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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15 Apr 2019

Today in Islamophobia: As Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is vilified, threats against Muslim Americans rise and Yemeni bodegas boycott New York Post over its incendiary coverage. In Canada, Quebec proposes ban on religious clothing for public workers; in China, reports emerge of a massive, AI- driven surveillance apparatus targeting minorities. Our recommended read of the day is by Rowaida Abdelaziz that argues that anti- Muslim hate is not a partisan issue. This, and more, below: 

United States

15 Apr 2019

Opinion | Latest Attacks On Ilhan Omar Show That Anti-Muslim Hate Isn’t A Partisan Issue | Recommended Read

Trump tweeted an incendiary video that took clips from the speech out of context and interlaced them with news footage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The tweet text accompanying the video read, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET.” The video came a day after the New York Post published an ethically questionable and widely criticized cover featuring a quote by Omar across an image of the twin towers as they burned. This week’s attacks are the latest example of unchecked Islamophobia faced by Omar ― as well as the impossible standards Muslim-American politicians are held to and the little nuance granted to them. Ever since she was sworn in earlier this year, Omar, the first hijab-wearing black Muslim congresswoman, has endured an onslaught of bad-faith attacks from the GOP and its allies. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
15 Apr 2019

Opinion | Ilhan Omar Never Stood a Chance

The New York Post on Thursday published a cover photo of airplanes colliding with the Twin Towers. “Rep. Ilhan Omar: 9/11 was ‘some people did something,’” the headline read. “Here’s your something: 2,977 dead by terrorism.” The photo echoed imagery from an Islamophobic poster displayed at the West Virginia statehouse last month, which pictured Omar in front of the collapsing World Trade Center. “‘Never forget,’ you said,” the caption reads. “I am the proof — you have forgotten.” Such an ungenerous interpretation of her remarks is only possible if one is inclined to believe that Omar sympathizes more with terrorists than her murdered countrymen. That she spoke them in the course of decrying Islamophobia makes it especially disconcerting that her political opponents would decontextualize them to fan the flames — she receives regular death threats on the basis of her faith, including from one New York man who threatened recently to “put a bullet in her fucking skull.” It grows increasingly apparent that efforts to discredit her are rooted in a larger project for which her comments are mere pretext. One of the first two Muslim women ever in Congress was always likely to face smears equating her with terrorism and questioning her loyalty and fitness to serve. Such are the wages of embodying an existential threat to a politics that has spent decades profiting from fear of Muslims, immigrants, and — more recently — refugees and asylum seekers, and vowing ruthlessness toward them in response. read the complete article

15 Apr 2019

Yemeni bodegas boycott New York Post over attacks on Ilhan Omar

A group of New York corner-store owners has announced a boycott on the sale of the New York Post, arguing that the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper’s attacks on congresswoman Ilhan Omar are making Muslim Americans less safe. In an open letter in response, the Yemeni American Merchants Association wrote that the front page “provoked hatred” and “aims to harm Omar and her family and other people of the Islamic faith”. The group said it was calling on “all Yemeni American bodega and deli owners” as well as “our community and allies across New York City” to boycott the sale and purchase of the Post. The association represents Yemeni Americans who own and run an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 of New York City’s thousands of delis and corner stores, which are known as “bodegas”. Such stores are integral to the daily life of most New Yorkers, a crucial source of late-night snacks, morning coffee and newspapers and magazines. read the complete article

15 Apr 2019

Opinion | Ilhan Omar Ilhan Omar has become the target of a dangerous hate campaign

Here’s a question for you. Which American politician publicly referred to the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks as “those folks who committed this act,” seemingly downplaying its horrors? Was it Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar? No. Try George W Bush. Which American politician publicly called Benjamin Netanyahu “your prime minister” while addressing a crowd of Jewish American supporters. Since the statement assumes Jewish Americans carry a dual loyalty to both Israel and the United States, you might assume it was Ilhan Omar, based on all we’ve been told about her. In fact, it was Donald Trump. Over and over again, Ilhan Omar’s detractors misrepresent her words and intentions, accusing her of saying things she didn’t say or condemning her for things that have been said before, even by Republicans themselves. read the complete article

15 Apr 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar Was Right: Threats Against Muslim Americans Are Rising

This backlash is an intentional distraction from Omar’s broader point. In the 20-minute speech at the Council on American-Islamic Relations banquet, the congresswoman urged Muslim Americans to stand up for their rights in the face of increasing harassment and threats to their safety since 9/11. “Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it,” she said in the speech. “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” While Omar misspoke about CAIR’s history—the group was formed in 1994, though its membership jumped after 9/11—her argument that Muslim Americans have faced increasing suspicion is backed by plenty of evidence. Since 2001, Muslim Americans have increasingly dealt with Islamophobia and threats of violence against them. The two most recent FBI reports on hate crimes showed that anti-Muslim assaults are at record levels in the United States, hovering at three times higher than they did a decade ago. read the complete article


