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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11 Aug 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Rep. Matt Gaetz and former Trump advisor Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid. In the Netherlands, Muslim Dutch women continue to report increased discrimination and violence one year after the country passed a ban on burqas. Our recommended read today is by Una Hajdari on nation building after genocide. This, and more, below:


11 Aug 2020

How Do You Rebuild a Nation After a Genocide? | Recommended Read

How does a nation rebuild itself after a genocide? What effect does the experience of genocide have on that nation’s sense of self, its engagement with political institutions, its understanding of international norms – and how do its members relate to the perpetrators, and their heirs? In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a multiethnic state that gained independence during the breakup of socialist Yugoslavia, all these questions have been playing out for 25 years, and are just as intense today. The four-year-long conflict that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia saw two of the three main ethnic groups in the country, Catholic Croats and Eastern Orthodox Serbs, lead campaigns in an attempt to fracture Bosnia and diminish the influence of its Bosniak, or Bosnian Muslim, community. The Bosniaks became the targets of the most brutal ethnic cleansing campaign in Europe since the Holocaust, deemed a genocide by international courts adjudicating on war crimes. About two thirds of the country’s pre-war Muslim population were displaced or killed. Today, Bosniaks account for around 50 percent of the population with the Serb and Croat communities forming around 30 and 15 percent respectively. As has been the case in Europe in the past, especially during periods of intensified nation-building, ethnic groups without a homeland became the subject of aggression – or even targeted extermination – by those able to mobilize ethnic allies or armies behind them. During the nationalist surge at the onset of the war in former Yugoslavia, Bosniaks quickly realized they had no natural allies on the continent – no other ethnic group or nation that felt one of their own was being targeted. While Catholics or Eastern Orthodox believers rallied around Croats and Serbs, respectively, Bosniaks were largely left to fend for themselves. The ethnic cleansing campaigns left suffering and confusion in their wake and, for Bosniaks, the painful realization that they could no longer sustain the fluid identity within a multiethnic society which had left them so vulnerable in the face of their ethno-nationalist compatriots. The act of defining themselves as a nation – Bosnian Muslims – was a form of defense against future persecution, not least when it was allied to political action and institution-building. Like Jewish identity and the Armenian diaspora, Bosniaks’ identity is born into, or reinforced by, the hate to which they have been subjected and the losses they have suffered. If you are a Bosniak, the Srebrenica massacre, whose 25th anniversary was marked this summer, is part and parcel of your existence. You survived when others did not. Pain has become an inseparable part of their existence. The pain of honoring loved ones mercilessly killed, the pain of trying to understand why some were murdered and others survived, and the pain of coming to terms with being of a background considered second-class and alien to those with power and weapons. read the complete article

Recommended Read
11 Aug 2020

As Canada readies a report on atrocities against Uyghurs in Western China, it must acknowledge that the duty to prevent genocide has been triggered.

The secrecy makes it impossible to even know for sure exactly how many millions have been incarcerated in what is suspected to be the largest regime of minority internment since the Nazi Holocaust. It is estimated that more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities have been detained since 2016. Leaked official documents such as the recent Qaraqash List reveal Uyghurs having been imprisoned for such “offences” as applying for a passport, having multiple children, visiting abroad, growing a beard, wearing a headscarf, abandoning alcohol, abstaining from cigarettes and other markers of Islamic religious observance. This is just the latest stage in China’s centuries-long project of settler colonization and demographic change in the resource-rich territory China refers to as “Xinjiang,” literally meaning “new frontier.” The renowned scholar of settler colonialism Patrick Wolfe famously wrote that “the question of genocide is never far from discussions of settler colonialism.” In the case of China’s policies against the Uyghurs, this question of genocide is not just abstract or metaphorical, but imminent and literal. There are reports of deaths and disappearances in concentration camps; psychological and physical tortures such as brainwashing, electrocution and waterboarding; sexual violence against Uyghur women, including through forced cohabitation and intermarriage with the dominant Han Chinese group; forced starvation and exposure to diseases, including coronavirus, in concentration and labour camps; a sterilization campaign in which 80 percent of new birth control devices in China were installed in Xinjiang, which contains less than 2 percent of the population; and the separation of almost half a million children from their families and communities. As for the question of intent: when officials describe Islam as an “ideological virus,” an “incurable malignant tumour,” and a “weed” infiltrating the “crops,” efforts at eradication are the logical extension. There will be “absolutely no mercy,” Chinese President Xi Jinping has said. As Chinese professor and military science adviser Ai Yuejin stated in a lecture at Nankai University for military students, “We change and accept the good races into our own society and torture and eradicate the bad ones.” Underscoring the seriousness of the crime, the Genocide Convention includes not simply an obligation to punish genocide after the fact, but an obligation for all states to prevent and stop it. Canada should recognize the situation as genocidal — acknowledging that the duty to prevent has been triggered — and impose sanctions under the Magnitsky Act on all officials and entities involved. read the complete article

11 Aug 2020

US farm brand John Deere at forefront of surging cotton machinery sales to Xinjiang, as human rights sanctions loom

