YouTube to Begin Censorship Via Mob Rule as Internet Titans Turn Liberal

Constitution, by Andrew West, August 1, 2017:

The war on conservatism has been waging on the internet for years, and now, YouTube is looking to get in on the action.

Recently, internet giants such as Google and Facebook have been working overtime to restrict the world’s access to non-mainstream media.  Facebook has been extremely egregious in their anti-conservative slant, openly admitting to employing a team of censors to eliminate right wing sources from appearing within their “trending topics” section.  This corrupt curation has been lambasted by watchdog groups the world over as nothing more than totalitarian censorship carried out by a power-hungry CEO.

Google has had its fair share of conservative controversy as well, as a number of popular search terms were neutered by the world’s most popular search engine.  Particularly, during the 2016 election, any searches for negative information on Hillary Clinton were either buried or completely omitted from the autocomplete results displayed on the website.

Furthermore, Google has already received record fines in Europe for their self-serving product search modifications that pointed consumers to Google-owned or Google-centric devices as opposed to the most popular devices as the website purported to be doing.

Now it looks as though YouTube, which is owned by Google, will also look to rig its search results, leaving free speech advocates concerned over the reality-shaping leftist scam completely inundating the internet as we know it.

“According to a post on YouTube’s official blog, videos will now be subject to the rule of the mob. If enough users flag a video as ‘hate speech’ or ‘violent extremism,’ YouTube may impose restrictions on the content even if it breaks none of the platform’s rules.

“‘We’ll soon be applying tougher treatment to videos that aren’t illegal but have been flagged by users as potential violations of our policies on hate speech and violent extremism. If we find that these videos don’t violate our policies but contain controversial religious or supremacist content, they will be placed in a limited state. The videos will remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, won’t be recommended, won’t be monetized, and won’t have key features including comments, suggested videos, and likes.’

“YouTube has also rolled out a ‘trusted flagger’ program, in which 15 ‘expert NGOs and institutions’ to help them identify hate speech and extremism on their platform.

“Among these organizations are the No Hate Speech Movement, a left-wing project pushed by the Council of Europe, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, an organization whose president has been accused of ‘manufacturing outrage’ by the World Jewish Congress.

“YouTube is also planning to artificially alter its search results so that searches for ‘sensitive’ topics on YouTube no longer return the most popular videos, but a ‘playlist of curated YouTube videos that directly confront and debunk violent extremist messages.’”

While the concept of censoring hateful videos seems innocuous enough, the reality of this overreach will likely be much more damaging than imagined.

Free speech in America has been under attack for some time, with February’s UC Berkeley riots being the flashpoint for the liberal New Fascist movement to bolster their offensives.  These militant leftists believe that the First Amendment should be rewritten to nullify free speech in cases where people are offended.

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Also see:

YOUTUBE’S DANGEROUS CONFLATION OF “TERRORISM” AND “INFLAMMATORY SPEECH” by Daniel Greenfield

Google was unique as a major dot com with an absolutist position on free speech. Where Twitter eagerly censored the right and favored the left, Facebook favored the left, Google stood by free speech.

When Obama came looking for a Benghazi scapegoat and seized on the Innocence of Muslims video, not only did YouTube refuse to take it down, but Google fought an extended court battle over it. It was an impressive feat that is coming undone.

Google News and then Google began baking in partisan “fact checks” into search results. Then the search algorithms were retooled to promote Islamist views over those of counterterrorism critics, as Robert Spencer has discussed.  Search for Jihad and you’ll find Islamist results while Jihad Watch has been buried.

Now Google will have a cage for “inflammatory videos”. As a subset of measures being taken to flag pro-terrorist videos, there will be a crackdown on non-violent but inflammatory videos.

Third, we will be taking a tougher stance on videos that do not clearly violate our policies — for example, videos that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content. In future these will appear behind an interstitial warning and they will not be monetised, recommended or eligible for comments or user endorsements. That means these videos will have less engagement and be harder to find. We think this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints.

The question is who decides what is inflammatory or offensive. And what are the metrics?

Google is a private company. It has the right to decide who uses its service. But

1. Google is vocally fighting for Net Neutrality. There’s a good deal of hypocrisy in demanding that cable companies shouldn’t be able to rein in YouTube’s bandwidth as part of their own corporate policies, while playing the capitalism card when it suits it.

