I Bet I Can Find

Facebook is one of those spheres where feelings towards Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), positive or negative, can be expressed in the most exaggerated way. Far from reflecting academic currents, Facebook groups establish an important trend to follow, allowing us to discover what the actual disputes about the Prophet are. For instance, while the group "I bet I can find more than 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 who love Prophet Muhammad" is a very interesting example of groups praising Prophet Muhammad, there are also tens of groups that denigrate Islam, Muslims and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

The main characteristic of Facebook - which consists of groups, personal messages and avatar pictures - is its recreational aspect. Thus, contrary to the websites devoted to Prophet Muhammad, the Facebook ambiance is much more dynamic, but without going deeper into knowledge or analysis. Very real and up-to-date discussions occur on Facebook, as it is the most direct and easiest way to express ideas and debate with hundreds or even thousands of people from all over the world. There are approximately more than 200 groups directly related to and praising Prophet Muhammad, whereas the groups opposed to Prophet Muhammad  are much fewer. However, as these use extremely insulting language, such sites reveal that there is a greater reaction in the Facebook ambiance. It would be interesting to note that for nearly every anti-Prophet group an opponent group has emerged, appealing to delete the former. This shows the sensitivity among Muslims towards Prophet Muhammad.

The most popular themes about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on Facebook are finding a large amount of people who love him, introducing him as the Prophet of peace, sending one hadith per day to group members and speaking out against insults, such as depictions of Prophet Muhammad in cartoons, or other groups that are opposed to the Prophet.

In recent times, one of the most striking examples of the reactions on Facebook is the "Sorry Muhammad" movement, begun in reaction to the cartoon crisis in Europe. Started by some Danish citizens, certain civil reactions have occurred on Facebook as well as in real life. Anders Botter, the founder of the "Sorry Muhammad" group on Facebook, has opened the way to apologize to Muslims who have felt offended by the cartoons, thus adding a new dimension to the debates about freedom of speech. Receiving so much feedback from all over the world, Botter also received a prize at the Al Mahabba Awards in 2008 where also received a prize in public communication.



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