Cheerleaders of Terror

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 Another deadly, despicable terrorist attack takes place with Islamic extremist terror organisation ISIS the main suspects and the worldwide far right cannot hide their celebrations. Donald Trump is at his most shaky since his election as media attention is switched from the Trump administration’s alleged collusion with Russia towards Muslim bans and “extreme vetting”.

Whilst 99.99% of worshippers of the Muslim faith do not support ISIS, Islamophobes everywhere are logging onto Twitter and Facebook with the sole intent of spewing toxic hatred against every Muslim, no matter now liberal and peacemaking. Within minutes of the press announcement following the New York terrorist murder, death threats pumped out with vitriol against all Muslims. Every hater on the net was soon busy blaming an entire faith for the actions of a tiny minority.

All it takes to stir professional bigots such as Pamela Geller, Douglas Murray, Katie Hopkins, Paul Golding and Tommy Robinson into action, is a tragic report of a suspected terrorist incident. No sooner are ambulances on the scene, the extreme rightwing scapegoating begins in earnest, deliberate trolling from notorious haters designed to bully, harass and marginalise Muslim minority communities throughout the Western World and to drive a wedge between America, Europe and the Middle East. So ready is the anti-Muslim propaganda machine to swing into action, far right rabble-rousers have often turned up at scenes of non-terror related incidents wrongly believing them to be terror-related.

No-one is faster off the mark than Donald Trump. Not even Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lemon), who has a nasty habit of appearing at the scene of suspected terror incidents to thrust cameras in police and ambulance crews’ faces whilst bodies are still warm. Seeking to blame all Muslims for everything wrong in the world, Trump and belligerent bosom buddy Steve Bannon shamelessly capitalise on the anguish of victims with outpourings of vengeful bigotry.

Let us make absolutely no bones about this – The extreme right’s intent is every bit as deadly as ISIS. The end game of White Nationalists and Islamophobics alike is a “clash of civilisations” (the latest term for the far right’s lusted for race war) – A final battle of biblical proportions which will result in the mass slaughter of (mostly brown or black-skinned) Muslims living in Western societies, and deadly, possibly even nuclear warfare between the West and the Middle East. Such a battle (though most certain not to come to fruition) is the racial fantasist’s wet dream, the blood lust for genocide – the ultimate far right snuff fantasy.

For the extremist far right mindset, the “clash of civilisations” is God’s will, and will ultimately result in the death of Jews as well as Muslims, plus everybody else who does not repent and follow Jesus Christ at the eleventh hour. (The irony of course being that these bigots are as far from being Christians as it is possible to be.)

The first lie out of the traps, used by Islamophobic bigots after each and every ISIS-linked terrorist attack is that the far right are relatively peaceful compared to Islamic extremists. As if anyone has forgotten about Auschwitz…

In the revisionist cloud-cuckoo land of the alt right, today’s Nazis are nothing to do with yesterday’s Nazis, even though many Islamophobic Twitter profiles openly glorify the Waffen SS, and share phrases and memes venerating Adolf Hitler.

Just because ‘only’ one person was killed at Charlottesville, fascist defenders continually play the numbers game, trying to portray their deadly allegances to genocidal hate as “better than ISIS”. You do not need to be a first-class historian or mathematical wizard to understand that Islamic extremists have not, and will never match the total death toll of Adolf Hitler and his genocidal regime.

Stephen Yaxley Lennon is unashamably remunerated to troll hate – a fact that Twitter should be aware of, but refuse to take action on. At a time when paid Russian trolls fall increasingly under the spotlight, other, more racially-charged purveyors of hate such as the Luton Liar, continue to be shown the green light from @twittersupport no matter how false and inflamatory their dialogue is. Yaxley-Lennon has been temporarily banned in the past, not for bigoted content, but for personal harassment. Much like ex Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulus who lost his account for the same reason. Unfortunately it appears that once you receive the “blue tick” from Twitter, your extremist political output is beyond censor. The only way you will lose your account, is not for denying the genocide in Myanmar, or telling lies about the faith of Islam in regards to paedophilia, but purely and simply for engaging in personal abuse. (Fortunately a lot of the far right do this on a regular basis so still get suspended rather a lot).

Every so often, from time to time, Twitter management will go to press with a promise to get tough on hatred and extremism, and hardened optimists still get taken in by such false promises. It is amazing PR for the company to pretend they will get tough with haters, when in reality, for the greatest of offenders, it is always business as usual.

Even when Katie Hopkins tweeted about wanting a Hitlerite “Final Solution”, Twitter failed to remove her from the platform, despite thousands of complaints and a campaign by Resisting Hate members.

When push comes to shove, the most popular haters, be they Richard Spencer, Pamela Geller, Tommy Robinson, Paul Golding, or Katie Hopkins, will never lose their accounts because each time their fans log onto Twitter for updates, significant revenue is accrued by the company (similarly with Facebook). No matter how disgusting, prejudical, or hate-crime inspiring a prime user’s account is, controversy generates big money, which is the main reason why multiple “Terms of Service” breaches for the top verified accounts are deliberately ignored by website moderators.

Violent, or even deadly hate-crimes don’t happen within a vacuum. Especially not in today’s technological age. Whilst printed media is still a factor in nurturing destructive prejudice against minority groups (as is family-nurtured racism, peer pressure bigotry, and just hanging out with a bad crowd in the bar who loathe anyone who happens to be non-white) – the ubiqitous nature of online hatred, in particular via social media, most definitely shapes the mind of the hate-crime offender from any starting point, nurturing raw bigotry and intolerance, and shaping attitudes towards a siege mentality where violent action, (although rarely called for by the professional bigots themselves), becomes a self-justifying necessity in the paranoid mindset which has been successfully-programmed to believe Muslims, refugees, foreigners and non-white people are “swamping” and “taking over” unless “drastic action” is taken.

