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

***

***

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)

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.”

ISIS Is Winning the Twitter War

An ISIS propaganda poster featuring terrorist Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida / AP

An ISIS propaganda poster featuring terrorist Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Morgan Chalfant, Aug. 6, 2016:

Islamic State supporters have given the terror group an advantage over its opponents by out-tweeting critics, according to a new study.

While ISIS opponents outnumbered the group’s supporters six-to-one on Arabic-language Twitter last year, ISIS supporters “routinely outtweet opponents” and are better at using social media to propagate their message, according to a RAND Corporation study that examined ISIS Twitter networks between July 2014 and April 2015.

Researchers discovered nearly 76,000 pro-ISIS Twitter accounts using Arabic on the social media site, a marked increase over a 2014 estimate by the Brookings Institution of around 46,000 Twitter accounts used by ISIS supporters—communicating in both Arabic and English.

The RAND study found over 471,000 accounts dispersing critical messages about the terrorist group.

ISIS supporters tweeted 60 times per day on average, 50 percent more than their opponents.

“While ISIS supporters are outnumbered, it is clear that they are more active than ISIS opponents, as they produce 150 percent of opponents’ number of tweets a day. These results suggest that ISIS supporters are more energized than their opponent counterparts,” the researchers concluded in the study released on Tuesday.

“However, more than this, lexical analysis of the ISIS Supporters metacommunity demonstrates that ISIS supporters more actively adhere to good social media strategy by actively encouraging fellow supporters to ‘spread,’ ‘disseminate,’ and ‘link’ messages to expand their reach and impact,” the researchers continued.

ISIS has leveraged Twitter and other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Ask.fm, to disseminate its message and reach potential sympathizers beyond its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria. From 2011 to September 2015, roughly 30,000 foreign fighters, including thousands of Westerners and hundreds of Americans, tried to travel to Iraq and Syria, many seeking to join ISIS.

An Alabama high school student who joined the terror group first made contact with ISIS members and supporters on Twitter, according to an interview published by BuzzFeed last year.

ISIS hacking groups have also used social media to promote “kill lists” targeting U.S. military officials, law enforcement personnel, and civilians.

The State Department said in June that ISIS posed the greatest global terror threat last year, noting that the group’s “propaganda and use of social media have created new challenges for counterterrorism efforts.”

RAND researchers analyzed publicly available Twitter data over a 10-month period to understand different communities talking about ISIS and develop recommendations for U.S. and allied efforts to combat the terror group on social media.

The Obama administration has struggled to counter terrorist propaganda online. In January, it overhauled its efforts to curb ISIS and other terror groups’ digital influence with the creation of a counterterrorism task force.

The State Department, which was widely mocked in 2014 for its “Think Again Turn Away” counter-messaging campaign, shuttered its Center for Counterterrorism Communications at the start of this year after an expert panel concluded that the U.S. government should not be so overtly engaged in information operations against ISIS.

The department replaced the program with the Global Engagement Center, which largely relies on foreign states to lead counterterrorism messaging.

Twitter began suspending ISIS accounts in March 2015, which may have resulted in a gradual decline of ISIS supporters, the RAND research indicated. Still, the organization’s use of social media has exacerbated concerns about its ability to inspire future attacks like the Orlando nightclub shooting carried out by ISIS sympathizer Omar Mateen in June. That attack killed 49 people.

Phillip Lohaus, a national security expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Free Beacon that Twitter has been effective at cracking down on jihadist accounts, but that some supporters have found ways to direct individuals to ISIS resources without being flagged by the company.

“There are people who sympathize with jihadist groups, with ISIS, that are on Twitter and that know what boundaries not to cross, and therefore can serve as a conduit to point people toward certain resources or to get out messages that are sympathetic to ISIS if they’re not necessary inciting people to violence or things that Twitter would immediately kick them off for,” Lohaus explained.

He said that ISIS has used Twitter and other platforms to “create an online community” that the U.S. government has thus far been ineffective at countering.

“The way that the government has handled this so far has been to kind of send out a couple snarky tweets and they think that’s sufficient,” Lohaus explained. “The real issue here is that these jihadist groups are creating an online community. It’s not just that they’re just sending out all this horrible propaganda. It’s that they’re sending out things like poems, they’re sending out highly-polished videos, they’re sending out all kinds of essays that maybe are only tangentially related to extremists.”

The RAND study recommended that the State Department provide “social media trainings and other engagements” to ISIS opponents using Arabic-language Twitter to amplify their messages. “Of course, with al-Qa’ida and its affiliates counted among the ISIS opponents, care will have to be taken in selecting those suitable to train and empower,” the researchers noted.

RAND researchers also recommended that government organizations looking to combat ISIS with counter-messaging on Twitter should tailor their messages to target specific communities because the terror group’s Twitter community “is highly fragmented and consists of different communities that care about different topics.”

The U.S. military and State Department should also continue to highlight global atrocities committed by ISIS, the researchers wrote, highlighting data indicating that intense attention to such acts resulted in an influx of anti-ISIS messaging. “Note, however, ISIS clearly uses ultraviolence as a key component of its brand, and a messaging strategy, consequently, highlighting such actions risks playing into its hands,” they warned.

In addition to public social media platforms, ISIS has also turned to secure messaging platforms like Kik to communicate with potential supporters and fighters, which Lohaus indicated could be more of a threat than propaganda spread through Twitter.

