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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12 Dec 2019

Today in Islamophobia:  In India, the Indian Union Muslim League party challenges the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Supreme Court, whereas in China, new research reveals the extent of forced labor as Uighur Muslims released from detention centers are moved into factories. Questions arise regarding Youtube’s new anti-harassment policy and whether it will protect Muslims, as the UK’s Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) organization joins calls for an official inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. Our recommended read today is by Wai Wai Nu, an activist and former political prisoner speaking on Myanmar’s genocide against the Rohingya people  This, and more, below:


12 Dec 2019

Recommended Read | 'The World Has Not Forgotten Us.' A Rohingya Activist Speaks as Myanmar Faces Genocide Case

Being at The Hague this week is very painful and very emotional. It’s painful to see the person we regard as a leader, as a democracy icon and as a peace champion to stand there and defend the military and their crimes, while undermining the suffering of the people, undermining the tragedy and violence and denying our existence. I’m very hopeful that this will lead to the actual justice processes. Many of us within Myanmar and outside Myanmar who work on human rights, peace and justice, and the Rohingya from all over the world are very excited to see this. This is the first time that we have gotten a chance to open up and discuss openly, to acknowledge the suffering and to have the chance to listen to everything together. This process may take a long time, but this is an opening and this is the beginning. read the complete article

Recommended Read
12 Dec 2019

Myanmar's Rohingya say 'world will judge' Suu Kyi's denial of genocide

Rohingya refugees have hit back at Aung San Suu Kyi’s claims at the international court of justice in testimony on Wednesday after she denied that Myanmar’s armed forces were guilty of genocide against the Muslim minority. Suu Kyi told the court that the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to neighbouring Bangladesh was the unfortunate result of a battle with insurgents. She denied the army had killed civilians, raped women and torched houses in 2017. Critics describe the actions by the army as a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee. “The world will judge their claim of no genocide with evidence,” said a Rohingya leader, Mohammed Mohibullah, who is chairman of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights. “A thief never admits he is a thief, but justice can be delivered through evidence. The world has obtained evidence from us,” he said at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district. “Even if Suu Kyi lies, she won’t be spared. She will certainly face justice. The world should take steps against her,” he said. read the complete article


12 Dec 2019

Citizenship Amendment Bill: 'Anti-Muslim' law challenged in India court

A bill that grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The Indian Union Muslim League, a political party, has petitioned the court to declare the bill illegal. In their petition to the Supreme Court, the Indian Union Muslim League argued that the bill violated articles of equality, fundamental rights and the right to life. Critics say the bill is against Muslims, but the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has defended it. The BJP says the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) will give sanctuary to people fleeing religious persecution. read the complete article

12 Dec 2019

India's Parliament approves contentious citizenship bill

India's Parliament has approved a controversial citizenship bill that grants citizenship to minorities facing persecution from three neighbouring countries - but excludes Muslims. The bill brings sweeping changes to India's 64-year-old citizenship law by giving citizenship to "persecuted" minorities - Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians - from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But critics say the legislation put forward by the Hindu nationalist ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) undermines the country's secular constitution, with opposition parties, minority groups, academics and a US federal panel calling it discriminatory against Muslims. read the complete article

12 Dec 2019

Protesters burn copies of 'anti-Muslim' India citizenship bill

Protesters in New Delhi have set fire to copies of a controversial citizenship bill, claiming it is discriminatory and unconstitutional. The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), now being debated by the upper house of parliament, offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries. Opponents of the legislation say it violates India's secular principles. read the complete article


