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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10 Aug 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, amid a recent rise in anti-Muslim racism an anti-Islamophobia researcher outlines how Islamophobia is not only manifested as isolated incidents or overt attacks but also in covert ways, while in Germany, the term ‘political Islam’ has been gaining wider prominence within the government as a term used by many to demonize and otherize German Muslims, and in the UK, a Catholic primary school in Newcastle has contacted the British counter-terror program due to a concern over a six-year-old wearing a hijab. Our recommended read of the day is by Wajahat Ali on how the GOP has adopted the white nationalist “Great replacement theory.” This and more below:

United States

09 Aug 2021

The Racist ‘Theory’ That Inspired Murderers Is Now GOP Dogma

The hoods are off, and Republicans are embracing the white supremacist “replacement theory.” Gingrich, a craven political opportunist, parroted the talking points associated with “the great replacement” theory, also known as “white genocide,” which stipulates the white race and “Western civilization” are in dire threat of being weakened and ultimately usurped by immigrants of color, Muslims, feminists, and gays. This nefarious international scheme is allegedly masterminded by a cabal of secretive and powerful Jews, who are perpetual supervillains in conspiratorial narratives. One of the main leaders of this alleged “deep state” is George Soros, the Hungarian-born, Jewish American billionaire and Holocaust survivor, whom Fox host Tucker Carlson accused of trying to hijack and remake American democracy and the Washington Times alleged was on a “quest to destroy America.” Before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump said “a lot of people say” that Soros was funding the “caravan” of undocumented immigrants and Middle Easterners that he warned was about to invade America. Terrorist Robert Bowers shared Trump’s fear. He proceeded to kill 11 Jewish people in a synagogue, whom he believed were helping the “invaders.” The replacement theory inspired terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who killed more than 50 Muslim “invaders” in New Zealand. Tarrant’s violent act in turn inspired terrorist Patrick Crusius, who killed 21 people in El Paso, Texas, seeking vengeance against “Hispanic” invaders. Despite or because of the international bloodshed caused by this hateful conspiracy, conservatives including Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene have embraced it as a political opportunity. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
09 Aug 2021

Faith groups accuse GOP senators of ‘apparent anti-Muslim animus’ for stalling Biden nominee

A group of faith-based denominations and organizations is criticizing lawmakers for stalling votes on a high-level nomination by President Joe Biden, accusing Republican senators of “apparent anti-Muslim animus” for holding up the confirmation of what would be the highest-ranking Muslim American in the executive branch. The controversy dates back to at least June 30, when Republican senators sent a letter to Sen. Ben Cardin, the Maryland Democrat who chairs the Senate small business committee, criticizing Dilawar Syed, Biden’s nominee for deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration. Syed served in former President Barack Obama’s White House and currently works as the CEO of a health care technology company. The June letter was signed by eight of the 10 Republican senators on the committee — including Marco Rubio of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina — and singled out Syed’s service as board member at Emgage Action, a Muslim American advocacy group. The senators accused Emgage of being “vocally anti-Israel,” citing its criticism of the country when violence broke out in the region in May. Lawmakers insisted on a second hearing to “ensure” Syed’s nomination “would not jeopardize small businesses with close ties to Israeli companies or small businesses owned by Jewish Americans.” But religious supporters of Syed fired back on Monday (Aug. 9) in their own letter to the Senate committee. Citing their various faiths and work with the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, an effort that seeks solidarity with Muslim Americans, the religious groups decried what they described as a GOP-led “boycott” and pointed out it occurred “simultaneously with the circulation of a troubling strategy email that highlighted Mr. Syed’s birthplace in Pakistan and his association and civic work with a Muslim American advocacy organization.” read the complete article


09 Aug 2021

Islamophobia in schools: How teachers and communities can recognize and challenge its harms

Recent overt attacks against Muslims in London, Ont.,, Hamilton and Edmonton have surfaced and exacerbated the fear that Canadian Muslims have been living with for many years. They are afraid to be visibly Muslim for fear of being identified and targeted for their religion. I’m an anti-Islamophobia researcher and educator focused mostly on Islamophobia in schools. My research suggests that Islamophobia is not only manifested as isolated incidents or overt attacks. Islamophobia shows up frequently in covert ways. Here are five seemingly innocuous attitudes that educators and school communities can learn to spot and address. 1. “I treat all students the same” or “I don’t see colour.” 2. “Muslims in Canada are more respectful and civilized than Muslims in other parts of the world.” 3. Muslim students are considered spokespersons for their religion. 4. Divisive and dangerous Islamophobic narratives. 5. Speaking about Muslims as if they are not “Canadian.” read the complete article

