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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03 Apr 2019

Today in IslamophobiaIn D.C, Muslims unite to campaign for religious rights of minorities as conservative Muslim students feel marginalized in college campuses in the era of Trump. In Australia, the Senate condemns Fraser Anning for his anti-Muslim comments after Christchurch, in the UK, YouTube places restrictions on anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson. Our recommended read of the day is by Domenica Ghanem titled “It’s not just the Mosque shooter’s Islamophobia that scares me– it’s the media’s.” This, and more, below:

United States

03 Apr 2019

Opinion | It’s Not Just the Mosque Shooter’s Islamophobia That Scares Me — It’s the Media’s | Recommended Read

The night before he livestreamed his massacre on social media, the New Zealand gunman posted an Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, white nationalist manifesto online. Many well-meaning people are saying we shouldn’t share anything from it now, for fear of spreading his hateful ideas. The thing is, those ideas are already everywhere. (And not just from President Trump, whom the shooter highly praised.) The New York Times — the most influential newspaper in the United States — offers a column to Bret Stephens, an “anti-Trump conservative” whose Islamophobia is hardly less extreme than the president’s. With his platform, Stephens complains about “the tantrum of Islam” and the “disease of the Arab mind.” Pointedly, in the Wall Street Journal, Stephens asked how we can suppose “that it is somehow immoral to harbor graver reservations about 10,000 refugees from Syria or Iraq than, say, New Zealand.” And then there is David Frum, another “never-Trump” Republican, who wrotean an 8,000 word cover story for justifying immigration restrictions because some white people in the United States have reported feeling “like a stranger in their own country” — as though the goal of public policy should be to validate white racism. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
03 Apr 2019

It’s Not Just the Mosque Shooter’s Islamophobia That Scares Me — It’s the Media’s

As part of its ninth annual Day on the Hill project, Ahmadi delegates from around the country met with more than 200 members of Congress or their staffers in Washington to encourage support for the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. Delegates also brought attention to the rights of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims and Middle Eastern Christians, whose persecution has been the focus of Hill visits in previous years. “It’s very unusual that a group that is under siege themselves takes the time to reach out on behalf of another community and realizes that religious freedom must be truly universal,” said Rep. Pete King, co-chair of the 32-member caucus, which formed in 2014 to focus on global religious freedom and remains the only Muslim caucus in Congress. In February, a coalition of more than 130 U.S. Muslim leaders and scholars signed an open letter calling for the release of Uighur detainees from internment camps in Xinjiang. But Muslim leaders and governments of Muslim-majority countries around the world have largely remained silent in the face of mass detention of Uighurs. “The violation of human rights at this scale is a crime against humanity requiring immediate intervention,” Harris Zafar, assistant director of public affairs for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, told Religion News Service. “Muslim countries have been surprisingly silent on the extreme treatment of Uighur Muslims. Some have even forcibly returned Uighurs to China.” read the complete article

03 Apr 2019

Politically conservative Muslim students feel excluded on campus in the age of Trump

Muslims who hold conservative political views feel isolated from the liberal-leaning Muslim community, according to UT Muslim students. This has caused them to be wary of sharing their political views with their Muslim peers. “I don’t want to be called the devil by my own Muslim friends,” said Aman, who asked to be identified by only his first name out of fear of backlash. “It’s scary to put yourself out there because people automatically connect you to Trump and Islamophobia.” Aman said he leans more liberal but holds some conservative ideologies. Only 13 percent of Muslims said they leaned Republican or were Republican, according to 2017 data from the Pew Research Center. In the same study, Pew found President Donald Trump made 68 percent of Muslims feel “worried,” including 35 percent of those who identified as right-leaning. People may be scared to express conservative views due to President Trump’s rhetoric, regardless of their race, said history professor Alberto Martinez. “Trump has, more than any other politician, very explicitly gone after Muslims,” Aman said. “(Many Muslims think), ‘How could you support a man who is using your religion as a tool to advances on political agenda?’” Aman said a large reason he did not vote for Trump was due to his Islamophobic policies and rhetoric.“When you try and side with a party … that’s where you get into propaganda,” Aman said. “The Muslim ban and the Islamophobia are being manufactured by the Republican Party. I can’t agree with that as a Muslim.” read the complete article

03 Apr 2019

Muslim rights advocate: People feel 'scared' going to mosques after New Zealand shooting

"People are scared," said Civil rights attorney Zahra Billoo, who also serves as executive director of the San Francisco chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "The conversation following New Zealand a couple of weeks ago was, 'Do we need to increase armed security at mosques?'" "Mosques have already been looking at and using private security following the attack on the gurdwara in Wisconsin a number of years ago," she added, referring to a 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee that left six people dead. "But following New Zealand, that morning, there was a rush to say, 'OK, can we get increased police patrols? How much more security can we hire?' There are conversations happening about whether people want to have more and more individuals with concealed-carry weapons at mosques," Billoo said. "There is a shift in how safe people feel in their places of worship. And then that's aggravated by the language of the president and by the policies he's putting forward, because who do you call for help when you're afraid of a hate crime if it is also the police and the government who are attacking you?" read the complete article

