WordPress disables many posts that hurt Muslim sentiments

July 6, 2018 • 11:30 am

I thought this website had already been completely blocked in Pakistan, but I received the following notice from WordPress along with a complaint from the Pakistani government. Apparently my posting of the latest Jesus and Mo cartoon ruffled some feathers:

First, from WordPress, who does the Islamic countries’ dirty work for them. The “Pakistani authority” isn’t specified:


A Pakistan authority has demanded that we disable the following content on your WordPress.com site:


Unfortunately, we must comply to keep WordPress.com accessible for everyone in the region. As a result, we have disabled this content only for Internet visitors originating from Pakistan. They will instead see a message explaining why the content was blocked.

Visitors from outside of Pakistan are not affected.

You and your readers may be interested in these suggestions for bypassing Internet restrictions.

For your reference, we have included a copy of the complaint. No reply is necessary, but please let us know if you have any questions.

Then the letter from Pakistan. Have a look at the items that hurt Muslim sentiments:

Dear WordPress Team,

I am writing on behalf of Web Analysis Team of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) which has been designated for taking appropriate measures for regulating Internet Content in line with the prevailing laws of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

In lieu of above it is highlighted that few of the webpages hosted on your platform are extremely Blasphemous and are hurting the sentiments of many Muslims around Pakistan. The URL’s mentioned are clearly in violation of Section 37 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and Section 19 of Constitution of Pakistan.

The below mentioned websites can be found on following URL’s:-

  1. https://iamiranaware.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/mobreastfeedingpig.jpg?w=474
  2. https://iamiranaware.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/hebdo2.png
  3. https://barenakedislam.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/allah_pig.jpg?resize=420%2C331
  4. https://petterssonorg.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/allah-pigs-balls.jpg?w=480
  5. https://noorwala.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/9-biwiyan1.jpg
  6. https://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/texas-muhammad1.jpg
  7. https://noorwala.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/bakra-eid.jpg
  8. https://dianadarke.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/islamic-art-algerian-postcard-from-1920s-or-30s-showing-muhammad-flight-from-mecca-in-622-entering-the-cave-pursued-by-the-quraysh.jpg
  9. https://noorwala.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/lohe-quran2.jpg
  10. https://shariaunveiled.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/muhammad-bobblehead.png?w=627
  11. https://infideltaskforce.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/mohammy-cartoons.jpg
  12. https://cmstewartwrite.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/jesus-and-mohammed-get-married-and-swing.jpg?w=600
  13. https://whyevolutionistrue.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/2016-04-06.png?w=575&h=575
  14. http://allthatsinteresting.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/muhammad-images-green-hood-og.jpg
  15. https://patriceayme.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/charlie-une-charlie-png.png
  16. https://worldwarthreereports.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/lies-of-islam-allah-is-not-god-but-satan/
  17. https://worldwarthreereports.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/allah-and-satan-are-the-same-being_-a-truth-soldier.jpg
  18. https://themuslimissue.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/book-of-violence.jpg?w=350&h=200&crop=1
  19. https://worldwarthreereports.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/lies-of-islam-allah-is-not-god-but-satan_011_-a-truth-soldier.jpg?w=672&h=372&crop=1
  20. https://stoptheislamizationofamerica.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/ban-islam.jpg?w=1140
  21. https://worldwarthreereports.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/islam_010_-a-truth-soldier.jpg
  22. https://doctorbulldog.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/counseling-formo.jpg
  23. https://gomnamiandotorg.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/25d9258525d825ad25d9258525d825af25d925be25db258c25d825a725d9258525d825a825d825b125d825af25d825b125d9258825d825ba25da25af25d9258825d9258825d825a825d9258425d821.jpg
  24. https://mythoughtsbornfromfire.wordpress.com/tag/prophet-muhammad/

You are requested to contribute towards maintaining peace and harmony in the world by discontinuation of hosting of these websites for viewership in Pakistan with immediate effect. We will be happy to entertain any query if deemed necessary and looking forward for your favorable response at your earliest.


Clearly the government either collects citizens’ complaints about specific items, or perhaps some Pecksniffian government functionary trolls the Internet looking for offensive things.

What is worse is the WordPress, which claims to be committed to free expression, does the censoring for the government, saving them the trouble of blocking individual sites or posts. Thanks, WordPress!

This search for offensive items reminds me of the story often related by Christopher Hitchens about Dr. Johnson’s dictionary. A group of ladies visited Dr. Johnson after his great work was published, and the following conversation ensued:

“Mr. Johnson, we are glad that you have omitted the indelicate and objectionable words from your new dictionary.”

