As much as 86 percent of anti-Islamic content on social media Twitter comes from the United States (US), UK (UK) and India, according to a recent report by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) based in Australia.
In a two-year period, between 28 August 2019 and 27 August 2021, India recorded the highest number, with 871,379 Islamophobic attacks, followed by the US with 289,248, and the UK, with 196,376.
The report, themed Islamophobia in the Digital Age, stated that in India, rampant Islamophobia is the result of the normalization of hatred against Muslims by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the US, Islamophobia has long been a problem, dramatically exacerbated by the racist, conspiratorial and inflammatory rhetoric used by Donald Trump, according to the report.
According to the researchers, with many tweets related to defending Muslim immigration bans and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, including one that puts the Democrats in collaborating with “Islamists” to take over the West.
For the UK, the prevalence of anti-Islam tweets is linked to a variety of factors, including the global reach of Trump’s hatred, the country’s longstanding problems with anti-migrant sentiment fueled by the refugee crisis, discourse around Brexit, along with the racism of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once compared Muslim woman wearing niqab with a “mailbox”.
By analyzing the anti-Muslim content produced by the three countries, researchers were able to identify several key themes, including the link between Islam and terrorism, the portrayal of Muslims as perpetrators of sexual violence, the fear that Muslims want to apply Sharia to others, conspiracies accusing Muslim immigrants of substituting for skin. whiteness in the West and Hinduism in India, and the characterization of halal as an inhuman practice that symbolizes the so-called “barbarity” of Islam.
“However, more concerning is our finding that only 14.83 anti-Muslim tweets were eventually deleted,” said the researchers, who continue to drive an increase in hate crimes against Muslim minority communities, and, in turn, moreover, anti-Muslim hate speech. Muslims online.
The 2019 Christchurch Mosque Attack is an illustration of this vicious cycle. The murderer was radicalized by anti-Islam online content, and within a week after he killed 52 Muslim worshipers, incidents of anti-Muslim harassment jumped by 1300 percent in New Zealand and 600 percent in the UK, sparking or inspiring a wave of anti-Muslim violence in New Zealand. England and Scotland, including an attack on a mosque in Stanwell, and the stabbing of a Muslim teenager in Surrey.
A recent report documented more than 800 attacks on mosques by far-right extremists in Germany since 2014. The past month has seen attacks carried out by right-wing Indian Hindu migrants against Muslim communities in Anaheim in the US and Leicester in the UK.
These attacks not only have a huge psychological impact on Muslims but also on society at large. It makes no sense that Twitter has done little or nothing to remove most of the anti-Muslim content on its platform.
To that end, a 2020 study entitled “From Hashtag to Hate: Twitter and anti-Minority Sentiment” equally condemned the social media giant, having found a direct correlation between anti-Muslim hatred on Twitter and violence against Muslims in public.
Focusing on Twitter accounts with a high number of followers, including the US, the study’s authors found that the increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes since Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign is concentrated in American countries with high levels of Twitter use.
“Consistent with the role of social media, Trump’s tweets on Islam-related topics were highly correlated with anti-Muslim hate crimes after, but not before the start of his presidential campaign, and uncorrelated with other types of hate crimes,” conclude the authors.
But none of this information is new or disclosed to Twitter, given the company issued a statement in 2020 saying it had come together with independent members of the Cross-Governmental Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred (AMHWG) as part of a “joint commitment to against hateful behavior online,” adding, “We want to tackle anti-Muslim hate together, while also working with other groups that share this commitment.”
Twitterwith Googleand Meta, also pledged to remove anti-Muslim content from its platform in 2019 – following the Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks. But these promises have failed, as highlighted by Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), who found that social media companies, including Twitterhas failed to crack down on 89 percent of anti-Muslim hateful posts reported to them.
Simply put – if Twitter continue to reject calls to remove anti-Islamic hatred from its platform, then members of Muslim minority groups will continue to be threatened, injured or killed.
Muslims across the West will be exposed to attacks similar to those seen on mosques in New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Germany, and the US in recent years.
A study by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) – representing some 270,000 community members – found nearly four million anti-Muslim posts were made during the 24-month period between 2017 and 2019. According to ICV, there were at least 3,759,180 Islamophobic tweets made on Twitter between August 28. 2019 and 27 August 2021.*