A shocking amount of online abuse commonly portrays Muslims as rapists, terrorists and a security threat who should be deported.
Reuters – There are just over 2.5 million Muslims in the UK, making up less than five per cent of the population.
These are the findings of extensive research into Islamophobic abuse on Facebook published on Monday. The study examined 100 different Facebook pages, comments and posts. It discovered nearly 500 instances of hate-related messages which “could be construed as inciting violence and religious and racial hate speech online, including offline physical threats”.
Dr Imran Awan, Associate Professor at Birmingham City University, who conducted the research, found there were five recurring depictions of Muslims online. He said they were: Muslims are terrorists”, “Muslims are rapists”, “Muslim women are a security threat”, “a war exists between Muslims and ‘us'” and “Muslims should be deported”.
The most common of these was the suggestion that Muslim women represent a security threat because of their clothing and the belief that Muslims should be deported.
The report also found offensive terms such as “Paki”, “paedo”, “rapists”, “dirty”, “scum” and “filthy” were frequently linked to Muslims.
Awan said: “The types of abuse and hate speech against Muslim communities on Facebook uncovered real problematic associations with Muslims being deemed as terrorists and rapists. Furthermore, with the new EU code of conduct for hate speech, this report has reaffirmed the need for such a policy.”
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Men were far more likely to be the authors of such abuse than women, with 80 per cent of hateful comments coming from men.
The study also found that many comments against Muslims came from specific pages such as Britain First, the English Brotherhood and the English Defence League.
The report, titled ‘Islamophobia Online: Inside Facebook’s Walls of Hate’ concluded: “It is clear that Muslims are being stereotyped and actual offline violence is being promoted as a means to target Muslim communities.
“The worry is that these online groups and communities will use this support to foster an offline extremist counter-narrative.”