Dec. 5, 2017
Jack Dorsey, Chief Executive Officer
1355 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dear Mr. Dorsey,
As a group of New York City faith leaders with congregations and communities in one of the most religiously diverse cities in the world, we are writing with deep concern over the way that Twitter is being used by our current President as a platform for incendiary and misleading images that fan the flames of religiously-based hatreds and prejudice. We are calling on you, the CEO of a revolutionary technology company, to embrace more fully the responsibility that comes with the power of your platform and make sure President Trump is subject to the same rules about hateful conduct as other Twitter users.
According to Twitter’s Hateful Conduct policy, users “may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.” So when President Trump won the praise of former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke this week for retweeting violent and misleadingly-identified, Islamophobic videos, Twitter should have deleted them. By using his Presidential pulpit to insinuate that the Syrian ISIS follower who destroyed statue of the Virgin Mary in one of the videos poses the same threat as millions of our Muslim neighbors whose workplaces, schools and voting booths we share, Trump abused his power and Twitter’s Hateful Conduct policy.
The faith leaders on this letter have worked for decades to overcome prejudice, violence, and misunderstanding in a city of 8 million with over 160 official languages in our public education system. As one of the great urban mosaics of our country, New York City is also a microcosm of the world and, by some measures, a positive example of how men and women from every culture, religion, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation can live together in relative peace. Each of our communities have different prayers, scriptures and traditions motivating our civic work, but what matters is that we overcome difference to do it together.
Our work with other New Yorkers of diverse faiths and no faith to secure a common life together is hard won, unfinished, and fragile. While overall crime is down in New York, hate crimes have soared since the 2016 Presidential race and 2017 Inauguration have soared. Anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim bias crimes fueled a 28% increase just this year. In Manhattan at least two churches and two synagogues, as well as a mosque in New Jersey, were defaced with Nazi hate symbols and other desecrating graffiti—one, the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, hosts services for a synagogue, Congregation of B’Nai Jeshurun. If they are happening in a place with such a tradition of religious pluralism, what about parts of the country where that tradition of welcoming the stranger does not exist?
The President’s Twitter account, so far, seems to reside above the rules that Twitter has laid out for its other 100 million daily active users. Because of his Twitter account, President Trump has a megaphone unlike any US President before him. For Twitter to treat his account differently than other accounts shows a lack of ethical consistency with a grave cost to our country.
This is not an abstract concern. We religious leaders in New York City feel the effects of the President’s hatred-filled Twitter messages on the ground—scratched onto Synagogue doors and spewed at Hijab-wearing women on the subway. For this reason, we are writing to ask you to ensure that your company will provide equal treatment for the President’s account when it comes to his violations of your Hateful Conduct policies.
Thank you for your consideration.
The Rev. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director, The Interfaith Center of New York
Imam Souleimane Konate, Masjid AQSA-SALAM, Council of African Imams in America
Imam Khalid Latif, Chaplain, Muslim Chaplaincy Program at New York University
Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, Inc.
Sr. Aisha Al-Adawiya, Founder, Women in Islam
Christina Tasca, Executive Director, Muslim Community Network
Debbie Almontaser, Board Chair, Muslim Community Network
Linda Sarsour, Co-Chair, Women’s March and Executive Director, M-Power
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Congregation Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of our Lives
Rabbi Grabelle-Herman, Society for the Advancement of Judaism
Rabbi Shuli Passow, Congregation B’Nail Jeshurun
Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Labor and Religion Coalition of NYC
Marc L. Greenberg, Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness & Housing
Dr. Diane Steinman, The Micah Institute
Sylvie Sun, Board Chair, Buddhist Global Relief
Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, President, The Buddhist Council of New York
Sunita Viswanath, Director, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, Henry Luce Fellow, NYU Center for Religion & Media. Contributor,
Sikh Diaspora: Theory, Agency, and Experience. Ed. Michael Hawley. Brill, 2013.
Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Pastor, Middle Collegiate Church
Rev. Karyn Carlo PhD, American Baptist Churches, Captain, NYPD (Retired)
Rev. Luis-Alfredo Cartagena Zayas, Outreach Pastor, Park Avenue Christian Church
Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera, President/Senior Pastor Latino Pastoral Action Center/Sanctuary Church
Rev. Dr. Katherine Henderson, President, Auburn Seminary
Rev. John Vaughn, Vice Chair, Auburn Seminary
The Rt. Rev. Bishop Dr. Raymond H. Rufen-Blanchette, The Clergy Campaign for Social and
Pastor Nigel Pearce, Grace Church of Harlem
Rev. Dr. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Assoc. Prof. of Theology, New York Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. C. Vernon Mason, Visiting Professor of Urban Ministry, African- American History
and Religion, New York Theological Seminary
Rev. Clyde Kuemmerle, Ph.D., Ecclesia Ministries of New York
Rev. Michael J. Lynch, STL Our Lady of the Cenecal Parish, Diocese of Brooklyn
Rev. Margaret R. Rose, Ecumenical and Interreligious Deputy to the Presiding Bishop,
The Episcopal Church, USA