MPAC Launches #ISpeakOutBecause Social Media Campaign - updated 8/12/14
Posted Aug 12, 2014

MPAC Launches #ISpeakOutBecause Social Media Campaign

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has launched a social media campaign called “#ISpeakOutBecause” to provide a platform for people of conscience to speak out for human rights. Speaking out in response to escalating violence and extremism taking place in Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, Nigeria and beyond is a critical step to spreading awareness and creating change.

SEE: “#ISpeakOutBecause” Official Website  (MPAC)

ALSO SEE: “#ISpeakOutBecause” Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram Pages

In recent weeks, many public figures have spoken out against the ongoing injustices in Gaza, only to face sharp criticism and pressure to retract their statements. Intimidation has led many people to practice self-censorship on topics deemed taboo out of fear of ramifications. When we are intimidated into censoring ourselves, our right to free speech is threatened.

“Palestine is a dirty word in Washington and criticizing Israel’s policies toward Palestinians is a political taboo,” MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati wrote in his recent op-ed, “President Obama’s Ramadan Slap at Muslims,” published in CNN’s Belief Blog.


“Now more than ever, we must raise our voices collectively to speak up for human rights and freedom for all people facing violence and extremism,” said MPAC Hollywood Liaison Deana Nassar. “For decades, citizens of Middle Eastern countries have been silenced and threatened with persecution for speaking out against the dictators that ruled them. Today, those who speak out against violent extremism committed by nations or by extremist groups face backlash. It’s time to speak out with one voice.” 

Intimidation and censorship have become our reality, but we can change that. Now is the time to speak out, so please join us in this campaign to raise our voices.

How to Participate in the “#ISpeakOutBecause” Campaign:

1. Write “#ISpeakOutBecause” on a sheet of paper and complete it with your reason for speaking out against injustice.

2. Snap a picture of yourself holding the sign.

3. Post it on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #ISpeakOutBecause.

4. Tag your friends in your post and encourage them to join the campaign!

Founded in 1988, MPAC is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims.

UPDATE 8/12/2014

Al Jazeera reports #ISpeakOutBecause takes on oppression, bigotry.  The article notes that

... Sparks fly on Twitter as anti-Islam activists attempt to hijack hashtag created by American Muslims.

When the Muslim Public Affairs Council started the hashtag #ISpeakOutBecause (link is external), they intended for users to take part by sharing why they stood against oppression around the world. But after a flood of tweets from anti-Islam Twitter users, the conversation turned to combating racism and bigotry directed at the Muslim community.

...  But the campaign was quickly hijacked by anti-Islam activists. ...

See the original article for examples of the tweets and a detailed discussion.