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Pakistan Blocks Facebook Over Prophet Pics Contest

Pakistan has banned Facebook from today after a nationwide outrage over a competition launched by members of the social networking website that incites people to submit drawings of the Prophet Muhammad.

Illustrations of the Prophet are deemed illegal by followers of the faith and some of the pictures that have been published on the site depicted the Prophet in rather unholy situation and/or positions.

Legal papers served by a Pakistani court to the country's government following a petition submitted by the Islamic Lawyers Forum, want the site to be blocked until the end of 31st of May.

According to the Times (opens in new tab), Azhar Siddique, a spokesperson for the organisation said that "The court has also ordered the foreign ministry to investigate why such a competition is being held".

At the time of writing, the site (opens in new tab) had attracted more than 4800 users with nearly 200 photos uploaded. As expected, several groups - totalling more than 20,000 users - have emerged asking to ignore the group "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day".

A number of other pages have been created calling for Muslim users to boycott Facebook altogether on the 20th of May 2010, the day when Facebook users are encouraged to send their drawings.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.