Friday, September 21, 2012

Globalization of West's Hate Speech Against Muslims

Negative stereotyping of Prophet Mohammad has been the preoccupation of generations of Western writers from the time of the Crusades to the present day. Among those who have engaged in highly offensive portrayal of Islam's prophet are Italian poet-philosopher Dante Aligheri (1265-1321), Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos (1325-1450) and European "Enlightenment" leader François-Marie Arouet Voltaire (1694-1778). More recently, there have been attempts by Salman Rushdie (Satanic Verses), Kurt Westergaard (Danish Jyllands-Posten cartoons) and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (Innocence of Muslims) to ridicule Muslims' most revered leader.

So What's New?

So one might ask as to what has changed in recent years? Why is the Muslim reaction so much stronger and more global than ever before? The answer is that the availability of the Internet, and particularly Google-owned Youtube, has made it possible for hate material to reach its intended target much more quickly than Dante's Divine Comedy or Voltaire's Mahomet could in the past.

The latest flare-up has so far claimed dozens of lives including the life of Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya. As if to add fuel to an already intensely burning fire, a French magazine has published fresh batch of insulting cartoons of Prophet Mohammad. And such western provocations from hateful bigots are almost certain to grow in number and intensity in the future.

Free Speech or Hate Speech?

 It appears that the US President Barack Obama and the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton understand the extremely dangerous implications for the United States of this ongoing escalation of hostility in the Muslim world. In fact, the White House asked Google to remove the offensive Youtube video, a request that was denied by Google as violation of the right of free speech. New York Times reported that Google's "policy is to remove content only if it is hate speech, violating its terms of service, or if it is responding to valid court orders or government requests. And it said it had determined that under its own guidelines, the video was not hate speech."

To defuse the situation, the US government has run ads in Pakistani media which show President Obama and Secretary Clinton denouncing the video and condemning the violence in response to it. Google's refusal to remove the offensive video from Youtube raises significant questions about the definition of free speech....a debate that is already raging for a different reason since the US supreme court's Citizens United decision which has opened the floodgates of big money to influence US politics and policies by the rich and the powerful for their own advantage.

Free Speech and Money:

 The questions of money and free speech are closely tied in America. Google removes thousands of Youtube videos everyday for commercial reasons. Like any other big corporation, Google decisions are guided more by its commercial interests than any other considerations. Here's how Tim Wu, the author of Master Switch, describes it in an article in The New Republic:  

YouTube, to be clear, isn’t an open forum (even if it sometimes seems that way). For one thing, Google uses an ingenious sex-detecting algorithm to preemptively yank porn. It also employs a complicated system to help copyright owners (mainly Hollywood) locate their works. Finally, the firm bans a long list of other content, including: “animal abuse, drug abuse, under-age drinking and smoking, bomb-making, graphic or gratuitous violence, gross-out videos, hate speech, predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people’s personal information, inciting others to commit violent acts, and spam.”
Regardless of whether the latest offensive video constitutes hate speech or not,  US legal discourse often makes references to Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes opinion in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States in 1919. Here's what Justice Holmes wrote in his opinion:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

 So the question now is whether the mass distribution of such material via the Internet presents "clear and present danger" that "will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent".

Why the Violence?

The violent reaction in the Muslim world also raise serious questions. For example, can the Muslims demand tolerance of their faith from others when they show such intolerance against minorities in their own countries? Do Muslims have a right to ask others to control their undesirable behavior without showing any restraint themselves?

Let me end this post by paraphrasing a Syrian activist's tweet:

The only thing that seems to enrage the Muslim world today is a movie, a cartoon or an insult, but not the pool of blood of their own fellow citizens shed by fellow Muslims in their own countries.

Here's a video clip of a recent discussion on the subject:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Growing Intolerance in Pakistan

Exposing Congressman King's Hypocrisy

FBI Entrapping Young Muslims

Fighting Agents of Intolerance in Pakistan

Muslim Scholars Must Fight Hate in Pakistan

South Asian Christians Celebrate Christmas in Fear

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision

Pakistan Must Defeat Agents of Intolerance 

Celebrating Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Birthday


Oostur said...

Great blog. Thanks
I hope someday Muslims masses will realize that protest which results in deaths and destruction of
property in Muslim countries pleases those ignorant producers of anti-Islam material.

Omar said...

Well said.

Shams said...

According to one authentic Shia Hadith, Rasool-e-paak (P) was walking with Aisha (R) when a bunch of jews started to make fun of the Rasool (P) as to his marriage to Aisha, using words such as Majnoon, etc. Aisha(R) began to scold them. Rasool (P) said to Aisha not to do that and let them be, saying that what they thought could not change his (P) stature before God or his true followers.

Anonymous said...

I think it is all about the money if Google's economic interests are challenged then they will change the policy in a minute. I think what is needed is a policy from the majority Muslim nations to legalize the economical sactions to those companies. If a product company in those countries will run such an ad compaign they would be treated according to the law of the land. Now Google can cause all the trouble because it not physically present but their Ad monitization can be choked. From the PR angle Google or Facebook will loose the growth in a market which has more potential than West I think their Marketing department is smoking pot. If Holocaust or some say Hollow$Cost is a crime in Germany why not Crying Fire be a crime? In the end all Free Speech ends into a Dollar Sign which can't be handled by protest or killing fellow citizens.

Anonymous said...

Its kind of like high school bullying the more you react the more fun the bully gets and the more bullying happens.

There are many many movies made hurtful to Hindu sentiments:The temple of doom:Indiana Jones,The Love guru etc etc the fact that Hindus don't react much is the reason these movies usually flop in the box office and such ideas don't find new 'investors'as even with regular popular negative stereotypes 'Apu' in simpsons Hindus don't react if anything they laugh at this...Simpsons is available in India with no editing of the Apu character...

Muslims on the other hand forget everything and go crazy at any provocation.If they hadn't not more than 0.00001% of people would have watched this cheap rubbish movie made by a lone looser in the US.But the 15 mins of fame has actually given idea to many lonely loosers with handycams to do the same.

Abdul said...


Anonymous said...

" If Holocaust or some say Hollow$Cost is a crime in Germany why not Crying Fire be a crime? "

German has laws against denying holocaust only in their own country. They have no problems Pakistanis denying it in Lahore or Karachi. What you muslims except is that other should accept your demands. As Charlie Hebdo (the French Cartoon) owners explain "our cartoons follow French laws. I don't think we have to bother ourselves to care about following laws in Riyadh or Islamabad". Do you disagree?

Amjad said...

Riaz: very well written thoughts.

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

I would like to note the following legal points for the interest of your blog readers:


Yelling "Fire" in a theatre and people dying in the resulting stampede is not protected under Free-speech.

Why? Because the emotional response is visceral (unconditional response) and the time to respond to the speech is immediate.

Therefore, the shouting of "Fire" (ACTION) is indeed the PROXIMATE CAUSE of the stampede (REACTION) that caused the deaths (END-RESULT).


The person who shouted "Fire" should be prosecuted.


Making this movie and circulating it on the internet, while in extremely poor taste, is certainly NOT THE SAME as (1).

