Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

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Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

Postby Maria Faraz » Wed May 19, 2010 2:01 pm

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

There is a huge hullabaloo over a drawing contest held by Facebook, a popular social networking site, which has not only set the net on fire but now full-fledged protests have erupted all over the Muslim World . A Facebook group with thousands of members is supposedly holding a contest which the Muslim users believe insults Islam. Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, a group owned by a European (as described by one of the many opposing sites that have now mushroomed up against it), announced that it would hold a drawing contest depicting the face of the prophet Muhammad. The group now has 39,025 fans. More than 14,276 members said they would join the contest, which is going to be held on May 20, 2010.

Most of the people protesting all over the world don’t know how this situation has developed. The actual facts behind this whole scenario are that there were recent appeals of the Muslim community to South Park (a popular TV series) not to show episode "201" by Comedy Central which had visuals showing Prophet Muhammad. A group of people also opposed this appeal because they were unaware of the reasons for Muslims for being so hurt for visually depicting Muhammad and therefore they protested this censorship. Then as an idea to make the non Muslims understand why the Muslims feel so hurt by this particular phenomena, a leading Islamic website started a campaign called Everybody Introduce Prophet Mohammed Day! The campaign aimed to achieve 1 Million internet posts introducing Prophet Mohammed to Non-Muslims. Their plan was for every Muslim with access to the internet to introduce Prophet Mohammed to 10 Non-Muslims anywhere on the internet, either through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, or standard e-mail so that people better understand the reasons for their reaction over certain issues.

Then on 20th April, 2010, a drawing appeared on Internet by a small group of people announcing May 20th to be an international day where everybody should create a drawing of Prophet Mohammed as an event supporting unrestricted freedom of speech. The drawing went viral on the internet, and within one week the idea became popular on Facebook, was supported by numerous bloggers, and generated coverage on the blog websites of major U.S. newspapers. Muslims first responded to this by planning to boycott facebook for not censoring anti-Islam content. It was suggested through various facebook groups like AGAINST "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" and other fan pages to boycott FaceBook on 20th May. The news spread like wildfire, more thanks to the Muslims opposing it, than the actual group could have managed or hoped for.

Now my point in explaining this whole situation is that one of the first things that a child is taught when he starts to socialize is not to react to teasing by his peers. That is so simply because one not only want to save them the anguish of feeling rebuked but also because, as human nature goes, the more one gets affected by teasing, the more one gets teased. It’s that simple. Had the Muslims not reacted to the initial push, it would not have come to shove. One thing has as usual led to another and what would have been a little known incident has turned into major international news. Similar situations have happened enough times before for us to know now that nothing comes out of them in the end. The wide scale protests do nothing but advertise the wrong done in the first place, spread general displeasure among people of all faiths and make coexistence harder. Why then do we not learn to ignore such things, especially when acknowledging them makes the situation worse? Spreading the news of something said or done, or drawn which infuriates a community is not helpful but harmful to not only its own self esteem but to others who eventually view that infuriated community. One has to remember that one cannot force people to respect but inspire it by tolerance and grace. Many other such incidents will keep happening, I feel, till the time we learn to embrace our faith and stop expecting other people to understand it.

(For those who might feel that my beliefs are wrong, there is solace in the fact that the Muslims have managed to use the situation to their advantage, instead of calling for boycott of Facebook, a campaign to introduce Prophet Muhammad was launched on 18th May 2010, just two days before 20th May and is now very popular and in a day have more than 6000 fans. The comments on the above facebook page are very positive and fans feel this is the best way to positively respond to actions which are directed just to hurt Muslims. Thus also in a way, proving my point. Now what remains to be seen is what will happen tomorrow, it being the ominous 20th of May).

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Maria Faraz
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Postby Junaid Raza » Wed May 19, 2010 4:37 pm

Good news is that Pakistan Govt has blocked Facebook access till further notice. It would be even better if other Muslim countries join Pakistan in this cause. This can seriously put a substantial dent in Facebook's advertisement revenues. Also if several hundred users get removed from their network, it will bring their rating down.

But is Facebook responsible for this vulgar stupidity that is creating mass hysteria across the Muslim world especially in Pakistan? I personally think Facebook is very much responsible as it has allowed such competition / campaign to continue on its network despite requests from Muslims around the world to remove and block it.

Will a short term blocking of Facebook create any difference to Facebook? Probably not! If Muslims are serious about taking up this issue with Facebook and rest of the world then they need to think something like long term to permanent ban / boycott. In addition a moderate / secular network can emerge from within Islamic world that can actually challenge Facebook and its dominance. We need to think big! We have the capability and the resources to build such a social network. Success of such a network will of course depend on the very fact that it is not a religious or religiously dominated network but rather a peace loving social network that respects all faiths equally.

I also came across another article similar to yours which you might be interested in reading:

Draw Day: Why Facebook is Culprit and How Best to React?
ProPakistani

We have witnessed internet users in Muslim world adopting different strategies in reaction to “Draw Mohammad” (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa-aal-hi-Wasallam). Millions of Muslims are protesting against the intents of a community on Facebook that is planning to conduct a contest for Prophet Mohammad’s Drawings.


Background of Draw Day

To discuss it further, it is necessary to understand how and why this Draw Day came into existence.

