Facebook Has Been Regularly Shutting Down Atheist and Ex-Muslim Groups

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Heat Street, by Masha Froliak, May 9, 2017:

Yesterday, Facebook restricted and then shut down the public pages of Ex-Muslims of North America (24k followers) and Atheist Republic (1,6 million followers) –groups that advocate secularism and provide support to “apostates” (people who leave Islam and who often face persecution).

In fact, the ex-Muslim group claims that for the last several years, Facebook has been continuously blocking groups like it. The ex-Muslims have written an open letter to the social media giant, calling on it to “to stop exercising intellectual persecution” against atheist and ex-Muslim organizations and to “whitelist” such vulnerable groups from organized false flagging attacks.

On Monday, Muhammad Syed, the president of the Ex-Muslims of North America took to Twitter to report that the Facebook pages of Ex-Muslims and Atheist Republic were restricted (and the next morning shut down) “in violation of Facebook’s community standards”. No details were given as to what standards were violated. On Tuesday, after appealing the case, both groups were able to regain full access to their pages.

Syed believes the pages had been targeted in coordinated attacks by Muslim fundamentalists using “simple and effective” Facebook flagging tools to report that pages falsely for standards violations. Facebook, Syed said, isn’t doing enough to protect “groups vulnerable to malicious attacks”.

In the open letter to Facebook, which was revealed to Heat Street, Syed pressures the social media company to take measures to improve its reporting mechanisms and to protect ex-Muslim groups.

“Ironically, the same social media which empowers religious minorities is susceptible to abuse by religious fundamentalists to enforce what are essentially the equivalent of online blasphemy laws. A simple English language search reveals hundreds of public groups and pages on Facebook explicitly dedicated to this purpose – giving their members easy-to-follow instructions on how to report public groups and infiltrate private ones,” Syed writes.

The Atheist Republic group has been shut down 4 times in the last two years, Syed says, and then reinstated. He adds that attacks of this nature are not new and there are there are hundreds of Facebook accounts that are working to shut down atheist and ex-Muslim public pages in an organized effort. Facebook, he alleges, is doing nothing about it.

“Arab atheists, Bangladeshi secularists, and numerous other groups have been under attack for years, as religious conservatives in the Muslim world learn to abuse Facebook’s reporting system to their advantage. Early last year, multiple atheist and secularist groups were targeted with mass, coordinated infiltration and reporting – leading to the closure of many groups. These groups were eventually restored, but only after a lengthy and sustained effort by organizers to draw public attention to the issue,” he explains.

In his letter to Facebook, Syed, with the help of the Arab Atheist Network, compiled a list of groups that have been targeted in coordinated flagging attacks and shut down by Facebook in the last several weeks. At least nine other groups have been abused with Facebook’s reporting tool.

Syed, who was raised in Pakistan, believes that ex-Muslims are among the most persecuted groups in the world and that online platforms like Facebook are the “last refuge” for many atheists and secularists in the Muslim world.

Muhammad Syed

“Many of these groups are not simply pages – they are communities in which atheists who are abandoned by those around them find comfort, support and emergency assistance in case of persecution or abuse. The closure of these groups means the loss of these vital resources for the isolated and vulnerable,” Muhammad tells Heat Street.

The letter urges Facebook to create a “whitelist” for groups and pages that are vulnerable to such attacks and asks to penalize accounts that repeatedly abuse its reporting tools.

In the meantime, as Heat Street reported, in March Facebook kowtowed to officials in Pakistan and removed “blasphemous” content insulting Islam within the country. In this instance, Facebook had no problem with censoring freedom of speech on its platform.

