These Women Could Be Put To Death For Their Pro-LGBT and Atheist Tweets

Tweets are usually pretty harmless. You can voice your opinion through the micro-blog platform and receive a few Retweets at best, along with some angry responses at worst. However, when your Tweets go against the grain in a country where speaking out against Islam is punishable by death, your 140-character thoughts could result in some much more serious consequences.

Recently, Twitter trolls claiming to be from the Middle East are reporting women in Kuwait for their “atheist,” pro-LGBTQ+ or just independent-minded Tweets—which could put these women’s lives in jeopardy, the Daily Beast reports. 

Twitter user @old_gaes has used his account to call out multiple women he sees as blasphemous. On Sunday night, @old_gaes screenshotted and posted a Tweet by 16-year-old Kuwaiti @Pharaohoe. Her tweet replaced the term “domain” with a slang word meaning vagina in a verse from the Quran.

@Old_gaes urged his followers to report the young girl and posted above the screenshot: “This is the end of another atheist and we should continue exposing every Arab atheist child to their parents who do not know of their atheism.”

Soon enough, @Pharaohoe tweeted “they f***ing found me” before deactivating her account. We can only assume that she meant the government. No one knew of the status of her safety at the time of this article. 

Although @old_gaes deactivated his Twitter, he began a very dangerous Twitter movement to silence others that more users have unfortunately joined. The practice is known as “doxing,” or searching for and publishing identifying information on the internet with malicious and harmful motives.

One user, @iBxdr, Tweeted to @old_gaes in Arabic, according to the Daily Beast: “Arab gays and atheists live among us, but if every person got up and defended his faith and spread (education) to every gay and atheist, they would disappear from Twitter.”

One anonymous source, who told the Daily Beast not to use her name for fear of her safety, said, “This tactic is not new at all. Many Arab atheists, political dissenters, and LGBQT (users) are doxed into silence…Twitter is absolutely useless. They don’t take this sort of thing seriously.” 

The Twitter Rules state that 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.” However, @old_gaes was not deactivated until multiple users threatened to report him to the Dubai police for blasphemy and Tweets against the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

This isn't the first time Twitter has been criticized for its processes for dealing with abuse. During the Gamergate controversy, videogame writer Anita Sarkeesian was flooded with sexist threats on Twitter. And Jewish journalists who have written critically about Donald Trump have reliably received streams of anti-Semitic Tweets.

In Kuwait, people who speak critically of Islam can be imprisoned or even killed. This is why many men and women in the country choose to Tweet anonymously, hoping to avoid such brutal punishment. However, it still took until very recently for @old_gaes to disappear. Twitter needs to do better to ensure that their platform is a place for a safe expression of opinions, rather than a site to be doxed into silence.