Facebook Ban: A Review of Arslan Iftikhar’s (CNN) article

This article is written in disagreement with the article written by Arslan Ifitikhar on CNN. The reasons for disagreement are many. Mr. Arslan Iftikhar has given very strange arguments; at least for me they are very weak. This article will critically review Iftikhar’s article by taking one argument at a time.

Firstly, the unfortunate the start of the article is not representative of the topic but the checkered history of Pakistan’s military regimes, which has nothing to do with the Facebook ban. This start can be considered as a deliberate attempt to sabotage Pakistan’s image.

Second, the people of Pakistan took their case to the provincial high court, and being democratic country, Pakistani authorities took actions according to the courts order to ban the 800 websites having sacrilegious content. Facebook and Youtube are two of them.

Third, the famous parable author quoted in the article is totally out of context. Upon going through pages of history we come to know that in cases like these, where sacrilegious things rose against prophet Mohammad (S.A.W), and it’s not the prophet but Allah (S.W.T) himself answered to them. One of the examples can be found in the form of Surah e Lahab

“Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he” Chapter 111 V.1

Abu Lahab (Father of Flame) was the nickname of ‘Abd Al-‘Uzza, the Holy Prophet’s uncle and his inveterate enemy and persecutor. He was so called either because his complexion and hair were ruddy or also because he had a fiery temper. The Surah recalls an incident during the early preaching of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W). On being commanded by Allah (S.W.T) to call together his relatives and to deliver to them the Divine Message, the Holy Prophet, one day, stood on mount Safa and called the different Meccan (Makkah’s) tribes by name, the tribes of Luwayy, Murrah, Kilab and Qusayy and his near relatives, and told them that he is God’s Messenger, and that if they did not accept his Message and did not give up their evil ways, Divine punishment would overtake them. The Holy Prophet had hardly his speech, when Abu Lahab stood up and said, ‘Ruin seize thee, is it for this that thou hast called us together’ (Bukhari).

So, author is seriously misleading the Muslims by quoting wrong example from the Islamic history at the wrong context today. No doubt Muslims have “Ubuntu” standards in their life styles as an integral part of their religion.

Author has used very soft words i.e. “Idiotic Act”. Which was acceptable when Ms. Sayeeda Warsi (newly elected parliamentarian of England) use it when she was maligned or attacked but not in the case of an esteemed religious figure. Iftikhar should have condemned it in strongest words.

Fourth, the question raised by the author i.e. what would Mohammed [S.A.W] do? Becomes irrelevant in the light of above quoted verse of Holy Quran, which emanates that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) won’t do anything, but the Allah Almighty Himself will take care of that as Mohammad (S.A.W) is the beloved prophet of Allah (SWT).

Fifth, the earlier critic of military regimes in Pakistan later in the article turns to the critic of judicial and democratic decision. Author is not willing to accept the court’s orders to ban the sacrilegious websites, which is evident enough of the prejudices of the author.

Yes the extremism in Pakistan has caused greater damage to the Muslims and the Pakistan’s image, but it does not back the author’s view of not banning the sacrilegious websites. The author should consider the other side picture too where these sacrilegious content is considered to be valid in the name of freedom of expression

In a nutshell, the decision by Pakistani authorities to ban both Facebook and the Youtube has never been a stupid or wrong decision as it was the reflection of masses of Pakistan, who did it by going to the legal, ethical and more acceptable way by reaching court.


15 thoughts on “Facebook Ban: A Review of Arslan Iftikhar’s (CNN) article

  1. well…. great gillani…. u have done a fabulous job…. can u share the link of article published at CNN???


  2. Kudos to you!
    Eloquent and rightful answers of Mr Arshlan Ifitikhar irrelevant and unjustified comments related to Ban on Face Book in Pakistan. Remarkable work done by you and it’s really the true depiction of thoughts and voice of all Pakistanis which you have rightfully and dutifully emanated. The manner Mr Arshalan tries to tarnish image of Pakistan by producing futile points related to political, social and economic issues is totally insane and undermining process. Your reply in form of disagreement against all his unacceptable statements especially “Allah Almighty Himself will take care of that as Mohammad (S.A.W) is the beloved prophet of Allah (SWT)” may has cleared all the misconceptions which he has related to Islam.
    Allah blessed you for this honorable piece of work.


  3. @Aliya: Thanks a lot for encouraging.

    I was motivated to write this review, when one of my friend reffered me to this underlying article.

    Being a liberal kinda person for so many years I couldn’t swallow these distorting facts and historical events. Sitting continents away one cannot make any right perception.

    Well I took it as an Intellectual debate.

    2ndly, Author must think about “What would Companions (Glorious Sahaba R.A) of Prophet would have done?” The case of Musay’lma Kaz’zaab (a False Prophet who declared himself Prophet in the time of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W)) is evidence of what Sahaba R.A did? and the Holy Prophet (S.A.W)never forbid Sahaba from launching Jihad against that false prophet.