Other atheist groups shut down by Facebook in the course of a month:

A Science Enthusiast (750,000 members)

Arab Atheist Network (23,500 members)

Arab Atheist Forum and Network (9,200 members)

Radical Atheists without Borders (23,500 members)

Arab Atheist Syndicate (11,000 members)

Arab Atheist Syndicate, backup (5,000 members)

Humanitarian Non-Religious (32,000 members)

Human Atheists (11,000 members)

Arab Atheists Forum and Network (6,400 members)

Mind and Discussion (6,500 members)

Facebook Enforces Sharia Blasphemy Laws

Published on Mar 31, 2017 by Acts17Apologetics

http://www.answeringmuslims.com
Pakistani officials are working with Facebook to purge the social network of content deemed “blasphemous” against Muhammad and the Quran. Further, Pakistan is demanding that Facebook help track down blasphemers for extradition and trial. Is Facebook becoming Sharia compliant?

Here are links to the articles quoted in the video:
https://www.dawn.com/news/1323131/fac…
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39…
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/16/pakist…

ISIS Alleges Someone Is Publishing Fake Islamic State Magazines

12Heavy, February 4, 2017:

Islamic State terrorist channels are warning ISIS sympathizers that someone is publishing a fake, 6th edition of their Rumiyah online magazine and warning them to be careful where they download the PDF from.

The above screenshot alleges the perpetrators of the fake publication to be “the kuffar,” a broad, pejorative Islamic term meaning “disbeliever.”

It is unclear who created and distributed the alleged fake publication. However, chatter on ISIS channels indicates suspicion towards intelligence agencies like the CIA or the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).

The latest edition of the magazine was issue #5. It was released in early January and praises the terroristic possibilities of arson. It also specifically points out a target in the United States, First Baptist Dallas. First Baptist Dallas is a church in Texas that ISIS states is “a popular Crusader gathering place waiting to be burned down.”

In a November 2016 edition release of their magazine, ISIS stated that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade would be “an excellent target” for a lone wolf terrorist attack. It suggested that driving a car into a crowd would be the easiest way to carry out an attack. Soon after, 18-year-old Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove a car into a crowd of students at Ohio State University.

Somalia was recently listed as one of the countries involved in President Donald Trump’s executive order, titled “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States.” The order bans nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entry into the United States for the next 90 days and coincides with a pause in the the admission of all refugees to the U.S. for the next four months.

Read more

From Churchgoers to Military: ISIS ‘Kill Lists’ Explained

In this video released by ISIS' Amaq news agency in October 2016, jihadists patrol the streets of Mosul.

In this video released by ISIS’ Amaq news agency in October 2016, jihadists patrol the streets of Mosul.

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, December 29, 2016:

A Christmastime “hit list” of churches that appeared on a messenger app is far from the first such terrorist suggestion list, representing an escalating trend of terror supporters revealing reams of information on various targets compiled from public sources.

It’s a tactic to sow panic that ISIS and its supporters have used before: putting out a list of purported targets, random information that’s more of a data dump than a carefully curated list, often containing open-source information that a would-be jihadist could just get off of Google on his own.

It also represents the ideological crowdfunding of modern jihad: the terror outlet encourages followers to come up with ideas on training, weapons, targets and more — many of the manuals and guidebooks are not issued by the same official ISIS media outlets that produce videos and magazines, but by supporters who have never left their home countries or jihadists who have taken a trip to the Islamic State — and disseminate those tips across the web and encrypted messaging platforms.

A hacker working on the online campaign to take ISIS websites and social media accounts offline posted a screenshot of the threat discussion on Telegram that did not include a list of churches, but a link to USAChurches.org, a directory of some churches organized by state or denomination. The post also included links to Canadian, French and Dutch church directories, along with the call to target “churches, famous hotels, crowded cafes, crowded streets, markets and complexes.”

It was not issued by an official ISIS media outlet.

Before Christmas, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies to be on the alert and watch houses of worship over the holidays, adding that there wasn’t specific credible threat information. Similar alerts have previously been issued by the FBI around holidays and special events.

A spokeswoman for the FBI’s Boston office told the Boston Herald that the FBI was “aware of the recent link published online that urges attacks against U.S. churches.”

