Reinstate Atheist Twitter Accounts Suspended for Blasphemy

Reinstate Atheist Twitter Accounts Suspended for Blasphemy

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Faithless Hijabi started this petition to Twitter, Inc

Much of today's threat to freedom of speech comes in the form of blasphemy allegations. What is even more troubling is that social media giants like Twitter are complicit in enforcing blasphemy laws in contradiction to their own community standards, leading to the censorship and suppression of activists and groups fighting against hate using reporting tools intended to do the exact opposite. 

 

Armin Navabi, Susanna McIntyre, and Johanna Browne have all been the target of well documented mass-reporting campaigns by far-right Hindu nationalists (also known as "Hindutva") beginning in September 2020 due to blaspheming against the Hindu Goddess Kali as a deliberate protest against the oppressive blasphemy laws that are on the books in 84 countries around the world. This came in the form of Atheist Republic's Blasphemous Art Project, an art project with a mission to promote sex positivity, celebrate the LGBT+ community, normalize dissent, break taboos, and promote freedom of expression. 

 

On November 10th, 2020, Armin Navabi, the founder of Atheist Republic, the world's largest international community of atheists, had his @ArminNavabi account on Twitter suspended for alleged "Hateful Content." None of the tweets listed in his suspension contained hate speech or harassment towards any protected group. Navabi's suspension came after months of targeted mass reporting from Hindu extremists, including harassment so severe that the Indian press reported on it. This unprecedented level of harassment backlash against Navabi's blasphemy against the Hindu Goddess Kali, which has even prompted censorship upon the orders of the Indian Government. 

 

On January 16th, the account of Susanna McIntyre, the President & CEO of Atheist Republic, @SkepticSusanna, was fully suspended from Twitter without notice. To date, she has not received any email from Twitter notifying her of which specific policy violation warranted her full suspension. McIntyre was also a victim of the avalanche of harassment and targeted mass reporting from the religious zealots, targeted because of her close association with Navabi and her defense of his blasphemy.

 

Johanna Browne's account @AGAtheist_ was suspended on December 6th, 2020, also a victim of targeted mass reporting as a result of being a vocal online defender of blasphemy and a member and moderator in the Atheist Republic community. Johanna was specifically suspended for "hate speech" for tweeting a blasphemous image of the Goddess Kali and the Prophet Muhammad, an image that did not violate any of Twitter policies. 

 

Despite Twitter's many statements in support of defending and respecting the voices and free expression of its' users, these actions by Twitter effectively serve as enforcing blasphemy law. None of the users listed above live in countries where any of the material that led to their suspension is illegal. Much of the content that was deemed worthy of full suspension was in relation to Atheist Republic's Blasphemous Art Project, content that is only offensive if one is either homophobic or sex-negative. By denying the suspension appeals of all accounts, Twitter is verifying that this was a correct suspension, therefore validating the attitudes of the homophobic far-right religious fundamentalists who targeted our organization. This is blatant hypocrisy from the platform, Twitter is eager to crack down on far-right nationalism if it is coming from a "Western" context, but they yield to zealotry from an Eastern context, belying bigotry of low expectations. By silencing the secular voices from the Muslim and Hindu world and their supporters, Twitter is inordinately penalizing atheists from minority religious backgrounds. The global community of Atheist Republic objects to this favoritism and bigotry. 

 

We, the supporters of Atheist Republic, are seeking a full reinstatement of all accounts.

 

 

 

 

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