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Zuckerberg: Muslims will always be welcome on Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg has voiced his support for Facebook’s Muslim users, urging the social network to stand together in the face of persecution and hateful rhetoric.
“I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.”
The post comes in the wake of calls by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Trump’s comments have been widely condemned, yet there are signs that his lead in the Republican race has actually grown since the remarks. According to a recent CNN/WMUR poll, Trump now has 32% of support in the state of New Hampshire.
In this context, Zuckerberg’s comments come as a strong swipe against Islamophobic fear-mongering. There is an explicit political element to this, and interestingly Zuckerberg refers to himself as “leader of Facebook”, rather than CEO – a somewhat statesmanlike title for a Silicon Valley businessman.
Zuckerberg’s positive rhetoric pledges to make Facebook a “peaceful and safe environment”, but the reality is perhaps harder to pull off. A short time before the Facebook CEO posted his message, a story broke about the social network’s failure to shut down an event for an armed rally at a Texas mosque.
According to the Facebook event page for the BAIR Rally for US Law and Sovereignty, attendees are encouraged to bring weapons. “Armed… concealed or open carry long guns welcome,” the page reads. “Members of this mosque were convicted of running the largest terror funding operation in American history! They are Sunni Muslims that have taken over the entire neighborhood and even renamed streets after the Islamic culture. Do I need to say anymore?”
According to The Independent, a London-based animator complained to Facebook about the event posting, but was told that it didn’t violate Facebook’s community standards. She subsequently reported it to the Metropolitan Police, who put her through to the FBI. At the time of writing, however, the page is still up on the site.
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