2. Google is a monopoly. There’s no way around it. It controls much of the internet. Its dominance in search is particularly troubling. As it begins biasing its results, the worry stops being abstract and becomes a real threat to freedom of speech. When a corporate monopoly can silence political dissent, we’re in troubling territory.

And this needs to be addressed.

YouTube terminates jihadi monitoring channel. ISIS/AQ vids remain

Rego Korosi | Flickr

THE VIDEO-SHARING GIANT HAS SHUT DOWN THE SITE INTEL GROUP.

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Jully 25, 2017:

YouTube continues its crackdown on individuals and groups that expose radical Islamic terror, while allowing for jihadi material to remain on its platform for years.

The Site Intelligence Group, a Washington, D.C.-area terrorist monitoring organization, revealed Monday that YouTube has banned the group “due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines.”

Site founder Rita Katz protested the ban, describing her company’s page as providing “carefully edited education-purposed clips of jihadi materials.”

And Site has received bipartisan recognition for its work. On Monday, New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi voiced her frustration with the “broken regulations” of YouTube that still allows ISIS videos but bans groups like Site.

YouTube has in the past commented to Conservative Review about its editorial policies: “we take our role in combating the spread of extremist material very seriously.”

Though YouTube has chosen to terminate Site from its platform, the Google-owned organization continues to be a platform for radical extremist content.

One can still easily find ISIS recruitment videos and lectures from former al-Qaida chief propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki. Extremist content from hate imams who are credited with inspiring terrorist attacks such as the one in June at London Bridge are also readily available.

Meanwhile, the platform continues its quick trigger approach when targeting right-of-center authors.

CRTV’s Michelle Malkin recently published a piece in Conservative Review documenting her own experiences utilizing the platform. “Anti-jihad and conservative content creators have been throttled, flagged, demonetized and kicked off the site since the P.C. hammer first came down on me,” Malkin explained.

The Site Intelligence Group did not return a request for comment.

Also see:

Did Facebook Just Agree to Enforce Blasphemy Laws?

(Photo; Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Meira Svirsky, July 13, 2017

Doublespeak is language that deliberately distorts or even reverses the meaning of words. For example, when critics of radical Islam expose this extremism for what is it, Islamists and their “progressive” enablers call them “Islamophobes;” when those who call themselves “social justice warriors” campaigning for tolerance exhibit just the opposite (i.e., intolerance) by shutting down any conversation with which they don’t agree; when others force their religious beliefs (i.e., blasphemy laws) upon others in the name of freedom of religion (as in Canada’s new motion against criticism of Islam); or when perpetrators of crimes frame themselves as victims.

Doublespeak often leads to doublethink, as George Orwell writes in his seminal novel Nineteen Eight-Four: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.” In the novel, people explicitly learn doublethink due to peer pressure and a desire to fit in or gain status with in the “Party.”

With these definitions in mind, Clarion Project launches a week-long expose of some of the worst offenders:

A high-level Facebook executive met with the interior minister in Pakistan last week to discuss Pakistan’s demand that the social media platform remove what the Islamist country deems “blasphemous content.”

The fact the meeting took place at all speaks volumes about Facebook’s intent.

First, the tete-a-tete, the first-ever discussion on the issue between a senior Facebook exec and the Pakistani government, comes on the heels of the decision by a Pakistani “counter-terrorism” court to sentence a 30-year-old man to death for making “blasphemous” comments on Facebook.

Such an outrageous verdict should have caused any company serious about human rights to refuse to engage with such a regime. Even the fact that there exists such a law such a law that violates the basic — and what should be universal — right to freedom of speech should be reason to protest.

Yet apparently, business is business for Facebook.

Facebook has 33-million users in Pakistan. So not only did Facebook engage with the Pakistani government, they made assurances to the sharia-compliant country that they were committed to keeping their platform “safe” by “promoting values” that are in congruence with their “community standards.”

Facebook also committed to removing explicit, hateful and provocative posts that incite violence and terrorism.

In Pakistan, that means blasphemous content (as per Pakistan’s definition of blasphemy). Because in Pakistan, just the mere mention of blasphemy can incite mob violence and extra-judicial lynchings.

