Antisemitic and anti-Muslim content is flourishing on TikTok, report finds

Image by David Farfan/Pixabay/Creative Commons

(RNS) — Researchers analyzing TikTok for extremist content have discovered videos that portray Muslims as supporters of terrorism, clips supporting Holocaust denial and users glorifying the mass shooters behind the Christchurch mosque and Tree of Life Synagogue attacks.

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based nonprofit that tracks extremism online, released a report on Tuesday (Aug. 24) that found TikTok “operates as a new arena for violence-endorsing, hateful ideologies.”

Over three months, ISD analyzed a sample of 1,030 videos, equivalent to about eight hours of content, and found that 312 of the clips promoted white supremacy. More than 240 videos showed support for organizations or individuals tied to extremism or terrorism.

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The study, authored by ISD investigator Ciarán O’Connor, found that TikTok creators use coded language as well as the platform’s video effects, layout and music to promote hate. It also highlights tactics they use, such as restricting comments on their videos, to evade being reported to TikTok.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION NEWS SERVICE

Why Did Muslims Become the New Enemy in Norway and Europe?

Posted July 9, 2021 by Katrine Fangen & filed under Culture and ConflictMigrationReligion

Anti-Muslim views have become more widespread in Europe over the past 30 years, but it is important to distinguish between criticisms of certain forms of Islamic practice and the belief that Muslims are taking over Europe.

Mosque in Oslo, Norway. Photo: Oskar Seljeskog / Flickr / CC-BY 2.0

People with anti-Islamic views wish to restrict Muslim immigration and Islamic religious practices. In their view, Islam is a homogenous, totalitarian ideology that is threatening western civilisation. When we talk about anti-Muslim racism, the attitudes concerned are so generalizing that all Muslims are lumped together, regardless of whether they are secular Muslims or fundamentalists. In other words, we are talking not only about criticism of a set of religious ideas, but about attitudes that dehumanize and generalize a whole group in the population.

Although such attitudes have a long history in Europe, the idea that Muslims are ‘the enemy’ has become more widespread over the last 30 years. In the aftermath of the Cold War, one could say that Europe needed a new archetypal enemy, and research shows that Muslim immigrants gradually took on that status. For example, it became gradually more common for people to talk about “Muslims”, rather than immigrants with Pakistani backgrounds.

Events that direct a critical focus onto Muslims

Research from various countries shows increases in anti-Muslim views towards Muslims in connection with various critical events. This does not suggest that anti-Muslim bias is growing in a continuously upwards trend. Rather, it suggests that this bias increases temporarily in connection with societal events that direct a critical focus on Muslims.

In the 1980s, for example, the publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses provoked Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa against Rushdie, and many Muslims joined anti-Rushdie demonstrations and tore pages out of his book. In many cases, their demonstrations were met with highly generalizing and critical representations of Muslim in the media, where Islam as a religion was questioned.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PRIO.ORG

Suit seeks to limit anti-Muslim speech on Facebook but roots of Islamophobia run far deeper

A civil rights group is suing Facebook and its top executives in federal court over the company’s failure to crack down on hate speech against Muslims.

Muslim Advocates, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on discrimination against American Muslims, alleges in the suit that Facebook has violated a series of local and federal consumer protection laws. The suit points out that the company itself, in a July 2020 internal audit, found that “Facebook has created an atmosphere where ‘Muslims feel under siege’” on the platform.

I am a scholar who tracks anti-Muslim activity such as violence, harassment, public speeches, property crimes and policies that target Muslims. This suit is right that many Muslims in the United States feel under siege – and have for quite some time.

But I am cautious about assigning too much blame to Facebook for the staggering magnitude and breadth of anti-Muslim activity in the U.S. As the author of “Fear in Our Hearts: What Islamophobia Tells Us about America,” I argue that this could be a convenient distraction – with limited overall effect – from the deeper histories and realities of white supremacy that require sustained attention.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CONVERSATION

Civil rights groups flagged dozens of anti-Muslim pages and groups to Facebook that stayed up, lawsuit alleges

Suit says the company made false claims to consumers by promising, at congressional hearings, that it quickly removes hate groups and hate speech

By Elizabeth DwoskinApril 8, 2021 at 11:14 a.m. EDT

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was “making false and deceptive statements” when he told Congress that the company removes content that violates its hate-speech rules, a lawsuit alleges.

