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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09 Apr 2019

Today in IslamophobiaFacebook bans Faith Goldy, and China deflects criticism of its camps in Xinjiang. An op-ed alleges that France’s obsession with the hijab is about control, not liberation; another engages terrorism as a facet of colonialism, not necessarily religion. Our recommended read of the day is by Alice Speri on DHS anxiety regarding black activists in the United States. This, and more, below:

United States

09 Apr 2019

Opinion | As Black activists protested police killings, Homeland Security worried they might join ISIS | Recommended Read

That concern was unequivocally baseless, and no evidence ever emerged to substantiate it. Still, documents obtained by the government transparency group Property of the People, which were shared exclusively with The Intercept, reveal that officials with the DHS and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence exaggerated the significance of isolated social media activity, mostly by foreign accounts, advocating for a connection between the domestic movement against police brutality and foreign terrorism. In intelligence reports and internal communications circulated around the time of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and the 2015 Baltimore protests following the death in custody of Freddie Gray, DHS officials fretted that the Islamic State might attempt “to use the situation in Ferguson as a recruitment tool” or call on “Baltimore rioters to join them.” And in July 2016, during nationwide protests against the police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a cabinet position, circulated a memo warning that a lone, foreign pro-Al Qaeda Facebook user sought to seize on the protests to urge “‘Black’ Americans to take up arms” and “start armed war against the US government.” read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
09 Apr 2019

'So many birthdays that we missed.' Two years after travel ban, families remain divided

During their weekly video chat, 4-year-old Mahan asks his aunt in Paramus the same questions: When will we see you? When will I get to visit the Statue of Liberty? Why doesn’t the president like me? After 15 years of trying, Mahan’s family was a final interview away from securing visas to move to the United States. Then came the travel ban that blocked people from seven countries, including Iran, where they live, from entering the country. "So many birthdays that we missed, so many New Years we have missed being together," said Mahan's aunt, Poopak Mohajer, who first applied for a visa for her brother in 2004. "All my life is through Facetime and the internet, which is hard for me to handle. I would love to have family around me." read the complete article

09 Apr 2019

Opinion | Is the Trump administration ignoring the domestic terrorist threat?

In early April, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security disbanded its group of intelligence analysts focusing on domestic terrorism within the United States. Over the previous year, these analysts, working in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, were quietly reassigned to new positions within the department. This latest move reflects a long-standing policy within the Trump administration seemingly to ignore the threat of domestic terrorism and maintain its focus on the perceived terrorist threat connected to Islam. his administration revamped how it counters violent extremism programs to include only Islamic extremism, no longer targeting extremist activity related to white supremacist or other right-wing terrorism. These policies have been matched by the rhetoric of Trump and other senior officials in his administration emphasizing “radical Islamic terrorism” in their speeches. read the complete article

09 Apr 2019

Religious freedom on death row: How a new lawsuit affects a growing debate

Charles L. Burton Jr., a Muslim who has been on death row in Alabama since 1992, has sued the state’s Department of Corrections for access to an imam in the execution chamber. Under the department's current policy, only a Christian chaplain is available. “This could be the case that resolves the issue once and for all,” tweeted Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Burton’s lawsuit comes after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed another Muslim inmate in Alabama to be executed without an imam present. Domineque Ray, who was also Muslim, requested a stay of execution in January due to the state’s chaplain policy. A stay was initially granted by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which ruled that allowing Christian but not Muslim religious leaders into the execution chamber represented religious discrimination. read the complete article

09 Apr 2019

Opinion | The Stephen Miller Presidency

In recent days, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser for policy has overseen a purge of officials who were seen as insufficiently extreme on immigration. Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen was pushed out on Sunday. Two days earlier, Miller persuaded Trump to cut ties with Ronald Vitello, the president’s nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And Miller’s not done. On Monday, CNN reported that Miller also wants the president to fire two more high-ranking immigration officials. “He’s actively trying to put in place people who have very different points of view than the current leadership within the agencies,” a former DHS official told Politico, referring to Miller. “His idea is basically [to] clean house.” Trump reportedly has informedaides that the 33-year-old Miller will oversee all immigration initiatives. read the complete article


09 Apr 2019

India elections: Fears of lynch mobs and violence if Narendra Modi is re-elected

The general election will be the world's largest democratic exercise, with voting beginning on 11 April. Voters are electing lawmakers for the 545-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha. The country is so large that voting will take place in seven phases over five weeks, with initial results expected on 23 May. Critics have expressed concern - saying that whileMr Modi's nationalist mantra empowers the Hindu majority, it is isolating minorities. The opposition Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, claims hatred and lynch mobs have spread unchallenged under Mr Modi. Harsh Mander, director of the Centre for Equity Studies, agrees - saying their research has found the majority of vigilante attacks on Muslims by Hindu mobs in the name of protecting cows have happened in the last five years. While Mr Modi has publicly denounced the vigilante violence, Mr Mander claims perpetrators often act with impunity. read the complete article

09 Apr 2019

Fringe politics at center of India’s election

Kamal leads a vigilante force of thousands of volunteers, mostly young Hindu men. Such vigilante forces have emerged after several Indian states banned the slaughter of cows, sacred to Hindus, in recent years. Mobs have lynched three dozen Muslims, who traditionally run meat shops and slaughterhouses. As India heads toward a general election that begins this week, taking up arms for “mother cow” is part of a broader campaign to impose ancient Hindu religious values across a multicultural country. As with similar movements across the world, Hindu nationalism, once fringe, has now taken a central place in India’s politics. read the complete article


