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.

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13 Dec 2019

Today in IslamophobiaIn Assam, two people are shot dead by police as protests erupt after the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. As Myanmar’s genocide hearing closes at the Hague, the focus remains on Rohingya still trapped in Myanmar in conditions described by the UN as an ‘ongoing genocide’. In the UK, even as the Tories win a landslide victory, Boris Johnson’s father is criticized for comments on female pilots wearing burqas on an election night TV show. Our recommended read today is by Ishaan Tharoor titled “A bad week for the Nobel Prize.” This, and more, below:


13 Dec 2019

A bad week for the Nobel Prize

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s lonely champion of democracy, had been released from 15 years of house arrest in 2010 as her country’s military regime embarked on reforms and the slow opening up of a former pariah state. “The prize we were working for was a free, secure and just society where our people might be able to realize their full potential,” Suu Kyi told a rapturous crowd by Oslo’s City Hall. “The honor lay in our endeavor. History had given us the opportunity to give our best for a cause in which we believed.” If that moment represented a kind of apogee for Suu Kyi as a global icon, this week marked a nadir. On Wednesday, Suu Kyi took the stand as Myanmar’s top civilian leader before a hearing on war crimes at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. She is the first national leader to appear directly before the court while genocide in Myanmar is still allegedly unfolding. “The former democracy icon and Nobel laureate had maintained an expressionless demeanor in court the previous day, as the tiny West African nation of Gambia spent hours detailing stories of systematic rape, murder and other brutality targeting the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar,” my colleagues reported. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
13 Dec 2019

Opinion | Facebook is Turning a Blind Eye to Users Spreading Anti-Muslim Hate

Facebook has made it clear that if you share or post content that describes certain racial, ethnic or cultural groups using negative stereotypes, racially charged slurs or language that incites violence, then your account will be suspended or removed – but for one notable exception: derogatory content about Muslims. A 2017 investigation by Pro Republica revealed that Facebook had received a complaint for a meme that included the photo of a presumably deceased ISIS militant and the words “the only good Muslim is a f**king dead one”. Facebook declared the photo to be acceptable. “We looked over the photo, and though it doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards, we understand that it may still be offensive to you and others,” it said. If a post that essentially claims all Muslims deserve death doesn’t constitute at least one of Facebook’s seven deadly sins, then I’m not sure what does. It is because the social media giant content moderators agree with the premise? read the complete article

13 Dec 2019

US lawmakers aren’t buying what Beijing is selling about reality of Xinjiang detention camps

As Beijing steps up its defence of its mass internment measures targeting Muslims in China’s far west, one key target of its messaging campaign remains decidedly unconvinced: the US Congress. On Monday, representatives of the government in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region said that all “trainees” in what China calls vocational training centres had “graduated” and found stable employment. Efforts to rebut accusations of a campaign to forcibly bring ethnic minority groups in the region into line have failed to win over foreign governments and international human rights watchdogs. And Uygurs living overseas point to silence from their relatives in Xinjiang as proof they are either still detained or otherwise subjected to limits on their freedom. “The Chinese government’s claim that everyone in Xinjiang’s modern-day concentration camps has ‘graduated’ is a ludicrous attempt to ease or deflect international pressure,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and author of the original legislation on which the current bill is based. read the complete article


13 Dec 2019

‘They will lock us up or just kill us’: Muslims fearful in West Bengal

It was 81 days ago that Kamal Hussain Mondal, a 32-year-old brick factory worker from a remote village in West Bengal, took his own life. He had been a carefree man and attentive father to his two young sons, and was known throughout Soladana village for his devotion to his wife Khayrun Nahar Bibi. The pair had been married for 13 years but she spoke of their “puppy love”. He would feed her with his hands at mealtimes and on Sundays he would take her out on the back of his bicycle, telling others he loved simply riding through the fields together and chatting. “He promised he would look after us for ever,” says Bibi. “But after he heard about NRC, everything changed and he fell into a deep despair. He told me: all Muslims are going to be driven from India now. They will lock us up or just kill us. Just wait and see.” read the complete article

13 Dec 2019

Ayodhya verdict: India top court rejects review pleas by Muslims

India's Supreme Court has dismissed petitions seeking a review of its recent ruling in favour of building a Hindu temple on a disputed site in northern India where a 16th-century mosque was torn down by a Hindu mob in 1992. The petitioners, representing the Muslim litigants, had said they were aggrieved by the court's decision and sought reconsideration of the verdict. A total of 18 petitions were heard by the court. "We have carefully gone through the review petitions and the connected papers filed therewith. We do not find any ground, whatsoever, to entertain the same. The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed," a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said. read the complete article

13 Dec 2019

Indian military deployed and internet shut down as protests rage against citizenship bill

Troops have been deployed to India's ethnically diverse northeastern states of Assam and Tripura, amid violent protests against the passing of a controversial and far-reaching law that offers a path to Indian citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from three neighboring countries. read the complete article

13 Dec 2019

Why has India's Assam erupted over an 'anti-Muslim' law?

