A Fatwa on Facebook? June 19, 2010

A Fatwa on Facebook?

There were a few different Draw Muhammad Day groups on Facebook.

Facebook cowardly banned those groups after they learned of them, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Pakistani officials.

They want Facebook to die.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is being investigated by Pakistani police under a section of the penal code that makes blasphemy against Muhammad punishable by death.

According to the paper, Section 295-C of the penal code reads: “Use of derogatory remark etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet, whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable for fine.”

So, peace be unto Muhammad. But not unto Mark Zuckerberg.

It’s not just Zuckerberg, either.

According to two reports — one at Boxcrack.net, a kind of citizen journalism site run by Privacy International, and another at Pro Pakistani, a Pakistani Telecom and IT news site that lifted the news from BBC Urdu — the Deputy Attorney General has indeed lodged an FIR [First Information Report] against Zuckerberg, fellow co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, and “Andy”, the German woman who initiated the Draw Muhammad contest under a pseudonym.

This is why people need to keep drawing Muhammad. This is not a belief system that deserves our respect. Islam — certainly radical Islam like this — deserves our criticism.

Where are the moderate Muslims on this story? Where’s the condemnation of the people who want to kill people? — People who didn’t even draw Muhammad, for what it’s worth. (Not that violence would be the answer if they did.) People like Eboo Patel were quick to condemn anyone who drew Muhammad. No doubt they don’t want to see this come to a violent end, but at what point will religious radicals realize that their beliefs are subject to criticism and satire?

(Thanks to everyone for the link!)

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  • Bob

    So Zuckerberg is liable because he did not impose Shari’a Law on his members? That is, he can be fined, imprisoned, or executed for something he didn’t actually do?

    Is the campus janitorial staff now liable for not erasing the offending chalk renderings? What about the MUSLIMS who saw it and chose to modify rather than erase the drawing? Perhaps a fatwa against chalk manufacturers is in order, or the construction crew who poured the concrete (thus providing a medium upon which to commit said blasphemy).

    And how do you conduct a trial regarding the depiction of Muhammad without actually showing evidence, and thus repeating/spreading the blasphemy? Guess you have to kill the jury afterwards …

    Somehow, I don’t think that Muhammad’s reticence about being portrayed in sculpture or drawing was meant to encourage religious thuggery.

  • Heidi

    Muhammad -> @>:-[

    Drew him.



  • CS Shelton

    I just don’t know how to stretch my liberal embrace-diversity kind of ethics to understand the muslim outrage here. Like some others have said, to me free speech IS more sacred than almost anything in the world. To me, it is the utterest of blasphemy that the concept of blasphemy exists or is banned under any kind of threat. How dare these bastards tell me what I can and cannot say?

    But I’d like to understand it. I’m not buying the comparisons to racism I’m hearing. Hit me with something else, guys. Give us an excuse we can understand.

  • Somehow, I don’t think that this investigation actually has anything to do with enforcing the rule of law, as that is commonly understood by Westerners. If nothing else, if “Andy”, who presumably has never been anywhere near Pakistan, is found guilty, the whole idea of jurisdiction gets tossed out the window.

    This seems, to me, to be an extension of Pakistan’s government’s earlier attempted blocking of facebook – a display of power by one internal Pakistani political faction to the others, showing what they /can/ do, a simple display of force. I doubt the people who instigated this latest case care one whit about Zuckerman or Andy themselves; and it’s highly unlikely that they actually care about what happens to anyone the investigation finds guilty, nor whether or not any actual blasphemy occurred or who was responsible for it if it did.

    The entire thing seems to be nothing more than sheer thuggery, poorly cloaked in the mantle of religious piety.

    (And yes, I was one of the ones who contributed a comic here.)

  • trixr4kids

    “Facebook cowardly banned those groups after they learned of them”

    Well–“after they learned of them” as in AFTER Everybody Draw Mohammad Day, itself, which went off as planned.

    I participated, and my friends and I shared our submissions on May 20th, as scheduled.

    According to the article you linked to, Hemant, Facebook apparently removed the “offensive” images from the URL–on May 31st, in reaction to the Pakistani ban.

    FB evidently have since changed their minds, because EDMD is there as I write this, drawings included.