“These are secured chat platforms where ISIS recruiters and propagandists can directly get in touch with youths or with anybody who might be interested in their cause,” Lohaus said, adding later that militants could leverage these platforms to call for future attacks against the West.

“There’s a whole section of communications in our society to which the government doesn’t have access and I think that we are already seeing Islamists exploit that, and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t for operational things either,” he said.

YouTube bans video on Muslim Brotherhood, Sharia and Civilization Jihad as “hate speech”

vlcsnap-2016-06-29-12h59m01s200

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, July 6, 2016:

Here is a full transcript of the video. Where is the “hate speech”? Where is there even any factual inaccuracy?

For the Left, truth is no defense. What they want to do is silence their ideological foes. That’s all. The problem with the increasingly mainstream concept that “hate speech is not free speech” is that what exactly constitutes “hate speech” is a subjective judgment, often based on the political proclivities of the person doing the judging. If a Leftist analyst who subscribes to the fantasy that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “firewall against extremism” is doing the judging, he may think that the information below is “hate speech,” while if someone who is aware of the true nature and magnitude of the jihad threat is the judge, he would more likely consider Hamas-linked CAIR’s “Islamophobia” reports to be genuine “hate speech.”

The concept of “hate speech” is, in reality, a tool of the powerful to silence and demonize their critics. It has no place in a free society. This action by YouTube is ominous in the extreme, and is almost certainly the harbinger of much worse to come.

You can still see the video on Facebook here, and here is the full transcript: “Killing for a Cause: Sharia Law & Civilization Jihad,” Counter Jihad, June 29, 2016:

What is Civilization Jihad? This video explains in three minutes.

We have a new video aimed at non-experts as an introduction to the basic ideas behind the Counterjihad. Please watch it, and share it with those whom you think need to see it. The text of the video is as follows:

Terrorism seems to be everywhere, and it’s getting worse. The bad guys have lots of names—ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram—but they have one thing in common. They are all killing for a cause: Islamic Law known as Sharia.

Sharia is a return to medieval Islam. Sharia demands a Holy War calledJihad. The most widely available book of Islamic Law in English says: “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.”

There are two kinds of Jihad. Violent Jihad is horribly simple, slaughtering innocents and forcing submission. Violent Jihadists want to conquer land for their Caliphate – essentially an Islamic State where Sharia Law is supreme.

But there is another kind of Jihad. In their Explanatory Memorandum, theMuslim Brotherhood, calls this, “civilization jihad,” saying, “The [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers…”

Civilization Jihad has the same goal as the Violent Jihad—to conquer land for their Caliphate—but instead of waging war or staging terror attacks like their brothers in the violent jihad, these Civilization Jihadists wear suits and ties, and their work is much more subtle.

So what do they do? They file lawsuits for Muslim truck drivers who don’t want to drive beer. They convince schools to hold Muslim Day, where the girls wear head scarves and the kids say Muslim prayers. They complain when our government watches to see if their violent buddies are hanging out with them.

They call anyone critical of Islamic Law an “Islamophobe,” a term they invented to make people scared to speak out—like the neighbors of the terrorists in San Bernardino who knew something was wrong, but didn’t want to say anything because they’d be accused of profiling.

These bad guys have lots of names, too: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); the Muslim Student Association (MSA); Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Justice Department found that these groups were, in fact, started by the Muslim Brotherhood.

These groups like to say that terrorism has no religion, but only Islam has Sharia and Jihad.

Not all Muslims practice Sharia or support it, but an awful lot do. They believe that anyone who insults Islam can be killed; they believe thatwomen are property; that gays should be killed; and that little girls should be mutilated and forced to marry old men they’ve never men. These things are simply not allowed in our free society and are against the Constitution.

There are plenty of Modern Muslims who want to “live and let live,” but unfortunately the groups that speak most often for the Muslim community follow the medieval version based on Sharia.

They are working to make the US more like the Caliphate. They have to go.

ISIS-linked jihadis publish ‘hit list’ targeting US State Dept. personnel

hackedtelegram

The Foreign Desk, by Lisa Daftri, April 25, 2016:

ISIS-linked militants published an online ‘hit list’ targeting State Dept. employees and listing their personal information Monday, as seen by The Foreign Desk.

The group, United Cyber Caliphate, a self-proclaimed “hacking” group linked with the Islamic State, posted on their Telegram account a list of 43 government employees’ sensitive information, including home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.

The list includes individuals from the State Dept. and Homeland Security, as well as the departments of energy, commerce, health and defense.

The document is entitled “wanted to be killed” and reads: “USA You are our primary goal. Your system failed to Tackling [sic] our attacks. Now we will Crush you again.”

Over the last few weeks, three ISIS-linked groups have merged together to compound their cyber and hacking abilities, forming the Caliphate Cyber Army (CCA), which has been taking on hacking groups like Anonymous and specializes in combating online threats to the Islamic State.

The group publicized the merger with an announcement in both English and Arabic:

After relying on Almighty Allah and by his grace, incorporation between Islamic State Hackers Teams to expand in our operations, to hit’em deeper. We announce our new team United Cyber Caliphate.

Previously, the CCA put out another “kill list” of 36 police officers in Minnesota.

They also had a miserable fail in attempting to hack Google, but instead went after an Indian business website called Add Google Online, a search engine optimization, (SEO) company for small to medium sized businesses.

Also see: