I have been an admirer of your success and the growth of Facebook from dorms of Harvard University to the screens of more than 2.5 billion people around the globe. Its evolution from a website into a giant social media community that it has been for years now, speaks volumes about your commitment to provide the best possible experience to your users. However, many Muslim users like me feel disregarded when blasphemous content from some people against our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) appears on its pages and is not taken down.
Throughout the years, ever since Facebook’s rise, I have hoped to see light at the end of the tunnel when you would draw a line between freedom of speech and hate speech.
Your recent announcement of banning the content ‘denying or distorting information about the Holocaust’ is a step in the right direction. Just as you, in your own words, find it ‘deeply offensive’, when people deny that the Holocaust happened, we Muslims, find it extremely abusive when someone creates content against our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
There is a dire need for the world to understand that freedom of speech is not without limits. In fact, several countries in Europe criminalize denying Holocaust. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and many other countries, insulting the monarchy is considered a crime. Why not ban content which hurts so many people residing in almost all the countries of the world?
If there is anyone to blame for blasphemous content appearing on Facebook pages it is us Muslims. We, over the years have failed to convey to you how much it hurts us when someone, in some distant corner of the world, in the guise of freedom of speech or ‘crude humor’ tries to harm the image of our dearly loved and adored Prophet (peace be upon Him). We have not been able to put into words how heart-wrenching it is and how it shakes our souls to the core when we see blasphemous content over your platform.
You recently wrote in your Facebook post that your own thinking on hate speech has evolved after seeing data on anti Semitic violence. I believe there is enough data to suggest the rise of Islamophobia and defamation of Muslims around the world. There are also enough numbers and news items present to show that marginalization, discrimination and provocation of any human race leads to radicalization and violence. Needless to mention here that we, Muslims, are peace loving people and denounce what happened in France with the teacher.
To connect with friends and the world around me on Facebook (as your tagline goes), would be more pleasing than ever before if you could update your hate speech policy once again, this time to ban content against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him).
After all, freedom of speech must not be allowed to invade freedom of belief. Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) is our honor and our identity. He lives in our hearts. To me and two billion more like me, more than any other person on earth, Muhammad (peace be upon Him) matters.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.