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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
30 Apr 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Observers link violence committed against Muslims and Jews in the U.S., such as the recent Sand Diego synagogue shooting, to hatred and resentment stoked by the dangerous rhetoric of President Donald Trump. The UN aid chief declares that the safety situation in Myanmar is too precarious for Rohingya Muslims to return, while, separately,  the UN’s Secretary-General raised the issue of Uyghurs in Xinjiang during a Beijing visit to meet President Xi Jinping. In Sri Lanka, Muslim women protest an emergency ban on face veils instituted as a security precaution after Easter attacks; in Austria, Muslim organizations are disproportionately affected by a ban on Muslim Brotherhood symbols. Our recommended read of the day is by Keith Ellison and Carin Mrotz, and titled “Only One Thing Can Stop White Supremacy: Solidarity Between Muslims And Jews.” This, and more, below: 

United States

30 Apr 2019

Only One Thing Can Stop White Supremacy: Solidarity Between Muslims And Jews

We’ve been here before: the narrow place. Sometimes it has looked like the passage of newly-liberated Jews through the Red Sea, sometimes like passage of newly-enslaved Africans across the Atlantic, sometimes like the passage of refugee Muslims across the Mediterranean. Sometimes it has looked like the struggle for racial justice and freedom. Sometimes it looks like the fear that observing our own faith will be used as a weapon against us. We’ve always known Mitzrayim. These murderous attacks on Jews are not isolated acts of anti-Semitic violence: They are connected to murderous attacks on Muslims. The Poway shooter cited the murderer of 50 Muslims in New Zealand last month as his inspiration. He also claimed responsibility for a mosque fire in nearby Escondido shortly after the Christchurch shooting. This is no coincidence. While antisemitism and Islamophobia pervade all political spaces and ideologies, these terror attacks, these murders, come from exactly one of them: the white-nationalist far right. We — Jews and Muslims — are in Mitzrayim, a narrow space this time constructed by white nationalists who seek to destroy their common enemy: us. The anti-Semitism and Islamophobia they attack us with come out of the same place: the ancient conspiracy theory that our mission is to undermine white, Christian society. It is a narrow space, but we are not trapped in it. There is a way through it. In this moment when forces are working day and night to turn us against each other, we propose modeling unity around shared values. In Minnesota, we are committed to radical solidarity. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
30 Apr 2019

Someone Found The Poway Synagogue Shooter's Manifesto And Called The FBI Minutes Before The Attack Began

At 11:05 a.m. on Saturday, Colin, a 25-year-old in Yucaipa, California, logged into 8chan. It was only his second time ever on the site, he told BuzzFeed News. Someone close to him is a QAnon believer, and after hearing them spout "some really crazy shit," Colin went on the site out of curiosity. So, when Colin saw a post that reminded him of that, he immediately felt uneasy. “I can’t remember why, but the picture and the first line of the preview caught my attention," said Colin, who asked that his last name not be used to avoid 8chan trolls. "And I thought, is this like New Zealand?" He posted an image of the 8chan post timestamped 11:07 a.m. PT — police said the shooter opened fire "just before" 11:30 a.m. Upon opening the 8chan post, he found a manifesto that railed against Jews, praised the Christchurch mosque and Pittsburgh synagogue shooters, and said the mass shooting would be livestreamed on Facebook. One line in particular caught Colin's attention — a claim that the poster had set fire to a mosque in Escondido. read the complete article

30 Apr 2019

Trump’s rhetoric stokes hate. He never thinks of the consequences.

Hatred, resentment, white supremacy and victimhood are deadly political tools. President Trump wields them with no thought to the consequences — and people die. At this point, no one can deny the obvious: The president, primarily through his unconstrained rhetoric, has fostered an atmosphere in which hate-filled white supremacists feel motivated, vindicated and emboldened to act. In my lifetime, at least, we have never before had a president who deliberately exacerbates racial and religious tensions for political gain. We have had a few who winked at racists to get elected, a few who blew dog whistles about such issues as school desegregation and “inner-city crime.” But I can’t think of one of Trump’s predecessors who might have been capable of looking at a crowd of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members on one side, a diverse crowd of counterprotesters on the other, and saying there were “very fine people on both sides.” read the complete article

