In recent years there have been Twitter-centric movements to protest stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims. Many of these movements have been based in Western countries, specifically the United States and the United Kingdom. A particularly noteworthy hashtag was #NotYourStockMuslim.
Twitter user Kaye M. (@gildedspine) started #NotYourStockMuslim in response to ABC’s announcement of a new show called Alice in Arabia, which relied heavily on stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims. Kaye wanted non-Muslim writers “to be aware of the diverse voices of Islam, so as to not fall back on said stereotypes and isolate their audience, or hold the belief of Islam being a homogenous religion based on only one voice (typically perceived as Pakistani or Arab).”
The pilot of Alice in Arabia had been cancelled the previous weekend due to the conversations surrounding the pilot, but this did not negate the problematic stereotypes perpetuated by non-Muslim writers in Hollywood. #NotYourStockMuslim began trending on March 24, 2014 as hundreds of Muslim women (and a few men) around the world shared their stories and opinions via Twitter.
On March 26th, a subsequent hashtag was inspired by the #NotYourStockMuslim movement: #NotYourTerrorist. Writer and activist Steven Salaita (@stevesalaita) started #NotYourTerrorist in an effort to take on anti-Muslim stereotypes.
Note that Salaita directed the tweet to other popular Twitter activists (Suey Park, Imraan Siddiqi, and Rania Khalek) to encourage other to use the hashtag so it would trend. The majority of the #NotYourTerrorist tweets protested the common trope of Arabs and Muslims as terrorists, as well as raising awareness to the discrimination Arabs and Muslims experience as a result of these stereotypes.
#NotYourStockMuslim and #NotYourTerrorist allowed Muslims and Arabs to share their everyday experiences and “reveal the humanness” in them in hopes of overturning these harmful stereotypes. Twitter was the optimal social networking platform for this conversation because it gave a voice to those who are typically oppressed. #NotYourStockMuslim is also a great example as to how the topic of a Twitter movement can change, like in an in-person conversation, because it morphed into the more specific #NotYourTerrorist hashtag.
Edit (5/24/14): Another #NotYourStockMuslim movement is planned for Monday, May 26 at 2pm EST.