Why? Because people were NOT rioting because they happened to see the movie (most of them would not have even seen it anyway); they were rioting in response to the fiery sermons of the rabble-rousing Mullahs who control their tiny-minds.

If anyone should be held responsible for the deaths (END-RESULT) resulting from the rioter's violence (REACTION), it is the incendiary Mullahs who made the provocative rabble-rousing speeches (ACTION).

If there should be restrictions of speech on grounds of public safety (i.e. the "fire in the theatre" example), it should apply to the incendiary speeches of the Mullahs as they are the PROXIMATE CAUSE of the riot-deaths. The immediate visceral response (unconditional response) was to the provocative sermons and not the stupid movie that most rioters would not have even seen anyway.

SUMMARY: Provocative Movie (DISTANT ACT) --> Time passes (NOT IMMEDIATE)--> Some Mullahs gather some followers (NOT UNIVERSAL)--> Mullahs say "Kill, Burn" (PROXIMATE ACTION) --> Riots (VISCERAL REACTION) --> Deaths (END-RESULT)

The Mullahs who make the inflammatory speeches should be prosecuted.


If we compare the two "Summaries" above, it becomes clear that American Law distinguishes between distant or removed causes and the PROXIMATE CAUSE (in space and time) of the bad-result.

Thank you.

Hopewins said...

Since one of the previous commenter’s here has raised these issues:

1) I agree that European Muslims are perfectly justified in asking why it is criminal to question the Holocaust. I am convinced that European Laws are wrong when they criminalize Holocaust-denial. I have heard Ahmadinejad on this topic on ABC, and also on many other Iranian anti-American positions, and I agree with him 100% on almost all the positions that Iran takes w.r.t. history, and I do so without any reservation whatsoever.

Iranians tried hard to build a genuine democracy and the Anglo-American Alliance tore it down on the command of their Oil Companies. Therefore, historically speaking, the Iranian view is in the right, the US/UK view is in the wrong. No question whatsoever.

And no, I am not Shia.

2) In addition, European Muslims ask why they cannot make Cartoons of Jews when it is "free speech" to make cartoons of Muslims. This is a perfectly valid question and an excellent one at that. I agree with the Euro-Muslims 100%. Banning cartoons (or threating the cartoonists with prosecution) of Jews as illegal "anti-Semitism" and "hate-speech" is hypocrisy on part of the Europeans. And I am not surprised by this at all. If there is one thing at which the pseudo-liberal Europeans are really good today, it is hypocrisy.

PS: I am still waiting. Where is that analysis of Pakistan's Macroeconomic Flaws and how they can be fixed? Where is that Riaz Haq's "Grand Plan" for Pakistan?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Wall Street Journal report on deadly violence in Pakistan on "Love the Prophet" Day:

The Pakistani government called a national holiday Friday so people could protest the video peacefully. It didn't turn out like that in Karachi, one of the world's most violent cities, where on average five people have been killed a day over the past few months.

Many of those deaths are linked to ethnic conflict and wars over land. Friday's protests were organized by Islamist political parties many of whom have links with pro-Taliban militants based in the city, said Hasan-Askari Rizvi, an independent political analyst based in Lahore.

Criminal gangs that have thousands of armed cadre and regularly fight the police in the city likely provoked the protests, making them more combustible,he added. "Criminal gangs join them for their own agenda."

Security was tight in Islamabad, the capital, and city where most foreigners live, after protesters on Thursday tried unsuccessfully to get inside the highly guarded diplomatic enclave. A hospital official said 45 people were wounded in Islamabad—28 protesters and 17 police. Police and protesters also clashed in Lahore. Police fired tear gas and warning shots to try to keep protesters from advancing toward U.S. missions in the cities.

Opinion polls show a majority of Pakistanis view the U.S. as an enemy. Many people in the country believe conspiracy theories about the U.S. working to steal Pakistan's nuclear weapons or funding ethnic insurgencies against the state.

That makes it hard for the U.S. administration to persuade Pakistanis that it had nothing to do with the anti-Islam video. This week the State Department took out advertisements in Pakistan media to distance the U.S. government from the video—a strategy that didn't appear to have had much effect.

The clashes in Pakistan came on a day when thousands protested in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In Malaysia, thousands demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy, burning U.S. and Israeli flags. "Our message to the U.S. is very clear—stop it!'' said Nasruddin Hassan Tantawi, youth chief of the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party, which played a large role in organizing the protest. "You cannot allow Americans to insult our Prophet, to insult Islam." Mr. Nasruddin said that the Islamic party didn't condone the burning of the U. S. and Israeli flags, which he called a "provocation" that organizers had stopped from getting worseU.S. diplomatic missions in neighboring Indonesia were also closed.Several hundred protesters demonstrated without violence in the capital Jakarta as well as in Surabaja. Officials had expressed concern over potential violence after a clash Monday in Jakarta between police and demonstrators ended with thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails.

The publication by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo of cartoons making fun of Muhammad has also angered protesters. In response to the protests,France said it closed its diplomatic missions in Indonesia, Malaysia and in several countriesIn Iraq, about 3,000 protesters condemned the video and caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a French weekly.The protest in the southern city of Basra was organized by Iranian-backed Shiite groups.Police estimated that 2,800 to 3,000 people took part in the protest. They chanted, "Long live Islam'' and "Destroy America.'' Officers formed a cordon in front of the embassy, which was closed. There were no clashes and no arrests.

In Kashmir's main city of Srinagar, police fired tear gas to disperse nearly 30 women who were marching Friday under the banner of the radical Islamic women's group Dukhtaran-e-Millat chanting "Down with the U.S."

Anonymous said...

"In addition, European Muslims ask why they cannot make Cartoons of Jews when it is "free speech" to make cartoons of Muslims."

Can you point out some European law which bans making cartoons of jews. For that matter they don't make cartoons of Hindu gods too.

Cartoon makers know that only muslims will bend over their back and make a complete ass of themselves. Try making cartoon of judaism or hinduism. You will hardly find anyone responding the way muslims are doing it.

Mel Brooks makes fun of Jews all the time.

Idris said...

Check this out to find as to who is exploiting the ignorant and the naive among us ,

Hopewins said...

"Can you point out some European law which bans making cartoons of jews......

......Mel Brooks makes fun of Jews all the time"


1) Yes, Europe does have laws making the "expression of anti-semitic sentiments" illegal and prosecutable. For example, publishing negative-stereotype cartoons or caricatures of Jews is illegal and HAS been prosecuted and people HAVE been convicted of this crime of "expressing anti-semitic sentiments".

Please read more about it on your own.

2)Mel Brooks is an American Jew. If you read my original statement, I said that the Euro-Muslims were asking why **THEY** (i.e. European Muslims) cannot make negative-stereotype cartoons or caricatures of Jews in the name of Free Speech. Please read part(1)above again.

Please READ my original comment carefully before you respond by tossing in the name of Mel Brooks.

Anonymous said...


I expect *YOU* to show proof, not pass some vague home work to me. Truth is, there isn't any law in Europe declaring criticism of Judaism as illegal. You represent the problem with muslims. When confronted with facts, they resort to lies.

