Change.org has removed a petition which called for the destruction of mosques in response to the toppling and removal of statues of the slave traders Edward Colston and Robert Milligan.
The petition, titled “If the statues go, the Mosques go too,” called on those who support Black Lives Matters to target mosques (as apparent symbols of slavery) and had gained over 500 signatures in one day before its removal for breaching the platform’s rules on hate speech.
On Twitter, the petition had generated various harmful comments, with one such tweet calling for the use of bulldozers.
Others tweeted that the “mosques can go anyway…”.
Signatories on the change.org petition included individuals based in the United States, Chile, Spain, and Australia, from the location information provided on some profiles who had made public statements after signing the petition.
Some UK-based users who signed the petition had made racist comments, referring to Muslims as “medieval savages” as others made broader racialised anti-Muslim and Islamophobic comments – from accusing all Muslims of being terrorists to forms of ‘cultural othering’, including about the perceived number of mosques in a ‘Christian country’.
Change.org has clear policies on hate speech, limiting content (including petitions, usernames, comments) that “attack or malign an entire class of people based on characteristics such as their age, color, disability, ethnic origin, gender identity, nationality, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, medical condition, or veteran status.”
The platform also holds discretion when enforcing its Terms, including the closing of accounts or removing harmful content.
We welcome the swift action regarding hateful content on their platform.