“What, my dears! Have you been searching for them?”

59 thoughts on “WordPress disables many posts that hurt Muslim sentiments

  1. Would you encourage us, or be okay with us, contacting WordPress to voice our dissent, and to express a reluctance to use their services until they stop colluding in censorship? Perhaps pressure from our end would cause them to reconsider. And if we get something organized on Twitter or elsewhere, perhaps we can have a significant impact.

  2. This makes clear that there is a tension between being nice and being a trouble maker( we all want to be nice). You obviously can’t please all the people all the time without surrendering your integrity. So, intellectual discourse requires that we be hurt the sentiments of some people. It’s a cost of doing the business of being a human.

      1. I do not want to be ‘nice’ to a despicable, pecksniffing, Islamophilic government.
        And I don’t want to be ‘nice’ to a molluscan, spineless, back-laying Word Press either

        1. Me neither, but I do wish to be nice to PCC, so I shall accommodate his request and refrain from sending an e-rant to Turdpress, even though they so clearly deserve it. Of course, if I were a Pakistani, I think it would be in my best interest to voice my opinion on the matter, if I could do so safely, meaning, if Turdpress wouldn’t turn over my details to the Pakistani police, and based on their spineless acquiescence, I would not be at all surprised if they did stoop to that level of “religious tolerance”.

  3. Article 19 of The Constitution of Pakistan : Freedom of speech, etc.

    Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, [commission of] or incitement to an offence.

    Article 19(A) of The Constitution of Pakistan: Right to information

    Every citizen shall have the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law.

    Section 34 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016
    Unlawful online content

    The Authority shall have the power to remove or block or issue directions for removal or blocking of access to an information through any information system if it considers it necessary if the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court or commission of or incitement to an offence under this Act.

    ‘Authority’ means the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority established under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act 1996 (XVII of 1996);

    1. The law passed (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 201) seems to have been causing some protest also within Pakistan.

      If WordPress is not based in the physical territory of Pakistan, I would have thought it was outside the jurisdiction of Pakistan law.
      It could have tried “braving it out” until which point the “Pakistan Telecommunication Authority” takes actual legal action. This might mean using the law to put a blanket ban in Pakistan on WordPress.
      In my view, that would be preferable to conceding without resistance to such a law.

      By conforming to the request made by the Pakistani “authority”, WordPress is accepting as principle the censorship by interested religious parties of free discussion of religion. This means, in principle, that only ideas compatible with the religiously convinced may be freely expressed.

      The law as stated is in any case prejudicial in terms of religion:
      “in the interest of the glory of Islam” it gives explicit protection to the religion of Islam, which is therefore prejudicial against any other religion. I have my doubts that this law would have any weight under international law since it intrinsically favours one religion over another.

        1. Maybe I will send it in.

          I got the following from the WordPress.com Wiki entry:


          In August 2007, Adnan Oktar, a Turkish creationist, was able to get a Turkish court to block Internet access to WordPress.com by all of Turkey. His lawyers argued that blogs on WordPress.com contained libelous material on Oktar and his colleagues which WordPress.com staff was unwilling to remove.[19]

          WordPress.com was blocked in China, but like other sites, it is intermittently unblocked and blocked.[20]

          Matt Mullenweg commented: “WordPress.com supports free speech and doesn’t shut people down for ‘uncomfortable thoughts and ideas’, in fact we’re blocked in several countries because of that.”[21]

          1. Oh, god, it’s that guy! Yes, that looks like the same vid that was posted here a while back…(Or maybe at Heather Hastie’s site). So when he’s not with his harem he’s spending hours searching the web for blasphemy. How is it that one person can have such a reach? (Wonder if any of the honchos at WP have seen this?)

            1. I can only assume that WordPress already know very well what they are dealing with since they had a ban from Turkey due to legal process brought by Oktar: in Pakistan they can play a game of balancing their response to the “legal authority” against keeping WordPress “open” in Pakistan. If they refuse to conform to the requests for blocking certain sites, they may face a total government block. As it stands, it seems that the “authority” is objecting mostly to graphics material.
              It seems unlikely that the Pakistan authority can deal with ALL references to ant-islamic material on the Internet by asking WordPress to block content on a site by site basis. Youtube alone has a huge amount of agressively anti-islamic material in the comments section. That is totally unmanageable without placing a blanket ban on Youtube. I doubt that the Pakistan government would try banning Youtube within the country on anti-islamic arguments: it would be seen as repressive.
              Probably WordPress’s best approach is to go along with some of it (periodically blocking and unblocking perhaps: passive-aggressive) and see if they can tire out the censor. When the censor stops following the issue, the previously banned sites can be progressively unblocked.