The west, even when allowing free speech, also puts some limits when it sees civil disorder. American radio talk show host Michael Savage has been banned to enter in UK because of his rabble rousing talk. Strangely not one muslim seem to appreciate that.

It is funny PM of Turkey wants criticism of Islam declared as a crime against humanity. This coming from a country which still whitewashes Armenian genocide and gets enraged when others acknowledge it.

You are going to see more of this, perhaps with even more frequency and vehemence, since they know damn well what will happen in Islamabad. Learn to live with it, that is, if possible.

Pls note that even though I am not a muslim, I am least interested in anti islam movies or cartoons. I have other things to worry about.

Unknown said...

this should teach islam a lesson of how it feels when u hurt religious sentiments of christians,hindus,sikhs,jains and buddhist.....islam for centuries has been showing disrespect to other religions however it resort to violence when someone humiliates prophet....i think terry jones did a fine job as a revenge of millions of non muslims who are crushed by the atrocities of muslims

Hopewins said...

^^^^^^^^I expect *YOU* to show proof, not pass some vague home work to me. Truth is, there isn't any law in Europe declaring criticism of Judaism as illegal. You represent the problem with muslims. When confronted with facts, they resort to lies.

The west, even when allowing free speech, also puts some limits when it sees civil disorder. American radio talk show host Michael Savage has been banned to enter in UK because of his rabble rousing talk. Strangely not one Muslim seem to appreciate that.


We are not discussing "criticism of Judaism" as you say. It is not Islam that is being criticized in the controversies. It is the publishing of negative-stereotype caricatures & cartoons of Muslims (including Muhammad) that is the issue. The only issue under discussing in this blog article is this:

1) **IF** it is Legal Free-Speech for White-Europeans to publish a negative-stereotyped cartoon of a Muslim riding a pig with a bomb in his turban; **THEN**
2) **WHY** is it Illegal (and not Free Speech) for Euro-Muslims to publish a negative-stereotyped cartoon of a malicious-looking Jew, rubbing his hands together in glee as he salivates over a pot of money?

You speak in generalizations of the "West". I do not. I am ONLY speaking of European countries like France & Germany and some others. America has no such selective laws. America has no such hypocrisy. It is the European countries that have such laws and are, therefore, hypocrites.

Here is a starter proof for your much-needed Homework:

Note: Making anti-Semitic statements in NOT illegal in the US. In France, however, as the news article confirms, "Making anti-Semitic remarks is illegal in France, and can bring up to six months in prison. Some public figures have been convicted on such charges in the past..."

Even as you speak of that Michael Savage fellow, do you realize that he was banned only because the UK FIRST BANNED Louis Farrakhan and was forced to make “equivalent actions” by the law. So why was Louis Farrakhan banned in UK? After all, Farrakhan openly works and speaks in the US? What was the rationale that the UK used when they banned him? Do you know?

These discrepancies were the only things that were being discussed. We were *NOT* discussing informed criticism of religion, which is perfectly acceptable and is a separate issue altogether. You are clearly not as smart as you imagine yourself to be when you ignorantly conflate them. Do your homework before you go about polluting the internet with your ill-informed statements.


Hopewins said...

Here is a brief list of people CONVICTED of the "thought crime" of Holocaust-Denial. The actual number is MUCH higher, especially when we include the Eastern EU countries.

Note the following:

1) Not one of them was convicted in the United States. Zero.

2) ALL of them were convicted in Europe.

3) The majority of them are Research Professors of History at European Universities.

Where is the Free Thought, Free Speech that the European so loudly boast about? If they convict professors working in an environment of cherished academic freedom, can you imagine what are they capable of doing to ordinary people?

Riaz Haq said...

Unfortunately, the Rushdie formula for getting attention has been noticed by profit-seekers.

The offensive video has 13.5 million hits to data and Google shares have hit new high of $ seems to be helping , not hurting Google's bottom line.

All the headlines from violent reaction in the Muslim world have actually helped Google get a lot more traffic and make a lot more money than they would have if the video had been ignored.

Coptic Christian said...

"All the headlines from violent reaction in the Muslim world have actually helped Google get a lot more traffic and make a lot more money than they would have if the video had been ignored."

Ignore??? If history is any guide, muslims can never ignore any real or perceived insult to islam.

Are you closing your Gmail account and stop watching youtube :)

Riaz Haq said...

Here's MQM's Altaf Husain on Yom-e-Ishq-e-Rasool Day riots as reported by Express Tribune:

KARACHI: Issuing a strong condemnation against the Ishq-e-Rasool Day riots, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain said that the people of Pakistan, to protest against blasphemy committed by others, were slitting throats of their own brothers.

“The filmmaker is sitting comfortably in America… Will you slaughter your own sister, brother, mother over blasphemy committed by someone else? What kind of love is this for the Prophet (pbuh)?”

Enumerating the losses of life and property suffered on the Ishq-e-Rasool Day, Hussain said that the “extremists and terrorists” looted everything and even had electronic cutters to cut away and steal entire ATM machines.

“Protesters had sticks in their hands. They had special ATM machine cutters. It depicts that they were not there to express love for the prophet (pbuh) or protest against the film. But instead, taking Ishq-e-Rasool as an excuse, they had left their homes to loot and kill,” Hussain stated while asking the audience if any of the looters were from Karachi. The audience replied in negative.

“We burnt down a church in the name of Ishq-e-Rasool. What if, in the name of Eshwar, Krishna or Jesus Christ, someone burns down our mosques?” Hussain asked which was followed by a heavy silence from the audience. “Blasphemy should not be committed against any prophet under the banner of freedom of speech,” he maintained.

Calling out to all “liberal, democratic, progressive and secular” people of the country, Hussain asked, “Do you want a Taliban-type, al Qaeda-type Pakistan or a liberal, educated, progressive Pakistan?

“Now is the time to come forward and break the criminal silence.”

While serving an apology for being harsh during his speech, Hussain said that his greater interest was to save Pakistan.

Karo kari

Hussain also condemned the karo kari that is practiced in the name of honour in parts of Pakistan. “If a girl marries out of her own will, according to Shariah, then she is accused of karo kari and is murdered.

“If we love Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), then we have to get rid of karo kari,” he stressed.

He added that those who bury women alive should be buried and the “skulls should be disjointed” of those who murder in the name of honour.

Absence of leadership?

The party leader said that people always complain that there is an absence of good leadership in the country, but he said that new leaders “won’t descend from the sky in the form of angels”.

“If you can’t see the right leaders, then it is not anyone’s fault,” he asserted and told the audience about how he was the first one to lodge his protest against the blasphemous film when all the others were asleep. “They were sleeping when I sent a telegram to Ban Ki-moon and the OIC that this [film] is intolerable.”

Addressing the Pakistani youth, he said, “If you don’t want to come forward then I won’t have any other choice than to back out from Pakistan’s politics… Decide and tell me today, do you want me to say goodbye forever?”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story of insult to Sikh religion that shamed the ignorant person who tried it:

A Reddit user going by the handle "european_douchebag" posted a surreptitious photo of a Sikh woman with the caption "i'm not sure what to conclude from this." The user's apparent confusion stems from the fact that the woman—bound by her religion not to cut her hair or alter her body—has an abundance of dark, untrimmed facial hair. The mind of european_douchebag was SO INCREDIBLY BLOWN by the fact that women have hair on their bodies—and, yes, faces—and that some women are bold, self-assured, and pious enough not to cave to western beauty standards (and gender expectations), there was nothing for him to do but post her photo online and wait for the abuse to flood in.

