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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17 Apr 2019

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., Muslim voters scrutinize Democrats for their tepid responses to the Ilhan Omar controversy, while an op-ed asks why Democratic challengers to Trump have not made immigration a central plank of their campaigns. In Denmark, police ban an anti-Muslim provocateur whose demonstration drew protesters earlier this week. Today’s recommended read by Emma Green discusses how Rep. Ilhan Omar is emblematic of a new generation of activists that reject demands for performances of patriotism. This, and more, below:

United States

17 Apr 2019

Young Activists Are Done With Loyalty Tests. Donald Trump Is Not. | Recommended Read

President Donald Trump has brought the 9/11 loyalty test back to the center of American politics. Omar, however, is part of a new generation of Muslims who refuse to be defined by 9/11. In the years following the September 11 attacks, as Trump was pushing conspiracies, equal and opposite effects were happening among American Muslims: a growing sense of fear, an urgent desire to distance themselves from violence, and, for some, a resolve to get involved in public service. Above all, there emerged “a loyalty test, which demands that there be unequivocal denunciation of all these horrible tragedies,” as Daisy Khan, a prominent Muslim speaker and advocate, described it to me. The loyalty test has not gone away, she added: “I think this is what Representative Omar forgot … The test, the burden, the cross that we have to bear is that at all times, we have to make sure we are voicing [condemnation of terrorism], saying it loud and clear.” read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
17 Apr 2019

Sean Hannity Guest Falsely Claims Ilhan Omar Is 'Infatuated' With Terrorism

While appearing on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show Monday, former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik falsely claimed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is “infatuated with Al Qaeda, with Hamas, Hezbollah,” continuing the stream of Islamophobic attacks from right-wing media and conservative politicians, including President Donald Trump, targeted at the Muslim congresswoman. Hannity concurred with Kerik, who added that Omar “was the keynote speaker” for an event by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — falsely claiming the group is “a terrorist organization,” a designation lobbed by some critics of the Muslim civil rights group. Kerik served three years in prison for charges of corruption and lying to White House officials when he was considered for President George W. Bush’s cabinet. read the complete article

17 Apr 2019

Memes of Hate: Countering Cyber Islamophobia

Social media applications such as Facebook or Twitter have become the agora for attacking, mocking, insulting, denigrating and humiliating members of the LGTBQ community, women, black people,native Americans and Jews, among many others. Muslims have been one of the most targeted groups, giving way to the so-called cyber Islamophobia, or irrational hostility toward Muslims and Islam expressed online. Even though many of those attacks come in written form, there is a wide range of anti-Muslim memes. In a 2018 study I carried out on 150 anti-Muslim memes retrieved mainly from Twitter and Google images, the most numerous memes perpetuated the different stereotypes usually attributed to Muslims. These include the oppression of women in Islam, the inherent violent nature of Muslim men, the aggressiveness of the religion itself, their taste for pedophilic or zoophilic practices, a potential to become terrorists, the lack of intelligence of the followers of Islam (mocking aspects such as the 72 virgins) and the threat posed by the concept of multiculturalism perceived as a Trojan Horse in the Western world. read the complete article

17 Apr 2019

Muslim Voters Won't Forget Which Democrats Had Ilhan Omar's Back

Just a few days ago, President Donald Trump targeted Omar on Twitter for remarks she made during a speech on Muslim civil rights last month. The response from Democrats was clearly divided. Some of the 2020 candidates, such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, were criticized for tepid responses, while others like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris didn’t respond until days later over the weekend. Muslim voters like Ali are closely evaluating where each of the 2020 Democratic candidates have positioned themselves in relation to the attacks on Omar — primarily taking into account which politicians defended her and which ones engaged in the same Islamophobic rhetoric. When the election rolls around, they plan on taking action at the polls, many told HuffPost. They say the attacks on Omar are perceived as an attack on the entire Muslim community. The lack of support for the congresswoman is also perceived as weak support for the overall Muslim-American community. “I don’t see how Democrats can go into these communities of color and ask for our votes and say they are going to defend us and protect us when they’re not defending their own,” Ali said. read the complete article

17 Apr 2019

Why Aren't the Democratic Presidential Candidates Talking About Immigration More?

Even amid this flurry of bold ideas, little has been said about how to move forward on the defining issue of the Trump era: immigration. An intervention finally came earlier this month, when the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, a candidate running near the bottom of the pack, unveiled the first detailed immigration platform of the 2020 campaign. Not only is Castro calling for a reversal of Trump’s Muslim ban and wall spending; he also wants to decriminalize of the very act of crossing the border illegally, by repealing 1325, the section of the U.S. Code that makes unauthorized entry into the United States a federal crime. Unauthorized border crossings were first criminalized in 1929, but the law was enforced with a new zeal, as Castro noted in a Medium post announcing his proposal, during the George W. Bush Administration, and it is “at the core of many of this administration’s most egregious immigration policies — from family separation to indiscriminate ice raids to targeting asylum seekers.” Castro envisions converting illegal entry from a criminal offense to a civil one and scaling back the existing enforcement regime by ending the use of for-profit detention facilities, breaking up Immigration and Customs Enforcement, dialling back Customs and Border Protection’s mandate to act within the United States, andrefocussing deportation efforts on people who are convicted of serious crimes or considered a threat to national security. read the complete article