30 Apr 2019

Trump Pushes to Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group

The White House directed national security and diplomatic officials to find a way to place sanctions on the group after a White House visit on April 9 by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, for whom the Brotherhood represents a source of political opposition. In a private meeting without reporters and photographers, Mr. el-Sisi urged Mr. Trump to take that step and join Egypt in branding the movement a terrorist organization. Such a designation imposes wide-ranging economic and travel sanctions on companies and individuals who interact with the targeted group. The president responded affirmatively to Mr. el-Sisi, saying it would make sense. Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers have interpreted that as a commitment, officials said. John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, support the idea, officials said. But the Pentagon, career national security staff, government lawyers and diplomatic officials have voiced legal and policy objections, and have been scrambling to find a more limited step that would satisfy the White House. As a matter of law, officials have argued that the criteria for designating a terrorist organization are not a good fit for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is less a coherent body than a loose-knit movement with chapters in different countries that either use that moniker or have strong historical ties to it. Several political parties in places like Tunisia and Jordan consider themselves Muslim Brotherhood or have ties to it, but eschew violent extremism. read the complete article

30 Apr 2019

In California, Home to Many Hate Groups, Officials Struggle to Spot the Next Threat

California has more organized hate groups than any other state. But the perpetrator of a mass shooting at a synagogue near San Diego on Saturday, law enforcement officials said, was not a member of any of them. Instead he was the product of a landscape that is both increasingly restive and fractured, where hate groups have gone underground, avoiding social gatherings and concerts, and newcomers need only the internet to become self-radicalized and violent. Mr. Earnest, like the gunmen in New Zealand and at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last October, drew inspiration and support from the virulent bigotry that flourishes in online communities like 8Chan, where layers of self-referential memes and jargon can appear almost indecipherable to outsiders, making it that much more difficult to track and identify people drifting toward extremism. “We’ve started referring to them as the apocalyptic community, these online groupings that are marked by a sense of urgency” about the perceived threat to white dominance, he said. As of late last year, the F.B.I. was tracking about 900 domestic terrorism cases, while another 4,000 fall under international terrorism, according to a senior bureau official. Two regions of growing concern are the West Coast and the states around the Great Lakes, where the agency is seeing more arrests than in other parts of the country, the official said. According to an audit to be released on Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League, a civil-rights group that has been tracking and fighting anti-Semitism for over a century, California led the nation in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, followed closely by New York. In 2017, California also had the highest number of anti-Muslim incidents, 871, according to the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a leading civil rights group. That was more than double the number in the second-highest state, Texas, with 395. California is the most populous state and has among the highest Jewish and Muslim populations. read the complete article

30 Apr 2019

Behind the Counter, a New Political Force Takes On The New York Post and Trump

Over the last 20 years, Yemeni-Americans have established a foothold in New York’s network of bodegas — small convenience stores offering coffee, groceries and knickknacks. And now, they are increasingly trying to organize themselves to channel their economic power into political influence. Though Yemeni-American bodega owners first became politically active after the Sept. 11 attacks, they have become more vocal defenders of New York’s Muslim-American community since President Trump took office. In 2017, Yemeni-American bodega owners closed their shops for a day and rallied in Downtown Brooklyn against Mr. Trump’s Muslim travel ban, which separated some Yemeni husbands in New York from wives and children abroad. After The Post cover was published on April 11, the community’s two-year-old trade association, the Yemeni American Merchant Association (YAMA), again called for action. The association asked Yemeni-American bodega owners in the city to stop selling The Post until it issues an apology to Ms. Omar and Muslim-Americans in New York. Of the roughly 10,000 bodegas in the city, YAMA estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 are owned by Yemeni-Americans. “We have the power and tools to do something about this. We have thousands of stores which, from an economic perspective, can make an impact,” said Rabyaah Althaibani, a Yemeni-American organizer and member of YAMA. read the complete article

30 Apr 2019

USCIRF Report: China, two dozen other countries top religious freedom offenders list

The commission cites dozens of countries in its 234-page report but especially notes China’s repression of a range of religious beliefs — including Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, Uighur Muslims and human rights defenders. “Nearly 20 years later, Muslims are constantly surveilled, their phones confiscated and scanned, their skin pricked for blood samples to collect their DNA, their children prohibited from attending mosque,” reads the report’s introduction. “Even worse, the Chinese government has ripped entire families apart, detaining between 800,000 and two million adults in concentration camps and relegating some of their children to orphanages.” The commission calls for the U.S. government and others across the globe to sanction Chinese agencies and officials for their role in serious religious freedom violations and to urge them to set Uighur and other Muslims free. It also calls for the release of prisoners of conscience, including Muslims, Buddhists and Christians. At a Capitol Hill news conference announcing the report, USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer said China has been listed by the commission as one of the most egregious “Tier 1” countries for religious freedom in each of its 20 reports. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

