Today is Everybody Draw Muhammad Day 3:
In previous years, I’ve compiled and posted large sets of images as a way to show solidarity with others who refuse to be censored by religious extremists… this year, for a variety of personal reasons, I just didn’t have the time to put it all together. I didn’t think anything of it — it wasn’t as much of a hot topic this year as it was in the past, right?
Maybe I need to reconsider.
Pakistan shut down Twitter in the country after the company refused to censor Tweets linking to the Everybody Draw Muhammad Day Facebook page:
Muhammad Yaseen, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, said the micro-blogging site had been shut down on Sunday after it refused to remove tweets promoting a Facebook page encouraging people to post images of the prophet Muhammad.
He said Facebook agreed to address Pakistan’s concerns but officials had failed to persuade Twitter to do the same. “We have been negotiating with them until last night, but they did not agree to remove the stuff, so we had to block it,” Yaseen said.
Tech-savvy Pakistanis found ways to get around the censors, but the idea that a country can censor a website because some of its users don’t treat Islam with respect it doesn’t deserve in the first place is crazy.
Then again, the whole thing is just going to backfire, anyway:
Emrys Schoemaker, director of iMedia, a research organisation that studies social media in Pakistan, said attempts to control the internet reflected a shift from the media freedoms introduced by the former president Pervez Musharraf.
“This is a very defensive, dated response to politics in the digital era,” Schoemaker said. “Closing down debate simply makes the voices louder.”
People will keep drawing images of the Islamic prophet until Muslims stop censoring other people from doing it. If they can’t handle freedom of expression, that’s their problem. No one else has to abide by their religious rules — and as long as they kill and suppress others who criticize their faith, we have all the more reason to fight against it.
***Update***: Pakistan’s Prime Minister has restored Twitter access in the country.
(via Atheism Examiner)