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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04 Apr 2019

Today in IslamophobiaAs attacks by white supremacists increase, reports allege their connections are too. An op-ed stresses the importance of Jewish-Muslim solidarity in the face of a common threat, another asks if “French Islam” is an attempt to censure Muslim identity in France. Our recommended read of the day is by Juan Cole titled “How everything Sam Harris says about Islam is wrong”. This, and more, below:

United States

04 Apr 2019

Opinion | On how Everything Sam Harris says about Islam is Wrong | Recommended Read

Theories that religious minorities are hostile to the mainstream society and working to undermine it were popular in Central Europe in the 1930s and it is tragic and odious to see Harris repeating these tropes. It is in any case hard to know what Harris’s assertion even means. 90% of Muslim-Americans say that they are “proud to be American.” That doesn’t sound much like “hatred of the West.” And for those Islamophobes who say things like ‘oh, gee, 10% of American Muslims aren’t proud to be American, they must be terrorist,’ we should remind them that Michelle Obama said her husband’s election was the first time she was proud of her country. Being a critic of your country for its flaws is not the same thing as being a terrorist, though the American Right wing wishes it were. The Qur’an or Koran, the Muslim scripture, grew up 610-632 AD in the Roman Empire and on its frontiers, and so is part of the “West.” Sam Harris has not actually read the Chapter of Repentance in the Qur’an nor has he read any accounts of the Battle of Hunayn. He just got those mistranslated quotes on the internet without any context. And he said that the Qur’an is telling believers to hate “the West” (whatever that was in the 7th century) and telling them just to go out and kill random “unbelievers.” read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
04 Apr 2019

Opinion | Attacks by White Extremists Are Growing. So Are Their Connections

The gunman who killed 50 last month in a rampage at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, said he drew inspiration from white extremist terrorism attacks in Norway, the United States, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom. His references to those attacks placed him in an informal global network of white extremists whose violent attacks are occurring with greater frequency in the West. An analysis by The New York Times of recentterrorism attacks found that at least a third of white extremist killers since 2011 were inspired by others who perpetrated similar attacks, professed a reverence for them or showed an interest in their tactics. The connections between the killers span continents and highlight how the internet and social media have facilitated the spread of white extremist ideology and violence. One object of fascination for the Christchurch killer and at least four other white extremists was Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right extremist who killed 77 in a bombing and mass shooting in Norway in 2011. Mr. Breivik’s lengthy manifesto offered a litany of grievances about immigration and Islam — and the attacks became a model for future ones. read the complete article

04 Apr 2019

Opinion | Muslims and Jews Face a Common Threat From White Supremacists. We Must Fight It Together

In Christchurch, New Zealand, last month a white supremacist gunned down 50 Muslims at prayer. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last October a white supremacist gunned down 11 Jews at prayer. Both killers were clear in their loathing of both Jews and Muslims. Both subscribed to the “great replacement theory,” which casts Muslims and other minorities as “invaders” of Western societies and a threat to white, Christian majorities. In this narrative, the supposed invasion is a wicked plot orchestrated by the same hidden hand behind all malign events through world history: the Jews. This is how our haters see us: Jews and Muslims connected in a joint enterprise to effect a “white genocide.” It is an unhinged and racist conspiracy theory — and it has both of our communities in its murderous sights. So there can only be one response: Muslims and Jews must stand and fight it together. read the complete article

04 Apr 2019

Invaders and Barbarians: Islamophobia in the West

The sheer volume of Islamophobic hate should come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with Western political discourse. The immigration of Muslims and the threat of Islamic terror is constantly drilled into our minds. There is also the sustained propagation of falsehoods. For example, let us look at the title of Tarrant’s manifesto. Named the “Great Replacement,” the manifesto is in reference to the work of philosopher and far-right activist Renard Camus. The “Great Replacement” is a theory that white, French Christians are being replaced by Muslim immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Considered a part of the overarching “white genocide” conspiracy theory, it is readily accepted by many on the far right. Lauren Southern, Eric Zemmour, Stefan Molyneux, Geert Wilders, David Knight, Katie Hopkins, Alex Jonesand even Donald Trump are believers in this theory. Trump famously retweeted a post from the user “WhiteGenocideTM” and said he would look into the mass killings of white South African farmers. read the complete article

