In response to the Norway bombing and massacre, many American media outlets spread rumors that Muslim extremists had something to do with these tragedies. The shootings were carried out by a right-wing Christian, by the way.
In response to the hate mongering, Sanum Ghafoor started the Twitter hashtag #blamethemuslms last weekend to “highlight how ridiculous it is to blame Muslims for every problem in the world.”
While the hashtag became a worldwide trending topic, some people grasped its sarcasm while others were repulsed.
“#blamethemuslims needs to stop trending,” tweeted Tranise Monroe. “Learn to respect other religions and not discriminate them.”
“#thatawkwardmoment when half of Twitter hate your guts,” tweeted Ghafoor.
This #blamethemuslims mix-up highlights Twitter’s gift and curse: Hashtags. Anyone can start one or simply jump on board an existing trend. If you know a hashtags real meaning, it’s like finding out the inside joke only the cool kids in high school know. If you don’t, good luck wrapping your head around its significance without doing some serious digging.
Websites like whatthetrend.com, twopular.com and trendistic.indextank.com provide some fancy statistics, and on occasion, a simple explanation on many trending hashtags. Otherwise, they’re pretty useless in providing a hashtags history.
And with a hashtag like #blamethemuslims, it’s a shame that people like Manar Baker of the United Arab Emirates, one of many people on Twitter responding to the hashtag,are calling for its ban without knowing its true meaning. Without information, some of the simplest things can be taken out of context. Even tragedies gripping an entire nation, and the world.