Friday, May 21, 2010

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

Facebook certainly has had its share of controversy, and another round of controversy has come up recently.

The entire Facebook site was banned in Pakistan due to a Facebook user creating a group called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day".  Images of the prophet Muhammed are considered offensive by many people of the Muslim religion, as shows like South Park have shown lately.  I think every group has the right to their own beliefs, and if they believe that an image of Muhammed are offensive, I don't think I have any right to tell them otherwise.

Facebook was blocked in the entire country of Pakistan as a result of this controversy.  The offensive page has been removed.  No one is quite sure whether Facebook removed it, or whether the creator did, or whether it was hacked and taken down.

Sites like Facebook present such interesting problems for governments.  In the United States, we enjoy a freedom of speech, but in other countries, this is not necessarily the case.  In a country where that is not the case, how does a government deal with a site that is based in the US (and therefore a site they have no jurisdiction over)?  Worse yet, how does a government deal with a site that contains offensive material posted by a user, as was the case here?  In Pakistan's case, they chose to simply shut off access to Facebook.   Fascinating.  One person posts something offensive, and it causes an entire country to block access to the entire site.  Think of all the losers here.  Advertisers could not get their message out, so they lose.  Facebook could not display the ads, so they lose revenue there.  People around the country who had nothing to do with this and no knowledge of it could not access the site. 

It makes me appreciate our freedoms just a little more when I read things like this.


David J. Csuha, CPP, CFE said...

".. believe that an image of Muhammed are offensive..."

I think it is worth sorting all this out: Pictures of Muhammed are offensive, according to Islam, because pictures of profits, in general, are considered sacrilege. It is not a question of whether the picture in and of itself is offensive, the problem is in the fact that the graphical representation of a "prophet" is considered an insult to the "supreme being".

All that being said, I am not a religious person. I did some "time" in a Catholic school with many rules and regulations. After all that, I firmly agree with free speech, including the right to publish thoughts, opinions, etc. regarding religion, even those of a "prophet". But I think it is important to point out where the "insult" in doing so originates, so that the the basis of beliefs are not stolen by those with other agendas.

David J. Csuha, CPP, CFE said...

"...profits....." Oy. That's what I get for posting at 2:30 in the morning...