Pakistani Court Orders Shutdown of ‘Blasphemous’ Facebook Pages


Continuing the long religious tradition of throwing a temper tantrum at the very thought that someone else might not believe as they do, a Pakistani court has ordered authorities in that country to block Facebook pages that it has deemed to be blasphemous.

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday ordered authorities to block Facebook pages allegedly containing blasphemous content.

A division bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Qaiser Rashid also sought a reply from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcast, secret agencies and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on a petition filed by Advocate Arif Jan.

Jan argued two pages on the social media website, Facebook, contained blasphemous material. The petitioner, who has already reportedly appraised the court on the pages, refused to share the links in open court fearing nationwide protests.

How fragile is your religion if it must be protected against the knowledge that others do not believe in it?

Comments

  1. Draken says

    On the other hand, they don’t seem so sure of widespread support for such measures if they fear ‘nationwide protests’. Of course most Pakistani have seen Turkey…

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … two pages on the social media website, Facebook, contained blasphemous material.

    Uh, you missed a few.

  3. chilidog99 says

    Meanwhile, Pakistan is a hub of international cybercrime and Internet scams.

  4. says

    How fragile is your religion if it must be protected against the knowledge that others do not believe in it?

    It’s got nothing to do with how fragile the religion is, either nationally or within the hearts of those pushing any given law.

    It’s got everything to do with control. Control of the masses in Pakistan, in this instance. The measures have two prongs: First, the obvious show of power, that those in charge of the country can even control Facebook. Second, from the religious hierarchy’s point of view, it IS about the fragility of belief of the man in the street. If ordinary people begin to understand that others believe in different things, but aren’t bad people, then many of them will begin to question their own beliefs, and more importantly, the very power of that same religious hierarchy. And their power over the hearts and minds and very lives of millions of peons begins to seep away.

    Formal religious organizations aren’t about belief – not at the top. They’re about power and control over as many other people as they can manage to corral.

  5. says

    I missed a thought: That’s why religions tend to play the Us vs. Them card at every opportunity, and literally demonize everyone outside their flock. It’s not aimed at the Thems. It’s aimed at the Us’s, to keep them in line and under the thumb of the hierarchy.

    The same goes for preaching about heaven and hell. It’s all about controlling what their flock does, thinks, says, and believes.

  6. eric says

    In other news, Pakinstan also established the civil position of “mosquito catcher.” This person will use a flyswatter to kill mosquitos one by one until the nation is free from mosquitos.

  7. escuerd says

    Draken @1:

    On the other hand, they don’t seem so sure of widespread support for such measures if they fear ‘nationwide protests’. Of course most Pakistani have seen Turkey…

    In Pakistan, any major protests would far more likely be against the websites or their creators than against the anti-blasphemy measures.

    What parallel were drawing with Turkey? Was it something to do with Sevan Nishanyan? I didn’t hear about any significant blowback from his imprisonment, and if I had to bet, I would guess that more people are in favor of punishment for him even though Turkey’s rather more liberal, or at least more secular, than Pakistan (which is not at all to say it is liberal or secular by western standards).

  8. baal says

    Turkey’s current PM, Erdogan, is lurching towards authoritarianism and religiosity*. NPD had a story this AM (6/3/2013) about it.

    *funny how these two things are never far apart.

  9. Nathair says

    authoritarianism and religiosity… funny how these two things are never far apart.

    It would be very convenient for our PR if that were true, but it’s not. See: Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, Mao Zedong, etc.

  10. says

    How fragile is your religion if it must be protected against the knowledge that others do not believe in it?

    On top of what others have said, I think it’s also about creating the appearance that there aren’t any choices besides Islam. You’re expected to be a Muslim because what else is there?

  11. steffp says

    @ Nathair, #10

    Ok, that’s three out of the last 80 years. Now, meet Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Dollfuss (Austria), Carmona/Salazar (Portugal), , Bushati &j Libohova (Albania), Metaxas (Greece), Pavelic (Ustascha, Croatia), Codreanu (Iron Guard, Rumania), Horthy (Hungary) The Tenno (Japan) – and that’s only the Fascist Fraction… Then we have Pinochet (Chile), Peron (Argentina), Duvalier (Haiti), and all the Military Juntas of South America, and South East Asia, from South Vietnam via Cambodia (both before and after Pol Pot) to Burma/Myanmar…

    Must I really point to the four millenial practice of close cooperation of Religion and Feudalism/Autocracy?
    Do I have to point to the rule/exemption distinction?
    cf. Mathew 3:7

  12. Michael Heath says

    Ed asks rhetorically:

    How fragile is your religion [Islam] if it must be protected against the knowledge that others do not believe in it?

    That goes for all religions. None can bear even a whiff of scrutiny.

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