The Idea to make funny cartoons of Prophet Mohammed [PBUH] came from a Seattle Cartoonist Molly Norris who thought of this campaign in reaction to Comedy Central’s decision to censor an episode of South Park with depictions of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH].

South Park was threatened by Muslims if it showcased Prophet Mohammad’s depictions.

Supporters of Draw Mohammad day say that the campaign is in reaction to killing threats by Muslims; however, they ignore the fact that Muslims’ threats were actually the reaction of South Part depictions. If Draw Mohammad Day supports want to react on reactions, then this chain is not going to stop anytime soon.

Later, on 27th April after a wave of anger from Muslims around the world, she decided to withdraw this activity justifying that she didn’t intend to hurt or disgrace some particular religion.

As always there is a third party to take advantage of a situation so here as well. A page was created on Facebook to continue the similar activity. Owner identity is unknown. The page created even more response than the original activity since page owners put completely disgracing sketches on it.

Supposedly and apparently, admins of this page, allegedly the jewish, created hundreds of groups and pages in order to help removing that page. This advertised the page even in thousand more way in result.


Freedom of Speech and Mohammad’s Depictions

Many argue over this fact that depicting Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] is their basic human right, given to masses by the law of many countries. But, this freedom of speech comes with limitations – Wikipedia Notes:

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws.

There are exceptions to these general protection, including the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws, speech that incites imminent danger, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising.

Within these limited areas, other limitations on free speech balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons (restrictions on fighting words), or the use of untruths to harm others (slander). Distinctions are often made between speech and other acts which may have symbolic significance.

Now for those who are depicting Prophet Mohammad [PBUH], they clearly know that this will create hatred, mass violence and worst possible impact on Muslims’ feelings.

How Muslims are Reacting?

* Some go to said Fan page and they abuse the owners and non-Muslims there
* Some go to Fan page in question and argues on different topics giving their logics to prove the Fan Page unnecessary and indecent
* Some users are creating their Fan-Pages either opposing the fan page in question or otherwise for Prophet Mohammad praise (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa-aal-hi-Wasallam)
* There are people who are ignoring the situation but are feeling really bad in their hearts, and are unable to do anything
* There are people who are just not only ignoring all the happenings but they are not even concerned about the outcomes
* There are people who are sad over the incident but accepting it as they can’t do anything

Facebook’s Role in Promoting Draw Day [Allegations]

Facebook, allegedly, is supporting the Draw Day, and here are our arguments:

* Facebook is governed under its Terms of Services. Item 3.7 of Facebook TOS says “You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence”
* “Draw Mohammad Day” was reported by at least 35,000 Facebook users, however, page is still live – giving the page a direct support (while it is spreading hatred – a violation of Facebook TOS)

* During the campaign, Facebook is banning pages created by Muslims against Jews. In this one example, Facebook banned a Page with-in 20 minutes of its reporting by jews

The people from all over the world have reported the page but even after thousands of reports, Facebook hasn’t removed the page, giving its indirect support for the cause.

For instance one may think that it may be Facebook itself! And why not, while controversy will result in clicks, impressions, visits to this page making them earn more as well as the creation of hundreds of other new pages and groups with lot more activity as an investment for future.

Facebook is bone of contention: Because its only the Facebook that could create such an impact. With power, there was responsibility on Facebook, which it never met.

If Facebook had banned the Draw Mohammad page, in early days – none of this could have happened.


What will happen on Draw Day?

On the 20th, people will post pictures on Blogger, LiveJournal, wordpress.com, vox.com, TypePad, Flickr, Picasa, imgur, yfrog, twitpic, and of course, on their own blogs and in videos on Youtube and elsewhere. But again, Facebook is the root cause.

Why Draw Day is Worst than Previous Blasphemous Acts?

This instance of blasphemy is not like what it had happened before in Sweden and Norway. We know that there are websites that spreads blasphemous content across the web.

But, in this instance, Web Giant Facebook is part of the game, and while Facebook has roots to each corner of the world, you can calculate the scale of blasphemy on May 20th, 2010.

What Best we can do?

Unity, under one leader!

Large scale ridicule on May 20th will ignite worldwide riots and unrest. Even worst, anti-Islam elements now have found a way to tease Muslims.

As initial response: Pakistan government has reacted and banned said Fan Page (only one URL), under Pakistan Penal Code, article 295 and 298 that is related to blasphemy law.

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom decides on what to ban and not to, based on the rules of the land.

It merits mentioning here that MoIT has already banned around 8 million pages on internet (As per Jang News) that has any in-appropriate content and which comes under blasphemy.

On 20th, MoIT will ban as much URLs as possible.

But, let’s go bigger – governments and Media from Muslim countries must unite at this time.

This war can’t be won on roads and battlefields; instead a strategic media campaign is needed to make the western world realize that they are acting in uncivilized manner. It is them who are creating unrest and doing extremist activities.


To Boycott or Not to Boycott

There are opinions for and against boycotting the Facebook. There are people who think boycotting the Facebook is a form of protest – to make the Facebook administration realize their biased strategy, while others think they will stay on Facebook and will fight on the platform.


ProPakistani’s Stance

We are Boycotting the Facebook on May 20th, 2010 and we will abandon all our activities on Facebook ever after.

Note: This article has input from Jabran Rafique as well.
Junaid Raza
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Location: United Kingdom


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