Hoping to make the world safer, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has published a guidebook on countering dangerous speech, authored by a young American who helped quell intertribal conflict in Kenya during its 2013 elections.
Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech , doesn’t reveal exactly how to quell incendiary speech. The nature and context of speech that can lead to violence vary too widely across the globe for any particular prescription to make sense.
Violent anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. rose 50 percent last year. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were a total of 56 against Jewish victims.
“And we know that for every incident reported, there’s likely another that goes unreported,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, which produced the study and calls the trend “very concerning.”
Swastikas found in a children’s playground in London are the latest sign of anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe.
The hand-drawn swastikas appeared on four consecutive days, June 14-17, in a park in the Stamford Hill neighborhood, The Guardiannewspaper reported June 20. A home for British Jewish veterans is nearby.
WHAT ISIS AND other terror groups who share their views want is precisely to terrorize us. They want to turn our fear of them into fear of everyone who looks like them, and everyone who follows the religion they are trying to hijack. They want us to suspect, fear, and hate the 1.6 billion people of the world who practice Islam—including millions of Muslim Americans. They want to provoke us to anger, and they hope that in our anger and pain we will overreact.
Right now, unfortunately, they are succeeding with too many of our fellow Christians, and even with some of the candidates for our highest political offices.
When ISIS terrorists succeed in provoking Islamophobic responses, they come closer to their goal of dividing the world into two categories—Muslims and non-Muslims—which also brings them closer to their goal of claiming the mantle of being the only “true defenders” of Islam. Islamophobia thus directly helps the terrorists recruit more young Muslims to their cause and makes it harder for other Muslims to work against them.
Here are some ways that we can deny the terrorists their victory:
FIRST, WE MUST focus on life and the terrible human suffering that these attacks are causing all over the world. When you add up all of those killed, maimed, wounded, and traumatized—and all their family members, friends, fellow congregants, and co-workers—the number of human beings impacted by terrorist violence is almost countless. We must also include the impact on all of our children whose fears these attacks kindle, and the fears we in turn feel for them.
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The Rev. Franklin Graham picks up a toy stuffed animal, tattered by time and a child’s love, from a shelf in his office where his big game hunting trophies loom. It’s a little black sheep with a music box in its belly, a gift from his mother when he was a tot. When the son of Billy Graham winds a little key it plays, “Jesus loves me.” Franklin Graham, a hellfire evangelist and a social conservative force, is still a “black sheep” at 63.
Britain’s Parliament held a boisterous debate Jan. 18 on a proposal to ban Donald Trump from the country in a rebuke of his call to block Muslims from entering the United States. The topic drew plenty of support from the British lawmakers, who don’t actually have the power ban anyone. The debate did allow members of Parliament to vent their frustrations about Trump’s comments.
Why and how did Greg’s post resonate with so many people on the meme’s second time around the Internet? Why did it take so much darkness before something profoundly positive happened? I think I come back to two powerful resources available to us as a church, if we have the courage to embrace it.
I own a Confederate flag. Growing up, the flag meant little more to me than school spirit, pep rallies, and Southern pride … until I left East Tennessee. I’ll never forget the moment things began to change. I moved into my college dorm room and established my new home at Eastern University in Philadelphia. I carefully set up my desk, put my posters on the wall, and displayed my high school yearbook — with a Confederate flag on the cover — proudly on my bookshelf.
Sometimes a smiley-face emoticon just won’t do the trick.
In Myanmar, the newest set of Facebook stickers features a flower in an animated character’s mouth. The 24 stickers carry a deeper message than the usual “Like” thumbs-up Facebook icon: “End hate speech with flower speech.”
The stickers are the latest attempt to combat the spread of “dangerous speech” online and are sponsored by Panzagar, a coalition of civil society activists. The group’s name, which means “flower speech,” was organized as a response to the pervasiveness of anti-Muslim invective online and in public space.
At the same time and with less fanfare, Facebook is rolling out a new process for users to report online abuse in Myanmar. Since November 21, Facebook users in the country have new options available to report disturbing posts. The new process is aimed at more quickly addressing complaints and removing offensive posts in the Myanmar language.
This type of “market-specific reporting mechanism” already exists in some regions, including North Africa. Facebook’s grievance process was originally developed in the U.S. in response to teen cyberbullying.