuque | May 20, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I am actually encouraged by Pakistan's actions because what its government is doing is sowing the seeds of a backlash against religion and digging their own graves.

The vast majority of people never see the provocative material. Pakistanis using YouTube are mostly watching cricket videos, and Pakistanis use facebook to connect with friends no different than Westerners do. When an authority blanketly bans entire websites for material that people never see, it achieves nothing other than to cause inconvenience for millions of people. Eventually, these Islamic Totalitarians will overreach their mandates with their knee jerk action and will bring about a backlash. In Iran, we are seeing increasing frustration and agitations against the Islamic state. The day cannot come soon enough when zealous Muslims (and religionists everywhere) destroy their faiths, and organized religion is relegated to the ash heap of history, which is where the pre-modern ignorance of religion belongs.

Policing the Internet does not work - numerous countries have tried this. It costs millions of man-hours and billions of dollars to control the internet, and is total waste of resources that could be put to better use improving socioeconomic conditions.

Posted by: wavelet | May 20, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I think this is the foolish thing happening around.... have ever Muslims said any thing against Jesus or Muses???
Its not we muslims cant say anything this is just we respect them as we respect Muhammad(P.B.U.H).

May Allah show you guys right path Ameen

Posted by: umunier | May 20, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Just because we have free speech in this country (USA) and we have tolerance of peoples criticisms of religion it does not mean we should drop our morals and disrespect another religion.

With our freedoms comes the responsibility to use them in an appropriate and moral way. We are the USA. We should be an example of what is right with Democracy.

I don't see what anyone has to gain by drawing another religions profit when it is against that religion to have the profit drawn. It is amoral and disrespectful. What are we winning by doing this?

I don't believe in giving into terrorists or death threats but I do believe in doing what is morally right. The morally right thing to do is respect this religions edict and not draw their profit.

Of all the causes in the world this one doesn't even make the list. Lets feed the poor, cure diseases, make sure children have a home and are protected from human trafficking.

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something.

We are America and we should be standing up against the atrocities in the world. Not being able to draw their profit is not one of those atrocities.

Posted by: Scott_USA | May 20, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

The "Against 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!' has about 40,250 "supporter." And it's been close to that number for about 2 hours now. Where did you get 100,000 from? Well, whatever. Facts are silly. Don't you think?

Posted by: jjhanley | May 20, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

This event was rough around the edges so to speak, but the intent behind it was sincere. Always stand up to the bullies on the playground. They need to be ‘taught’ how to behave by the rest of us.

Sometimes you have to respond in a manner that the other side can take notice of regardless of how banal and crude other people think it may have been. They took notice that people were standing up to their tyrannical antisocial expectations put upon the rest of us by them.

The first page received up to 100,000 supporters prior to being removed, the 2nd page was up to 14,500 supporters before it was also removed.
The ‘protest’ was a huge success, no one had acid splashed into their faces, no one had their hands cut off with swords, and no one was bombed by a homicide bomber.
We [atheists, Pagans, Xians, Hindus, & Buddhists] all exercised our right to freedom of expression in the face of “Hate Speech Mongers” who masquerade as a “Religion of Peace”.

So what if it may not have been done as some would have wished it to have been. It was done. That is what was important.

Posted by: IdrewMohammadToo | May 22, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: itkonlyyou77 | May 23, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Are terrorists born that way? No, they are indoctrinated into their faith. Terrorists start with no faith. Then they begin to have a small faith, which grows until it leads to fundamentalism and then their faith leads to being a full fledged terrorist.

The pool which terrorists are recruited from are liberal, moderate and fundamentalist Islamic followers. This is true for extremists of any faith.

The solution? Everyone Islamic-liberal, moderate and fundamentalist needs to denounce their faith as the mythology it is. This is the only thing which will take away the fuel from the terrorists.

In fact, the time is now (due to religious extremists and the scientific age we live in) for every person of every faith to admit their faith is false, simply ancient mythology of old. The world would immediately become a better place.

If this happened--imagine--religion could never divide friends, families, partners, potential partners, communities or nations, ever again.

What happens to kids who realize Santa Claus is not real? Do they suggest a moderate belief in Santa Clause? I'll believe in the reindeer and the sleigh but not the man? No, they go on to lead productive adult lives. They can live without their belief.

Posted by: NeverDevalueYourHumanity | May 24, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

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