Newspaper will not tolerate hate speech
We made an unusual decision to disable commenting on a story this week, after those sharing their thoughts turned to hate speech to get their message across.
The Yuma Sun recently published an article about the mosque in Yuma, which is opening its doors to the public for the first time this Saturday. The article noted that the center wanted to invite Yumans to learn more about Islam and the local Muslims.
The response by several online was terribly inappropriate.
We are firm supporters of free speech and in general do not moderate the comments on YumaSun.com. However, the attacks on our local Muslim American population were uncalled for, and the complaints we received about the comments were justified.
The Center for American Progress took a look at the myths surrounding Muslim Americans.
Here's what they found in a Gallup poll in 2011:
• Muslim Americans are the least likely of all major religious groups to say that attacks on civilians are justifiable.
• More than 9 out of 10 Muslim Americans say they are loyal to the United States.
• Muslim Americans who attend religious services at least once a week have higher levels of civic engagement and report less stress and anger than those who attend less frequently.
• 48 percent have experienced religious or racial discrimination during the past year – more than twice as much as other religious groups, except for Mormons, which was at 31 percent.
• 92 percent of Muslim Americans expressed tolerance and/or positive views of other faiths
Our country was founded on a variety of principles, including freedom of religion, which rightfully includes any and all religions. Islamophobic rants by YumaSun.com commenters serve only to hurt a population in Yuma which has done nothing to deserve that treatment.
Hate speech is protected in the United States under our First Amendment rights, but we as an entity don't have to allow it on our public forums, nor will we. It won't be tolerated – either in print or online.