Extremist in Pakistan fought to have me sentenced to death: Mark Zuckerberg

Published January 9, 2015
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive officer. — Reuters/File
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive officer. — Reuters/File

A day after 12 people were shot dead in a bloodbath at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly that lampooned Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him), CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg in a status update said that “an extremist in Pakistan” had fought to have him sentenced to death.

“A few years ago, an extremist in Pakistan fought to have me sentenced to death because Facebook refused to ban content about Muhammad that offended him,” Zuckerberg said in a status update on the social-networking website.

Expanding on why Facebook refused to censor content about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Zuckerberg said: “We stood up for this because different voices — even if they're sometimes offensive — can make the world a better and more interesting place.”

The Facebook CEO added that the social-networking portal followed the laws “in each country”, adding that it “never lets one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world”.

“Yet as I reflect on yesterday's attack and my own experience with extremism, this is what we all need to reject — a group of extremists trying to silence the voices and opinions of everyone else around the world,” Zuckerberg said.

“I won't let that happen on Facebook. I'm committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear of violence.”

Explore | Fanaticism: From Peshawar to Paris

“My thoughts are with the victims, their families, the people of France and the people all over the world who choose to share their views and ideas, even when that takes courage,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg’s status update drew a flurry of responses, including one from a user Umar Khan hailing from Pakistan.

"Mark, being a Pakistani I do appreciate your thoughts but I'd like to clear one thing here, not all the "Pakistani" possess similar mindset & you can't just blame the whole nation on the basis of one person's act. As far as the religious material on Facebook is concerned, I think you're doing a great job in reviewing every application against particular pages/material."

Responding to which, Zuckerberg said: "You're right. I am friends with several Pakistanis, and I know most Pakistanis are not like the person who tried to have me sentenced to death!"

Victims from Wednesday’s attack in the quiet Parisian neighbourhood included four prominent cartoonists, among them editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo, Stephane Charbonnier, who had lived under police protection for years after receiving death threats.

Charbonnier was holding a morning meeting when the assailants armed with Kalashnikovs burst in and opened fire. The three other cartoonists who died were Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac.

More on this: Paris attack

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