09 Aug 2021

Canada to launch probe into accusations of targeting Muslim-led charities

The Canadian government will launch an investigation into complaints laid out by Muslim and other minority charities about being unfairly targeted for audits and having their charitable statuses revoked. The taxpayers' ombudsperson, Francois Boileau, said he was committing to probing the issues raised by the charities and will work with the groups to ensure that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) provides them with quality services. In June, more than 130 civil society groups, charities and Muslim organisations signed a letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to launch an investigation into what they referred to as unfair tax audits that target and remove the status of Muslim charities. read the complete article


10 Aug 2021

Anti-Muslim slogans raised in Indian capital, suspects in custody

At least six people, including a former spokesman of India’s governing right-wing party, are in police custody over anti-Muslim slogans raised in the capital. A protest, organised on Sunday by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Supreme Court lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, to demand the “scrapping of India’s colonial-era laws” turned into a demonstration against Muslims. A mob of more than 100 people called for violence against the minority community at Jantar Mantar, a Mughal-era observatory that is a popular protest site. Videos purportedly from the event showed a mob saying Muslims were “pigs” and calling for the “mass slaying” of the minority, which constitutes about 14 percent of India’s 1.35 billion population. Among the slogans raised at the event were “Jab mulle kaate jayenge, wo Ram Ram chillayenge” (When Muslims will be slain, they will chant Lord Ram’s name) and “Hindustan mein rahna hoga, to Jai Shri Ram kahna hoga” (If you want to live in India, you must say Hail Lord Ram). read the complete article

08 Aug 2021

India: New temple-mosque conflict brewing in Varanasi

The handful of men there, kneeling, are dwarfed by the massive 17th-century structure, their soft words nearly drowned out by the steady hum of the low ceiling fans. It's a moment of peace and reflection, before the men step back out into an ocean of chaos. They are, after all, in the heavily guarded heart of the temple town of Varanasi, and the heart of a religious dispute that has been brewing for decades. The existence of Gyanvapi mosque has been challenged in court, over allegations that it was built after tearing down an iconic Hindu temple. The petitioner wants the land to be restored to the Hindus, so a temple can be built in the place of the mosque. It is a familiar dispute for many Indians — a similarly controversial mosque once existed just 200 kilometers (125 miles) from this one and became the epicenter of a decadeslong standoff between Hindus and Muslims in the country. The Babri mosque in the city of Ayodhya was torn down by Hindu mobs in December 1991, catapulting the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), currently ruling India, into national prominence. Almost three decades later, the Supreme Court of India awarded the disputed land to the Hindu side. "This is not Ayodhya," he says emphatically. He explains that the Muslim side is better organized, better prepared to litigate, and more sizable and affluent in Varanasi, in comparison to the Muslims who lived alongside the Babri mosque. "We accepted the Ayodhya verdict with heavy hearts, hoping there won't be fresh trouble in the future," says Yaseen. "But if they are insistent on filing cases, we'll fight them. I just hope this does not leave the courts and spill out onto the streets." The threat of religious violence hangs heavy in the memories of most Indians of Yaseen's generation. read the complete article

United Kingdom

09 Aug 2021

Prevent: Catholic school contacts counterterror programme after row over six-year-old's hijab

A Catholic primary school in England contacted the Prevent counterterror programme after a row involving a six-year-old child who recently began to wear the hijab and allegedly refused to clap for Christian children, according to reports. The school in the northern city of Newcastle spoke to officials from Prevent to consult on how to deal with the child's parent. According to the Sunday Times, the girl began wearing a hijab after returning to the UK in September from Sudan. The row began when the girl was told to remove her headscarf because it is banned under the school's uniform policy. It then escalated when the school banned the mother, a 36-year-old woman, from entering the premises after she complained about the incident. "They don't like me because of my scarf," the six-year-old girl is quoted as telling her mother. After that happened, the newspaper reported, the child decided to only clap for Muslim children in school assembly. The mother stressed that the daughter voluntarily asked to wear the headscarf and cried when her parents told her not to. But since the incident, the child has taken off the headscarf. In a statement to the Sunday Times, the school said the consultation with Prevent was not a formal referral of the daughter but a discussion on how to deal with her mother. "[We sought] advice from the Prevent programme, but it was not in relation to the hijab," the school said. read the complete article


09 Aug 2021

'The Perfect Police State' Paints A Picture Of The Surveillance China Uses To Monitor Uyghurs

