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Trump: Social distancing norms should be same for Easter, Ramadan



US President Donald Trump has been accused of stoking Islamophobia after raising questions about social distancing in mosques during the holy month of Ramadan.

Trump said on Saturday there “could be a difference” in how authorities and politicians enforce coronavirus lockdown measures during the upcoming Ramadan compared with how Christians were treated during the Easter holiday.

Ppresident made the comments when asked about a tweet by conservative writer Paul Sperry, which Trump had retweeted, that suggested Muslims could get preferential treatment.

“Let’s see if authorities enforce the social-distancing orders for mosques during Ramadan (April 23-May 23) like they did churches during Easter,” Sperry wrote, echoing a theme that has circulated in right-wing circles on Twitter.

“I would say that there could be a difference,” Trump said during his daily coronavirus news conference. “And we’ll have to see what will happen. Because I’ve seen a great disparity in this country,” he said echoing far-right sentiments on Twitter.

When Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett questioned Trump on whether he specifically thought that Muslim religious leaders in the US would not follow social distancing guidelines during the holy month, Trump responded: “No I don’t think that at all.”

“I just had a call with imams, ministers, rabbis. We had a tremendous call with the faith leaders,” Trump said.

“I am somebody who believes in faith, it doesn’t matter what your faith is, but our politicians seem to treat different faiths very differently.


“I don’t know what happened with our country, but the Christian faith is treated much differently than it was, and I think it’s treated very unfairly,” he said.

Trump has been criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 40,000 people while infecting more than 700,000 people in the US. More than 160,000 people have died worldwide due to the virus which originated in China last year.

The pandemic has overturned traditional religious gatherings and prayers since widespread lockdowns and restrictions were implemented in states throughout the country beginning in March.

Let’s see if authorities enforce the social-distancing orders for mosques during Ramadan (April 23-May 23) like they did churches during Easter

— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) April 15, 2020

The outbreak prevented Christians across the country from gathering on Easter Sunday on April 12, although some leaders bucked those restrictions. Jewish Americans were likewise forced to turn traditional Passover seders into virtual affairs when the eight-day holiday began at sundown on April 8.

The Islamic Society of North America, along with Muslim medical experts, has urged the suspension of group prayers, among other gatherings in light of the pandemic.

In a tweet on Saturday, the Council on American-Islamic relations called Trump’s comments “incoherent”, with the hashtag “islamophobia”. Meanwhile, the Muslim Advocates organisation said Trump was broadcasting “anti-Muslim hate”.

US state governors to decide on easing lockdowns

In his response on Saturday, Trump added that he has seen a “very strong anti-Israel bent in Congress” which he said was particularly perpetuated by congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, among others.


“So I would be interested to see that. Because they go after Christian churches but they don’t seem to go after mosques, and I don’t want them to go after mosques. But I do want to see what their bent is,” Trump said.

Ramadan begins at sunset on Thursday.

The president has been accused of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the past. One of his first acts upon entering office was to ban travellers from several Muslim-majority countries.

Despite widespread adherence to social distancing guidelines across the religious communities throughout the country, there have been some high-profile defiances among religious leaders.

A Virginia pastor who continued to preach in defiance of stay-at-home rules died last week after contracting the coronavirus. Meanwhile, pastors at two megachurches in Florida and Louisiana have been arrested on misdemeanour charges for flouting stay-at-home orders.

The US Department of Justice has also defended parishioners in Mississippi who attended a church service in their cars with the windows up, saying they were exercising their freedom of religion, Al Jazeera’s Halkett reported from Washington, DC.

“Now many in the United States are watching very carefully to see if this same effort will be applied when it comes to those who may want to celebrate during Ramadan,” she said.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster



Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”



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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.



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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.


But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.


One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.


Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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