But then something totally lovely and unexpected happened. The woman in the photo responded...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Op Ed titled "Hate Speech Hypocrites" by William Saletan:

Jews have too much influence over U.S. foreign policy. Gay men are too promiscuous. Muslims commit too much terrorism. Blacks commit too much crime.

Each of those claims is poorly stated. Each, in its clumsy way, addresses a real problem or concern. And each violates laws against hate speech. In much of what we call the free world, for writing that paragraph, I could be jailed.
If we’re going to preach freedom of expression around the world, we have to practice it. We have to scrap our hate-speech laws.
President Obama, while condemning the video, met these proposals with a stout defense of free speech. Switzerland’s president agreed: “Freedom of opinion and of expression are core values guaranteed universally which must be protected.” And when a French magazine published cartoons poking fun at Mohammed, the country’s prime minister insisted that French laws protecting free speech extend to caricatures.

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s U.N. ambassador, speaking for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, told the U.N. Human Rights Council:

We are all aware of the fact that laws exist in Europe and other countries which impose curbs, for instance, on anti-Semitic speech, Holocaust denial, or racial slurs. We need to acknowledge, once and for all, that Islamophobia in particular and discrimination on the basis of religion and belief are contemporary forms of racism and must be dealt with as such. Not to do so would be a clear example of double standards. Islamophobia has to be treated in law and practice equal to the treatment given to anti-Semitism.

He’s right. Laws throughout Europe forbid any expression that “minimizes,” “trivializes,” “belittles,” “plays down,” “contests,” or “puts in doubt” Nazi crimes. Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic extend this prohibition to communist atrocities. These laws carry jail sentences of up to five years. Germany adds two years for anyone who “disparages the memory of a deceased person.”

Hate speech laws go further. Germany punishes anyone found guilty of “insulting” or “defaming segments of the population.” The Netherlands bans anything that “verbally or in writing or image, deliberately offends a group of people because of their race, their religion or beliefs, their hetero- or homosexual orientation or their physical, psychological or mental handicap.” It’s illegal to “insult” such a group in France, to “defame” them in Portugal, to “degrade” them in Denmark, or to “expresses contempt” for them in Sweden. In Switzerland, it’s illegal to “demean” them even with a “gesture.” Canada punishes anyone who “willfully promotes hatred.” The United Kingdom outlaws “insulting words or behavior” that arouse “racial hatred.” Romania forbids the possession of xenophobic “symbols.”

What have these laws produced? Look at the convictions upheld or accepted by the European Court of Human Rights. Four Swedes who distributed leaflets that called homosexuality “deviant” and “morally destructive” and blamed it for AIDS. An Englishman who displayed in his window a 9/11 poster proclaiming, “Islam out of Britain.” A Turk who published two letters from readers angry at the government’s treatment of Kurds. A Frenchman who wrote an article disputing the plausibility of poison gas technology at a Nazi concentration camp...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Al-Arabya report on Google business in Pakistan:

Pakistan is soon to become the next market bubble for Google in Asia, according to executives at Google Pakistan who discussed their market potential at a public event earlier this week.

“Pakistan is Google’s next big market in the region,” Google’s head of Emerging Market Development, Southeast Asia, Jana Levene told a gathering of IT experts, bloggers, businessmen and reporters in Karachi.

Google has deepened its operations in Pakistan by getting involved in many projects in the country, particularly involving with the Punjab government. The Government of Punjab launched an “Innovation Punjab” campaign through its IT board with support from Google. This project is one example where Google has partnered with Punjab Information Technology Board.

The project also highlighted the case studies of successful entrepreneurs, called “innovation heroes.” It has also launched a social innovation fund – in collaboration with Pakistan Software Houses association, also their partner for the event – to support young entrepreneurs struggling to get their ideas public.

Other pundits point to Google’s success is its choosing to invest in a potentially growing number of users in Pakistan.

“To enter a market, the first thing we look at is its demographics – number of internet users in that country,” Levene told the Pakistan-based The Express Tribune, explaining why Google is interested in Pakistan.

“Twenty-two million internet users is a huge number. It’s more than Australia’s whole population. That’s why we are here,” she added.

Google is also taking into consideration the market size. “Pakistan is a $400 to $500 million market for Google,” Levene told the Tribune. Statistics shows that four of the top 10 most popular websites in Pakistan are Google’s sites.

Regulatory framework is another area of Google’s interest.

“The laws regarding internet censorship, the security of our employee etcetera are the things we take into account. Aside from the 22 million internet users that include two million broadband users, seven million Facebook users, one million Twitter users and 1.2 million LinkedIn users. Of the total mobile phones sold in Pakistan 6 percent are smart-phones,” Levene said.

As a result, the government was able to reach 800,000 people.

The most search topics by Pakistanis are related to finding solutions for social problems, political debates, business establishments, entertainment, as well as social networking groups. Meanwhile, Pakistanis used Google Earth and Google Maps to track which areas were affected in 2010 floods.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's another piece on Islamophobia in the West:

Three hurtful words, scrawled in black circles under the eyes of a ballplayer named Yunel Escobar: Tu ere[s] maricón. The message, conveyed in the eyeblack of the Toronto Blue Jays shortstop during a recent game, means, You’re a faggot. That’s hate language, and reaction was swift and stern. Major league baseball launched an investigation, the Blue Jays suspended Escobar for three games and enrolled him in “sensitivity training,” and he gave the obligatory apology in front of the microphones. Few if anyone publicly complained that, hurtful or not, homophobic or not, Escobar’s free speech rights trumped the concerns of others wounded by his words. No one said Escobar should be able to continue displaying the slur.

“Given the reaction of the offended community, Escobar’s punishment was absolutely justifiable and necessary to maintain order in society,” wrote Stacie Brown on policymic. In other words, the community came together and shut Escobar up, due to a collective sense of mutual respect for the rights of others not to be hurt by hateful speech. Society has forged standards of respect and unacceptability about racial, ethnic, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs. Rightly or wrongly, the message is: use certain hateful words in public, and you’ll pay the price. So why is there a different set of values at work when it comes to the hurt caused Muslims by hateful, Islamophobic characterizations of the Prophet Mohammed, or denigrations of Islam?
Here in the States, try advocating assassination, running an explosives seminar, defending the 9/11 attacks, or even making a charitable donation to the wrong group in the wrong conflict zone, and see how far you get. Some of these restrictions emanate from the USA Patriot Act, but others have been in place for decades. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing for a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court in 1919, argued that “the most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.” As Sarah Chayes points out in an LA Times op-ed titled “Free Speech or Incitement?”, “The Innocence of Muslims” was provocative by design, and therefore may fit U.S. case law that prohibits “specifically advocating violence.” She quotes Anthony Lewis, former New York Times columnist and eloquent free speech champion: “If the result was violence, and violence was intended, then it meets the standard” for a criminal act.

