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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09 Aug 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Bangladesh, the government has sought help from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, meanwhile in the United States, a spate of murders across Albuquerque, NM has “stunned the city and shaken the small, close-knit Muslim community, fueling fears of a racist serial killer on the loose,” and in the United Kingdom, the Forde report highlights the “hierarchy of racism” within the Labour Party and “exposes serious weaknesses in leadership – from failing to act on members’ concerns, imposing barriers to progression for people from ethnic minorities, and plain bullying.” Our recommended read of the day is by Matthew Amengual and Tim Bartley for The Washington Post on their study into Americans’ reaction to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and how “respondents were especially likely to support import bans for products made with forced labor, which advocates call ‘modern slavery.'” This and more below:


09 Aug 2022

U.S. banned imports from China’s Xinjiang region. Will Americans object? | Recommended Read

This summer, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act took effect, restricting U.S. imports of products from the Xinjiang region of China, where a great deal of evidence reveals that the Chinese government has been imprisoning and otherwise persecuting the resident Uyghur ethnic minority. This law goes beyond previous attempts to address forced labor and what advocates call “modern slavery,” since it presumes that items linked to Xinjiang have been made with forced labor, unless importing companies can demonstrate otherwise. Evidence shows that Uyghur Muslims are enduring wide-ranging repression from Chinese authorities, including forced migration and internment in what are called reeducation camps. Through both routes, Uyghur individuals have been coerced into producing cotton, tomatoes, electronic components and a variety of other materials destined for global markets, including polysilicon for solar panels. Coming amid geopolitical conflicts, rising consumer prices, component shortages and a reconfiguration of global supply chains, the law’s consequences could be profound. Unlike many trade restrictions, this one is rooted not only in national rivalries but also in moral objections to human rights violations and repression of an ethno-religious minority, which the United States has called genocidal.Our recently published research examines how Americans perceive bans of this sort — and reveals how corporate strategies to manage the risks of forced labor and maintain access to Chinese markets could, this time, have unanticipated consequences. read the complete article

09 Aug 2022

Bangladesh seeks cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

Bangladesh sought help from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar during a high-level bilateral visit on Sunday. Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s junior minister for foreign affairs, said Beijing has vowed to work continuously with Dhaka to resolve the Rohingya crisis. ”Our foreign minister strongly reiterated that Chinese cooperation is needed. China has progressed on resolving the Rohingya issue and we need the situation to come to an end,” Mr Alam said. China’s foreign minister Wang Yi was in Dhaka over the weekend, and met prime minister Sheikh Hasina and foreign minister AK Abdul Momen. They discussed bilateral and global issues. Citing Mr Wang, the Mr Alam said Myanmar’s internal challenges were troubling other countries. According to a UN fact-finding mission, Myanmar drove out 730,000 Rohingya from its land into Bangladesh in a military campaign in 2017, which saw “genocidal acts”. Myanmar’s defence and security personnel have been accused of excesses against the community, including mass rapes, arson and killings, forcing them to flee the country. China, Bangladesh’s staunch ally, had brokered an agreement with Myanmar in November 2017 to pave the way for repatriation of the Rohingya Muslim refugees who had fled earlier that year. read the complete article

United States

09 Aug 2022

Lawmaker’s campaign aide, new citizen among 4 Muslims killed in N.M.

The tightknit Muslim community in Albuquerque was rocked by the killings of two Muslim men within a week’s span of each other this summer. After funerals were held Friday for the two men, “we thought, okay, we’re going to catch a little breather,” said Tahir Gauba, director of public affairs at the Islamic Center of New Mexico. But later that night, another Muslim man from the community became the latest victim in a string of killings that officials suspect are linked. The most recent victim, Naeem Hussain, had attended the funerals of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, on Friday before heading to the center for a post-service meal, Gauba said in a phone interview. Naeem Hussain, who was in his mid-20s, and the other two men were “regulars” at the Islamic center, Gauba said. As of Sunday, authorities said they had not yet determined a motive for the killings. Albuquerque detectives have “determined there is a connection” between the two earlier killings and suspect that the latest “may be linked,” the police said in a statement on Saturday. Detectives are also probing whether the November killing of Mohammad Ahmadi outside a business he ran with his brother was connected. Gauba said the string of deaths has been “horrific” for the community of about 5,000 Muslims in Albuquerque, a city of more than 560,000. “I’ve been in the United States since ’95,” Gauba said. “I’ve been through 9/11. I’ve been through the Trump era. I’ve never felt this helpless and in fear.” “The lives of Albuquerque Muslims are in danger,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the national deputy director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Whoever is responsible for this horrific, hateful shooting spree must be identified and stopped — now.” read the complete article

09 Aug 2022

The killings of 4 Muslim men across Albuquerque have devastated family and friends — and rattled a community

Sharief Hadi, a halal market and cafe owner, left Afghanistan in the 1980s and settled in the United States for what he thought would be a safer life. But after the murders of four Muslim men in the city in the last few months — including his brother Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi — Hadi's faith in the American dream is shattered. "I thought I was living a dream, but it’s no dream. It's the opposite," Hadi, 73, said in a phone interview Monday. "They took my brother's lovely life. I don't care about my life anymore." The spate of murders across the Albuquerque area has stunned the city and shaken the small, close-knit Muslim community, fueling fears of a racist serial killer on the loose. Albuquerque law enforcement officials believe the killings of 62-year-old Ahmadi, 41-year-old Aftab Hussein, 27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and 25-year-old Naeem Hussain might be linked. Ahmad Assed, the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, a mosque that all four victims attended, said in an interview Monday that he felt "broken" and "devastated," as did many in a community he described as "disheartened." "They feel a certain helplessness, they're in fear," Assed said of Muslim community members. "Their whole world has been flipped upside down." He added: "Everybody is very deflated and eagerly awaiting some response as to why?" Assed said the Islamic Center is the heart of social interactions between community members. In the wake of the killings, many local Muslims have chosen to stay home, where they feel safe and "not take chances to come to the mosque," he said. Hadi, the halal market owner, echoed that comment. He said that Muslim people in the area appear to be too frightened to go outside for fear of being senselessly gunned down. read the complete article

