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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14 Aug 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemns U.S president Donald Trump after the claims that Kamala Harris is unable to serve as vice president because her parents were not born in the United States. In Germany, Muslims push back against rising Islamophobia. Our recommended read today is by Hebh Jamal titled “Why do Muslim organizations still support the police?” This, and more, below:

United States

14 Aug 2020

Why do Muslim American organisations still support the police? | Recommended Read

Despite these developments, conversations within much of the non-Black Muslim community in the United States continue to reflect an overreliance on and a deferential attitude towards the police. Leaders of multiple American Muslim institutions appear more concerned with protecting their delicate relationships with law enforcement than allying with subjugated communities protesting state violence. This was most recently exemplified by the popular scholar and imam, Yasir Qadhi of the East Plano Islamic Center, who held a virtual talk on June 16 with Plano Police Chief Ed Drain in a spectacular display of tone-deafness. The event proceeded despite strong local and national criticism from Muslims, outraged by the video capturing the gruesome and slow police murder of George Floyd in broad daylight. As a liberation movement ripped across the country, catalysed by widespread calls to abolish the police and increasingly brutal displays of violence against protesters, Qadhi bent over backwards to amplify the voice of a police chief. This callous decision was further exacerbated by the actual content of the interview, which was essentially an hour-long police propaganda session on a mosque platform. Not only did Qadhi fail to offer a meaningful critique of police violence and murder, his meek performance featured only a few remarks - most notably to praise Drain for his "dedication", "thorough answers", and "stellar resume". The police chief himself used the event to justify the use of tear gas against anti-racist protesters and recruit Muslims to sign up as members of the police force. Qadhi's interview showcases an undue trust of law enforcement shared by many Muslims in the US. More disturbingly, it reveals how Muslim Americans - primarily those of privileged-class backgrounds - have internalised the logic of the national security state, which classifies us at once as enemies of the state but also as potential recruits to police the "threatening" segments within our community. read the complete article

Recommended Read
14 Aug 2020

Fact check: Kamala Harris does not want to institute Sharia law

Since the announcement that Sen. Kamala Harris will join former Vice President Joe Biden’s on the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential ticket, attacks and misinformation have exploded across social media. Some evoke old, baseless racist tropes. “I support world Islamization,” a meme including Harris and shared on Facebook over a thousand times reads. “I support Sharia Law in the USA,” the post continues. USA TODAY reached out to the original poster. Other posts that accuse Harris of supporting Sharia law in California also began circulating when news reports cited her as one of Biden’s likely choices for VP. Sharia is the Arabic term for Islamic law. In some majority-Muslim countries, Sharia is foundational to the legal system. Harris has not made any public comments indicating her support for the institution of Sharia law. The viral memes also hearken back to racist tropes levied against former President Barack Obama, whom many falsely claimed was either secretly a Muslim or not born in the United States. read the complete article

14 Aug 2020

Trump news – live: AOC accuses president of ‘white supremacy’ after he pushes racist Kamala Harris ‘birther’ claim

US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has condemned president Donald Trump over unsubstantiated claims that Kamala Harris was unable to serve as vice president because her parents were not born in the United States. Those comments on Thursday, which have no basis in truth, were described by Ms Ocasio-Cortez as tools "protecting a white supremacist vision" that pushed "the supremacist idea that people of colour are inherently less legitimate". That comes as Mr Trump shared Twitter posts which nicknamed his Democratic opponents as "Camel Laugh and China Joe" - both of which carry racist connotations. read the complete article

14 Aug 2020

DHS’s changing mission leaves its founders dismayed as critics call for a breakup

The Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn its officers from the front lines of the protests in Portland, Ore., but the backlash that President Trump’s intervention in the city triggered — and the lead role DHS has played in his presidency — could prove far more lasting. Created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a bulwark against further atrocities inside the American homeland, DHS had become a symbol of the government’s response to the national trauma, carefully projecting a staid, strait-laced image. It grew exponentially larger and more powerful on the strength of broad bipartisan support. Nearly two decades later, Trump has changed that. The president took office with immigration enforcement plans that placed DHS at the forefront of his domestic agenda. In the three and a half years since, the White House has run the department as an instrument of policy and politics, appointing openly partisan figures to its top leadership ranks where they serve in acting roles without the slightest pretense of a formal nomination. Trump has demonstrated little interest in DHS beyond its monthly report of immigration arrests and the pace of construction on his border wall project, Homeland Security officials say. He has attempted to use the agency to advance the long-standing goals of immigration hard-liners, from a “Muslim ban” to family separations to threats of busing migrants to sanctuary cities governed by Democrats. And when the coronavirus pandemic attacked the country — triggering the biggest national crisis since the Sept. 11 attacks — DHS remained in a secondary role. It was the president’s use of force in Portland last month that appeared to cross a line for DHS founders, who cringed at the department turning its powers inward against Americans. read the complete article