Horrific terror attacks, like the one that happened in New York, are outrages of absolute evil. The nihilistic slaughter of New Yorkers going about their every day business, cycling home from work or study to be mown down by fanatics, is horrendous beyond belief. If it hadn’t been for the quick-thinking actions of the security forces, the death toll could have been even greater, which is a deeply chilling thought.

Despite Neo Fascist lies that antifascists support terrorist organisations like ISIS, the truth could not be further from this. ANTIFA fighters pushed back Islamic extremists from Rojava and continue to have an impact in the fragile situation currently playing out in Syria. Everything that religious murderers stand for is rejected by anarchists and antifascists a hundredfold. The skewed philosophy of deadly intolerance towards anyone who doesn’t share their religious beliefs actually puts ISIS firmly into the same deadly dogmatic category as National Socialists. ANTIFA have proven to be up for the challenge of combating hate from any quarter, something that the beer-bellied drunken football hooligan bigots of the EDL have never once attempted to do.

Also quick to scream abuse at passing Muslim families the ‘soldiers’ of the “Taliban Hunting Club” would run a mile if they ever came face to face with actual extreme Islamists. As would the ‘hard football lads’ of the FLA.

In the spirit of unity and reconcilliation, aware of how far-right Twitter trolls always accuse ordinary Muslims of “doing nothing to stop terror” in the wake of any terrorist attack, a group of peace-loving female Muslims approached John Meighan (leader of the FLA) asking him for assurances of their welcome and safety if they joined in a future FLA march. This was an admirable overture of solidarity and highlighted by our own organisation, Resisting Hate. Sadly, this hand of friendship was overwhelmingly rejected by the FLA leadership who blocked all requests for unity on site. Instead they chose to ‘combat’ the ISIS threat by allowing far right speakers to deliver Islamophobic lectures on non-terror related rants such as the non-Islamic practise of FGM, and the equally non-religious extremist-inspired child abuse that occured in Rotherham.

Opposing terror, for the FLA, just as with the EDL, simply means the continued demonisation of all Muslims.

A previous Resisting Hate article highlighted the plans of senior FLA officials to create mayhem when crowd numbers reach a significant size.

Worldwide, the amount of Muslims who agree with, and support the actions of ISIS and Al Qaeda are miniscule. However it is always the ordinary, law-abiding vast majority who suffer for these events beyond their control. Ordinary Buddhists living in the west, with no allegiance to the Myanmar regime, are quite rightly not tarnished with the genocide against the Rohingya people, however it is always, without fail, the ordinary, everyday non-problematic non-white man or woman in the street who is confronted by racist bigots, and assaulted or abused for their (assumed) race or religion.

Walk through any American, European or British city, and you will struggle to find many, if any, apologists for Islamic State terror, and yet, if you read Twitter, follow Facebook, or listen to Donald Trump’s comments on TV, you would not believe this to be the case. Click on the White House-approved far right conspiracist site InfoWars, and they will tell a totally different story, as will Breitbart and Prison Planet (fake news organisations who create false facts to push their intolerant anti-Muslim agenda.)

In Britain Muslims wearing religious dress, or spotted in the close proximity of mosques or other Muslim religious buildings have been subject to hate crimes, especially in London and Manchester following a surge in far right activity related to the spike in terrorism. People just trying to go about their ordinary, everyday lives feel the brunt for acts of evil which they absolutely do not support.

Such people do not deserve to suffer fall-out from the actions of extremists whose tenuous faith link is condemned outright by British Imams.

When Tommy and Katie tweet far right lies about Western Muslims celebrating murderous terrorist attacks (lies no more grounded in truth than #pizzagate) the consequences can be deadly. The so-called “revenge attack” carried out by a van driver from Wales is a stark warning that radicalised far right terrorists can be just as deadly as ISIS.

For Western Muslims, discrimimination is becoming an everyday fact of life. Be it discrimination at work, abuse in the street, or being targeted for being non-white and in control of a vehicle (stop and search!) Settled Muslim communities collectively shudder each and every time a bomb goes off, or a vehicle ploughs into crowds, fully aware that they, as non-terrorists will be in the firing-line for hate. All these people want to do is live their lives free from the stigmatisation that comes with being members of a visible faith group. Instead they are constantly vilified by a rabid rightwing media and an increasingly toxic social media landscape.

The longer social media is allowed to spread hatred and lies, the more intense this discrimination becomes.

After the horrific Manchester concert bomb, bigoted Twitter users tweeted disgust that the Greater Manchester Police were making an effort to protect Muslims from hate crimes. A common fascist response was that the GMP were “taking the piss”, and that Manchester’s Muslims had brought physical attacks and mosque-burnings “on themselves” for the deadly bomb they had absolutely nothing to do with. The myth of culpability with extremists sadly persists for Muslims, and is likely to feature in the aftermath of the New York attacks also. The more Donald Trump pontificates about banning Muslims, the more ordinary law-abiding US Muslim families will suffer.

The overwhelming longing for Western Muslims everywhere, is to live lives free from hate, however, the antagonistic mindset of the ISIS terrorist perversely admires the Islamophobic far right for creating hate. Reciprocal anti-Muslim hatred stirred-up in response to terrorist acts is admired by the leadership of ISIS as much as the deadly acts of terrorist killing itself. Every Muslim hated and discriminated against following “revenge” for an ISIS killing, is ultimately viewed by the terrorist organisation as a possible future recruit. The goal of ISIS is to drive a wedge between multicultural communities.

When haters fight terror with hate they doing exactly what ISIS want them to do.

