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June 4, 2013 0

ADL’s “Viral Hate” Now Available in Bookstores

Abe Foxman's & Christopher Wolf's book: "Viral Hate"

Two lead­ing experts on big­oted speech and the Inter­net have joined forces as authors of a new book that lays out a blue­print for gov­ern­ments, indus­try lead­ers and soci­eties to take proac­tive steps to stem the tide of hate speech on the Internet.

Abra­ham H. Fox­man, National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League and Christo­pher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair, out­line the chal­lenges posed by online hate and pro­pose a series of solu­tions in their new book, Viral Hate: Con­tain­ing Its Spread on the Inter­net (Pal­grave Macmil­lan), avail­able in book­stores and for down­load on e-readers today.

Viral Hate dis­cusses how in the past 20 years, the Inter­net, with all of its many advan­tages to soci­ety and the free-flow of infor­ma­tion, has become one of the most pow­er­ful tools for big­ots to spread evil mes­sages of intol­er­ance and rage.

While it is a mar­velous medium for edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, enter­tain­ment and com­merce, as the Inter­net has grown and changed over the years, racists and big­ots have found new ways to exploit the tech­nol­ogy to spread hate­ful mes­sages and recruit oth­ers to join their cause. The book pro­vides numer­ous exam­ples of how this has happened.

Viral Hate offers spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions for the indus­try, as well as for edu­ca­tors, par­ents and Inter­net users.

The indus­try rec­om­men­da­tions include:

  • Cre­at­ing clear poli­cies on hate speech and includ­ing them within terms of service;
  • Cre­at­ing mech­a­nisms for enforc­ing hate speech policies;
  • Estab­lish­ing a clear, user-friendly process for allow­ing users to report hate speech;
  • Increas­ing trans­parency about terms of service;
  • Actively encour­ag­ing counter-speech and edu­ca­tion to address hate speech.

Rec­om­men­da­tions for Inter­net users include: 

  • Flag­ging offen­sive content;
  • Speak­ing out and, in a smart and care­ful way, being pre­pared to chal­lenge hate­ful mes­sages with pos­i­tive ones;
  • Pro­mot­ing counter-speech, applaud­ing pos­i­tive mes­sages and rec­om­mend­ing them to others;
  • Talk­ing about what you have seen, and reach­ing out to watch­dog agen­cies with expe­ri­ence deal­ing with hate and bigotry;
  • For edu­ca­tors, work­ing to ensure that schools have appro­pri­ate poli­cies in place, and empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of crit­i­cal thinking.

Mr. Fox­man, a long­time leader in the fight against anti-Semitism and big­otry, and Mr. Wolf, an Inter­net pri­vacy law attor­ney who has rep­re­sented ADL in a num­ber of inter­na­tional bod­ies tasked with fight­ing Inter­net hate, cite numer­ous instances in recent years where indi­vid­u­als like James von Brunn, the white suprema­cist and U.S. Holo­caust Museum shooter, have taken advan­tage of the power of the Inter­net to spread hate­ful mes­sages and to find like­minded bigots.

And they iden­tify the var­i­ous forms of hate speech that have pro­lif­er­ated online, includ­ing racism, anti-Semitism, reli­gious big­otry, Holo­caust denial, homo­pho­bia, misog­yny, pro­mo­tion of ter­ror­ism and harassment.

In Viral Hate, Fox­man and Wolf dis­cuss how ADL helped to con­vene a new work­ing group on online hate that is bring­ing together Inter­net indus­try lead­ers and oth­ers to probe the roots of the prob­lem and develop new solu­tions to address it head on.

The authors write it is “a national dis­grace” that schools do not have as a require­ment courses instruct­ing chil­dren on the appro­pri­ate use of elec­tronic communication.

More infor­ma­tion on the book is avail­able on the League’s web site at www.adl.org/viral-hate.

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April 25, 2013 3

Parallels Between Boston Bomber And Australian Preacher

The online activ­ity of Tamer­lan Tsar­naev, the dead Boston Marathon bomb­ing sus­pect, reveals a fas­ci­na­tion with mil­i­tancy and Islam, includ­ing an Aus­tralian preacher named Feiz Moham­mad whose life has some inter­est­ing par­al­lels to the bomber.tamerlan-tsarnaev-feiz-mohammad-youtube-boston-bomber

While it remains unclear to what degree Tsar­naev was influ­enced or rad­i­cal­ized by any of the mate­ri­als he was view­ing online, he appar­ently added at least two videos of Feiz Moham­mad, who is known for his extreme anti-West views, to his YouTube channel.

Moham­mad, who blames non-Muslims in the West for Mus­lim vic­tim­hood and has glo­ri­fied “mar­tyr­dom,” has a large col­lec­tion of English-language Islamic lec­tures avail­able online. In a video posted to YouTube in 2007, he claims that Mus­lims today are not suf­fi­ciently ded­i­cated to mar­tyr­dom and there­fore are “the most humil­i­ated nation on the face of this earth.” He adds, “It is not as appeal­ing as it was to those ances­tors — the great warriors.”

