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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04 Aug 2020

Today in Islamophobia:  Over 100 organizations expose and condemn Washington non-profit as a promoter of hate. In the UK, Muslim charities garner praise for their role in helping communities handle the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Our recommended read today is by Molly Hensley-Clancy on Ilhan Omar, and how her identity justifies her politics. This, and more, below:

United States

04 Aug 2020

Ilhan Omar Didn’t Expect “A Red Carpet Welcome” To Congress | Recommended Read

There have been many fights over the past two years, and for Ilhan Omar, all of them have deep roots in her own identity: as an immigrant, a refugee, a Muslim, and a Black woman. She draws a direct line from her identity to her place at the center of two years’ worth of attacks from the right, the news stories, the controversies, and now to the well-funded and bitter primary challenge she is facing in her deep-blue district in Minneapolis. “No one has ever been in Congress who represents as many of the marginalized identities that I represent in one body, and who has been a first in the ways that I’ve been a first,” she told BuzzFeed News. “To be the only member in Congress that comes from a country that is currently on the president’s Muslim ban — I did not expect there to be a red carpet welcome situation.” In a 30-minute interview ahead of the primary election next week, Omar spoke about the ways her identity has shaped every facet of her time in Congress. Omar believes her identity has fueled attacks against her. But just as directly, Omar says, it has shaped the work she has done — and the battles she has waged — on the floor of Congress. read the complete article

Recommended Read
04 Aug 2020

Democratic congressman faces accusations of Islamophobia over anti-BDS flyer

Congressman William Lacy Clay, a Missouri Democrat, is facing accusations of Islamophobia after his campaign sent a flyer featuring the photo of Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour to attack his progressive challenger over her support for the right to boycott Israel. The campaign literature calls out Clay's progressive challenger Cori Bush over being endorsed by Sarsour, describing the Muslim organiser - who is a frequent target of right-wing attacks - as "an anti-Israel activist and a leader of the BDS movement in the United States." Bush, who entered public life as a leading activist in the Black Lives Matter protests after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, has expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in the past, but foreign policy has not been a major issue in the race. "Cori Bush has always been sympathetic to the BDS movement, and she stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people just as they have stood in solidarity with Black Americans fighting for their own lives," her campaign said in a statement on Saturday. The campaign also noted that the photo on the mailer showing Sarsour and Bush together was taken at an interfaith event featuring Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders rallying against racism and anti-immigrant policies by the Trump administration. "Of course, Clay failed to provide the context in which the photo was taken to stoke fears of antisemitism and promote Islamophobia, both of which are unacceptable," the campaign said. read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

Over 100 organizations expose and condemn Washington non-profit as promoter of hate

On August 3, 2020, over 100 organizations in Washington state and across the country issued a public statement exposing a new group that has been masquerading as a human rights organization even as it spreads hate and religious intolerance. This new group, Alliance for Persecuted People Worldwide (APPWW), registered in February 2020 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Washington state. Since then, APPWW has been trying to build credibility and influence with elected officials, community organizations, media, and even partnered with the U.S. Census 2020. In the 22-page exposé, the public statement reveals the hate, racism and Islamophobia promoted by APPWW leaders and the speakers to whom they gave a platform at their events, including individuals with a documented history of anti-Muslim views. The signatories to the public statement reflect a broad cross-section of community, advocacy and faith organizations, with groups representing Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Ambedkarites (Dalits), Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists/agnostics, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities, immigrants/refugees, and more. read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

'An insult to Muslims': Rights group denounces Trump's pick for top Pentagon post

