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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25 Apr 2019

Today in Islamophobia: San Francisco makes moves to ban facial recognition technology, while an Oklahoma shooting range bills itself as a “Muslim-free establishment.” Tory members kicked out of the party for Islamophobia content are quietly let back in, while some fret about the U.N. Secretary-General’s silence on many pressing human right issues. In Sri Lanka, Muslims fear retaliation from those incensed by the Easter Sunday attacks carried out by a local extremist group; in India, Muslims worry about what the election means for their future safety. Today’s recommended read features a podcast uncovering China’s secret internment camps of Uighur Muslims.


25 Apr 2019

Why Is This Happening? Uncovering China's secret internment camps with Rian Thum: podcast & transcript | Recommended read

This is the story of the Uighurs, a small, insulated ethnic minority in western China. The predominantly Muslim group has faced growing levels of Islamophobia and paranoia from the Chinese government. Right now, roughly 10 percent of the Uighur population has been "disappeared," held indefinitely in re-education camps where they are subjected to totalitarian indoctrination in an attempt to erase their identity, their language, their religion and their culture. Rian Thum, who has spent his career studying the Uighurs, joins us to explain everything we know about the camps and how they came to be — including the prison-like surveillance state that Uighurs outside of the camps are forced to live in. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day

United States

25 Apr 2019

Has the Supreme Court become a rubber stamp for Trump? It's starting to look that way

Last June, the Supreme Court decided its first case involving a major challenge to a Trump policy, the travel ban. The president began trying to bar travelers and immigrants from certain countries just a week after he took office. The seven countries in his initial executive order on the subject shared three things in common: All were majority Muslim, none had been linked to terrorist acts in the United States, and all were countries in which Trump had no economic investments. Later iterations of the ban, issued in response to court rulings, tinkered with who was affected and how it would be implemented, but Muslims were still the primary targets. As a candidate and as president, Trump had repeatedly said he wanted a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. The law is clear and emphatic that the government violates the Constitution when it acts with animus against a religion. Every federal court of appeals and almost every federal district court to consider the Trump policy declared it unconstitutional. But the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, with the five conservative justices in the majority, upheld the Trump policy and proclaimed the need for deference to the president in matters of immigration. Never before had the Supreme Court upheld such blatant religious discrimination. The questions and comments of the conservative justices at Tuesday’s oral arguments in Department of Commerce vs. New York made it difficult to maintain hope that the travel ban case was an aberration and that the Supreme Court might stand up to the Trump administration on other issues. read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

San Francisco could be the first US city to ban facial recognition tech

The Chinese government has drawn widespread condemnation in recent months over its extensive use of public surveillance and facial recognition technology to monitor the movements of some 12 million Muslim citizens. "It's a 'Muslim tracker' funded by Chinese authorities in the province of Xinjiang to keep track of Uyghur Muslims," Victor Gevers, co-founder of GDI Foundation, a non-profit open-internet advocacy group, wrote on Twitter in February. Facial recognition tracking has received its fair share of criticism here in the US as well -- even as companies like Amazon field test their half-baked AIs with police departments across the country -- and may soon spawn the nation's first outright ban on the technology. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors convened on Tuesday to vote on, among other proposals, the Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance (SSSO), which was first introduced by District 3 Supervisor, Aaron Peskin. The ordinance seeks to impose strict limits on what forms of biometric data can be collected by the city's various departments; how and when it is used, and establishes an oversight apparatus to ensure public transparency. These requirements closely resemble similar ordinances from other Bay Area counties like Oakland and Santa Clara but the SSSO goes a step further in flat-out banning the use of facial recognition technology by the local government. Should it pass muster with the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco is will become the first city in the United States to ban this surveillance technology. read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

Civil rights advocates drop lawsuit against Oklahoma’s ‘Muslim-free’ gun range

Civil rights organizations have dropped a federal lawsuit against the owners of an Oklahoma gun range after it removed a sign declaring the business a “Muslim-free establishment.” The owners of the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range in Oktaha, Okla., removed the sign in December, nearly three years after the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma and the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Oklahoma branch filed a lawsuit alleging violation of federal public accommodations law.The civil rights advocates filed to dismiss the lawsuit Tuesday (April 23), saying that the gun range owners have affirmed that they will not exclude Muslim customers and that they do not intend to repost the sign. read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

Tucker Carlson Guest: Islam Is the ‘Most Hateful, Intolerant Religion on Earth’

