Pakistani Lawyer Calls for the Execution of Mark Zuckerberg
Social media and execution seem to be dancing hand-in-hand today, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and cohorts find themselves the subjects of investigation regarding blasphemy against the Islam founder Muhammad.
The Register reports that lawyer Muhammad Azhar Siddique filed an application last month to launch a First Information Report on the Facebook-hosted “Draw Muhammad” page. Most contemporary Sunni Muslims forbid visual depictions of the prophet. If Zuckerberg, his fellow co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, and “Andy,” the German woman who initiated the contest, are charged as criminals under a section of the Pakistan Penal Code prohibiting “use of derogatory remark etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet,” they would hypothetically face life imprisonment or, worse, the death penalty.
According to Pro Paskistani, petitioner Muhammad Azhar Sidiqque said he’s waiting for the police to contact Interpol about making arrangements for the arrest of Facebook’s owners and “Andy”. The site also says that the Deputy Attorney General told the High Court that Pakistan’s United Nations representative has asked to escalate the issue in the UN General Assembly.
The issue has become frighteningly serious. You may recall that in 2005, Islam extremists called for the beheading of Danish cartoonists and the office bombing of newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which published a series of offensive cartoons featuring the prophet. Details of a terror plot against the paper’s employees were revealed in court just earlier this year. Grudges die hard.
Facebook has not provided a comment. With rumors floating around that the company earns $900 million a year, I’m sure a crack team of defense attorneys and bodyguards will form an impenetrable shield phalanx around Zuckerberg, Moskovitz, and Hughes and protect them from harm, be it legal or physical (though I’m not so sure Ms. “Andy” will be as fortunate).
No charges have been pressed, and it is likely nothing will come of it. Nonetheless, the whole incident raises an important point: It may be that the so-called “freedom of expression” exists in a globally connected world that may not actually want it–or at least, not want to be held accountable for it (see: 4chan /b/). Where do we draw the line?