In his new book “The Perfect Police State: An Undercover Odyssey Into China's terrifying Surveillance Dystopia of the Future,” Geoffrey Cain tells the story of China’s vast surveillance system used against ethnic minority Muslims in the western part of the country. Cain begins the book with the phrase that the targets of the surveillance call “the situation.” He says “the situation” is how people from the Uyghur ethnic group describe their life without having to reveal too much in front of the authorities. “If you're living under the situation, what that means is that your entire life is surveilled 24/7 by the state, nonstop by cameras, by artificial intelligence, by a predictive policing system that predicts whether or not you'll commit a crime in the future,” Cain says. The mass database is called the IJOP — the Integrated Joint Operations Platform — which is a police platform that nudges officers when it believes someone is prone to committing an act of terror. The person is then visited by the police, interrogated and in some cases taken to concentration camps. The Chinese government has been sending out government-appointed minders whose job is to live in the house with families for days on end, Cain explains, and quiz the family on party ideology. “One of the things about the Uyghurs in China is that if they travel overseas, or say if they take on interests that are intellectual or say they're reading banned literature such as the Quran — they become deeply suspicious in the eyes of the government. And so Maysem was in Turkey finishing her master's degree and she would return home every summer. She was actually from a very well-to-do and even elite family in China even though they were from the Uyghur group. But the system, as she went home every summer to see her family, just began turning against her. “She was finally called to ... a re-education center, but it's a concentration camp. And at first she was going to do daily lessons six hours a day and she would be allowed to go home — but she was reassigned again to an even higher level security concentration camp called the detention center. And she was forced to undergo just bizarre, nonsensical rituals that were designed to psychologically torture her and even physically sometimes torture her … and she realized quickly what this system was designed to do — it was a mass attempt to erase the heritage and the culture and the identity of an entire people.” read the complete article


09 Aug 2021

‘If it’s a genocide, declare it a genocide’: Inside the Biden administration’s vexing Myanmar debate

Almost exactly a year ago, as aides to former President Donald Trump debated whether to label the Chinese government’s abuse of Uyghur Muslims a “genocide,” Joe Biden’s presidential campaign beat them to the punch. In a statement given for a POLITICO story, a spokesperson for the campaign said Biden believed the Uyghurs were genocide victims and that Trump needed to “take action” to stop the group’s suffering. The stance made Biden look moral and tough on China following allegations, denied by Trump, that the incumbent president had encouraged China’s leader to persecute the Uyghurs. But it raised a question: If Biden thought the Uyghurs were genocide victims, did he believe the same thing about Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, who’d been facing mass slaughter, mass detention and mass displacement? Many of the human rights activists, U.S. lawmakers and foreign government officials worried about the Uyghurs had already concluded that the Rohingya were genocide victims. At the time, the Trump administration was still officially reviewing the Rohingya case. When a POLITICO reporter raised the Rohingya question to the Biden campaign following its Uyghur declaration, the furthest Bates would go was to say, “The systematic atrocities being committed against the Rohingya community in [Myanmar] are grotesque and bear all the marks of genocide.” He would not flat-out call it a genocide. Since he took over as president, Biden and his team have essentially stuck to the same position, calling the Uyghur atrocities a genocide while using terms that fall short of that official designation for the Rohingya. The Biden administration’s stance puzzles lawmakers, activists and others, who say it is intellectually inconsistent. Multiple investigations, including by United Nations officials, have determined the Rohingya were victims of genocide or that there was strong evidence of it. Dozens of countries, led by The Gambia, have pushed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice accusing Myanmar of genocide. read the complete article


09 Aug 2021

Why is Germany demonising political Islam?

In recent months, there has been a steep rise in the official agitation of some European governments against so-called political Islam, its alleged representatives and organisations. Germany has moved in a similar direction in recent years. Driven by the ever-stronger right-wing, populist and Islamophobic party Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose discourse focuses on the alleged Islamisation of Europe and the ensuing threat to “our” values, many centrist parties have taken a sharp turn to the right. Such discourse draws upon inherited, centuries-old narratives of the Muslim “other”, as compared with European civilisation and enlightenment. While this stance is nothing new, it serves a very important function within Germany’s political system, enabling other political players and public figures to openly embrace such Islamophobic positions, under the pretext of electoral competition in the age of the far right. In Germany, the term “political Islam”, while gaining wider prominence in recent years, has been used and debated for many years, alongside other misleading terms, such as “Islamism”, “radical Salafism” and “terrorism”. It is meant to denote groups or individuals who are at odds with the liberal democratic political system, prone to violence for political ends, or simply highly conservative, but ominous and “different” from a Eurocentric perspective. There is no clear definition of political Islam. Newspapers, politicians and academics almost always have different understandings of this phenomenon, opening the door to conspiracy theories and political instrumentalisation. The accompanying construction of a Muslim “other” comes alongside a wilful ignorance of the histories, ideologies and structures of the diverse array of Islamic organisations and movements. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Aug 2021 Edition


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