Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter to Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook asking for Facebook to place a similar ban on Islamophobic content on the social media platform including the hate against Islam, similar to that which has been put in place for the Holocaust.
— Government of Pakistan (@GovtofPakistan) October 25, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked Mark Zuckerberg to ban Islamophobic content on the social media platform which has been circulating amid the rising protests taking place in France after the recent beheading of a French teacher by a Muslim.
On October 12, Facebook explicitly banned Holocaust denial for the first time. The social network said its new policy prohibits “any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust”. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg wrote that he had “struggled with the tension” between free speech and banning such posts, but that “this is the right balance”.
Notably, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the targeting of Muslims in many countries and provocations and incitement “in the name of free speech” while addressing the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) 75th session. “Incidents in Europe, including republication of blasphemous sketches by Charlie Hebdo, are recent examples,” he said. The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo reprinted offensive caricatures in September that were first published in 2015.
What I had said in the UNGA last year as to why it causes Muslims pain when our Prophet PBUH is ridiculed. pic.twitter.com/yNoX7Sb3Lr
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 25, 2020
“This assembly should declare an ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’ and build a coalition to fight this scourge – scourge that splits humanity,” he demanded.
PM Khan’s efforts to counter Islamophobic content provoking Muslims
One year ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan, along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad, agreed to jointly counter anti-Islam forces. The three leaders reportedly took part in a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UNGA at the beginning of this year where they agreed on possible measures to counter Islamophobia.
PM also announced on his Twitter handle that a TV channel was going to be launched by these three countries. “President Erdogan, PM Mahatir and myself had a meeting today in which we decided our 3 countries would jointly start an English language channel dedicated to confronting the challenges posed by Islamophobia and setting the record straight on our great religion – Islam.”
He further noted that “Misperceptions which bring people together against Muslims would be corrected; the issue of blasphemy would be properly contextualized; series & films would be produced on Muslim history to educate/inform our own people & the world; Muslims would be given a dedicated media presence.”
Islamophobia in the west: Edward Said’s view
It is important to note that since the end of the 20th century, there has been a deliberate effort by the western media and scholarship to present a violent image of Islam. In this regard, acclaimed author Edward Said wrote an insightful book titled ‘Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World‘ and presented a factual analysis of the situation. He outlined how the western media deliberately initiated a war against an imagined, violent Islam.
The leading newspapers in the United States in the 1990s published countless anti-Islam articles. In 1996, an article titled Seeing Green: The Red Menace Is Gone, portrayed Muslims in a bad light. The New York Times published an article that cultivated hatred against Islam by dividing people between ‘Us versus Them’. The campaign against Islam resulted in what now the western media terms ‘white-supremacist hate crimes’. Experts opine that these supremacists are now challenging the order within developed societies. The attack on a Mosque in New Zealand was such an example.
Public policy experts suggest the governments and political parties create anti-Muslim settings in their respective countries as PM Khan remarked that in this global village “no one is safe unless everyone is safe”.