Pakistan is active in pursing internet service providers to convince them to make any criticism of Islam forbidden. In March, it convened a meeting of Muslim countries to discuss how they can shut down freedom of expression on social media with regards to blasphemous (read: anti-Islam) content.

As to how the meeting went with Facebook, Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said, “We appreciate the understanding shown by the Facebook administration and the cooperation being extended to us on these issues.”

So, when Facebook – which has a history of taking down material critical of Islamists — says to Pakistan it will remove “hateful and provocative” material, it is most likely doublespeak for “We will comply with Islam’s blasphemy laws.”

Unfortunately, compliance with – and even enforcement of—Islamist blasphemy laws has become an all-too-common fixture in the West.

In some cases, the West has simply bowed to Islamists under the threat of violence. After the Danish cartoon riots which spread across the globe and the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Western publications have demurred from publishing most any material deemed offensive to Islam.

Yet other examples are more insidious. Canada just passed a motion “condemning all forms of Islamophobia.” The motion, hailed as a “first-step” by its supporters, is dangerously close to and may even make illegal any criticism of Islam.

Europe, which has no bill of rights guaranteeing the freedoms enshrined in America’s constitution, has traditionally balanced freedom of expression with social concerns. In recent years, that balance has become defined through the relativistic morality of each country’s political climate, with freedom of speech in a serious decline due to pressure from Islamists and their “progressive” supporters.

If we intend to hold on to the freedoms we now take for granted in the U.S., pressure should be put on Facebook as well as any other company which exhibits compliance with sharia blasphemy laws. Otherwise, we will sadly see our rights slipping away as is the situation in Europe today.

Facebook’s Little Ethics Problem

Gatestone Institute, by Ruthie Blum, June 7, 2017:

  • Facebook has been aiding abusers of human-rights — such as China, Turkey, Russia and Pakistan — to curb the freedom of expression of their people.
  • “On the same day that we filed the report, the ‘Stop Palestinians’ page that incited against Palestinians was removed by Facebook… for ‘containing credible threat of violence’ which ‘violated our community standards.’ On the other hand, the ‘Stop Israelis’ page that incited against Israelis, was not removed. We received a response from Facebook stating that the page was ‘not in violation of Facebook’s rules.'” — Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of The Israel Law Center.
  • According to Darshan-Leitner, Facebook’s insistence that it cannot control all the content on its pages is disingenuous, if not an outright lie. After all, its algorithms are perfectly accurate when it comes to detecting users’ shopping habits.

There is a problem at Facebook. On May 8, the social media platform blocked and then shut down the pages of two popular moderate Muslim groups — on the grounds that their content was “in violation of community standards” — without explanation.

Had these pages belonged to the radicals who incite followers to violence, however, the move would have been welcome, and would have corresponded to Facebook’s Online Civil Courage Initiative, founded in Berlin in January 2016, to “challeng[e] hate speech and extremism online,” in the effort to prevent the use of social media as a platform for recruiting terrorists.

The pages that Facebook shut down, however — Ex-Muslims of North America, which has 24,000 followers; and Atheist Republic, with 1.6 million — do nothing of the sort. In fact, they are managed and followed by Arabs across the world who reject not only violence and terrorism, but Islam as a religion.

This, it turns out, is precisely the problem.

Angry Islamists, bent on silencing such “blasphemers” and “apostates,” troll social media and abuse Facebook’s complaint system. It’s a tactic that works like a charm every time, as conservative and pro-Israel individuals and groups — whose posts are disproportionately targeted by political opponents and removed by Facebook for “violating community standards” — can attest. As in most of those cases, the pages of the former Muslims were reinstated the next day, after their administrators demonstrated that the charges against them were false.

The president of Ex-Muslims of North America, Muhammad Syed, who is originally from Pakistan, complained about the practice in an open letter to Facebook, and demanded that the company do more to protect former Muslims from online harassment by Islamists:

“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 [enforcing blasphemy laws online] — giving their members easy-to-follow instructions on how to report public groups and infiltrate private ones.”

Syed also started a Change.org petition, calling on Facebook to “prevent religious extremists from censoring atheists and secularists.” According to the website Heat Street, which broke the story, there are many other secular Arab groups that have been similarly flagged by religious Muslims on social media.

