[UPDATE: Facebook removed this page from its website about an hour after this article was posted Monday.]
Users of Facebook have reported this week that the website is refusing to take down a known ISIS terror group fan page titled “Shia Ibn E Mutta” (a derogatory term for Shia marriages). The fan page has nearly 6,000 members, and adoringly quotes Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, founder of al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed by U.S. forces in 2006.
The most recent quote from al-Zarqawi is an exhortation for followers to attack the Iraqi government. The United States believes that al-Zarqawi was responsible for more than 700 deaths in Iraq alone, and has designated his group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
In attempts to report the fan page as hate speech, Facebook responds with a nondescript message simply saying “This page wasn’t removed.” In the response, Facebook says “We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.” No further explanation is provided, and users are thanked for their contribution.
A popular post on the fan page reads “Cry all you want dirty raafidah. Cry a river of blood. We still wont show mercy for you filthy #Mushriks.” The term “raafidah” is a term used by some to insultingly describe Shia Muslims, although Shiites view the term as praiseworthy. “Mushriks” is defined as “pagans.” The next post is a graphic picture of an Iraqi soldier being run down by a truck, with the caption “Run Rafidi Run, ISIS is coming.” The State Department condemned the massacre of 1,700 members of Iraq’s military by ISIS forces, in what was described as a mass execution.
The fan page gleefully recites propaganda updates about recent gains made in killing Shiites, overrunning Baghdad, and the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Photos and videos encouraging violence appear regularly, often in foreign languages.
In other posts on the fan page, users are directed toward terrorist Web forums controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (alternatively translated as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) or “ISIS.” In the page’s recommendations, users are directed at other fan pages of recognized terrorist organizations in Pakistan and abroad.
Fans of the page respond with comments attacking the victims of ISIS, denouncing them as “infidels” — particularly when they are Shia Muslims. A post marked with yesterday’s date announces “LOVE ISIS LONG LIVE ISIS” with pictures of Twitter users also praising the militant organization.
In particularly frightening posts, the page lists strategic recommendations for ISIS and how it can best conquer Baghdad. Other posts are clearly anti-Semitic.
Facebook’s Community Standards page says: “Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on our site.” Despite this, numerous “reports” from Facebook users go unheeded.
“Because of the diversity of our community, it’s possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked” says the Facebook Community Standards page, although it is not apparent how a fan page for a group banned by al Qaeda for being too extreme does not meet Facebook’s criteria for removal.