Pakistanis protest against ‘blasphemous’ cartoonsMay 21st, 2010 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS
Rawalpindi (Pakistan), May 21 (DPA) Thousands of Pakistanis took to the streets Friday to protest against “blasphemous” caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the social networking website Facebook and video sharing site YouTube.
Angry crowds gathered after Friday prayers across Pakistan and chanted slogans against Facebook users who have organised an “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day” competition.
The online organisers of the event claim that they are promoting freedom of expression, but most Muslims consider depictions of Mohammed to be blasphemous.
“Death to Molly”, “Death to Facebook” and “Death to America” chanted hundreds of protesters in the eastern city of Multan.
They referred to the American journalist Molly Norris, who inspired the online movement by drawing cartoons of Mohammed. She has distanced herself from the competition and apologised to the Muslims.
The demonstrators, many of them students from Islamic seminaries, blocked the busiest road of Rawalpindi - a garrison city adjacent to the capital, Islamabad - with burning tyres. They demanded a full ban on Facebook, which has around 2.4 million Pakistani users.
In Peshawar, the capital of north-western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province - and a frequent target of militants - small groups of demonstrators torched American flags and demanded death to “Crusaders and Jews” responsible for “hatching conspiracies against the Muslims”.
Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority has temporarily blocked Facebook and YouTube until May 31 in order to prevent the sort of massive protests that erupted after two Danish newspapers published similar cartoons in 2005. Five people died and dozens were injured in the violent demonstrations.
Anger is already growing in Pakistan. Activists from a radical Islamist political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, announced plans to organise an online cartoon competition on the Holocaust during a protest in Islamabad Thursday, reported The News International newspaper.
Party leader Syed Muhammad Bilal said that, since denying the Holocaust is considered a crime in Western countries, “we will hold a competition on cartoons of the Holocaust”.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry Thursday condemned the caricatures on Facebook, saying that “such malicious and insulting attacks hurt the feelings of Muslims around the world”.
Facebook’s administration expressed disappointment at the blockage and said it was considering making the “Everyone Draw Mohammad Day” inaccessible in Pakistan.
- Pakistan blocks YouTube over Prophet cartoon row - May 20, 2010
- Web abuzz over facebook ban in Pakistan - May 21, 2010
- US cartoonist distances herself from Prophet cartoon row - May 21, 2010
- Now, Pak bans Twitter for carrying blasphemous contents - May 21, 2010
- US cartoonist behind "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" on Facebook goes into hiding - Sep 17, 2010
- Protests across Pakistan against prophet's cartoons on Facebook - May 21, 2010
- Pakistan lifts YouTube ban, but says blasphemous links will be blocked - May 27, 2010
- Pak students against ban on Facebook, YouTube in country - May 21, 2010
- Pakistan monitor Google, 6 other sites for un-Islamic content - Jun 25, 2010
- Pak telecom authority bans Blackberry services - May 22, 2010
- Sindh High Court directs PTA to block obscene material on YouTube - Jun 03, 2010
- Pakistan lifts ban on Facebook - May 31, 2010
- Block Facebook over blasphemous cartoons: Pakistani court - May 19, 2010
- After Facebook, Pakistan blocks YouTube - May 20, 2010
- Karachi locals shout 'Death to Facebook', burn US flags - May 22, 2010
Tags: american flags, american journalist, angry crowds, blasphemous caricatures, capital islamabad, caricatures of the prophet, caricatures of the prophet mohammed, cartoons of mohammed, danish newspapers, facebook, freedom of expression, frequent target, garrison city, massive protests, networking website, newspap, pakistanis protest, telecommunication authority, violent demonstrations, youtube