Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

Today in Islamophobia Newsletter

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29 Sep 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., a major lawsuit has been filed against Chipotle due to a restaurant manager forcing an employee to remove her hijab in 2021, meanwhile, the Biden administration has announced that it will use the Civil Rights Act use the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit antisemitism and Islamophobia in federally funded programs, and in the United Kingdom, Home Secretary Suella Braverman falsely claimed child grooming gangs in the UK were “almost all British-Pakistani,” according to a ruling by the press regulator, Ipso. Our recommended read of the day is by Assiah Hamed for The New Arab on how United Nations experts have expressed “grave concern” over allegations that China has expanded its state-run boarding school system in Xinjiang, which has seen Uyghur Muslim children separated from their families. This and more below:


UN rights experts voice concern over China's forced separation of Uyghur children | Recommended Read

United Nations experts have expressed "grave concern" over allegations that China has expanded its state-run boarding school system in Xinjiang province, which has seen Uyghur and other minority Muslim children separated from their families. UN rights experts revealed on Tuesday that the children of families detained by the state are forced into boarding schools. Despite the Uyghur pupils having parents they were treated as orphans by the state and placed in full-time educational facilities where the dominant language of China, Mandarin, is almost exclusively used. This practice is happening on a massive scale, the experts said. Children had little to no opportunity to learn in their mother tongue, the experts said, while teachers could be sanctioned for using Uyghur outside language classes. The system appears to be an attempt to force Uyghur children to assimilate into the majority Mandarin culture by adopting the language and other non-native practices. read the complete article

China’s persecution of Uyghurs extends to those it once favoured

Rahile dawut was once something of an establishment figure in China. The 57-year-old anthropologist from the Uyghur ethnic group was a member of the Communist Party. The state funded some of her work at the University of Xinjiang, the premier college in the region, where she was a professor and founder of a research centre studying ethnic minorities. She was awarded prizes by the Ministry of Culture, had met President Jiang Zemin in 2000 and was featured on the cover of a state-supported magazine in Xinjiang, the Uyghur heartland. But in December 2017, after telling a relative that she had to travel to Beijing, Ms Dawut (pictured) disappeared. There has been no official explanation of what happened to Ms Dawut. But the Dui Hua Foundation, a group that campaigns on behalf of political prisoners in China, says it has learned of her fate from a government source. According to the foundation, Ms Dawut was arrested for promoting separatism and “endangering national security”. At a secret court hearing in Xinjiang in 2018, she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. She then appealed the sentence and lost. read the complete article

United States

EEOC files lawsuit against Chipotle after Muslim teen had hijab forcibly removed

A lawsuit has been filed over a Muslim teen who was allegedly harassed by a Chipotle manager and had her hib forcibly removed from her head in August 2021. The lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged an assistant manager at the Chipotle restaurant on 87th Street had asked Areej Saifan, then a 19-year-old employee, to take off her hijab so he could see her hair. On one occasion, the assistant manager “advanced on Saifan, reached out, grabbed her hijab, and yanked. As a result, part of Saifan’s hijab came off, exposing her hair,” the lawsuit stated. The lawsuit alleged that after the incident, she reported to management. After the manager’s threats and repeated failures to address the harassment, she resigned. The manager was terminated days later, but not because of the alleged harassment of Saifan. It was instead due to a romantic relationship against company policy with another manager. read the complete article

Biden administration broadens Civil Rights Act to counter antisemitism

The Biden administration said Thursday it will use the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit antisemitism and Islamophobia in federally funded programs. Why it matters: Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. hit a record high last year. The move is part of what the White House called the most comprehensive effort to counter antisemitism in American history. Eight federal agencies clarified — for the first time — that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits "certain forms of antisemitic, Islamophobic, and related forms of discrimination in federally funded programs and activities." read the complete article


Muslim man lynched in India ‘for taking a banana’ at Hindu temple event

At around 5am on Tuesday, a mob tied Ishaq to an iron pole with a leather belt and beat him up mercilessly on suspicion that he had stolen “prasad”, or a ritualistic offering, at a prayer event organised by the area’s Hindus to observe the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The event was held three lanes away from Ishaq’s house. “My son was killed because he ate prasad,” Wajid, 60, said. “Those who killed my son found it offensive that a Muslim touched their prasad.” Wajid, who sells vegetables in a pushcart, said his Hindu customers often offer him the prasad and he accepts it without a second thought. “Prasad is a gift from bhagwan or Allah. I do not refuse it.” Ishaq’s sister Uzma told Al Jazeera her brother was lynched “for taking a banana” and the mob left him tied to the pole after the brutal assault. “His nails were broken, some taken out and his fingers had cuts. He was brutally beaten because he was a Muslim,” she said. “He was unable to speak and his condition was critical.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

Braverman’s claim about ethnicity of grooming gangs was false, regulator rules

Suella Braverman falsely claimed child grooming gangs in the UK were “almost all British-Pakistani”, according to a ruling by the press regulator, Ipso. The home secretary made the claim in a Mail on Sunday article published in April, where she singled out British-Pakistani men as being involved in child sexual abuse due to “cultural attitudes completely incompatible with British values” that “have been left mostly unchallenged both within their communities and by wider society”. Ipso has forced the Mail on Sunday to issue a correction to Braverman’s piece after concluding the statement was false. The regulator said Braverman’s decision to link “the identified ethnic group and a particular form of offending was significantly misleading” because the Home Office’s own research had concluded offenders were mainly from white backgrounds. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 29 Sep 2023 Edition


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