Facebook Says Rape Threat Against Ex-Muslim Activist Doesn’t Violate Standards

Maryam Namazie, a political activist who frequently criticizes Islamism, received a graphic rape threat from a violent Muslim. Unfortunately, according to Facebook, the message didn’t violate any of their “specific community standards.”

I have received a lot of hate mail over the years, but this is something extraordinary. His threat is clear and specific… and disturbing. So, be warned.

Screenshot from Maryam Namazie

This is violent and graphic, so keep that in mind.

Namazie shared some screenshots from the conversation on Twitter to protest Facebook’s censorship policies. She pointed out that pages get shut down regularly because they criticize Islam, yet the company seems not to care about graphic threats. This is something I have experienced, as well, so I’m happy people are finally paying attention to this double standard.

Most people commenting on Namazie’s Twitter thread were supportive, and many were surprised that Facebook could find this post appropriate and non-offensive. Some took the opportunity to critique the social network’s threat monitoring system.

Namazie is a political and secular activist like me, and I too have experienced similar problems with threats, but this issue with Facebook is something that affects everyone. I’ve reported hundreds of death threats to Facebook, and dozens to Twitter, and have never received a satisfactory conclusion. I’ve also been banned for posting nothing more than a quote from the Bible or the Qur’an. Crazy, isn’t it?

One Twitter user even suggested Namazie could have grounds for a legal complaint. I don’t know if that’s the case, but if so, I’d be happy to join in on a class action.

All in all, I’m not surprised by all this. I am, however, disappointed in Facebook and horrified at the person who sent that message to Namazie. This is something that should never happen. Regardless of our religious preferences, we are all people and we all deserve to be treated with a certain amount of respect. No one should have to fear for their life because they spoke their thoughts, whether they are criticizing Islam or railing against the President. It’s Free Speech.

Yours in Reason,

David G. McAfee


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About David G. McAfee

David G. McAfee is a Religious Studies graduate, journalist, and author of Atheist Answers: Rational Responses to Religious Questions, The Book of Gods, The Belief Book, Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer, and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings. He is also the founder of The Party of Reason and Progress and a frequent contributor to American Atheist Magazine. McAfee, who writes about science, skepticism, and faith, attended University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Religious Studies with an emphasis on Christianity and Mediterranean religions.