In a lec­ture posted on YouTube in Decem­ber 2010, he teaches his stu­dents that fol­low­ers of other sects of Islam, such as Sufi Mus­lims and Shite Mus­lims, are not true Mus­lims and accord­ing to Islamic law deserve execution.

In addi­tion to pro­mot­ing mil­i­tant themes, Moham­mad seeks to appeal to a younger gen­er­a­tion of Mus­lim immi­grants by shar­ing his per­sonal story as a lost young immi­grant who found an iden­tity by strictly adher­ing to Islam.

Sev­eral of his lec­tures focus on warn­ing Mus­lims liv­ing in the West of the dan­gers of adopt­ing the lifestyle of non-Muslim West­ern­ers. In a lec­ture posted on YouTube in April 2012, he warns Mus­lims against lov­ing non-Muslims or befriend­ing them: “Isn’t this why we are a slave by them [non-Muslims]? Because we are lov­ing their ways, we are mix­ing in their ways. We are being a Kafir [infi­del] our­selves by enjoy­ing their lifestyles.”

An inter­view with Tamer­lan Tsar­naev pub­lished while he was train­ing for the 2009 Golden Gloves box­ing com­pe­ti­tion revealed Tamerlan’s dif­fi­culty assim­i­lat­ing into Amer­i­can cul­ture. He is quoted in the inter­view say­ing, “I don’t have a sin­gle Amer­i­can friend, I don’t under­stand them.”

Like Tsar­naev, Mohammad’s fam­ily emi­grated from a war-torn coun­try. Mohammad’s fam­ily immi­grated to Aus­tralia from Tripoli in north­ern Lebanon. Also like Tsar­naev, Feiz Moham­mad spent his teenage years box­ing, which he later denounced. The names he acquired as a boxer included “Frank the Killer” and “The Beast.”

At the age of 19, Moham­mad report­edly decided to embrace a con­ser­v­a­tive form of reli­gious teach­ings known as Salafism and became pop­u­lar among the Salafist groups in Syd­ney. After pur­su­ing an Islamic edu­ca­tion in Med­ina, Saudi Ara­bia, he returned to Aus­tralia. He then founded the “Global Islamic Youth Cen­tre” (GIYC) and opened a Madras­sah, a tra­di­tional Islamic reli­gious school.

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April 9, 2013 2

Electronic Jihad Targets Israel On Holocaust Remembrance Day

As Israelis and Jews pre­pared to com­mem­o­rate Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, var­i­ous hacker groups launched a cam­paign on Sun­day to “wipe Israel off the Internet.”

While described by some hack­ers as an attack against Israel for its treat­ment of the Pales­tini­ans, the cam­paign was specif­i­cally timed with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day and has fea­tured strong anti-Semitic rhetoric, includ­ing Holo­caust denial.

For exam­ple, a group call­ing itself Anony­mous Arab posted an Arabic-language YouTube video on April 6 call­ing for the removal the ‘Zion­ist Entity’ from the inter­net.” The video says there is “no proof” that the Holo­caust took place – “you have fab­ri­cated with your part­ners” — and that Israel is “unwor­thy to exist in your cur­rent form.”

“So long as your regime exists,” the video says, “peace shall be hindered.”

In addi­tion, the Lebanon-based satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion Al Mayadeen aired an inter­view with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Al Falaga, a Tunisian hacker group that par­tic­i­pated in the cyber-attack. In the inter­view, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive said, “We chose this day because it’s the mem­ory of the Holo­caust when the Jews were burned by the hands of Hitler and today they burn by our hands.” The inter­view was posted later on the Face­book page of Al Falaga.

Accord­ing to ini­tial reports, the cyber-attack, which was announced sev­eral months ago as “OpIsrael2,” affected some Israeli gov­ern­ment and defense sites, but failed to bring them down.

Sev­eral hacker groups par­tic­i­pated in this cam­paign. A pro-Hamas hacker group, Al-Qassam Elec­tronic Brigades, posted a YouTube video on April 7 that included what appears to be a record­ing of a hack­ing oper­a­tion against the web­site of one of Israel’s polit­i­cal par­ties, Kadima.

The Moroc­can Ghosts, a polit­i­cally moti­vated hack­ers group that has pre­vi­ously tar­geted the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the U.S., pub­lished on their Face­book page a long list of hacked web­sites that they claim are either Israeli are Jewish-operated.

Some of the web­sites hacked by the Moroc­can Ghosts were defaced with anti-Israel slurs and loaded with a media player that recited verses from the Quran. Despite the claims that they tar­geted Israeli and Jewish-operated web­sites, some of the listed sites have no appar­ent affil­i­a­tion with Israel or Jews, and may have been included because they were an easy-to-hack and serve to inflate the impact of the cyber-attack.

In addi­tion, sev­eral pro-Hamas web­sites, Face­book pages and other hacker forums posted threads claim­ing hack­ing oper­a­tions against Jews and Israelis worldwide.

The first OpIs­rael took place dur­ing Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense in Gaza last Novem­ber, when hack­ers tar­geted, and in some cases defaced, var­i­ous Israeli websites.

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