An imam in Texas is calling on Google to tone down what searchers of the term “sharia” find online — to basically, make the search engine tool Sharia compliant.
Omar Sulelman says he just wants to give Google users accurate information about Islam.
But what he’s really doing is whitewashing truth. He doesn’t want Internet users to see how violent the religion and Sharia law really is.
“Google asks its employees to “Do the right thing.” At least, that’s what its revised 2015 motto states in an upgrade from the original company maxim, “Don’t be evil.”
“But when a user searches Google for information on Islam, the results often link to propaganda, anti-Muslim hate and outright lies. The algorithm for the world’s largest search engine is definitely not doing the right thing ― especially when it comes to the first page of results, where most users stop their searches.
“Basic searches for words like “Muslim” and “Islam” return reasonable results with links to reputable sites. But more specific terms, like “sharia,” “jihad” or “taqiyya” ― often co-opted by white supremacists ― return links to Islamophobic sites filled with misinformation.
“The same thing happens with the autofill function. If a user types in “does islam,” the first suggestion that pops up to complete the query is “does islam permit terrorism.” Another egregious example occurs when a user inputs “do muslim.” The autofill results include “do muslim women need saving.”
“There are endless possibilities for misinformation, and the consequences are disturbing.
“Ninety percent of people don’t make it past the first page,” Heidi Beirich, a project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told HuffPost. “It’s miseducating millions, if not billions of people on many subjects.”
“Indeed, there is a distinct correlation between anti-Muslim searches and anti-Muslim hate crimes, according to researchers.
“The result? At the extreme end of the spectrum, white supremacists commit heinous acts of violence, like in Portland, Oregon and Tulsa, Oklahoma. But more commonly and perhaps more nefariously, such searches normalize a culture of fear, leading to the harassment of hijab-wearing teenagers and 7-Eleven store clerks.
“But Omar Suleiman, a Muslim American imam from Dallas and founder of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, has a plan to take on Google.
“Suleiman and his team have been publishing reports on controversial topics in Islam ― like jihad ― in the hopes of influencing the search algorithm. His goal is to flood the search results with accurate information on Islam.
“Suleiman, 30, realized a few years ago that there was a dire need for factual information during the rise of the self-described Islamic State, when he noticed how right-wing groups were equating ISIS’s language with the beliefs of the world’s entire Muslim population.
“One of Suleiman’s most popular reports is on the Islamic idea of taqiyya, a term Islamophobes and white supremacists have appropriated and exploited to accuse Muslims of lying to non-Muslims for a sinister objective like taking over the world.
“Suleiman explains in the report that taqiyya is actually a centuries-old concept that permits a Muslim to conceal his or her faith when under the threat of persecution. Applied more commonly by the minority Shia sect of Islam, taqiyya is rarely, if not ever, applicable to modern-day Muslims.
“Because it is an Arabic word, Islamophobes use the word “taqiyya” solely to instill fear, Suleiman told HuffPost. It’s a foreign-sounding word from a religion that’s perceived as foreign, and it sends “chills down the spines of well-meaning but woefully misinformed patriotic Americans wary of those turban-wearing bearded foreigners, right? What could possibly go wrong?” Suleiman wrote in the report.
“The Yaqeen Institute has also published reports on honor killings, stoning and jihad, all topics Islamophobes constantly twist to degrade Islam and Muslims.”
This is an Islam-fueled attempt to censor the Internet, pure and simple.
It’s not about telling the truth — or making sure search engine users obtain the truth.
It’s about disguising the violence of Islam and Sharia, so that Muslims may have an easier time of spreading their faith throughout the world.
The Truth Must be Told
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