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.

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12 Aug 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Muslim leaders call for hate crime investigation for deadly Denver house fireUN investigator says Facebook hasn’t shared evidence of Myanmar crimes. Our recommended read today is by Michael Signer on the rise of the far right in the U.S titled “Charlottesville keeps happening, all over America.” This, and more, below:

United States

12 Aug 2020

Charlottesville keeps happening, all over America | Recommended Read

At the time, the events seemed singular. In 2017, I was serving as the mayor of Charlottesville when nearly a dozen right-wing militia groups, bearing assault rifles and swastika flags, invaded the city for what they called their “Unite the Right” rally to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. They clashed violently with hundreds of left-wing protesters while police inexplicably stood by. After the rally was finally disbanded, a young self-professed neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens. The past few months have brought eerie echoes of that day. Right-wing, white-supremacist paramilitary groups have invaded communities, seeking to bait activists and government officials into open conflict — as in Charlottesville. Cities from Portland, Ore., to Minneapolis to Richmond have seen clashes between left-leaning anarchists and police, with local officials stymied as to how to stop the violence — as in Charlottesville. Activists seized on the removal of Confederate statues and names as a public statement that Black lives matter — as in Charlottesville. And, in the background, President Trump has sought not to calm things down, but to throw fuel on these fires, while taunting government officials in “liberal” areas — as in Charlottesville. No surprise that Charlottesville has become a kind of cultural touchstone, featured in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and Joe Biden’s campaign videos alike. But at this third anniversary of the rally, I believe that Charlottesville’s most powerful legacy is political, presenting an early microcosm of painful dilemmas bedeviling American communities today: how to counter an emboldened white-nationalist movement, how to make more than symbolic progress on issues of race and equity — and how to manage intense civil unrest amid these reckonings. read the complete article

Recommended Read
12 Aug 2020

Muslim leaders call for hate crime investigation for deadly Denver house fire

After a house fire killed five people in Green Valley Ranch last week, Muslim leaders are calling on Denver law enforcement to open a hate crime investigation into the incident. The early morning fire, which killed Senegalese immigrant Djibril Diol, his wife, toddler daughter, sister and niece, is currently being investigated by law enforcement as a homicide. Law enforcement quickly determined that the fire was likely set intentionally by a culprit who fled the scene. However, Muslim leaders believe that the case is not merely a homicide, but a hate crime. According to an article by Religious News Service, Muslim Advocates’ public advocacy director Scott Simpson said in a statement that law enforcement have to take this murder and arson seriously. “We call on law enforcement to immediately investigate whether the deadly fire in Green Valley Ranch was motivated by hate,” Simpson said. “The family of those lost and the Muslim community in Denver deserve justice and peace of mind.” read the complete article

12 Aug 2020

Ilhan Omar Wins House Primary in Minnesota

Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota fended off a well-funded primary challenger on Tuesday, ensuring a clean sweep of re-election fights for the group of first-term Democratic congresswomen of color known as the Squad and sending a message to Washington about the staying power of the party’s new progressive voices. Ms. Omar, who made history in 2018 by becoming the first Somali-American to be elected to Congress, as well as the first naturalized citizen of African birth and the first woman of color from Minnesota to do so, secured the victory after spending her first two years in the Washington spotlight. Her unabashed embrace of left-wing politics has won her loyal followers, both in Minnesota and across the country. She has, however, become a lightning rod for conservatives and has faced criticism from some Democrats, particularly after several episodes in 2019 in which she was accused of making anti-Semitic remarks. In the deep-blue district, Ms. Omar’s primary success on Tuesday virtually assures she will serve a second term in Congress. Early Wednesday, she was leading her chief opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux, by more than 15 percentage points. Mr. Melton-Meaux had received extensive financial support from national groups hoping to see the incumbent ousted. During the second quarter of 2020, Mr. Melton-Meaux raised six times as much as Ms. Omar did, and an analysis from The MinnPost showed about 20 percent of his large-dollar donations came with bundling help from pro-Israel political action committees. Mr. Melton-Meaux also received the endorsement of The Star Tribune, the region’s flagship newspaper. read the complete article