          1. Wow! Thanks for posting this. It would have been great if she could have asked, “So, if woman was created as perfection (of however the exact quote went), how many sessions of plastic surgery did you require?”

      1. WP is beyond their authority, in the sense that the Pakistan govt can not dictate what they allow.

        WP is WITHIN their authority, in the sense that, if WP does not censor the specific items for access from Pakistan, then the Pakistani Telecom will block all of WP.

        They make the choice not to lose Pakistani access for the vast majority of their site.

        I don’t have to like it. I don’t know that I can really criticize WP too much without knowing the whole picture. They may feel that whatever the censors miss is of value, or that the hassle of needing to censor things bit by bit is like grains of sand in their eyes, and a hardship/cost to the censors, vs wholescale blocking of WP. I am now a bit curious about this. Is it the easy way out for WP? or the hard way for the censors? or both?

      2. I would think that Internet traffic *within* Pakistan is entirely under the jurisdiction of Pakistan law. As it is in any and every other country, and they almost all ban something or other. I’m pretty sure the US bans kiddie porn, for example.

        We don’t have to like the Pakistan government’s choice of what to ban, but I’m sure they have every legal right to do it. In some respects their blocking is less onerous than it might be – I see no mention in any of their objections, of evolution being blocked (as it notoriously is/was in Turkey)


      3. They can’t put WordPress in the dock, but they can block all WordPress traffic from Pakistan. WordPress has taken the commercial decision to avoid that and so they comply with the Pakistan government’s censorship requests.

  4. Pakistan government continues to disappoint. We keep thinking their will be moderation of their views but if does not seem to happen.

  5. WordPress should have the guts to refuse any editing or censorship on it’s platform that is not illegal in the United States. If Pakistan or any country wants to edit, it is up to them. If their retaliation is to not allow access into their country, that’s the way it goes. Also would want to know, does your contract with WordPress actually cover what they are doing here?

    1. That’s the thing about multinational corporations (like WordPress’s Automattic, Inc.): they have no creedal commitment to the US Constitutional (or to the principles of any other nation) — only to the bottom line.

      1. Multinational you say. Appears the Hq is San Francisco and would guess most of the employees are in California. Get the address and we can start picketing.

    2. I know Russia blocks sites and pages from other countries they don’t like. I obviously don’t know if they’ve ever asked the other country to do it for them, but if they have, the request must have been refused. The stuff I have come across is from the EU. They’re good at saying, “No,” to Russia.

    3. Another reason not to give in to Pakistan is that there might be some underground anti-Islam/government bloggers there, trying to make a difference.

    4. “that is not illegal in the United States.”
      Why in the United States? Does WordPress claim to have international coverage or not?

      Note the Pakistan government is only claiming authority over its own territory –
      “discontinuation of hosting of these websites for viewership in Pakistan with immediate effect”
      – not anyone else’s.


  6. Is this type of censorship happening in other countries? Does Turkey or Saudi Arabia also block these pages?

  7. If a religion or god can’t handle criticism, that doesn’t say much for it.

    If having your religion/god criticized is difficult for you, that doesn’t say much for the strength of your faith. Either that, or you’re just another snowflake.

    And if your religion can’t stand up to criticism, perhaps it deserves to fail?

  8. But, Jerry, you were committing an ELECTRONIC CRIME! And you were hurting people’s feelings.

    I find it amusing they objected to that particular comic.

  9. If you know, and you do, that a J&M comics will hurt your fragile feelings: nobody is forcing you to look at it.

  10. Again off topic (I know our host likes the football WC): France beat Uruguay. I’m a kind of disappointed in Uruguay. After the first goal they appeared to deflate, and never recovered. Compare that to the mettle of the Belgian team trailing Japan 2-0.
    Belgium beat Brazil 2-1. Another epic match.
    The Belgian team took an early 2-0 lead and for more that 60 minutes they resisted a relentless Brazilian attack, and were even threatening in the counter. In the second half Brazil had 17 shots at target (if you follow football that is not just a lot, but a barrage), but could only produce one goal. They fell short.
    I eat my words, never again I’ll say the Belgian team has a weak defense. I think they should win the World Cup. They have scored more goals than any other team (by far): 14 in 5 matches and are quite an exponent of ‘total football’.