“The FBI asks members of the public to maintain awareness of their surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

It wasn’t the first time ISIS supporters had distributed a hit list of religious targets. A July list that included church and synagogue members prompted Homeland Security officials to hold a conference call with Jewish leaders to discuss the finding. The list was compiled from directories posted on the religious institutions’ websites.

That month, ISIS’ Dabiq magazine issue was titled “Break the Cross,” and argued “the true religion of Jesus Christ is a pure monotheistic submission – called Islam.” A lengthy theological argument in the issue concluded with the warning that “if you continue to disbelieve, then know that you shall be defeated and then dragged altogether into Hell as your eternal, wicked abode.” The magazine also profiled Abu Sa’d at-Trinidadi, a former Baptist from Trinidad and Tobago who converted to Islam and joined ISIS.

A hit list released by ISIS supporters the previous month featured thousands of American names including tech-industry execs and celebrities.

In June, PJM was able to download a 458-page kill list distributed by ISIS supporters on a file-sharing site. Most of the addresses on the list were in Ontario or Quebec. Many of the names were duplicates. Names appeared to follow no pattern other than being ordinary citizens, with their address, email and phone number posted. Some of the lines were gibberish, as if corrupt data had been downloaded in the process and was unedited by whoever prepared the list for release. There were two Canadians named Mohammad on the hit list.

Another #OpISIS hacker told PJM at the time that it appeared ISIS supporters were simply pulling names off of publicly accessible social media lists.

Occasionally, terrorists get hit-list names from hackers who have done their dirty work.

This year, a 20-year-old Kosovar named Ardit Ferizi was extradited from Malaysia after handing personal information of 1,351 U.S. government employees and military members over to late ISIS hacker Junaid Hussain and others in the organization “for the purpose of encouraging terrorist attacks against the identified individuals,” according to the FBI affidavit. The stolen information, which was pilfered from the website of an unidentified retail company, included emails and passwords, addresses and phone numbers.

After the hacking, in August 2015, Hussain posted a message from the Islamic State Hacking Division claiming that they’d hacked the U.S. military and government instead of snagging the information from a hacker of online shopping.

Hussain tweeted out the list with the warning: “We are in your emails and computer systems, watching and recording your every move, we have your names and addresses, we are in your emails and social media accounts, we are extracting confidential data and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands!”

Hussain was killed that month. Other operations from his ISIS hacking division included the March 2015 release of a hit list containing the names of 100 U.S. military officers. This time they also claimed they hacked the Defense Department, but the Pentagon said the information posted by ISIS was accessible via social media and people-search sites. ISIS is believed to have compiled that list starting with news articles about anti-ISIS operations featuring the names of the targeted officers.

An Army guide on operational security (OPSEC) for service members and their families warns that an al-Qaeda handbook suggested terrorists search online for data about “government personnel and all matters related to them (residence, work place, times of leaving and returning, children and places visited).”

ISIS also maintains internal hit lists. Two ISIS terrorists murdered a priest during Mass in Normandy this July; the parish was one of several on a list found when an ISIS suspect was arrested in Paris in April 2015. Authorities believe the Algerian student had been in contact with ISIS figures in Syria about proposed church attacks.

ISIS and sympathizers have been moving many of their communications and dissemination of propaganda to the encrypted Telegram app, where the pre-Christmas posting about churches was located, for greater ease of communication as Twitter has cracked down on their accounts in fits and starts.

Also see:

 

Why Are Terror Leader al-Awlaki’s Video Messages Still on YouTube?

awlaki-1Fox News Insider, December 5, 2016:

YouTube has the ability to remove videos seen as having the potential to recruit terrorists, says Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.

The judge joined Jenna Lee on Happening Now to discuss growing questions on why the videos of radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – leader of the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen – have been allowed to remain on YouTube.

Investigators have linked the ideology of al-Awlaki, who was killed in Yemen five years ago, to at least 11 incidents since 2009, including the recent attack on the campus of Ohio State University.