The Senate Armed Services Committee abruptly cancelled a hearing on Anthony Tata's nomination to be undersecretary of defence for policy at the Pentagon on Thursday, after senators and civil rights groups raised serious questions about his past record of anti-Muslim and anti-Black comments. On Sunday, however, US President Donald Trump installed Tata into the position on a temporary basis without congressional approval. Senator Jack Reed, the Senate Armed Services Committee's top Democrat, criticised the appointment, calling it "an insult to our troops, professionals at the Pentagon, the Senate, and the American people." "If President Trump's goal is to hollow out, politicise and undermine the Pentagon the way he has the State Department and intelligence community, then mission accomplished. This is an offensive, destabilising move," he said. Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also slammed the decision, accusing Trump of evading congressional scrutiny. "If an appointee cannot gain the support of the Senate, as is clearly the case with Tata, then the president should not put that person into an identical temporary role," Smith said in a statement. Tata has been widely criticised for his past comments, including remarks directed at former President Barack Obama - whom he accused of secretly being Muslim and a "terrorist leader". Rights groups had strongly opposed his nomination, with a coalition of more than 50 civil rights, faith, education and labour groups coming out in June against "his long record of bigotry". read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

The Hate-Fueled Rise of r/The_Donald—and Its Epic Takedown

On March 22, 2017, a terrorist attacked pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London with a truck, killing five people and injuring at least 50. Thirty-one hours later, a Reddit user named TrumpBeatsHillary wrote a post on the forum page r/The_Donald. Its title was “But hey, it wasn’t all bad. In the end a Muslim was shot.” In the week before the bridge attack, The_Donald’s top posts included one titled, “5 refugees rape a 7 year old girl in Hamburg Germany. anyone who said refugees welcome invited this.” They included “Sadiq Khan- Terror attacks are ‘part and parcel of living in a big city’. MEANWHILE IN TOKYO, (the largest city in the world) has no terror attacks and no Muslims! Coincidence? I think not!” They included “David Seaman to be SUICIDED for EXPOSING PEDOGATE. COPY AND BLAST THIS EVERYWHERE.” Since mid-2016, when The_Donald—or “T_D,” a subsection of the massive social site—came into its own, posts like these made the forum the most notorious in the history of a website with a fair number of skeletons in its closet. By March 2017, when these posts were made, the page’s membership had swelled to more than 350,000 members. It was to double that and more, nearing 800,000 subscribers, before—on June 29, 2020—Reddit’s staff banned the subreddit, and it vanished from the site’s pages for good. (Advance Publications, which owns WIRED’s publisher, Condé Nast, is a Reddit shareholder.) In the five years of its existence, the subreddit played host to Russian propaganda, launched memes and stories parroted by Trump and his campaign, conducted oppo research on behalf of the president, and harassed (and was harassed by) hundreds of people around the internet. Major media organizations have covered the page again and again. But while Reddit changed its rules and rewrote its algorithms to stop T_D (and other pages) from dominating the site, it resisted banning it. Only now, in the wake of half a decade of online protest and justification after justification by Reddit staff all the way up to CEO Steve Huffman, has that resistance collapsed. read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

Rashida Tlaib Beat Her Primary Opponent by 900 Votes in 2018. How Will the Rematch Go?

Representative Rashida Tlaib, a first-term Michigan Democrat who rocketed to national attention as a vocal critic of President Trump, is fighting for her political life, locked in a close primary race that could be decided by a few hundred mail-in ballots. One of the first Muslim women elected to the House of Representatives, Ms. Tlaib on Tuesday faces a rematch against Brenda Jones, the Detroit City Council president who Ms. Tlaib narrowly defeated in 2018. It’s a sequel that many more people are likely to be watching. Ms. Tlaib’s prominent role in Washington has translated to more resources for her district, supporters say, and in this contest it’s enabled her to significantly outspend her opponent on advertising. It’s also given Ms. Jones an argument against her: that spending time criticizing the president limits the kind of compromises necessary to get the most done for the people who sent her to Washington. And the contest, taking place amid national protests against racial injustice, finds people in this majority-Black district asking themselves whether Black voters must be represented by Black politicians to really be heard. Ms. Tlaib, 43, came to Washington as a member of “the squad,” a group of four progressive women of color elected in 2018 who became frequent targets of Mr. Trump, who has attacked them as foreigners who do not love the United States. (All four are American citizens, and only one, Ilhan Omar, was born outside the country.) For over 50 years, the district, which includes a portion of Detroit and a handful of surrounding suburbs, was represented by John Conyers, a civil rights icon. Some supporters of Ms. Jones, who is Black, have said that she would be a better fit for the district than Ms. Tlaib, who is Palestinian by descent. read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

