[QODLink]
Americas

Calls mount to ban Hamas from Twitter

An evangelical group says Hamas access to Twitter violates the United States' 'material support' laws.
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2012 13:16
The Israeli military has about 206,000 followers on Twitter, versus nearly 49,000 for Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades [AFP]

An evangelical Christian group in the United States has filed a petition calling for Twitter and the US government to "ban Hamas from Twitter".

The group argues that Hamas, the hardline Palestinian group currently ruling the Gaza Strip, is listed as a "Foreign Terrorist Organisation" by the US government, and federal law prohibits providing "material support" to such groups.

The group, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), says that "when it comes to Israel's military campaign, there is little that we here in America can do to help. But when it comes to this second conflict - the so-called 'twitter war' - there is something important we can do."

This follows a letter sent by seven Republican congressmen in September, calling on the FBI to order Twitter disable accounts affiliated with Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Shabaab, which operates in Somalia.

The recent conflict in Gaza led Congressman Ted Poe, who represents a district in eastern Texas, to claim the congressman's request had been vindicated, according to The Hill, a political newspaper focusing on the US Congress. “Allowing foreign terrorist organisations like Hamas to operate on Twitter is enabling the enemy,” he wrote in an email on Wednesday.

Gaza tweets

Both Hamas and the Israeli military were highly active on Twitter during the recent conflict in Gaza. The Israeli military used Twitter to explain their operations, even tweeting a link to a video showing its assassination of Ahmed Jabari, Hamas' military chief.

Although Hamas does not have an official Twitter feed, its military wing, Al Qassam Brigades, does. "We told you #IDF that our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are, 'You opened the Gates of Hell on Yourselves'", reads one such tweet.

David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University's law school, suspects that CUFI may have a strong legal case. In an article for the Daily Beast, he wrote that "the 'material support' law is written so broadly that it makes virtually anything one does to or for a designated group a crime, even if it has no link to terrorist activity of any kind."

Cole, who frequently writes on civil liberties issues, argues that "the more appropriate campaign should be directed at Congress, to amend the 'material support' law to limit its draconian reach".

379

Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list