This is what happens when you report an armed anti-Muslim rally to Facebook

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Wednesday 09 December 2015 17:20
Science and Tech

Barack Obama used a rare televised address to the US this week to urge Americans not to give terrorists what they want and allow fear and division to set in.

That message has been lost on many however, such as the organisers of an armed rally at a mosque in Texas.

According to its Facebook event page, the BAIR Rally for US Law and Sovereignty is calling on people to bring their assault rifles and assemble at a mosque in Texas.

A message on the page reads:

They are Sunni Muslims that have taken over the entire neighbourhood and even renamed streets after the Islamic culture. Do I need to say anymore?

Notes and pictures posted on the page meanwhile include bacon grenades, crusader knights and other anti-Muslim memes.

Around 5,000 miles away, the rally's ripples reached Peatree Bojangles*, who owns her own animation agency and happened to see a screenshot from the page posted on Twitter.

After reading what she described as "blatant hate" she decided to contact Facebook to complain the page contained hate speech or symbols. Facebook responded, however, to say that it did not violate its community standards.

Bojangles, 31, from London, told i100.co.uk she was "shocked" at Facebook's response:

I put up a tweet showing what they said as soon as I received the email. They were taking guns to a protest while talking about how much they hate the Muslim community. If someone showed up at a gurdwara my parents go to with guns, I would expect the police to instantly be there to arrest them. Of course this is America and the gun laws there are different, but I see no difference. If you have a gun, you use it to murder, it’s that simple. Go to a mosque with a gun, and we have a problem.

After being rebuffed by Facebook, someone urged Bojangles to contact the police, and after a call to the Metropolitan Police she was put through to the FBI, who told her they would "take it from there". Later someone from the Met called back asking for further details.

She added:

I hope that the right authorities deal with this situation. Whether it’s track these people down, or attend the mosque on that day to offer assistance to the Muslim community. I’m not sure what the laws are out there, whether they will allow something like this to happen. All I know is that it’s an outrage that people can openly talk about gathering with guns outside a mosque, and Facebook allow it.

There is no sign of the event being cancelled or the page being removed. One person wrote on the rally page recently:

When contacted, Facebook said it was looking into the issue.

*Preferred for anonymity

More: Meanwhile, in Texas, assault rifle-wielding protesters held a completely legal demonstration outside a mosque

More: The only thing worse than Donald Trump's Muslim ban speech? The way his supporters responded to it

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