Fox News host Tucker Carlson began his program Wednesday night by taking aim at Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for criticizing Vice President Mike Pence on the campaign trail, only for his guest, Chadwick Moore, to take that opportunity to call Islam the “most hateful, intolerant religion on Earth.” Moore replied that liberals “despise Christianity because America is founded on Christian values,” adding that while “lefties don’t like any kind of religion” they “choose Islam” because “the enemy of their friend is their friend.” “Exactly,” Carlson responded. “So, they will stand up for the most hateful, intolerant—in places of the world, obviously not all Muslims, but the most hateful, intolerant religion on Earth,” Moore continued. “Where, you know, every single nation where gays are murdered, there's seven of them, it ain’t Indiana Christians who are running those nations, Mayor Buttigieg.” read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

Booker: Trump, others' criticism of Omar 'trafficking in Islamophobia'

“The criticisms of Congresswoman Omar, what Donald Trump has been saying about her, is reprehensible, it is trafficking in Islamophobia, and it should be condemned by everyone," Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a 2020 presidential candidate, said at Wednesday's She the People presidential forum in Texas. "This kind of selective condemnation should be a chorus of people condemning. And more than this, the kind of language our president uses, especially about black women in power … it is toxic," he continued. "It fuels the kind of hate we see in our communities manifesting itself in the kind of terrorism that has been seen in our nation since 9/11." read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

Meet Shaymaa Ismaa'eel, the Muslim Girl Who Posed for Pics in front of Islamophobic Protestors

That tweet included photos of Shaymaa, a 24-year-old who works with children on the autism spectrum in schools, posing and smiling in front of a group of protestors with signs attacking Islam and the prophet Muhammad. For an African-American Muslim woman in a hijab, it was a flex of epic proportions. The tweet blew up; it now has over 230,000 likes, and 65,000 retweets, and people have said it belongs in a museum or could really sauce up a history textbook. On Instagram, one of the photos Shaymaa posted got over 200,000 likes. Shaymaa told Teen Vogue the photo is from her trip to Washington, D.C., for a convention run by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to building Muslim communities. Protesters were there with Islamophobic signs targeting the gathering and the viral photo op that Shaymaa seized came as she was participating in the conference. read the complete article

United Kingdom

25 Apr 2019

Change UK candidate in Islamophobia row after Muslim terrorist and Tommy Robinson comments emerge

Nora Mulready, who is standing for the party in the coming European parliament elections, had conflated Islam with terrorism, suggesting it was a “fallacy that Islamism is nothing to do with Islam” and that radical Islamism could be “Koranically justified”. In separate comments she also said the concerns of far-right leader Tommy Robinson should be addressed because he had “hit [a] societal nerve and that needs to be acknowledged”. The Muslim Council of Britain condemned the candidate, and was joined by anti-racism reporting service Tell Mama, which questioned why she was selected and said it was “a joke” for someone with her views to be put up as an MEP. A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said Ms Mulready had failed to meet the anti-racist standards the party claimed to hold itself to and was “all too ready in othering people, in this case, conflating Islam with terrorism”. read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

Tory Members Suspended For Anti-Muslim Bigotry Are Privately Being Told They Can Be Let Back In

Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis has told Tory members suspended for anti-Muslim bigotry they can have their membership restored after six months, despite previously blasting Labour for reinstating people who made anti-Semitic comments. Emails seen by BuzzFeed News reveal the previously opaque Tory disciplinary process, and drive a coach and horses through the party’s claims to have a “zero tolerance” policy on Islamophobia. Suspended Tory members found to have made anti-Muslim remarks are being told they will be reinstated if they stay quiet about their suspension, delete their social media posts, apologise and take a diversity test. BuzzFeed News can reveal a Conservative party member who wrote on Facebook in January that “Britain has an Islamic problem” was told this month by Lewis’ office that she could have her suspension lifted after six months. read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

Opinion | When Hatemonger-In-Chief Donald Trump Visits The UK, We Must Once Again Fill The Streets

Rather than heed that message and refrain from inviting him back to Britain, Theresa May has responded by granting him a full state visit, only the third US President to be granted such an honour in the reign of the current Queen. The reasons so many people came out on the streets could take up an entire article – from the illegal ‘Muslim ban’ to retweets of the far-right Britain First, the interminable quest for a racist border wall, the separation of families and detention of children, horrific normalisation of sexual violence with boasts of ‘pussy grabbing’, denying the reality of catastrophic climate change and withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, threats of war against Venezuela, a ban on trans people serving in the military... After just two years in office, Trump has managed to threaten virtually the whole of humanity save the tiny group of ultra-rich billionaires he represents. With hate crime at epidemic proportions, normalising Trump’s bigotry with a state visit is a direct threat to communities across Britain. The Muslim community, Trump’s main target since his election campaign, is at the sharp end of this. Last month the horrific attack in New Zealand was followed by a series of attacks on Mosques in Britain, and a reported 593% rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes. Giving Trump a platform to spread his bigotry presents a serious danger of another such rise. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