30 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka’s face veil ban stokes fear of Muslims, experts say

The law’s implementation comes just over a week after the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels that left more than 200 people dead. Authorities said it would be helpful to security forcesin their search for remaining plotters and their network. But human rights experts and regional analysts alike are concerned that the ban may do more harm than good. “The reaction should be to find perpetrator. . . and to prosecute those people,” she said. It should not be “the collective punishment of Muslim women,” at least some of whom will be confined to their homes if they are to both practice their faith and observe the ban, Ganguly said. “The veil ban telegraphs in a counterproductive way that Sri Lanka’s Muslim community is being singled out as a security risk. That itself could further deepen suspicions between Muslims and other religious groups on the island,” Joshua T. White, an associate professor and South Asia expert at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, wrote in an email. And the Muslim minority in Sri Lanka is already worried about possible retaliation in the wake of the Easter attacks. Already, some have been dealing with hateful online messages, and stones have been thrown through the windows of some Muslim homes and businesses. read the complete article

30 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka’s headscarf ban has nothing to do with protecting citizens – its only goal is to punish Muslim women

It is clear that the government is reacting to racist rhetoric, as there has been no evidence to suggest that the niqab or burqa was used by the suicide bombers. In fact, CCTV footage reveals that they were men dress in pants and shirt, carrying large backpacks. In over two decades of war; Sri Lankan Muslim women who covered their faces always complied with security personnel at checkpoints, and revealed their faces for identification purposes. Removing the burqa/niqab for security purposes is not new to them or contested by the community. A blanket ban therefore is extreme and unwarranted. This move will only embolden racist vigilantes who harass Muslim women during the frequent attacks on the Muslim community in post-war Sri Lanka. Incidents have occurred where the headscarves worn by some Muslim women are supposedly mistaken for the niqab or burqa by security persons and civilians, leading to some headscarf-wearing women being asked to remove the shawls or scarves during security checks. One of the strangest things about this ban is the fact that the government chose to consult a controversial Muslim organisation in drafting legislation against the burqa and niqab. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), one of many Muslim organisations in Sri Lanka, has no women in its leadership. In the past, the ACJU had released a fatwa declaring that Muslim women should conceal their faces in public. read the complete article

30 Apr 2019

'Unacceptable': Sri Lankans share their views on face veil ban

Al Jazeera spoke to a range of Sri Lankans, including Muslim women, on an issue that is dividing opinions in the Indian island nation. Qaanita Razeek, 33, co-founder of Soup Kitchen Sri Lanka which helps the destitute, regardless of race/religion, wearer of niqab: While I understand that there is a difference in scholarly opinion about the wearing of the face veil, I made the choice to wear the niqab 16 years ago and asking me to unveil now is like asking to strip me of my identity. Looking at the larger picture and the purpose with which I want to live my life, staying home is not an option for me, and I am trying to figure out a way around this. Zainab Hussein (not her real name), a prominent social activist based in Colombo, wearer of hijab In the current context, I don't think there is anything much we can do to show resistance against this ban. However, the worry is the precedent that the law is setting. There are schools of thought emerging against the hijab and other parts of Muslim female attire. I understand however, how avoiding the niqab would help with easing some of the fears – but will the vigilantes stop at what the government has prescribed [ie banning only niqab] or will they go further? We are already seeing overstepping. Both the government and the Muslim community have to do a lot of communications to ensure that this works smoothly. read the complete article

United Kingdom

30 Apr 2019

Six years after my dad was killed by a racist, I tried to understand how a Muslim genocide took place on Britain’s doorstep

It is six years since a terrorist brutally murdered my father Mohammed Saleem and carried out three mosque bombings in the West Midlands. Since then anti-Muslim hatred seems to only have grown worse. The bigotry and racism come from the very top. Boris Johnson’s despicable “letterbox” comments regarding Muslim women wearing the niqab led to more attacks on Muslim women for the way they look and dress. It is outrageous that divisive rhetoric from politicians can lead to violence and hate on our streets and my fear about where this all ends prompted me to travel to Bosnia, to try and understand the most recent genocide against Muslims on European soil. It is now nearly a quarter-century since anti-Muslim hatred lead to the massacre of Srebrenica. It was one of the most brutal episodes of the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war in Bosnia that claimed 100,000 lives. It is a genocide still denied by the majority of Serbs today. This was ethnic cleansing of Bosniak Muslims on a huge scale. The horrific events in Sri Lanka and in New Zealand must make us recognise that intolerance and hatred in any form must be challenged at every given opportunity. The New Zealand terrorist was inspired by Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Srebrenica has inspired the far right across the globe. Norwegian white supremacist terrorist Anders Breivik mentioned Bosnia over 300 times in his hate manifesto. read the complete article