12 Dec 2019

The role of AI in China’s crackdown on Uighurs

In the wake of the leaks, IJOP, an “integrated joint operations platform”, has been described as a form of “predictive” policing that uses “big data” and artificial intelligence. Yet while AI does aid the inputting of data — through tools such as facial-recognition cameras — there is no evidence so far that it is used by the IJOP to form decisions about individuals. In associating China’s repression in Xinjiang with sophisticated, AI-driven policing models, we may be assuming too much. The IJOP’s technology is at root driven by political objectives that are blunt and indiscriminate. As Edward Schwarck, a PhD student researching Chinese public security at the University of Oxford, says: “Calling it intelligence-led or predictive policing draws attention away from the fact that what is happening in Xinjiang is not about policing at all, but a form of social engineering.” China has high ambitions for the use of big data in national security and set up a series of labs, starting in Xinjiang’s Urumqi, to research the topic. But officers lament that their systems are a mess. Crimes such as political dissent are so loosely interpreted that one may never be able to predict them precisely. The stated intention for the government’s security clampdown is to prevent terrorism and separatism. For the IJOP to incorporate an AI model that spots terrorists, humans would have to decide what counts as a terrorist, feed examples of terrorists into the IJOP’s AI model, and then ask the platform to find matches of people with similar characteristics. read the complete article

12 Dec 2019

Xinjiang’s New Slavery

Since spring 2017, the Chinese government has placed vast numbers of Turkic minorities into internment camps, which it refers to as “reeducation camps,” in the northwestern Xinjiang region. This March, it claimed that these supposed students would gradually be released into work placements. Data such as this supports this claim, but not in the way that the government is trying to sell it. Rather, it is part of a rapidly growing set of evidence for how Beijing’s long-term strategy to subdue its northwestern minorities is predicated upon a perverse and intrusive combination of coercive labor, intergenerational separation, and complete social control. In Xinjiang, state-mandated poverty alleviation goes along with different forms of involuntary labor placements. Under the banner of “industry-driven poverty alleviation,” minorities are being torn away from their own jobs and families. Just as brainwashing is masked as “job training,” forced labor is concealed behind the euphemistic facade of “poverty alleviation.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

12 Dec 2019

A New Poll Found 37% Of Conservative Voters Admit They Have A Negative View Of Muslims

More than a third of Conservative voters admit they have a negative view of Muslims, according to a new poll that lays bare the scale of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Britain ahead of Thursday’s general election. Conservative voters were also much more likely to say they agreed with the statement that Islam threatens the British way of life — 62% compared to 45% of the general public and 35% of Labour voters. And 55% of Tory supporters agreed that there should be a reduction in the number of Muslims entering Britain, while 41% of the wider public and 33% of Labour voters backed that statement. read the complete article

12 Dec 2019

British Muslim advocacy group urges official inquiry into Conservative Islamophobia

Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), an organisation that promotes Muslim involvement in politics and society, has criticised the lack of action taken over anti-Muslim attitudes in the party, as a new poll found that 62 percent of Conservative voters believed that Islam "threatens the British way of life". In a letter addressed to EHRC chairman David Isaac, MEND said they had attached a report which detailed "over 120 instances of Islamophobia emanating from Conservative members of Parliament, councillors, and party candidates over the past five years". "Over recent months, numerous organisations and individuals, including ourselves, have consistently called for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. These calls have not been heeded, but rather have largely been ignored by the Conservative leadership," said the letter. MEND called on the EHRC to "use its statutory powers to initiate an immediate inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party". read the complete article

12 Dec 2019

Researchers asked 2,500 Jewish and Muslim people what they find offensive – here’s what they said

In the run-up to the 2019 general election, the main political parties have repeatedly accused each other of antisemitism and Islamophobia. Away from politics, there are widespread concerns about prejudice targeting Jews and Muslims. But the narratives are often simplistic and without supporting data. We hear much from politicians, community leaders and experts. We hear far less from “everyday” people and know relatively little about what Jewish and Muslim members of the public are likely to find offensive. A recent study, published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, is the first known study to compare antisemitism and Islamophobia using statistics and found varying levels of sensitivity towards antisemitism and Islamophobia among British Jewish and Muslim communities. The study offers a rare insight into the sensitivities of “everyday” people within both communities. Jewish respondents and Muslim respondents who knew how to “diagnose” the statements differed in their sensitivity towards them. The most offensive anti-Jewish statement was the statement about the Holocaust: 96% of Jews considered it antisemitic. Other statements were perceived as antisemitic by between 82% and 94% of Jews – large absolute majorities. Description of Israelis as being Nazi-like towards the Palestinians was seen as antisemitic by the smallest absolute majority of Jews, 73%. In stark contrast, none of the statements about attitudes towards Muslims were seen as Islamophobic by a majority of Muslim respondents. read the complete article

