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Press release

Anti-Semitic tweets part of global problem with online hate speech

Published on 29 July 2020

Experts from the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID) warn that anti-Semitic tweets by rapper Wiley are part of a wider global problem: rising and largely unchecked online hate speech against people from religious minorities.

Professor Mariz Tadros, CREID Director,  said, “This most recent anti-Semitic hate speech on Twitter is abhorrent, and, sadly indicative of rising anti-Semitism around the world. In our work at CREID we know that hate speech online can be inextricably linked to real-world violence and discrimination, and we’ve seen this experienced by people of all faiths and none across the world.”

CREID is an international consortium, led by the Institute of Development Studies (UK), whose research and practical development programmes are redressing the impact of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and tackling poverty, and social and economic exclusion. We have been monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen an increase in online hate towards religious minorities around the world including Muslims in India, Ahmadis, Hazara Shia and Christians in Pakistan, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar as well towards Jews in Europe.

Whilst CREID is deeply concerned about hate speech in all its forms against anyone regardless of their religion or belief, our particular expertise and focus is on hate speech against religious minorities. As a programme, we are:

  • Documenting how Covid-19 has provided a context for a steep rise in hate speech targeted at religious minorities around the world
  • Working with activists in Iraq and Pakistan to learn about real time monitoring of hate speech, and how it spreads, as well as ways to interrupt hate speech to real world discrimination feedback loops.  One example of this is action taken in response to a sudden spike in anti-Ahmadi content on Twitter and Facebook in April 2020 (see link in the notes below).
  • Working with young people from different religious and ethnic groups in Iraq and Pakistan on how to counter hate speech and generate positive messages on pluralism and social cohesion

Recommendations

  1. Governments, human rights organisations and social media companies can and should ensure that countering hate speech is done effectively but that it does not come at the expense of freedom of expression
  2. Religious inequality, discrimination, and bigotry need to be addressed “on the ground” as well as online.
  3. Ensure that countering hate speech is accompanied by other measures that recognize the intertwining drivers of religious exclusion and inequality

Interview requests

To arrange an interview with Professor Mariz Tadros, contact Sophie Robinson on 01273 915763 / [email protected]

Notes to Editor

  1. The Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID) provides research evidence and delivers practical programmes which aim to redress the impact of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, tackle poverty and exclusion, and promote people’s wellbeing and empowerment. It is led by the Institute of Development Studies, and includes Al-Khoei Foundation, Minority Rights Group and Refcimi (the Coptic Office for Advocacy and Public Office). It is funded with UK aid from the UK government. Find out more: ids.ac.k/creid
  2. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief published a report last year which “reports of violent manifestations of antisemitism (physical attacks with or without weapons) increased by 13 per cent globally in 2018” https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/10/1049591
  3. Links to CREID work:
    1. We’ve seen a rise in hate speech, including anti-Semitism, as a result of Covid-19 in India and Pakistan, https://www.ids.ac.uk/opinions/scapegoating-of-religious-minorities-during-covid-19-is-history-repeating-itself/
    2. We’ve been documenting the impact of Covid-19 on religious minorities around the world https://www.ids.ac.uk/news/religious-inequalities-and-the-impact-of-covid-19/
    3. Campaign to counter anti-Ahmadi campaign on Twitter Pakistan https://www.ids.ac.uk/news/creid-concerned-over-twitter-campaign-against-pakistans-ahmadi-community-including-tweet-by-senior-minister/

 

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