  11. One speech by Trump is more offensive and racist and vile than all the Mo cartoons that exist. Yet the news today on any channel you like is running it and rerunning it. We have free speech alright. We hold the record for stupid speech.

  12. It would seem that WEIT is not all blocked in Pakistan, then (unless that’s an old historic complaint).

    It also seems to me that the Pakistani censor is being relatively restrained in its blocking, since it seems to bother mainly about cartoons featuring Allah. There are thousands of derogatory comments in WEIT about Allah or Islam or Muslims, and nobody in Pakistan seems to have picked up on those. And nary a mention of evolution, which is/was notoriously banned in Turkey.

    I suspect the censor’s office only responds to complaints that are sent in to them.


  13. Meanwhile, did anyone even notice this,

    – or email a EU representative to voice objection to automated filtering of content?


    Greedy big corporations (‘rights holders’) and copyright trolls** are a far bigger threat to Internet free speech than a Pakistani censor picking off cartoons, IMO.

    (** I won’t say that most of them are in the US but… you know)

  14. Hi,

    I understand and agree with your right to free speech. I just wanted to explain why WordPress.com or other companies would block content.

    The content is not blocked it is still hosted on WordPress. They didn’t take it down.

    According to Pakistani law distribution of such content is illegal. Which means any company doing so is violating the country’s law. Gov thinks that Internet traffic coming to and from Pakistan is legally under Pakistani jurisdiction. Government thinks that companies should respect it’s laws by blocking content in their jurisdiction. Not doing so will require government to take action which means they will have to block WordPress service, file a case, and fine them.

    Local authorities have a website where citizens can complain about such materials and provide links. After which their team analyzes it and processes the URLs by sending these requests. They are not after you they are just following local laws.

  15. Dear WordPress, wouldn’t it be easier just to ignore them? Seems like it would save time and resources?

  16. It’s time, is it not, for weit.org or some such domain of your own? I bet there would be volunteers among the readership to help you set it up and transfer your posts to the new domain. It isn’t hard; I’m a complete amateur at such things and have set up a website including the kind-of-pages-that-we-must-not-call-a-blog for my wife’s orphanage in Kenya (sadly, the site had to be disappeared when it became obvious that it was a security risk – things to steal, people to kidnap, and bullying for the kids who have AIDS or are AIDS orphans). Sure, the Pakistan government can still censor you if they want to (but I note that they haven’t done so), but at least it won’t be the politically-correct fearfulness of offending islamic sensibilities of a company interested in protecting its bottom line that irritates you.

  17. I don’t understand why big content providers make these concessions to authoritarians. If a spurned Pakistan were to block WordPress, Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc, it’s only their citizens who have to lose out, and maybe the latter will then be motivated to put political pressure on their government to stop censoring the damn internet.

    Is there any way you could host the image on another site, and embed it here?

    1. Those images are hosted elsewhere and linked here – look at the addresses quoted. Jerry needs his own domain – Pakistan can still block it, but he won’t have to deal with WordPress being craven pussies (sorry for the slur on felines!)

  18. “You are requested to contribute towards maintaining peace and harmony in the world”

    The hypocrisy of that is staggering…

  19. I looked at a few of the links listed in the complaint and yes, most went to only an image (e.g. skull & crossbones), no text, no J&M cartoon.

    I’ve been blogging on WordPress about 9 years. Except for one series I wrote about “Birds in the Bible”, which some might find offensive, no complaints, but everything is about science, 90% on local birds.

    If you’d think it will help in any way, I’ll be happy to send WordPress a critical comment.

    This observation has been made by others, but I’ll repeat it here. From the link to mythoughtsbornfromfire.wordpress.com: “He depicted Muhammad as a roundabout dog with Muhammad’s head.” As NO ONE that I’ve ever heard of knows what Muhammad looked like, unless a drawing – satirical cartoon or otherwise – is specifically labeled as pertaining to Muhammad, how can one assume that is whom it’s depicting? It could be “generic male Muslim” or generic male middle-easterner.”

    Charges of blasphemy in these cases (whatever that is presumed to be) seem to be entirely in the eye of the offended; no objective evidence is needed.

    And is “Mo” THAT Mohammed, and is “Jesus” THAT Jesus, and Abraham THAT Abraham? Maybe, maybe not.

  20. Additionally, I believe the domain name “WhyEvolutionIsTrue.com” would cost you about $12/year.

    That might (or might not) take the onus off WordPress’s back and take them out of the equation. It’s worth checking out.

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