09 Aug 2022

Albuquerque killings send fear through Islamic communities

Authorities on Monday identified the fourth victim in a series of killings of Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as the deaths sent ripples of fear through Islamic communities nationwide. Three of the slayings happened in the last two weeks. Now law enforcement officials are seeking help finding a vehicle believed to be connected to the killings in New Mexico’s largest city. The common elements were the victims’ race and religion, officials said. Few anti-Muslim hate crimes have been recorded in Albuquerque over the last five years, according to FBI data cited by Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism and a professor of criminal justice at California State University at San Bernardino. From 2017 through 2020, there was one anti-Muslim hate crime a year. The highest recent number was in 2016, when Albuquerque police recorded six out of a total of 25 hate crimes. That largely tracks with national trends, which hit the lowest numbers in a decade in 2020, only to increase by 45% in 2021 in a dozen cities and states, Levin said. Albuquerque authorities say they cannot determine if the slayings were hate crimes until they have identified a suspect and a motive. Louis Schlesinger, a forensic psychology professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said bias killings are often perpetrated by a small group of people, typically young white men. A lone perpetrator is rare. “These are basically total losers by every dimension, whether it’s social, economic, psychological, what have you,” he said. “They’re filled with hatred for one reason or another and target a particular group that they see, in their mind, to blame for all their problems in life.” read the complete article

09 Aug 2022

‘Who is next?’ Fear spreads in US Muslim community amid killings

Authorities identified the fourth victim on Monday, and have not ruled out the possibility that the murders of several Muslim men in the city of Albuquerque could be linked. Three of the killings happened in the last week, and authorities have said that the race and religion of the victims were common factors. “Investigators believe Friday’s murder may be connected to three recent murders of Muslim men also from South Asia,” police said. Police have asked residents to help find a vehicle they believe is connected to the killings. “I am angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” Biden said on Twitter on Sunday. “While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ families, and my administration stands strongly with the Muslim community. These hateful attacks have no place in America.” Aneela Abad, general secretary at the Islamic Center of New Mexico, said the community was “completely shocked” by the killings, and Islamic community centres have increased security. Edward Ahmed Mitchell, deputy director of the Muslim civil rights group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has said that Muslim communities in the US will respond to the killings with “vigilance, increased caution, resilience”. read the complete article

09 Aug 2022

Cop's anti-Muslim Facebook posts were free speech, court rules

Posts that a Phoenix, Arizona, police sergeant made on his personal Facebook page denigrating Muslims were protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution even though they were offensive, a U.S. appeals court has ruled in reviving his lawsuit against the city. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Friday that the 11 posts by Juan Hernandez, which he made years before the police department moved to discipline him, touched on matters of public concern and had nothing to do with his job duties. The court reversed a Phoenix federal judge who said that because Hernandez's posts were incendiary and mocked Muslims, they were not protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. One of the 2014 posts stated that most men convicted of rape in England are Muslim and criticized British media for calling convicted rapists "Asian," and another mocked scientific contributions by Muslims. The 9th Circuit said Hernandez's posts, many of which reflected bias against racial or religious minorities, added little value to public discourse and the Phoenix police department may be warranted in disciplining him, but that U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi had thrown out his lawsuit too early. Hernandez had sued Phoenix in 2019, after the police department determined that he should face disciplinary action over the posts but before it actually imposed any. The discipline could range from a one-week suspension to termination, according to filings in the case. read the complete article

United Kingdom

09 Aug 2022

‘Nothing was done’: Labour members call out Starmer’s inaction on racism

The first step to solving any problem is to acknowledge that a problem actually exists. But for Labour leader Keir Starmer, it’s preferable to ignore the issue entirely. After two years and more than 1,000 testimonies, the results of the Forde inquiry into the factious Labour Party landed on 19 July. The damning report highlights the “hierarchy of racism” within the party and exposes serious weaknesses in leadership – from failing to act on members’ concerns, imposing barriers to progression for people from ethnic minorities, and plain bullying. In response, Starmer did what he always does: nothing. “The Forde report isn’t a historical record, as has been suggested,” says Kate Osamor, MP for Edmonton, London since 2015. “It’s an account of problems that currently exist within the party – there’s a hierarchy of racism that still exists.” “I didn’t need a report to tell me that there was a hierarchy of racism in the Labour Party, because I felt it,” Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central, who became the first elected African-Caribbean government minister in 2015, tells gal-dem. “When Keir became leader, I offered to help engage and ensure that BAME members in the party were seen and heard, [but] my offer was rejected because they wanted to do it themselves. "The result is nothing was done,” she says. “What compounds my anger is the fact that these staff members [engaging in racist abuse/comments] remain Labour Party members and some are working in senior positions in the Labour movement.” Within Forde’s conclusion is also the idea that the party “ignores” some forms of racism and discrimination, exemplified in the treatment of MPs Zarah Sultana and Apsana Begum. In an interview, Sultana reflected on the influx of anti-Muslim hate she had been receiving, and criticised the lack of public solidarity extended to her by Starmer, describing it as “hurtful”. Meanwhile, in June, Begum signed off work after facing an alleged “campaign of misogynistic abuse” enacted by her local party – particularly painful as a survivor of domestic abuse. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Aug 2022 Edition


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