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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17 Aug 2020

Today in Islamophobia: As China’s human rights abuses continue in Xinjiang, Uighurs call for 2022 Beijing winter games to be relocated. Three Muslim women sue state officials in Delaware claiming they were barred from wearing hijabs at work. As Trump relaunches Countering Violent Extremism, records on past Illinois programs reveal links to FBI and law enforcement. Our recommended read today is on Facebook, which allegedly ignored hate speech by India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians. This, and more, below:


17 Aug 2020

Facebook ignored hate speech by India's BJP politicians: Report | Recommended Read

Facebook ignored its hate speech policy and allowed anti-Muslim posts on its platform to avoid ruining the social media company's relationship with India's governing party, says a report in the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ report published on Friday said a top Facebook executive in India refused to apply the company's hate speech rules to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians and other "Hindu nationalist individuals and groups". "The company's top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to [T Raja] Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence," it said, according to current and former Facebook employees. Singh, the BJP's only legislator in the southern state of Telangana, is known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric. The WSJ said the right-wing politician had demanded mainly-Muslim Rohingya refugees be shot, called India's Muslims traitors and threatened to demolish mosques in his Facebook posts and public speeches. In March this year, the report said, Facebook employees responsible for policing the platform found Singh had violated their hate speech rules and suggested banning his account. But Das refused to act against Singh, who has tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and the company-owned Instagram, it added. read the complete article

Recommended Read
17 Aug 2020

73 years on, violence is reimagined in Modi's India

There is a tenacious link between history and memory, where the past shapes the present and the present exhumes and retells the story of the past. The tenacity of this relationship is more intense and overpowering when accompanied with violence. The partition of the Indian sub-continent and the culmination of two independent states of Muslim-dominated Pakistan and the Hindu-majority India on August 15, 1947, is an example of one such relationship where memory of the partition violence is invoked and re-invoked to shape the present political identities. The turmoil and the trauma that followed is vivid in the imagination of those who survived the sanguinary partition carnage on both sides of the divide. While the birth of the two nations was painful, the trajectories that they took were ‘different’ on the surface and had an eerie similarity at a deeper level of politics and society. It is no secret that Pakistan assumed military dictatorships with a state sponsored Islamisation process in the 1970s that pushed the religious and sectarian minorities to the periphery of statecraft and mainstream sociality. What is fascinating [from the outside] and disturbing [from the inside] at the same time, is to explore the slow and simmering rise of the Hinduisation that has left an imprint on institutions and the society, which saw its full culmination with the Prime Minister of India laying the foundation of the Ram Mandir at the disputed site in Ayodhya on August 5 earlier this year. While the signs of Hindu pride, assertion and protection of the so-called Hindu identity were always present below the surface, the current display of Hindu supremacy has taken an abrasive form where the leadership of the country claims that India has always been a Hindu nation and aims at prioritising the rights of Hindus, irrespective of their citizenship. The foundation laying of the Ram Mandir is a blatant articulation of that supremacy. It was a conscious and calculated political move by the Prime Minister that left Muslims of the country, across classes, in a historical juggle – back to the dilemma of belonging - a Muslim Pakistan or a ‘secular’ India? read the complete article

United States

17 Aug 2020

Op-Ed: Kamala Harris’ immigrant family story is an inspiring reminder of why we need to vote out Trump

As it is with many immigrant families, my parents believed deeply in the promise of America. They spent their life savings to send me to the United States alone at the age of 16 for an education, making the sacrifice of putting an ocean between us. Years later, I would work in international development around the world and returned to live in villages throughout India in the mid-1990s. That time allowed me to connect more deeply with my roots. I heard more stories about my great-aunt from rural villagers who recounted how profoundly she had changed their lives. Returning to America, I went on to start an immigrant rights organization and spend two decades organizing for racial, economic and gender justice. This week, when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) became the first Black woman and the first South Asian American woman to be on a major party‘s presidential ticket, joy erupted — in my family, in Asian American, Pacific Islander and Black families across this country, and in millions of homes across Asia and Africa. I am proud of her Indian immigrant roots and her Blackness. We Asian immigrants to America have learned so much from the struggles of Black women who have paved the road to justice with their steps. Sen. Harris’ multiple identities and experiences not only bring important perspectives to the table, but also allow so many others to see new possibilities for their own futures. Sen. Harris’ nomination offers a clear contrast to a xenophobic president who has attacked immigrants and asylum seekers and the very idea of immigration at every turn, issuing a Muslim ban, separating families, caging children and even threatening student visa programs that allowed Sen. Harris’ mother and me to come to America in the first place. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