The second problem in the blanket free speech defense is its unequal application to Muslims and Arabs. “I come from a land, from a faraway place, where the caravan camels roam,” went the Disney film “Alladin”’s opening song, “where they cut off your ear if they don‘t like your face. It‘s barbaric, but hey, it‘s home.” Is there any other group in America for whom this kind of slur would not be roundly condemned, its offenders forced to apologize before being sent into the corner like Yunel Escobar?

Anonymous said...

edward said...

I don't understand why the Muslim destroy there own neighborhoods. The film was not good I agree, but why riot destroy property and kill your own people. Makes no sense. Sure there was outrage, but what was accomplished. Dead muslims, buildings set on fire, police shooting at protesters. Its like looking in the mirror and beating your self up/ The rest of the world looks at you like savages. You know they make movies that mock and say bad things about Jesus. I do not like this. I dont kill people or riot. I hate it, But Jesus say pray for these people they may change and turn to him. If they dont change and ask for repentence God will avenge Jesus not his followers. God's wrath is more horrible than what any human can do to them.

Hopewins said...

Here is another example of the FREEDOM the European Hypocrites always lecture the world about...

This kind of law would have been unthinkable in the US.

Hopewins said...

QUOTE: "If Muslims kill non-Muslims, they seem strangely unconcerned; when Muslims kill Muslims, as in Sudan, they turn their eyes away. It is only when non-Muslims kill Muslims, that they wake up and start complaining and pointing to their general state of victimhood."


Anonymous said...

Internet censorship helps shape the views of 180 million Pakistanis on militancy, democracy and religion. Online debates dissect attacks by U.S. drone aircraft, the uneasy alliance with the United States and prospects for peace with arch rival India. But activists say liberal voices are increasingly silenced while militants speak freely. They worry customized filters from the Canadian firm Netsweeper will only deepen that divide.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Christian Science Monitor report on Youtube ban's first anniversary in Pakistan:

YouTube has been banned in Pakistan for a year now, underscoring the rising influence of Islamist hardliners and intolerance for free speech in the country.

The ban came after YouTube refused Pakistan's demand that it remove “the Innocence of Muslims” clips, outtakes from an attempt at making an anti-Islamic film that enraged many Muslims, from its website.

Islamists, backed by different religious parties came out to protest in the thousands, and started riots across Pakistan, leaving at least 20 people dead. Protestors also attempted to attack the US Embassy in Islamabad. The government eventually blocked access to YouTube last September, appeasing the protestors. A year later, despite calls to end the ban from free speech activists and business interests, the ban remains.

“The Pakistani government has been blocking Internet content under the pretext of national interest, religion, and morality,” says Hassan Belal Zaidi at the independent Internet rights advocacy group Bytes For All, based in Islamabad. “But it is actually trying to block any parallel discourse on the Internet and curtail freedom of expression of minorities... both political and religious, which speak against their persecution that happens quite often in Pakistan, and are not covered by mainstream media."
Youtube hasn’t been the only case of social media censorship in Pakistan. Facebook and Twitter have been banned for hosting what the government deemed blasphemous material. And websites promoting separatism in the restive province of Balochistan and those criticizing the powerful Pakistani Army are also regularly blocked.

It’s not a complete crackdown: Internet rights activists say many Pakistanis are getting around the ban in new and creative ways.The digital block can easily be circumvented, they say, by using proxies and virtual private networks.

“Software such as Hotspot Shield, Spotflux, or TOR Browser as well as a host of online proxy servers are being used to access YouTube in the country. Many Pakistan-specific mirror sites have also been set up to allow people here to access content on Youtube, directly and indirectly,” says Mr. Zaidi.

Though university students who cannot access proxies while on university servers are losing out, everyone from Internet experts to the former president’s son provide advice online on how to circumvent the ban.

“Anyone using iOS and looking to get around the YouTube ban I suggest downloading VPN One Click,” tweeted the former president's son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan People's Party, the party that was in power when the YouTube ban was enforced last year.

One possible silver lining, say some observers, is that the ban and problems associated with using proxies has prompted a rise in alternative local websites. One example is, which now has more than 25,000 registered users. “We cannot beg someone to erase the videos we do not like, instead we made our own space,” reads a statement on the website run as a private enterprise out of Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan. The website says the site regularly monitors content and removes any material that it feels is not suitable for a Pakistani audience.

That self-censorship is not satisfying to activists. Bytes For All, the advocacy group, has filed a lawsuit against the government's YouTube ban in the Pakistani courts, saying it curtails the fundamental rights of Pakistanis. The group's lawyer says the case is slow going because the government is terrified of inflaming religious sentiments and the possibility of more violence.

Riaz Haq said...

Youtube video ordered removed in an actress's copy right lawsuit, not in response to #Muslim protests. via @reuters

Riaz Haq said...

Ayan Hirsi Ali, who was dis-invited by Brandeis University where she was to receive an honorary degree, tells Muslims to convert to Christianity by quoting verses in The Quran that she sees as encouraging violence and misogyny but she fails to see similar verses in The Bible....
Here are some verses from a Holy Book:
1. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
2. “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’ ... do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death.”
3. “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”
Q. Are these from the Quran or the Bible?
A. From the Bible. Matthew 10:34, Deuteronomy 13:6-9, Numbers 31:17-18

Riaz Haq said...

Five scary Christopher Columbus quotes that let you celebrate the holiday the right way

1. Conquest: the perfect chaser for expelling Muslims and Jews. You don’t have to be an academic to link Spain’s colonial expansion abroad with its inquisition at home. Columbus made the connection himself. Of course he saw this as a good thing, not a bad one– a killer combo, if you will. He wrote to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain...

YOUR HIGHNESSES, as Catholic Christians and Princes who love the holy Christian faith, and the propagation of it, and who are enemies to the sect of Mahoma [Islam] and to all idolatries and heresies, resolved to send me, Cristóbal Colon, to the said parts of India to see the said princes … with a view that they might be converted to our holy faith …. Thus, after having turned out all the Jews from all your kingdoms and lordships … your Highnesses gave orders to me that with a sufficient fleet I should go to the said parts of India …. I shall forget sleep, and shall work at the business of navigation, so that the service is performed.
2. These Natives are so nice, we’d be crazy not to enslave them! This excerpt from Columbus’ diary describes the Arawak people who greeted him and his men:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
3. I was right about how easy that whole subjugation thing would be! In another letter to King Ferdinand, Columbus wrote

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.
4. Rape! Columbus was such a mensch, he would let his men do whatever they wanted with the natives they captured. One of his men and a childhood friend of Columbus, Michele da Cuneo, describes in a letter how he raped a native woman:

While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked—as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores.
5. Not so Christian. But the anecdote captured above was not some isolated incident of cruelty. Ironically, but in no way surprisingly, the Spanish who came to save the “heathens” from their idolatry, weren’t very Christ-like in their behavior. In his book The Devastation of the Indies. Bartolome de las Casas, the priest who accompanied Columbus on his conquest of Cuba, detailed the abuse and murder of the native population:

5. Not so Christian. But the anecdote captured above was not some isolated incident of cruelty. Ironically, but in no way surprisingly, the Spanish who came to save the “heathens” from their idolatry, weren’t very Christ-like in their behavior. ..

