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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10 Dec 2019

Today in Islamophobia: A new Citizenship bill approved in India is met with protests, while Tory candidates in the UK are accused of using social media to spread Islamophobia. Our recommended read today is an interview from the New York Times on a mother’s experience in the camps in Xinjiang. This, and more, below:


10 Dec 2019

Recommended Read | A Woman’s Journey Through China’s Detention Camps

For the past year, my colleague Paul Mozur has been investigating the story of a son determined to free his mother from a repressive system of detention and surveillance in western China. Today, we hear from the mother herself for the first time. Paul Mozur: Right, so she’s in her house, but she’s being monitored at all times. There’s cameras and checkpoints just outside. You have local government officials and police checking in on her on a daily basis when she talks to her family. They’re monitoring what she says, so she has to parrot this sort of propaganda. And meanwhile, her health deteriorated severely in the camps. When she came home, Ferkat actually thought she might be on her deathbed. So that’s the world she’s living in at this moment. Paul Mozur: He doesn’t really know how she actually is. He doesn’t know her state of mind. He doesn’t know how bad her health is. And I think most importantly, he doesn’t understand what happened to her, because there’s just no ability to speak honestly about the past couple of years. read the complete article

Recommended Read
10 Dec 2019

Facing Criticism Over Muslim Camps, China Says: What’s The Problem?

On Twitter and YouTube, with slick videos and strident editorials, the Chinese government has gone on the offensive to reject mounting evidence that it is detaining Muslims in droves, depicting its critics as players in a Western conspiracy. China’s aggressive media campaign comes after exposés published by The New York Times and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists about the government’s drive to detain a million or more members of largely Muslim minority groups in indoctrination camps. The reports, which used leaked official documents to reveal the coercive workings of the camps in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, sharpened international criticism of China’s ruling Communist Party. The pushback from China has escalated in recent days after the United States House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly supported a bill that could impose sanctions on Chinese officials overseeing the internment drive. Chinese officials have accused Western lawmakers, experts and news outlets of maligning the government’s policies and stirring ethnic discord in Xinjiang. read the complete article

10 Dec 2019

China's Uyghur Detainees Have 'Graduated' And Have The 'Freedom To Come And Go', Xinjiang Governor Says

People held in detention camps in China's far-north-western territory of Xinjiang have "graduated" and will have the "freedom to come and go", the territory's governor says. China has claimed these detention camps are simply vocational training centres and Xinjiang's Governor, Shohrat Zakir, told reporters in Beijing on Monday that detainee estimates published in foreign media were "pure fabrication", without giving details. "The US is getting restless and has launched a smear campaign against Xinjiang," Mr Zakir added. "But no force can stop Xinjiang's progress toward stability and development." Mr Zakir said the bill was "a severe violation of international law and gross interference in China's internal affairs." read the complete article


10 Dec 2019

India Takes Step Toward Blocking Naturalization for Muslims

India took a major step toward the official marginalization of Muslims on Tuesday as one house of Parliament passed a bill that would establish a religious test for migrants who want to become citizens, solidifying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist agenda. The measure would give migrants of all of South Asia’s major religions a clear path to Indian citizenship — except Islam. It is the most significant move yet to profoundly alter India’s secular nature enshrined by its founding leaders when the country gained independence in 1947. read the complete article

10 Dec 2019

North-east India gripped by protests over citizenship bill excluding Muslims

Protesters in north-east India have set fire to tyres and cut down trees to block roads in a shutdown across the region hours after lawmakers approved the government’s new citizenship bill. The legislation, set to go before the upper house on Wednesday, will fast-track citizenship claims from refugees from three neighbouring countries - but not if they are Muslim. Islamic groups, the opposition, rights groups and others have said this fits into the Hindu nationalist agenda of the prime minister, Narendra Modi. They say he wants to marginalise India’s 200 million Muslims, something he denies. read the complete article

10 Dec 2019

India’s crackdown hits religious freedom in disputed Kashmir

For nearly four months now, the voice that would call out five times a day from the minarets of the Jamia Masjid and echo across Srinagar has been silent, a result of India’s ongoing security operations in this Muslim-majority region. “The mosque closure is a relentless agony for me and my family,” Jan said. “I can’t tolerate it, but I am helpless.” Already one of the most militarized places in the world, last summer India began pouring more troops into its side of Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety. It implemented a security lockdown in which it pressed harsh curbs on civil rights, arrested thousands of people, blocked internet and phone service, and shuttered important mosques. read the complete article

United Kingdom

10 Dec 2019

Tory candidate shared tweet claiming Muslims have 'nasty culture

A Conservative general election candidate shared a message on social media claiming Muslims play the “race card” and have a “nasty culture”, in the latest escalation of concern over Islamophobia in the party. The former BBC journalist Linden Kemkaran, who is standing for the Conservatives in Labour-held Bradford East, retweeted a user on Twitter last week who dismissed Islamophobia as nonsense – describing it as a “crock”. She retweeted two others who accused the shadow minister for women and equalities, Naz Shah, who is standing in the neighbouring constituency, of being “not white enough” to have experienced Bradford’s “no-go areas” and claimed that the prospective MP’s loyalties did not lie in the city. Kemkaran also liked a post labelling Shah – who is British-born and of Pakistani heritage – a “Pakideshi” who pushes the “doggy-do-do Muslim narrative”. read the complete article