25 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka attacks: Fear of retaliation against Muslims grows as MP calls for burqa ban

On Wednesday the police spokesperson said that the attacks were carried out by eight suicide bombers, while one woman, the wife of one of the bombers, detonated herself when the police raided the residence. Officials said they believe the attackers had links with the international Isis terrorist organisation. The heart of Colombo’s trading hub, the Pettah market, came to standstill on Wednesday, with most of the Muslim shops, which make up about 50 percent of the businesses, closed by afternoon. “Everybody is feeling fear all the time,” said Deen Thahir, 58, an industrial hardware trader at the market for more than 30 years. “They are afraid to stay open late as there could be (more) attacks. “Muslims are afraid,” said Mr Thahir. “Look – I have a beard, so when I go out on the road I get stopped immediately by the police. It was never like this before. Now there is a black mark against us, and you cannot easily erase that. It could take years, even decades.” read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka’s Muslims fear retaliation after Easter attacks on Christians

Mosque leaders have stopped broadcasting prayer calls over loudspeakers to avoid offending mourners. They have put up banners with messages of condolence for the victims. They have met with Catholic Church and police officials, and packed food kits for funeral volunteers. They also are bracing for a wave of anger and possibly violent retaliation that has begun to emerge. Hateful online messages blaming Muslims for the attacks have evaded the government’s emergency social media ban, and stones have been thrown at several Muslim homes and businesses. “We don’t know who is behind these attacks, and we condemn them with all our hearts, but many people are saying they were the work of Muslims, so we don’t know what could happen next,” said Mohammad Jinnah, a jeweler and member of the interfaith harmony committee at the Grand Mosque in South Negombo, 20 miles from the capital. “This used to be such a peaceful place, but now everything has turned upside down.” read the complete article

25 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka’s Muslims Face an Angry Backlash After Easter Sunday Attacks

Auranzeb Zabi was cooking rice at a friend’s house on Wednesday when he heard angry shouting outside, looked out the window and saw a mob of Sri Lankan men carrying iron bars. A day after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide bombings that killed more than 350 people, Muslims in some areas of Sri Lanka were facing a rising backlash. The mob surrounded the house. Mr. Zabi, a Pakistani refugee who has lived in Sri Lanka for two years, said he grabbed his two children, dashed into the yard and scampered over two walls before reaching an army checkpoint. There the mob caught up with him, he said, and delivered a harsh beating, begging the soldiers to let them kill him. Hours later, Mr. Zabi still looked terrified. “When you face 100 people,” he said, and then his voice slipped and he couldn’t finish the sentence. His eyes hardened. “They even beat my kids,” he said. In the town of Negombo, where an attack on a church during Easter services killed more than 100 people, gangs of Christian men moved from house to house, smashing windows, breaking down doors, dragging people into the streets, punching them in the face and then threatening to kill them, dozens of residents said. No deaths were reported, but many Muslims fear it is only a matter of time. read the complete article


25 Apr 2019

In India's democracy, Muslims feel increasingly marginalised

The South Asian nation's largest minority forms some 14 percent of the country's 1.3 billion population, but only four percent are represented in the Lok Sabha. It is the lowest Muslim representation in five decades, compared with more than six percent a decade ago and a peak of 9.6 percent in 1980. Many young Muslims Al Jazeera spoke to expressed pessimism about the future of Muslim politics in the country currently ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). "Over the last five years, the BJP has polarised votes to such an extent that political parties are now reluctant to give tickets to Muslim candidates. Parties fear it will cost them the Hindu vote bank," Mohammad Adnan, who runs a travel agency in New Delhi's Jamia Nagar area, told Al Jazeera. read the complete article


25 Apr 2019

Why the U.N. chief’s silence on human rights is deeply troubling

Halfway through his first five-year term, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres is becoming defined by his silence on human rights — even as serious rights abuses proliferate. He set the tone early in his tenure, which corresponded with President Trump’s inauguration. Guterres criticized Trump’s “Muslim ban” only after many other governments had condemned it — and then without mentioning Trump. Guterres perhaps didn’t want to risk giving Trump an excuse to stop sending checks to the United Nations. But that reluctance to speak out has also characterized his approach to other powerful governments such as Saudi Arabia, China and Russia. Numerous governments have voiced concerns about China’s detention of 1 million Turkic, mainly Uighur, Muslims for forced indoctrination. Yet Guterres has not said a word about it in public. Instead, he praises China’s development prowess and rolls out the red carpet for President Xi Jinping. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 25 Apr 2019 Edition


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