If a significant number of US or UK Muslims secretly supported ISIS, they would actually be encouraging their own persecution. Both ISIS and the fascist right oppose multiculturalism, people of different faiths living peacefully side-by-side, which is why ISIS have made a nasty habit of striking during election campaigns in the hope they could boost the fortunes of intolerant rightwingers. Remember back to the timely French and UK election bombs…

Any far right thug who thinks going on the rampage, ripping off headscarves, burning down mosques, beating-up and killing Muslims, is “revenge” against ISIS, think again. Besides becoming a category A criminal who will ultimately end up serving a predictably long sentence behind bars, you are also doing the terrorists’ job for them.

Actual revenge should be inflicted upon actual culprits, not innocent people who worship mainstream Islam.

By helping alienate otherwise peaceful and well-adjusted Muslims, you are encouraging disillusionment that ultimately prolonges the caliphate, and ensures terrorist attacks commited against the West will continue into the future. Not that Donald Trump, Katie Hopkins or Tommy Robinson care less about alienating whole Muslim communities, and any future repercussions to public safety. They are too busy cheerleading hate.

NO PASARAN!

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Liberals, Progressives and Hate Speech

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The politics of the left are often referred to with the umbrella term ‘liberal’ which is an over simplified view of the left wing and which doesn’t allow for the schism between those who identify as Liberal and those who identify as Progressive.

Liberals are interested in upholding the rights of the individual and believe the role of the state should be limited in the extent to which it can intervene with the rights of individual citizens.

A Progressive is interested in forcing the hand of change and solving the inequities caused by public or private power structures. The lacuna between the Liberal v Progressive is sometimes described as bottom up v top down politics. Liberals believe change should evolve from the people, Progressives believe change should be orchestrated intentionally by state intervention or, in the case of the private sphere, the legal system or corporate decision makers.

Put even more simply the Liberal v Progressive split is similar to the Equality v Equities argument. A Liberal believes in the principles of fairness and equality (everyone gets the same) a Progressive believes in correcting inequities (everyone gets what they need which means some receive more than others).  My primary interest as a Progressive anti-hate activist is in addressing inequities that occur as a result of hate and hate speech. This is not a value argument, I am not saying that hate speech is wrong in itself, I am saying that when we allow hate speech to flourish it has significant and tangible consequences for both individuals and communities. This is not about setting moral standards, it is about reducing the potential for harm.

When discussing free speech it is important to be clear that Liberals are concerned with the contract between the state and the individual and not the relationship between individuals. This often causes confusion when the question of hate speech arises as the blocking of hate speech from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter is often wrongly deemed to be contravening the right to free speech. Blocking hate speech from a private platform is not censorship and only becomes a direct infringement of rights if it is driven by state led legislature applying to public (not private) places.  Therefore when Progressives like myself call for private companies to curb hate speech this is not infringing on civil liberties. Censorship would be the state saying an idea cannot be expressed. This is different to the prevention of an idea being circulated within a particular social sphere.

There are three primary tangible consequences for individuals and communities that arise from hate speech:

Hate speech leads to discrimination

When we allow hate speech that targets race, gender, orientation, health status and religion we are giving a platform to indoctrinate people against these groups. This results in individuals belonging to these groups being stigmatised which in turn leads to discrimination in the workplace and a reduction in opportunities for those individuals.

Hate speech leads to fear and violence

The link between hate speech and violence has been proposed numerous times. It has been argued that exposure to hate speech desensitises individuals to the idea of harming others by reducing the focus of their target to being less than human – much hate speech online is aimed directly at dehumanising communities. Our group have seen migrants called cockroaches, Muslims called savages and Jews told that they belong in ‘the ovens’. All three of these community groups have seen an increase in hate crime over the last 5 years.

The language of hate speech disenfranchises and demeans individuals and breaks down relations between communities which become strained and eventually result in verbal and physical clashes.

It is important to fully understand the wider implications of hate speech – this is not just about the feelings of an individual but about the growing isolation of whole community groups.

It is my view (a view shared by World Policy Institute fellow Susan Benesch) that wide spread hate speech paves the way for an increase in violence. When it becomes acceptable to abuse a person on one platform it is a precursor to abusing them physically.

Hate speech leads to an increase in suicide

Scientists at Syracuse University have investigated the link between hate speech and suicide and found there to be a correlation. Their research states Ethnic immigrant groups subjected to more negative ethnophaulisms, or hate speech, were more likely to commit suicide.  If hate speech has been proven to be a catalyst toward actual loss of life then this is perhaps the strongest argument that action to prevent it needs to be taken.

It is necessary to spell out the argument against hate speech this clearly as, too often, this debate is reduced to being argued from the perspective of a Liberal and gets dragged into the quagmire of the right to speak v the right not to be offended. The reason I oppose hate speech is not (as often so ineloquently put by the far right) that it hurts people’s ‘feelz’ but because hate speech leads to genuine social and economic inequities for individuals and communities. As a Progressive I strongly believe it is the role of both the state and of private corporations (think social media platforms) to play their part in resolving these inequities.

This is not about censorship and rights, this is about keeping the people of our country safe.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Sue Hall – Neo Fascist Artist

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Sue Hall, is a popular textile artist regularly exhibited, who tweets hate towards the London Mayor, and shares bigotry with neo-nazis without any of her fans worldwide realising the depth of hate espoused by her horrific views.  Looking at her tweets, there are even Muslim fans of her textile exhibits, sadly unaware she is a white supremacist Islamophobe who wants all Muslims to leave the UK.
Renowned Cheshire-based textile artist Sue Hall is an active far right extremist on Twitter who regularly interacts with neo-Nazi Mark Collett, white supremacist “Peter Sweden”, and the leaders of Britain First, plus profilic twitter bigot David Vance with whom she exchanges hate tweets every other day.  Many of her tweets are also spreading bile towards Muslims and there are numerous white supremacist, anti-black, anti-immigrant, and anti-transgender tweets in addition on her account.
Sue receives backing and support from many public arts organisations and venues which happily exhibit her work, despite the fact she tweets extreme hate against Muslims.  This is absolutely galling, and the public urgently needs to be informed of her appallingly discriminatory views.  She is not fit to receive any arts sponsorship or funding, while she uses social media platforms to openly support acts of mass-murder and genocide against Muslims.