  • trixr4kids

    “‘Andy’, the German woman who initiated the Draw Muhammad contest under a pseudonym”

    Everybody Draw Mohammad Day was initiated by American cartoonist Molly Norris, of Seattle, Washington.

  • Anytime theocrats threaten violence, civilized society can’t blink. Take the Danish cartoons: the next day every newspaper in the free world should have ran those cartoons on page 1. But what happened? You had ostensibly respectable publications refusing to run the cartoons out of fear. They might have said it was because they didn’t want to “offend” a noble religion—but it was fear.

    That’s why Everybody Draw Mohammad Day is so important. The key to it is everybody. If everybody draws Mohammad, what are they going to do? Take out literally everybody? Of course not. Threats like theirs only work against a small group. You can’t threaten everybody; you’ll look silly. Everybody Draw Mohommad Day would work if people weren’t so ready to capitulate to religious threats.

  • aardvark

    Startled Mo:

  • I don’t get it. How is Facebook subject to Islam law? Facebook is being run from the United States, by Americans. Islam law can go fuck itself for all I care. They have no jurisdiction and can shove their fatwas up their fatasses.

  • Should we even allow Muslims into the West anymore? I’m thinking no.

  • ethanol

    Should we even allow Muslims into the West anymore? I’m thinking no

    That’s the ticket! Fight religious intolerance with religious intolerance!

  • Guy

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only sane person I know, which makes me wonder if I’m actually the crazy one.

  • ckitching

    They might have said it was because they didn’t want to “offend” a noble religion—but it was fear.

    If only it was that simple. Plenty refused to run because they also believe their religion should be on a pedestal and immune from criticism. Religious leaders from all around the world almost completely uniformly sided not with freedom of speech but rather against it that day. And even those who came out in support of the cartoon often did it not because they want to defend free speech, but rather as a dig against a hated rival religion (see: Fox news), since a lot of them were the same people who want to censor anything they see as attacking a Christian symbol (Piss Jesus, etc).

    It was a pathetic show, on the whole.

  • Javier

    This is going waaaay weird. I’m afraid of Islamism, yeah I’m an islamophobe.
    I hope they never succeed with their jihad.
    And I’ll do whatever I have at hand to stop them from achieving their goal.

  • Richard P.

    Have you heard about the wonderful conference coming to the Chicago area.
    Personally, I live in another country and I am scared.


    We may think were making in roads to civil discussion,but it ain’t happening. They see this as a war. We should too, a war for our right to free thinking and life.

  • That’s the ticket! Fight religious intolerance with religious intolerance!

    I’d rather survive being “intolerant” (I consider it understanding a viable and dangerous threat), then die being tolerant.

    You don’t let homeless people into your house at 2 A.M. in the morning just because they ask nicely.

  • And even those who came out in support of the cartoon often did it not because they want to defend free speech, but rather as a dig against a hated rival religion (see: Fox news), since a lot of them were the same people who want to censor anything they see as attacking a Christian symbol (Piss Jesus, etc).

    True, but Christianity doesn’t preach destruction of the West. Minor difference.

  • david

    If you are a Muslim and this is your law/belief structure as it being a crime then only those of Muslim belief should refuse it.

    However in countries that have freedoms of speech and are not of Muslim faith should have their choice to draw cartoons, make fun, express themselves whether or not it’s tasteful.

    When you burn our Flag, and chant death to America or a person because you disagree with an action, should we issue a death sentence and give the go ahead to kill you?

  • I say we all “by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the ‘Holy Prophet’ Muhammad.” I’ll start:

    Muhammad was a liar and a pedofile. Muhammad was nothing more than a greedy, egomaniacal, power-hungry, perverted war-mongering human. There was NOTHING “holy” about him, and all of his followers, “extremist” or not, believe in lies and fairy tales, and their prayers and violent actions are for nothing.

    What are they going to do? Kill everybody that isn’t a muslim?

  • ethanol


    So your solution to the problem of muslims, in this case muslims in Pakistan, threatening freedom of speech is to disallow anyone of muslim religion from living in the west? Brilliant. Except for the whole “freedom of religion” bit but who needs that. You don’t need to lie down and accept sharia law, but you target the action (threatening people for drawing things) and not the broad group of people (muslims). Muslim apologists are trying their best to frame the defense of freedom of speech as racism and you’re kind of rhetoric plays right into their hands.