DNC Favors Republicans Over Muslim and Latinx Dems, Activists Say

The Democratic Party has “inclusion” in its platform. So why are there no Muslim speakers in the Democratic National Convention’s primetime lineup—and only a handful of Latinx voices? That’s a question activists and organizers are putting out on the front lawn in the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention, when the party will officially anoint former Vice President Joe Biden to become the nominee after nearly a week of hoopla. The four-day event includes only three Latinx headliners and entirely leaves off Muslim Americans, each making up a complex, diverse group of individuals who Biden is hoping to turn out in record numbers. The lack of adequate representation, some Democratic activists contend, is even more pressing, and flat-out shocking, when attempting to present a strong front against President Donald Trump. To have “as many Republican speakers as Latinos, it just doesn’t send a great message,” Sawyer Hackett, a senior adviser to Julián Castro, told The Daily Beast, approximating about those scheduled to appear. Castro, the only Latino candidate to seek the party’s 2020 nomination, did not make the cut. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Can Laura Loomer ride a right-wing wave into the General Election?

Loomer is one of six people seeking the GOP nomination in CD 21. She’s battling Christian Acosta, Elizabeth Felton, Aaron Scanlan, Reba Sherrill and Michael Vilardi in Tuesday’s primary. Loomer has been a lightning rod of controversy for her anti-Muslim remarks and other antics. She supported Hallandale Beach Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub after Lima-Taub claimed Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, a Muslim, might “blow up Capitol Hill.” Loomer was also banned from Twitter after calling Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar “anti-Jewish.” Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and several other social media platforms have cast Loomer aside as well. Nevertheless, Loomer has been endorsed by the likes of Rep. Matt Gaetz and longtime GOP operative Roger Stone. Democrats have a 17.5 point advantage over Republicans in terms of voter registration within the district. Frankel won reelection in 2016 by more than 25 points and ran unopposed in 2018. While Loomer led her Republican rivals in fundraising, she’s still trailing Frankel significantly in cash on hand. Loomer holds around $220,000 as of July 29 while Frankel retains more than $1.25 million. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Violent clashes across the US between far-right and counter protesters

Violent clashes erupted across the US this weekend between protesters from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Confrontations reached boiling point in both Kalamazoo, MIchigan, and Stone Mountain, Georgia, after far-right groups were met with counter protesters. The Three Percenters, a far-right militia group, called for a 2,000-person rally on Saturday at Georgia's Stone Mountain Park "to defend and protect our history and Second Amendment rights". The group was criticising calls to remove Confederate monuments and other memorabilia that have rippled across the nation in the wake of large protests over police brutality and systemic racism following the killing of George Floyd in police custody. Stone Mountain Park is home to the largest Confederate monument in the US, honouring Robert E Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and Thomas Jefferson. The area was also considered the symbolic location of where the Ku Klux Klan formed. Video footage and reports from Saturday showed the Three Percenters clashing with counter-protest groups. These counter-protesters represented several civil rights organisations including NAACP, as well as left-leaning groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

I Disagree With Biden a Lot. But He’s Not a Cruel Bigot. And Right Now, That’s Enough.