12 Dec 2019

Boris Johnson wants to destroy the Britain I love. I cannot vote Conservative

The Conservativism I understand is about public duty, generosity, the instinct to conserve what is good in our society; the importance of the rule of law and of institutions; suspicion of leaps in the dark. I am thinking of the Conservatism of Burke, Lord Salisbury, Oakeshott. Johnson has become the leader of a project – his adviser Dominic Cummings is an important part of this – to destroy Conservatism. This is why during his brief term as prime minister Boris Johnson has attacked parliament, mocked the rule of law, abused the monarchy, and shown a total disregard for the truth. I don’t deny the dreadful actions of some members of his party, but I’m not aware of evidence of Corbyn using derogatory language about Jewish people in the way that Boris Johnson routinely has against black people, gay people and Muslims. Imagine the collective denunciations of Corbyn had he been guilty of the racist and homophobic remarks attributable to Johnson: phrases such as “piccanninies”, “watermelon smiles” and “bumboys”. There’s a double standard here. Johnson has not shown the slightest appetite to deal with the virulent Islamophobia that poisons the Conservative party. The mainstream press in Britain has practically ignored this issue. That’s because most British newspapers are themselves Islamophobic. Johnson’s claim that his party has “zero tolerance” for Islamophobia is yet another of the cynical lies that have been the defining feature of his political campaign. read the complete article


12 Dec 2019

Will Muslims be protected under YouTube's new anti-harassment policy?

In an announcement on Wednesday, YouTube said it was tightening rules regarding what it considers to be offensive, and will ban videos that "maliciously insult" anyone based on race, gender or sexual orientation. Muslim Advocates, a rights group based in Washington, said while it welcomed the announcement, YouTube's anti-harassment policy should also include protections for Muslims. "They were saying that they were going to be committed to cracking down on content that promotes discriminatory theories against a protected class," Madihha Ahussain, the special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry at Muslim Advocates, told Middle East Eye. "So that would mean, for example, discriminatory or anti-Muslim theories against individuals that identify as Muslim." In a blog post on Wednesday, YouTube said it was "tightening our policies for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to get even tougher on those who engage in harassing behaviour and to ensure we reward only trusted creators." Still, according to videos seen by Middle East Eye, several that espoused both hate speech and discrimination against Muslims were readily available. MEE reached out to YouTube for comment, but had yet to receive a response at the time of publication. read the complete article

United States

12 Dec 2019

An American Runner's Dream Temporarily Derailed by Her Hijab

Noor Alexandria Abukaram, a 16-year-old runner living in the U.S. state of Ohio, was recently disqualified from a race because she wore a hijab. Now, Abukaram is fighting to get the rules changed. VOA's Mohammad Jafar Haand visited the runner in her hometown and filed this report. read the complete article

12 Dec 2019

Video | Man set fire to Parkchester mosque on same day of Jersey City shooting

Members of a Parkchester mosque are in shock after a man was caught on camera setting a fire outside the house of worship Tuesday night. That suspect is still on the loose. The incident took place at the Bangla Bazar Jame Masjid mosque after morning prayer, the most sacred part of their day. Security video shows a man taking a garbage can that's located outside the mosque and then using what appears to be a lighter to set the container on fire. In the video, the suspect is seen partially removing the banner and placing it onto the burning garbage. Members believe he did this so that the fire could spread to the porch. Mohammad Abu, a member of the mosque, spotted the flames and put them out before they could spread. "I asked him why did you set this fire? He didn't say anything, he just walked off," said Abu. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 12 Dec 2019 Edition


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