Pakistan blocks Twitter over Prophet

2012-05-20 19:17

Islamabad - Pakistan blocked Twitter on Sunday over a competition to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the social networking site, officials told AFP.

"The website has been banned by Ministry of Information Technology and the decision was conveyed to us. There was blasphemous material on Twitter," said Mohammad Younis Khan, spokesperson for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Asked about the nature of the "blasphemous" content, Khan said there had been a planned competition to "post caricatures of Prophet Mohammed".

Dawn newspaper said the material in question was promoting a competition on Facebook which involved posting images of the Prophet.

It said that while Facebook agreed to address concerns over the competition, Twitter had so far failed to comply with the PTA's requests to remove the content.

"The ministry officials are still trying to make them agree, and once they remove that stuff, the site will be unblocked," PTA chair Mohammad Yaseen was quoted as saying.

Responding to the furore around the ban, one Twitter user, @vinodvyas, wrote: "Now billions of ppl know there exists a competition to draw Prophet."

Islam strictly prohibits the depiction of any prophet as blasphemous. Muslims across the globe staged angry protests over the publication of satirical cartoons of Mohammed in European newspapers four years ago.

In 2008, a suicide attack outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad killed eight people. Al-Qaeda claimed the attack to avenge the cartoons.

A court in Pakistan blocked Facebook in 2010 because of a similar competition organised by an anonymous Facebook user who called on people to draw the Prophet to promote "freedom of expression".

The competition sparked a major backlash in the conservative Muslim country, where even moderate Muslims were deeply offended by the drawings that appeared on the "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day" Facebook page.

The competition saw Facebook blocked for almost two weeks in May that year after a petition by a group of Islamic lawyers. The PTA also banned YouTube for a week and restricted access to other websites, including Wikipedia, lashing out against "growing sacrilegious" content.

The government at the time said it would conduct monitoring of major websites for anti-Islamic content.

  • Isra - 2012-05-20 19:36

    i wish they block , Facebook , tweeter , youtube and so on for no good reasons .

      Jason - 2012-05-20 20:09

      shame, i feel sorry for you.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-21 05:47

      People will keep drawing images of the Islamic prophet until Muslims stop censoring other people from doing it. If they can’t handle freedom of expression, that’s their problem. No one else has to abide by their religious rules — and as long as they kill and suppress others who criticize their faith, we have all the more reason to fight against it.

  • zaatheist - 2012-05-20 19:43

    Ag shame. These blighters are so insecure in the beliefs that they must ban all criticism. Their god is so impotent and useless that they feel the need to defend him. PAH!

  • Jason - 2012-05-20 20:08


  • Frank - 2012-05-20 20:12

    Zaatheist if I where you I would Plan to leave town/ change my address /get of the net unlike the Christians you like to trash all the time The people of Islam and the prophet Mohamad ( peace be upon him) will see to you.

      dave.prinsloo - 2012-05-20 21:24

      one shouldn't have to be scared of religious people, yet a lot of people are. Death threats just aggrevate the situation.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-21 04:30

      @Frank I am an equal opportunity critic of all gods and religious beliefs, Obviously you must be one of the many insecure ones who needs to defend his god with threats. Is not Islam supposed to be the religion of peace and here are you confirming otherwise?

      zaatheist - 2012-05-21 05:35

      @Frank Even as a child when I was a Christian I saw the flaws in the logic, and its contradictions with basic science, and I never stopped questioning. I questioned to the point that when I finally became an adult I had no doubt that the reason it didn't make any sense was because it was bull. It was bull that my parents thought was real, and their parents thought the same, and so on and so on.

  • Hermann - 2012-05-20 20:57

    Oh,Oh the MCPs protecting the fairy tales again.

  • dave.prinsloo - 2012-05-20 21:08

    what's the #tag for the comp? Anyone?

  • dave.prinsloo - 2012-05-20 21:14

    oi. Religion. It brings peace they say...

      izak.burger.3 - 2012-05-20 21:41

      The atheist's track record isn't much better. The only criticism that can fairly be levelled at the various religions is that they don't make people better. Well some of them do, budhism will likely make some people much better and quakers are also quite averse to violence. But we shouldn't mention any of this! We hate religion and it causes wars!

      wesleywt - 2012-05-20 23:09

      Buddist don't believe in a god and the quakers stance against slavery goes against the bible. Who are the Atheist with the bad record by the way. Gates, Turing or Jobs?

  • Ngwana - 2012-05-20 21:18

    I wish this world had no religion at all.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-21 04:31

      Me too. It would be a much more peaceful and safer place.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-21 05:59

      I try to work for good in the world. Since there is no god, we are the only ones who can make things better. If we let people destroy the environment, there will be no god to fix it. If we let injustices occur, there will be no retribution for the perpetrators in hell. If we let people suffer, there will be no balm for them in heaven. I feel empathy for the good religious people of all types – it is not their fault they were lied to. But I look forward to a time when these delusions are gone and never taught again, a time when everyone will work for the good of all people and we can all enjoy the one life that we each have.

  • Htc Btc - 2012-05-20 21:55

    The sad thing Albert is that we muslims actually have a real intellectual culture rather than racist white superiority ideologies. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) is the greatest human who will ever live and has taught us Muslims how to be people if morals and goodness and most of all look at each other as equals

      zaatheist - 2012-05-21 04:34

      So criticism of your religion is racism, is it? Is that you best response to the charge that you god does not exist? Sorry, nothing to do with race but everything to do with absence of evidence.

      Htc - 2012-05-21 22:16

      Where do you white racists get your propaganda/ fake info from?

  • Jonathan - 2012-05-20 23:23

    My God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not mind people drawing him (as long as they don't draw too many noodles) To read the Gospel of the FSM go to

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