The suit, filed Thursday in D.C. Superior Court, alleges that since 2017, civil rights groups and other experts have brought hundreds of anti-Muslim groups and pages on the platform to Facebook’s attention, but that the company has failed to penalize more than half of them.

It also alleges that Facebook and its top executives violated the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act, under which it is illegal for a company to make material misrepresentations about a good or service. Civil rights group Muslim Advocates, the law firm Gupta Wessler and University of Chicago law professor Aziz Z. Huq brought the suit.

“Every day, ordinary people are bombarded with harmful content that violates Facebook’s own policies on hate speech, bullying, harassment, dangerous organizations, and violence,” the suit alleges. “The anti-Muslim hate that’s pervasive on Facebook presents an enormous problem — both online and in real life.”

Facebook has created an atmosphere where “Muslims feel under siege,” the suit says.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

Muslim leaders: Vandals smashed out windows at new Warren (Michigan) mosque

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A new mosque in Warren on 10 Mile Road was vandalized, Muslim leaders said.

The Al Ihsaan Islamic Center, also known as Ideal Islamic Center, was opened a few months ago by immigrants from Bangladesh in what was previously a Lutheran church. On Friday afternoon, someone smashed several windows of the mosque with a hammer, according to the imam, Muhammad Islam.

A piece of the hammer broke off and fell inside the mosque, Islam told the Free Press on Monday. He speculated that if the hammer had not broken, more of the mosque might have been vandalized.

He said that a neighbor has video footage showing the person who attacked the structure driving in a car outside the mosque.

Warren police did not comment on the incident. A police lieutenant referred phone calls to Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer; a message left with Dwyer’s office was not returned Monday.

“Because of increasing hate incidents targeting houses of worship and minority communities nationwide, we urge local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this act of vandalism as a possible hate crime,” Dawud Walid, executive director of Michigan CAIR, said in a statement.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DETROIT FREE PRESS 

MUSLIMS IN CHICAGO SAY THAT TRUMP’S STATEMENTS HAVE PAINTED A TARGET ON THEIR BACKS

By Arnab Mondal
Medill Reports

As Dilara Sayeed, a 51-year old Muslim in Chicago, entered an office building for a meeting, she had an experience which she had thought almost unthinkable a few years ago.

Besides her office attire, Sayeed was also wearing a colorful hijab, a symbol of her faith. Sayeed is a social activist, an educator and a Harvard alumna. She also ran for election in the Illinois House of Representatives to represent District 5 in 2018. As such, her work and achievements, rather than her religion, had been at the forefront of most interactions.

As Sayeed got into the elevator, however she was confronted by an elderly white woman, a complete stranger, who said she would go to hell for wearing the hijab.

Sayeed said she hadn’t experienced this kind of negativity since she was growing up. “People used to yell things like ‘Go back to your country’,” she said. “I even got bullied constantly at school because of my religion.”

The situation had improved over the years as the Muslim community in Chicago grew, and people became more understanding towards Muslims. However, everything changed again when Donald Trump became president three years ago.

FULL ARTICLE FROM MEDILL REPORTS

What Happened in the Tennessean’s Newsroom After That “Indefensible” Anti-Muslim Ad

“I was feeling in myself, ‘Can I even come back to this place?’ ”

Subscribers of the Tennessean opened their Sunday papers last weekend to discover a full-page ad that warned a “nuclear device” would detonate in Nashville on July 18,. The ad said it would be set off by “Islam”—not by Muslims, not by a terrorist group, just by “Islam.” The ad, created by a fringe post-apocalyptic Christian organization called the ministry of Future for America, set off an immediate furor as it traveled online. The Tennessean itself called it “utterly indefensible” and rushed to find out how it had made it into print. By Monday, a sales manager had been fired.Alex Martin Smith@asmiff

This morning, the Nashville @Tennessean — the largest newspaper in the state — published a full-page ad from a far-right client warning “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device in Nashville, Tennessee.” It’s accompanied by photos of Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

On Sunday, David Plazas, the opinion and engagement director at the Tennessean and the USA Today newsrooms in Tennessee, had started a furlough, like many of his colleagues, because of the coronavirus economic slowdown. He was immediately called back to address the crisis. We spoke on Tuesday about how the ad came to be, the paper’s firm response, and the impossible work of local journalism right now. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Aymann Ismail: When did you first see the ad?