Thousands of troops have been deployed, a curfew imposed and internet services suspended, in efforts to quell the mass protests taking place in some areas of the state. There have been pitched battles between police and demonstrators. At least two people have died and seven policemen have been injured in clashes. But the protests in Assam - the first in the country after the bill was passed - have little to do with concerns about the exclusionary nature of the bill and the threat to secularism. They have more to do with indigenous fears about being demographically and culturally swamped by "outsiders". read the complete article

United Kingdom

13 Dec 2019

Stanley Johnson, UK Prime Minister's father, criticized for comments on female pilots wearing burkas

The UK Prime Minister's father has sparked anger with his comments about female fighter pilots and burqas during an appearance on an election night TV show. Speaking on Channel 4's Alternative Election Night show, Stanley Johnson said, "If I was a female fighter jet pilot, I would expect someone to say 'don't wear a burqa.'" Johnson was defending his son, Boris, who faced accusations of Islamophobia after he compared Muslim women in veils to "letter boxes" and "bank robbers" in a newspaper column. The comment caused immediate outrage from both the studio panel and the audience. Panelist and comedian Nish Kumar cried out "What are you talking about man?" as the crowd heckled Johnson. read the complete article

13 Dec 2019

Far-Right terror plot smashed: Man arrested in dawn raid was planning attack inspired by Christchurch massacre, sources say

Officers from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command swooped in a dawn raid on an address in Luton on Wednesday and arrested a Polish man suspected of plotting an atrocity. He is said to have been inspired by the gun rampage on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March. Yesterday sources said the attack on March 15 had influenced an alleged extreme Right-wing plot in the UK, which was said to be in its infancy when it was foiled by police on Wednesday. Last night officers were still questioning a 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of being involved in terrorism. read the complete article


13 Dec 2019

One law, many challenges: How lawyers are trying to overturn Quebec's religious symbols ban

In a 2-1 decision released Thursday afternoon, the Quebec Court of Appeal rejected a request to suspend some sections of the Laicity Act, pending a ruling on the law's constitutionality. The law, widely referred to as Bill 21, bars public school teachers, police officers and government lawyers, among other civil servants, from wearing religious symbols — like hijabs or turbans — while at work. Today's ruling is unlikely to end the legal challenges facing Bill 21. The Appeals Court has only ruled on a request for a temporary stay while Quebec Superior Court takes time to consider the constitutionality of the law itself. The injunction request came from one of four different challenges that have been filed against Bill 21 since it was passed in June. The cases all make different arguments about why the law violates the Constitution and should be struck down. read the complete article


13 Dec 2019

As Myanmar Genocide Hearing Closes, Focus Is on Trapped Rohingya

This week’s dramatic opening in The Hague saw agonizing testimony about the mass slaughter and rape of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s military and local mobs, followed by strenuous denials from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who is Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader, that there had been any orchestrated persecution of the Muslim minority. But the three days of hearings, which ended on Thursday, had a narrower objective than deciding whether Myanmar’s treatment of the mostly stateless minority group constitutes the gravest of international crimes. A determination of whether Myanmar, a mostly Buddhist country, is guilty of acting with genocidal intent could take years to make. The point of this week’s legal proceedings, instead, was to determine whether judges need to issue an emergency order to protect the Rohingya still in Myanmar from what United Nations investigators say is an ongoing genocidal campaign. The judges said on Thursday that they would issue a decision as soon as possible. read the complete article


China accuses US of double standards on anti-Muslim bigotry, counterterrorism

“Muslims have all along been the most discriminated group in the U.S.,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a news conference this week. Hua's comments were a response to calls from U.S. lawmakers and officials for the country to close its extensive network of Uighur detention camps. Hua dismissed those concerns during China’s Foreign Ministry daily news conference Tuesday. “Certain people in the U.S. show unusual concern over Uighurs in China's Xinjiang, but they seem to forget that the United States is the only country that issued a Muslim ban," she said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Dec 2019 Edition


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