On July 22, Hatewatch reported the announcement of a provocative spectacle planned for Sept. 11 by Dove World Outreach Center, a twisted little ministry based in Gainesville, Fla. Just about everything you need to know about the event is contained in its title, “Burn a Koran Day”; everything else, including the back story to Dove World, can be found here.
At the time of our original post, the event’s Facebook page had several hundred fans. Now, nearly two weeks later, the page has more than 3,000 and is growing. Many of these — largely drawn from the United States and Poland — have added more than 2,000 images of graphic violence (committed both by and against Muslims) as well as crudely designed anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Photoshop jobs (including multiple versions of posters urging the nuking of Mecca).
Supporters of “Burn a Koran Day” are not the only participants on the site, however. Increasingly, opponents of the event are “trolling” the page and challenging the views on display. Some of these virtual protesters issue their challenge directly, such as those who post simply, “I LOVE BEING MUSLIM.” Others, however, have taken a more absurdist approach to mocking the event and those supporting it. Rebecca Bass, for example, has been a frequent visitor to the site, regularly posting trivia-like non-sequiturs such as, “Tiger Woods is the highest paid athlete. He makes around $80 million per year (or $219,000 per day).”
According to its own rules, however, this “debate,” such as it is, is not one Facebook should be continuing to host. According to the social networking site’s own “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” Article III, Section VII: “You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” “Burn a Koran Day” easily meets more than one of these triggers for removal.
As the page continues to gain worldwide support for an event designed to breed and fuel hate, the question presents itself: Is anyone at Facebook at the controls?