Before 9/11, I was white—meaning, among other things, that I had the privilege of sitting out a presidential election to wait for the “perfect” candidate who fulfilled my demands for progressive purity. But being Muslim and of Arab heritage, my world changed in the years after 9/11 as I was transformed by society from white to a minority. Consequently, I learned firsthand the pain of being defined by the worst in my community and having politicians then openly use that grotesque caricature to demonize us. And no one has been more vile on this front than Donald Trump, who made ginning up hatred of Muslims one of the centerpieces of his 2016 campaign, which resulted in more hate crimes in 2017 against my community than even in the year after 9/11. In normal times, perhaps I’d be yelling about the fact that of nearly 40 speakers the DNC has chosen so far for next week’s convention, that besides Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the rest are for the most part moderate/establishment Democrats (except for the two who aren’t even Democrats). The DNC could have done far better on this front and included more progressive voices and at least one Muslim American progressive such as Rep. Ilhan Omar. But when the guy in the White House has called to ban my entire faith, inspired hate crimes against my community and made the lives of fellow minorities a living hell, these things don’t matter as much. And that’s the same sentiment many in other minority groups have shared as Trump has come for each of us at one time or another. When people of color call my SiriusXM radio show, I can assure you that none are talking the DNC line-up of speakers, but nightly they share how Trump has caused them real pain. This is not political, it’s personal with Trump, as we are fighting to survive. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Sam Harris and Donald Trump: They're completely different ... yet very much alike

There are important ways in which the strategy that Harris uses to communicate with his audience is strikingly similar to Trump's. This should worry us, because both speak with unwarranted confidence about topics they don't understand and have sizable audiences that are generally inclined not to question the wisdom and omniscience of their chosen leaders. For Trump, Twitter and his rallies are much preferred over media appearances, except with Fox News allies like Sean Hannity and the good people of "Fox & Friends." The reason is obvious: Trump wants to communicate directly with his target audience, without his message being altered, modified, filtered or fact-checked by the so-called mainstream media. This enables him to say whatever he wants with impunity. He can lie, mislead, opine, spread misinformation and propaganda all he wants without having to be held accountable, or at least not in a way that exposes him to the truth. Sam Harris began his career, metaphorically speaking, by winning the lottery: He wrote a mediocre diatribe against Islam (without expertise on either Islam or Islamic terrorism) that was published at exactly the right time — three years after the 9/11 attacks and one year after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, now considered to be perhaps the single greatest foreign policy blunder in our country's history. After this, he participated in numerous public debates with religious clowns and published articles in outlets like the Washington Times, one of which, from 2004, made the following incendiary claim: "It is time we admitted that we are not at war with 'terrorism.' We are at war with Islam." He's also published a (very) small handful of scholarly articles in peer-reviewed papers. But over time, Harris withdrew from expressing his opinions through platforms designed to ensure a minimum level of intellectual integrity. He began blogging and then started an enormously popular podcast, his principal medium for the past seven years. He stopped publishing peer-reviewed research papers. He opted not to submit articles to media outlets that imposed some editorial control over what they publish. Instead, he created a small media empire that enabled him to say whatever he wants, whether or not the message is misleading, the claims are factually erroneous, the reasoning is fallacious and so on. In other words, he figured out a way to bypass intellectual accountability — to opine as much as he wants about topics he doesn't understand without peer-review, editorial oversight or other quality-control measures. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

As Trump relaunches Countering Violent Extremism, records on past Illinois program reveal links to FBI, law enforcement

Civil rights advocates are calling for an end to a federal counter-terrorism program with a history in Illinois as part of broader demands to defund police departments. But the controversial Countering Violent Extremism initiative appears here to stay regardless of the outcome of November’s election, with President Donald Trump’s administration launching a rebranded version of the program and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris on record in support of CVE. Meanwhile, a closer look at Illinois’ now-defunct CVE program has stoked longstanding fears over privacy and unwarranted surveillance linked to the U.S. government’s anti-extremism approach, which aims to enlist community members, teachers, religious leaders and health practitioners to help intervene with those deemed at risk of radicalization. Records obtained by The Chicago Reporter show that the architect of Illinois’ CVE program coordinated with the FBI and Chicago Police, as well as Chicago Public Schools in at least one case involving a student, to conduct interventions with at-risk individuals — a revelation that undermines claims that such counter-extremism efforts are community-driven and not focused on law enforcement. Records also show that the Illinois program explored enlisting mental health providers for interventions with those deemed at risk of radicalization, an approach that has alarmed some mental health providers who fear being deputized as a means of intelligence gathering for law enforcement and jeopardizing their relationship with patients. The program additionally created training materials designed to help community members spot warning signs of potential extremists, despite a lack of research that such signs exist. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Muslim woman accuses Maryland McDonald's franchisee of discrimination

