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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24 April 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Navy Seals were warned against reporting horrific war crimes committed by their platoon chief in Iraq. Muslims in India fear erasure as the historic names of cities are changed. A Sri Lankan MP calls for a burqa ban after Easter Sunday explosions kill over 300. Our recommended read of the day is a piece by Sarah Jones titled “After Smearing of Obama, Democrats Should Known How to Defend Ilhan Omar.”


United States

24 April 2019

After Smearing of Obama, Democrats Should Know How to Defend Ilhan Omar | Recommended read

For eight years, the right-wing rumor mills insisted to all and sundry that Obama — whose middle name was Hussein, whose father was a Muslim — must also be Muslim and therefore, a extremist. To the right wing, Obama’s fictional Muslim faith worked as a stand-in for radicalism, for criminality — in short, for his race. Obama could not have been born in the U.S., these voters assumed. He must instead be an interloper, maybe even a Manchurian candidate, foisted on the American people to destroy free markets and the nation’s moral character. When conservatives did acknowledge Obama’s real, Christian faith, they often denigrated it or dismissed its existence altogether. After eight years of the Obama presidency, Democrats should be very good at identifying a baseless smear campaign when they see one. The skills they should have honed under Obama would be crucial now, with prolific liarDonald Trump in office. Instead, it’s not clear what, if anything, the party’s leaders learned from its Obama-era battles. Faced with a smear campaign against one of its newest congresswomen, the party has stumbled repeatedly. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
24 April 2019

[CW: Graphic Violence] Navy SEALs Were Warned Against Reporting Their Chief for War Crimes

Stabbing a defenseless teenage captive to death. Picking off a school-age girl and an old man from a sniper’s roost. Indiscriminately spraying neighborhoods with rockets and machine-gun fire. Navy SEAL commandos from Team 7’s Alpha Platoon said they had seen their highly decorated platoon chief commit shocking acts in Iraq. And they had spoken up, repeatedly. But their frustration grew as months passed and they saw no sign of official action. Tired of being brushed off, seven members of the platoon called a private meeting with their troop commander in March 2018 at Naval Base Coronado near San Diego. According to a confidential Navy criminal investigation report obtained by The New York Times, they gave him the bloody details and asked for a formal investigation. read the complete article

24 April 2019

Terrorists are not religious extremists, they are just scum

There is another element of this that needs to be addressed. As mainstream Muslims, we have been at the forefront of combating extremist groups and disputing their legitimacy for years. This has not come without risk. I know, because ISIS has called for my assassination personally for work I've done here in Dallas with the interfaith community. When Islamophobes, politicians or pundits deem these groups to be "Islamic," they give them a sense of legitimacy and authority that actual Muslims do not endow them with. They make it harder for us as Muslim scholars to address these degenerates for what they are: outcast criminals. They have no claim to our text. They have no authority in our midst. read the complete article

24 April 2019

Man making death threat to Rep. Ilhan Omar had over 1,000 bullets and illegal guns

Law enforcement discovered a cache of ammunition and illegal guns in the New York home of a man arrested after threatening to shoot Rep. Ilhan Omar, federal prosecutors say. Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., 55, is said to have called the office of the Minnesota congresswoman in March to threaten her life and repeat an anti-Muslim conspiracy theory. “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a [expletive] terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull,” Carlineo said in the call, according to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. During a police search of Carlineo’s Steuben County home, officers confiscated six firearms, including an AK-47 and a .45-caliber handgun, federal prosecutors said in a bail hearing Monday, local CBS affiliate WROC reported. The guns were owned illegally, because Carlineo was previously convicted of a felony, WROC reported read the complete article

24 April 2019

Inside Stephen Miller’s personal anti-immigration crusade

A recent report by Politico offers more disturbing insights into Miller’s worldview, suggesting that he is not so much motivated by political conviction than by a sense of personal crusade, and that his animosity towards immigrants runs so deep that he is prepared to intervene in individual cases. Politico reports that while other aides were enjoying a rare moment of downtime during Trump’s 2017 Paris visit, Miller instead used the time to call administration officials to pressure them into deporting a person held in immigration detention. It’s hard to see how the fate of a single detainee should represent so great a political problem that it warrants the attention of one of the president’s most senior advisers. Unless, perhaps, his attitude towards immigration is so xenophobic, so far divorced from any rational border policy that one person’s predicament becomes symbolic of something bigger: the future of the country, maybe; a sense of moral purpose. read the complete article