14 Aug 2020

Factbox:How Trump followed through on his immigration campaign promises

U.S. President Donald Trump took a hard line on immigration in the 2016 election, making it his signature campaign issue. Now, as he runs for re-election, he is highlighting the promises he says he kept and warning that his Democratic challenger Joe Biden will roll them back. Here are the major immigration promises he campaigned on in 2016. “EXTREME VETTING” AND “PREVENTING MUSLIM IMMIGRATION” During his 2016 campaign, Trump vowed to subject people from certain countries to increased scrutiny before granting them visas and called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” One of his first acts as president was to sign an order banning entry to immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. A federal court blocked the initial ban, but in 2018 the Supreme Court upheld an amended version that has since been expanded to other countries. read the complete article

14 Aug 2020

10-year-old girl stuck in Middle East due to immigration delay reunited with family in San Francisco

10-year-old Raghad Saleh has been reunited with her family in San Francisco after being stuck in the Middle East for the past five weeks. "I'm going to hug her so much!" is how Maya, 8, describes the upcoming reunion with her sister. Raghad arrives at San Francisco International Airport Thursday night. "It seems ridiculous and it seems like overkill. This 10-year-old girl needs two waivers to come to the U.S. to be with the rest of her family?" says Amir Naim, an immigration attorney with the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR. He is one of the attorneys in Saleh's case. Like many, the Saleh family are fleeing the civil war and famine raging in Yemen. Her paternal grandfather is an American citizen, who has been living in the U.S. for the past few decades. Her grandfather sponsored her father, who moved to the United States in 2016 to get a job and an apartment, before his wife and four children arrive, including Raghad. Once in Cairo, the family's visas were approved, except for Raghad's. Naim says her visa was delayed, without much explanation. The family asked for an extension, in the chance that Raghad's visa would be approved and so they could all travel together. However, that request was denied. With the threat of losing their immigration on July 1, and being deported from Egypt, Raghad's mother made the difficult decision to leave Raghad behind and head to the United States with her three other children. Since then, Raghad has been stuck in Egypt for the past five weeks, staying with another Yemeni family, whom the family barely knows read the complete article

14 Aug 2020

Editorial: Islamophobia

It often leads to hate speech and hate crimes, social and political discrimination, can be used to rationalize policies such as mass surveillance, incarceration and disenfranchisement and can influence domestic and foreign policy. Research shows the U.S. identified more than 160 Muslim American terrorist suspects and perpetrators in the decade since 9/11, just a percentage of the thousands of acts of violence that occur in the United States each year. According to Gallup, it is from this overall collection of violence that "an efficient system of government prosecution and media coverage brings Muslim-American terrorism suspects to national attention, creating the impression — perhaps unintentionally — that Muslim-American terrorism is more prevalent than it really is." According to "Fear, Inc.," a report by the Center for American Progress, a network of misinformation experts actively promotes Islamophobia in America. The promotion of Islamophobia creates both prejudice and discrimination among the general population. Prejudice plays a key role in the existence and proliferation of Islamophobia. Prejudice alone, as a negative judgment, opinion or attitude, is a detriment to a population's overall well-being. Prejudice combined with overt actions, rising to the level of discrimination, creates a dangerous environment for its victims. Unfortunately, equating Muslims with terrorists has become disturbingly common in American society and the consequences can be violent. According to an FBI report released in November, the number of assaults, attacks on mosques and other hate crimes against Muslims in 2015 was higher than at any other time except the immediate aftermath of 9/11. In 2015, there were 257 anti-Muslim incidents, up from 154 in 2014 — a 67 percent increase. In 2001, 481 incidents were reported. read the complete article

14 Aug 2020

American-Moroccan Muslim woman targeted in Islamophobic attack

Somaia Harrati says she had urine thrown at her and was spat on by a group of men for wearing a hijab. Sixty-eight percent of Muslim women in the US say they have been subjected to religious discrimination. read the complete article


14 Aug 2020

Uighur Poets on Repression and Exile

In addition to repressing Uighurs through imprisonment and sterilization, the Xinjiang authorities have mounted a sustained assault on Uighur culture and identity. This has included the destruction of graveyards and religious sites, the elimination of Uighur-language education, and the widespread banning of Uighur books. The mass detentions have targeted cultural figures—writers, poets, intellectuals, musicians—with special ferocity, sometimes accompanied by public denunciation campaigns. As renowned writers have vanished into the camps and prisons, their books have been pulled from store shelves. Publishing in Uighur, lively and diverse through late 2016, has been reduced in the last three years to a pitiful trickle of state-approved journals. During several years working in Xinjiang as a Uighur-English translator, my favorite work usually involved poetry. I spent many hours in conversation with Uighur writers like Perhat Tursun, known for his edgy verse and his controversial novel The Art of Suicide; Idris Nurillah, a poet and translator who also ran a wine shop; and Shahip Abdusalam Nurbeg, a schoolteacher well known for his endlessly experimental poetry. Their company was as exciting as their work, in part because poetry is such a vibrant genre in Uighur society, as central to national identity as it is to self-expression. It is precisely because of poetry’s power in Uighur culture that these three poets, along with nearly every other prominent Uighur intellectual, disappeared more than two years ago into China’s internment camps. Yet, as China silences Uighur poets’ voices in Xinjiang, Uighur poets and artists in the diaspora have spoken up, bearing eloquent witness to the catastrophe in their homeland. Some under their own names and others using pseudonyms, these writers and artists, many of whom live in Turkey’s large Uighur refugee community, are giving expression to the pain, as well as the resilience, of their people. Theirs is some of the most powerful and poignant writing I have come across in my dozen years translating Uighur poetry (the translations of the poems that follow are mine). read the complete article


