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Facebook founder facing death penalty

 
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According to the BBC, although you'll need to understand Urdu to read it (here is a rough translation using Google for your convenience if you don't), Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stands accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a Pakistani court filing under something known as 'Messenger Law' for which the punishment can be death.

The case stems from a competition that a Facebook user started which invited users to 'Draw Muhammad' and led to Facebook access being blocked in Pakistan back in May. A competition which proved quite popular with the Facebook 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' group attracting over 40,000 members before it was pulled. That said, the 'Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' group which was not pulled managed to attract more than 60,000 members, so make of that what you will.

Boxcrack informs us that on May 31st "a High Court judge, Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, ordered the government to take action in respect to alleged blasphemy on Facebook. On June 11th in consequence of this order, the Deputy Attorney General authorised and initiated the first stage of investigation and prosecution of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook". Now reports are emerging that a Pakistani lawyer, Muhammad Azhar Siddique, has filed a "First Information Report" (FIR) alleging that Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is responsible for the distribution of blasphemous Islamic content.

Zuckerberg is not the only person facing this police investigation as the FIR also names Facebook co-founders and, according to Muhammad Azhar Siddique at least, co-conspirators Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Oh, and let's not forget the Facebook user who kick-started the whole thing by starting the competition in the first place, a mysterious German women known only as Andy.

So was this, as the competition organisers claimed, a demonstration of the right to free speech and a stand against religiously inspired intimidation or was it just an attempt to inflame an already highly flammable situation following the death threats against South Park cartoon creators who dared to feature Muhammad inside a teddy bear outfit in an episode of the popular TV show earlier in the year?

Whatever your opinion, unless you happen to be on the extremes of religion in which case I'd humbly suggest that your views on the subject are perhaps a little too biased to be taken seriously in this particular debate, looking for a death sentence for the owner of an Internet service under such circumstances does seem, well, a little absurd.

Look, I'm all for religious freedom, it's a central part of any truly free society. However, when a religion attempts to force its own moral code upon the wider world outside of its own followers then I stop being so accommodating. That episode of South Park, for example, which so offended Islamic extremists that it has even been suggested it was the motivation behind the recent New York car bombing attempt also included images of Jesus Christ watching pornography and depicted Buddha as a cocaine snorting drug user. Yet I don't recall Christians or Buddhists planting bombs or calling for the death of the cartoonists.

At some point, surely, there has to come a realisation that 'old world' religious fervour and new world technological freedoms do not mix. The solution, then, is surely not to kill the people behind the new technology but for those who despise it so much not to use it. There's a relatively new saying which has become popular in my household "if you hate online porn so much, stop searching for it" and that seems to make a lot of sense. We've stopped burning witches, thank goodness, so isn't time we also stopped demonising technology and the people who use it?

Discuss...


Disclaimer: my own spiritual faith is Pagan, so I'm well used to religious intolerance but have never called for anyone to die as a result of them mocking my beliefs.

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Davey Winder

I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .

 
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I do not think much will transcend with this case. As you say in your last paragraph, at some point during this circus Pakistani authorities will have to realize that in the rest of the WORLD freedom of expression is practiced and allowed by other sovereign nations. I seriously believe that if Pakistani authorities persist on prosecuting Zuckerberg, the UN or another International agency will get involved. It is ludicrous that they would try to force their religious beliefs on others or even want to kill someone for allowing people to FREELY express themselves. And especially considering that Zuckerberg lives in the USA where the First Amendmentht in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution, gives EVERYONE the freedom of Speech, The freedom to Peacefully assemble, and the Freedom of Religious expression. YEAH, pretty much sums up what that Facebook Group was doing, exercising MOST of their first Amendment rights.

 
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According to the BBC, although you'll need to understand Urdu to read it (here is a rough translation using Google for your convenience if you don't), Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stands accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a Pakistani court filing under something known as 'Messenger Law' for which the punishment can be death.

