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The liberal media's war on 'trolling' is becoming increasingly intolerant and censorious
by Brendan O'Neill
Jonathan Freedland has written an article for the Guardian about Islamophobic trolling on the internet. It contains an extraordinary line. Freedland says Muslim journalists are frequently subjected to vile racist abuse by some of the crankier commenters who lurk on the world wide web, including being branded "goatf**kers". But there are also "subtler" forms of racism, he says, such as when trolls "dress up in progressive, Guardian-friendly garb… slamming Islam as oppressive of gay and women's rights, for example". "Call it progressives' prejudice", says Freedland.
What is extraordinary about this is that it represents an explicit conflation of racial prejudice and political opinion, a mashing together of what we can all agree is irrational hatred of Muslims with what is surely just criticism of Islam. Now, you may agree or disagree with the idea that Islam is repressive of women and gays, but it is an idea nonetheless, a view some individuals have arrived at after thinking about various issues. To lump such an outlook together with abusive terms like "goatf**ker", as if they both come from the same spectrum of racial hatred, is a see-through attempt to demonise certain political ideas by branding them racist.
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