(RNS) Anti-Muslim hate speech on the Internet is commonplace and can motivate some people to commit acts of violence against Muslims, according to a report released Tuesday (May 6) by Muslim Advocates, a legal and advocacy group in San Francisco.

The word hate formed with computer keyboard keys.

The word “hate” formed with computer keyboard keys Photo courtesy of Jaromir Urbanek via Shutterstock

“When you have threatening comments online and they go unchecked, people start thinking it’s acceptable,” said Madihha Ahussain, an attorney and the report’s lead author. “And it doesn’t take long to figure out that what becomes acceptable online becomes acceptable in the real world.”

The report contains examples of hate speech and how it can lead to violence, as well as how victims of online hate speech can report it and counter it. The report aims to help educate parents, students, youth, community leaders, Internet companies and policymakers on how to counter online hate speech.

Ahussain said that anti-Muslim websites give like-minded people a place to gather and at the same time win new supporters through their posts. As an example, Ahussain cited the Facebook page of anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller, which she said grew from roughly 19,000 followers in July 2013 to some 78,000 people as of late April.

The report also cites the example of Robert James Talbot Jr., a Texas man who created a Facebook page for the American Insurgent Movement, whose stated aim was to start a revolution and overthrow the U.S. government. Talbot was a regular reader of Geller’s Atlas Shrugs blog.

FBI agents arrested Talbot on March 27 on allegations that he plotted to blow up mosques and other buildings.

The report said most social media platforms include features where people can report what they perceive to be violations of speech guidelines.

“I believe they take this very seriously because they want to have a place where people don’t feel threatened by others,” Ahussain said.

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3 Comments

  1. I demur. I do not like people stereotyping all Muslims “terrorists”, either; but would you class those who, on various Muslim-oriented websites, call people like me “Kufr” and accuse me of “shirk” as spreading “hate speech”? As a Muslim, would you condemn all who say that homosexuality is a sinful behavior as engaging in “hate speech”? There are people who would take things that far.

    I believe that people should be free to air their differences without threat of legal action.

    Let’s take more concrete examples. Muslims seem to believe that Maida 116 in the Qur’an gives an accurate picture of Christian Trinitarianism. But we do not see the Trinity as God, Jesus, and Mary, but as The Father, the Word (Son), and the Holy Spirit (the three sharing the one divine essence). Do we therefore have the right to sue every mosque that recites this ayat for slander or libel?

    Muslims seem to believe they give honor to Jesus Christ by denying that he died on the cross (Nisaa 157 in the Qur’an). But to us Christians, this contradicts much that we read in Old Testament prophecy and the whole of the New Testament, as well as the historical testimony of Christians (the New Testament and Church Fathers), Jesus’ Jewish enemies (Tractate Sannhedrin of the Talmud), and the Pagan Romans (Pliny the Elder)? How then can we not believe that Muhammad was seriously misled? Are we therefore to be condemned as those who “slander the Prophet of Islam” (in President Obama’s words), and another Seyfo launched against us, as back in 1915?

    And how are we to take those ayat that describe the Jews as kin of apes and pigs (Maida 60), so readily quoted by a Saudi dignitary in the wake of 9/11? Could not someone legitimately call those “hate speech”?

    Sure, there’s plenty of garbage on the net. But there’s also a wide-open forum for people to test claims of truth and falsity. I say that First Amendment protections for freedom of speech and the press must be applied to the net as well as to print and oral speech.

  2. Assalamualaikum brothers and sisters, I found someone that keeps saying bad things and very misleading videos are posted against our Prophet Muhammad saw and Allah SWT and Islam it self. We need to move and counter act, cause this will give a bad name to all of us here is the link of the person and the videos he is posting continually, we need to stop him. https://plus.google.com/118028499214998681650/about

  3. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

    This page is very bad because It creates more discrimination between religions.
    https://www.facebook.com/NARENDRAMODI272PLUS/info?collection_token=100007397259457%3A2327158227%3A8

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