Zuckerberg uses Facebook to support Muslims

Could carry much weight with the younger generation

mark zuckerberg
Credit: Jose Miguel Gomez/Reuters

Mark Zuckerberg is using Facebook for the reason he created it -- to share ideas and opinions.

Facebook's co-founder and CEO said in a post on Wednesday that Muslims will always be welcome on the social network and he is willing to fight to protect their rights.

"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 on his Facebook page. "As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn't against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone."

He also said that he will work to create a "peaceful and safe environment" for Muslims in the Facebook community.

"Having a child has given us so much hope, but the hate of some can make it easy to succumb to cynicism," he wrote, referencing the recent birth of he and his wife's first child. "We must not lose hope. As long as we stand together and see the good in each other, we can build a better world for all people."

In less than 24 hours, the post has been shared more than 193,000 times and more than 1,300,000 people have liked it.

Zuckerberg's statement comes just days after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called for a total ban on any Muslims being allowed to enter the United States.

"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," a campaign press release said.

Trump's statement comes after he had already called for surveillance of U.S. mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S.

The call for a ban on Muslims entering the country has drawn support, as well as widespread criticism from many in his own party and from around the world .

Zuckerberg obviously felt the need to stand up and add his own voice to the discussion.

"He has a forum in which to make this statement, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of other Facebook members follow him with similar declarations," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Facebook is a place where people have discussions. It could be a place where people actually persuade other people. In a certain sense, Zuckerberg was just using Facebook for the purpose for which it was intended -- to share thoughts."

While Gottheil said he doesn't see Zuckerberg changing many opinions on the topic, Zeus Karravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said the head of Facebook could hold some influence over younger social networking users.

"People use Facebook now as their primary source of news and information, so if they comment or repost Zuckerberg's statement, his words could be heard by millions," said Karravala. "He has a lot of influence with the younger generation and his support of Muslims could carry a lot of weight.

"Trump has celebrity status but I believe Zuckerberg has much more influence with the younger generation," he added.

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