A recent study by the Australia-based Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) revealed that of at least four million anti-Muslim posts made during the 24 months between 2017 and 2019, some 86 per cent of anti-Islamic content on Twitter were posted by users from the US, UK and India.
The Islamic Council of Victoria, (ICV) Australia, in a report published last month, indicated that India accounted for 55.12% of global hate tweets against Islam and Muslims between August 2019 and August 2021.
ICV further noted that just three countries – India, the United States of America and the United Kingdom – accounted for 86% of all hateful tweets globally against the religious community and its members. The study found that there were at least 3,759.18 Islamophobic posts on Twitter during this period.
According to a survey by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV), the US, UK and India were responsible for a staggering 86% of anti-Muslim posts on Twitter. Twitter has become a prominent epicentre for the spread of anti-Muslim propaganda, which is devastating to Muslim minority groups around the world.
According to a study by ICV, the largest Muslim organization in the Australian state of Victoria, which is also home to some 270,000 Muslims, around 4 million anti-Muslim posts were published between 2017 and 2019 over a 24-month period.
The ICV also pointed out a vicious circle of hate that appeared in attacks on the community around the world, both offline and online. More than half of these offensive and bigoted posts were created by Indians alone.
Anti-Muslim tweets around the world followed four or five common templates. These included tweets identifying Muslims as terrorists, tweets calling them Muslim sexual harassers, tweets in which users believed Muslims planned to displace and out-reproduce white populations in the West (known as the “Great Replacement”) or Hindus in India (“Population Jihad”) and subsequently impose ‘Sharia’ law on these populations. Other tweets alluded to allegedly “barbaric” practices in Islam, such as Halal slaughter.
‘In the event that no changes are made, it is all the more likely that the problem of online Islamophobia will grow to a point of intractability’– Islamic Council of Victoria
Indian Twitter Users
Researchers blame India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for fomenting hatred against Muslims. “The BJP has actively normalized hate towards Muslims in such a way that 55.12 per cent of anti-Muslim hate tweets now originate from India,” the researchers said.
The main factor contributing to the rise of online hate content in India was found to be particularly associated with the ruling party, as “there are endless examples of how the BJP has actively normalized hate towards Muslims”.
Indian users alone account for more than half of anti-Muslim hate posts. ICV said rampant Islamophobia in India is inseparable from the normalization of anti-Muslim hatred by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The study also found that Islamophobia can be affected by how politicians react to Islam-related incidents. For example, hateful comments by the BJP towards Muslim opponents of its Citizenship Amendment Act were found to be the cause of the third largest increase in anti-Muslim tweets on February 25, 2020.
The researchers also pointed to India’s discriminatory laws that deny Muslim citizenship and other civil rights as one of the reasons for the rise of anti-Muslim hatred online among Indian users’ Twitter accounts.
US Twitter Users
The rise of anti-Muslim hate on Twitter went hand in hand with the hateful rhetoric and policies of former President Donald Trump. The former US president is one of the most mentioned third-party users in anti-Muslim posts with many tweets related to defending his Muslim immigration ban and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.
UK Twitter users
The prevalence of anti-Muslim tweets in the UK has been attributed to various factors ranging from Trump’s anti-Muslim animosity to anti-immigration sentiments sparked by the refugee crisis, the Brexit discussion, as well as the racism of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. who once compared Muslim women wearing niqab to “letter boxes”.
The research concludes that there is a direct correlation between online hate and offline hate crimes and therefore social media companies like Twitter need to act consciously to stop anti-Muslim hate tweets.
ICV suggests that Twitter should end the policy of not filtering tweets and should automatically detect and remove hateful content. It also recommends that Twitter establish an independent oversight body to assess the effectiveness of its moderation policies.
“In fact, if no changes are made,” the report states, “the problem of Islamophobia online is much more likely to grow to the point of becoming intractable.”
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