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Pakistan Targets Mark Zuckerberg
By: Jeff Louis
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Mark Zuckerberg may be facing the most serious threat of his young career, an unforeseen culmination of events that have nothing to do with user complaints, privacy settings, or U.S. court actions.   
 Pakistan
Pakistani police began an investigation of Zuckerberg for the charge of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s holy founder. The penalty is life imprisonment or death. News of the investigation originated with BBC Urdu and was later verified by both Western and Pakistani sources.
 
A series of events led to Pakistan’s call for justice. In April, "South Park" aired an episode that ridiculed people who threatened to kill those who rendered depictions -- forbidden under Islamic law -- of the Prophet. The episode, which depicted “violent Muslim reaction,” was greeted with violent Muslim reaction; extremists called for the death of the show’s creators. 
 
A “Draw Muhammad” was initiated on Facebook, in direct defiance to the "South Park" reaction. The contest invited Facebook users to upload their renderings or depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. The gist of the contest showed that the freedom of expression was boundary less, unrestricted among Western nations. Its message implied that “Muslims do not get to tell non-Muslims what to do and what to say.”
 
The contest caused Pakistan to ban Facebook on May 19 until all objectionable content was removed. Facebook complied, and the ban was lifted.

Meanwhile, a report from Pakistan’s International News announced that the nation’s High Court had called for a criminal investigation into Facebook’s “heinous and serious crime.” Muhammad Azhar Siddique, chairman of the Judicial Activism Panel, filed the petition that led to the High Court’s decision.
 
The area of law to which Azhar Siddique refers, reads: "Use of derogatory remarks etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet, whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable for fine."
 
Proving that their efforts are serious, Pakistani officials are calling upon Interpol for the arrest of Facebook’s owners and pressed for Pakistan's United Nation delegate to escalate the matter in General Counsel.
 
Thus far, both Facebook and the U.S. government remain silent. 



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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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