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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07 Apr 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In India, Muslim families traumatized by the Delhi riots have been moving out of the city in large numbers, as a Michigan Muslim man sues the federal government for placing him on a no fly list , and in China, two former Uyghur officials are given death sentences by the state for “separatist activities”. Our recommended read today is by Marwan Muhammad on how French president Emmanuel Macron has become over the years has become a champion for the far right. This and more below:


07 Apr 2021

How Macron has become the champion of the far right

In an unprecedented campaign against Muslim communities, human rights defenders and progressive groups, French authorities have crossed every red line they could think of, preparing for the next presidential election like Pyrrhus once prepared for war. One after the other, President Emmanuel Macron’s team destroys and alienates any group or organization that remotely cares about fundamental freedoms, communities, diversity and progress. When foreign correspondents and international journalists cover what is actually going on in the country and the way minorities - including, migrants, refugees, Roma and Muslims - are treated, Macron himself calls them to explain how wrong they are. In other cases, articles are simply taken down amid a campaign of pressure. When French academics study racism and discrimination, or when they dedicate research efforts to colonial studies or intersectionality, they are labelled as “Islamo-leftists”. When a student association dares to organize speaking engagements for people who experience discrimination, they are accused of “anti-white racism” and stigmatized for weeks in mainstream media, before the French Senate votes to dissolve them. And so, earlier this week, when I expressed concern over the government turning a blind eye to the rise of far-right extremists, including how they plot terrorist attacks and have neo-Nazis infiltrating the army, it wasn’t long before an official government Twitter account targeted me on social networks, spurring hundreds of insults and threats against me. When human rights groups such as the Collective Against Islamophobia in France raise concerns about racism and discrimination, they are dissolved without any valid legal motive. When international experts express concerns about the situation in France, their comments are dismissed, and they are targeted by neo-republican pundits. read the complete article

Our recommended ready of the day

United States

06 Apr 2021

State Lawyer Fired for Anti-Islam Tweets Files Speech Suit

An attorney alleges the Tennessee Supreme Court’s board of professional responsibility unlawfully fired him for posting Tweets that an opposing party said displayed anti-Muslim bias, arguing his social media posts were constitutionally protected political speech similar to that of former president Donald Trump. The board of professional responsibility regulates licensed Tennessee attorneys. Jerry Morgan handled appeals to the state supreme court regarding attorney discipline, according to his complaint filed Monday at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Attorney Brian Manookian, who was undergoing disciplinary proceedings, filed a motion to disqualify Morgan, claiming he was an anti-Muslim bigot. Manookian cited multiple Tweets Morgan had posted that, among other things, praised then-candidate Trump for “talking about the #1 issue of our time—stopping Muslims” and disparaged Muslims and Democrats. Manookian claimed Morgan had an anti-Islam bias that could prejudice him, because his wife was Muslim and his children were being raised in a Muslim household. Morgan says his posts were “indisputably political in nature,” concerning matters that were controversial but part of the national debate. “Many were views publicly expressed by Trump” and agreed to by the Tennessee voters who “overwhelmingly” voted for him in 2016, Morgan says. There were no accusations against him of biased conduct in the Manookian case or any other, Morgan claims. read the complete article

06 Apr 2021

American Muslim Sues Government For Putting Him On No-Fly List

Ahmad Chebli, a 32-year-old American-born citizen from Michigan, said in the lawsuit that in 2018 an FBI agent repeatedly pressured him to help “identify and track people in his community who intended to harm the United States” through his “language skills” and “Lebanese background.” When he refused, he was placed on the government screening database that prevents individuals from flying because they are considered a threat, often called the no-fly list. Chebli, who is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, said the government has failed to provide him with a “fair and timely process to challenge the indefinite flying ban.” Last year, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that three other Muslim men who were placed on the list after refusing to serve as FBI informants could seek to hold federal agents financially liable. Advocates and civil rights lawyers applauded that ruling as a small win against religious discrimination and an opportunity to hold government officials accountable for decades of discriminatory profiling and government surveillance based on the vilification of Muslim Americans. Individuals placed on the list, which was created in 2003, are disproportionately Muslim and of Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian descent. “The no-fly list is a particularly problematic part of a vast watchlisting system that can unfairly stigmatize people as terrorism suspects,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “Ahmad’s story and what happened to him shows how the government uses the no-fly list abusively, especially against Muslims in violation of due process and in Ahmad’s case, also in violation of the First Amendment and his religious freedom rights,” Shamsi added. read the complete article


