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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01 Apr 2019

Today in IslamophobiaChina’s crackdown on Uighur Muslims moves beyond its borders as the government is accused of intimidating Uighurs in Australia. In the U.S, two different executions reveal systemic prejudice amidst calls for a concerted fight against Islamophobia. As the Indian elections draw closer, disinformation threatens democratic process. Our recommended read of the day is by Ola Salem and Hassan Hassan titled “Arab Regimes are the World’s Worst Islamophobes”. This, and more, below:


01 Apr 2019

Opinion | Arab Regimes Are the World’s Most Powerful Islamophobes | Recommended Read

It’s just one example of an often-overlooked trend: the culpability of Arab and Muslim governments in fueling anti-Muslim hate as part of their campaigns to fight dissent at home and abroad. By trying to justify repression and appease Western audiences, some of these regimes and their supporters have forged an informal alliance with conservative and right-wing groups and figures in the West dedicated to advancing anti-Islamic bigotry. Arab regimes spend millions of dollars on think tanks, academic institutions, and lobbying firms in part to shape the thinking in Western capitals about domestic political activists opposed to their rule, many of whom happen to be religious. The field of counter-extremism has been the ideal front for the regional governments’ preferred narrative: They elicit sympathy from the West by claiming to also suffer from the perfidies of radical jihadis and offer to work together to stem the ideological roots of the Islamist threat. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
01 Apr 2019

Opinion | How white supremacists wield environmentalism to mask racism

Halfway through 74 pages of vitriolic, crusader-inspired racialism he entitled “The Great Replacement”, Tarrant affirms his Eco-fascism by pointing to “Green nationalism” as being the “only true nationalism”. He suggests that “there is no Conservatism without nature” and “there is no nationalism without environmentalism”, since “the natural environment of our lands shaped us just as we shaped it.”Like any ideology, Eco-fascism manifests in different forms. What fundamentally unites them is how, while resting on the backbone of fascism, they deploy the language of environmentalism to greenwash white supremacy. Eco-fascism heavily draws upon the reactionary currents of Counter-Enlightenment thought: rooted in Prussian romanticism of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the subsequent Völkischmovement that flourished among Germanic nations up into the early 20th century. Steeped in anti-humanism and esotericism, Eco-fascism claims to strive for the restoration of a primordial past when man and nature coexisted in harmony. read the complete article


01 Apr 2019

China’s crackdown on Muslims is being felt beyond its borders

The repression is one of the most harrowing — and yet most neglected — humanitarian crises in the world today. And its effects are no longer confined to China’s borders or to Chinese citizens. A Buzzfeed report this week revealed that a few Turkish nationals have disappeared in China; their families worry that they’ve been taken to internment camps. In Imin’s case, he alleges that his brother’s arrest was retaliation for Imin’s activism here in the US. Imin managed to relocate to the US two years ago, and since then he has been criticizing China’s repressive policies in major news outlets and urging other Uighurs to speak out. Now, he believes he’s being punished for his activism. Imin said he got the message about his brother’s capture from a man in Turkey, home to a large Uighur diaspora, who was communicating via a secure VPN connection to evade Chinese surveillance. The man said he’d heard from someone who’d been in the same prison as Adil that Adil has been sentenced to 10 years. He said three of Imin’s cousins had also been imprisoned. read the complete article

01 Apr 2019

Chinese authorities accused of intimidating Uyghurs in Australia

The ABC has obtained text messages that appear to show Chinese authorities' contact with Australian Uyghurs asking for their personal details, including passports, drivers licences and workplace addresses. Uyghurs interviewed by the ABC said they had handed over their personal information out of concern that family members living in China could face consequences. Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, they claimed police were using families in China to collect information about relatives overseas. Associate Professor Michael Clarke from the Australian National University (ANU) said the persistent messages and calls amounted to "foreign interference". "The party is using these forms of extra territorial pressure and reaching beyond its borders as a means of preventing a certain part of the Australian community from exercising their democratic rights to speak out," Professor Clarke said. "Perhaps this is one of the most extreme examples of that where you have the Chinese Communist Party directly targeting a specific segment of the Australian community in order to keep them silent. read the complete article

01 Apr 2019

Kyrgyz Students Vanish Into Xinjiang’s Maw

Coverage of Xinjiang has largely been focused on one ethnic group: the Uighurs, who make up Xinjiang’s largest indigenous population at over 10 million. In their decades of complaints about discrimination, repression, and a lack of real autonomy, the Uighurs were generally alone, as Beijing successfully portrayed the largely Muslim people’s resistance as terrorist and extremist, both internationally and to its domestic audience. For ethnic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz and other Turkic minorities in the region, the fate of the Uighur often elicited more annoyance than sympathy. They after all, were largely untouched. However, all of this would change dramatically under the increasingly authoritarian regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping and, most notably, with the appointment of Chen Quanguo as Xinjiang’s party secretary in August 2016. Bringing with him much of the same surveillance tactics that he had previously pioneered in Tibet, Chen effectively not only transformed the region into the world’s most sophisticated police state—complete with networks of facial recognition cameras, ID-linked movement restrictions, and overwhelmingly large quantities of actual police—but also oversaw the construction of a frightening network of indoctrination camps and detention facilities now estimated to hold over a million people. This time, the repression was comprehensive, reaching not only the Uighurs but most of the region’s ethnic minorities, the Kyrgyz among them. read the complete article

01 Apr 2019

[CW: Torture] ‘I felt like a slave:’ Inside China’s complex system of incarceration and control of minorities