Riaz Haq said...

Assange believes #Google is an extension US govt and instrument of US Policy. …

From Newsweek by Julian Assange of Wikileaks:

It was at this point that I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, D.C., including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel.

While WikiLeaks had been deeply involved in publishing the inner archive of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. State Department had, in effect, snuck into the WikiLeaks command center and hit me up for a free lunch. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. But at the time it was a novel thought.

I put it aside until February 2012, when WikiLeaks—along with over thirty of our international media partners—began publishing the Global Intelligence Files: the internal email spool from the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. One of our stronger investigative partners—the Beirut-based newspaper Al Akhbar— scoured the emails for intelligence on Jared Cohen.

The people at Stratfor, who liked to think of themselves as a sort of corporate CIA, were acutely conscious of other ventures that they perceived as making inroads into their sector. Google had turned up on their radar. In a series of colorful emails they discussed a pattern of activity conducted by Cohen under the Google Ideas aegis, suggesting what the “do” in “think/do tank” actually means.

Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and “corporate responsibility” work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google’s “director of regime change.”

According to the emails, he was trying to plant his fingerprints on some of the major historical events in the contemporary Middle East. He could be placed in Egypt during the revolution, meeting with Wael Ghonim, the Google employee whose arrest and imprisonment hours later would make him a PR-friendly symbol of the uprising in the Western press. Meetings had been planned in Palestine and Turkey, both of which—claimed Stratfor emails—were killed by the senior Google leadership as too risky.

Looking for something more concrete, I began to search in WikiLeaks’ archive for information on Cohen. State Department cables released as part of Cablegate reveal that Cohen had been in Afghanistan in 2009, trying to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto U.S. military bases. In Lebanon, he quietly worked to establish an intellectual and clerical rival to Hezbollah, the “Higher Shia League.” And in London he offered Bollywood movie executives funds to insert anti-extremist content into their films, and promised to connect them to related networks in Hollywood.


If the future of the Internet is to be Google, that should be of serious concern to people all over the world—in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and even in Europe—for whom the Internet embodies the promise of an alternative to U.S. cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony.

A “don’t be evil” empire is still an empire.

Extracted from When Google Met Wikileaks by Julian Assange published by OR Books. Newsweek readers can obtain a 20 percent discount on the cover price when ordering from the OR Books website and including the offer code word NEWSWEEK.

Riaz Haq said...

Kareem Abdul Jabbar: "When the Ku Klux Klan burn a cross in a black family’s yard, prominent Christians aren’t required to explain how these aren’t really Christian acts. Most people already realize that the KKK doesn’t represent Christian teachings. That’s what I and other Muslims long for—the day when these terrorists praising Mohammed or Allah’s name as they debase their actual teachings are instantly recognized as thugs disguising themselves as Muslims. It’s like bank robbers wearing masks of presidents; we don’t really think Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush hit the Bank of America during their down time".

Riaz Haq said...

David Brooks in NY Times: "The first thing to say, I suppose, is that whatever you might have put on your Facebook page yesterday, it is inaccurate for most of us to claim, Je Suis Charlie Hebdo, or I Am Charlie Hebdo. Most of us don’t actually engage in the sort of deliberately offensive humor that that newspaper specializes in. We might have started out that way. When you are 13, it seems daring and provocative to “épater la bourgeoisie,” to stick a finger in the eye of authority, to ridicule other people’s religious beliefs. But after a while that seems puerile. Most of us move toward more complicated views of reality and more forgiving views of others. (Ridicule becomes less fun as you become more aware of your own frequent ridiculousness.) Most of us do try to show a modicum of respect for people of different creeds and faiths. We do try to open conversations with listening rather than insult."

David Brooks: "I Am Not ‪#‎CharlieHebdo‬" "A lot of people quick to lionize those who offend Islamists in France"

Riaz Haq said...

Europe's history of mocking Islam and its prophet is well documented in "Muhammad in Europe" by Minou covers everything from Dante's Inferno to Voltaire's Mahomet. The difference now is that the social media has made such anti-Muslim bigotry much more commerce-oriented and accessible to a globalized world


Charlie Hebdo, the New Yorker now claims, “followed in the tradition of Voltaire.” Voltaire stands as the god of satire; any godless Frenchman with a bon mot is measured against him. Everyone remembers his diatribes against the power of the Catholic Church: Écrasez l’Infâme! But what’s often conveniently omitted amid the adulation of his wit is how Voltaire loathed a powerless religion, the outsiders of his own era, the “medieval,” “barbaric” immigrant minority that afflicted Europe: the Jews.

Voltaire’s anti-Semitism was comprehensive. In its contempt for the putatively “primitive,” it anticipates much that is said about Muslims in Europe and the US today. “The Jews never were natural philosophers, nor geometricians, nor astronomers,” Voltaire declared. That would do head Islamophobe Richard Dawkins proud:

The Jews, Voltaire wrote, are “only an ignorant and barbarous people, who have long united the most sordid avarice with the most detestable superstition and the most invincible hatred for every people by whom they are tolerated and enriched.” When some American right-wing yahoo calls Muslims “goatfuckers,” you might think he’s reciting old Appalachian invective. In fact, he’s repeating Voltaire’s jokes about the Jews. “You assert that your mothers had no commerce with he-goats, nor your fathers with she-goats,” Voltaire demanded of them. “But pray, gentlemen, why are you the only people upon earth whose laws have forbidden such commerce? Would any legislator ever have thought of promulgating this extraordinary law if the offence had not been common?”

Riaz Haq said...

Maurice Sinet, 86, who works under the pen name Sine in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, faced charges of "inciting racial hatred" for a column he wrote in 2009. The piece sparked a slanging match among the Parisian intelligentsia and ended in his dismissal from the magazine.
"L'affaire Sine" followed the engagement of Mr Sarkozy, 22, to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, the Jewish heiress of an electronic goods chain. Commenting on an unfounded rumour that the president's son planned to convert to Judaism, Sine quipped: "He'll go a long way in life, that little lad."
A high-profile political commentator slammed the column as linking prejudice about Jews and social success. Charlie Hebdo's editor, Philippe Val, asked Sinet to apologise but he refused in a very strictly manner.
Mr Val's decision to fire Sine was backed by a group of eminent intellectuals, including the philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy, but parts of the libertarian Left defended him, citing the right to free speech.
As mocking young Mr Sarkozy converted to Judaism for money, Sine was accused of being Anti-Semitic and faced many preassures leading him to be fired from the weekly magazine. The same magazine published cartoons even insulting the Islam Prophet Muhammad and Muslims yet explained them as “freedom of speech.”
Charlie Hebdo published cartoons about Prophet Jesus and Chiristianity, too, causing the magazine being sued 12 times by Catholic Chuch.

Riaz Haq said...