06 Apr 2021

A Year After Delhi Riots, Muslim Families Are Selling Homes and Moving Out

Fifty-three people were killed and thousands more were injured or displaced. At Gali number 13, rioters damaged the Madina mosque; and Muslim families’ homes near it were burnt, damaged or vandalized. One year later, even as communities and courts come to terms with what happened in those harrowing days, a major change is slowly unfolding in these lanes – a change best described by 40-year-old Zubaida Begum. Although her house was spared from violence, and her son narrowly escaped rioters, in July 2020 Begum and her husband Salim sold their house and moved out. “We were stressed that every other Muslim family from the lane was leaving and we were getting lonely,” Begum told me one morning in February 2021, from a new house she has taken on rent. “We were the last to move out, five months after the riots.” Begum moved within Shiv Vihar, but out of the Gali and near the main road where she says she feels safer. In the last one year, the number of Muslim families selling their homes in the riot-hit neighborhoods has increased, shows research recently conducted by Land Conflict Watch, an independent network of researchers studying land conflicts, climate change and natural resource governance in India. Muslims families sold their houses at low prices – at least 25% below market rates, according to several testimonies including from property dealers, some of whom appear to have encouraged the sales. read the complete article

United Kingdom

06 Apr 2021

UK should recognize Islamophobia as a crime: Victim’s daughter

According to Saleem’s daughter, Maz Saleem, more needs to be done to recognize Islamophobia as a dangerous phenomenon. She is now calling on the UK government to officially recognize Islamophobia as a crime. “We need to bring Islamophobia back to the table,” she told Al Jazeera. “Islamophobia has been rising longer than the [so-called] war on terror. Muslims get attacked for the way they look and dress.” Through her social media campaign, she is urging people to post testimonies with their own experiences of Islamophobic crimes and abuse. “Mohammed Saleem could have been any of us. That’s why we invite people to share their experiences under the hashtag #IAmMohammedSaleem.” She also wants the UK to adopt an official legal definition of Islamophobia, a move she hopes will stop it, “once and for all.” “We need society to recognize the weight of systematic racism that many of us experience daily. “Islamophobic attacks don’t happen in a vacuum. Individuals are emboldened to act on their hate by government-approved anti-Muslim policies. If we want to put a stop to this, we need to put a name on it. “How can we tackle the rise of Islamophobia without a definition of what it is?” read the complete article


06 Apr 2021

Police investigating after BB gun shooter targets Montreal Islamic centre

Montreal police are investigating after someone shot at an Islamic community centre with an air rifle Monday evening. No one was injured in the incident, which happened at the Assahaba Islamic Community Centre on Bélanger Street in the Rosemont neighbourhood. The community centre posted a surveillance video to its Facebook page that shows a hooded person wearing a medical mask approach the building around 7 p.m. The person points a weapon at the centre, takes 11 shots, then runs away. In a post on Facebook, the community centre said the weapon appeared to be a BB gun and that the person in the video was chased but got away. read the complete article


06 Apr 2021

UK faces difficult path as it resumes courtship with India

Johnson has chosen to make his first overseas trip since Brexit later this month to India. For the UK, with its tilt to the Indo-Pacific, an improvement in the relationship with India is indispensable, for security, economic and environmental reasons. But there are many difficult forces at work: Indian demands to access the UK labour market, the UK’s trade ambitions, Modi’s Hindutva nationalism, India’s historical aversion to entangling alliances, and of course the great colonial hangover. It’s known that when Johnson and Modi meet, the two countries will sign an enhanced economic partnership agreement (already agreed in outline by the trade secretary, Liz Truss, in February). A 10-year bilateral “roadmap” will also be sealed. The UK’s new high commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, the former deputy national security adviser and original sculptor of the UK integrated foreign and defense review, says a modern trade deal covering digital is quite conceivable. India is the world’s biggest and most strategic consumer tech market. India’s open, diverse consumer power will shape the future of global tech for decades. The UK needs to capitalize on this, Ellis reasons. The Indian high commission must have felt they had hit a double jackpot when Johnson appointed Patel as home secretary. Her paternal grandparents like Modi were born in Gujarat, and as Cameron’s Indian diaspora champion, she had been first in line to greet Modi at Heathrow airport in 2015. She has unabashedly praised his Hindu nationalism, hailed controversial economic policies such as the de-monetization in 2016, branded a disaster by Jo Johnson, and has written letters welcoming Modi’s controversial Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologues to the UK. In September 2019 Patel finally announced that the UK would restore the post-study work visa for international students to two years. The news led within just two quarters to a 300% increase in tier 4 visa applications from India to 25,519. In February 2020 Patel tweaked the May era plan so the minimum earnings threshold dropped from £30,000 to £25,600. But what most of all has recently pulled India and the UK closer together is not changes to the British cabinet, but a shared fear of China’s rise. read the complete article


06 Apr 2021

China: Two former Uyghur officials sentenced for 'separatist activities'

Authorities in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang have handed out death sentences to two former government officials from the local Uyghur minority group, the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported. The two men from the Muslim Turkic minority group were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on Tuesday for carrying out "separatist activities" as well as accepting bribes. Reprieve sentences, like those given to the two convicted men, are often commuted to life imprisonment. Shirzat Bawudun and Sattar Sawut are just the latest Xinjiang former officials from a minority Muslim group to be sentenced on national security charges. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 07 Apr 2021 Edition


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