David Plazas: I’m a print reader. I get the print newspaper to my home every day, and I was just as shocked an anybody, because I saw the ad at the same time that the majority of our leadership did. It was extremely upsetting. I was angry. I’ll be honest with you: I was feeling in myself, “Can I even come back to this place when I finish my furlough?” That was the initial raw emotion I had. But then I also said, I have the responsibility and the duty to do what I can to try to make this right. Because I have the capacity to do so.

FULL ARTICLE FROM SLATE

Dear Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook Is an Engine of Anti-Muslim Hate the World Over. Don’t You Care?

GettyImages-1177739867-zuckerberg-1575654604DEAR MARK Zuckerberg,

What happened to you?

Back in December 2015, you spoke out loudly and proudly against anti-Muslim hatred. “I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world,” you wrote in a post on Facebook, two days after then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced his plan for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. “After the Paris attacks and hate this week,” you added, “I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.”

The headline in the New York Times? “Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Reassures Muslim Users.”

Yet here we are in December 2019. Four years later, you and Facebook have gone from reassuring Muslims to amplifying hate and bigotry against us. You have allowed what the actor Sacha Baron Cohen recently described as “the greatest propaganda machine in history” to be used to target and persecute some of the most vulnerable Muslim communities on Earth.

FOR STARTERS, MARK, how does it feel to be complicit in an actual genocide?

I’m talking of course about the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. In March 2018, the chairman of the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, Marzuki Darusman, told reporters that social media companies like yours had played a “determining role” in the violence, having “substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INTERCEPT 

Statistics show that Trump’s “travel ban” was always a Muslim ban

RTX3Z4ML-e1572281662504Did President Donald Trump’s travel ban—in place now for more than 22 months—become, in practice, a Muslim ban?

The third version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban went into full effect on Dec. 8, 2017.

The list of countries whose citizens are banned from entering the United States include Muslim-majority countries Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

Now that time has passed, policymakers, political scientists like myself, and all Americans can start to understand the ban’s effects.

Was it actually a Muslim ban, as it was called at the time it was introduced? Or was that just an anti-Trump label? What percentage of people from those banned countries did pass the “enhanced vetting” and get an actual visa to enter the United States?

Sharp decline

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs regularly provides data on the number of visas issued for all countries.

Based on the data the agency provides for the fiscal year, the number of immigrant visas issued for the country of Iran decreased by 78% between 2017 and 2018.

Chart showing decline in US visas issues to Iranian citizens

Controversial anti-Islam speaker attracts twice the crowd in Willmar(Minnesota) with protest and prayer vigil outside

110819.n.wct.BookClub1.0058WILLMAR — Usama Dakdok’s first visit to Willmar was a quiet and private affair last month, but his second visit was anything but that.

Two very different crowds gathered Thursday evening at the Kennedy Elementary School, where the Egyptian-born pastor of the Straight Way of Grace Ministry came to deliver his message that Islam is dangerous. It’s a message he’s been delivering to communities in Minnesota and other states for more than a decade.

Outside the school, well over 200 people joined under the message “we are better together” to celebrate Willmar for its cultural diversity. The diverse crowd, including many from Willmar’s Somali community, came in opposition to Dakdok, but focused on their message: Willmar is an inclusive and welcoming community.

The Rev. Dane Skilbred, Vinje Lutheran Church of Willmar, and Aden Hassan, imam for the Islamic Society of Willmar, joined in celebrating the city’s “welcoming resolution” in a formal address to the crowd. An interfaith group including leaders from ISAIAH, a coalition of faith communities, and the Islamic Society of Willmar helped organize the gathering as a prayer vigil.

Some who joined the event felt moved to grab the megaphone and offer their own words to celebrate the community.

“We are here for the right reason,” said Bonnie Hauser, semi-retired after serving as an elementary instructor in the Willmar Schools. Hauser told the audience that she was proud to be a Willmar teacher, where children of different ethnic and faith backgrounds learn together.

“This is what I know my community could be,” said Jessica Rohloff, a lifelong Willmar resident and a community organizer.

Najib Aqib, a member of Willmar’s Somali community, didn’t grab the megaphone, but he was among those who joined to support the prayer vigil. He said he moved to Willmar in 2005 and has found it to be a very welcoming community, and that is why he came to the event.

“This is the best place to live,” he told the West Central Tribune.

FULL ARTICLE AND VIDEO FROM WEST CENTRAL TRIBUNE