Before she was shocked with a stun gun to the head for spending more than the allotted two minutes in the toilet, and before she was handcuffed for 24 hours because guards accused her of letting another woman participate in religious washing, and before she was forced to make winter gloves for two pennies a piece − before all of that, Gulzira Auelhan remembers a Chinese police officer telling her she needed to be educated. The classes would only last 15 days, the officer told her in mid-October, 2017. “You will be released very soon,” Ms. Auelhan, 38, remembers hearing. An ethnic Kazakh who was born in China but had been living in Kazakhstan, she had returned to China’s far western Xinjiang region to visit her father, who was ill. read the complete article

United Kingdom

01 Apr 2019

Jayda Fransen: Ex-Britain First deputy leader convicted over hate speech

Jayda Fransen, 33, was found guilty over a speech at a rally in August 2017. She was also convicted for separate comments at a peace wall in the city. Britain First leader Paul Golding, 37, and two other Englishmen, John Banks and Paul Rimmer, were acquitted on similar charges. The judge, when convicting Fransen, of Moat Avenue in Donaghadee, County Down, described her words as "a general, vehement attack against a religious group". The court heard that Fransen told those gathered at the rally that there was no moderate version of Islam and that: "These people are baying for our blood." She added: "Islam says every single one of you wonderful people here today deserves to be killed." Those attending the rally were then told it was time for the world to come together against "the one common enemy". read the complete article

01 Apr 2019

Tory racism storm deepens as Jacob Rees-Mogg promotes video of German far-right leader

The influential Tory Brexiteer posted a video of Alice Weidel, leader of the AfD, commenting on Brexit to his social media profile. The AfD, whose candidates have declared that Islam is worse than the plague and that refugee boats should be sunk, marched alongside neo-Nazis last year, leading to some of its members being put under formal state surveillance. “You can tell a lot about the person by the company they keep”, one social media user commented under Mr Rees-Mogg’s tweet, while another added “Are you quoting the same AfD that had posters urging an ‘Islam-free’ Bavaria at a recent election?” read the complete article

United States

01 Apr 2019

Arkansas principal says anti-Muslim post on Facebook page was 'big misunderstanding'

Facebook users captured a shared post on White Hall Principal Mark Jelks' page that reads “Kick Islam out of America” and depicts a silhouette of a person kicking a star and crescent, an iconic symbol of the religion. "You can’t walk with God holding hands with the devil," the image said. The post was apparently shared on Sunday to Jelks' page from a hyper-partisan page called "America Dying," which includes posts critical of Islam. The school district issued a statement Thursday that stopped short of addressing the post directly. Officials said the district “is absolutely committed to being an inclusive, respectful, non-discriminatory environment that places the student first.” read the complete article

01 Apr 2019

Opinion | I wanted to kill Muslims, too. But then I saw the light.

I’m a white American. I grew up in the rust belt, attended church camp, joined the Marine Corp after high school, and ultimately retired from the Army. I fought around the globe, including in the Middle East and Somalia. I decided my enemy was Islam. I’m proud of my service, but I’m not proud of everything I did. There comes a time when you’ve seen and done too much to let it go. After my final deployment, it seemed like vodka and my hatred for Muslims were what was keeping me alive. So I devised a plan: Build a homemade bomb and set it off outside the Islamic center in my hometown of Muncie. In my hate-fueled mind, this was the final thing I would do for my country. I knew I would face the death penalty, but I didn't care. One day, though, my daughter came home from second grade talking about a lady she had seen in a hijab, the traditional Muslim women’s head covering. I love my daughter so much, but in that moment, I began to rant — and then I saw it in her eyes: She was looking at me like I had lost my mind. read the complete article


01 Apr 2019

Quebec introduces bill banning religious symbols

The Canadian province of Quebec has introduced legislation that will ban public sector employees from wearing religious symbols during work hours, a controversial move that critics say targets Muslim women who wear hijabs or other head coverings. It will also apply to crucifixes and yarmulkes. The proposed law, introduced on Thursday, sets the province's right-leaning Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government on a collision course with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who promotes religious freedom, in a federal election year with Quebec a vital battleground. read the complete article

01 Apr 2019

Quebec’s hijab ban doesn’t just violate the Charter. It breaks with Quebec’s history

The Canadian way of religious toleration and freedom of conscience, built on the once-radical idea that one country can be home to people of many faiths, began in 1774, in Quebec. The Quebec Act of 1774 scrapped the application of the anti-Catholic oaths – not in Britain, where they remained the law for another half-century, but in Canada. It was a seminal moment for one of the liberal world’s most important insights: that it makes no sense to force people to choose between loyalty to their religion and loyalty to their country. It’s counterproductive, not to mention unfair. One of the first places where that ideal was put into practice, nearly two-and-a-half centuries ago, was Quebec. So, there’s historical irony in the factthat, this week, the government of Premier François Legault introduced legislation that will force some Quebeckers to choose between their faith and their job, and their religion and their country. Further irony: The Legault government’s proposed law clearly violates longstanding constitutional protections for freedom of religion – which is why the bill invokes the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause, the rarely used override of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. read the complete article


01 Apr 2019

Misinformation Is Endangering India’s Election

India is facing information wars of an unprecedented nature and scale. Indians are bombarded with fake news and divisive propaganda on a near-constant basis from a wide range of sources, from television news to global platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp. But unlike in the United States, where the focus has been on foreign-backed misinformation campaigns shaping elections and public discourse, the fake news circulating here isn’t manufactured abroad. Many of India’s misinformation campaigns are developed and run by political parties with nationwide cyberarmies; they target not only political opponents, but also religious minorities and dissenting individuals, with propaganda rooted in domestic divisions and prejudices. The consequences of such targeted misinformation are extreme, from death threats to actual murders—in the past year, more than two dozen people have been lynched by mobs spurred by nothing more than rumors sent over WhatsApp. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Apr 2019 Edition


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