  • @ ethanol:

    I’m not happy about it (not taking into account freedom of religion in immigration decisions), but what’s the alternative? Fomenting a common bond? Trying to “understand each other”?

    It’s simply not going to work; Islam and the West are not compatible and to believe otherwise, what one does by letting in Muslims, is pure idiocy and an invitation to destruction.

    Take this poll for example:


    How do you solve this problem? You promote tolerance. Well they don’t give a shit about your “tolerance”. Go to Sweden and ask all those raped blond girls how Muslims feel about women’s rights and “tolerance”.

    You’re chasing the Western chimera of diversity in a situation that simply won’t allow it to arise peacefully.

    If this is the basis of Islam, if this is what their religion dictates, then only a nominal Muslim (like Miss USA) can find commonality with Western norms.

    Is it any surprise that Westernized women get honor killed by the males in their own families?

  • J.Allen


    Don’t let your hatred blind you. Many Muslims are not capable of murder, especially ones who move to the West.

    Yes religion causes this problem, but only because religion is a catalyst for ignorance. Just ask the dude who was killed for trying to watch to world cup. Islam is a symptom of ignorance as surely as Christianity is.

    Pakistan can be a shithole if it wants to be, but let’s concentrate on teaching the people around us how to think critically and not put objective morality ahead of human empathy. We may have to face fear, but if we let the fear control our actions then we ourselves will be feeding ignorance.

    The concept of diversity is important because we are all the same and only by interacting can we learn that.

  • JB Tait

    Would it be parity if we start a religion in which it is punishable by death and a $500 fine to utter the name of Allah? Sort of an Ultra-Islam with this blasphemy proscribed as a most serious offense against the wrathful god. They are supposed to pray 5 times a day. $2500 a day per Muslim would be a nice piece of change, so it would easily pay for the enforcers.

    We would want to delay the death sentences however, out of compassion, until their assets were totally consumed by the fines.

    This would only apply to hetero males, however, as the females and gays have more gentle voices that are pleasing to the Almighty.

  • SickoftheUS

    …Christianity doesn’t preach destruction of the West. Minor difference.

    Christianity, overtly or culturally, is and has been used to bulwark, justify, and look away from destruction of the Mid-East. For more than a thousand years. Going on today in glaringly obvious ways.

    I’m really sick of the we’re-not-as-bad-as-them crap.

  • Hitch

    Welcome to fascistic theocracies. Needless to say this isn’t really that new and it is pretty much exactly why DMD exists.

    At the same time the OIC, spear-headed by Pakistan pushes for this in the UN:


    “Delegates from Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Egypt, told the United Nations Human Rights Council that treatment of Muslims in Western countries amounted to racism and discrimination and must be fought.

    “People of Arab origin face new forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and experience discrimination and marginalisation,” an Egyptian delegate said, according to a U.N. summary.

    And Pakistan, speaking for the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the council’s special investigator into religious freedom should look into such racism “especially in Western societies.””

    Intolerance and “religious freedom” sound really funny if we look at the big picture. Needless to say the OIC has refused to issue reports on the treatments of its minorities. Well many of them are opressive, intolerant regimes, so…

  • Alan McGowan

    radical Islam need to grow a fucking sense of humor! they can put a man to death for drawing a picture, for being a sorcerer (as if you could), and for criticising any aspect of Islam. I say we should put 1,000 Muslims to death for every 1 innocent person they put to death for religious crimes, that would develop that sense of humor really fast! I believe “eye for and eye” was a Persian concept. >:)

  • That could explain the recent upsurge in Pakistani and Arab interest in my blog, lol. There’s been a lot of probing and poking around lately, looking for evidence of who this evil apostate from Michigan is…:-)

  • bigjohn756

    It is clear that there are no moderate Muslims. If there were then we would have heard from them by now. They would be all over their fundamentalist brethren in an effort to talk some sense into them.