Thanks to US Muslim Coalition Efforts ‘Branded Cities’ Refuses to Run Adverts for Hindutva Groups at Times Square

A coalition of Muslim groups in USA have announced that a top advertising company Branded Cities which runs the digital advertisement board for NASDAQ in Times Square have “refused to run digital advertisements” for right-wing Hindu groups planning to showcase images of lord Ram on billboards in Times Square. The right-wing sections of the Indian diaspora have hired the advertising space in Times Square to display images of Lord Ram and 3D pictures of the upcoming Ram temple in Ayodhya to mark the occasion of ground-breaking that will take place in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to a statement put out by the coalition, Dennis Levine of Branded Cities confirmed the decision to not run the advertisements. The company “also reassured that Branded Cities and Nasdaq oppose the demolition of Babari masjid and will never allow any supremacist groups to run their advertisements”. read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

Can Muslim Democrat delegates leave a mark on the Biden presidency?

A coalition comprised of almost 100 Muslim delegates to the Democratic National Convention (DNC), recently published detailed policy recommendations they hope will be incorporated into the Democratic party platform. The points touch on a wide range of issues including surveillance of Muslim communities and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as the war on drugs, and qualified immunity for police officers. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign has made an effort to reach out to Muslim voters, seeking their support to defeat incumbent President Donald Trump in November. While Muslim delegates have welcomed this engagement, they do not think that it goes far enough. Speaking to TRT World, Nadia B Ahmad, who co-authored the platform, said campaigns historically had spoken “at” Muslims rather than “with them”, adding: “That’s what I think needs to change going forward”. There are tentative signs that change might be coming. “For a number of decades Muslims have really been sought after in terms of their votes but what we are also starting to see now is actually more engagement on our issues,” Ahmad tells TRT World. read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

Is China running concentration camps? Why Pompeo wouldn't use the term

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has never shrunk from using tough rhetoric against China -- until one recent occasion. America's top diplomat was among the first senior U.S. officials to refer consistently to the coronavirus as "the Wuhan virus." He regularly accuses the Communist government in Beijing of all kinds of violations of international law, from aggression in the South China Sea to intellectual property theft and illegal spying on U.S. firms and government offices. But in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last Thursday, Pompeo uncharacteristically recoiled from using the toughest possible language against the American adversary in Beijing. "Is it fair to say," asked Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a hawkish ally of the Trump administration, only infrequently given to criticism of its foreign policies, "that in 2020, [the] Chinese Communist Party is running concentration camps to -- that house religious minorities?" Pompeo paused for a couple of seconds -- a rare display of uncertainty in how to answer near the end of a lengthy hearing in which he had readily exchanged barbed words with Democratic members of the committee. "I've described it this way, senator," Pompeo finally answered. "It's the worst human rights violation that we have seen this century." read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

The ACLU's never ending 'Fight' in the age of Trump

“The Fight,” a new documentary featuring a handful of ACLU lawyers, connects the dots from the plaintiffs to the courts' vaunted chambers. The attorneys represent people trapped at airports following Trump’s 2017 Muslim bans, immigrants separated from their children at the border and a transgender soldier pushed out of the military after 12 years of service. Attorney Brigitte Amiri defends the right to access to abortion for a 17-year-old who’s in the custody of immigration enforcement, arguing before Justice Brett Kavanaugh at an appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., in 2017. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights Project, battles the so-called Muslim ban. Dale Ho argues against the Trump administration’s attempt to place a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census. read the complete article

