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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13 Aug 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s communications manager has accused AIPAC of engaging in Islamophobia after running ads linking Rep. Omar to terrorism, meanwhile CIA lawyer John Rizzo, who sanctioned secret detentions and the torture of Muslim men as well as approved drone strikes that killed countless civilians, has died. In the United Kingdom, the British government is seriously concerned about the human rights situation in north-west China after allegations of abuse against Uyghur Muslims. Our recommended read of the day is by Apoorvanand on how young Muslims in India are documenting the increasing anti-Muslim violence and making sure the attacks don’t go unnoticed. This and more below:


11 Aug 2021

Courts Have Been Hiding Behind National Security for Too Long

The Delhi Police on Tuesday arrested six people in connection with the hateful slogans that were chanted in Jantar Mantar on August 8, threatening to massacre Muslims. The arrests are being seen as an exemplary act by the Delhi Police. Many people were pleasantly surprised and lauded the police for doing the right thing. It only shows how we have lowered the bar as far as our expectations of police intervention are concerned. Delhi Police has also refused to take cognisance of the violently provocative speeches made last year by BJP leaders, some of them MPs and Central ministers, which led to bloodshed in the North East Delhi. The violence that followed caused the deaths of 53 people, mostly Muslim, the destruction of 14 mosques and hundreds of homes and business establishments, again, mostly Muslim owned. Muslim victims openly complained about the Delhi Police’s blatantly partisan, anti-Muslim approach. The record of the Delhi Police has left residents disappointed. Yet they have not given up on the institution. I am speaking especially about Muslims – even young, educated Muslims. That is why many of these young Muslims keep putting each act, big or small, of hate speech or hate crime on the record and insist on reporting them to the police. They have remained eternally alert and refuse to ignore any instance of anti-Muslim hate speech. Similarly, when public meetings took place in the National Capital region and in Haryana calling for the elimination of Muslims, young Muslims, some of them journalists, started reporting on the gatherings. They also kept alerting the police and political parties about the proceedings. They made this hatred visible to all, even those who did not want to face it. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day

United States

12 Aug 2021

AIPAC accused of Islamophobia after attacks on Ilhan Omar

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is facing accusations of Islamophobia and incitement after doubling down on attacks against Muslim-American congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. AIPAC, a pro-Israel advocacy group that presents itself as bipartisan, has long been running attack ads against Israel’s critics in Congress who are mostly progressive Democrats. On Wednesday, Jeremy Slevin, Omar’s communications director, slammed the group for a sponsored post claiming that the legislator sees “no difference between America and the Taliban”, “Israel and Hamas” and “democracies and terrorists”. Slevin said the language used by AIPAC is “identical” to hate messages the congresswoman receives. “Make no mistake: AIPAC is putting Rep. Omar’s life at risk with repeated Islamophobic attack ads,” he wrote. “It shouldn’t have to be stated, but baselessly linking Muslim-Americans to terrorism is *the* textbook example of Islamophobia and is routinely used to silence advocacy for Palestinian human rights,” he continued. Following Slevin’s post, the Council on American Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights organisation, released a statement condemning AIPAC for what it called an “Islamophobic, dishonest and dangerous ad campaign” against Omar. read the complete article

12 Aug 2021

How Has the Terrorism Threat Changed Twenty Years After 9/11?

The number one success was the government’s thwarting al-Qaeda’s every attempt to carry out another attack in the United States on the scale of 9/11—although the 2019 Pensacola shooting was an important warning against becoming too complacent. The worst failure—beyond any doubt—was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which diverted critical resources away from efforts to finish al-Qaeda off in South Asia during the best window of opportunity. The invasion also inadvertently set off the chain of events that led to the emergence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, an even more violent and unconstrained version of al-Qaeda. It took an eighty-three-country coalition some five years to defeat the threat posed by the Islamic State. In the worst category, it must also be said that in the course of responding to the events of 9/11 and in seeking to defend the country from further attacks, the U.S. government abased some core American values and principles of justice. For instance, imprisoning people for decades without trial is something that the United States has always criticized nondemocratic governments for. Yet, several dozen detainees remain at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, many held indefinitely without charge. Similarly, the detainee abuse that occurred there, at CIA black sites, and at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq tarnished the United States’ reputation and generated worldwide condemnation. read the complete article


