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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26 Apr 2019

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., police search for a man who attempted to commit arson on an Austin Muslim center, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey telephones Ilhan Omar to notify her Twitter stands by its decision to permit a tweet by Donald Trump that unleashed a wave of death threats, and an initiative in D.C. urges restaurants to expand their hours for Muslims who fast for Ramadan during the daytime. In Sri Lanka, Muslims fear for their safety amid threats of retaliation for Easter Sunday’s attacks on worshippers by extremists; in the U.K., Change UK dismisses criticism from the Muslim community as “a smear campaign.” Today’s recommended read, by Philip Almond, traces the evolution of Western attitudes toward Islam. This, and more, below:


26 Apr 2019

Friday essay: how Western attitudes towards Islam have changed | Recommended read

Since that time, for the Christian West, regardless of the Islamic precept and practice of religious tolerance (at least as long as non-Muslims did not criticise the prophet), Islam has remained often threatening, sometimes enchanting, but ever-present. Indeed, the West created its own identity against an Islam that it saw as totally other, essentially alien, and ever likely to engulf it. Thus, from the 8th century to the middle of the 19th, it was the virtually unanimous Western opinion that Islam was a violent religion whose success was due to the sword. That Islam is, at its core, a violent religion is an attitude still present among some today. In the aftermath of the horrific murder of 50 Muslims in Christchurch by an Australian right wing nationalist, the conservative Australian politician Fraser Anning declared (straight out of the West’s medieval playbook), “The entire religion of Islam is simply the violent ideology of a sixth century despot masquerading as a religious leader, which justifies endless war against anyone who opposes it and calls for the murder of unbelievers and apostates.” Any violence against Muslims, he suggested, was therefore their own fault. Anning’s view of Islam does echo an historic Western emphasis on the use of force in Islam as an explanation for its success. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
26 Apr 2019

Europe’s far-right leaders raise voices against migration and Islam ahead of EU vote

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Rally party, and Geert Wilders, founder of the Dutch anti-Islam Party for Freedom, were the main draws for hundreds at downtown Wenceslas Square. Matteo Salvini, Italy's hard-line interior minister and leader of the anti-migrant League party, sent a video message. They attended a rally of the Freedom and Direct Democracy party, the Czech member of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom. All the far-right politicians denounced migration and Islam, linking them to terror attacks and criticizing the current European Union. They vowed their alliance would seek a radical change in how Europe is run. "The battle of Europe has begun," Le Pen announced. "Long live a Europe of sovereign nations." She said the EU is to blame for flooding Europe with migrants who threaten to destroy the European nations. read the complete article

United States

26 Apr 2019

Trump’s Criticism of Rep. Omar Unsettles American Muslims

When Makkah Ali learned that Representative Ilhan Omar had been elected, she could not get enough of the good news — someone like her, a black Muslim woman, was going to Washington to represent Americans. “Watching what Congresswoman Omar is going through will have a lot of young black Muslim women wondering if what she is going through will ultimately be worth it,” said Ms. Ali, 29, a producer and co-host of the “Identity Politics” podcast. Many American Muslims across the country are worried that the ongoing criticism of Ms. Omar is being motived by racism and Islamophobia, and they are concerned about the broader consequences for their communities, including a heightened sense that they are not welcome in the halls of power. “If we start fearing visibility, we’re putting a ceiling on what change we can make in this world,” said Ms. Ali. Maheen Ahmed, a 25-year-old aide in the California Legislature, said it was inspiring to see someone who looked and prayed like her representing Americans at the federal level, but the tepid support for Ms. Omar from some Democrats was disheartening. “By allowing for the hate toward Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to go unchecked, many people that are like me, we are pretty discouraged,” said Ms. Ahmed, who is Muslim and wears a hijab. read the complete article

26 Apr 2019

US woman wrongly identified as Sri Lanka attack suspect

Sri Lankan police have apologised after they wrongly identified a US woman as a suspect in the Easter Sunday attacks. Amara Majeed is a Muslim activist and author who wrote a book, titled The Foreigners, to combat stereotypes about Islam. "I have this morning been FALSELY identified by the Sri Lankan government as one of the ISIS Easter attackers in Sri Lanka," she tweeted. "What a thing to wake up to!" A photograph of Amara Majeed was released by Sri Lankan authorities identifying her as a suspect linked to the bloodshed. The suspect whose name was released was Fathima Khadiya, but the picture used was that of Baltimore-born Ms Majeed - whose parents are from Sri Lanka. read the complete article