The case stems from a competition that a Facebook user started which invited users to 'Draw Muhammad' and led to Facebook access being blocked in Pakistan back in May. A competition which proved quite popular with the Facebook 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' group attracting over 40,000 members before it was pulled. That said, the 'Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' group which was not pulled managed to attract more than 60,000 members, so make of that what you will.

Boxcrack informs us that on May 31st "a High Court judge, Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, ordered the government to take action in respect to alleged blasphemy on Facebook. On June 11th in consequence of this order, the Deputy Attorney General authorised and initiated the first stage of investigation and prosecution of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook". Now reports are emerging that a Pakistani lawyer, Muhammad Azhar Siddique, has filed a "First Information Report" (FIR) alleging that Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is responsible for the distribution of blasphemous Islamic content.

Zuckerberg is not the only person facing this police investigation as the FIR also names Facebook co-founders and, according to Muhammad Azhar Siddique at least, co-conspirators Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Oh, and let's not forget the Facebook user who kick-started the whole thing by starting the competition in the first place, a mysterious German women known only as Andy.

So was this, as the competition organisers claimed, a demonstration of the right to free speech and a stand against religiously inspired intimidation or was it just an attempt to inflame an already highly flammable situation following the death threats against South Park cartoon creators who dared to feature Muhammad inside a teddy bear outfit in an episode of the popular TV show earlier in the year?

Whatever your opinion, unless you happen to be on the extremes of religion in which case I'd humbly suggest that your views on the subject are perhaps a little too biased to be taken seriously in this particular debate, looking for a death sentence for the owner of an Internet service under such circumstances does seem, well, a little absurd.

Look, I'm all for religious freedom, it's a central part of any truly free society. However, when a religion attempts to force its own moral code upon the wider world outside of its own followers then I stop being so accommodating. That episode of South Park, for example, which so offended Islamic extremists that it has even been suggested it was the motivation behind the recent New York car bombing attempt also included images of Jesus Christ watching pornography and depicted Buddha as a cocaine snorting drug user. Yet I don't recall Christians or Buddhists planting bombs or calling for the death of the cartoonists.

At some point, surely, there has to come a realisation that 'old world' religious fervour and new world technological freedoms do not mix. The solution, then, is surely not to kill the people behind the new technology but for those who despise it so much not to use it. There's a relatively new saying which has become popular in my household "if you hate online porn so much, stop searching for it" and that seems to make a lot of sense. We've stopped burning witches, thank goodness, so isn't time we also stopped demonising technology and the people who use it?

Discuss...


Disclaimer: my own spiritual faith is Pagan, so I'm well used to religious intolerance but have never called for anyone to die as a result of them mocking my beliefs.

I have tried the facebook but it doesn't work! The most important thing is that I don't know how to use this tool since I am a chinese. I am not very familiar with facebook! If someone can help me, I would be very grateful.

 
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The problem here is that the internet allows people in different societies to come together (I'm making a distinction here between society and culture/religion/ethnicity). This can be a good thing or as we are seeing with the Islamic countries it can be a problem.
The distinction between society vs culture/religion/ethnicity is the number of characteristics that are different, Islamic countries have different language, culture, religion, values, economic reality, political system, social hierarchy, expectations from life, power structures, laws/legal systems etc... We see them as barbaric because they use methods and hold ideas that are not useful in our society but they may be useful even necessary in their society. We need to remember that our society used to be similar to theirs and it took us hundreds of years to change into what the West is like now. The internet is allowing us to try and force them/bring them to were we are in only a couple of years.

 
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your FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION will lead to war, i am not against it, but it should be used appropriately. RESPECT each others religion as others will kill for it.

 
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Pakistani's gone bonkas. Think that they can easily award Mark Zuckerburg death penalty. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

 
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ROFL, wake up.

It's like when in school some kid keeps bugging you, when you get annoyed he/she will have an incentive to annoy you more.

If you let someone press your button then they will press it.

Isn't it about time forums rewarded their contributors?

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