WASHINGTON, DC — The following is a statement from Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates’ special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry responding to lies and misleading images posted on Facebook by North Dakota State Sen. Oley Larsen targeting Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar:
“Sen. Larsen is spreading false, grossly anti-Muslim tropes that put a Muslim member of Congress who already regularly receives death threats in further danger. When elected officials dehumanize American Muslims, it gives license to others to do the same, leading to more discrimination, more bigotry and more violence.
But we also cannot ignore that Rep. Larsen shares culpability with Facebook. Facebook’s business model now explicitly embraces elected officials who spread bigoted disinformation to voters. For too long, Facebook has incentivized politicians to appeal to divisive, fear-based campaigning, leading to real-life consequences. When politicians lie, it’s communities like American Muslims who suffer. This highlights why Facebook cannot let elected officials spread disinformation and hate without consequence.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.