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Posted at 03:52 PM ET, 05/20/2010

'Draw Muhammad Day': Pakistan bans YouTube; Facebook still blocked [UPDATED]

UPDATE: The primary "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" and "Against 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!' " Facebook pages each have more than 100,000 "supporters."

Elsewhere, the DC-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued "a Muslim response" to Everybody Draw Muhammad Day that urges understanding, tolerance and forgiveness from all sides.

As the Facebook-ignited campaign "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" arrived today, Pakistan expanded its Internet ban to include YouTube.

A day after ordering that Facebook be blocked, the government also banned the video-sharing site, citing its "growing sacrilegious content," reports The Washington Post's Karin Brulliard from Islamabad.

A Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) says the decision to block YouTube was made after government monitors discovered that references to the primary "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" Facebook page -- which now has more than 80,000 "supporters" -- were growing on the video-sharing site.

The page, which Jon Wellington told Comic Riffs he started in a "whimsical and nonjudgmental spirit" last month, quickly became a forum for a hate-laced war of word and image, as both pro-Muslim and anti-Muslim posters often spewed vitriol.

The campaign also spawned an "Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" page, which as of Thursday has nearly 100,000 supporters who "like" the page. Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist whose posterlike illustration titled "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" last month spawned the protest, has herself joined the "Against" page.

"I will not be drawing Mohammed on May 20," Norris told Comic Riffs on Wednesday. "I joined 'Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' and folks from there write to me. I never even set up a place where people could send images to. Other people started Facebook pages for this day but I never did."

Islam is the majority religion in Pakistan. Some Muslims consider any depiction of Muhammad to be blasphemous.

"We are an Islamic republic, so we are monitoring the Muslim content," said the PTA spokesman, Khurran Mehran.

The Post's Brulliard reports that Wikipedia also seems to be blocked today in Pakistan -- though it wasn't immediately known whether this was because the government banned access. The cellphone company Mobilink said access from smartphones to Facebook, YouTube and other sites with "blasphemous content" were also blocked.

Shortly after 9 a.m. ET, a status update on the primary "Everybody Draw Muhammad" Facebook page said: "We are back online after some page trouble, thank you facebook-gang. Enjoy the rest of the day and draw Mohammed however you may like. We will of course encourage you to make a creative and humourous picture, instead of something hateful."


DRAW MUHAMMAD DAY: 12 top cartoonists offer their "pro" and "con" takes on the protest campaign.

By  |  03:52 PM ET, 05/20/2010

Categories:  General, General | Tags:  Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, Facebook, Jon Wellington, Molly Norris, Muhammad cartoons, Pakistan, YouTube

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