Home > article, blogging, life, work > #blamethemuslims – definition of a trend

#blamethemuslims – definition of a trend

 

#blamethemuslims is trending hard on twitter right now, but the majority of people who are using the hashtag don’t know why it started.

 

Strange_Sanum was the first one to use the tag in a series of satirical, lighthearted tweets, which included the following:

 

Spilled beer down your shirt? Blame the Muslims. England losing the World Cup? Blame the Muslims. Your wife left you? Blame the Muslims.

My internet is slow #blamethemuslims

and (my favourite) – ‘ ‘Wheres your homework?’ ‘I made it into a paper aeroplane and it got hijacked.’ #blamethemuslims’

 

As of right now the tag is the number one trend on twitter and Sanum was receiving, as she stated about half an hour ago, 200 @mentions every 10 seconds. She’s also been receiving death threats, despite being a muslim herself, and despite explaining clearly on her TL just why she started #blamethemuslims in the first place. It’s a nod to the tendency of media groups and social bias to jump aboard what is now a very boring bandwagon – that of laying blame for violence and religious bigotry (amongst other things) at the door of the muslim people – which in turn highlights an even larger concern – that of scapegoating in general.

 

Why do I love this trend? It’s funny, witty, self-deprecating and intelligently ironic. Of course the moral of the story might have been very different if #blamethemuslims had been started by anyone other than a member of that particular faith group, but when a person feels comfortable enough in their own skin to indulge in gentle self-mockery, whilst simultaneously holding up a mirror to media bias, one can’t help but laugh alongside.

 

Unfortunately it seems as though rather a lot of people just aren’t getting the joke. There have been many calls for twitter to ban the TT (and a strange amount of people who consider twitter’s allowing of the trend to be particularly unfair in relation to the recent banning of #justinbieber) and a number of people have voiced fears concerning possible repurcussions. However the majority of the people who have utilised the hashtag seem to have done so purely to vent their anger about the perceived racism of the trend, without researching its origins before forming an opinion. Irony upon irony; the very thing Sanum seems to have been satirising has been replayed by millions in their misguided attempts to rid the (twitter)world of an ‘evil’ that is no more than a product of misinterpretation.

 

Strange_Sanum herself stated, ‘I started the #blamethemuslims trend to highlight how ridiculous it is to blame Muslims for every problem in the world.’ She has a youtube account: http://www.youtube.com/strangesanum91, which she uses to speak eloquently on related matters (The Language of War, London protests and Muslim faith topics). Go check it out before jumping on the bandwagon – this is one trend that most definitely should be about solidarity and humour, not chucking misguided stones.

 

 

26/07 – 01:54 – EDIT:

I reserve the right to moderate all comments. Debate and free speech are encouraged, however any comments that are disrespectful, hateful, irrelevant (spam) or off-topic will either remain unapproved or will be deleted.

 

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  1. July 25, 2011 at 3:28 am

    People judge so quickly…

  2. Vor
    July 25, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Glad you wrote this. It’s hard for me to comprehend how so many people can be missing the point, but I think most are simply seeing the hashtag, instantly forming (uninformed) opinions, then firing off angry tweets. People just don’t seem to be willing to take a few minutes to figure out the back-story.

  3. BlogPoster
    July 25, 2011 at 7:51 am

    — maybe #blamethemuslims is being used by people, at least in part, as a (ironic or otherwise) reference to the recent Islamaphobic rantings by BBC and Sky when (initially) reporting on the attacks in Norway?

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/07/islamophobia-run-wild/

    (I’m nothing to do with that blog, but thought that post was particularly relevant to your post here)

  4. July 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I think you’re right blogposter, and the only reason I didn’t include anything about it in this post is because I couldn’t see anything about it in Sanum’s own twitter feed. Charlie Brooker has spoken about the inaccurate reporting in today’s guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/24/charlie-brooker-norway-mass-killings?CMP=twt_iph

    • BlogPoster
      July 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      Charlie Brooker rocks! – I follow a lot of his stuff 🙂

  5. July 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Brilliantly written. Love it.

  6. Mac
    July 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I was horrified to see BTM on Twitter and yes, i also signed the petition ( in fact i was the 2nd to sign). Yet BTM may have been bore out of sarcasm, and yes i didn’t read the whole thing from the start. But don’t you think it’s great that the sane half of twitter don’t BTM and far from it. Also what did you expect people do do when they first see it ? or course it’s going to cause outrage, you must have known this from the start ? But at least now it has been bought to the forefront & you can see that not everyone believes what they see & hear on Fox news or Sky.

