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Islam v. free speech: Twitter surrenders

My weekend column profiled Bosch Fawstin, the intrepid cartoonist who won last spring’s “Draw Muhammad” contest that was attacked by two ISIS-inspired jihadists in Garland, Texas. (The terrorists were killed in a shootout with police.) Fawstin compellingly argues that the best way to fight a repulsive conquest ideology such as Islamic supremacism is to expose it. That means an unstinting reliance on our constitutional right to free expression.

Apparently, Twitter has opted to join the campaign to crack down on free expression. And one is left to wonder whether the big Saudi bucks that have come its way are a factor in Twitter’s decision-making.

As I recount in the column, the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists has long been the imposition of sharia blasphemy standards on the West. This campaign is not waged exclusively or even primarily by violent jihadists. Instead, its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (a 57-government bloc of, mainly, majority-Muslim countries).

The West should be fighting these anti-Western Islamic supremacists in defense of our core principles. Instead, the Obama administration — particularly the president and his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton — has colluded with them. So have other left-leaning governments and institutions that are naturally hostile to free speech and open debate. One prominent result, which I discussed in the column as well as in Islam and Free Speech, is U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. This blatantly unconstitutional provision, co-sponsored by Obama, Clinton, and OIC members, calls on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam. Essentially, this is a codification of sharia, which prohibits all expression that subjects Islam to critical examination.

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Twitter has announced new regulations on content communicated via its social-networking service. They are prohibitions on speech similar in effect to Resolution 16/18. As usual, this is shrewdly done under the guise of suppressing “hate” speech. In fact, the regulations cast a much wider net that potentially calls for the suppression of political and educational speech.

Twitter’s policy, called “Hate content, sensitive topics, and violence,” is here. The policy states that it applies to “Twitter Ads,” but goes on to explain that these “paid advertising products” include all “Tweets,” as well as “trends and accounts.”

The policy is then spelled out in question-and-answer form. Here is the relevant part (the italics are mine):

What’s the policy?

Twitter prohibits the promotion of hate content, sensitive topics, and violence globally.

ACM: Note from the get-go: We are not just talking about the incitement of violence here. Twitter is laying the groundwork to regulate discussions of any topics it deems “sensitive.”

What products or services are subject to this policy?

This policy applies, but is not limited, to:

Hate speech or advocacy against an individual, organization or protected group based on race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity,…

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 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

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