A recent study conducted 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 – 2019, around 86 percent of anti-Islamic content on Twitter was posted by users from the United States, United Kingdom, and India.
With anti-Muslim hatred growing to epidemic proportions, last year, the United Nations (UN) encouraged the international community to take all necessary measures to combat discrimination against Muslims and ban the advocacy of religious hatred, which is often a factor in incitement to violence or physical attacks against Muslims and mosques.
Unfortunately, the top social media platform officials ignored the UN’s call. The latter have done little or did not even take action to remove anti-Muslim content from their platforms. It has undoubtedly negatively impacted Muslim minority communities worldwide, especially with Twitter becoming a significant source of anti-Muslim hatred.
With a report entitled “Islamophobia in the Digital Age” issued by ICV, social media companies are expected to focus on three countries, namely the United States, Britain, and India, which contributed 86 percent of anti-Muslim hate content on Twitter.
According to ICV researchers, Indian users alone make up more than half of hateful posts against Muslims. ICV said that rampant Islamophobia in India is inseparable from the normalization of hatred against Muslims by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The researchers also pointed to India’s discriminatory laws denying Muslim citizenship and other civil rights as one of the reasons for the rise of anti-Muslim hatred online among the Twitter accounts of Indian users.
Meanwhile, ICV added that Islamophobia, which has long been a problem in the United States, was exacerbated by the racist, conspiracy, and incitement rhetoric that former president Donald Trump used.
As for the UK, the prevalence of anti-Muslim tweets is linked to many factors, including the global reach of Trump’s hatred, the country’s longstanding problem with the anti-migrant sentiment, and the casual racism of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once compared women wearing the niqab to letter boxes.
The top three common themes in anti-Muslim tweets that ICV researchers observed were: the association of Islam with terrorism, the depiction of Muslim men as perpetrators of sexual violence, and the fear that Muslims want to apply sharia law to adherents of other faiths.
Other tweets include conspiracy theories that Muslims are sent as migrants to replace whites in the West and Hindus in India and the so-called inhuman characteristics of halal slaughter.
One example of the negative impact of anti-Muslim hatred that is widespread on social media is the Christchurch Mosque attack in 2019.