    Indeed that was my duty to present the facts and the historical events in its purest form possible.



  4. i reallly appreciate ur column…mine views are the same as urs…i have also written a column have a look.

    First of all, it’s really easy to sit far-off and criticize and it’s very difficult to even think of bringing revolution here. I accept the facts that he has written about our country’s government. That was the bad luck for Pakistan, we didn’t have any good leader like QUAID-E-AZAM but some leaders were somehow better than others. And military dictators didn’t come wishfully; they’ve been compelled by the infighting and selfishness of our politicians and didn’t have any other way except martial law. But nobody can support military rule and it is a fact that worst democracy is better than military rule. It is a high time now; our politicians must understand that no military dictator can come without their support. the By saying this “Pakistan has absolutely picked the wrong fight by banning facebook and youtube”, I disregard this statement because that was a good step taken by Muslims, somebody has to start to and if we have taken this very step, people should appreciate it. Do not think of what we are, and our so called democratic government policies, by not even thinking a single mistake, instead we should start. I am very much disappointed that if anybody takes step in sake of Muslims, everybody else there knocks him. Who would take step then? We should provoke such steps taken in Pakistan, because we really need to wake up.

    As far as certain facebook issue is concerned, whatever Denmark started on facebook, I would say that they always want to degrade Muslims, and they won’t spare any chance of insulting our holy prophet MUHAMMAD (P.B.U.H). Arsalan wants that we shouldn’t condemn such activities and let them do whatever they want to. That was an extreme act in respect of our PROPHET, and why should we tolerate such hideous and idiotic campaign. Arsalan thinks that what our PROPHET did in such situations, we should do the same. That incident is mistakenly understood. He did nothing for himself, He was being violently cursed by that women but did nothing. He did much for Muslims; it can’t be explained in words. But now its time we got a chance to do something for Him. That was an extreme act taken by non-Muslims, and it would be shameful if Muslims would not have taken any step. By banning facebook, if people think we are extremists, and then I would love to be call an extremist, I don’t care what people perceive, but that’s clear we cannot tolerate anything about our beloved PROPHET MUHAMMAD (P.B.U.H). They should know that we really love our PROPHET and won’t let anybody do any such acts against Him. Arsalan quote that incident happened to our PROPHET, according to him as our PROPHET did nothing, we should copy Him. But let me clear we are doing this for our PROPHET not for us, if anybody has started campaign against Muslims, surely we would do nothing. But here it’s the matter of insulting our PROPHET. How can we be so dumb and numb regarding our PROPHET MUHAMMAD (P.B.U.H)?

    Whereas it is part of our eman that ALLAH ALMIGHTY has protected the life and sunnah of our HOLY PROPHET(P.B.U.H) till the day of judgment, and whosoever will dare to (ASTAGHFIRULLAG) degrade HOLY PROPHET(P.B.U.H) , his/her life will be made miserable by the Muslims. For example salman rushdee and tasleema nasreen.

    When ABU-LAHAB, the real uncle of HOLY PROPHET (P.B.U.H) abused Him by saying that you’re both the arms will be broken. ALLAH ALMIGHTY immediately send wahi of surah lahab which is part of the HOLY QURAN and will be read till the day of judgment, that means ALLAH ALMIGHTY didn’t tolerate the ABU-LAHAB’S verdict, then how can any Muslim tolerate any mischievous act against their PROPHET (P.B.U.H).

    I have read that by banning facebook here in Pakistan, they’ve lost nothing, instead they gained much money. We don’t care, because we are not here to cripple them economically. By doing this, we just proved ourselves, and showed them that how much we love our PROPHET, and will not accept any harsh acts against Him.

    I have heard that our government did this on their own interest, I am not sure but I think they did this for themselves because there were some parodies and funny stuff regarding our politicians. Whatever their intensions were, we don’t care, we just care that whatever we did was a good step. And denish people will know that we aren’t sleeping, and we really care about our PROPHET.

    But the thing which disappointed me, our government again opened facebook, and that’s why I don’t trust my government at all, they do everything for their interests. We didn’t really matter for them. It’s useless to talk about them. In other perspective facebook was destroying our youth; everybody uploaded their albums even of their wedding, if there are pictures on facebook that means our pictures are on net, because there are many ways even to cut privacy. Our youth become addicted to facebook, and I think the step taken was also in sake of our youth. That’s another issue.

    Arsalan criticized badly in last Para, I would say that he has been discouraging us, such judgmental people degrades us, criticizes much on their own country. They just say a lot but do nothing. If he thinks our land isn’t pure then he should come to Pakistan to purify it rather than criticizing by living in Washington. Instead of criticizing and repenting on our previous mistakes, one should start himself a little step and see how it becomes a miracle, we shouldn’t stop trying. That’s what Muslim is.

