Before setting up my social media accounts and blog, I’d heard all about online trolls. Generally the notion is this: don’t feed the trolls. Islamically, it’s best to keep out of stupid debates/arguments and avoid people who are simply out to make fun of and insult you and your beliefs.
Well, it seems that Islam, and whats more a Muslim on social media fighting for good, is a problem for certain people. “We all knew that!” I hear you say. Well, I’d previously experienced it on Facebook (where I generally keep out of things for such reasons) but today I was subject to two rather malicious/ignorant trolling attacks on Twitter – the terms/relation of: terrorists (Al Qaeda etc.), violence, rapists,“being sick” with being Muslim all came up… Trolling, online abuse and hate crime is a sad yet real issue. People need to be aware of it and of how they can report it. Let’s have a look at the work of today’s trolls.
Troll number 1: A Twitter member tweeting about rapists and refugees in Germany (with a clear and un-apologetic anti-Islam agenda)
I have since blocked the person (and have also been blocked myself) so I do not have access to all of the tweets but the worst words were something along these lines:
When the nationalists and Europeans [gather force] get ready to leave the UK…prepare for war […] traitor…
Troll number 2: A journalist with their own website focussing on the rights of disabled people
The main thing that strikes me is the utter shameful hypocrisy, bad manners and immaturity (not to mention bad spelling!): these trolls themselves are the ones posing as “the good cop” – “fighting for rights of various people” or “fighting against injustice”. But here’s the thing – how can you be “fighting for justice” when you mock, ridicule and insult individuals and their religion? Whats more to that, you specifically go out of your way to target them by tweeting and inboxing them. A little sad me thinks…They attack you for your apparent “ignorance” regarding your own faith, world events/history and apparent “inability to rationalise” by the sounds of it, yet their words, behaviour, mannerisms, demeanor and “knowledge” speak of nothing but ignorance itself.
Human rights defenders don’t mock, ridicule or insult – they fight for justice. In this case, how can you claim to be fighting for rights for the disabled or speaking out against so-called “rape” attacks by “refugees”? I will not go into that as that is another story. I am not an apologist as was claimed – I am anti-stereotypes and prefer facts and objective reporting especially as there have been proven false claims yet I would condemn any rape attack. So you claim to speak out, yet you mock and insult young women and other Muslims online? No, you are simply trolls and I urge people to report abuse. Just as one must report suspicious terrorist activity online, one must report trolls. Social media should be a safe online platform for responsible teenagers and adults – not children (literally or figuratively). Where have simple manners gone in today’s world? Grown adults should know better and be setting an example to young people.
Well the trolls will not win:
- Report and block abuse on the platform itself e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc.
- Do not engage in ridiculous debates – their hearts are blind, their ears are deaf, their eyes are wide shut, their minds are closed – they will never understand. Don’t even reply. You may think you can help them or have a rational conversation but you are the one who will end up getting abuse
- Always remain polite and respectful – don’t let yourself down by stooping to their level
- Keep safe online regarding your personal information and privacy settings (do not reveal personal information!)
- If you are young – you MUST talk to your parents to report abuse, bullying and discus internet safety. Ask your college ICT department for tips for online safety and remember – you shouldn’t be using social media if you are underage!
- Report online abuse/hate crime to relevant networks/organisations and authorities – see the following for more information: Stand Up To Hate, Citizens Advice and both True Vision and (specifically for Muslims) Tell MAMA
Haters gonna hate as they say. Keep on raising your voice for good – keep on tweeting, blogging and posting and say TA TA TO THE TROLLS when they crawl out of their caves to attack!
Cover image: clement127 (Flickr) (CC)