12 Aug 2020

COVID-19 and the chance to reform US refugee policy

Unsurprisingly, refugees — the vast majority of whom live deeply precarious lives — have been among the most threatened by the pandemic. A new U.S. administration should seize the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to build a better refugee policy, both for refugees’ benefit and for U.S. national security and strategic interests. With the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees approaching in 2021, now is an opportune time for an update to U.S. refugee policy. The number of refugees has steadily grown as conflicts around the globe have gone increasingly unresolved. According to UNHCR, their numbers have gone up from roughly 10 million a decade ago to 20.4 million today. (This figure does not include 5.6 million Palestinians refugees and 3.6 million Venezuelans “displaced abroad.”) And 77% find themselves in a protracted situation — defined as having remained displaced without a durable solution, in the form of voluntary return to their home countries following the resolution of conflicts, resettlement or local integration, for more than five years. The persistence of conflicts has caused the number of refugees able to return to their homes between 2010 and 2019 to drop to 3.9 million, compared to roughly 10 million between 2000 and 2010 and 15.3 million in the 1990s. While the causes of these trends are undoubtedly complex, the erosion of a U.S. commitment to and leadership of the international refugee system cannot be discounted. U.S. resettlement numbers have collapsed from nearly 85,000 in 2016 to 30,000 in 2019. It is slated to go down to 18,000 in 2020. In a January 2017 executive order, the Trump administration specifically banned all forms of immigration from several Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and halted the admission of refugees for 120 days. The immigration ban faced numerous challenges in U.S. courts before an amended version was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018. The Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, introduced in 2019, have restricted access to the United States for asylum-seekers, who are instead required to apply for asylum from outside the United States, mostly Mexico. This is a practice that contradicts the Geneva Convention. read the complete article

12 Aug 2020

We're gonna kick that b**** out of Congress': GOP candidate who follows QAnon and has a history of racist comments wins Georgia runoff and calls Nancy Pelosi 'anti-American' during victory speech

Marjorie Taylor Greene won Republican nomination for Georgia's 14th Congressional District, beating neurosurgeon John Cowan on Tuesday. During her victory speech, which was shared on Facebook, Greene is heard calling Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a 'b***h.' Greene won seat despite GOP officials denouncing her campaign after videos surfaced in which she expressed racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim views. In a series of videos unearthed just after Greene placed first in the initial June 9 Republican primary, she complains of an 'Islamic invasion' into government offices, claims Black and Hispanic men are held back by 'gangs and dealing drugs,' and pushes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish, collaborated with the Nazis. read the complete article


12 Aug 2020

How Caravan Journalists Were Attacked While Reporting in North East Delhi

At around 2:30 pm on Tuesday (August 11), Shahid Tantray, assistant photo editor at Caravan magazine, Prabhjit Singh, a contributor to the magazine and a third staffer, a woman, found themselves surrounded by a group of about 100 people in North East Delhi. According to them, the mob demanded that they delete the footage they had so far recorded while reporting in the area. The three were looking into communal tensions that had broken out in the area on August 5, following the ‘bhoomi pujan‘ ceremony in Ayodhya for the Ram temple. Saffron flags had allegedly been placed outside a mosque in Subhash Mohalla, and anti-Muslim slogans that night. The reporters say they were almost done with their work, and were shooting B-rolls when somebody came up to them and objected to their videography. The female Caravan staffer alleged that she was both sexually and physically assaulted by the group on Tuesday, and a middle-aged man flashed his genitals at her. “Suddenly, two men approached us. One of them introduced himself as a BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] worker. I asked him what the problem was. He objected our videography and said, ‘What’s the problem with putting up saffron flags?’” Tantray then offered to hear the men out and take their interviews, in case they wanted to voice their opinions. “His response was, ‘Main tucche patrakaron se baat nahin karta…mai unko peetta rehta hoon (I don’t talk to lowly reporters, I only beat them up)’.” read the complete article


12 Aug 2020

UN investigator says Facebook hasn’t shared ‘evidence’ of Myanmar crimes

The head of a UN investigative body on Myanmar said Facebook has not released evidence of “serious international crimes,” despite vowing to work with investigators looking into abuses in the country, including against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Nicholas Koumjian, head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM), told Reuters the social media giant was holding material “highly relevant and probative of serious international crimes” but had not shared any during year-long talks. Myanmar is facing charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over a 2017 military crackdown on the Rohingya that forced more than 730,000 people to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar denies genocide and says its armed forces were conducting legitimate operations against militants who attacked police posts. UN investigators said Facebook had played a key role in spreading hate speech that fuelled the violence. read the complete article

12 Aug 2020

The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities

We live in an era of resurgent nationalism. From Scotland to Sri Lanka, from China to Brazil, governments rely on nationalism as a source of communal identity and a vehicle for common action. In countries where religious identity appears to dominate, as with Islam in Turkey and Hinduism in India, religion has bonded with nationalism. In nominally communist countries like China and Vietnam, it is likewise nationalism that adds to governments’ legitimacy and political muscle. This nationalist upsurge the world over is bad news for ethnic and sectarian minorities. Everywhere they are facing greater oppression and less autonomy from national governments maximising their power. At best they face marginalisation and at worst elimination. This is true for the Uighur in Xinjiang province in China, the Muslim population of India-controlled Kashmir, the Shia majority in Sunni-ruled Bahrain and the long-persecuted Kurdish minority in Turkey, to name but four. All these communities are coming under crushing pressure to surrender to the political and cultural control of the national state. The same brutal methods are used everywhere: mass incarceration; disappearances; torture; the elimination of political parties and independent media representing the persecuted community. Any opposition, however peaceful, is conflated with “terrorism” and suppressed with draconian punishments. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 12 Aug 2020 Edition


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