10 Dec 2019

Largest Muslim group says BBC has ‘failed to sufficiently report’ on Tory Islamophobia

In a letter to director general Tony Hall, the Muslim Council or Britain says the corporation has failed to be ‘impartial and consistent in its coverage on similar issues’. It goes on to tell the broadcaster to give racism against Muslims ‘equal importance’. Signed by the council’s secretary General Harun Khan, claims there is Islamophobia not just across society but at ‘every level of the Conservative party. The letter says: ‘Religious hate crime in England and Wales rose by 40% to its highest level in 2017-18, with more than half of all religiously-motivated attacks being directed at Muslims. read the complete article

United States

10 Dec 2019

US senators urge Trump to sack 'Muslim ban' advocate Stephen Miller

Senior Democratic senators are calling for US President Donald Trump to fire White House adviser and "Muslim ban" advocate Stephen Miller, who they say has used his position inside the Trump administration "to advance white supremacist, anti-immigrant ideologies". Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate groups, released a series of emails that showed how Miller promoted anti-Muslim sentiment and conspiracy theories to call for stricter US immigration policies. The emails were sent to far-right website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016. On Monday, 26 US senators sent a letter to the president calling for Miller's "immediate removal" from his position at the White House. "Mr Miller's demonstrable white nationalist ideology has directly translated into your administration's policies, which have been widely criticised for systematically targeting communities of color," the senators wrote. "The Muslim ban targeted individuals of color and caused chaos at US airports around the country, wreaking havoc on the lives of countless individuals and families." read the complete article

10 Dec 2019

'Racist' Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Threatens to Kick Muslim Woman off Plane

Mehdi Hasan, a British journalist based in the US, said his wife was “in tears” after a Southwest Airlines flight attendant told her she’d be escorted off the plane for asking if another passenger would be willing to swap seats. He claimed the incident, which occurred during a flight from Houston and Washington DC on 1 December, was racially motivated. “Hey @SouthwestAir: not a good look for your flight attendant on SW5539 to DC last night to loudly tell a brown woman in a headscarf she’ll be ‘escorted off the plane’ for making people feel ‘uncomfortable’ – because she wanted to sit with her husband and kids,” Mr Hasan tweeted in a Twitter thread that quickly went viral. “The flight attendant called ground staff onto the plane, complained about the Muslim woman – my wife! – to them, and escalated rather than de-escalated the situation – simply because my wife politely asked a guy if he’d give up his seat for our family (which he was fine with!).” read the complete article


10 Dec 2019

Rape Is Not A By-Product Of Conflict In Myanmar – It Is A Strategy Of It

Armed with pistols and machetes, Burmese soldiers stormed into Amina’s home, killing her husband with a bullet to the head. When her two-month-old son began crying, one soldier seized the child and dashed him against a wall. “My heart shattered into a thousand pieces,” Amina wept. Two soldiers then held her down as a third raped her. When she screamed, they choked her. “When they turned my head to the side,” she said, “I saw my son’s lifeless body lying there on the ground.” In the past few years of reporting on the Rohingya crisis, I’ve met hundreds of Rohingya women like Amina. From schoolgirls to grandmothers, nearly every one has shared eerily similar, deeply harrowing stories of what they’ve endured at the hands of the Burmese military: of being forced to strip naked and herded into huts like cattle; of being handpicked and dragged away for rape at gunpoint; of discovering the mutilated bodies of their mothers, sisters, friends floating in muddy ravines. It takes profound bravery to speak of the unspeakable. As eight-year-old Maryam told me how she was taken into a classroom and gang-raped by soldiers, I couldn’t help but cry. “Should I stop?” she asked. “Please continue,” I replied, as tears stained my notebook. Before I left, her mother said to me: “We don’t need sympathy. We want justice.” Tomorrow, Myanmar’s state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will appear at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s highest, to defend Myanmar against the charge of genocide. Since rape has been central to Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya, it must be placed at the heart of the case. If it is, this will be the first time that rape will be prosecuted as genocide at the International Criminal Court. This has the potential to enhance feminist international law and strengthen justice and accountability in future cases of war-time rape. read the complete article

Content Warning
10 Dec 2019

Myanmar's De Facto Leader To Appear At The Hague

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi will appear before the International Court of Justice in The Hague this week. She's headed there to defend her country against charges of genocide against the Muslim minority Rohingya. Seven-hundred thousand refugees fled a brutal crackdown by Myanmar's military in 2017. Reporter Michael Sullivan has more. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Dec 2019 Edition


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