The whole reason the concept of responsible satire has been summed up as “punch up, don’t punch down”...... Muslims in France are clearly worse off overall than, say, Jean Sarkozy (the son of former president Nicholas Sarkozy) and his wife Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, but Charlie Hebdo saw fit to apologize for an anti-Semitic caricature of Ms. Sebaoun-Darty and fire longtime cartoonist Siné over the incident while staunchly standing fast on their right to troll Muslims by showing Muhammad naked and bending over—which tells you something about the brand of satire they practice and, when push comes to shove, that they’d rather be aiming downward than upward.....I mean, Muslims in France right now aren’t doing so great. The scars of the riots nine years ago are still fresh for many people, Muslims make up 60 to 70 percent of the prison population despite being less than 20 percent of the population overall, and France’s law against “religious symbols in public spaces” is specifically enforced to target Muslim women who choose to wear hijab—ironic considering we’re now touting Charlie Hebdo as a symbol of France’s staunch commitment to civil liberties.

Riaz Haq said...

Famous Doonesbury Cartoonist Garry Trudeau on Charlie Hebdo crossing the line "into the realm of hate speech" by its "vulgar drawings" of Prophet Muhammad:

Apparently he crossed some red line that was in place for one minority but not another. By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence. Well, voila—the 7 million copies that were published following the killings did exactly that, triggering violent protests across the Muslim world, including one in Niger, in which ten people died. Meanwhile, the French government kept busy rounding up and arresting over 100 Muslims who had foolishly used their freedom of speech to express their support of the attacks.

Riaz Haq said...

#Google ponders purified #Pakistani #YouTube #Pakistan … via @theregister

Pakistan's Standing Committee on Information Technology and Communications has recommended that the nation end its ban on YouTube.

Pakistan was unhappy with YouTube for years, on grounds that it made it possible to view content considered blasphemous. Once the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims” made it to Google's streaming site in 2012, the nation blocked YouTube and plenty of other sites too.

That ban has stood since 2012, largely thanks to the requirement that the nation's Supreme Court waive the decision. Pakistani citizens protested the ban with a widely-signed petition that, after being ignored for a couple of years, appeared on the agenda of a Tuesday meeting of the Standing Committee.

Pakistani media reports suggest the outcome of that meeting was a recommendation that Pakistan lift the ban, as discussions between the nation and Google have reached the point at which search and advertising giant is willing to create a blasphemy-free version of YouTube just for Pakistani viewers.

One report, from Daily Pakistan, says the ban stood for so long because Google asked Pakistan to pay for a blasphemous material filtering service.

All reports agree that Google and Pakistan are talking with a view to getting YouTube switched back on on the nation. If that happens it will be another sign, if any are needed, of Google's enthusiasm for a strong presence in developing nations. Last week the company dropped the floor price for apps in India to just US$0.15, down from $0.75. Google's also pursuing Project Loon to bathe developing nations in broadband-from-balloons in order to hasten internet adoption in countries where even mobile networks aren't widespread. ®

Riaz Haq said...

#YouTube launches #Urdu version in #Pakistan even though it’s still banned there … via @DigitalTrends

YouTube has launched a localized Urdu version of the site in Pakistan but there’s a catch: viewers who currently live in Pakistan aren’t able to access it. YouTube has been banned in Pakistan since 2012 when the world’s largest online video platform refused to take down a controversial American-made video which disrespected the Prophet Mohammed. The ban could be overturned soon, though, according to reports.
Google is hoping that the new site,, will convince the country’s Supreme Court to lift the ban. “We are in a very near-term sort of thing,” said an unnamed source to AFP (via Billboard). “The roadblocks have been removed.”
Related: EFF sides with YouTube, says T-Mobile is throttling video on its network
If the country reconsiders the ban, it would require Google to comply with removal requests. “The understanding is that on the localised version offensive and blasphemous content could be blocked by Google on the government’s request,” said a telecommunications authority in the country to the AFP.

While it sounds like Google is willing to compromise with the country, a spokesman for the tech giant explained that it would continue to review requests before taking them down. “Government requests to remove content will continue to be tracked and included in our Transparency Report.”
Pakistan’s block of the video streamer in 2012 occurred after Google refused to take down an anti-Islam video called “Innocence of Muslims” which sparked deadly protests. Since that time, many locals have used proxies to access the site.
In addition to Pakistan, YouTube also launched country-specific home pages featuring local content in Nepal and Sri Lanka this week. The video streamer highlighted popular local content in the three countries in a blog post Tuesday. In the section on Pakistan, YouTube’s Asia Pacific director Gautam Anand said that Pakistanis “love YouTube’s diverse music offerings” like the Coke Studio series (above) which captures live performances of artists from across the country.

Read more:
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of an NPR Fresh Air interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize winning author of "The Sympathizer":

one of the first movies that I remember watching was "Apocalypse Now." I was probably about 10. And I think that was the first indication, also, that I had that there was something called this war and that this was how Americans saw this war as one that had divided them. And that was my first glimmering that there was something like a civil war happening in the American soul and that we as Vietnamese people were caught up in that because I watched that movie as a good, American boy who had already seen some American war movies - John Wayne in World War II.

And I was cheering for the American soldiers until the moment in "Apocalypse Now" where they started killing Vietnamese people. And that was an impossible moment for me because I didn't know who I was supposed to identify with, the Americans who were doing the killing or the Vietnamese who were dying and not being able to speak?

And that moment has never left me as the symbolic moment of my understanding that this was our place in an American war, that the Vietnam War was an American war from the American perspective and that, eventually, I would have to do something about that.


Their function is to literally just be stage props for an American drama. And my narrator understands this. And he understands it very intellectually and viscerally that what is happening here is that Hollywood is the unofficial ministry of propaganda for the Pentagon, that its role is to basically prepare Americans to go fight wars by making them focus only on the American understanding of things and to understand others as alien and different and marginal, even to their own histories, right?

And so his belief is that he can somehow try to subvert this ministry of propaganda, this vast war epic that is going to continue to kill Vietnamese people in a cinematic fashion, which is simply the prelude to actually killing Vietnamese people in real life. So he believes that he can try to make a difference. And, of course, the humor and the tragedy is that he can't.


you know, that the United States lost the war, in fact, in 1975. But for the very same reason that the United States was able to wage a war in which it lost 58,000 American soldiers, which is a human tragedy, but was able to create the conditions by which 3 million Vietnamese people died of all sides and 3 million Laotians and Cambodians died during those years and in the years afterwards.

For the very same reasons that the industrial power of the United States is able to produce this vast inequity of death, that's the same reason that the United States, in the years afterward, through its incredibly powerful cultural industry, is able to win the war in memory because wherever you go outside of Vietnam, you have to deal with American memories of the Vietnam War. Inside Vietnam, you have to confront Vietnamese memories. But outside, wherever I've gone and talked about the Vietnam War and memory, one of the first questions that I get is what do you think of "Apocalypse Now?" So...


Americans are preoccupied with their own experiences. That's an exact replication of the mindset that got us into Vietnam and that has now allowed Americans to remember the Vietnam War in a certain way that makes it an America war.

Riaz Haq said...

In a recent roundtable conversation with the New York Times, a handful of showrunners and entertainment professionals were assembled to discuss the topic of Muslim representation on television. Quantico showrunner Joshua Safran said that it’s policy on his show to never feature Muslims as terrorists, and Howard Gordon, the co-creator of Homeland and an executive producer of 24, expressed his own concerns that his hit shows can enable regressive thinking and stoke xenophobic fears. When Gordon was asked if he was worried about Homeland being fodder for increased attacks against Muslims, Gordon said, “The short answer is, absolutely, yes,” before elaborating with the longer version.