 

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Faux News And The Alt Centre

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When looking back on this turbulent time in the world, one of the main things to come out of it will be the division, frustration, and anger that seem to be spreading across the world at present. At the forefront of this is, of course, Donald Trump and, in particular, his war with the media, a war that is shifting media and public behaviour across the western world. With his coining of the oxymoronic phrase (usually, when referring to Trump, you can remove the prefix ‘oxy’ from this phrase) “fake news”, Trump introduced a tag and an awareness of the power and problems the media can garner and cause.

Orwell saw it coming. Newspeak and the editing of history to suit The Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four seems to be the goal of Trump, and, for his supporters, every week is Hate Week. Whether it is to pressurise and threaten senators, galvanise his supporters or distract the public from whatever the current scandal, Trump uses his Twitter feed to spread his message. Perhaps the most cunning and equally desperate use of his Twitter, as well as his interviews, briefings, and bizarre rallies, is to attack the press, mainstream media, the fake news, they are now referred to. There are a few exceptions to this broad attack; Fox News, and a few other largely ‘right wing’ sites get endorsements and retweets. Fox News seems to be POTUS’ personal favourite, as he often advertises, endorses and retweets segments, shows and articles. And Fox promote his agenda, ensuring their popularity amongst his supporters.

Fox News is not the first outlet to present biased views to suit an agenda. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales promoted the calm and tranquil, idyllic England in the 14th century, disregarding civil war, huge religious conflicts, and the death of monarchs. England was a place of fear, upheaval, and chaos at times, but Chaucer presented a pastoral retreat, devoid of this chaos and violence. Henry VIII, in among marrying and killing everyone, took the time to ensure any written work that existed was not a dissent to his rule and his lifestyle.  For anyone to take a swipe at him, they had to be brave and subtle, clouding their work in metaphor, such as Whoso List to Hunt by Thomas Gray. And so it continued, across lands, across authors, across works. The uncivilised masses in Africa depicted by Conrad, the unruly Indians by Kipling, all examples of a controlled route of thought, an idea of people and places passed down by writing.

The difference between then and now is how this propaganda is passed down, and by whom. Regardless of the morality of their work, nobody can deny the ability of some of these authors, like Kipling and Conrad, to engage and describe the scenes they set. Today, however, the messages are being passed around by journalists, some of whom are very loose definitions of the term, and even people like Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins et al. The access to social media, and an increasingly frustrated and lively audience, spreads agenda and division directly to the masses. The difficulty is how to counteract it, and to realise that this isn’t just a one-sided, simplistic issue of right versus wrong.

For every Daily Mail immigrant story, we see The Guardian wheel Owen Jones or Frankie Boyle out and pontificate, throwing around the moral high ground, essentially lecturing the readership of the right, engaging in a dismissive, possibly even arrogant rebuttal of the right wing’s name calling. The issue is that every time The Guardian does this, or The New York Times lambasts Trump, no problems are solved, no issues resolved, the chasm between the two sides simply widens. Whichever side one is on, whichever two sides are arguing, the insistence on naming the sides and picking one, almost completely eliminates fair debate, counteracts balance, and ends with name calling and mud-slinging on both sides far too often.

The rush for clickbait and traffic necessitates catchy headlines, and short opinion polls full of jargon and rhetoric. However, the insistence on using these tags to identify groups of people creates a very difficult environment for the media to operate within. For every Remoaner, we have a Brexiteer; for every alt-right we have an alt-left; for every Republican, a Democrat; for every Trumpster, a member of The Resistance. In a world where white people afraid of losing their privilege have begun using the phrase ‘reverse racism’, finding fact and objectivity in the middle of these polarising articles and tags is becoming increasingly more difficult. Take, for example, the BBC. When Daily Mail readers are calling the Beeb “a left-wing propaganda” organisation, while the more left wing Remainers will, surely, have been sick of watching the unelected, ale-drinking Nigel Farage somehow manoeuvre himself onto the channel every day for months. This difference of opinion is precisely where the difficulty lies when people are pushed to take a side, a label, and stick to it. Once the psychology of a label is attached, logic seems to be overcome by emotion.

Once a label is assigned and a side taken, the population will then pick a position and read or view news accordingly, in many cases. Trump supporters brandishing everything outside of Fox and a few others as Fake News is the best example of this. Of course, there is a gap in the middle between any two sides, where the reliable news sources should be lying, those places where people go to check the news in the morning, see what is breaking around the world, and the like. Examining the BBC in this position is an interesting place to assess the problems the media face. While more people get their news through links on social media and clickbait articles, reputable organisations like BBC must compete for their web traffic. So, there are two choices: rise above it or get in the mud. Too often, the BBC have plunged into the depths of sensationalism and throwing forth opinion. Especially when covering Trump, the smarmy interjection of heavily swayed opinion pieces muddies the reputation and impartiality of the coverage, resulting in those readers on one side of the fence casting aspersions about the company’s position. However, without the headlining and the variety of positions presented, what traffic would a company like this even receive? Should every view and opinion on topical stories be covered to provide impartiality, or should the impartiality of just the bland facts be enough?

Of course, the public must decide the solution to an extent here. The desire to be proved right and to back up an opinion or idea often determines what we read, share, like or retweet, while anything to the contrary will be dismissed, called a name, or labelled as Fake News. The key to overcoming this as a public and as an individual must be compassion, patience, and empathy. While many of the people one may read or debate with could be considered to be lacking in one or any of these qualities, exercising them ourselves is the only true way to overcome this issue of bias and emotion. Resisting the clickbait, questioning the media and being willing to see faults on both sides of the aisle is the only way this can happen.

