Social media use to spread religious hate rises: report

LONDON - Social media is increasingly being used for the spread of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitism sentiments, a group of British Members of Parliament said in a report.

The British parliamentarians published Monday its "report of the all-party parliamentary inquiry into anti-Semitism" that urged the government and lawmakers to treat those who spread racial hatred online the same way as sex offenders.

According to the report, Muslims were nearly three times and Jews were eight times as likely to be a victim of religious hatred in comparison to Christians.

Interestingly, the inquiry team found that there were “notable variations in the number of tweets daily” for “Muslim” and “Jew” respectively during July and August, and that the trends broadly followed the timeline of conflict.

According to the report, tweets relating to Jews escalated after the beginning of conflict, piquing on July 13 and not decreasing significantly until Israel started withdrawing its troops from Gaza.

“Tweets in relation to Muslims follow the same conflict timeline, but there were said to be more notable peaks on certain days. These appear to relate to advocacy messages and calls for peace on Eid al-Fitr respectively,” the report noted.

The report called on the British government to take necessary measures to combat the "disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in the U.K." People who spread racial hatred online should be kicked off social media sites and also banned from using fake identities, it added.

The Anadolu Agency spoke with Akeela Ahmed, a Muslim British citizen and equality activist, about her experience on Twitter after the Paris attacks.

"Muslims are targets of hate attacks on social media, especially those who put on the hijab and Twitter does not take necessary measures to prevent such attacks against Muslims."

She also said that she encountered "some Islamophobic abuse" in response to one of her tweets by a person who said, "Muslims should be attacked."

When she checked the timeline of the person who made the threat, she found that it was full of information about how to attack Muslims. She reported the abuse to Twitter, which in turn said it could not find the user.

“Twitter does nothing about the abuse ordinary people receive online, but it takes quick action when a high profile user is involved," Ahmed alleged. "People (online) always say Islam is disgusting, Muslims should be killed, Muslims should be bombed," she said.

The level of cyber hatred against Muslims in England has grown very high, according to Fiyaz Mughal, director of "Tell Mama," a project that records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the U.K.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency