Zeal for eradicating “hate speech” can go too far on Facebook.
Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, a leader in the Islamic reform movement, posted a humorous Christmas video on December 11 mocking jihad. He was then promptly notified by Facebook that his video was removed and his account was suspended for 30 days, because he “repeatedly posted things that aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
The original post, a video called “Jihad Bells,” was something Tawhidi posted every year. He captioned the video with, “I share this song every December because Jihadists and Islamic Extremists don’t like it.” Facebook called the post a violation of “our standards on hate speech.”
In his tweet, Tawhidi wrote, “To whom it may concern, Facebook has suspended me for 30 days for posting a video ridiculing Jihadists. Yes, that’s right. Facebook is protecting Jihadists from hate speech.”
He then tweeted a tongue-in-cheek statement, “I’m a Muslim Imam and Facebook is being racist towards Muslims by banning me. They’re targeting me personally and being Islamophobic. This is against basic human rights and all values of diversity and inclusion. They’ve offended me and Islam. (I love doing this to them.)”
When asked, Facebook had no response.
Twitter warned Tawhidi that his tweets were violating Pakistani blasphemy laws. Twitter’s legal team informed the Australian imam that a tweet calling for an investigation of extremism in mosques was a “possible violation of Pakistani law.” Tawhidi then tweeted, “Pakistan has no authority over what I say. Get out of here.”
Twitter also informed a few other outspoken critics of Islam that they were violating Pakistani law, including a Canadian editor, Anthony Furey.