According to a YouTube representative, “YouTube has clear policies in prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence, and we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users.” So why then are al-Awlaki’s videos allowed to remain on the platform, Lee asked.

“The short answer is his videos are still out there because like flag burning, they are protected speech,” Napolitano said. “Even though they are hateful, even though they advocate violence, even though they are profoundly un-American, they are protected speech…protected from the government…but not protected from YouTube, which is not the government.

“So the First Amendment says the government shall not interfere with free speech, but YouTube could take them down in a flash just because it doesn’t want this stuff being propagated on its platform.”

Napolitano said YouTube should make a “business judgment” on how to handle this content.

“If they think their their shareholders want a free and open platform where any political idea can be aired no matter how horrible, hateful or harmful it may be, they should keep it on there,” he said. “But if they want to cleanse the airwaves of this horror and terror producing stuff, they can take it down with impunity.”

Twitter ‘verifies’ Muslim Brotherhood while expelling conservatives

© Getty

© Getty

The Hill, by Kyle Shideler, November 28, 2016:

Social media users have long considered Twitter’s coveted blue check mark an online status symbol.

While formally used as a way to visually display that Twitter has confirmed a given user’s identity, marketing specialists say that the little blue check mark is immense advantage to promoting one’s brand and message.

Twitter says verified accounts are those viewed as being in the “public interest,” and emphasizes “users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.”

It’s no wonder then, that social media erupted when it was discovered that the Twitter decided to verify @Ikhwanweb, the official twitter handle of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Critics have rightly pointed out that @Ikhwanweb has been used by the Muslim Brotherhood to promote violence, including publishing a 2015 call for violent jihad and “martyrdom,” and spreads anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, and anti-Western hatred online.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a global Islamic revivalist organization that seeks to take political power in order to promote its ideology, which calls for the establishment of Islamic law and ultimately promotes violent jihad against all those who oppose it, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

The Brotherhood has historically helped to spawn numerous terrorist organizations including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and even Al Qaeda, and Brotherhood members in the United States have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.

After falling from power in Egypt in 2013 amidst a popular uprising and military coup, the Muslim Brotherhood was designated as a terrorist organization by Egypt as well as the United Arab Emirates. Other regional states, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have also launched occasional crackdowns on the Islamist group, which they accuse of promoting the overthrow of governments and close ties to terrorism.

Since its ouster from power the Brotherhood has been credibly accused of waging a campaign of terror, conducting attacks on Coptic Christian churches, and assassinating of government officials.

The U.S. Congress is also currently considering legislation that would ask the State Department to designate the group as a terrorist organization. Walid Phares, a counterterrorism advisor to the Trump campaign, has said that President-Elect Trump would consider designating the group as well.

Twitter’s decision to verify the Muslim Brotherhood comes at a time when the social media company’s platform is already regarded as something of a bête noire among counterterrorism professionals who say it serves as a ready outlet  for Islamic extremists to promote their message, conduct recruiting, and even promote terror attacks.

Despite pressure from governments, Twitter’s effort to crackdown on such abuse has not been successful. In August of this year, British MPs issued a formal report that social media outlets, including Twitter, “are consciously failing” to police their platforms against terrorists.

Yet while Twitter has failed against Islamic extremists, it’s proven remarkably effective at purging right-wing voices with which it apparently disagrees.

As an example, Twitter notably yanked the same blue checkmark from Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos in January of this year before finally permanently banning the online provocateur.

Twitter argues that verification does not represent an endorsement but their use of revoking verification as a form of punishment against those with whom it disagrees belies the fact.

Twitter has also successfully purged controversial “alt-right” twitter accounts from its platform, leading Hollywood actor James Woods, a noted conservative with an active twitter following, to announce he would quit the social media platform over what he regarded as censorship.