For its part, Facebook continues to claim that the sheer volume of material it deals with every day makes it virtually impossible even for its algorithms to distinguish accurately between posts that violate its own “community standards” and those that do not.

This claim has been refuted by attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of Shurat HaDin – The Israel Law Center, who has been engaged in a billion-dollar class action lawsuit against Facebook for failing to prevent or halt anti-Israel incitement on its pages. Darshan-Leitner decided to put her premise to the test at the end of December 2015, by creating two fictitious Facebook pages — “Stop Palestinians” and “Stop Israelis” — and posting hate-filled comments and clips on each.

For two days, from December 28-30, Darshan-Leitner’s organization continued to increase the level of incitement on both pages. For example, a post on the “Stop Israelis page” featured an anti-Semitic cartoon and the phrase “death to all the Jews.” Simultaneously, a post on the “Stop Palestinians” page read, “Revenge against the Arab enemy. Death to all the Arabs.”

At this point, according to Darshan-Leitner, Shurat HaDin reported both pages to Facebook and requested that they be removed.

“Facebook was very quick to respond to our reports,” she said on a YouTube video.

“On the same day that we filed the report, the ‘Stop Palestinians’ page that incited against Palestinians was removed by Facebook. Facebook sent us a response stating that the page was removed for ‘containing credible threat of violence’ which ‘violated our community standards.’ On the other hand, the ‘Stop Israelis’ page that incited against Israelis, was not removed. We received a response from Facebook stating that the page was ‘not in violation of Facebook’s rules.'”

Six days later, after a huge outcry in the Hebrew press and on social media, Facebook changed its initial judgement and removed the anti-Semitic page.

This kind of behavior is just what Muhammad Syed is railing about.

“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.”

Darshan-Leitner said that although she does not consider Facebook guilty of incitement, its insistence that it cannot control all the content on its pages is disingenuous, if not an outright lie. After all, its algorithms are very accurate when it comes to detecting users’ shopping habits — information that advertisers pay a lot of money for the privilege of obtaining.

Furthermore, Facebook has been aiding abusers of human rights — such as China, Turkey, Russia and Pakistan — to curb the freedom of expression of their people. As the New York Timesreported last November, the social media giant quietly developed software to enable the Chinese government to suppress posts. This was CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s way of getting back in China’s good graces, after Facebook was banned from the enormous market in 2009.

Where Pakistan is concerned, the situation is just as delicate. In March, according to Al Jazeera, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned that blasphemous content on Facebook would be “strictly punished.”

Sharif has been trying to get social media outlets to adhere to his country’s blasphemy laws, which state that anything deemed insulting to Islam or Muhammad is a crime, and those convicted of it can be sentenced to death. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called blasphemy “an issue about the honor of every Muslim,” and threatened to “take strong action” against Facebook and other platforms that do not comply. He also mentioned, however, that Facebook had agreed to send a delegation to Pakistan to work something out.

This was a mere few months after Facebook signed a “Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online,” produced by the European Commission and also endorsed by Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube, asserting “a collective responsibility and pride in promoting and facilitating freedom of expression throughout the online world.” This, it stated, “is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population.” (Emphasis added.)

This is a far cry from a whispered exchange, caught on a hot mic on the sidelines of a United Nations development summit in New York in 2015, between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Merkel confronted Zuckerberg about not doing enough to combat “xenophobic” posts relating to the influx of migrants into Europe in general and Germany in particular.

“We need to do some work on it,” Zuckerberg responded.

So far, all of Zuckerberg’s hard work seems to be paying off, but not for former Muslims such as Syed, seeking moral and intellectual support from the like-minded.

Ruthie Blum is a journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama and the ‘Arab Spring.'”

Free Speech and Islam: Fired for Reporting the Truth

Simply tweeting video of a Muslim student characterizing his religion on an interfaith panel cost me my job.

National Review, By Andy Ngo — May 12, 2017:

Last month, I attended an interfaith panel discussion, “Unpacking Misconceptions,” at Portland State University, where I’m a political-science graduate student. I ended up being fired as the multimedia editor of our student newspaper, the Vanguard, for tweeting about what was said there.