Only once the ground between any two sides is established, both by the media, those in power, and the general public, and we begin to listen to each other and understand each other, can we begin to move forward. The media’s desire to create extremes and internet traffic drives the emotion and anger in the public. This emotion and anger drives protest, hate, crime, and violence, and the cycle restarts. Only once those left in the middle, those balanced, patient people, begin to engage and empathise and inspire, can they start to bring people together. This must come from tolerance and understanding, not arrogance and mud-slinging. This doesn’t mean violence, criminality and discrimination should be tolerated at all, we should rightly be calling out Trump for tolerating neo-Nazism and we should be protesting these people ourselves. But this must be in the name of equality and peace, not just shouting at the tv and being outraged for the sake of opinion.

Stop tagging, stop name-calling, start talking.

Article first posted here

 

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Anonymous Haters and Trolls on Social Media

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In a heated exchange with the leader of an online hate group several years ago I scorned his comment that “The wars of the future would be fought on social media.” But these days I am not so certain he wasn’t being uncharacteristically prophetic. Social media is proving to be a fertile ground for anonymous haters, trolls and abusers to spread their vitriol without fear of censure. Facebook and Twitter in particular attract a highly undesirable element who conduct themselves on the internet in a manner they would very likely not dare to in a face to face environment.

Broadly speaking, the people spreading hate on the internet fall into five distinct categories:

The Ignorant

The first group of problem social media accounts genuinely believe what they are saying. They are willing to involve themselves in discussion and make some attempt to offer evidence to back up their assertions. The trouble is that they are ignorant in the sense that they cannot discern genuine facts from fake news and bias.  They quote from secondary sources, blog sites and tabloid newspapers and frequently mistake opinion for fact.

The Easily Led

In this category I would place the people who have no particular convictions but who are responsible for sharing and liking a lot of the hate that becomes popular on social media. A prime example of the Easily Led would be the people who share click bait pictures and memes from Britain First and, thus unwittingly, give more oxygen to organised hate groups.

The Fame Hungry

For some individuals online hate is a method to propel them to notoriety. We have seen this with extremist characters like Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson who put out more and more extreme posts in an attempt to build a platform for their hate. Their overriding objective is personal fame. This can also be seen with a lot of accounts who use hate speech to gain followers and, therefore, popularity on social media platforms.

Prejudice Promotors

In the modern world of the internet – racists, homophobes, Islamophobes and Anti Semites no longer need to lurk in the dark shadows of their local pub sharing views with a handful of people. Social media is the perfect tool for this category to spread their genuine hate and prejudicial views.

This category absolutely believe in what they are saying and actively attempt to convert others to their way of thinking. Unlike the Ignorant these people are not being swayed by propaganda – this lot are the ones creating the propaganda.

Trolls

Trolls basically just like causing trouble. They will take the most contentious side of any online debate but have little interest in anything other than the reaction they will cause. They will throw insults, harass and target people in the hope of causing distress. They are usually pretty thick.

In order to combat the rising tide of hate on social media it is important that all these different categories of people are tackled. Each category needs to be approached with different tactics.

In the case of the Ignorant it is important to educate them. Link to quality news articles, statistics, and fact based media to encourage them to challenge their views.  It is also important to humanise the victims they are dehumanising. Share personal accounts from individuals in minority groups who have experienced hate and discrimination so the Ignorant can understand the very real impact their hate has on others.

Don’t get downhearted if they openly reject the information you provide. It is more important to get them thinking than it is to emerge the victor in a Twitter row.

Education is also the best tool against the Easily Led. Don’t be afraid to tell friends and family why you found that meme or picture that they shared offensive. In some cases they may genuinely not know that “Like and share if you think this puppy is cute” is actually a cynical marketing ploy for hate pages to acquire more likes and followers.

The best way to react to the Fame Hungry is not to respond at all. Any reaction will give them the result they want which is increased exposure for their views. Sharing their posts or retweeting them – even with a view to shaming them – will just enable their hate to be seen by more people. There are exceptions to this, Resisting Hate and other anti hate groups will sometimes share hate posts in the full knowledge that our followers will report the accounts where they breach social media Terms of Service. (Be careful however not to openly ask people to report as this can get your own account suspended. We usually just highlight the offensive post and then trust our followers to make their own judgement about reporting.)

Prejudice Promoters clearly need stopping. There are a great many places where the perpetrators of online hate can be reported. Reporting these accounts can help to limit the spread of their influence and will also deter them from making new accounts to spread their bile.  Not only can hate be reported to the social media platforms themselves but in cases where a post on social media is breaching the laws of the country it is often worth bringing it to the attention of law enforcement too.

Resisting Hate often contact the employers of radical haters with screenshots of the views they are promoting and this has tactic been very successful in establishing clear consequences for the publication of discrimination and prejudice using social media accounts.

Most social media platforms also have the function where problem accounts can be muted or blocked. Take full advantage of these tools. You have every right to engage online without being subject to abuse.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Hater Forgets Own Posts

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We find a lot of haters are delusional but this one we encountered today took the cake as well as the biscuit as he actually managed to forget the content of his own time line. Resisting Hate pointed out he was an Islamophobe, an allegation our hater vehemently denied, asking us to prove it.

So we did….

 

We would remind our readers that all of these tweets have been put onto a public social media platform by the individual himself with no amendments or alterations by ourselves.

 

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Sickening Social Media Comments

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Right. All of you know what happened yesterday, no one could have logged into Facebook, Twitter, looked on TV, seen papers, internet news etc…without seeing it.

As you would expect, the medical, police and fire service were praised (as they should be), there was a gathering of COBRA, statements from the PM, Queen, Heads of State from over the world and a general outpouring of sadness over what has happened as it was truly tragic and an evil act.

