Censored: Twitter Bans Iran Refugee After the Mall of America Locked Him Up for Sharing His Faith
Last October, Twitter banned Ramin Parsa, a former Muslim Christian pastor refugee from Iran who had recently suffered unlawful imprisonment for speaking about his faith with Somali Muslims in the Mall of America. Twitter banned him after he had retweeted President Donald Trump and expressed doubt as to whether or not early reports of the "MAGA bomber" were real.
According to Twitter, the social media network only suspends accounts if a person has violated the Twitter Rules either repeatedly or in an egregious manner. The company often gives warnings or notifications first. It often suspends an account and identifies one particular tweet which the company says violates its rules, and if the user will delete that tweet, he or she will be reinstated.
Parsa told PJ Media that none of these things applied in his case. His account was simply suspended with no warning and without an indication as to which tweet supposedly warranted the suspension. When he emailed them back, they repeated the tired statement that his account violated Twitter's "Terms of Service."
"Twitter is censoring conservatives in the name of 'violation of their rules.' My tweets were simple. I didn’t take screenshots because I didn’t know they’re gonna suspend me," the pastor told PJ Media. "Ask them to give you the tweets based upon which they suspended me!"
When PJ Media asked Twitter to point out the offending tweet or tweets, the company refused, citing privacy and security reasons. Parsa himself was able to access his old tweets, however, and sent screenshots of them to PJ Media. He also sent the original email he received from Twitter announcing his suspension.
"Your account has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating Twitter's Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against hateful conduct," the email reads. "It is against our rules to 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."
Thanks to Parsa's screenshots, readers can judge for themselves whether or not his most recent tweets served to "promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people" on any specific basis.
The pastor told PJ Media that his final tweets merely involved retweeting President Donald Trump. He shared Trump's endorsements of Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) — who lost his election last year; Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) — who won; Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) — who also won; and Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) — another 2018 victor.
Before these retweets, the pastor tweeted that "there's no better therapy than having Jesus in your life. I was a depressed, hopeless, broken Muslim, nothing and nobody could help me until I heard the Best News that God so loved me that he gave His only begotten Son who died for me on the Cross and rose from the dead, I surrendered." He also retweeted a Trump attack on the "fake news" media.
Before these messages, Parsa had retweeted Millie Weaver, an Infowars writer who has a coveted blue "verified" check mark on Twitter. Weaver expressed her suspicions about the attempted bomb delivered to CNN; Parsa had previously tweeted his own suspicions that the bomb threat was fake.
Parsa's skeptical tweets about the mail bomb warned that what he thought was a hoax to attack conservatives "will backfire just like all the rest."
The pastor's tweets may have been too aggressive or ill-considered, but none involved advocating violence or threats. Parsa did tweet about violent rhetoric — he condemned the violent rhetoric of the Left.
"Remember when [Eric Holder] said ‘kick them’ when [Madonna] wanted to blow up the [White House]? When [Rep. Maxine Waters] said insult Trump supporters & Republicans? Where was the Fake News media? Now Fake News CNN is condemning Trump for [the bomb scare]," the pastor tweeted.
Twitter has engaged in censorship and suppression of conservative voices many times over. The social media company has suspended PJ Media's Glenn Reynolds ("Instapundit"), PJ Media's Sean Medlock ("Jim Treacher"), and the Daily Wire's Michael Knowles. All of these people were reinstated after conservatives complained about their suspensions. #FreeInstapundit trended on Twitter, and Donald Trump, Jr. drew attention to Michael Knowles's suspension.
Twitter also flagged Jihad Watch founder Robert Spencer's tweet stating that Islam is NOT a religion of peace. Worst, the social media company booted feminist Meghan Murphy from the platform for the sin of "misgendering" a man who presented himself as a transgender woman to sue waxing studios that refused to wax his male genitals.
Twitter has declared that it is unacceptable "hate speech" to refer to a biological male as a "him" so long as he identifies as a woman. This kind of censorship isn't just forcing people to kowtow to a false ideology — it also undermines key legal protections for biological women and girls, as lesbian feminist Julia Beck testified. While genuine transgender people are not a threat to women and girls, perverts take advantage of transgender protections by posing as transgender to peep on and harass women in single-sex spaces.
Worse, the social media company has not acted against a transgender writer who endorsed cannibalism on the platform.
Twitter needs to reconsider its policies and stop targeting conservatives and gender-critical feminists for censorship.
The suspension of Ramin Parsa is particularly horrendous, however, because just two months beforehand, the pastor was unlawfully imprisoned in Minnesota's Mall of America.
In August 2018, Parsa was visiting the Mall of America when two Somali Muslim women came up to talk with him. They asked him if he was still a Muslim, and he said no, so they asked why. As he was speaking with them, a third Somali Muslim woman reported him to mall security. The other two women asked the third one not to interrupt.
Mall security told him to stop speaking with the women, and he did. Then, after he bought a coffee, security arrested him and held him in "mall jail" for hours, without giving him food or water or letting him use the restroom. They handcuffed him to a metal chair.
Mall security called the police, and the state charged Parsa with trespassing.
On Thursday, Minnesota dropped the charges and now Parsa is considering legal action against the Mall of America.
Shortly after his arrest, the pastor told PJ Media about his past, facing persecution in Muslim countries and then finally coming to the United States, where he thought he would be free to practice his faith without fear.
"When I became a Christian, I was stabbed, I ran away from Iran. I went to Turkey for two years as a refugee. We had a church and we were passing out Bibles. I was arrested," Parsa told PJ Media last year. When at last he came to America, he was relieved. "With tears in my eyes, I was so thankful to be in America, where I can express myself, nobody can stop me or oppress me for my faith... and then this happened to me."
Two months after this incident, Twitter suspended the pastor. Unlike Glenn Reynolds, Sean Medlock, and Michael Knowles, Ramin Parsa has not yet experienced an outpouring of support from conservatives and Christians on Twitter, demanding his reinstatement.
Conservatives and Christians need to make a stink about the suspension of this pastor. Enough is enough. Join me in tweeting #FreeRaminParsa, and sharing this article.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.