Bangladesh blocks Facebook access

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Nation reacts to "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day".

Bangladesh has become the second Muslim country to block citizens from accessing Facebook.

The decision comes after caricatures of the prophet Muhammad and the country’s leaders were uploaded to the social network, according to the AFP news agency, which spoke to the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

The BTRC said a man was arrested on the weekend in connection with the images. It said public access to Facebook would be restored once the offending images are permanently blocked from view.

The censorship follows a protest last week in Bangladesh where thousands of people took to the streets and demanded the government ban Facebook because of satirical depictions of Muhammad and the country’s leaders.

Depictions of Muhammad are forbidden by a number of Islamic texts.

A controversial anti-Islamic group called “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” invites Facebook users to draw and submit their pictures of the prophet.

The initial group reportedly had 43,000 supporters, while other groups and events supporting the cause have additional thousands of followers, all claiming to support “peace, freedom of speech, and human rights”.

However, a couple of Facebook groups opposing the day have around 216,000 followers collectively.

'Everybody Draw Muhammad Day' was initiated by a US cartoonist, Molly Norris, who reacted against the internet death threats that had been made against cartoonists for depicting Muhammad in an episode of South Park.

Pakistan ordered ISPs block access to Facebook the day before the 20 May event.

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