Mark Zuckerberg reassured Muslims Wednesday that they are welcome on Facebook, posting on his page, “I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world.”
With one billion users, including a number of Muslims, Mr. Zuckerberg’s public support could be seen as a savvy business move. But Zuckerberg isn’t typically quick to voice his opinion on hot-button issues, suggesting the statement was more personally than professionally directed; a shift that has become especially apparent following the birth of his son, says The New York Times.
“After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others,” Zuckerberg wrote. “If you're a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.”
In the post, Zuckerberg also pointed to his Jewish upbringing, which several commenters took as a sign of solidarity.
“From a Muslim-American to a Jewish-American, thank you for your important words,” wrote Facebook user Ayman Mohyeldin. “Our communities have more in common than what many lead us to believe divides us. If only more of our country's leaders echoed your sentiments.”
“Thank you for this statement. Love from the Muslims all over the world :)” commented Talal Athar.
But not all commenters were supportive. Some called Zuckerberg naive:
“No offense, me also being Jewish, our people never strapped bombs to their chests in the name of Jihad. We should never persecute all for the actions of one, but we need to be more mindful of what's really going on in this world. Don't be naive, Mark Zuckerberg,” posted Facebook user Max SV.
Zuckerberg’s post highlights the tension felt around the country following the Paris attacks. Many, including Republican candidate Donald Trump, want to ban Muslims from the US and several states have taken steps to reject Syrian refugees. But Zuckerberg’s comments show that this isn’t a one-sided debate.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook commented, “Thank you Mark – this is such a welcome post. We should not just tolerate our differences but embrace them. As a society, we can do so much better.”