SHAFAQNA- As news about the growing influence of the so-called Islamic State (ISIL) spread, an army of Muslim “clicktivists” armed with 140-character positive, peaceful or humorous messages, have taken to Twitter to counter anti-Muslim sentiments.“The insidious thing about anti-Arab hate speech is that it seems to be acceptable, where the ‘ n-word’ or anti-Semitic remarks are not taken with the same degree of outrage,” Linda Sarsour, a Brooklyn-based Palestinian activist, told Columbia Dispatch.
Using hashtags such as #TakeOnHate, #IStandUpBecause and #NotInMyName, the Muslim youth have been promoting the complexity, diversity and positive contributions of Islam and Muslims. Others, such as #MuslimApologies, offer sarcasm in service of the same message. Sarsour is a fan of the tongue-in-cheek #MuslimApologies, which shows “how ridiculous this is when you ask for 1.8 billion Muslims to apologize for a small group of people who are horrific.” @falasteenager tweeted “I’m sorry that Adolf Hitler doesn’t represent Germany, but Osama bin Laden represents every Muslim and their mother.” In a video circulated by several tweeters, an unnamed man says, “I apologize for World War I and World War II, even if it has nothing to do with Muslims, but just in case.” The hashtag was issued after a more serious one, #NotInMyName, in which activists offered a true image of Islam which rejects terrorism. The New York Times observed that the same hashtag was used in 2003 to oppose the Iraq war and by Israelis this summer who condemned the war in Gaza. “Young Muslims are adding their voices to the fight-back against ISIS,” reads the campaign’s website, in reference to Islamic State. “#notinmyname gives you the opportunity to denounce their violent actions in your own words.” So far, although tweets per day are down from nearly 1,000 to fewer than 400 since October 13, according to the Twitter analytics site Topsy, tweets in line with the hashtag’s original mission are running roughly even with those posting attacks.
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