14 Aug 2020

Indian journalists assaulted by Hindu mob in New Delhi

Journalist Shahid Tantray and two colleagues were filming for The Caravan magazine in northeast Delhi, which was hit by religious violence in February. At least 53 people were killed in that violence, most of them Muslims. Tantray, who is from Indian-administered Kashmir, said they were shooting video when a small group of Hindus, including a man who identified himself as a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), asked him why he was taking visuals there. "They grew suspicious after seeing my name on my press card," Tantray, 28, told Al Jazeera. "The BJP man shouted that he (Tantray) is a Muslim and started calling more people to the scene," he said. "The mob beat me, punched on my neck and back, and tried to strangle me with the camera strap. I have pain in my neck as well as lower back since then." He added that the mob kept them as "hostages" for nearly 90 minutes. His colleague, Prabhjit Singh, tried to shield him from the furious mob until two policemen stationed nearby arrived. As a man kept asking for Tantray's name, Singh began calling Tantray by a Hindu name, "Sagar". "Chalo Sagar yahan se' (Let's go from here, Sagar)," Singh, who is a Sikh, told Tantray as he wanted to save him from the mob. "I could clearly see the hatred in their eyes, the communally frenzied eyes. I wore a turban as a Sikh and they were conscious of my religious identity, too. But their enemy was Shahid (Tantray), a Muslim," Singh told Al Jazeera. "I stood like a wall between Shahid (Tantray) and the Hindu crowd. It was actually a do or die situation for me to save him." read the complete article


14 Aug 2020

‘I have a right to be here’: German Muslims push back against Islamophobia

“Every once in awhile, I’d get a dumb remark [from a teacher] like, ‘Well, why don’t you ask your God?’” says Ms. Alsabagh, now 16 years old. Another time, a stranger on the metro asked, “‘Go home, what are you doing here?’” “I always answer, ‘I am German. My mom is German, too,’” Ms. Alsabagh says. “And they are always surprised.” While much attention has been shone on anti-Semitism in Germany, anti-Muslim bigotry is potentially even more damaging to the country’s social fabric by targeting a group 5 million strong, compared to Germany’s roughly 150,000 Jews. The incidence of anti-Muslim hate is on the rise. Transgressions range from daily microaggressions (everyday slights, conscious and unconscious, that reinforce discrimination) to horrific attacks that capture national media attention, such as the February 2020 Hanau shooting in which a far-right extremist targeted two hookah bars and killed nine people, or the murder of the pro-refugee politician in the state of Hesse by a neo-Nazi in June of last year. Progress towards acceptance of Germany’s second-largest religious group after Christianity has come in fits and starts. The German government has promised more security at mosques this year. But at the same time, the interior minister halted an audit of racial profiling by the police, in a country where the largest racial minority groups are predominantly Muslim. And, last month, the German state of Baden-Württemberg banned children from wearing hijabs and niqabs in school. read the complete article

United Kingdom

14 Aug 2020

Special constable sacked for Islamophobic remarks

A volunteer police officer has been sacked for making two "grossly derogatory and offensive" Islamophobic comments over three days. The man, referred to as Special Constable J, admitted reading out the Islamophobic joke in front of staff but denied making a second comment. Misconduct panel chair Jenny Tallentire said: "This is a case of discrimination against those of Islamic faith." The officer said it was the "most stupid thing" he had ever done. Both counts of gross misconduct were proven at the Avon and Somerset Police HQ and he was dismissed from the force, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. "SC J was in a position of some responsibility and he was looked up to by other special constables," Ms Tallentire added. She said the comments were "grossly derogatory and offensive" and there was "no alternative" to dismissal. read the complete article


14 Aug 2020

French Interior Minister Condemns Arson Attempt at a Mosque

France's interior minister on Thursday condemned on Thursday an arson attempt at a mosque in the French city of Lyon. Gerald Darmanin denounced in a tweet “anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian acts” as “stupid and heinous," less than a week after another fire damaged a mosque in a Lyon suburb. Pierre Oliver, mayor of Lyon’s 2nd district, said on French news broadcaster BFM TV the fire appears to be “of criminal origin” but there were no casualties. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, which damaged the mosque’s front door. The French Muslim Council, or CFCM, expressed its full support and solidarity toward worshipers. “We are hoping that the video surveillance system in front of the mosque will help clarify the circumstances of the fire and identify the authors,” the CFCM said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 Aug 2020 Edition


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