A Muslim woman who worked for a McDonald’s franchisee in Maryland claims managers and co-workers sexually harassed her and subjected her to religious discrimination after she converted to Islam. Diamond Powell, 28, of Baltimore, sued her former employer, Susdewitt Management LLC of Lanham, Maryland, on Thursday with the backing of attorneys from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group. The Morgan State University graduate was Christian in 2016 when she started working for the company, which operated two McDonald’s locations at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Powell converted to Islam in February 2017 and began wearing a hijab, a religious head covering, to work. A manager told her to “take that hoodie off” her head while another manager told her, “You don’t have to wait for God to wake up for you to pray,” Powell’s federal lawsuit alleges. Powell has a religious belief that she must pray five times a day at prescribed times. A general manager initially granted Powell’s request to take short prayer breaks during her shifts, according to her lawsuit. “Her prayer breaks lasted no longer than a typical bathroom break,” the suit says. But the general manager prohibited Powell from praying in a quiet spot at the airport and instead told her to pray in a dirty stock room, the lawsuit alleges. After Powell continued praying outside the restaurant, the general manager eventually revoked her request to take a prayer break, saying, “God will understand,” according to the lawsuit. “By doing so, the general manager forced Powell to choose between continuing her employment with McDonald’s or sacrificing her sincerely-held religious beliefs,” the suit says. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Elmbrook Parent Includes Attack on Muslim School Board Member in her Anti-Mask Rant

The wild conspiracy theories and divisiveness of the Trump era were on display at the Elmbrook School District board meeting last Tuesday night. The board met to decide when and how students would return to in-person learning at Elmbrook schools. During the “citizen’s comment” portion of the meeting, parent Heidi Anderson made some now-infamous remarks about face masks while singling out Brookfield physician Mushir Hassan for criticism. Anderson’s lengthy comments also included an attack on Elmbrook School District board member Dr. Mushir Hassan, an internal medicine physician at Ascension Brookfield and the only Muslim on the board. Anderson began by calling Dr. Hassan by his first name and mispronouncing it. “Dr. Mushar,” she said, “and I hope I’m saying this correctly, you are not the right choice to be the board liaison. You do not practice in infectious disease, you have political leanings contrary to the will of this district. You online stated that you’re a big Obama fan and you comply mentally with his control philosophy, and,” she continued, her voice nearly breaking with anger, “you have publicly slammed our president, Trump, on line.” Both board president Scott Wheeler and vice-president Jean Lambert tried to interrupt Anderson’s rant, but she refused to stop talking. “I’m finishing,” Anderson said. Then she continued, “As a leader in the Islamic community –” Wheeler briefly interrupted her, “Heidi, we have to avoid defamatory comments.” She replied, “This is not defamatory. I’m stating facts.” Turning back to Dr. Hassan, she said, “You are a leader in the Islamic community are you not? I believe you’re on the board –” Dr. Hassan, who is on the board of ISM-West, quietly replied, “I am.” “Okay!” Anderson said. “Well, listen. My kids are Christian. They are not subject to wearing face coverings. Christian children should not be forced to wear face coverings, any more than children who are Islamic or Muslim should be forced, as you put it, be subject to the American style of sexualization of children and have to be wearing less clothing than you’re comfortable having your children wearing.” read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Is QAnon the shape of the Republican backlash to come?

