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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22 Apr 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Misinformation proliferates in Sri Lanka after an Easter church bombing kills 290 people, while China tries to defend its crackdown on Uighur Muslims to the international community. In the U.K., a man is arrested for racist graffiti on a mosque; in the U.S., a former Arizona state senator proclaims the need for “shedding of blood” to protect America’s borders from immigration. Our recommended read of the day is a piece by Paul Rosenberg titled, “Campaign of hatred: How the Ilhan Omar right-wing outrage machine was constructed.”

United States

22 Apr 2019

Campaign of hatred: How the Ilhan Omar right-wing outrage machine was constructed | Recommended read

Trump used an out-of-context quote — from a speech about claiming full citizenship, that as Peter Beinart said, “beautifully evoked what I treasure about being an American Jew” — to try to make Omar seem as callous and manipulative of 9/11 as Trump himself. On Reliable Sources, CNN’s Brian Stelter provided a useful starting point for understanding the generation of this latest attack. "You probably heard a lot about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar this week. But do you know why? Do know how it started?” Stelter asked. “Controversies don't just erupt like a bolt of lightning sparking a fire. No. Controversies are created like an arsonist lighting a match,” and too often news coverage “starts mid-story. We say there is a controversy brewing between these two people, but we leave out the most important part, the lighting of the match.” On Monday, April 8, the Daily Caller (a right-wing online publication co-founded by Tucker Carlson) posted a four-minute video to YouTube. After that, Stelter reported: [A]n Australian man who calls himself a Muslim scholar and is very active on Twitter sets the frame for a week's worth of news conference. The framing is that Omar was downplaying 9/11. His tweet took off and spread [across] the right-wing websites. It was all over the sites by Tuesday. Then on Tuesday night, Sean Hannity brought the video to television. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
22 Apr 2019

Opinion | The No Ban Act: Why We Plan to Make Moves Like Trump's Muslim Ban Illegal

The policy was little more than an attempt to use fear to divide Americans by labeling all Muslims as terrorists, a dangerous and mean-spirited lie. It’s no wonder such an obvious act of prejudice was struck down by the courts, but not before creating chaos across the country. In Los Angeles, the day after the order went into effect, and before a court could block it, Rep. Chu received a call from immigration lawyers that about 50 Iranians who held green cards were detained at Los Angeles International Airport and was there anything she could do? What she found once she arrived was a disaster. The Muslim Ban was so rushed and ill-conceived that even those Transportation Security Administration employees tasked with implementing it didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing. The result was that scores of Muslims and travelers with a legal right to be here were being held without food and blocked from their attorneys. read the complete article

22 Apr 2019

Stalking Mosques and Trading Information, Back Woods Survivalist Squad Merges Anti-Islam Fever With Militia Tactics

An investigation by Hatewatch into the closed Facebook group called Back Woods Survivalist Squad shows photos inside and outside at least 10 mosques across the country, including in the Southeast, northern Great Plains and the northern Rocky Mountains. Hatewatch performed an online search and found many of the photos were unique to the group, and the search did not find the images elsewhere on the internet.The group, with 500 Facebook members, also discussed security in and around the religious and cultural centers. The group appears to be using tactics similar to those of Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian accused of killing 50 people at two New Zealand mosques March 15. New Zealand authorities have said Tarrant scouted for targets for three months before attacking. read the complete article

22 Apr 2019

This US News Network Let Katie Hopkins Tell Americans What The UK Is Like

The news segment aired by an Odessa, Texas news programme KOSA-TV, a CBS affiliate owned by Gray Television, ran a story about an event where Katie Hopkins of England and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff of Sweden, spoke before the Midland County Women’s Republican Club. The report told how Hopkins and Sabaditsch-Wolff addressed how they believed Muslim immigration has affected their countries and outlined their belief about how it could impact American citizens as well. The clip featured a one-on-one interview with Hopkins speaking about Muslim immigrants’ growing presence in London. read the complete article

22 Apr 2019

‘Shedding of blood' may be required to save US, author of an Arizona immigration law says

Russell Pearce, a former president of the Arizona state Senate who helped author a controversial immigration law in the state, appeared to advocate for violence for the U.S. to save itself in remarks delivered earlier this week. Other featured speakers included Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and Laura Loomer, whose anti-Muslim social media posts have gotten her banned from Twitter, Uber and Lyft, the Arizona Republic reported. “And it may take the shedding of blood to keep this Republic,” Pearce. “And I, for one, am willing to do whatever it takes.” Pearce is best known for ushering in Senate Bill 1070, which gives police officers the authority to determine a person’s immigration status during an arrest for a state crime and detention. read the complete article

22 Apr 2019

There’s Never Been a Show Like Ramy

The new comedy from Hulu and A24 is modeled after the life of its 28-year-old, Muslim-Egyptian-American creator, and much of it is taken directly from his deeply personal standup comedy. But it’s also the first scripted series centered on Muslim-American life — period. So, you know, no pressure. Unlike other immigrant kids who are split between two worlds and have made popular television shows and movies that wrestle with that fact, Youssef’s work is distinguished by how much he leans toward the old world. Ramy is shot in and around Queens, but it’s set in a nondescript North New Jersey town, not far from where he grew up in Rutherford. Ramy Hassan runs in predominantly Arab Muslim circles; his New York-adjacent life is filled with diamond shops and Arab-owned diners and unassuming mosques. He wanders through it aimlessly, “having sex with random women” (in the words of his friend Ahmed, played by his real-life friend Dave Merheje). He still lives at home with his parents. The story’s beating heart is that he’s actually deeply religious, and driven by a desire to be good. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

22 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka’s Christians were left unprotected for far too long