04 Apr 2019

Muslim soldier demoted, planning to sue the Army after hijab controversy

Spc. Cesilia Valdovinos, who was demoted this week following an unrelated Article 15 investigation, will file a complaint alleging violation of her civil rights either in northern Virginia or Denver, according to Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. “This is a pattern and practice of anti-Muslim bigotry, prejudice and harassment,” he said. The 26-year-old culinary specialist’s story first went viral in mid-March, after she filed an EO complaint with her command based on an incident with her command sergeant major at the 704th Transportation Battalion. The senior noncommissioned officer, believing that Valdovinos was wearing her hair down underneath her hijab ― rather than in a bun, per regulation ― demanded the soldier remove the head covering. Her hair fell to her shoulders, Valdovinos told Army Times, because she uses the extra fabric in the cap to secure her bun. When she removes it, the bun falls out. A week later, as the EO investigation was finishing, Command Sgt. Maj. Kerstin Montoya approached the soldier again, demanding that she go to the bathroom and fix her hair. read the complete article


04 Apr 2019

Uyghurs and allies urge action against China in Washington

Zeynep Ablajan said she hasn't been able to speak to her husband, Yalkun Rozi, in over two years. He is a Uyghur scholar and textbook author who was detained in Xinjiang, China in October 2016. That was the last time she heard his voice. "It is torturing looking back," she told CNN through a translator. "I didn't expect that would be my last contact with my husband." Ablajan said that he was accused of "disseminating separatist ideology" and sentenced in 2018 to 15 years in prison -- a sentence Ablajan said was predetermined and came after a "sham trial." Ablajan said she doesn't know where her husband is. Ablajan was one of dozens of members of the Uyghur community, advocates and lawmakers who gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington Monday to recognize the plight of the Uyghurs and other persecuted minorities being detained in China. The evening reception capped a day of activism on the Hill organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. read the complete article


04 Apr 2019

Opinion | Is ‘French Islam’ an attempt to control Muslims in France?

We spoke to Abdelaziz Chaambi, the president and founder of Coordination against Racism and Islamophobia (la Coordination contre le Racisme et l’Islamophobie), also known by the acronym, CRI. He spoke about the problem with government-led initiatives to redefine Islam, and how current policies towards French Muslims have helped contribute towards anti-Muslim attitudes. read the complete article

04 Apr 2019

Leader of movement monitoring anti-Muslim hate crimes demands more protection from EU institutions

Addressing the Faith and Freedom Summit in Brussels, Bashy Quraichy, the secretary general of the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion, said populists and others were “spreading hatred” against Muslim communities, and noted that the number of hate crime incidents directed at Muslims had “jumped many folds…This, in turn, is breeding violence, murders and property damages.” The summit is a non-partisan coalition of faith-based NGOs which seeks to raise awareness about threats, including within Europe, to religious freedom and belief. It is asking election candidates this May to sign a pledge that, in part, commits them to deal with the issues in the next parliamentary term. Quraichy said that according to Tell Mama, a national project that records anti-Muslim incidents in the United Kingdom, that hate crimes against Muslims had soared after the recent shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. read the complete article

04 Apr 2019

The literature refuting stereotypes of British Muslim women

Two recent collections, It’s Not About the Burqa and The Things I Would Tell You, have tried to elucidate the varying backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs of Muslim women living and working in this country. In 2016 Mariam Khan read that David Cameron had linked the radicalisation of Muslim men to the “traditional submissiveness” of Muslim women; Cameron had announced plans for a £20m fund to help women from all migrant backgrounds to improve their English, but Muslim women quickly became the focus of the discussion. His idea of the kind of women – or girls – who joined Islamic State was shockingly distorted. The majority are British-born, English is their native tongue, and their connection to the country their parents or grandparents left is often tenuous. The issue lies in how they can feel so alienated when they have no other real home. read the complete article


04 Apr 2019

Montreal firms up code of ethics for elected officials

On Wednesday, the executive committee approved an amendment to the ethics code for city councillors and mayors barring them from discriminating “on the basis of race, colour, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, age except where provided for by law, religion, political beliefs, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, disability or the use of a means to overcome this handicap.” While the move follows controversy over anti-Muslim comments Anjou borough councillor Lynne Shand made on Facebook March 23, it had been in the works for some time, Thuillier noted in an interview. Last Wednesday, Anjou Mayor Luis Miranda kicked councillor Shand out of his caucus after initially defending her by saying she was inexperienced and had apologized. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Apr 2019 Edition


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