WASHINGTON, DC — The following is a statement from Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates’ special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry, in response to Twitter’s announcement of a policy update intended to remove content that dehumanizes people on the basis of religion:
“Twitter’s policy update is a very positive step in the right direction. Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and other religious minorities are often targeted with dangerous slurs and conspiracy theories and we applaud genuine efforts to remove this content from social media platforms. However, the effectiveness of this new policy will depend on how Twitter enforces it.
We also have many questions about what constitutes dehumanization. For example, President Trump in April tweeted a misleading video that featured a recording of Rep. Ilhan Omar intercut with footage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks—dangerously conjuring the stereotype that Muslims are terrorists at a time when Omar was already receiving death threats. Would this count as dehumanizing someone based on their religion? Twitter has the potential to stop the spread of dangerous attacks and conspiracy theories against Muslims and others that incite threats and violence, but only if its policies are robust and comprehensive.
Further, dehumanizing content on Twitter and other social media platforms doesn’t just harm religious groups. People of color, LGBTQ individuals and many others are frequently targeted by bigoted and dangerous hate speech and these communities deserve to be protected as well.
We hope Twitter will enforce this updated policy with vigor and urge the company to expand it to include other threatened communities.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.