Oh, Lookie! Yet another report about ‘Islamophobia’ on the Internet: Online hate targeting Muslims

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In the lead up to  the International Human Rights Day on December 10th 2013, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) are pleased to announce the release of a major new report into the growing problem of online hate targeting the Muslim community.

OHPI  The report, titled ‘Islamophobia on the Internet: The growth of online hate targeting Muslims’, is now available to journalists and bloggers by request. Parts of the report are publicly available below, and the full report will be available from this page on December 10th to mark the International Human Rights Day.

The report examines anti-Muslim hate on Facebook and was produced by the Online Hate Prevention Institute, Australia’s only charity entirely dedicated to the growing problem of online hate, in consultation with the Islamic Council of Victoria, the peak body representing Victoria’s Muslim community. The report follows previous major works by OHPI examining online hate against Indigenous Australians, the Jewish Community, and the ANZACs and Military Veterans.

This major work examines 50 anti-Muslim Facebook pages (BNI is not on Facebook but thousands of its posts are reposted there). The Facebook pages range from “The Islamic threat” which today passed the 113,000 supporter mark and continues to rapidly grow, to “Mohammad the PIG” which vanished after reaching 2000 supporters. From these 50 pages the report documents 349 images of anti-Muslim hate. These images represent 191 unique images and many repetitions as messages of hate move between the different pages. The message of hate in this report are divided into seven themes which the report discusses.

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The themes of anti-Muslim hate and an illustrative example of each:

Muslims as a Security Threat or Threat to Public Safety

A

Muslims as a Cultural Threat

B

Muslims as an Economic Threat

C

Content Dehumanising or Demonizing Muslims

D

Threats of Violence, Genocide and Direct Hate Targeting Muslims

E

Hate Targeting Refugees / Asylum Seekers

F

Other Forms of Hate Speech

(These typically seek to create acceptability for religious vilification of Muslims, or to suggest Muslims who speak out against extremism are part of a conspiracy.)

G

American, British and Australian nationals provide the highest level of support to these pages of hate. Of the pages examined 13 of them were specifically Australian in nature. Pages like “Look after Australians first deport all illegal boatpeople”, and “Australian Defence League Official Adl Est 2009″.

This report aims to highlight the existence of what is a serious hate speech problem on Facebook. To the extent that this content gives a window into the hate speech against Muslims that is currently circulating in society, we hope this report assists community leaders, policy makers, law makers and researchers in better understanding and responding to this threat to an inclusive society. In democracies inclusiveness is regarded as a public good, as such, this hate speech is not only an attack on the Muslim community but an attack on society as a whole. We must work together to tackle this growing problem.

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