24 April 2019

How Samantha Bee, a lawyer and three lawmakers challenged Trump’s travel ban

Comedian Samantha Bee illustrated this earlier this month, with help from the Center for Constitutional Rights, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.). They pooled efforts to advocate publicly and privately for the State Department to grant waivers to several Yemeni citizens in Djibouti seeking visas to join their U.S. citizen family members here in the United States. Bee traveled to Djibouti in March and interviewed seven members of these families, each of whom is trapped in a legal limbo called administrative processing while they await a waiver. In her April 10 segment on TBS’s “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” Bee called on Secretary Mike Pompeo to grant their waivers so they could attend her “Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner” on April 26 in Washington. Since the episode aired, three of Bee’s seven interview subjects were informed their waivers have been approved and two have received their visas. They had all been waiting months or even years with no word whatsoever. Four are still waiting for word from the State Department. It’s impossible to prove the media attention did the trick, but each and every interviewee saw new action taken on their cases after the Center and the three congressional offices got involved. read the complete article

24 April 2019

Comedian Ramy Youssef is still figuring out life as a Muslim millennial. So he made a show about it.

“Ramy” feels fresh not just for its varied depictions of those belonging to an oft-maligned group — here’s a character exploring cultural and religious identities in pursuit of a closer connection to God, rather than a total disavowal of his roots. “I would watch stuff with children of Muslims, or immigrants in general, and it was always just kind of tearing away from the family unit and tearing away from the faith and the belief,” Youssef said. “What I would express in stand-up was actually more of a desire to synthesize those things and to keep it in my life. And so I knew I wanted to reflect that on screen.” “It was a type of family and a type of person that we just felt like no one had really explored, especially the religious aspect of it,” said Carmichael, an executive producer on “Ramy.” “Religion is still kind of the lost frontier where people don’t really discuss it in popular culture in a meaningful way and talk about how much it means to them, because usually we only see the extreme examples, right?" That dynamic, Carmichael said, means entertainers don’t always allow religiosity to manifest in their work. “It was such a big part of who Ramy is that it just made sense for him, for that to be the center of this show,” he said. “Our earlier conversations were a lot about growing up and dealing with your lifestyle against your religious upbringing and where do you put it? How do you deal with those two things?” read the complete article

24 April 2019

Muslim woman goes viral after posing in front of anti-Muslim protesters

In a photo that has garnered tens of thousands of likes on Instagram and Twitter since Sunday, Shaymaa Ismaa’eel, 24, can be seen smiling and holding up the universal peace sign as she poses in front of a group of protesters holding signs with messages such as “Islam is a religion of murder" outside the convention. “Kindness is a mark of faith. Those who aren’t kind have no faith,” Ismaa’eel said in an Instagram caption, quoting the Prophet Muhammad. “On April 21st I smiled in the face of bigotry and walked away feeling the greatest form of accomplishment,” she tweeted. Ismaa’eel added that “everyone is proud of me honestly while praying for my safety.” "My mom messaged me when my post was at [3,000 likes] saying 'Your ICNA post is all over the place. Please be aware of your surroundings,’” she continued. “She’s definitely nervous because it’s clear people like that typically aren’t the kindest." read the complete article


India

24 April 2019

India Is Changing Some Cities' Names, And Muslims Fear Their Heritage Is Being Erased

Last year, officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party changed the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj — a word that references the Hindu pilgrimage site there. The name Allahabad dated to the 16th century, a legacy of a Muslim ruler, the Mughal Emperor Akbar. "Today, the BJP government has rectified the mistake made by Akbar," a BJP official was quoted as saying when the name was altered. Allahabad's renaming has made headlines not for the hassles of changing signs, but for a growing trend of Hindu nationalism in Indian politics. Over the past five years of Modi's term as prime minster, Hindu nationalist politicians from the BJP have renamed Indian towns, streets, airports and one of the country's biggest train stations, swapping names that reflect Muslim heritage for Hinducentric ones. In doing so, they are revising the map of India and trying to rewrite its history. About 1 in 6 Indians is Muslim. After Hindus, they are the country's biggest faith group. In Allahabad, more than 20% of the city's population is Muslim. Many Muslims trace their lineage back centuries. read the complete article


United Kingdom

24 April 2019

Muslim female NHS workers are being bullied over outdated uniform rules. Why haven’t trusts taken action?