Much of the discussion was uncontroversial. The students on the panel mainly shared complaints of what they perceived as misconceptions about their religions. A Hindu student lampooned author Reza Aslan for his depiction of Hinduism on CNN’s Believer, which showed a minority sect’s practice of eating human flesh. A Jewish student said most Jews don’t have payot, the side curls worn by some Orthodox Jewish men. An atheist student spoke on behalf of a secular-humanist worldview and challenged the audience to think about how we as a society can develop our own moral framework without religion.

At one point, a woman in the audience asked the Muslim student if a specific verse in the Koran actually permitted the killing of non-Muslims. “I can confidently tell you, when the Koran says an innocent life, it means an innocent life, regardless of the faith, the race, like, whatever you can think about as a characteristic,” he began.

At this point, I took out my mobile phone and began recording as he continued:

And some, this, that you’re referring to, killing non-Muslims, that [to be a non-believer] is only considered a crime when the country’s law, the country is based on Koranic law — that means there is no other law than the Koran. In that case, you’re given the liberty to leave the country, you can go in a different country, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. So you can go in a different country, but in a Muslim country, in a country based on the Koranic laws, disbelieving, or being an infidel, is not allowed so you will be given the choice [to leave].

Although I was not there officially as a reporter to cover the event, I shared a 40-second snippet of the video on my personal Twitter account, with a message that conveyed my understanding of the speaker’s meaning — namely, that non-Muslims would be killed or banished in a state governed by Koranic law:

At @Portland_State interfaith panel today, the Muslim student speaker said that apostates will be killed or banished in an Islamic state. pic.twitter.com/YpsVSB1w9P

— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) April 27, 2017

I later posted a longer version of the video in a follow-up tweet to provide more context:

.@Portland_State Here is full clip that I recorded. An audience member asked about Quran 5:51 & “infidels.” He summarizes Quran 5:32 just before video starts pic.twitter.com/7FMgsPbFR6

— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) April 27, 2017

This longer video includes a response by someone in the audience who disagreed with the speaker, saying it was “perfectly okay for non-Muslims to live in Muslim lands.” The audience member cited the existence of religious-minority communities in the Middle East as an example of Islamic tolerance.

Four days later, the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper called me into a meeting. The paper’s managing editor was also present. They asked me about a Breitbart piece describing the event. It was the first time I’d seen the piece, which included my tweets and a tweet from one of the panelists.

My editor, whom I deeply respected at the time, called me “predatory” and “reckless,” telling me I had put the life and well-being of the Muslim student and his family at risk. She said that my tweets implied the student advocated the killing of atheists. Another person in the meeting said I should have taken into account the plight of victimized groups in the “current political climate.” The editor claimed I had “violated the paper’s ethical standards” by not “minimizing harm” toward the speaker.

As far as I’m concerned, the job of any reporter is to report facts, and that’s what I was doing when I tweeted about the panel.

All these accusations were shocking to me. Moments after publishing the original video, I shared the tweet with the editor and a Vanguard reporter who was at the event. Neither of them expressed any outrage in response back then. The tweets apparently only became “predatory” and “reckless” when conservative sites picked up on them.

In my defense, I told the two editors that I had simply been relating the speaker’s words. While dozens of Muslim states do not consider apostasy or blasphemy a crime, 13 Muslim-majority countries punish these actions with death. The speaker was admitting as much, and as someone who has covered the persecution of atheists and apostates in Muslim countries, I considered that newsworthy.

Nevertheless, my editor turned to me and said, “We have to ask you to step aside.” She said I had “a history” of affiliation with conservative media, and argued that that history was toxic to the “reputation of the Vanguard.”

The Vanguard rejected my original idea for this piece when I pitched it to them, citing concerns that it would cause the unnamed Muslim panelist further distress. For my own part, I remain baffled by my former editors’ reasoning. As far as I’m concerned, the job of any reporter is to report facts, and that’s what I was doing when I tweeted about the panel. I find it distressing that I could be fired for continuing to uphold that mission when the facts in question are liable to make people uncomfortable, as facts often are. Much like the student I spoke to that evening at the panel, I was disinclined to sugarcoat the truth. I just couldn’t have imagined it would cost me so dearly.

