Twitter users stand against Islamophobia in viral social media experiment

Twitter users stand against Islamophobia in viral social media experiment
American-Pakistani activist Saqib Hussain Javed, who started the social experiment, said 'Islamophobia is like a plague in western society'.
4 min read
03 December, 2021
The experiment's creator said recent events involving Congresswoman Ilhan Omar inspired him to act [Drew Angerer/Getty]

Hundreds of social media users worldwide took a stand against Islamophobia in a viral social experiment started by an American-Pakistani Muslim activist on Tuesday.

Saqib Hussain Javed, 27, of Detroit, Michigan, asked Twitter users to say where they're from and that they're against anti-Muslim hate.

Ex-National Basketball Association professional player Rex Chapman wrote: "I am from Kentucky and I stand against Islamophobia."

He was following the format suggested by Javed, which invites users to fill in the blank in an example post with their location.

States across the US were represented with similar messages – from Washington State to Colorado to Texas. People from cities and countries around the world joined in too: from Toronto, Canada to Kerala in India, and from Uganda to the UK.

Even the New York State Green Party got involved, saying: "We are from New York and we stand against Islamophobia."

Others expanded on the prompt.

"You will not find shelter here: only my never ending [sic] rage over your choice to exclude," one user from Colorado told Islamophobes. "You aren't welcome here."

Beasy Jennison from Ohio said: "Thank you for tweeting this experiment.

"Still so much to do to end the cancerous hate that plagues our [E]arth, but it fills one with hope to see so many from all different parts of the world uniting together."

Javed, the experiment's creator, described Islamophobia as being "like a plague in western society".

"The reason specifically for this 'social experiment' was because of the recent attack on Muslim Congress woman [sic] Ilhan Omar, by another [C]ongress woman [sic] who happens to be white," he told The New Arab.

"She was spewing the same s**t a lot of Muslims have to hear growing up in schools as a form of bully[ing] from other students associating us with terrorism."

Javed said this was a particular issue for Muslims who, like him, grew up after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

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He was discussing a video of Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert which has prompted outrage online after being posted on Twitter by self-professed right-wing extremism monitor PatriotTakes last Thursday.

Boebert suggested her Democratic colleague Ilhan Omar belongs to a "Jihad Squad", seemingly hitting out at the progressive "Squad" of US lawmakers Omar is a member of.

The Colorado Republican also implied a police officer had believed Omar was a terrorist during an episode in a Capitol Hill lift the Democrat said never happened.

Javed said: "I got PTSD watching that video from the racial abuse I went through in grade school."

The New Arab contacted Boebert's press team for comment but did not receive a reply by the time of publication.

The day after the video was shared by PatriotTakes, last Friday, Boebert said: "I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar.

"I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly."

When they talked on the telephone on Monday, Omar terminated the call.

According to Omar, this was over Boebert "refus[ing] to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments". Boebert said it happened after she explained she would not make a "public apology".

Another inspiration for Javed's anti-Islamophobia experiment was British MP Apsana Begum speaking out about the prejudice she faces last Wednesday in the UK Parliament.

This came as part of an Islamophobia Awareness Month debate.

Reflecting on the global support his experiment received, Javed said: "It didn't necessarily make me feel better, but it gave me a sense [of] hope.

"And where there is hope there's a chance for a better world."