Pakistan, which has some of the strictest blasphemy laws in the world, already uses the death penalty against people who criticize Islam (even when they don’t actually do it). Now they want help from two of the largest social media companies to identify people to punish.
The interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said an official in Pakistan’s Washington embassy had approached the two social media companies in an effort to identify Pakistanis, either within the country or abroad, who recently shared material deemed offensive to Islam.
Neither company has said it would comply with the request. Plenty of Islamic radicals, however, have used information on the websites as motivation to kill the people who posted them.
What’s really disturbing is that Pakistani officials are actively looking for blasphemers. They don’t even need someone to complain about them in order to take action. Of all the issues that would warrant the help of Facebook and Twitter, it’s appalling that this is the one. Pakistan isn’t interested in posts about harassment or domestic abuse or criminal acts. But talk shit about Islam, and they want to come after you.
Talk about misplaced priorities. And this time, the consequences could be deadly.
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