A Pakistani court has ordered the authorities to temporarily block Facebook due to a contest that calls for caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
The court order follows a petition by a group called the Islamic Lawyers’ Movement, which complained that the contest was “blasphemous.” A search on Facebook reveals two sites featuring such caricatures: one supporting Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who created the caricature of the Prophet, published in Danish newspapers in 2005.
The other group is openly calling for caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, claiming in the group descriptions that it has noble intent. From the description: “This group is for everyone, regardless of nationality, political or religious believes, who believe in and want to defend freedom of speech and the foundation of democracy wherever it is being threatened in the world!” In the photo section of the group, one can indeed find several caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Facebook is to remained blocked in Pakistan until May 31. Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court ordered the department of communications to submit a written reply to the Islamic Lawyers’ Movement petition by that date. In 2008, Pakistan blocked YouTube, also because of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that found their way onto the video-sharing site.