Should President Trump lose in November, the Joe Biden presidency will be the target of some kind of angry far-right movement consumed with conspiracy theories. We know this because it’s what always happens when a Democrat gets elected. But how widespread it becomes and how much it affects mainstream politics are uncertain; it could be as influential as the tea party during Barack Obama’s time in office, or as fringe as the militia movement was during Bill Clinton’s. The leading contender is already taking shape and working its way into the GOP: the lunatic conspiracy theory known as QAnon. It already has its first soon-to-be member of Congress, along with a raft of candidates who have captured Republican nominations for a number of offices, including in the U.S. Senate. And it has establishment Republicans confused and uncertain, aghast at what it represents but too cowardly to purge it from their ranks. In case you’re not familiar, QAnon began a few years ago with posts on 4chan claiming that an anonymous government insider (“Q") was revealing the hidden forces behind all current events. The theory posits that Trump is a messianic figure at war with an international cabal of satanic, cannabalistic pedophiles; at any moment, the president (who in some tellings was partnering in this effort with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III) will expose his enemies and cart them all off to Guantanamo Bay. The FBI believes QAnon poses a domestic terrorism threat. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Three Muslim women sue Delaware claiming they were barred from wearing hijabs at work

Three Muslim women who previously worked in Delaware juvenile detention services filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against state officials last week alleging that they were barred from wearing religious head coverings at work. The women, Tia Mays, Madinah Brown and Shakeya Thomas, claimed in a lawsuit filed Aug. 6 that they were told they could not wear a hijab to their jobs at the New Castle County Detention Center and the Ferris School for adjudicated juveniles. Supervisors allegedly prohibited them from working at the facilities unless they removed the head coverings, according to the lawsuit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The women asked to be transferred and offered to wear head coverings that could be less of a safety risk around potentially violent juveniles detained in the center. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Quarantine matchmaking project for Muslims found itself navigating anti-Blackness

What if they created their own virtual adaptation of the Netflix dating reality show, stripped down for the coronavirus era, but created by and for Muslim millennials? “We were just like, ‘Hey, what would this look like in a Muslim version?’ ” Diallo said. “Quarantine hit and we didn’t really have much else going on, and there wasn’t really a way to meet someone besides going to the grocery store.” With mosques closed and Islamic conventions and other religious gatherings canceled, finding a spouse in a halal, or Islamically permissible, way felt like a hopeless cause for many Muslim singles seeking a spouse. In April, Diallo and a friend launched Eye Meets Soul, a virtual blind-matchmaking experience for U.S. Muslim millennials. The pair hopes to help Muslims of all backgrounds “take a leap of faith.” They designed the project so that personal appearance, race and ethnicity would not be first considerations. Both founders are Muslim young professionals of African heritage who have themselves been looking for years to get married but say they’ve found making a match particularly difficult as Black women. Almost immediately, the organizers found themselves dealing with the reality of anti-Blackness in the Muslim marriage market, just weeks before racial-justice movements nationally left Muslims across the country grappling with racial equity in their own spaces. Despite hiding the singles’ identities and faces from one another, some participants would ask one another “microaggressive” questions about whether they spoke Arabic or if they were converts as a proxy for race, organizers said. Some asked directly about race or assumed others’ backgrounds based on their voice. Two days in, one participant told Diallo they did not want to speak with another participant because they could “tell” they were Black, and their parents would not approve of such a match. “It took me aback, and it was really hurtful,” Diallo said. “Just the fact people are so blatant about that, it really does hit home, especially during the time we were going through in our community and the world.” read the complete article


17 Aug 2020

Community policing already exists in the US and it is dangerous

The now popular book The End of Policing offers similar solutions. Citing the example of the United Kingdom, American sociologist Alex Vitale treats improved mental health resources as an alternative to modern law enforcement. Though acknowledging the inadequate training of many Mental Health Liaison Officers in the UK, Vitale nonetheless argues that the "overall attitude [of mental health policing] is one of care rather than threat neutralization". While these approaches urgently seek to disband the police as we know it, they fail to address how the violent work of policing requires the participation of countless state and non-state actors beyond uniformed rank-and-file officers. Through intricate government programmes like Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in particular, policing and public health have come to converge in dangerous new ways, making policing a community-wide affair. Modern policing conscripts a wide variety of parties including health workers, transnational corporations, the non-profit sector, educators, religious institutions, social workers, and increasingly, vigilantes and other everyday citizens. This pervasive "policing web" enlists even seemingly neutral actors and positions them as forces of social control. For this reason, Vitale's optimism about "mental health policing" in the UK is perplexing. Few countries blur the line between law enforcement and health services more clearly than Britain, where for nearly half a decade, academics and medical professionals have protested the health sector's role in unethically monitoring political organisers, people of colour, and Muslims in the name of "deradicalisation". Although fuelled by 9/11 and the 7/7 bombings in London, the legal arm of this system rarely prosecutes actual violence (the longtime purview of criminal law). Rather, it intervenes in a so-called pre-crime space, in which the books one reads, certain forms of speech, or practices of civil disobedience can invite state intervention upon target demographics. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Pankaj Mishra Dissects Salman Rushdie's Critique Of Islam In New Book