26 Apr 2019

Muslim woman poses in front of anti-Islam protesters in viral photo

A woman who inspired thousands with a photo of herself in a hijab, a wide smile on her face and two fingers raised in a peace sign in front of anti-Islam protesters said Thursday she wanted to "combat their hatred with kindness." Shaymaa Ismaa’eel, 24, who is Muslim, said she immediately spotted the protesters when she arrived Saturday for the 44th annual Islamic Circle of North America convention in Washington, D.C. "I really wanted to combat their hatred with kindness, honestly,” she said. “I wanted them to see my face and simply walking by wasn’t enough." Instead, she asked a friend to take the photo, which she shared on Instagram with the caption, “Kindness is a mark of faith. Those who aren’t kind have no faith.” read the complete article

26 Apr 2019

Police searching for man who tried to light Austin Muslim center on fire

The suspect was captured on security video at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday going through a fence, "pouring what appears to be gasoline on the side of the building and then attempting to light the pieces of paper on fire," Austin Fire Capt. Andy Reardon said at a news conference Wednesday. The suspect then tried to throw the paper on the North Austin Muslim Community Center, Reardon said."We are working vigilantly with law enforcement to apprehend the perpetrator," the community center said in a Facebook post Wednesday. "As a Muslim community, we stand against all acts of violence against sanctified places of worship: whether it be against a church, a mosque, a synagogue, or a temple." read the complete article

26 Apr 2019

In D.C., a call for restaurants to give fasting Muslims an alternative to IHOP in Ramadan

A new initiative called Dine After Dark wants to change that, at least for Muslims living in and around the nation’s capital. Katherine Ashworth Brandt, a former congressional aide now studying political management at George Washington University who founded the campaign late last year, is urging Washington restaurants to expand their hours next month to accommodate Muslims celebrating Ramadan, the 30 days of fasting that begins May 5 this year for most Muslims. “I want this to be a common business practice,” said Brandt, 34. “I want customers to be able to expect that places will be open when they need them during Ramadan.”Restaurateurs participating in Dine After Dark would open around 4 a.m., to give Muslims two hours before sunup to eat before abstaining from food and drink for the rest of the day, or close around 10:30 p.m., about two hours after sunset, when observant Muslims break their fast. Depending on their business models, some restaurants would expand both morning and evening hours. Two extra hours may not be enough to serve all Muslims’ needs, Brandt acknowledged, but it’s a start. read the complete article

26 Apr 2019

Opinion | I'm a former New Yorker and current constituent of Ilhan Omar — this is why I stand with her

I witnessed the aftermath firsthand when I served as an immigration adviser to the New York Interfaith Disaster Services (NYDIS) 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable, a coalition of private donor agencies who provided individual cash assistance grants to cover the living expenses of first responders and Ground Zero cleanup workers too sick to work. The aftermath of 9/11 saw a dark response by our government that disproportionally targeted our Muslim friends and neighbors. Under the NSEERS Special Registration Program, men from predominantly Muslim countries and North Korea were required to register their presence with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While the Special Registration portion of NSEERS was suspended by DHS in 2003, approximately 13,000 men, including my clients, were placed in removal proceedings after completing registration. My work on behalf of these clients culminated in an unsuccessful appeal to the 2nd Circuit challenging the legality of the NSEERS Program on statutory and constitutional grounds. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

26 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka attacks: police hunting 140 Isis suspects, says president

Muslim community leaders in Sri Lanka have called on Friday prayer gatherings to be held privately both because of ongoing threats from Islamic extremists and in solidarity with the country’s Catholics, whose services are still suspended due to security fears. Sufi mosques in particular have been warned of the threat from violent fundamentalists, who regard the Islamic sect as a heretical, according to a police memo sent to Muslim organisations. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, a top body of Muslim scholars, issued an advisory on Thursday evening calling on women not to wear the face-covering niqab. “In the prevailing situation our sisters should not hinder the security forces in their efforts to maintain national security by wearing the face cover (niqab),” the group said in a statement. read the complete article

United Kingdom

26 Apr 2019

Change UK says criticism by Muslim community groups is 'smear campaign'

Nora Mulready was criticised by the Muslim Council of Britain and racism reporting service Tell MAMA after comments emerged in which she appeared to conflate Islam with terrorism, questioned Pakistani immigration, and suggested the concerns of far-right leader Tommy Robinson should be acknowledged. The party has already had two candidates step down since its European elections launch on Tuesday over racially-charged offensive tweets, but appears to have dug-in on Ms Mulready’s comments. A spokesperson from the party’s press office confirmed Ms Mulready was still a candidate as of Thursday morning, and characterised the criticism as a “smear campaign against her”. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 Apr 2019 Edition


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