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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02 Apr 2019

Today in IslamophobiaPolice investigate possible hate crime in London, and an op-ed looks at May’s failure to address Islamophobia within Tory ranks. Fox’s Jeanine Pirro returns to air after anti- Muslim comments, and China pushes back against media coverage of camps in Xinjiang. Our recommended read of the day is on Prevent, the UK’s controversial countering violent extremism program. This, and more, below:


02 Apr 2019

Opinion | The UK’s PREVENT policy would not prevent white supremacist attacks like Christchurch – it’s part of the problem | Recommended Read

The PREVENT policy was conceived for Muslims. Not killers, rapists or ‘bad people’ – Muslims. At its inception, around the time of the UK’s illegal, devastating invasion of Iraq, PREVENT’s purpose was to prevent British Muslims from ‘breaking bad’ and radicalising. This decision was made before any major domestic attack took place on British soil (I say this as people erroneously believe PREVENT was conceived following 7/7 – it wasn’t). This begs the question: can this policy, with a raison d’etre to thwart the uncertain threat of British Muslim violence, be ‘translated’ to curtail White Rage? Could it prevent a Christchurch in the UK? We have to think in structures to answer this question: how was PREVENT conceived, how does it operate and what is its relationship to White privilege? The PREVENT policy is not the brain-child of great thinkers, though I might forgive you for thinking this given its staggering expansion in the last eight years alone. No, PREVENT was a political decision which flourished into a political industry. Both words in ‘political industry’ merit some attention. For ‘political’, a study has documented how the UK government’s framing of radicalisation evolved in response to political incidents that took place under the Labour government. More research has shown how the ideological battle of ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of British Muslims expanded into a nation-wide, multi-agency surveillance infrastructure. PREVENT is thus the quintessential example of policy-based evidence, not evidence-based policy. When you think PREVENT, think politics preceding the scientific process and public consent. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
02 Apr 2019

Police Are Investigating After A Muslim Woman Has Her Hijab 'Ripped Off Her' In London

A person who said they are a friend of victim tweeted about what happened, saying that after the hijab was pulled off by a man on the platform, she tried to call for help but nobody came. The tweet read: “She pressed the emergency button 3 times and no one came down to the platform to help. Everyone watched and did absolutely nothing!” TFL responded asking the woman and told her to contact the police, and said they would look into why no-one responded to the emergency button. Anti-Muslim hate crimes have risen in the UK since a white supremacist gunned down 50 worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand. In the week that followed the attack,the . independent monitoring group TellMAMA said they received 593% more reports of incidents of hate crime. read the complete article

02 Apr 2019

Opinion | May’s failure to tackle Tory Islamophobia sends a dangerous message

There is no denying that here in Britain the Conservative party has a particular problem with Islamophobia. Just last week, 15 suspended Conservative councillors were quietly reinstated, despite evidence showing they had posted or shared Islamophobic or racist material. And, in December, a Conservative party complaints panel found that Boris Johnson’s comparison of women wearing burqas to letterboxes and bank robbers had been “respectful”. The impact this has on ordinary British Muslims cannot be overstated. It sends a message that it is totally acceptable to mock women who wear aburqa, and that blatantly anti-Muslim racist abuse deserves a slap on the wrist at most. It has left communities across Britain feeling insecure and afraid of what the future might hold. read the complete article

02 Apr 2019

Opinion | The Balkans Are the World Capital of Islamophobia

There is a darker meaning, however, lurking behind the term, a meaning that Greeks have long been keenly aware of—and of which the New Zealand terrorist clearly was, too. It traces to the very birth of the Greek nation, when the revolutionaries didn’t just fight the Ottoman army—they also committed brutal ethnic cleansing against Muslims and Jews. In those times, a “Turk” wasn’t just an Ottoman soldier: It was anyone who wasn’t a Christian. The darkest aspects of the term Turkofagos have more recently been resurrected by far-right and nationalist groups as they apply the term to honor any killer of Muslims. Tarrant likely encountered the term as he traveled extensively in the years before the attack across the broader Balkans region, including in Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Bulgaria, as well as a stay in Greece of more than two weeks. It should come as little surprise that these were among his chosen destinations. They amount to a grand tour of the West’s far-right historic imagination, which centers on the genocidal Balkan wars of the 1990s, which pitted the region’s Christians against its Muslim populations. read the complete article


02 Apr 2019

New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern talks Uyghurs and Huawei with Chinese President Xi Jinping

Ms Ardern raised the issue of China's treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in its far-western Xinjiang region, where up to a million people are reportedly being held in so-called "re-education camps". Mr Xi called on New Zealand not to discriminate against Chinese companies during the meeting, seen by some as a reference to New Zealand's decision to effectively ban Huawei from it's 5G network last year. While Ms Ardern received worldwide praise for showing solidarity with New Zealand's Muslim communities in the wake of the Christchurch attack, it appeared as though she was not making the same overtures when it came to the reported persecution of Chinese Muslims. One journalist noted she appeared "reticent to lay the blame at China's feet" over repeated Uyghur claims of mistreatment. read the complete article