    • July 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      That was the intention of this post. I don’t feel as though I can say with any great confidence that there was a singular line of demarcation between people who reacted positively and people who reacted negatively, but the majority of the problems came, in my opinion, from mis-communication. My point is simple – that the origins of the trend lay in goodwill and humour, not racism or violence, and that conflict arising from confusion can be easily solved.

  7. Cam Reed
    July 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Problem is quite a number of people just see these things things in TT’s and do not actually go to it and read what it is (on any or all), that is why you get a backlash on these things, they tweet without reading (like news media react and report with no research).

  8. Mac
    July 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    oh wel, its great to say with hindsight isn’t it.

  9. Ahmed
    July 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I do understand the irony of it and how it was only started to make fun of people who blame Muslims for everything. I’m only angry at Twitter for keeping it as some idiots might use it to ACTUALLY blame Muslims.

  10. Ahmed
    July 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    ex: Correct usage: “I burnt my toast this morning #blametheMuslims
    Wrong usage: “Muslims don’t immigrate to assimilate & integrate—they come to subjugate & dominate in time. #blamethemuslims”

    • errnooo
      July 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      I wrote the toast one 😀 yes people, follow my example.

  11. anon
    July 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    ohh yeah? would it be funny or witty if #blamethechristians was trending? or how about #blamethecatholics ??

    • July 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      Anon.
      The quintessential thing about satire is that it is a form of social criticism, and it is often employed by individuals – as it has been in this case – to draw attention to a form of subjugation or discrimination that has become normalised. Laughter denotes both solidarity and catharsis, and is a means of social unification.

      Would it be funny if #blamethechristians was trending? Perhaps. It would depend what for, and who started it, and why. If it was for the same reason that #blamethemuslims originally started, then I see no reason why it wouldn’t be, providing the hashtag was being used correctly. However the point of this blog post is that people are not finding the humour in something that was meant – despite the seriousness of its political and social implications – to be lighthearted. Sanum’s hashtag has been used incorrectly and her original message was lost very quickly, and this mis-communication has led to a large number of people becoming upset. But the thing is it’s ok to get upset over a misunderstanding as long as we commit ourselves to learning from our mistakes, and equally it’s ok for a person to poke fun at themselves and have the rest of the world laugh along in good-natured merriment – be they muslim, christian, jewish, buddhist, atheist or anything else – because then the joke isn’t on anyone, it’s with everyone.

  12. July 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    hah! My tweet made it into the article. ‘My internet is slow #blamethemuslims‘

  13. Mac
    July 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Just an idea but…… #IBLAMETHEFARRIGHTNEOCONSSUPREMACISTS

  14. Saira
    July 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    My initial reaction to the TT was anger, but I decided to actually find out the origin of the TT rather than start abusing someone I didn’t even know, & once I knew her reasoning behind starting it, I chose to use the hashtag myself & ended up defending her to others who had got unnecessarily angered by the TT, but there was no explaining it to some people, and it just displayed their ignorance and showed how easy it is for the masses to take a small thing and blow it all out of proportion.

    I do commend Strange_Sanum fo rnot backing down and carrying on with what she was trying to demonstrate, she is one tough cookie

  15. Mac
    July 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    After doing extensive research into all this today ……….. Racism & Bigotry is a two way street, sadly that is my personal thought on all this.

  16. July 26, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I watched the trend page all day as it was happening, is there a word for “reveling in other peoples idiocy?” Maybe the Germans have a word….they always have a word…

    Really well done blog post. I considered writing something about it but yours is so swiftly and accurately put there’s no way I could do better.

    @toastedtofu

  17. Chris
    July 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Sanum Ghafoor should not have used #blamethemusslims as a hashtag. Many people didn’t understand what it meant, It was pretty much a stupid way to get your point across.

  18. July 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    It was nice to see that most people who using the hashtag were using it in the way that it was intended, “blaming” the Muslims for things that were obviously not their fault (“I got bitten by a horse. #blamethemuslims”) or for positive things (“#blamethemuslims for many scientic advancements in the middle ages). Most of the people that didn’t get it were upset that it was trending and complaining that it was racist and that twitter should block it. Few people were actually using the hashtag in a non-satirical way.

  19. July 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I watched with amazement as #blamethemuslims trended on twitter. All of life was there commenting in one way or another, mixing up sarcasm with satire, being disgusted and being delighted. The way forward is for those who didn’t ‘get it’ to listen and understand what the message was – one that I think the majority of the respondants would agree with even if they didn’t agree with the method!

  1. July 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm
  2. August 1, 2011 at 8:40 am
  3. August 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm
  4. August 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm
  5. August 10, 2011 at 6:00 am
  6. September 11, 2011 at 1:43 am

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