A similar longing for self-affirmation fuels Rushdie’s geopolitical analysis, where an obsession with the ‘poison’ of ‘actually existing Islam’ suppresses all nuance suggested by political and historical facts. He accuses Khomeini of taking ‘his country into a useless war with its neighbours’ and sees more evidence of Muslim irrationalism in the frenzied mourning provoked in Iran by the old fanatic’s death. In fact, it was Saddam Hussein who invaded Iran, and then assaulted it with chemical weapons, with the consent, even support, of Western countries. This not only stoked a long-simmering anti-Westernism in Iran, which had been occupied by Russia and Britain during both world wars, and then suffered for decades the brutal dictatorship of the pro-American shah. Back in 1989, Rushdie claims, ‘nobody wanted to know what he knew’ – that a ‘self-exculpatory, paranoiac Islam is an ideology with widespread appeal’ – and we didn’t get this even after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, which, among other things, vindicated his critically ill-treated but evidently prophetic novel Fury. ‘Of course this is “about Islam”,’ Rushdie quickly retorted in a New York Times op-ed to those who argued that 9/11 ‘isn’t about Islam’, or like Susan Sontag, a loyal friend and supporter, described the attacks as ‘a consequence of specific American alliances and actions’, such as the support of Saudi Arabia and fundamentalists in Afghanistan. According to him, ‘the restoration of religion to the sphere of the personal, its depoliticisation, is the nettle that all Muslim societies must grasp in order to become modern.’ This French-style secularisation was and remains a tall order even in the United States and much of Christian Europe. In the meantime, Rushdie seemed content to endorse the Anglo-American assault on Afghanistan, and, claiming that another ‘war of liberation might just be one worth fighting’, hailed the CIA-sponsored conman Ahmad Chalabi as ‘the most likely first leader of a democratised Iraq’. Fanatics and fundamentalists, non-Muslim as well as Muslim, remain a blight on many South Asian and Middle Eastern societies; sometimes, they violently disrupt public life in the West. But, arguably, it is the institutionalised procedures of torture, rendition, indefinite detention, extrajudicial execution through drones, secret trials and surveillance that have emerged in the West as the more serious threat to civil and human rights. The icon of free speech today is the Wikileaks source Chelsea Manning, fully exposed in his degrading confinement to the malevolence of an omnipotent intelligence and military establishment. Meanwhile, cut-price white supremacists gunning down Sikhs, bombing mosques and burning the Qur’an, and the Nordic nationalist massacring multiculturalists and left-wingers have taken Rushdie’s reform-minded diagnosis of a ‘fanatical cancer’ within Muslim communities to another level. ‘Islam is a cancer, period,’ according to the sinister California-based filmmaker whose calumnies about the Prophet provoke riots across the Muslim world. At the same time, Western states, after waging calamitously ill-conceived wars that killed and mutilated hundreds of thousands of Muslims, pursue a face-saving deal with people described by Rushdie as ‘fascist, terrorist gangsters’ – the Taliban. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