    We don’t even bother what Wendy chamberlain has said. But he just pointed terrorist activities in our country, it’s really a misunderstanding that we have grownup such terrorist, they are not Muslims at all, they came from India or somewhere else, this is a big program planned by our enemies to cripple our society. Of-course I will not go into detail of it.

    Finally I want to say that I know we are not a perfect nation, infact we have been affected a lot by our leaders, we are not in a good time, and now we have to wake up. One has to take step, and in this situation I would appreciate such steps that we just banned facebook. Because our nation wants some boost up.


    • Maryam thank you very much for your so elaborated and enthusiastic comment. what I like about your comment is your enthusiasm and your passion which drives you towards change. I couldn’t agree with you more that you just elucidated above. You know what enthusiasm in youth (I hope you would be in youth) serves as a ray of hope for me. Whenever I meet youth with passion, youth who think critically, youth who like to ask questions and youth who want to make it happen for society and country kindle my passion to join them and think more positively.

      I agree that the Govt. is to blame, but don’t forget “AWAAM”. AWAAM is the biggest culprit. I’m sorry to say it is we (Awaam) who elect them again again. It is Awaam who fought for chief justice in the leadership of those who are now at the top of Law & Justice ministry and Attorney Generals and Advisors. Where are the most trusted men or judicial CHAMPS?????? most them are accused of millions of corruptions. One sidelined itself to save his party.

      Dear its AWAAM the biggest culprit. People like you, passionate about change must contribute. If you think you can’t go out or can’t be so active, just pick up the PEN. Jot down what come to your mind. Publish it on webs, social networks, blogs, vlogs and on the news web. Be an agent of change. Pick up the PEN.

      Thanx again for your wonderful comment. Keep visiting and sharing your thoughts.


  5. Hmmmmm…… @ everyone above….. i have also been in favor of getting facebook banned but something is disturbing me….. Y we are always against our Government…. Y we are always playing a blame game??

    I studied in a book named “Indispensable” that ‘to be indispensable, u need to make changes and adjustments…. Changes are sometimes worst but adjustments are always better…. So the best solution is Adjusting ourselves according to considered changes and then influencing others to get adjusted to environmental turbulance created by ur adjustment’……. Plzzzz try to understand the above phrase….


  6. Brother i have a suggession for u: when u write such ariticles, plz quote the full story in the beggining, so that the reader may have an idea of all the issue…


  7. yeah right MR.GILANI…u are very right..major culprit is AWAAM….i totally agree with u.but the big players are on seats..who engulf poor people in their favour..n the people on seats cannot leave the taste of being in power,obviously n they would do any illegal act for staying so..but i know we are the main culprits that why the hell we elect them again n again…??but its ok my approach is always positive…i am no hopeless…i know that ALLAH is with PAKISTAN…afterall going through worst of the worst situations…ALHAMDULILLAH our PAKISTAN is protected by ALLAH…so dont worry …
    but respectfully i dont agree with u regarding our ARMY…i think u are in a bit of against our ARMY right???…well i am in total favour of army…this is just our army that no other country dare to attack…u ppl have to agree on this…
    n thanks for motivating me…i would definitely start writing..or if i get any opportunity i would defintely be doing anything for my beloved country…extremely patriotic…


    • Thanx for agreeing again.
      I agree with you too that these so called leaders lure AWAAM into their trap. They are the real CON.

      But I disagree with

      i think u are in a bit of against our ARMY right???

      I’m an ardent supporter of Military. Esp. I support the huge chunk of budget for them against the opposition who yell at this. Have you noticed there are only 2 Muslim Nations who are respected for their sovereignty?? Only IRAN and Pakistan. Due to the great Military that we have.

      Yep should write. Don’t worry about quality of write up. I’m not good at it myself. You’ll improve with time.

      Wish you best of luck.


  8. thanx..alooot, and i am very happy that some ppl like u support our ARMY that much…same here, i do support army at every side..there is not much amount of bugdet goes to our military…its 30% of the total bugdet, but i accept that last time 70% of our total bugdet went to military..but this is all the demand of time and circumstances thats it…most of the ppl disagree but the moment our military gets little weak..nobdy can stop india form attacking us…if they buy 32 fighter planes ,we have to buy atleast 4 for our defend..that is what we can afford..still ppl dont understand..but thankuu my views are the same as urs..i am happy to see a person who thinks like me..thanx…
    well could u plz guide me a little that where shud i publish my written stuff??


    • There are many places where you can publish your writings. You can avail following options.

      1) Start your own blog. there are many free services like wordpress.com, blogger.com, typepad.com etc
      2) Letter to editors of any newspaper
      3) you can join mideastyouth.com
      4) http://globalvoicesonline.org/
      5) and If you find yourself good at writing do apply for joining Express tribune’s blogging community
      6) Facebook notes is an option
      7) You can forward your writings to your mailing contact list etc.

      Choice is always yours to make.


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