‘Allah on Modi’s side’ & Wilders tweets — 27 posts Pakistani law agencies want Twitter to delete

Information on Pakistan’s requests accessed from Lumen database, a repository of takedown notices hosted by Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

Twitter logo | Image for representation | Pexels
Twitter logo | Representational image | Pexels

New Delhi: Citing the country’s anti-blasphemy laws, Pakistani law-enforcement agencies are believed to have sought the removal of two Twitter accounts and 27 tweets, including those by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and Dutch MP Geert Wilders.

One of the tweets in question, posted in response to a comment on a tweet by former Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti, mentions that “Allah is on Modi’s side”.

A notice in this regard was served to Twitter under “Rule 6 (2) of the Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards), Rules 2020 w.r.t blasphemous content”.

This information has been sourced from the Lumen database, which is a repository of takedown notices hosted by Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

The database doesn’t specify the exact agency that requested the takedown — simply stating that the requests came from “law enforcement”. According to the database, Twitter shared the notice with researchers on 2 July 2022. 

It is not uncommon for social media platforms like Twitter to voluntarily share takedown notices received from government entities with Lumen in order to allow researchers and journalists access to these notices.

Twitter has blocked the said content in Pakistan. 

This means that if your location setting is Pakistan, attempts to view these tweets will prompt a disclaimer that reads: “This tweet from ****** has been withheld in Pakistan in response to a legal demand.”

But the content in question is still visible in India. 


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Charlie Hebdo

Among the tweets the Pakistan agencies have reportedly asked Twitter to take down is one from 2011 by Charlie Hebdo — controversial for publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, whose depiction in pictures is considered forbidden among Muslims.

The tweet shows a magazine cover photo featuring the caricature. In total, Pakistan has asked Twitter to remove five tweets by Charlie Hebdo, all of which are in French, according to data from Lumen.

One of the tweets, from 2020, features caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were first published in 2005 by a Danish newspaper and republished in 2006 by Charlie Hebdo. When translated, the video in the tweet refers to some Muslims taking offence to the caricatures and how it led to the attack on the magazine’s office in Paris in 2015.

Charlie Hebdo’s office was attacked on 7 January 2015 by terrorists who gunned down 12 staffers, including its then editor Stéphane (“Charb”) Charbonnier. In 2020, a secondary school teacher was beheaded in a French suburb for allegedly showing his students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad republished by Charlie Hebdo.

“These drawings now belong to history”, the video in the tweet says.

‘Dutch Trump’

Pakistani agencies, it is learnt, have also asked Twitter to remove five tweets by Geert Wilders, a Dutch parliamentarian.

The far-Right politician, often compared to former US President Donald Trump, has in the past called for a ban on the Quran, and a tax on hijab (headscarf) in the Netherlands. He was in the news just last month for siding with Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks on the Prophet that led to her suspension as BJP spokesperson.

One of the tweets, dated December 2019, features a caricature posted with the hashtag “Muhammad”.

At least two other tweets, posted in 2020 and 2016, feature disparaging remarks and depictions about the Prophet Muhammad.

Apart from the removal of three tweets by this Twitter user, the requests seek the suspension of the handle ‘@TheHarrisSultan’, who describes himself as an “ex-Muslim”, “atheist”, and “free speech activist”, and has nearly 22,000 followers.

The tweets by @TheHarrisSultan flagged to Twitter include a response to a comment on a post by Mehbooba Mufti from October 2019. 

The comment on Mufti’s post read: “Allah save our brother and sister in Kashmir”. That Allah was “on Modi’s side” is one of the options given by @TheHarrisSultan as he seeks to explain why he thought no help was in the offing.

The second account requested to be taken down is one @Pakistani_Kafir with nearly 4,000 followers.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)


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