03 Apr 2019

Overcoming fears of ‘making noise,’ US Muslims step into civic life

The interruption was nothing unusual for the Muslims who had gathered to hear from the candidates or for Muslims for a Better America, which has been pushing to get members of the Islamic faith more involved in civic life. “There is a tendency within the Muslim community to self-isolate, to live within their own bubbles, but it’s not a one-way street where people have to accept us,” said Amir, who with other members of the local Islamic community started discussing forming an organization in 2017. “We have to go out and put in the work and that’s why this organization was created.” There are about 70,000 Muslims living in the St. Louis area, according to an MBA study; many came from the Middle East in the 1970s, after the abolishment of a federal quota system concerning immigrants, and from Bosnia in the early ’90s because of a war in that country. MBA reports that only 12,850 local Muslims, about 18 percent, are registered to vote. Amir, who was born in New York, said Bosnian Muslims have sometimes been reluctant to register and place their names on government lists because of their experience with genocide and ethnic cleansing during the war at home. Other Muslims think political engagement — “making noise” — will only bring negative attention; still others think that voting and participating in a democracy violates Shariah, or Islamic law. Then there is the general apathy or disinterest in politics that leads to low voter turnout among Muslims and all Americans. read the complete article

03 Apr 2019

Max Rose asks for data that shows Muslim ban is preventing terrorists from entering U.S.

During the first hearing of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Rep. Max Rose pressed the Trump Administration for data to justify the Muslim ban. Rose (D-Staten Island/South Brooklyn), who chairs the committee, is asking the administration to demonstrate with facts and data how the Muslim ban has prevented terrorists from traveling into the United States. “I have constituents in my district who are American citizens and have American citizen children, they can’t bring their family back from Yemen because of the Muslim ban,” Rose said in his opening statement of the hearing, titled “Supporting a Fact-Based Approach to Preventing Terrorist Travel to the United States.” “I sincerely want to know whether this is worth it. Whether it’s worth it to discriminate against millions of people around the world simply on the basis of their faith,” he said. read the complete article


03 Apr 2019

She Wears a Head Scarf. Is Quebec Derailing Her Career?

Maha Kassef, 35, an ambitious elementary schoolteacher, aspires to become a principal. But since she wears a Muslim head scarf, she may have to derail her dreams: A proposed bill in Quebec would bar public school principals, and other public employees, from wearing religious symbols. “How am I supposed to teach about respect, tolerance and diversity to my students, many of whom are immigrant kids, when the government is asking me to give up who I am?” asked Ms. Kassef, the child of Kuwaiti immigrant parents who worked tirelessly to send her and her four siblings to college. “What right does the Quebec government have to stop my career?” she added. Religious minorities in Quebec are reeling after the right-leaning government of François Legault proposed the law last week. It would prohibit not just teachers, but other public sector workers in positions of authority, including lawyers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols while working. read the complete article

United Kingdom

03 Apr 2019

YouTube places restrictions on anti-Muslim UK activist Tommy Robinson

YouTube on Tuesday placed restrictions on far-right anti-Muslim British activist Tommy Robinson's account, but stopped short of banning him from the platform. Robinson's YouTube videos will now be prefaced with a warning saying his content may not be appropriate for all audiences. He will no longer be allowed to livestream and his videos will no longer have view counts, likes or comments. A YouTube spokesperson said the platform will no longer recommend any of Robinson's videos to users, and his videos will no longer include a comments section or likes. "After consulting withthird party experts, we are applying a tougher treatment to Tommy Robinson’s channel in keeping with our policies on borderline content," the spokesperson said. YouTube's significant restrictions come shortly after Facebook and Instagram blocked Robinson for violating the platforms’ anti-hate speech standards. read the complete article


03 Apr 2019

Australia's Senate condemns lawmaker over New Zealand massacre Muslim comments

Senator Fraser Anning has been widely condemned for his comments made shortly after a lone gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. “There is no room for racism in Australia. Sadly, what Senator Anning said after the Christchurch massacre, however shocking isn’t out of character,” Australian Muslim Senator Mehreen Faruqi told the Senate. Sitting for the first time since the attack, Australia’s upper house overwhelmingly passed a censure motion against Anning - the first such public rebuke of a lawmaker in four years. A censure motion has no direct legal consequences but acts as an expression of the Senate’s disapproval. Senator Anning denied he had blamed the victims, insisting the censure was an attack on his civil liberties. “This censure motion against me is a blatant attack on free speech,” Anning told Reuters via email. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 03 Apr 2019 Edition


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