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Monday, March 09, 2015

#IstandwithMariam: Hate groups launch global attack on Muslim advocate after singlet protest

: Hate groups launch global attack on Muslim advocate after singlet protest Lateline By John Stewart Updated about an hour ago Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek. Video: Watch John Stewart's report for Lateline on the targetting of Mariam Veiszadeh (Lateline) Mariam Veiszadeh Photo: Muslim lawyer and community advocate Mariam Veiszadeh has been the target of anti-Islam hate campaigns. (Supplied: Twitter) Related Story: #BeTheBridge group calls for stronger bonds after siege Related Story: Woolworths apologises for stocking offensive singlet Map: Cairns 4870 Overseas race hate groups are intensifying their attacks on a Muslim community advocate, five months after she protested against the sale of a "bigoted" singlet by Woolworths. In October, Mariam Veiszadeh was one of many Twitter users to publicly object to the sale of the singlet, which displayed an Australian flag and the words "If you don't love it, leave". At the time Ms Veiszadeh received hundreds of abusive social media comments, but after Woolworths removed the singlet from the Cairns store the story seemed to fizzle out. However months later, she has received a barrage of death threats and racial abuse. Race hate groups, led by the American blog site The Daily Stormer, are urging people around the world to use social media to attack Ms Veiszadeh. The attacks include hundreds of tweets, Facebook messages and cropped images of Ms Veiszadeh holding a pig or buried in sand. "The most recent abuse I have received was sparked by a neo-Nazi website based in the US who I believe has ties to groups here," she said. "They published an incredibly vile article devoting a great deal of attention to me, urging their 5,000 followers to send me as many hateful, religiously motivated offensive tweets as possible." Warning This gallery contains confronting images. Image 1 of 6 Mariam Veiszadeh attacked on Twitter One of the tweets depicts Mariam Veiszadeh being stoned to death. Image 2 of 6 Mariam Veiszadeh attacked on Twitter Another tweet makes violent threats against the activist. Image 3 of 6 Mariam Veiszadeh attacked on Twitter Another threatening tweet suggests Mariam should leave Australia. Image 4 of 6 Mariam Veiszadeh attacked on Twitter Another Twitter user threatens beheading Ms Veiszadeh. Image 5 of 6 Mariam Veiszadeh attacked on Twitter In email correspondence, Mariam is told to leave Australia for Afghanistan. Image 6 of 6 Gallery: Muslim advocate Mariam Veiszadeh targeted in hate campaign Ms Veiszadeh said she was surprised that almost half a year after the singlet controversy, the campaign against her was gaining momentum. "I went to Twitter and basically just tweeted that I felt outraged that Woolies were allegedly selling what seemed like a bigoted message on a singlet," Ms Veiszadeh said. "The sentiments that I expressed that day on Twitter were expressed by thousands of other people, but it seemed that people took offence to what I said. "I have unfortunately been on the receiving end of death threats that have come my way but I am determined to keep fighting against it." Attacks prompt #IstandwithMariam movement In the aftermath of the Sydney siege in December, Ms Veiszadeh was also part of the #Illridewithyou movement which prompted nearly 120,000 tweets in support of Muslim Australians. Now the hashtag #IstandwithMariam has become the new rallying point for confronting anti-Islamic attacks on social media. 'If you don't love it, leave' singlet Photo: The 'If you don't love it, leave' singlet was sold in a Woolworths store in Cairns in far north Queensland. (Twitter: George Craig) "The hashtag #IstandwithMariam was started by my friend Ruth and has taken off and has been trending across Australia," Ms Veiszadeh said. "The support has been absolutely overwhelming. The outpouring of support and love that has come my way as a result has been extremely heartwarming." Last year, Ms Veiszadeh created the Islamophobia Register Australia page on Facebook so attacks against Australian Muslims could be recorded. The site records incidents involving social media, verbal and physical attacks against Muslim people, and challenges race hate groups in Australia and overseas. Ms Veiszadeh said the attacks were wearing her down but she was determined not to be silenced. "The months of ongoing cyber bullying has definitely taken a personal toll and I'd be lying if I suggested that it hadn't," she said. "It has affected my physical and mental health, but in saying that it's also made me more determined than ever to continue to fight against it because their stated objective is to silence me and my stated objective is to do the opposite." She said while she was determined to keep fighting online bigotry, she was also a realist. "I must say that I can definitely see light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm not delusional and I know it's going to be a very long journey," she said. "I think what makes this task even more difficult is when people in positions of power seek to peddle people's prejudices rather than challenge them. Powered by Bing Topics: community-and-society, religion-and-beliefs, islam, information-and-communication, internet-culture, cairns-4870, qld, australia

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