But what I am also seeing is the outpouring of idiocy, ignorance, stupidity, mind numbing moronicness being expressed on social media.

It all started within minutes of the event. I was plodding along happily on my Halal Kitty account on Twitter, answering ignorant idiots like I normally do. Suddenly the first report is made. Not from a news agency but on Twitter, as is the speed of the modern age. Within 3 minutes of me seeing one of the first posts about an “explosion”, a troll who had been trying to engage me for 36 hours or so started off with “Looks like it’s your religion of peace again“.

Ok, water off a ducks back. Feel free to think what you like, your ignorance with that kind of comment is clear for all people with more than 2 brain cells to see. But they were then joined by a second person, then a third, I went off to make a cup of tea and by the time I got back I had been tweeted by almost 40 ignorant idiots. It got so bad that I had to turn off the notifications on both my phone and iPad as the idiots debated between themselves about whether or not “Liberals will agree this time that we have blood on our hands“. (You may well say block the idiots, but believe me, as soon as you block one, another takes its place, or they jump on a second account and engage from there)

And then we come to Facebook. As you would expect, within my own account there was no rubbish however I jumped onto the Mock The Right and Resisting Hate pages to discover that trolls had decided to make some quite disgusting comments. After fighting against a tide of ignorance and bigotry for a good hour or so I had enough and decided that rather than give my customary warnings about hate speech, doxxing and comments made purely for the purpose of giving offence, I would just ban idiots from the page with no warning.

It still surprises me that people with the attitudes that I have seen in the last 24 hours can function in society. Muslims have been part of our country for quite a while. Looking into the history during a ‘polite altercation’ with a bigot last week, I saw that Muslims have been here before Elizabethan times, so pre 16th century. In fact it was in Elizabethan England that Muslims are first recorded as openly living and practicing their faith. These idiots who think that the Islamic faith has only been here for the last 20 years or so are totally wrong (although apparently the far right believe liberal scholars have changed history to fit in with our liberal belief system.)

Anyhow, I have spent the last 24 hours collating information for the police in relation to hate speech and reporting it so they can take action (I have given an overview of some of the comments above below but have deleted the identities of private individuals so that this post can’t be reported. Needless to say that these plus a lot more have been passed to the police 👮– some were so bad that even with masses of editing there was no way I could post it on a public website.

I do hope that one way or another the people involved see that there are those of us who not only report posts but who also openly say that these things are unacceptable. I really hope that some of these haters feel ashamed about what they have said today in the wake of this tragedy (although I don’t really think they will).

If I was filled with this kind of venom I would hate to have my family, employer, neighbour, passer by know that I held these views. I would want the earth to swallow me up.

I hope that they slither back into the vile hole that they came from.

Halal Kitty


Halal Kitty is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate, and a regular contributor to the group’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.

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AMD – Why Debate When You Can Block?

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Anne Marie Waters is the director of Sharia Watch, an anti Islam organisation with links to Pegida UK, Tommy Robinson and (after being rejected by Labour) UKIP.

We encountered Ms Waters on Twitter the other day and engaged in a brief debate with her.

We were discussing the news headlines in relation to child abuse and grooming gangs in the UK. This has been a great concern to many people and we explained that our group oppose paedophilia from any community or religion.

We have strong views on child safety and support tough penal sanctions when children are found to have been abused or harmed. But Anne Marie seemed less interested in the children than we were as she repeatedly insisted on making the discussion about her anti Islam views.

 

We explained that we do not support child marriage because it is both wrong and illegal but Anne Marie was only interested in using the discussion to justify her negative views toward Islam.

We had to repeat ourselves to her followers who also seemed keen to jump on the anti Islam bandwagon.

Anne Marie went on to try and justify her hate by claiming she knows more than we do. A rather juvenile debating tactic but to be honest by this point our hopes of a good quality debate were not high.

We explained our philosophy. The idea of integration between communities is very important to us and integral to our group belief that all people are equal. But the concept of division was just a buzz word as far a Anne Marie was concerned. She was much more interested in telling us about the “religious misogynist rapists” that she believes all Muslims to be.

At this point Anne Marie became angry when we pointed out the flaws in her logic and told her we believed her conclusions about Muslims to be erroneous.

She challenged us to prove that she blames all Muslims so we showed her this.

We had made our points succinctly and (I like to think) politely but at this point Anne Marie decided to resort to the good old argumentum ad hominem and start to insult us rather than debate the points we were making.

Our level of intelligence seemed her choice of theme for some time as she struggled impotently to bluster her way out of the hole she had dug for herself.

And then of course her followers got in on the act…

Eventually the penny started to drop that she was making a bit of a prat of herself

And yes, you guessed it…Blocked

So there you have it. Not the most eloquent display of intellect but then to be fair we weren’t really expecting it from a UKIP candidate. Bias, bigotry and balderdash seems a fair summary of her views…

 

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Acceptance And Understanding

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As a co founder of anti hate group Resisting Hate I encounter prejudice every day. Social media is rife with bigotry toward Muslims, Jews, the LGBT community, People of colour, women and indeed just about every demographic and community in the country.

It is important to be clear that the peaceable majority of people, both on and off social media, do not endorse prejudice and hate. The voices of the vociferous minority can be and are tackled regularly by those of us who stand up for the values of equality and diversity and who reject the idea that anybody should be persecuted for being true to who they are as an individual.

However it is important that we combat prejudice in the right way. I am concerned that the criteria for acceptance is all too often intertwined with the need for personal understanding. The rationale is – If you can make me understand why you need to do something then I will defend your right to do it. But this is narrow minded because what it is actually saying is that in order for your actions to be acceptable they must be validated by my values, not yours.