17 Apr 2019

Judge clears way for lawsuit by Muslim engineer in Kansas

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled Tuesday that there remains a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Munir Zanial’s rights were violated on the basis of race, religion or national origin. The Malaysian national of Indian ancestry rented a pavilion at the group’s lake in 2017 to celebrate Malaysian Independence Day. The lawsuit alleges the association suspended his rental privileges and reported him to authorities. It alleged an American flag had been desecrated by Islamic State group symbols. But the flag was actually a Malaysian flag and the guests included people of Malaysian Indian ancestry, some wearing hijabs. read the complete article


17 Apr 2019

A Timeline Of How The Notre Dame Fire Was Turned Into An Anti-Muslim Narrative

Fake Twitter accounts pretending to be CNN and Fox News were the first to start spreading disinformation about the fire. Each account was created this month and claimed to be a parody of the real organization. It took Twitter two hours to remove the fake CNN account, and even longer to remove the Fox News imposter. A little after noon, a Tennessee politician and media commentator named Christopher Hale posted a tweet saying that a friend of his had heard from staff at the cathedral that the fire was intentional. He told BuzzFeed News he deleted the tweet roughly 10 minutes later after he realized it was incorrect. Hale’s tweet was seen by conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars. He used the incorrect, deleted tweet as the sole basis for a story headlined “Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Fire, Worker Claims It Was ‘Deliberately’ Started.” read the complete article

17 Apr 2019

The Notre Dame fire ignites the West’s far right

As many around the world watched an iconic cathedral in Paris go up in flames, others immediately set about trying to spark new fires. On both sides of the Atlantic, denizens of the far right took to social media to grind their culture-warring axes, locating in the calamity a parable for the political moment — or, at least, their understanding of it. Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a popular anchor accused by critics of openly embracing white nationalism in his broadcasts, said the Notre Dame fire was in “some ways a metaphor for the decline of Christianity in Europe.” His guest, far-right commentator Mark Steyn, took the opportunity to declare that “Christendom was in retreat,” the French were “godless,” and Muslim immigrants were taking over French society. read the complete article


17 Apr 2019

Ayodhya: the history of a 500-year-old land dispute between Hindus and Muslims in India

For centuries, a mosque, known as the Babri Masjid, stood on this site in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The founder and first emperor of Mogul India, Zahir ud-Din Muhammad Babar had ordered it built nearly 500 years ago. It took two years to erect the structure, which was completed in 1529, the year before his death. While a functioning mosque until the early 1990s, its history has been controversial. Ayodhya was a fabled mythical city-state. Legend has it that it was the kingdom of Hindu god Ram, who is believed to have been born exactly on the spot where the Babri mosque was built. A legend being a legend, there are no verifiable historical records to substantiate this claim. That, however, never prevented the Hindu majority of Mogul India, ruled by an Islamic minority, from holding on to this view. Archaeological evidence suggests the site had a temple structure prior to the building of the mosque. In the decades that followed, both Hindus and Muslims made several legal and populist attempts to claim ownership of the now out-of-bounds mosque. But it would be another quarter of a century before the issue would once again become the rallying cry for Hindus. In 1984, the Hindu organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad or the World Council of Hindus, initiated a nation-wide campaign to garner public support for access to the mosque. read the complete article


17 Apr 2019

EXCLUSIVE: Campaigners against Uighur oppression blacklisted on terrorism database

The Germany-based World Uighur Congress (WUC), which has advised the United Nations and the European Union, plans to sue the owner of the World-Check financial database after it used Chinese allegations to link the WUC to terrorism. Dolkun Isa, the president of the WUC, and two other senior members of the organisation who were also added to the blacklist as individuals are also planning legal action.Their inclusion on the database comes despite China facing widespread condemnation and international scrutiny over its treatment of the Uighurs, a Turkic people who are mostly Muslim, in the western province of Xinjiang. read the complete article


17 Apr 2019

Danish police ban anti-Muslim provocateur’s protest

Danish police have banned a second demonstration by an anti-Muslim provocateur in a neighborhood in Copenhagen with a large population of immigrants to avoid unrest. Police said Tuesday they are investigating an object resembling a hand grenade found in the square where Rasmus Paludan was to stage his demonstration. Police on Monday canceled a similar demonstration in suburban Copenhagen by Paludan, but counter-demonstrators then set garbage containers on fire and police had to use tear gas to disperse them. Unrest started Sunday after Paludan, a lawyer who has held dozens of anti-Muslim demonstrations across Denmark under heavy police protection in recent months, threw the Quran in the air several times on a square in the Copenhagen neighborhood of Noerrebro before a raging crowd. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 17 Apr 2019 Edition


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