A recent study has suggested that some Muslim female healthcare professionals experience bullying and harassment in the workplace over covering their heads and forearms in surgery. Although the original 2007 guidance published by the Department of Health on uniforms and workwear became known as the “bare below the elbows guidance”, it is important to note that the guidance is actually about ensuring hand hygiene. The guidance was updated in 2010 and included recommendations to make dress code policies more sensitive to the obligations of Muslims and other faith groups whilst still maintaining equivalent standards of hygiene. There is no conclusive evidence that uniforms and workwear play a direct role in spreading infection, although of course the clothes that staff wear should not impede effective hand hygiene, nor unintentionally come into patient contact. For example, although exposure of the forearm is a necessary part of hand and wrist hygiene during direct patient care activity, the local trust uniform policy should allow for covering of the forearm at other times. Despite this, the British Islamic Medical Association and The Bridge Institute’s report on the aforementioned British Medical Journal study recently revealed that 56.3 per cent of Muslim women felt that covering their arms was not respected by their NHS trust. read the complete article

24 April 2019

Prospective councillor suspended over Islamophobic tweets

Evan Woolcock, who was running for the Portishead West ward, labelled Islam a "stone age death cult" in one post. In other exchanges, he wrote "submit or resist, that's the only choices Islam presents."In a message posted in September, he implied violence towards Muslims, saying "if our concerns about Islam aren't addressed by mainstream politicians, then a less savoury element will address them". He also wrote that "calling out Islam for what it is makes you far right it seems". A spokesman for the North Somerset Conservative Association confirmed he had been suspended. read the complete article


Canada

24 April 2019

Canada Butts Heads With G7 Allies Over White Supremacy: Source

During last month's G7 meeting of foreign ministers in Dinard, France, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland met with stiff resistance from some fellow attendees over the language she wanted to use in a joint communique, The Canadian Press has learned. Freeland wanted the G7 to issue a joint statement after the mosque shootings that killed 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, but "it didn't end up going out because we couldn't get agreement from all other countries about white supremacy and Islamophobia," said one Canadian official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations. Prior to that meeting, Freeland spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, where she singled out white supremacy as the greatest security threat facing the world — remarks that later sparked a clash with a Conservative senator during testimony before the upper chamber's foreign affairs committee. read the complete article

24 April 2019

Love From A to Z: S.K. Ali is the Role Model Muslim Women Need

In her highly anticipated second YA novel, S.K. Ali tackles Islamophobia towards young adults, and wraps it around an innocent love story. Eighteen- year-olds Zayneb and Adam’s ways of life are both compromised: Zayneb is harassed by her Islamophobic high school teacher, and Adam’s mobility and independence are dwindling because of his recent MS diagnosis. They share something else special: they each own a “Marvels and Oddities” journal, in which they introspectively note their daily wonderful and weird observances. They write about first impressions, the “friends you’re dealt with,” and of course, each other. Ali focused on internal issues like spiritual abuse, in Love from A to Z she confronts the global epidemic of Muslims getting harassed simply for practicing their religion. Reading this book personally allowed me to heal my buried experience of Islamophobia during my freshman year in college. I still remember my Creative Literature professor criticizing Islam in front of the whole lecture hall, and ignoring me when I went up to ask a question. I always regret not speaking up and defending my religion, even though the words were on the tip of my tongue. Reading how Zayneb seeks justice against her racist teacher makes me feel validated, as though I had actually stood up for myself back then. We all want peace like Adam, but as Zayneb rightly points out, “there couldn’t be peace without…justice.” read the complete article


Myanmar

24 April 2019

Rohingya trapped inside a 'genocide zone'

Approximately 200,000 Rohingya Muslims are currently trapped in what can only be described as a “genocide zone” in the northernmost part of Rakhine State, located on the Myanmar side of the border the Buddhist majority country shares with Bangladesh. If they flee towards Bangladesh, they risk exposure to internationally banned anti-personnel landmines the Myanmar military has plantedalong a narrow stretch of territory forming part of the northwestern border of Rakhine State. If they flee towards the south, they are picked off by the same Myanmar soldiers that carried out what the United Nations determined to be “textbook ethnic cleansing” against them during 2017-2018. If they remain where they are, they live under the ever-present threat of being shelled and bombed by Myanmar warplanes, artillery and helicopter gunships, which are carrying out sorties in increasing frequency and ferocity. read the complete article


Sri Lanka

24 April 2019

Sri Lankan MP calls for burqa ban in wake of Easter massacre

Ashu Marasinghe submitted a private member’s motion to parliament stating that the garment, which covers the whole body and the face, was “not a traditional Muslim attire” and should be outlawed on security grounds. On Wednesday, a police spokesman said there had been nine suicide bombers on Sunday, including one woman who detonated a bomb vest as officers raided a home linked to the attackers. It is not thought at this stage that any of the male suicide bombers wore burqas during the attacks. CCTV footage from outside St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, one of the worst-hit targets, appeared to show a bomber in jeans and a shirt casually entering the church before detonating a device in a backpack. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 24 April 2019 Edition

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