04 Aug 2020

Donald Trump, the obstacle to Washington's Uighur policy

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a bill allowing him to impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the mass incarceration of more than one million Uighurs and members of other largely Muslim minorities in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang. The bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 (UHRPA) condemned the abuses and called on the Chinese authorities to close their "vocational education" centres in the region immediately, ensure respect for human rights, and allow people living in China to re-establish contact with family, friends and associates outside the country. In theory, Trump could show genuine global leadership by implementing the act vigorously. Researchers in many countries have reported that, in addition to detention, Uighurs are being subjected to torture, forced labour and sterilisation. And two Uighur groups have accused the Chinese authorities of physical and cultural genocide in a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court. Sadly, Trump’s actions will likely convince Muslims only of the depths of his hypocrisy. Trump signed the UHRPA on the same day that allegations contained in his former national security adviser John Bolton’s new book were flooding the airwaves. According to Bolton, Trump was not merely indifferent toward Uighurs’ human rights, but actively encouraged Chinese President Xi Jinping to build concentration camps to hold them. read the complete article


04 Aug 2020

With a heavy hand, India rides out Kashmir's year of disquiet

A year after stripping Kashmir of its autonomy, Modi’s government has prevented widespread protests and violence, with a heavy hand on people who for weeks had barricaded themselves in and staged protests, hurling stones at federal troops armed with pellet guns and tear gas. On Aug. 5, 2019, Modi split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two federally controlled territories and took away its special privileges, saying this was necessary to better integrate the region with the rest of India. New Delhi flooded troops into the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, where insurgents have fought since the 1990s. India detained thousands, imposed harsh movement restrictions and forced a communications blackout. Many of those measures have since been eased, but the internet remains throttled and a subsequent COVID-19 lockdown - India has the world’s third-highest coronavirus infections and rising fast - has forced millions of Kashmiris to stay in their homes for 12 months. “The government said that they did it for the good of Jammu and Kashmir. What good things have happened since then? They have destroyed our economy,” said Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, a former lawmaker. “Where is the development?” read the complete article

New Zealand

04 Aug 2020

Claims that Behrouz Boochani jumped the queue are a reminder of the dangers of anti-refugee politics

Perhaps predictably, last week’s announcement that Behrouz Boochani had been granted refugee status in New Zealand quickly became election campaign fodder. Both National Party leader Judith Collins and NZ First leader Winston Peters alluded to Boochani being a “queue-jumper” and the beneficiary of elite favouritism. Originally from Iran, Boochani arrived in New Zealand last November after six years in a detention centre on Manus Island. Using a smuggled smartphone, he detailed his experience as a refugee in what became an award-winning book, No Friend but the Mountains. His lawyer rejected the queue-jumping label. He said neither the minister of immigration nor Immigration New Zealand had given direction to allow Boochani to enter New Zealand. Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said the comments of Peters and Collins were “race-baiting” and “dog-whistling” that would lead to New Zealand’s minority communities feeling “less safe”. The campaign has moved on for now, but the exchange firmly placed Boochani within a history of using anti-refugee sentiment for electoral gain. read the complete article


04 Aug 2020

The world has stood by as China persecutes Uighur Muslims – and it makes me fear for my safety

As a Muslim woman living in the West, who is unfortunately too invested in the news cycle, I’m all too aware of the fracturing human rights of Muslims across the globe. I wish this was an exaggeration but the collective experience of Muslims around the globe – including the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China – has made me long fear that, one day, a genocide against Muslims like me could become reality closer to home. I stopped believing that those with the most power, those who reach the highest political offices, are driven by decency or humanity or the desire to make the world a better place a long time ago. Around the world, politicians and leaders like Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Narendra Modhi have made it vogue to be openly Islamophobic. This has created a hostile and fearful environment because it seems to be politically beneficial to be Islamophobic. It is now so normalised in our society that the general public has become desensitised to the abuses of Muslims across the world. read the complete article

United Kingdom

04 Aug 2020

Muslim charities are at the heart of UK Covid-19 response

Muslim charities in the UK have been praised for their role in helping communities handle the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. A coalition of 194 groups under the umbrella of the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) has been providing a range of services for those most in need due to the outbreak. Britain is one of the worst hit countries in the world with more than 304,000 confirmed cases and at least 46,201 people killed, leaving it with the fourth highest death toll overall and the highest in Europe. MCF’s ‘The Neighbours Next Door’ report details how the organisation has encouraged charities, as well as ordinary Muslims, to take community welfare into their own hands by checking in on their neighbours irrespective of their faith or background. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Aug 2020 Edition


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