Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, calling for a ban content promoting Islamophobia on the social network, and took potshots at India while championing his newly found cause.
“I am writing to draw your attention to the growing Islamophobia that is encouraging hate, extremism and violence across the world and especially through the use of social media platforms including Facebook,” he wrote.
Noting that Facebook took steps to ban any posting that criticises or questions the Holocaust, a similar pogrom against Muslims in different parts of the world has been witnessed.
In response to Khan’s appeal, a Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters the company was against all forms of hate and that it did not allow attacks based on race, ethnicity, national origin or religion.
“We’ll remove this hate speech as soon as we become aware of it,” the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement, adding that the company had “more work to do”.
In some states, Muslims are being denied their citizenship rights and democratic personal choices from dress to worship, Khan said in the letter.
“In India, anti-Muslim laws and measures such as CAA and NRC as well as targeted killings of Muslims and blaming Muslims for coronavirus are reflective of the abominable phenomenon of Islamophobia,” he said.
He added that in France, Islam has been associated with terrorism and publication of blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam and the Holy Prophet has been allowed. “This will lead to further polarisation and marginalisation of Muslims in France. How will the French distinguish between radical extremist Muslim citizens and the mainstream Muslim citizenry of Islam?”
PM Imran said marginalisation of any community leads to extremism, adding this is “something the world does not need.”
“Given the rampant abuse and vilification of Muslims on social media platforms, I would ask you to place a similar ban on Islamophobia and hate against Islam for Facebook that you have put in place for the Holocaust,” the Pakistan PM urged the Facebook CEO.
Imran Khan said that the message of hate must be banned in totality. “While hate messages against some are unacceptable, they cannot be allowed against others.”
The world should not have to wait for a pogrom against Muslims, which he claimed is “ongoing in countries like India” before Islamophobia is banned. “This in itself is reflective of prejudice and bias that will encourage further radicalisation.”