15 Apr 2019

Quebec proposes ban on religious clothing for public workers

The measure introduced late last month would prohibit civil servants, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, lawyers and other people who interact with the public from wearing symbols of religion while at work. It would apply to Sikh turbans, Christian jewelryand Jewish yarmulkes, but the focus of the controversy has been over hijabs worn by many Muslim women in Quebec. "The proposed legislation will affect Muslims more than other groups as they are the fastest growing religious group," said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. Muslims represent about 3% of Quebec's 8.3 million people. read the complete article

15 Apr 2019

How A Facebook Page Dedicated To Fighting Anti-Semitism Became A Hub For Anti-Muslim Content

A popular Canadian political Facebook page that promotes the far-right Jewish Defence League uses a deceptive technique that evades Facebook’s content bans and drives traffic to anti-Muslim websites. Never Again Canada, which has nearly 235,000 followers, posts dozens of images, videos, and articles every day. The page says it is a platform to combat anti-Semitism, though its posts also stray into unrelated Canadian political topics, like the carbon tax. Between the Facebook page and Never Again Canada’s Twitter feed, the group has a large platform to push out political messaging — and amplifies that message through synchronized posting with dozens of other anti-Muslim Facebook pages. read the complete article


15 Apr 2019

In Australia, Muslims Call for Pressure on China Over Missing Relatives

“My parents worked for the Chinese Communist Party all their lives, and look at what has happened to them,” Mr. Habibullah said. They and several other relatives, he said, are among as many as one million Uighurs and other Muslims held in indoctrination camps in China. About 3,000 Uighurs have found sanctuary in Australia. But as some of them draw attention to China’s camps, they are putting their adopted homeland in an awkward position, pressing it to speak out against its largest trading partner. More than a dozen Uighurs who are Australian permanent residents are missing in China and presumed to be in detention, activists say. Former detainees say China’s camps are meant to root out devotion to Islam and replace it with loyalty to the state. Uighurs have lobbied Parliament to act, circulating petitions and holding regular protests, chanting: “China, out! Out, out, out!” read the complete article

15 Apr 2019

One Month, 500,000 Face Scans: How China Is Using A.I. to Profile a Minority

Documents and interviews show that the authorities are also using a vast, secret system of advanced facial recognition technology to track and control the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority. It is the first known example of a government intentionally using artificial intelligence for racial profiling, experts said. The facial recognition technology, which is integrated into China’s rapidly expanding networks of surveillance cameras, looks exclusively for Uighurs based on their appearance and keeps records of their comings and goings for search and review. The practice makes China a pioneer in applying next-generation technology to watch its people, potentially ushering in a new era of automated racism. read the complete article

United Kingdom

15 Apr 2019

New law where clicking on terrorist propaganda once could mean 15 years in prison comes into force

New counter terror laws likened to “thought crime” by a United Nations inspector have come into force. A raft of new measures mean people can be jailed for viewing terrorist propaganda online, entering “designated areas” abroad and making “reckless expressions” of support for proscribed groups. A report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said theoffence, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, “is a breach of the right to receive information and risks criminalising legitimate research and curiosity”. read the complete article

Is the Conservative Party full of Islamophobes?

But is there any measurable evidence of a wider and deeper undercurrent of prejudice against Muslims amongst rank-and-file Conservatives? One way to tell is to look at the responses they give when asked about the kind of MPs they’d like to see in the Commons. This is exactly what we did when we surveyed the Tory grassroots just after the 2017 election as part of the ESRC-funded Party Members Project run out of Queen Mary University of London and Sussex University. The exact question ran as follows: “To what extent do you believe that more or fewer MPs in parliament should come from the following backgrounds?” We then listed, for instance, “people who come from the area they represent”, women, ethnic minorities, LGBT people. Also on the list were Muslims. read the complete article


15 Apr 2019

This Is What Young Muslim Voters Are Thinking About This Election

The spate of beef lynchings and hate killings which caught the public attention after the murder of of Mohammad Akhlaq in 2015—amplified by the outrage on social media—have led Muslims in many parts of the country to fear the upcoming elections, or at least wait for the events to unravel, with bated breath. The reasons are many: the arms training by militant Hindu groups in many parts of the country, the endless cycle of religiously-charged statements by political leaders, and in some cases, fake news on social media fuelling violence, and public felicitation by union ministers of those involved in hate killings. According to an online database on hate crimes in India, out of 6,455 victims of such crimes since 2014, 4,049 belonged to the country’s largest minority group: Muslims. read the complete article


15 Apr 2019

'What have I done wrong?': students falsely reported over terrorism

A week before Year 12 exams, Abshir heard an unexpected knock on his front door. The Canberra student's family say he was confronted by two Australian Federal Police officers who were responding to a tip-off from his teacher. The teacher was concerned the young Muslim man was at risk of radicalisation. The warning signs? The teenager wrote an essay about Muslim terrorists and western intervention. He also travelled to the Horn of Africa to donate sporting equipment to needy children as part of a compulsory volunteering subject. While the investigation was eventually dropped and the student was never charged, the experience left him shaken and affected his grades. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 15 Apr 2019 Edition


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