30 Apr 2019

Tory Chairman Accused Of Covering Up Islamophobia In The Party

Baroness Warsi accused Lewis of displaying a “classic trait of institutional racism” after he refused to reveal the number of complaints about anti-Muslim incidents, or how many members have been suspended or expelled from the party. The peer, who was the first female Muslim cabinet minister and was herself Tory chairman under David Cameron, said she had agreed to keep quiet about Islamophobia to “work with the party” to resolve the problem. But she broke her month-long silence after Lewis refused to reveal the extent of the problem in a Sunday broadcast interview, saying only there had been a “very, very small number” of complaints about members. read the complete article


30 Apr 2019

UN aid chief: No progress so Rohingya can return to Myanmar

Mark Lowcock, who just returned from a visit to Bangladesh, said Myanmar has failed “to put in place confidence-building measures that would persuade people it’s safe to go back.” He said all the refugees he spoke to didn’t think it was safe to return, and want to be assured of things like freedom of movement and access to education, jobs and services. Buddhist-majority Myanmar has long considered the Rohingya to be “Bengalis” from Bangladesh even though their families have lived in the country for generations. Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless, and they are also denied freedom of movement and other basic rights. Lowcock told a small group of reporters he is “extremely worried” that the U.N. appeal for $962 million to provide for the Rohingya refugees and their host communities in Bangladesh this year is only 17% funded. read the complete article


30 Apr 2019

UN boss raises Xinjiang Uyghurs during his trip to China

During Guterres' trip to Beijing last week, he met with China's President Xi Jinping. Asked by reporters on Monday whether Guterres had raised the issue of Uyghurs during that conversation, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric replied that the UN chief had "discussed all relevant issues with Chinese authorities." "He did just that, and that includes the situation in Xinjiang," he said. "Each community must feel that its identity is respected and that it fully belongs to the nation as a whole," Dujarric said, explaining Guterres' stance. When asked by a reporter whether Guterres was satisfied by the China's response, Dujarric was evasive. "It's not for me to speak on behalf of the Chinese authorities," he said. "This is part of a dialogue that the Secretary‑General has had with Chinese authorities in the past and that he will continue to have." Guterres left Beijing on Saturday after speaking at the Belt and Road Forum, a meeting about Xi's signature global infrastructure policy. read the complete article


30 Apr 2019

Muslim Organizations Disproportionately Impacted by Austria's Banning of Muslim Brotherhood Symbols

On March 1, 2019 something unprecedented took place in a Western country and it has gone nearly unnoticed. The logo of the Muslim Brotherhood, along with logos of other non-terrorist and terrorist organizations, was added to the list of symbols banned in Austria. In many countries, right-wing groups and lobbies have long been trying to have the Muslim Brotherhood banned. Many observers argue, however, that the real goal of these efforts is not to threaten the Muslims Brotherhood, which is already weak and politically defeated in many Arab countries, but actually to threaten civil society activists and politicians with a Muslim background in the West. People who make a difference, such as the newly elected U.S. Congress women Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, as well as political activists such as Linda Sarsour, have been repeatedly targeted by the far-right, which speaks of these figures as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. In the U.S., there have been three legislative attempts to implement a bill to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. As rightly criticized by civil society, this would in fact not primarily hit the Muslim Brotherhood itself, but rather American Muslim associations that do social justice work and are an important voice of nonviolent political opposition to injustice and racism. Austria has thus been the first country to designate the Brotherhood as an extremist organization. The Symbol Act of 2019 was enacted this year in March by a right-wing government composed of the right-wing extremist Freedom Party and the restructured People’s Party headed by Sebastian Kurz. The government claims that “the symbols and gestures of the organizations mentioned in the amended law are against the constitution and contradict our basic democratic values.” read the complete article


30 Apr 2019

US museum condemns use of its art by German far-right party

The director of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Olivier Meslay, told The Associated Press late Monday “we condemn the use of the painting” Slave Market by Jean-Leon Gerome from 1866, “to advance AfD’s political stance.” The painting shows a black slave trader showing a naked young woman with much lighter skin to a group of men for examination. The AfD’s Berlin branch put up 30 posters of the painting across the German capital with the slogan, “So that Europe won’t become Eurabia.” The AfD, known for its anti-Muslim stance, said it won’t take down any of the posters. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Apr 2019 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results