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Are we repeating the History?


Facebook, some pages of Wikipedia, YouTube and some other online media is banned in Pakistan from Wednesday May 19, 2010. Reason of banning all these online media is showing some insulting caricatures of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him). Muslims are facing this issue on and off from 2006 when some newspapers of Denmark and Norway published some insulting depictions of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him).

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority banned Facebook and many websites for publishing till May 31, 2010(as per media reporting). I strongly condemn all those who do such humiliating activities on the name of ‘Freedom of speech’ and ‘Freedom of Expression’. But I do not support the idea of banning Facebook and other online media at all. Banning means we have locked up ourselves in our houses and allowing others to do no matter what they want to do with our religion and our Prophet (peace be upon him).

It seems to me that we are repeating the mistake we, the Muslims of Indo-Pak Subcontinent, had done before. What we did? Just because we hated English people, we stopped our children from going to schools. Now, we have stopped ourselves to protest against misuse of freedom of expression and freedom of speech. We have locked up ourselves with our boundaries. If the banning is stopping something, it is stopping the youth of Pakistan being a part of the global village.

Facebook, an online social network, use to connect people all around the world. It is use as medium of sharing things, information, pictures, interests, tips, techniques and many more. There are many pages on Facebook that supports Islam, support idea of one the only Almighty, support Muslim Unity, support unity in Pakistan and many other good ideas and good causes and just one, just a single page that insults Islam (and Christianity as well). The page is name as ‘Everybody Draw Mohammad Day’. This page has some 39000 fans when last time I visited it. It has many shameful images of God, Prophet (Peace be upon him), Muslims and Jesus as well.

YouTube, largest video database available on internet, has so many interesting, informative and real videos. I agreed, there are some videos that go against Islam, but what about those databases which is exponential larger in number and goes in favor of one Almighty and Islam. The collection of tafseer-e-Quran (translation and explanation of Quran) available on YouTube is so far biggest one I ever find as compare to any other website. It is satisfying to ban those video which are on the whole showing blasphemous but banning the whole websites are simply illogical.

Are we not brave enough to face the reality in the way it is? This is not the time to get locked within boundaries. This is a fight of thoughts and words are weapons, social networks are our medium. If we really want to stop them we have to tell them and pursue them to idea of Islam, in this regard banning could not help in at least.

By means of this post I request PTA and all concern authorities to not the repeat the history by putting such bans. These type of bans are not improving the picture of Islam neither of Pakistan. these bans are just stopping the Pakistani youth to fight for the honor of their religion. We are already suffering because of one mistake made in history. Kindly do not repeat that mistake.

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This essay is in reference of article “I don’t ‘do’ Facebook”, written by Maheen A. Rashdi published in Daily Dawn on February 22, 2009.

Humans need to be in touch with others: family, kin, friends, co-workers, colleagues and/or acquaintances. To fulfil this need a medium is considered necessary to make communication possible. This medium can either be spoken or written, both mediums have two forms one is real form and other is virtual. Face to face conversation and letters, telegrams, newspaper are the real forms of communication. On the other hand, phone calls and e-mails, online forums, digital newsletters are the virtual form of communication. Facebook is also a virtual meeting place, more famous with youngsters. Facebook is not that much good to spend hours and hours on it but it is not bad either.

Facebook was found on February 4, 2004 by Mark Zukerberg. At that time social network was exclusively for Harvard students. The idea behind launch was to give students a network where they could interact with their classmates and seniors and juniors in a quicker way. As more and more people start demanding Facebook network so finally in September 2007 it was open for one and all with an email address.

With Facebook you can explore people, share photos videos and links; you can have discussions on groups about almost everything. There are pages to explore the things you like or things you are interested to know about. There are various groups on Facebook which shares and educates others about many comings and goings from very reliable resource.

When a network has such a big number of users so it is certain have some questions on privacy. But as far as privacy is concern it is up to the user how to maintain profile and how to set the priorities. You can browse it according to your interest. You can keep privacy settings according to your limits. Your friends list is solely of your choice. You can allow who you want to and ignore who you don’t want to communicate with.

Keith Campbell, a researcher at the University of Georgia said, “narcissists are using Facebook the same way they use their relationships: for self-promotion with an emphasis on quantity over quality” (Readers’ Digest, January 2009). Again, I repeat that Facebook is no more than a product, its use is completely depends on its users. It is not good to condemn a product for its ill-treatment.

Facts and history of Facebook written in this essay are taken from http://www.crunchbase.com/company/facebook.

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