09 Apr 2019

Under Brazil's New Government, Islamophobia Continues To Rise

After the massacre in Chirstchurch, the Brazilian Muslim community was once again on high alert for possible attacks. On the same day as the massacre in Christchurch, Abu Bakr Assidik Mosque in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, near São Paulo, was guarded by the Civil Police and Municipal Guard to ensure the safety of those present during Friday prayer. The city's Muslim community feared attacks after online threats and a series of YouTube videos made against Muslims. Hatred and threats against Muslims in Brazil are not new. Between 2007 and 2017, Brazil received just over 3,000 refugees from Syria and other Islamic-majority countries (such as Pakistan and Bangladesh). Among Latin American countries, Brazil welcomed the majority of Syrian refugees in the region. And by 2015, the country saw a 20 percent increase in the number of Mosques in São Paulo state alone comparing to the previous year. read the complete article


09 Apr 2019

Malaysia says 200 Rohingya migrants still at sea after latest arrival

Malaysian authorities on Monday were on the lookout for boats believed to be carrying up to 200 Rohingya after dozens of migrants were found near a beach in the country’s north. Scores of Rohingya Muslims have boarded boats in recent months to try to reach Malaysia, part of what authorities fear could be a new wave of people smuggling by sea after a 2015 crackdown on trafficking. More boats carrying about 200 Rohingya migrants are believed to be at sea, Noor Mushar said. read the complete article


09 Apr 2019

Opinion | Don’t blame Sharia for Islamic extremism – blame colonialism

In the 1950s and 1960s, when Great Britain, France and other European powers relinquished their colonies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, leaders of newly sovereign Muslim-majority countries faced a decision of enormous consequence: Should they build their governments on Islamic religious values or embrace the European laws inherited from colonial rule? Invariably, my historical research shows, political leaders of these young countries chose to keep their colonial justice systems rather than impose religious law. Newly independent Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, among other places, all confined the application of Sharia to marital and inheritance disputes within Muslim families, just as their colonial administrators had done. The remainder of their legal systems would continue to be based on European law. read the complete article

09 Apr 2019

Opinion | There are two types of hijabs. The difference is huge

There are two vastly different kinds of hijabs: the democratic hijab, the head covering that a woman chooses to wear, and the tyrannical hijab, the one that a woman is forced to wear. In the first kind, a woman has agency. She sets the terms of her hijab, appearing as ascetic or as appealing as she wishes. She can also wear makeup and fashionable clothing if she likes. read the complete article


09 Apr 2019

Opinion | France's obsession with Muslim women is about control not liberation

It has been 30 years since France began incessantly debating about the wearing of the hijab. France has a magical recipe for starting national debates: whenever you speak publicly about Muslim women who are covered, you can bet for sure that it will lead to a major controversy. A couple of weeks ago, Decathlon, a French sports brand, announced the arrival of a new item: a hijab for runners. In a shockingly unanimous move, politicians from all across the spectrum firmly condemned the marketing of the garment by the French brand saying that they were offending so-called “French values.” Everybody though agreed on one point: Decathlon’s decision was not illegal, women have the right to wear their hijab outside and any private company is free to sell them. However, President of the Senate Gerard Larcher said, “Making money with everything does not fit my ethics,” adding that he was against “everything that could lock women up,” which is quite paradoxical given the fact that sporting hijabs are meant to allow women to run outside. read the complete article

09 Apr 2019

Anti-Muslim Tory Members On Facebook Are Telling One Another To Stop Sajid Javid From Becoming Prime Minister

On Monday, BuzzFeed News presented Conservative HQ with a list of another 20 Facebook users who claim to be Tory members and have made Islamophobic comments on the platform. It is understood that more than 50 Tory members have now been suspended over anti-Muslim posts, though the party refuses to say which members it has suspended, or how many. Senior Conservative politicians continue to deny the party has an Islamophobia problem. In some of the most disturbing revelations yet, BuzzFeed News can disclose that Tory members on Facebook are telling one another to stay in the party so they can vote for a new, right-wing, pro-Brexit leader and stop Javid, who comes from a Muslim background, winning a leadership contest. read the complete article


09 Apr 2019

Facebook Bans Faith Goldy, Canadian White Nationalists In Policy Turnaround

Facebook announced Monday that it was banning prominent Canadian white nationalist Faith Goldy from its platform, a week after the company told HuffPost that her racist videos didn't violate its new rules barring white nationalist content. Alongside Goldy, Facebook said it was banning other white nationalists and groups, like Soldiers of Odin, the Canadian Nationalist Front, the Aryan Strikeforce and neo-Nazi Kevin Goudreau, Buzzfeed first reported. The ban will also extend to Instagram, which Facebook owns. read the complete article


09 Apr 2019

With Pressure and Persuasion, China Deflects Criticism of Its Camps for Muslims

In the opulent halls of the Emirates Palace hotel, a seat of power in Abu Dhabi where 114 domes decorate the vast rooftop, a delegation of about a dozen Chinese diplomats lobbied foreign ministers of the Muslim world last month. China has been fighting criticism that it has detained as many as one million members of Muslim ethnic minorities in indoctrination camps in its western Xinjiang region. But at the two-day conclave in early March, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a group of 57 nations that has been a vocal defender of the Rohingyas and Palestinians — handed Beijing a significant victory. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Apr 2019 Edition


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