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Pakistani Court Orders Government To Block Facebook

A Pakistani court has ordered the government to temporarily block the social-networking website Facebook because of a page that encourages users to submit images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

The page has generated criticism in Pakistan and elsewhere because many Muslims consider images of the prophet, even favorable ones, to be blasphemous.

The court complied with the request by the Islamic Lawyers' Forum and ordered the government to block Facebook until May 31.

The specific Facebook page was blocked today, but the entire Facebook site itself was still functioning.

The Facebook page "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" encourages users to submit images of the prophet on May 20 to protest threats made by a radical Muslim group against the creators of the animated television show "South Park," who depicted Muhammad in a bear suit during an episode earlier this year.

The protest page said says the creators want to show that people around the world will not be scared by extremist threats from exercising their right to freedom of speech.

A series of cartoons of the prophet published in a Danish newspaper in 2005 sparked violent protests and death threats against the cartoonists.

compiled from agency reports