On Homeland, it’s an ongoing and very important conversation.
For instance, this year, the beginning of it involves the sort of big business of prosecuting entrapment. It actually tests the edges of free speech. How can someone express their discontent with American policy — even a reckless kid who might express his views that may be sympathetic to enemies of America, but still is not, himself, a terrorist, but is being set up to be one by the big business of government?
For me to answer, personally, that question, it’s a difficult one. 24 having been the launching point for me to engage in these conversations, which I have been having for 10 years, and being very conscious about not wanting to be a midwife to these base ideas. We’re all affected, unwittingly, by who we are and how we see the world. It requires creating an environment where people can speak freely about these things. It requires this vigilant empathy.

It has never been easy to put a Muslim character on American screens.

Even in this TV renaissance, most characters are on shows that rely on terrorism — or at least, terrorist-adjacent — story lines. Other kinds of Muslim characters are woefully absent across the dial. Could that change now, after a divisive presidential campaign that included vows by Donald J. Trump to stop Islamic immigration? Or will it be more difficult than ever?

Riaz Haq said...

Religion Scholar K. Armstrong: #Islamist #violence is "in part a product of #Western disdain" #Islamophobia #terror

Armstrong: The Prophet has been caricatured in the West as a violent, epileptic, lecherous charlatan since the time of the Crusades in the Middle Ages; this distorted image of Islam developed at the same time as our European anti-Semitism which caricatured Jews as the evil, violent, perverse and powerful enemies of Europe.
So yes, the attack on the magazine was in part a product of Western disdain. The attack on the Jewish supermarket, which seems to have been backed by ISIS, was directed against Western support for Israel. Here too, there is an element of disdain: there has been little sustained outcry against the massive casualties in Gaza last summer, for example, which seems to some Muslims to imply that the lives of Palestinian women, children and the elderly are not as valuable as our own.

Where do you see the roots of this disdain?
Armstrong: The Enlightenment ideal of freedom was, in practice, only for Europeans. The Founding Fathers of the United States, who were deeply influenced by the Enlightenment, proudly proclaimed that "All men are created equal" and enjoyed the natural human rights of life, liberty and property. But they felt no qualms about owning African slaves and driving the Native Americans out of their ancestral lands.
John Locke, the apostle of tolerance, wrote that a master had "absolute and despotical" rights over a slave, which included the right to kill him at any time. This continues: many of those who marched for freedom of expression in Paris were leaders of states that have supported regimes in Muslim majority countries that denied their subjects basic freedoms; Britain and the US, for example, continue to support the Saudi regime. Again, a disdain: our freedom is more important than yours.
Shouldn't we also look at certain Koranic verses and their interpretation throughout history to explain the phenomenon of Islamist terror?
Armstrong: "Throughout history", these Koranic verses have not inspired terrorist activities. Any empire depends upon force; this is true of the Indian, Chinese, Persian, Roman, Hellenistic and British empires and it is also true of the Islamic empires. Furthermore, until the modern period, Islam had a far better record of tolerance than Western Christianity. When the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099, they slaughtered the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants of the city in a massacre that shocked the Middle East, which had never seen such unbridled violence. And yet it was 50 years before there was any serious Muslim riposte. There is more violence in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament than there is in the Koran.
Most Christian theologians would disagree.
Armstrong: Those theologians who claim that there are no passages in the New Testament like Koran 2.191–93 have perhaps forgotten the Book of Revelation, which is the preferred text of many Christian fundamentalists who look forward to the battles of the imminent End Time that will destroy the enemies of God. They interpret these texts literally and quote them far more frequently than the Sermon on the Mount. The aggression towards the enemy commanded in Koran 2:191 concludes: "If they cease hostilities, there can be no further hostility." (Koran 2. 193). No such quarter is allowed those who fight the Word of God in the battles of Revelation.

Riaz Haq said...

Insulting Prophet #Muhammad (PBUH) not '#FreeSpeech', Europe's Court of Human Rights rules. Defaming the Prophet Muhammad exceeds the permissible limits of freedom of expression, ruled the #ECtHR, upholding an #Austrian court’s decision. #Blasphemy #Islam

The decision by a seven-judge panel came as an Austrian national identified as E.S. by the court, had held seminars on Islam in 2008 and 2009 for the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) where she discussed the prophet's marriage to his wife Aisha, a child at the time, and implied that he was a pedophile.

An Austrian court convicted her of disparaging religious doctrines in 2011 and fined her 480 euros (548 dollars), a judgment that was upheld on two appeals.

Stating that the court had found that "the applicant's statements had been likely to arouse justified indignation in Muslims" and "amounted to a generalization without factual basis", the Strasbourg-based ECtHR said that the woman's comments could not be covered by the freedom of expression.

The court said it "found in particular that the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant's statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria."

The statement also added that there had been no violation of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, covering freedom of expression. "Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression), E.S. complained that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression."

ES' statements "were not phrased in a neutral manner aimed at being an objective contribution to a public debate concerning child marriages," the ECtHR held, adding that the moderate fine imposed on her could not be considered disproportionate.

The Austrian courts had drawn a distinction between pedophilia and child marriage, which was also a common practice historically in European ruling families.

The ECtHR also underlined that it classified the 'impugned' statements as "an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which was capable of stirring up prejudice and putting at risk religious peace."

It noted that the Austrian courts had held that ES was making value judgments partly based on untrue facts and without regard to the historical context.

Religious beliefs must be subject to criticism and denial, the ECHR observed, but when statements about religions went beyond critical denial and were likely to incite religious intolerance, states could take proportionate restrictive measures, the court said.

Austria, a country of 8.8 million people, has roughly 600,000 Muslim inhabitants. Lately, it has emerged as the leader of Islamophobia among European countries. The coalition government, an alliance of conservatives and the far right, came to power soon after Europe's migration crisis on promises to prevent another influx and restrict benefits for new immigrants and refugees. In April, Austria's far-right Chancellor Sebastian Kurz threatened to close one of the biggest mosques in Vienna and urged municipal authorities to be stricter regarding state subsidies for Muslim organizations in the city.

Riaz Haq said...

#Amnestyinternational slams #French claims of being champion of free-speech: "French government’s rhetoric on free speech is not enough to conceal its own shameless hypocrisy" #Macron #islamophobie

While the right to express views that may be perceived as offending religious beliefs is strenuously defended, Muslims’ freedoms of expression and religion usually receive scant attention in France, says Amnesty International.

Amnesty International has said that the French government is not the champion of free speech that it likes to think it is.

"French government’s rhetoric on free speech is not enough to conceal its own shameless hypocrisy," the UK-based organisation said in its report published on Thursday.

"Freedom of expression means nothing unless it applies to everyone. The government’s free speech campaign should not be used for covering up the measures that put people at risk of human rights abuses including torture."

Samuel Paty's killing

The report said the way President Emmanuel Macron and his government responded to the killing of Samuel Paty, a French teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class, negates their claims of being supporters of free speech.