'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' triggers Facebook row

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, May 20 (ANI): The 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' on Facebook, which was a cartoonist's call to action against censorship, has snowballed into a controversy leading to death threats, a court order and a call for a boycott of the social networking site.

Seattle-based cartoonist named Molly Norris started the campaign in a bid to protest against Comedy Central's decision to censor an episode of 'South Park' that depicted Muhammad in a bear costume.

The network took the decision after an Islamic extremist website warned of retaliation against the show's creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker

And to protest against the decision, Norris created a poster with likenesses of Muhammad as a domino, a teacup and a box of pasta.

Thus, she declared May 20 as 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!'- and her efforts quickly went viral, spawning several Facebook pages with thousands of followers dedicated to the event.

They also prompted a "protest" movement by thousands of other Facebook users opposed to it.

While Norris herself has withdrawn from the cause, but she is glad her efforts encouraged others to speak out.

"I just thought that Viacom or Comedy Central had overreacted to a veiled threat from a tiny blog or website that not many people even belong to, and I think it just set a precedent for a slippery slope in censorship," Fox News quoted Norris as saying.

"If artists have to be afraid of what they draw, then what's the point of even living here? That's what really bothered me," she added.

As of May 19, more than 41,000 Facebook users associated themselves to one page dedicated to the event, and a similar page was "liked" by at least 4,400 users.

Meanwhile, over 56,000 users joined a Facebook page opposing it.

And in Pakistan, a court on Wednesday ordered the government to block Facebook pages associated with the campaign until May 31.

Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad to be blasphemous, and it is a crime punishable by death.

"The court also has ordered the foreign ministry to investigate why such a competition is being held," said Azhar Siddique, a representative of the Islamic Lawyers Forum who filed a petition in the Lahore High Court.

Organizers of the Facebook page protesting the drawing campaign are calling for users to boycott the social networking site for the company's inaction against the 'Everybody Draw Mohammad' pages.

Some say the campaign is nothing more than a way to incite Muslims.

A Facebook spokesman told FoxNews.com it has no plans to censor any of the pages associated with the campaign or the counter-campaign, though threats will be removed. (ANI)

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