I was born in Britain to Sri Lankan parents and have a Sri Lankan husband. As a Muslim I know too well the feeling of shock and fear when someone has tried to harm you in a place of worship. I felt today as I felt when I woke to news of the attack on worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 51 people killed and dozens injured. Those Muslims had gone to Friday prayers on Jummah, a holy day. Here in Britain many Muslims were fearful to go to their local mosques following that atrocity on the other side of the world. In the same way, many Christians will now be reluctant to go to church in places around the world where their communities have suffered hostility and intimidation. The fact that churches were targeted deliberately across Sri Lanka shows that this terrible, coordinated series of explosions was another attempt to instill fear among a religious minority. read the complete article

22 Apr 2019

Social media shut down in Sri Lanka in bid to stem misinformation

In a statement, Udaya R Seneviratne, from the office of the president, said the government had “taken steps to temporarily block all social media avenues until the investigations are concluded”. Officials said the eight explosions at churches and hotels, which injured more than 450 people, were suicide bomb attacks. Roshni Fernando, a resident of Colombo, one of the cities targeted in the attacks, told the Guardian that Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp had been blocked since 2pm local time, though Twitter was still accessible. Fernando said the spread of unverified information had already begun before the government brought in the social media block. “Prior to WhatsApp being shut down I was sent a document naming two suicide bombers,” she said. read the complete article


22 Apr 2019

How China Is Defending Its Detention of Muslims to the World

This week, I participated in a government-sponsored tour along with four other foreign media organizations through three cities in Xinjiang. The trip shows that Beijing is becoming more worried about an international backlash that has intensified of late, raising risks for investors already assessing the impact of a more antagonistic U.S.-China relationship. Throughout this visit, Chinese officials said the foreign media had given a false impression of the government’s efforts in Xinjiang. Most of the stops were focused on economic development and new education initiatives. The government’s message was simple: Xi’s policies were helping pacify the region and grow the economy. read the complete article

22 Apr 2019

How could Volkswagen’s CEO not know about China’s repression of Muslims?

A JOINT venture based in Shanghai, SAIC Volkswagen, is one of the oldest such automakers in China, with production based in several cities across the country, including in Xinjiang, home to ethnic Muslim Uighurs and other minorities in China’s far northwest. The joint venture says it “strives to be a responsible corporate citizen,” concerned about the environment, and “returning to society and benefiting the society” with “social welfare undertakings in the fields of science, education, culture, health” and more. So it was shocking to hear the head of Volkswagen express ignorance the other day about the systemic cultural genocide unfolding in Xinjiang. There, Chinese authorities are carrying out a brazen attempt to extinguish the traditions, language and mind-set of the Turkic Muslim minority, including Uighurs, Kazakhs and others, stamping them into the mold of the majority Han Chinese. read the complete article

22 Apr 2019

Western AI researchers partnered with Chinese surveillance firms

At least nine academic papers on topics such as facial recognition and video surveillance have been co-written by academics at several prestigious US institutions, alongside researchers at Chinese companies that sell surveillance technology to the Chinese state or at institutions with military ties, such as China’s National University of Defense Technology, or NUDT. Four of the US authors of these papers list Google as an affiliation, three of whom said that the research was conducted either fully outside of Google or had been partly done before they joined Google. The papers primarily focus on developing human tracking technologies, including person re-identification, which is the process of following a given individual through a collection of images, taken by multiple cameras at different times. Other topics include machine comprehension of text and 3D scene reconstruction for robots. read the complete article


22 Apr 2019

Congress steps in, once more, to fill Trump's silence on human rights in Myanmar

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers are set to introduce legislation in the House calling out Myanmar's government for its ongoing detention of political prisoners, including two Reuters journalists, and to provide new funding to the State Department to support organizations working for the prisoners' release, according to an advanced copy of the bill shared first with ABC News. Lawmakers in the U.S. have long been disappointed in President Donald Trump's response to the human rights situation in Myanmar. Myanmar's military began a systematic campaign to eradicate the Rohingya, a Muslim-majority ethnic group in the country's northwest, in August 2017. Trump has never spoken publicly about the violence. read the complete article


22 Apr 2019

Devout Quebecers struggle with Bill 21 and 'the right to exist as we are'

“For a lot of people, this is a debate about ideas and theories … for us it’s very real. It’s about whether we have the right to exist as we are,” said Salma, who did not want her real name published. “When I see my family this weekend, I know they’ll ask questions about (Bill 21). It’s hard to escape that conversation. I waffle between it being the only thing I think about and having to block it out completely to preserve my sanity.” Salma wears a hijab and is a devout Muslim. Sometimes she fears that all people see is the head covering at the centre of Quebec’s long-running debate over religious neutrality. “Quebec is a place full of wonderful people who can be great and helpful and kind to you,” said Salma. “But a lot of those people can also make a comment like, ‘(Bill 21) isn’t anti-Muslim, it’s anti extremist.’ read the complete article

United Kingdom

22 Apr 2019

Man arrested for racist graffiti attacks on Lancashire mosque

A 47-year-old man has been arrested after racist graffiti was scrawled outside a mosque entrance in Lancashire. Police had received three reports of graffiti being written on a gatepost at the Masjid e-Salaam mosque in Preston since Thursday night. On Sunday, police said a local man had been arrested and later sectioned under the Mental Health Act. read the complete article


22 Apr 2019

Facts Matter: Fake photo used to push theory terrorists set fire at Notre Dame

One photo of two men laughing as the cathedral burns behind them was doctored to fuel anti-Muslim rhetoric and falsely claim the fire was set by terrorists, according to The photo was shared on Facebook with the caption, "Muslims laughing while Notre Dame is burning." French authorities have said they are not investigating arson or terrorism as a cause of the fire. According to PolitiFact, the picture was posted on the day of the fire on Sputnik, a site run by the Russian government. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Apr 2019 Edition


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