Dear All,

I am writing to you from Pakistan. I wish to bring to your attention the fact that Muslims across the world are launching protests against the right to free speech and having social networking websites banned in their countries.

The court in Lahore, Pakistan, issued a sentence today, banning Facebook for an indefinite period of time. The URL of the social networking site will be blocked by the telecommunication authorities. This action was taken in response to some 20 people protesting against Facebook outside the court.

This entire hue and cry is a response to a facebook page inviting people to submit drawings of Mohammad on the 20th of May to challenge the sheer intolerance of Muslims when it comes to bringing their religious beliefs under scrutiny.

The implications of this action can be dire for atheists, free thinkers, non-Muslims and relatively more tolerant Muslims residing in these countries. Such ill-conceived attempts at trying to appease and pander to the religious sensitivities of Muslims can be utilized in future to curtail any semblance of democratic rights that we did enjoy in the past. Today it is facebook, tomorrow it could be who knows what.

I call for all atheists and free thinkers to rise up in arms against such despotic attempts to curtail the freedom of expression in countries, such as mine. We could use any and all help that comes our way. Appeal to your media, your governments to pressurize governments like mine into revoking such undemocratic orders.

In solidarity

Younas Chowdhry

Views: 50

Replies to This Discussion

They revoked it and the post is a bit old now. Anyhow, as far as the partition is concerned, they may make it sound like religion was the prime cause behind the partition, however, there were economic and political reasons for doing so as well. I won't dwell into the history of my country at present.

I would like to address the point you make about fighting "our" own battle because you make it sound as if it is mine alone or rather a national problem only. I would disagree because things like these must be rejected and condemned by free thinkers and atheists all over the world. There must be solidarity despite national boundaries because when it comes to organized religion, it doesn't restrict itself to geographical boundaries. Why should we? Hence the call for support. As for fighting it on the ground, we are doing it and have been for a long time.

One must bear in mind the fact that 90 percent of my country's population is Muslim - some more extremistl and others tolerant in varying degrees- and the non-muslims(including atheists) fall within the other 10 percent category. There aren't many free thinkers here to speak of. which is why initiatives like the nexus are such a fortunate find because it can be used to provide solidarity and support to those of us that lack the numbers. If religion can organize then why can't we?

Lastly, internet is what little means we do have to air our marginal voices. If that is taken from us then we dont have many options left because if we use the mass media then we run the risk of being bombed or having our heads chopped off by extremist groups. Yes! we have taliban crawling all over the place. It isn't uncommon to hear of a bomb blast where i live. In fact there was one in my city two days ago. So really, I dont see how this battle is mine or my region's alone..





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