At a Chinese government-owned John Deere showroom in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region – the heartland of China’s cotton industry – manager Mr Hu worries that coming US sanctions over human rights abuses will cut him off from the “impeccable, super-efficient” cotton-harvesting machines he sells to industrial-scale farms across the region. Halfway across the world, farm-equipment dealers in the American South describe a jet-setting Chinese buyer who criss-crosses that region with a translator and buys up all the used John Deere cotton-picking machines he can find. Their stories – combined with extensive investigations of customs data, shipping records and dozens of interviews with cotton-industry employees and experts in both countries – reveal how America’s most iconic farm brand has quietly established itself as a key player in Xinjiang’s immense cotton industry, even as industry and human rights groups warn that the supply chain there is laced with the forced labour of Uygurs and other Muslim ethnic minority groups. read the complete article


11 Aug 2020

Art 370, CAA, triple talaq, Ram Mandir are just one cycle of Modi’s ‘permanent revolution’

After Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan, Article 370 and triple talaq, many Bharatiya Janata Party observers are asking, ‘What next?’ The clue to the BJP’s future agenda lies in two factors: one is in the past, in how the party’s politics changed after the 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid; and two, in how Prime Minister Narendra Modi sees his own role. After the demolition, the BJP faced what political scientist John McGuire described as ‘a moment of crisis’. It had reaped the political gains of the Ram temple movement, but now that the issue was over, it had to redefine itself. The BJP would do so over the next four years, remaking itself from a hard Hindutva party to a party of governance — a national alternative to the Congress. There are some optimists who hope that the successful completion of the BJP’s Right-wing projects under Modi — Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Article 370, triple talaq and now Ram Mandir — would similarly precipitate another ‘move to the centre’. Now that the BJP has reached the limits of the potential gains from cultural nationalism, it will finally focus on issues of governance. This view is deeply mistaken. In an article last year, I had argued that while Modi’s first term was defined by the ‘soft Hindutva’ mixed with social welfare of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, its second term would be defined by ‘hard Hindutva’ of V.D. Savarkar and the remaking of the Indian nation. The first term was used by Modi to patiently redefine the ‘centre’ and ‘mainstream’ of Indian politics, while holding off on the implementation of ‘core issues’. From this redefined centre, Modi has finally unleashed his transformative cultural nationalism agenda and this would likely last for the remainder of his second term. The next big political issues are likely to be UCC (Uniform Civil Code) and NRC (National Register of Citizens). The BJP under Modi is remaking both ‘Hindu identity’ and ‘national identity’, a project that is still a long way away from completion. read the complete article

11 Aug 2020

Delhi Police wanted ban on TikTok for its ‘misuse’ in February riots, but govt ignored it

Much before the Narendra Modi government banned the hugely popular Chinese video-making app TikTok on 29 June, the Delhi Police wrote to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) seeking a ban on the application, stating that it was being used for spreading “misinformation and propaganda” during the northeast Delhi riots in February this year. No action was, however, taken at that time. It was only on 29 June, the government banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps amid the stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, stating they were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. read the complete article


11 Aug 2020

Facebook ignores plea to aid Rohingya genocide case

It appears that Facebook now cares about user privacy: However, the users in question are accused before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of utilizing the platform to incite genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar. In 2018, the New York Times gave an extensive account of how the military in Myanmar used the platform to both dehumanize the Rohingya minority in the country in a very visible way and to incite violence by civilians against the Rohingya, prior to the military starting its “clearance operations” in the western state of Rakhine. In short, all the worst things you have come to expect from the internet and social media — but not carried out by random trolls, rather by military personnel and against people from their own country. According to the reporting, the campaign of hate on Facebook was mostly driven by the efforts of the military, rather than elements of the public. Eventually, Facebook got round to banning the accounts used in this operation when these efforts started being widely reported in the international press. They were against Facebook’s policy on “genuine content.” And, after that concession, some international observers hoped the company would help the case brought before the ICJ on behalf of the Rohingya and hand over information on those accounts and their activities to help demonstrate the concerted efforts that went into organizing the genocide. But now a company that has seemingly never cared about the privacy of its users before — indeed a company whose entire business model relies on hoarding as much information about its users as possible — seems to have decided that handing over information to an international tribunal adjudicating an accusation of genocide is beyond the pale. read the complete article

United Kingdom

11 Aug 2020

Blaming local lockdowns on Muslims is irrational at best and racist at worst

After Leicester, Bradford, Oldham, Blackburn and Aberdeen, Preston has become the latest area hit by a coronavirus spike. And, in most of these cases, it’s the local Muslim communities who feel the glare of the spotlight. Yet the link between Muslim communities and local outbreaks hasn’t been written about clearly enough. It’s alluded to or hinted at but too often not directly confronted. At a national level, the phrase “multi-generational households” is almost a cliche at this point, and images of south Asian people congregating outside terrace houses are now synonymous with stories about local lockdowns. The problem is that these reports don’t address the link between Muslim communities and coronavirus, so they don’t offer any meaningful analysis of why these areas are hotspots. This lack of information, combined with an apprehension to wade into this highly sensitive issue, leaves us with reporting which can sometimes act as a dog-whistle for Islamophobes (although there have been some exceptions). read the complete article


