29th November, UK Parliament hosted the launch of the widely anticipated Muslim Safety Guide, formulated by Faith Associates in partnership with Facebook.
The ‘Keeping Muslims Safe Online’ safety guide provides easily understandable tips and advice outlining the tools Facebook has developed to keep its Muslim users safe on the Facebook platform.
The guide has been produced to empower Muslim users on the world’s largest social media platform with the tools, resources and knowledge to identify and deal with harmful content.
Consultations with senior Religious Scholars, both national and international, ensured input from a diverse range of Muslim communities in the development of the safety guide. Faith Associates also delivered presentations and workshops to harbour contributions from Eden girls school in Slough and Jamia ul Ummah boys school in Whitechapel, East London.
The launch, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims welcome a cross party parliamentary presence, policy makers and influencers, and national bodies that work to empower minority communities. The gathering facilitated dialogue between senior UK Imam’s, parliamentarians from across the UK, policy bodies and children from Islamic schools around London, to celebrate the achievement of the partnership between Facebook and Faith Associates, and thank the contributors of the guide.
Speakers at this launch include RT Hon Wes Streeting MP, RT Hon Rehman Chisti MP, RT Hon Yasmin Qureshi MP, Imam Adam Kelwick, Imam Qari Asim, Shaukat Warraich CEO of Faith Associates and Karim Palant, UK Public Policy manager at Facebook.
Co-chair of the APPG on British Muslims, RT Hon Wes Streeting MP, praised the efforts of Facebook and Faith Associates, and said this was an important development in the fight against Islamophobia.
RT Hon Rehman Chisti talked emotionally about his Islamic roots, how the message of Islam must be wrestled away from extremists and that the guide was a tangible effort in the fight against bigotry and hate.
Karim Palant, Facebook’s UK Public Policy manager, acknowledged the partnership of Facebook with Faith Associates and said this was a first step in a line of activities being planned to protect the Facebook family.
RT Hon Yasmin Qureshi and Imam Qari Asim reiterated the direct link between online hate and hate crimes, commending the positive step taken by Facebook in partnership with Faith Associates, with the first guide providing online resources to protect Muslim communities worldwide.
Imam Adam Kelwick represented his constituency by stating:
“Recent statistics and trends are showing that hate and expressions of hate within our society are on the increase and they seem to be coming from all different segments of society. It is times like this when we all have to come together and challenge this hatred. This guide by Facebook and Faith Associates which I was consulted in regards to, is a part of that challenging hatred and is a great step in enabling us to come together as social media platforms as well as the grassroots Muslim communities to work together and say no to hatred”
Shaukat Warraich, CEO Faith Associates, added:
“Faith Associates is excited and privileged to have partnered with Facebook to develop this vital resource for the global Muslim community. We have seen the dramatic rise of Islamophobic rhetoric and terrorist inspired content that manifests online and appreciate Facebook’s effort in supporting grassroots organisations to enhance the knowledge and develop the skills of Muslims users to directly deal with it when they see it.
I am confident that this guide will be well received in the Muslim community and will empower Muslim users of Facebook with the confidence and resilience to become effective in identifying and tackling the risks that exist online. It will also highlight that tech companies like Facebook are not ambivalent to hate speech directed at communities but are constantly working on ensuring that all users are given the tools to keep themselves and their friends & family safe online.
The guide will also aid the development of Mosques, Madrassahs and Imams in their efforts to deliver a holistic service to their constituencies. Faith Associates will be working closely with them to help deliver training on e-safety and facilitate spaces for conversation around pertinent social issues.
Simon Milner, Head of Policy UK at Facebook, stated that:
“We’re proud to be supporting Faith Associates in the development of their online safety guide. Facebook welcomes all communities, and there is no place for hate on the platform. We work in a number of ways to tackle this issue – from the use of Artificial Intelligence to find and remove terrorist propaganda, to our teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.
Partnerships with others — including tech companies, civil society, researchers and governments — are also a crucial piece of the puzzle and some of our most effective partnerships are focused on counter speech, which means encouraging people to speak out against violence and extremism. The UK Online Civil Courage Initiative supports NGOs like Faith Associates to work with communities across the UK to challenge the extremist narratives that cause such harm.”