Anti-Muslim hate has accelerated sharply in 2015. It is based on a misplaced fear of Muslims in general in response to the actions of specific terrorist groups claiming to act in the name of Islam. These terrorist actions during the year included: the attacks in France in January on the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, a police officer, and a kosher supermarket; the actions of the terrorist group Daesh (aka: ISIS / ISIL / Islamic State) in Syria; Daesh’s social media strategy promoting terror through graphic videos of violence, including beheadings; concerns over foreign fighters travelling to Syria from the West, and fear over their actions when they returned; attacks by those who were unable to travel to Syria to join Daesh; the war in Syria that is creating a major refugee problem, and which in turn is triggering rising xenophobia.
The messages of anti-Muslim hate online mostly fall into one of eight themes: presenting Muslims as terrorists and a threat to public safety; promoting threats and violence against Muslims; dehumanising and demonising Muslims; claiming Muslims are a "threat to our way of life"; claiming Muslims are manipulative and dishonest; xenophobia against Muslims, including a specific focus on refugees; efforts to undermine the resistance to hate against Muslims; and efforts to exclude Muslims from society, for example by preventing Halal certification of food, or the building of new mosques.
Our “Spotlight on Anti-Muslim Internet Hate” campaign ran for a two month period from late September 2015 to late November 2015. In this period, we collected over 1,100 items of anti-Muslim hate in social media which were reported to us by the public through our FightAgainstHate.com reporting tool. The public categorised these items as they reported them. OHPI staff have reviewed the items, archived them, and noted which have since been removed by the platform providers. This interim report provides the preliminary breakdown of items by social media platform, by the category of anti-Muslim hate, and with details of the removal rates by category.