The biggest video-sharing website, Youtube, recently removed the official channel of an Islamic scholar, Dr Israr Ahmed, over alleged anti-Semitic content.
The removal of the official channel of the late Pakistani scholar and philosopher, which has amassed more than 2.9 million subscribers, quickly sparked a backlash from Dr Israr’s followers. They deny the accusations and claimed that Dr Israr Ahmed is a great scholar of Islam who never preached violence and always encouraged his followers to pursue education and learn modern technology.
Tanzeem-e-Islami, a movement founded by Dr Israr, said that Youtube’s move was a blatant act of Islamophobia. Tanzeem-e-Islami said that they had taken legal steps and procedural actions against Youtube in response to the termination of the channel.
Youtube removed Dr Israr’s channel right after the weekly Jewish Chronicle newspaper published several reports claiming that lectures of Dr Israr Ahmed had inspired the hostage-taking carried out by British Pakistani Malik Faisal Akram in a Texas Synagogue in January.
The Jewish Chronicle report is an interview conducted by renowned journalist David Rose with Khaleed Hassan, a former content moderator for Youtube. Khaleed Hassan said that Youtube repeatedly ignored his requests when he flagged up the content, which carried hate towards Jews including Dr Israr’s channel.
He said Dr Israr’s lectures carried comments such as “Jewish World Order” and had portrayed Jews as followers of Satan who had been conspiring to destroy Islam for centuries.
Following the report, Youtube took the step of deleting two of Dr Israr Ahmed’s channels on Friday.
Many Twitter users expressed disappointment with Youtube’s move with the hashtags #RestoreDrIsrarYoutubeChannel and #DrIsrarAhmad. Some users even called it an act of Islamophobia and a violation of Freedom of speech.
Writer and journalist, Ranna Ayyub participated in expressing solidarity with Dr Israr Ahmed by uploading a picture of her residence while watching Dr Israr’s lecture.