Advocating genocide on social media
A faculty member at the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, raised a lot of Saudi intellectuals concern after posting a controversial tweet, where he was calling on “Iraqi Mujahideen” to be more ruthless in their war, even if it means killing the women and children of their enemy to provoke terror.
If we move past the religious need to discuss that controversial statement, which clearly contradicts the spirit of compassion and tolerance enjoyed by the Islamic religion, we really should concentrate on discovering the reasons on why would a university faculty member advocate the killing of women and children.
The statement came after a series of attacks on Iraqi civilians by armed militants, which caused massive injuries and deaths among innocent women and children. This may justify some of the public sympathy with this odd statement. But that cannot be a justification for a collage faculty member with a wide religious influence to say what he said.
This sort of provocation is usually associated with some religious fanatics that consider their followers, as divinely chosen, and that all who do not belong to their group are lesser human beings and lesser Muslims. They go so far as believing that there is no moral obligation to inciting genocide if others pose a threat to their group.
The comforting part of this situation is that the flow of criticism over the tweet was overwhelming. Many Saudi intellectuals and writers have expressed their dismay and alarm over this dangerous and hateful statement. They all condemned this insult and untruths associated with Islam by extremists who advocate senseless bloodshed. They insisted that such statements that call for genocide should not go without legal accountability.
When this academic was faced with the onslaught of criticism from many sides, his response was that he was only expressing his opinion, which is guaranteed under the freedom of speech provided by the new power of social media!
Sometimes, words can be as strong as weapons of mass destruction. Simple opinions can be interpreted into violent acts. Although some concern may rise over freedom of speech, but social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook could have a more censoring role to such idiotic malicious statements.
Unfortunately, we will always find an academic or fanatic who will make an idiotic statement such as this one. It is imperative to detect such personalities in our society and have a legal system to put a stop to them (and rehabilitate them) while trying to find a solution to increasing hate speech in social media.
A tweet: “You will be judged in years to come by how you responded to genocide on your watch.”
— Nicholas D. Kristof
• Send us your comments to [email protected]