Published July 13, 2010
This article was updated on July 14.
They may call it the "Land of the Pure," but Pakistan turns out to be anything but.
The Muslim country, which has banned content on at least 17 websites to block offensive and blasphemous material, is the world's leader in online searches for pornographic material, FoxNews.com has learned.
“You won’t find strip clubs in Islamic countries. Most Islamic countries have certain dress codes,” said Gabriel Said Reynolds, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame. “It would be an irony if they haven’t shown the same vigilance to pornography.”
So here's the irony: Google ranks Pakistan No. 1 in the world in searches for pornographic terms, outranking every other country in the world in searches per person for certain sex-related content.
Pakistan is top dog in searches per-person for "horse sex" since 2004, "donkey sex" since 2007, "rape pictures" between 2004 and 2009, "rape sex" since 2004, "child sex" between 2004 and 2007 and since 2009, "animal sex" since 2004 and "dog sex" since 2005, according to Google Trends and Google Insights, features of Google that generate data based on popular search terms.
The country also is tops -- or has been No. 1 -- in searches for "sex," "camel sex," "rape video," "child sex video" and some other searches that can't be printed here.
Google Trends generates data of popular search terms in geographic locations during specific time frames. Google Insights is a more advanced version that allows users to filter a search to geographic locations, time frames and the nature of a search, including web, images, products and news.
Pakistan ranked No. 1 in all the searches listed above on Google Trends, but on only some of them in Google Insights.
“We do our best to provide accurate data and to provide insights into broad search patterns, but the results for a given query may contain inaccuracies due to data sampling issues, approximations, or incomplete data for the terms entered,” Google said in a statement, when asked about the accuracy of its reports.
The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan did not reply to a request for an interview.
In addition to banning content on 17 websites, including islamexposed.blogspot.com, Pakistan is monitoring seven other sites -- Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, MSN and Hotmail -- for anti-Islamic content, the Associated Press reported in June.
But it’s not to censor the Pakistani people, Reynolds said. It’s to shut out the rest of the world.
“[It] could lead to conversion, which would undermine the very order of the state,” he said. “Part of protecting the society is making sure that there is no way it could be undermined in terms of foreign influences.”
Pakistan temporarily banned Facebook in May when Muslim groups protested the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” page, where users were encouraged to upload pictures of the Prophet Muhammad. The page remained on Facebook, but Pakistani users were unable to view it, said Andrew Noyes, manager of Facebook’s Public Policy Communication.
And while Pakistan is taking measures to prevent blasphemous material from being viewed by its citizens, pornographic material is “certainly” contradictory to Islam, too, Reynolds said.
The country’s punishment for those charged with blasphemy is execution, but the question remains what -- if anything -- can be done about people who search for porn on the Web.
“It’s a new phenomenon,” Reynolds said.