  • ethanol


    Immigrants are accepted into this nation under the agreement that will obey the law. Threatening people with bodily harm, honor killings etc are against the law so if they engage in that behavior we have this handy thing called a legal system. On the other hand providing a religious test for who can and cannot live in this nation is incompatible with our constitution and provides an extremely dangerous precedent. I’ve heard enough calls for expelling all atheists from the country to understand the value of freedom of religion. You say I am “promoting diversity” when in fact you should say I am “allowing diversity” and there is a big difference between the two.

    bigjohn756 said:

    It is clear that there are no moderate Muslims. If there were then we would have heard from them by now. They would be all over their fundamentalist brethren in an effort to talk some sense into them.

    Yeah! just like the moderate Christians who always step in to express their disagreement with Christian fundamentalists. Oh wait…

  • Here’s the thing: Tolerance and liberality extend only as far as others’ tolerance and liberality. In other words, if you believe that everybody has the right to speak their mind, then you owe it to everybody else to stop anyone who would impose upon that ability.

    It is morally wrong to tolerate intolerance when it becomes legislation.

    I recently wrote an article about why it’s not ok to pretend at belief for the sake of social benefits. This is a great example of that very thing. We need a little more intolerance of religious expression. We owe no respect to someone’s beliefs when they infringe upon our life or freedom. Anyone who sits by and doesn’t stand up against this is guilty of aiding it.

  • Freeedommmmm!

    A hint OneSTDV is really motivated by racism and xenophobia more than any reasonable ideals about freedom:

    “Go to Sweden and ask all those raped blond girls…”

    Assuming there is an epidemic of muslims in Sweden raping women, A)Experience tells us it would be within their communities so the victims wouldn’t be blond, and B)Why would it matter if they were blond? Afraid the mudpeople are going to taint our race, my fellow whitey?

    I don’t like Islamic radicals setting up shop in my backyard any more than you do, but you are clearly stating “They’re all the same,” and that is clearly xenophobic horsepuckey.
    I’d rather live next door to Reza Aslan than Pat Robertson any day of the week. Hell, if I had a daughter, I’d rather she married Reza Aslan or Fareed Zakaria than somebody like Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney.
    We can fight this sort of thing without resorting to racism. I’d hope.

  • So, the same people who allow a group dedicated to denying the holocaust disallow a group for Draw Muhammad Day?


  • ThilinaB

    What are they going to do? Kill everybody that isn’t a muslim?

    If the extremists had it their way… yes. Convert or kill is kind of a theme with violent religions.

    I’m a little surprised that people are surprised muslims are pissed off (again). The whole point of EDMD seemed to be to offend muslims (this was not about artistic expression, the original cartoons may have been but people drawing it on the day were doing so for a purpose that had very little to do with the artistic value of the drawing), and we all already know how they react when offended.

  • T Ray

    0<-< Sorry, I couldn't make the head any fatter.

    Did Eboo cite an acceptable way to satirize islam? Did Eboo cite any examples of "speech" that should be protected even if they hurt a religious group's feelings?

    The mere suggestion that followers of a faith should expect that everyone, including non-followers, should for a moment follow any tenets of their ideology is disgusting and imperialist.

    But these expectations are coming from "moderates" and now foreign nations? Bullshit.

  • Dan W

    Wait a minute… Mark Zuckerberg isn’t a Pakistani citizen. They can’t charge him for jack shit. And since when should Sharia law apply to non-Muslims? You can’t make everyone follow your religion’s ridiculous rules, and you can’t make people who aren’t citizens of your country follow it’s stupid religion-based laws either. Pakistan’s authorities don’t have a leg to stand on in this situation, and they know it. They’re just making a big deal of it to maintain support from their Muslim citizens. Fuck Pakistan.

    And to hell with all blasphemy laws.
    I think it's necessary for me to draw another Mohammed.

  • Colin

    Wouldn’t it be great if in response to this Facebook reinstated the groups they closed.

  • (/|:-{>

  • muggle

    FB banned it!!! This is news to me. How come I was then subject to so many depictions of that ugly s.o.b.?

    If that’s true (and I’ll believe it when it’s confirmed by FB, not because the Pakastani government claims this coup), then we should all protest to FB management.

    Or in protest, start putting images of a certain hideously ugly (inside and out) asshole on our walls.

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