The verification of the Muslim Brotherhood’s twitter account creates a very real, and odious, double standard. A group linked to actual terror, and designated as such by governments, receives something akin to Twitter’s imprimatur while other voices, regarded as merely offensive, have been silenced. Twitter’s success with targeting some voices, while permitting others free-reign and advantage suggests it is playing favorites.

At a minimum, the social media company should meet with Muslim Brotherhood’s critics to receive an appropriate education on the nature of the group and to show that @Ikhwanweb is far from a “public interest” group.

Even more preferably would be the revocation of @Ikhwanweb’s verification status and an investigation into what policy failures led the company to make the decision to provide the Muslim Brotherhood with verification in the first place.

Failing to do so may be viewed as an implicit endorsement of the Muslim Brotherhood and its behavior.

Kyle Shideler is the Director of the Threat Information Office at the Center For Security Policy.

Twitter Grants Verification to Muslim Brotherhood’s Violent, Anti-Semitic Online Mouthpiece

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, November 28, 2016:

The social media website Twitter is facing criticism for its recent decision to grant verification to the Muslim Brotherhood’s official mouthpiece, which routinely writes in favor of violent terror acts and disseminates anti-Semitic propaganda.

The Muslim Brotherhood–which has been designated as a terror outfit and banned by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and elsewhere–operates in the online sphere via a website known as Ikhwan Web, which serves as the Brotherhood’s “official” English-speaking feed.

Twitter recently granted verification to Ikhwan Web’s online feed, giving the organization an air of legitimacy that leading lawmakers and experts described as reckless given the Brotherhood’s history of supporting violent jihad and terrorism.

‎”Verifying the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter feed helps further their narrative of civilization-Jihad,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a Muslim Brotherhood critic who has authorized legislation to designate it in the United States as a terror organization, told the Washington Free Beacon.

“This maneuver makes the Brotherhood seem like a legitimate group while providing them cover to spread their radical version of Islam,” Cruz added. “I look forward to working with the new administration to expose the Brotherhood’s efforts to increase their influence in America.”

Ikhwan Web’s Twitter feed serves as a central hub for the Brotherhood’s radical propaganda and official statements. A Free Beacon request for comment to Twitter’s public relations department went unanswered.

Twitter has faced a wave of criticism for failing to shut down various accounts promoting radical jihad and terrorism against Western countries. Others have criticized the social media site for cracking down on accounts associated with conservative-leaning thinkers and writers.

Recent tweets indicate that the Brotherhood is, via its Twitter feed, advocating continued violence and resistance against Egypt’s ruling government. It also is working to mainstream the Brotherhood as a legitimate resistance organization and governing body.

Ikhwan Web has a history of promoting violence in the Middle East, primarily in Egypt, where the Brotherhood led a bloody coup and continues to support violence against the country’s ruling authority.

“It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom,” the Brotherhood said in a 2015 statement that was posted on Ikhwan Web.

The website also has a history of defending individuals accused of organizing terror attacks on U.S. soil.

Other recent articles posted by the group promote violence against the Israeli government and Jewish people, including one 2009 post quoting a Muslim Brotherhood leader as calling for “jihad” to “liberate” Jerusalem from Israeli control.

The Brotherhood falsely claims that Israel is attempting to vandalize Muslim holy sites and prevent access for adherents to the faith.

Other postings rally against “the ugly face” of Zionism.

Kyle Shideler, director of the Center for Security Policy’s Threat Information Office, told the Free Beacon that Twitter’s decision to grant legitimacy to the organization is “deeply concerning.”

“This decision by Twitter to provide the Muslim Brotherhood with this literal blue check of approval is deeply disconcerting,” Shideler said.

“At a time when Twitter is already facing criticism for banning individuals based solely on speech, Twitter has effectively lionized a group responsible for the burning of Coptic churches and the killing of Egyptian police and judiciary officials,” Shideler added. “How is Twitter supposed to help defeat online radicalization when it essentially endorses the biggest source for Islamist radicals in the world?”