11 Aug 2020

Burka ban and face mask laws frustrate Dutch Muslims

One year after the burka ban in the Netherlands, Muslim women are reporting increased discrimination and violence. Adding to the frustration, face masks against coronavirus have become mandatory on Dutch public transport. On 1 August it was one year since the Dutch government approved a controversial law prohibiting clothing that "completely covers the face". It followed similar, albeit stricter, bans in France and Belgium. The Dutch ban prohibited such clothing from being worn in public transport or in public buildings such as schools, hospitals and government buildings. "People often think that I have to wear it as my husband says so, but it is my own choice," she says. "I actually did not have a husband when I started wearing it. It is really difficult wearing a burka. People just see you as the enemy. It makes me feel totally alone, pushed in a corner," she adds. It's unfair, Emarah says, frustration evident in her voice. "I am being discriminated against only because I want to practice my religion, for my choice." Despite being famous around the world for its liberalism, "the Netherlands is becoming less and less tolerant," says Emarah, with a sigh. She views the law as "an attack on Islam" and says it goes directly against her right to freedom of religion, as enshrined in the Dutch constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights. If she were forced to remove her burka, she says "it would feel humiliating …it was my choice to put it on, and I would want to make the choice to take it off." Safa*, a practicing 30-year-old Muslim, feels the ban sowed fear among the wider Muslim society, despite only a tiny minority of women – perhaps 150 – wearing the burka or niqab in the Netherlands. Some of her more religiously conservative friends have now emigrated to other countries, in particular the United Kingdom. "They don't feel welcome here anymore, " she explains. read the complete article

United States

11 Aug 2020

Trump Doubles Down On Charge Biden Would ‘Hurt God’ As Biden Courts Muslim Voters

As former Vice President Joe Biden sought to forge interfaith bridges at a fundraiser on Monday, pledging to treat Islam “with respect,” President Trump defended his previous statement that Biden is “against god” at a White House briefing, citing his policy concessions to Bernie Sanders. Trump said during a trip to Ohio on Thursday that Biden, a Catholic, is “against god,” adding, “No religion, no anything. Hurt the bible, hurt god.” Biden’s campaign quickly shot back that, “Joe Biden's faith is at the core of who he is,” taking aim at Trump for the infamous incident in June when federal forces cleared protesters with tear gas so Trump could pose for a photo at a church, and the Trump campaign’s photoshopping a picture of Joe Biden praying for an attack ad. Biden sought to bridge a religious divide at a fundraiser on Monday, declaring Muslim voters “key difference makers” in the 2020 election and calling Islam “one of the great confessional faiths,” adding “Let’s spread the faith a little bit.” read the complete article

11 Aug 2020

Racist videos bring attention to US House race in Georgia

A woman who's been blasted for racist videos and adamant support for the QAnon conspiracy theory faces a neurosurgeon who campaigned on his experience to improve the health care system in Tuesday's Republican primary runoff for an open U.S. House seat representing northwest Georgia. The race could indicate just how far candidates are able to push the limits of political rhetoric in the age of President Donald Trump before risking backlash from voters. Businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has received national attention for a series of videos and social media posts where she expresses racist views and support for the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon. That's led some Republican officials to condemn her campaign and raised opponent John Cowan's profile. Both Cowan and Greene have positioned themselves as staunch supporters of Trump, pushing anti-abortion, pro-gun and pro-border wall messages. But while Cowan has taken a more traditional approach to his campaign, Greene has found a loyal following — and controversy — online with a continuous flow of video chats and social posts. read the complete article

11 Aug 2020

Matt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and former Trump adviser Roger Stone have endorsed Laura Loomer, a far-right activist who has been the subject of controversy in the past for making a string of anti-Muslim remarks online, in her 2020 congressional bid to unseat Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.). “I’m going to win,” she said, claiming her victory will mark the “first time a deplatformed candidate will get a party nomination.” If Loomer does make it past the coming primary, she is expected to face a tough path to defeating Frankel in the left-leaning district. Frankel won reelection in 2016 with more than 60 percent of the vote. In 2018, she ran unopposed. Loomer has been booted from a number of social media and other technology platforms in recent years after making online anti-Muslim comments. In 2017, she was banned from Uber after she tweeted that “someone needs to create a non Islamic form of @uber or @lyft” and she has also been banned from platforms such as Twitter, PayPal and GoFundMe. read the complete article

New Zealand

11 Aug 2020

Mosque massacre: Dunedin Muslim determined to face shooter in court

A global pandemic will not stop Mustafa Boztas from facing the Christchurch terrorist in court. The Dunedin man has left his family behind in their native Turkey to return to New Zealand for the sentencing of the man who shot him in the leg and killed 51 people in mosques on March 15, 2019. While he was nervous about giving his victim impact statement in court at the August 24 sentencing of Brenton Tarrant, it was important for him to be there, he told the Otago Daily Times from his quarantine room at Auckland's Grand Millennium Hotel yesterday. "Even if I'm nervous, I'm gonna show him that we are strong. "He hasn't broken me." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Aug 2020 Edition


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