Facebook returns

Editorial June 01, 2010

The Lahore High Court has lifted the ban on Facebook after assurances from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) that objectionable content would not be placed on the social networking site that links millions around the world. It is unclear if this promise is realistic. Reports say another drawing competition along the lines of the one which created the furore in the first place has been announced for June 10. A court hearing is scheduled for June 15 when the bench will review the PTA’s ability to bar blasphemous material.

There is no doubt that the ‘Draw Muhammad’ (pbuh) contest was insensitive and ill-conceived. There is nothing admirable about conducting competitions that hurt feelings or ridicule religious beliefs. But this having been said, we must also face the fact that we live in a world that is growing smaller all the time; where people anywhere can ‘talk’ to each other by clicking a few buttons on their computers. But to live in this changed world, we need to develop greater tolerance — perhaps even thicker skins. No foolish contest staged on any website can change our beliefs. It is possible to block out pages on our computers or simply not access them.

We should then ask ourselves if it may not have been better to ignore the matter all together. The ban placed on Facebook acted simply to highlight the issue and draw attention to it. Other material that could be construed as ‘objectionable’ exists on many places on the internet. We cannot hope to shut it all out — either through court action or other means. Instead, we must develop the open mindedness demanded of people everywhere in the world today and learn that many issues deserve to be ignored rather than pushed into the limelight by kicking up a fuss over them.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2010.


nadir hassan khan | 11 years ago | Reply i am in total agreement with the views expressed in this editorial. these are EXACTLY the points i have been arguing in my discussions with friends and colleagues. my other 'bone of contention' is this: are not the Jesus and Moses and Noah and Abraham OUR Prophets? or have we parceled them off to the Jews & the Christians? cartoons and jokes and movies are made about them almost on a daily basis. and about the Almighty. why this selectivity about one Prophet, who himself has expressly forbidden us from declaring one 'better' than the other or more 'special'. we have also been told of the quality of 'believers' that they 'believe' in all the Prophets and do not discriminate b/w them.
Dr.Ambreen | 11 years ago | Reply Hey, I completely agree with the writer,we need to be more tolerant and reasonable.Muslim bashing is becoming a norm these days,and it is very convenient to hold these stupid competitions,but the truth is ,there still are reasonable,decent people out there who donot see Muslims and Islam with hatred and prejudice.We need to show the world that Islam is the best religion which makes its followers civilized,compassionate and tolerant.And reacting or debating with any loony or nutcase who considers 'holding such stupid competitions (which serve only to hurt the sentiments of the followers of an entire nation) as '' FREEDOM OF SPEECH'' is a waste of time and energy.These guys don't deserve our attention or fury.
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