— Andy Ngo is a graduate student in political science at Portland State University. He is the former multimedia editor of the Portland State Vanguard.

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)

How to Silence a Feminist Icon

MEF, by Winfield Myers
The Daily Caller
April 27, 2017

The latest speaker to be “disinvited” from an American college is prominent feminist scholar Phyllis Chesler, whose participation in a University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, symposium on honor killing earlier this month was nixed days before the event. Behind the cancellation lies a sordid tale involving faculty machinations, threats from a dean, and at least one shattered window. Together, these events offer a case study on the intellectual and moral corruption of academe.

Chesler is an emerita professor of psychology and women’s studies at the City University of New York whose pioneering scholarship exposed the horrors of honor killing, forced marriages, and other brutalities women suffer in Muslim lands and beyond. She was invited to deliver a lunchtime lecture on “Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings” at a conference on “Violence in the Name of Honor: Confronting and Responding to Honor Killings and Forced Marriage in the West” on April 13-14, cosponsored by the law school and the Saudi-funded King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies.

Emails obtained by Campus Watch (CW) from university personnel who requested anonymity show that early on the morning of April 7, a triad of professors – Joel Gordon, Mohja Kahf, and Ted R. Swedenburg – pressured Center director Thomas Paradise to cancel Chesler’s appearance. They were joined by a dean—the emails point to Arts and Sciences Dean Todd G. Shields as the likely suspect—who threatened to cancel the symposium and freeze funding for the Middle East Studies Program (MEST), a unit of the King Fahd Center, if Chesler spoke.

The professorial trio plotted to isolate and besmirch Chesler, should their efforts to disinvite her fail. The three demanded that a “qualified” speaker—i.e., one who disagreed with her—follow Chesler’s remarks, that MEST “publicly withdraw its sponsorship,” and that it provide copies of “Islamophobia Is Racism,” a flagrantly biased, pro-Islamist bibliography “created by a collective of academics inspired by the Ferguson syllabus, for distribution at the symposium.” To complete their virtue signaling, a statement would be read “condemning Islamophobia and bigotry, and affirming [MEST’s] commitment to gender justice and diversity.”

Chesler was charged with “Islamophobia,” a verbal weapon created to question the emotional stability of its targets and silence all criticism of Islam rather than advance debate. Its use against Chesler, herself a psychologist, is not the last irony of this episode.

Some opponents also resorted to violence to silence an outspoken opponent of violence against women. According to emails dated April 7, a window was “shattered” at the private home of Fahd Center director Paradise to further intimidate him into cancelling Chesler’s lecture. A faculty email that day states “the insurance co will replace it [the broken window] without a formal police report too which makes it all easier.” How much easier is made clear by the fact that despite this first-hand account obtained by CW, the University of Arkansas Police and the Fayetteville Police Department informed CW that there are no records of broken windows either at Paradise’s house or at a university building. No report filed means no investigation, no paper trail, and no publicity—smart moves if the goal is to shield the university from bad news rather than apprehend the perpetrator(s).

The university has a chapter of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), a Saudi-founded organization that promotes Islamist propaganda—including Islamic supremacism, opposition to women’s rights, hostility toward America, and anti-Semitism—on campuses nationwide. That Islamists played a role in cancelling Chesler’s talk is revealed in a professor’s April 7 email stating that he anticipated “campus Muslim organizations would get involved” and “a Muslim RSO [Registered Student Organization] might be involved too.”

Later that day the same professor emailed a colleague that things were “getting heated,” “really getting ugly and complicated,” and that “it is getting ugly and they are rallying.”

That bigotry triumphed in Fayetteville last week. Chesler’s scholarship exposing the horrific crimes of honor killings and forced marriages sank her invitation not because she’s “Islamophobic,” but precisely because her work undermines the Wahhabi-funded cult of victimology. By its tenets, because all Muslims are victims of Western colonialism and prejudice, no exposure of systemic social problems in Muslim societies—including the brutal slaughter of women—can be allowed, much less supported.

An iron triangle of politicized professors, pusillanimous deans, and petrodollars won the day in Arkansas, a triangle that must be broken for freewheeling debate to be restored at American universities.

Winfield Myers is director of academic affairs at the Middle East Forum and director of Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

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