To give a specific example of this, I witnessed a discussion on Twitter the other day between a practitioner of the Jewish faith and a (rather belligerent) individual who objected to the practise of ritual animal slaughter under Kosher laws. The objector was asking a string of questions demanding the Jewish person explain the belief itself, why he felt it necessary to follow the practise in his personal life and whether he thought religious slaughter was in keeping with British cultural values. The expectation was that in order for the objector to accept the right to religious slaughter he must first have it explained to him in such a way that made it compatible with his own personal world view.

I encountered something very similar after publishing my article on the rights of Muslim ladies to wear the niqab. A lot of the comments I received were directed at the perceived need for Muslim ladies to explain why they felt the need to cover their faces. The implication was that if they could justify this need to the satisfaction of the niqab detractors then that would make the practise more acceptable.

The trouble with this way of thinking is that is bases the concept of acceptance on the personal views and ability to understand of those questioning the practises of other faiths and cultures. This is effectively prejudice in itself because it is denying the rights of others to self validate. It is my view that accepting the practises of other faiths and cultures should not be based on their ability to explain themselves in such a way that makes them palatable to Western values. We need to respect the rights of others to determine what is right for them based on their own values and beliefs.

To return to the example of the niqab, it is not necessary for me to understand why a Muslim lady would want to wear it or to have any desire to wear it myself in order to respect her right to make the choice that covering her face is appropriate for her. If I make this issue about my understanding and my cultural values then I am essentially saying that my values are more important than hers which is, of course, just reinforcing discrimination and prejudice.

Defending a person’s right to practise their faith or culture is not about understanding why it is they do what they do. It is about appreciating that people have the right to act in accordance with their own cultural values even if they cannot easily be understood by others. What we as battlers of prejudice should be doing is defending people’s rights. It was not necessary for our Kosher law objector to understand why it was important to the Jewish practitioner that their food be kosher. It should have been enough that it mattered to the Jewish individual, that it worked for him and that he was acting in accordance with his own world view. It was his right to act as he deemed fit, regardless of anybody else’s inability to understand why Kosher slaughter was important to him.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t ask questions about other faiths and cultures. To the contrary I am very positive about the fact that a greater level of knowledge of other cultures will help break down barriers and tackle prejudice. But it is important that we do not underpin our acceptance of others on our ability to understand them.

True acceptance and true respect must be based on the principle that even if you do not understand what is necessary for someone to actualise themselves as an individual, you support their right to make the choice and you defend their right to it.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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2017 GE UKIP Candidate Posts Hate Tweets

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Caroline Santos was the UKIP candidate for the Scotland constituency Argyll and Bute. She plans to contest the Rutherglen/Hamilton West seat at the 2017 General Election.

We came across Caroline very recently when this tweet was brought to our attention by an anonymous third party with concerns that an individual representing a mainstream party should not be expressing such divisive and discriminatory views.

We looked deeper into her timeline and found a series of tweets containing Islamophobic content including:

Further research back on her Twitter time line shows that these are not isolated examples of her bigotry

It would also appear that Caroline’s issues do not end with Islam. She also likes to share her racist views on Twitter too.

We are surprised to see UKIP endorsing a candidate with such hate views, as the party have made several claims that they do not identify as an anti Islam party. Paul Nuttall, the UKIP leader, recently defined the party as “pro integration.” The views of Caroline Santos appear to promote anything but integration. It is hard to imagine any community wanting to integrate with a candidate who calls their religion a “cancer” and the individuals who practise the faith “savage barbaric bastards.”

We asked Caroline if she would like to offer a comment on her tweet. Initially she did not:

However – after she agreed to a call from a freelance journalist who writes for The Independent – she offered us the chance to call too

We did try to ring but the line was engaged. However we are more than willing to update our article if Ms Santos would like to offer any comments explaining how she believes her rabid Islamophobic views would be of benefit to either the UKIP party or the constituents she hopes to represent.

The issues raised here can only be explained in one of two ways. Either UKIP are intentionally recruiting Islamophobic bigots as candidates to represent them or Caroline Santos’ tweets are not indicative of the UKIP ethos in which case she is misrepresenting them and should be asked to stand down. We shall look forward to either an admission from Nuttall that UKIP actually is the racist, Islamophobic party we and other critics believe it to be or a resignation from Caroline Santos confirming her extremism is not compatible with the UKIP manifesto.

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Katie Hopkins Your Hate Has Gone Too Far

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Accustomed as I am to reading the attention seeking articles and tweets from Katie Hopkins with a sharp intake of breath, her online antics this week have taken me even closer to an apoplectic asthma attack than usual.

Few of you will need reminding of the tweet I am referring to:

It is important to put some context into this. This isn’t an isolated example of a journalist having a strong opinion and expressing it unwisely, this is the latest in a garrulous and spiteful sequence of online hate tweets, abusive newspaper articles and bigoted radio appearances displaying mockery and cruelty to people from different community groups to Ms Hopkins herself. It is, in short, hate speech.

Ms Hopkins rejects the idea of online hate speech. She claims “There is no such thing as online hate crime. Just cowardice and illiteracy from intolerants.” Ms Hopkins is wrong. Hate speech is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “Abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.”

It is my belief that all these tweets published by Katie Hopkins fit this definition of hate speech.

The laws of the country relating to hate speech are clear. The 1986 Public Order Act states:

A person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, is guilty of an offence if they intends thereby to stir up racial hatred or having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby”.

This was amended with the 2006 Racial and Religious Hatred Act to add “A person who uses threatening words or behaviour or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.”

I would argue that this recent tweet by Katie Hopkins and indeed many of the older tweets in her Twitter time line are in clear breach of UK law.

There are good reasons why we have laws against hate speech. The laws are there to protect the persecution of innocent people and to promote safety and security in society by prohibiting speech that may incite public violence. When we allow Katie Hopkins (or anybody for that matter) to openly, consistently and publicly flout the laws of the land we are risking not just the security of the people but the integrity of the UK legal system itself.