Lawmakers demand answers from World Bank on Xinjiang loan

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the World Bank about its continued operation of a $50 million loan program in Xinjiang, following Axios reporting on the loans. The Chinese government is currently waging a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in northwest China. The lawmakers contend that the recipients of the loans may be complicit in that repression. In a letter dated Aug. 12 and addressed to World Bank Group president David Malpass, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), co-chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, pointed to specific concerns about the activities of the schools that have received funding. "We continue to have serious concerns about the World Bank’s continued disbursement of a loan to the [Xinjiang] Department of Education after it became aware of the mass internment of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslims in the region," wrote McGovern and Rubio. read the complete article

United Kingdom

17 Aug 2020

We must act now': UK Muslims bear brunt of Covid-19 amid government complacency

The hostility from her managers compelled her to work twice as hard as her colleagues and not complain: "I had to prove myself; I'd stay twice as late. That's the pressure you feel being different." The insecurity she experienced deterred her from raising concerns about her workload. "I remember being on a ward once where I was given four patients on a cardiac ward, all with chest drains... If you speak up, you feel that you will be labelled as the one that doesn't want to do hard work." Binish was asked if she thought this "gap" was still playing out on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, preventing healthcare workers from ethnic minorities from raising concerns about prolonged exposure to the virus. She thought for a moment and replied: "As nurses, we're taught that you should acknowledge your limitations, you should be able to verbalise it. In practice, that's different. "If you're BAME there's an added pressure that you are going to stick out badly." For many Muslim healthworkers on temporary work visas, this "gap" is more concrete and pernicious. "We don't have the option to stay at home, our visa won't permit us... To work in hospital, we have to be on the front line," an Egyptian radiologist, working in the West Midlands on a temporary visa, told MEE. "You can't afford to stay at home, even if you're high risk. I know a lot of people from the Muslim community who have asthma, diabetes. "I am personally hypertensive, but I have to work because my salary would be deducted, and I'm not alone in this." Putting it bluntly, he said: "If I died from Covid, my family would have to leave immediately." A 2014 study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation documenting the risks of poverty in different religious groups found that Muslims were 50 per cent more likely to be found living in poverty. According to a 2011 MCB report, entitled "British Muslims in numbers," 46 percent (1.22 million) of the Muslim population reside in the 10 percent most deprived areas, and 1.7 percent (46,000) in the 10 percent least deprived. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

UK's first Muslim female referee talks learning English, discrimination and career goals

The UK's first Muslim female referee says she is aiming to officiate at the highest level, and she has encouraged other women to follow her path. Jawahir Roble was just 10 when she took refuge in London with her family after fleeing civil war in Somalia. Living in the shadow of Wembley Stadium and playing football in primary school were the first steps on her journey to becoming a referee. In an interview with BBC Sport, the 25-year-old discusses learning English, how she handles discrimination and her career goals. Her steely resilience also extends to the players. "If I ever receive abuse I would stand up," she added. "During a game, some players might say things like 'this is a man's game'. I say it's a man's game and a woman's game. You just missed the goal and you are having a mare so focus on yourself. "After the game finishes they usually apologise." read the complete article


17 Aug 2020

Uyghurs call for 2022 Beijing Winter Games to be relocated due to rights abuses

The largest group of exiled ethnic Uyghurs has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reconsider holding the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, citing what it says is evidence of crimes against humanity committed in China's Xinjiang region. The IOC, contacted about the submission by the World Uyghur Congress, said in a statement to Reuters that it must "remain neutral on all global political issues". It said it had received assurances from Chinese government authorities "that the principles of the Olympic Charter will be respected in the context of the Games". The Chinese foreign ministry accused the World Uyghur Congress of having "multiple ties with terrorist organisations". It said the group's "ridiculous assertions are not worth rebutting" and added that preparations for the Winter Olympics are progressing smoothly. read the complete article

17 Aug 2020

China builds toilet on Uyghur mosque site

A public toilet has been built on the site of a mosque in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The demolition of the mosque in Atush city was part of a campaign to dampen the spirit of Uyghur Muslims, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Aug. 13. The toilet construction on the site of Tokul mosque in Atush’s Suntagh village came after authorities had demolished many mosques in the region as part of a campaign known as “Mosque Rectification” that began in 2016 and targeted Muslim places of worship en masse, said RFA. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 17 Aug 2020 Edition


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