The tech site Engadget reported Thursday that the far-left legal group Muslim Advocates has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Facebook for allowing “anti-Muslim hate to spread on the platform, leading to real-world harm.” The organization provided a list of what it claimed were 26 “anti-Muslim hate groups,” including organizations that are dedicated simply to opposing jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and others, including my own news site Jihad Watch, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the Center for Security Policy, and other groups whose main crime is opposing leftist Islamopandering and the left’s tendency to turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses sanctioned by Islamic law.
Engadget quoted a Facebook spokesperson in full defense mode: “We do not allow hate speech on Facebook and regularly work with experts, nonprofits, and stakeholders to help make sure Facebook is a safe place for everyone, recognizing anti-Muslim rhetoric can take different forms. We have invested in AI technologies to take down hate speech, and we proactively detect 97 percent of what we remove.”
Anyone who has been paying attention can see what may be coming. Jihad Watch and the others targeted could disappear from Facebook and ultimately from the Internet altogether, whether as a result of this suit or some other. This suit itself has a very good chance of succeeding, as Muslim Advocates is extremely powerful and influential.
Back in October, Old Joe Biden gave an address filled with cringeworthy pandering to Muslim Advocates, the group that has brought this suit. Nor is Muslim Advocates’ clout something new: back on October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates sent a letter to John Brennan, who was then the assistant to the president on national security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism, denouncing what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” It criticized “the FBI’s use of biased experts and training materials.”
Khera complained that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a PowerPoint presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; and that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia,” and “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”
These were supposed to be terrible things because I was bigoted and hateful. But many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were not actually bigoted and distorted at all, but simply accurate. Nonetheless, Brennan immediately complied. In a November 3, 2011, letter to Khera that — significantly — was written on White House stationery, Brennan promised that the government would “ensure that federal officials and state, local and tribal partners receive accurate, evidence-based information in these crucial areas.” That led to the erasure of all mention of Islam and jihad from government counterterror materials, and the birth of the Countering Violent Extremism program, which ignores jihad violence and focuses on a largely imaginary “right-wing extremism.”
So Muslim Advocates has connections that go up to the very top, and likely knows where to find a compliant judge who will rule in its favor in this suit.
Also note how the group, with help from the establishment media, has already moved the conversation away from where it should be. Engadget takes for granted that the 26 groups Muslim Advocates is targeting really are “anti-Muslim hate groups.” Engadget never even for a moment considers the possibility that some or all of these groups have been unfairly characterized, and neither does any other media story I have seen on this suit. Neither Engadget nor any other “news site” reached out to me for comment, or, apparently, to anyone else involved with the targeted groups, as none of the stories about this suit contain a single quote from anyone except Muslim Advocates and Facebook.
Yet that is really the point that should be at issue here. Is my work and that of the others targeted in this suit going to be banned as “hate speech” without any opportunity for discussion, explanation, or appeal, but simply on the word of far-left hate groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has a long record of smearing legitimate groups that dissent from the far-left agenda by lumping them in with the KKK and neo-Nazis? The answer to that question appears to be yes. Is the American court system going to take for granted and validate with legal precedent the claim that opposing jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women, gays and others constitutes “anti-Muslim hate”? The answer to that question appears to be yes as well.
So any day now could be the last day for Jihad Watch and other sites that oppose jihad terror. The U.S. will, possibly even before the end of this year, enter a marvelous new world free of “anti-Muslim hate,” that is, free of any criticism of Islam, jihad, or Sharia. Will that bring an end to jihad violence and the human rights abuses sanctioned by Sharia? Unfortunately, no.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.