Bangladesh blocks Facebook over prophet drawings

Bangladesh blocks Facebook over prophet drawings (AP)
Bangladeshi Muslim protesters shout slogans as they burn a Swedish flag during a protest against social networking website facebook for holding a competition on caricatures of Prophet Mohammed, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, May 28, 2010. According to news reports, Swedish artist Lars Vilks has angered many Muslims by drawing highly blasphemous caricature of the Prophet. (AP Photo/Pavel Rahman)

(AP) -- Bangladesh has become the second South Asian nation after Pakistan to block the popular social networking website Facebook over a page that urged people to draw images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Chief telecommunication regulator Zia Ahmed said Sunday that access to the site has been temporarily blocked because it was publishing caricatures that may hurt the religious sentiments of people in the Muslim-majority nation.

Ahmed said the government had asked local Internet service providers to block the objectionable content, and that access to Facebook would be restored if the offending material was removed.

Muslims regard depictions of the prophet, even favorable ones, as blasphemous.

Thousands of Muslims protested in Dhaka on Friday against what they called Facebook's "blasphemous content" because of a page called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" that encouraged users to post images of the prophet.

The ban disappointed some Facebook users, estimated by the ISP Association to number nearly 1 million in a country of 150 million people.

"The government should have stopped the objectionable page rather than blocking the entire site," Facebook user Farzan Hasan said.

Pakistan blocked on May 19 following a court order requiring the move. The court is to review the ban on Monday to determine whether access will be restored.


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