Muslim, Tlaib, Omar, islamophobic, twitter
From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar talk about Israel's refusal to allow them to visit the country during a news conference at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn in August. A new study shows much of the islamophobia these women have faced has come not from the real world, but from Twitter. (Photo Credit: Jim Mone/AP/Shutterstock)

Twitter the Stage for Islamophobic Attacks Against Muslim 2018 Congressional Candidates, Study Says

Muslim Candidates like Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have been called “dogs,” “pieces of garbage,” “terrorists” and “demonic” by trolls on Twitter because of their religions. A new study by the Social Science Research Council suggests Twitter could be partially responsible for this islamophobic social media blitz.

#Islamaphobia: Stoking Fear and Prejudice in the 2018 Midterms” is a look into islamophobic trolling on the internet during the 2018 midterm elections. The study,  by Lawrence Pintak, Jonathan Albright, Brian J. Bowe and Shaheen Pasha with contributions by Heena Khan and Anastasia Vishnevskaya, found that while candidates including Omar and Tlaib discussed only experiencing limited instances of Islamophobia among constituents, abuse ran rampant on social media.

The study analyzed 113,000 tweets directed at Muslim candidates. The report categorized more than half of accounts that tweeted about Omar as “trolls” because they engaged in hate speech. Sixty-seven percent of tweets mentioning Omar’s handle @OmarMN were by trolls, according to the results.

Because the number of hateful messages on Twitter far surpassed those in real life and on the campaign trail, the study concluded the site was responsible for giving these messages a national and international stage.

Related Story: Trump’s ‘Go Back’ Tweets Against Congresswomen of Color Would Be Considered Workplace Discrimination

The study points out many of the hateful messages in the tweets violated Twitter’s Terms of Service, which prohibit violent threats and attacks based on religion. Many of the accounts that shared these tweets were later deleted. Large numbers were also from automated bot accounts. Of the top 20 conservative accounts that spread messages about Omar, at least nine were bots, the report found.

On Sunday, Omar retweeted some of these violent messages, calling for Twitter to take action.

Republican Ted Cruz tweeted in support of her.

Tlaib said the report was not surprising.

“Sadly, the SSRC report on Islamophobia online during the 2018 campaign is not surprising — anyone who has ever read my Twitter mentions and replies has already seen the level of hate that exists online,” she told the Washington Post.

The study found overall, Muslim women were more likely to be targeted than men.

Common messages used against Omar and Tlaib included claims that Omar’s choice to wear a hijab showed she wasn’t loyal to the U.S., that Omar was a “poster child” for incest and female genital mutilation, that Tlaib would impose Sharia Law in the U.S. that the women did not belong in the U.S. and that they were anti-Semitic.

“No one that wears a #Hijab should be running for office in America. The #Quran #Islam and our #Constitution are Not compatible in any way,” one tweet said.

“@RashidaTlaiB No to your sharia ‘law’. Go back to your desert,” another said.

The study adds to the conversation of whether social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are responsible for ousting accounts that engage in hate speech. Hate speech is not protected under the First Amendment, but regardless, these companies are private and have the right to enforce rules against trolling, cyber-bullying and the dissemination of false information.

The fact that Twitter has given these messages a platform has led to arguments by these Muslim politicians and their supporters that the platform has been complicit in the islamophobic spread of misinformation.

“.@jack, you said last year that you’d hold Twitter ‘publicly accountable towards progress,’ Omar tweeted at Twitter CEO Jack Patrick Dorsey. “Yet @RashidaTlaib, @omarqudrat1, and me have been targeted by hate speech and disinformation. Progress means Muslim voices aren’t silenced or smeared. Stand by your commitment.”

Latest News

Dow Named Among Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators in 2020

Originally posted on Dow.com Dow announced it was named among the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators by Clarivate Analytics in its 2020 report. The annual report identifies and celebrates the world’s most innovative organizations that successfully develop valuable patented inventions that also have strong commercialization potential based on market reach…

Hilton

How Do You Become the #1 Best Company to Work For? Ask Hilton – They Just Did It for the Second Year in a Row

Originally posted on Hilton.com Hilton earns the top spot on prestigious list of U.S. employers two years running Hilton has been recognized for its extraordinary workplace culture, earning the highest honor on the prestigious 2020 Fortune Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S. list for the second consecutive year. Hilton is the…

LGBTQ diversity

More LGBTQ+ Employees Comfortable Expressing Sexuality, Gender at Work

There have been significant strides in LGBTQ diversity and inclusion in the workplace nationally and globally. For example, according to the Human Rights Campaign report, A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide, 46% of LGBTQ workers say they are closeted at work, compared to 50% in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2008 Degrees of…

Wells Fargo’s Gigi Dixon Contributes Black History Month Piece to Business Insider

Georgette “Gigi” Dixon is senior vice president and senior director of external relations for national constituents at Wells Fargo. In this role, she leads and coordinates Wells Fargo’s engagement and outreach to national non-government organizations and key stakeholders with the goal of promoting Wells Fargo’s policy priorities. She published a…

Accenture Technology Vision 2020: From Tech-Clash to Trust, the Focus Must Be on People

Originally posted on Accenture.com To compete and succeed in a world where digital is everywhere, companies need a new focus on balancing “value” with “values,” aligning their drive to create business value with their customers’ and employees’ values and expectations, according to Accenture Technology Vision 2020. The 20th edition of Accenture’s…