I would be prepared to bet that Katie has no stronger personal views on the Islamic celebration of Ramadan than she has on any of the topics she so freely espouses with her trademark venom. She jumps on the bandwagon of controversy with any topic in the news (see her disgusting comments on the parents of Madeleine McCann) and sees making cheap Islamophobic jibes as a way to raise her profile. Such hate rhetoric is ignorant and dangerous enough when spouted by the small fry Twitter accounts that Resisting Hate often get suspended. Talk like that coming from a journalist employed by the Daily Mail, the most read newspaper in the country, takes danger to simply unacceptable levels.

Many people say the only way to deal with Katie Hopkins is to ignore her. I disagree. I am not willing to ignore hate speech published in the newspapers and social media. I am not willing to allow our Muslim communities to be slandered with these lies and hate inciting tweets. I am not willing to turn my back on this rubbish and neither should you be. We have laws in this country for a reason. This woman has broken these laws time and time again and she needs to be held accountable for her actions.

If not now, then just when do we draw the line? Just how much hate are we going to watch Katie Hopkins spout before enough is enough? I have reported her to both the police and Twitter. If you agree with me that she is guilty of hate speech then I suggest you report her as well.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Paul Watson – @PrisonPlanet

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Today our featured hater is Budget Milo himself, Paul Joseph Watson – aka @PrisonPlanet.

Some of you may have seen his videos, short snappy little numbers where he rants and raves about “lefties” and “the evils of Islam”. He has his own YouTube Channel with quite a following of people who like his posts. He has in excess of 750,000 people and over 160,000,000 views since starting his videos.

Back in November 2016 Watson stated that he considered himself to be a member of the “New Right” rather than “alt-right”. He had commented previously that he was libertarian but ceased that self description saying that Gary Johnson (ex Republican who went on to be nominee for the Libertarian Party in the USA) made the word one he didn’t want to be associated with.

Watson was originally from Sheffield and moved from there in November 2016 to Battersea in London. From his London premises he has established himself as a public supporter of Trump but usually concentrates on attacking Trump’s opponents. To give a good example he pushed on with the “news” that Hillary Clinton had brain damage despite this being confirmed as a hoax. This clearly shows that far from being reliable, Watson does very little fact checking and often ends up with egg on his face.

In addition to the Clinton news, Watson also wrote and posted an article regarding Donald Trump using racist and sexist language which was allegedly caught on a recording made by the Secret Service. Rather than fact checking, Watson published the story on the InfoWars website. This was actually a hoax news story which was created to a Scottish gentleman. Details of the publication are on the BuzzFeed Site.

In February 2017, when news of “mass rapes in Sweden by immigrants” hit far right websites and Facebook pages, Watson posted a tweet offering to pay for any reporter to visit and stay in Malmo in (what he called) crime ridden migrant suburbs. Out of all the people who said that they would go, he chose a man called Tim Pool who got $2000 from Watson. The Huffington Post did a report on their conversation with Pool on the 21st February and looking at the comments Pool has made so far Watson may well get a different response to the one he was likely hoping for.

A quick scan of the website Watson writes on (“Prison Planet”) gives a clear idea on his stance in relation to society. Recent stories include:

1. The Deep State War on Trump
2. Proof: Muslims Celebrated Terror Attack in London
3. My Last Ever YouTube Video
4. Facebook Helps Pakistan Identify Thought Criminals
5. Joking About Nazis Makes You a Nazi, According to the Left

Now, as you can imagine, these posts are mind numbing and full of opinions dressed up as facts. Also, he posts a hell of a lot of content which is just plain fake (as well as using a confusing combination of upper case and lower case words in his titles). I did get hopeful about post number 3. I was hoping that it was going to be about him planning to disappear but no such luck. This was a clickbait post where Watson asked people to share it as much as they could because the ‘establishment media’ is pressuring YouTube to censor Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson as they are ‘extremists’.

Unfortunately it wasn’t Watson’s last video and he has actually made a further 7 videos in the last 6 days. (Wonder if he can be got for a breach of promise…? 😂)

In addition to plain old Islamophobic posts, Watson also shows he is both racist and a clueless conspiracy theorist. Now, we would never accuse anybody of racism without proof so our rationale of the accusation is as follows:

On the 5th January 2017, the Black Lives Matter group were accused by the far right of being involved in the kidnap of a white man by 4 black people, who were arrested the previous day. They used the hashtag #BLMKidnapping when talking about the kidnapping despite no actual connection having been made between the Black Lives Matter group and the 4 people arrested. Watson was one of the first to post, tweeting his followers to use the #BLMKidnapping hashtag to get the report trending. When he subsequently wrote an article about the case, he included a shot of his tweet but didn’t mention Black Lives Matter or how he tied them to the kidnapping, despite a further tweet being posted by Watson describing the victim as a “BLM torture victim”.

Further posts by Watson which show what a conspiracy theorist he is include (from the InfoWars website)

1. 4th May 2011 – Top Government Insider: Bin Laden died in 2001, 9/11 a false flag
2. June 8th 2010 – Evidence Points to BP Oil Spill False Flag
3. 2nd May 2011 – Inside Sources: Bin Laden’s corpse has been on ice for nearly a decade
4. 3rd August 2015 – Why Are Feminists Fat & Ugly? find out what science has to say

As you can see, Watson is obsessed with conspiracies, especially those relating to the Sandy Hook massacre. This is all something that needs to be kept in mind when listening to his rants about Muslims, rape gangs and the laughable “evidence” he tries to provide for ‘creeping sharia.’

Unfortunately, a lot of people believe the stuff that Watson writes, which sadly says as much about the people who share his stuff as it does about Watson himself. Hopefully as more people realise he is so poorly informed it will reduce the number of people who share it online.

Halal Kitty is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate, and a regular contributor to the group’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.

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