12 Aug 2021

'Hands off my hijab': French Muslims rail against ban on religious garb in soccer

Hawa Doucouré and her teammates on the Les Hijabeuses soccer team have a simple message to send while playing the game they love: "Hands off my hijab." It's a message they hope is received not only by the French Football Federation, but the country's government as well. "We are strong together and we will fight to the end," Doucouré, 19, told ABC News. "We will fight until every woman can play the sport that she wants to play, how she wants to play it." The Hijabeuses, a collective of French soccer players, have spent the last year fighting to be included in official competitions. While FIFA, the world governing body for football, has permitted the Muslim veil on the field since 2014, the French Football Federation continues to ban it in club matches and international games, telling ABC News that it “promotes and defends the values of secularism, living together, neutrality and the fight against all forms of discrimination.” The players' calls for change are part of a larger movement against the country's ban on religious symbols and garb, including niqabs and burqas. The latest controversy surrounds an amendment proposed earlier this year that bans minors from wearing a hijab in public. There is currently no law in France specifically banning hijabs in sports competitions. The Hijabeuses said they have yet to hear back from the French Football Federation about why it has gone beyond the rule of law to restrict the wearing of hijabs in official sports competitions even as FIFA permits them. read the complete article


12 Aug 2021

A Sister’s Plea for Her Brother’s Freedom

BEFORE HE WAS PLACED IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT in January 2019, Ekpar Asat cut the nails of fellow detainees in a Xinjiang concentration camp for Uighurs, an ethnic minority based in Northwest China. The elderly prisoners’ hands shook too much to do it themselves, according to Ekpar’s sister, Rayhan Asat, L.L.M. ’16, who lives in the United States and is fighting for the release of her brother, a political prisoner of the Chinese government. A tech entrepreneur who developed a social-media platform for Uighurs, Ekpar’s “dedication to philanthropy” and “continuous effort in cultivating ethnic harmony” earned him an invitation to the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program in 2016. Upon returning home to China, however, he was detained and shuttered away in the country’s network of nominal “re-education centers.” Human-rights groups estimate that at least one million Uighurs are being held in these camps, which are sites of torture and enforced sterilization, according to a 2021 report from the U.S. State Department. The report concluded that China “is committing genocide and crimes against humanity.” Asat has not been united with her family in five years. They were set to attend her Law School graduation in 2016, but abruptly called off the trip, citing illness. Asat didn’t know then about Ekpar’s arrest—the real reason for the cancellation. But she had a feeling something was awry, especially after she wasn’t able to get in touch with her brother. As she heard more about the worsening plight of Uighurs in the region, his fate came into focus. read the complete article


12 Aug 2021

Racism and the need for a national integration commission

Protests by communities affected by prejudice, discrimination and racism appear to be on the rise, as evidenced by the Black Lives Matter, and the Indigenous-led Cancel Canada Day and Land Back advocacy movements. These are in response to deaths by Black people and Indigenous youth in police custody, and anti-Muslim, anti-Asian and anti-Semitic hate incidents and crimes in both Canada and the United States. At the same time, there has been greater understanding amongst most Canadians regarding systemic issues and broader support of individuals and groups most affected. But government and societal responses have been largely reactive, involving symbolic measures such as summits, funding and communications initiatives. The 2021 summits on Islamophobia in response to the London killings and on antisemitism, following increased tensions between Israel and Palestine, are examples that did little to reduce hate incidents. Why aren’t current approaches working? These types of targeted initiatives generally preach to the converted, and thus have limited reach and impact. They often understate the diverse experience within communities, and how racism intersects with gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic ancestry, mixed identities and class. The problems are complex and multi-faceted, and there are no easy or quick solutions. Summits, conferences and even parliamentary hearings are designed for the short-term, and do not commit the time and resources for in-depth examination and discussion of fundamental issues. While these approaches respond to the community and political needs, a deeper examination of the common issues across all groups and a more integrated approach is needed. read the complete article


12 Aug 2021

Uyghur Muslims in London campaign for relatives in China

The British government says it’s seriously concerned about the human rights situation in north-west China after allegations of abuse against Uyghur Muslims. The Chinese authorities have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Dilnaz is a teenage campaigner, and a Uyghur Muslim herself. BBC community affairs correspondent Adina Campbell met her, and her father who fled China after he was imprisoned. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Aug 2021 Edition


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