02 Apr 2019

Chinese Versus International Media: The ‘Re-Education’ Detention Camps in Xinjiang Province

Leaked images of a Chinese broadcast about one of these concentration camps exposed the degree to which China is miseducating its public via state-owned media. The internment camps have been portrayed as technical and occupational schools, where Uighur people can be re-educated to become productive members of the state-socialist Chinese society. The reality of these facilities—more accurately conveyed through an investigative piece by The New York Times—aligns with the disturbing reality painted by Tursun at the November congressional hearing. Satellite footage proves that the facilities are heavily fenced and guarded to keep people contained. This past month, after a rumor that a popular Uighur musician was dead spread within the Uigur population, the Chinese government responded by releasing footage proving that he was alive. This reaction by the government prompted Uigur individuals in exile abroad to ask for proof that their relatives were also alive. read the complete article

United States

Fox's Pirro Back on-Air After Remarks on Muslim Politician

"Justice with Judge Jeanine" returned Saturday. The former judge and prosecutor thanked her viewers but didn't directly discuss her apparent suspension. Pirro asked on-air March 9 whether Rep. Ilhan Omar's traditional Muslim head covering indicated the Minnesota Democrat followed Islamic religious law that Pirro called "antithetical to the U.S. Constitution." Pirro later said she'd simply tried to start a debate. She added that being Muslim doesn't mean a person doesn't support the Constitution. read the complete article

02 Apr 2019

‘Go Back to Your Country? I’m From Alabama!’

When Ben Mullinkosson first moved to Washington, D.C., he knew next to no one. “So I went to Freedom Plaza, which is internationally known as the skate spot in D.C., and within five minutes of arriving, I met Osama and Ayman,” Mullinkosson told me. “They were like, ‘Come skate with us.’ We were instant friends.” The brothers welcomed Mullinkosson into their orbit. As Mullinkosson got to know them over time, he became privy to the unique challenges they face by virtue of their identity. Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Osama and Ayman’s parents emigrated from Egypt. They are engineers (Ayman works for NASA), avid skateboarders, and devout Muslims—a combination of traits that the brothers say tends to confuse strangers. “People get really surprised,” Ayman says in the short documentary Osama and Ayman, which Mullinkosson made with co-directors Sam Price-Waldman and Chris Cresci. “[People] say, ‘You’re in the streets skating, and you pray?’ I mean, yeah. What does that have to do with anything?” read the complete article

02 Apr 2019

How Hind Makki is changing the conversation around women’s inclusion in mosques

When women are cut off from the rest of the congregation, they lose the experience of group prayer, which is considered critical for a community’s social and spiritual development in Islam, she said. That’s part of why Makki has spent the past seven years bringing the discussion on women’s inclusion in Muslim spaces into the mainstream — from launching Side Entrance, her popular blog contrasting men’s and women’s prayer spaces in mosques around the world, to training Muslim leaders around the country on how to foster a women-friendly mosque culture. The spaces provided for women are often woefully inadequate, she said. And men — around whose experiences mosques are typically designed — often have no idea just how bad it can be. “An ideal mosque for me is one that equally prioritizes the prayer experiences of both men and women and children and anyone who enters,” she explained. “I wanted (Side Entrance) to be public so that men can also see the unequal, disparate and, sometimes, really tragic spaces that women pray (in).” read the complete article

02 Apr 2019

White Terrorists Give Political Cover to Other Americans’ Prejudices

I kept my eyes focused down the aisles. In the corner of my field of vision, I saw someone approach—a white police officer. I slowly turned my head and noticed his hand gripping his gun, and fear gripping his reddening face. This police officer could not have been suspecting me. I thought for a second to look behind me. I’m glad I did not. A sudden movement from a black person before a fearful police officer can be a death sentence. The police officer ordered me to take my hands out of my hoodie’s pouch. “Why?” I flippantly responded. In America, the endangered are seen as dangerous. Police cars intensely patrol black neighborhoods. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents move in on Latino areas. Investigators spy on Muslim houses of worship. In America, the dangerous are seen as endangered. Leaders treat white-nationalist terror not as a broad social ill, but as a fringe problem that will become extinct on its own. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very serious problems,” Trump said. read the complete article


02 Apr 2019

Opinion | Affirming mosques help gay Muslims reconcile faith, sexuality

Imam El-Farouk Khaki co-founded Toronto's first LGBTQ-friendly mosque, Unity Mosque, 10 years ago to allow lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Muslims to attend prayers without having to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity for fear of discrimination. “I wanted a Muslim space that welcomed all humans and celebrated human diversity, including gender and sexual diversity,” Khaki told NBC News. “I used to get angry going to the mosque, because I would often have to listen to irrelevant or ignorant sermons. When I go to Unity Mosque, I am happy.” With no dress code for women, no gender segregation and women regularly leading Friday prayers, Unity Mosque’s progressive approach is a far cry from how many mainstream mosques operate. Khaki and other LGBTQ Muslims said these affirming outlets, which are sprinkled around the globe, are helping sexual and gender minorities reconcile their religion and their identity. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Apr 2019 Edition


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