The social media giant is being complicit in promoting the kind of rhetoric that inspires white nationalist domestic terrorism, argues CJ Werleman.
The Twitter feed of Katie Hopkins is the living embodiment of the double standard that exists against Muslims in the social media realm, a hypocrisy that is getting people killed.
The 44-year-old British columnist and hatemonger has a long history of demonising Muslims, which encourages the use of violence against the country’s religious minority, and once demanded a “final solution” as a means to counter immigrants from Muslim-majority countries.
On Sunday, Hopkins posted a video showing hundreds of British Muslims holding a street protest in the UK capital. “London 2019,” she commented. In a follow-up tweet, Hopkins wrote: “Some argue this was from 2017. Which only means the takeover is two years further progressed.”
The video was she posted as indeed shot in 2017 and in no way whatsoever demonstrates a Muslim “takeover” of Britain is underway, but rather British Muslims taking to the streets to protest against the violent extremist group ISIS.
Has Twitter suspended her account for 24 hours, 72 hours, or a full week? No. Muslims are fair game in the minds of those who monitor malicious and hateful content and activity on the social media giant’s platform.
By using the word “takeover”, Hopkins is paraphrasing the manifestos of anti-Muslim, white nationalist terrorists Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 students in Norway in 2011; Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 Muslims in Christchurch earlier this year; and Robert Bowers, who murdered seven Jews at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018 in violent protest against the immigration of Muslim refugees.
Each of these terrorists subscribed to the conspiracies positing Muslims to be secretly plotting a takeover of Western democratic countries in order to implement Sharia law and subjugate non-Muslim citizens, describing adherents of the Islamic faith as “invaders” and worse.
Moreover, their manifestos and hateful beliefs have inspired copy-cat killers, including the gunman who murdered 22 people, mostly Hispanic Americans, at a store in El Paso, Texas in August; and the attacker of a mosque and synagogue in San Diego in April. Law enforcement authorities around the world have also foiled a number of plotters who were intending to mimic Tarrant and Breivik.
Essentially, Hopkins is pushing their anti-Muslim conspiracy theories into the timelines of her more than one million Twitter followers – which is unsurprising given Byline Times’ recent report of her advancing the same “Great Replacement” conspiracy espoused by Tarrant in claiming she’s “a minority as a white Brit” in the UK.
There’s no doubt her rhetoric has the potential to radicalise, at least judging by the thousands of approving comments posted in response to her tweet about a Muslim “takeover” of London. “Then napalm the place,” one Twitter user replied. “You can see the contrast between the beautiful English architecture and the primitives walking along it,” posted another.
Other comments included: “The [Islamic] steamroller is going to roll over us”, “London is falling. It will be too late if the UK does not act now”, “It looks like a plague to devour London”, “The Muslim conquest of Europe has unfortunately begun”, and “When evil runs the streets”.
So, how is it that Muslims who mimic the language of Islamic extremists have their accounts permanently shutdown by Twitter, but those who mimic the propaganda of white nationalist terrorists are permitted to carry on as usual? I know from firsthand accounts that Twitter has suspended or removed accounts belonging to Muslims who have merely expressed criticism of Israel’s policies in the Palestinian territories, India’s human rights violations in Kashmir, and and Bashar al-Assad’s war crimes in Syria.
Hopkins, on the other hand, has earned no such action for demanding a “final solution” against Muslims, and/or for posting the following on Twitter:
“Islamic extremism and the failure of the wider Muslim community to condemn acts of terror took us on this path.”
“Explosion in France, shooting at a German hospital, knife attack in London. And Ramadan has not yet begun. Without food these sods get nasty.”
“Muslim men raping white women is consistent with the teaching of Islam. Revoke their citizenship and deport the bastards. Asian my arse.”
“Don’t preach to me ‘acts of extremism don’t represent Islam’. I am sick of hearing it.”
“Jihadism is a major issue in the vote.” No. No @BBCnews. Islam. Islamism. Stop twisting the truth.”
“Don’t tell me halal meat is pre-stunned. What is Islam without inflicting maximum pain and suffering?”
How on earth are her comments about Muslims not a violation of Twitter’s user guidelines? “We prohibit targeting individuals with content intended to incite fear or spread fearful stereotypes about a protected category, including asserting that members of a protected category are more likely to take part in dangerous or illegal activities, e.g., ‘all [religious group] are terrorists,’ states Twitter’s rules and policies.
Clearly, Hopkins is doing exactly what the social media giant has stated to be prohibitive behaviour, so why has Twitter taken no action against her? I have approached the platform and asked it to explain.
Failing to suspend or ban Hopkins from its site at the same time that hate crimes against Muslims in the UK have reached record highs means Twitter is being complicit in promoting the kind of rhetoric that inspires white nationalist domestic terrorism. That is totally unacceptable.