‘Well it is only a tweet.’
‘Why do people bother reporting this in?’
‘Anyone who works on such matters is just wasting money and time.’
These are the usual comments that detractors of our work and those who choose to turn a blind eye against such work say. The range of arguments go on and on, yet, on the flipside, if such comments were made against other faiths, other races and other groups of individuals, some of the detractors would be up in arms. They would be shouting from the rafters and in fact, some of them do, as long as the perpetrators of hate are Muslims. When the victims are Muslim, well then, it seems that the statements listed above become the norm. So, shall we look at some of the tweets and on-line hate that permeates social media platforms on a daily basis? Take this for example, a tweet undertaken by an account called ‘Snidey_UK.’ This account has been reported in a number of times. This is a tweet that we received today, (07/06/13):
So let us look at another example of hate material that floods through social media platforms on a daily basis. Here for example is one which we received in the last 6 weeks.
Now the question is, are these statements acceptable? Pretty simply, no. They are prejudicial since they group Muslim members together in a prejudicial manner. Do they infringe existing laws? Well in these cases, yes, given that there are a dearth of other hate statements from these accounts.
Laws need to be proportionate and with the protection of freedom of speech at the heart of them. We can all agree with this. However, when on-line material like the examples above are promoted on a daily basis and which filter out to hundreds or thousands of people on a the daily basis, then action needs to be taken through legal and police channels to stop such statements pervading into communities. If anyone thinks that these do not have community impacts then ask yourself this. If the term ‘Muslim’ was changed to another faith community – would you think it acceptable? If yes, then we should get worried. If no, then we have a lot of community education work to do together to ensure that no community lives in fear of prejudice, hate and aggression.