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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02 Dec 2019

Today in Islamophobia: UK Prime Minister Borris Johnson makes Islamophobic comments, as the Green Party scapegoats the British Muslim community with the support of banning halal slaughter in the country. Our recommended read today is on the growing ‘Han nationalist’ ideology in China that praises Donald Trump. This and more below:




02 Dec 2019

Recommended Read: Meet the Trump Supporters of China

Growing up in the volatile Xinjiang province, Liu Jì was taught that the Han were wealthier than the region’s Muslim Uighur minority because they were more industrious workers. Like many Han, Liu resented the Uighurs and blamed them for violence and rioting — even though independent experts have found that currently more than 1 million Uighurs are locked up in internment camps. After graduating from Xinjiang University and traveling as an engineer through the Uighur-populated southern part of the province, the focus of Liu’s blame shifted to the Chinese government. Globally, Beijing is known for its crackdowns on Tibetans and Uighurs, but from Liu’s perspective, the government panders to minorities through the subsidies and other benefits it offers them. “The Uighurs will play with fire and burn themselves … and without the Han as the main nationality, China would instantly disappear,” Liu says. Now 29 years old and commuting to an advertising job in Beijing from a nearby suburb, Liu is among a growing number of Chinese millennials who have embraced a radical nationalist ideology. They identify themselves as “Han nationalists” on popular Chinese social media platforms Zhihu, Weibo and WeChat. Their anxieties include the discriminatory treatment of the Han people and low Han fertility rates. They believe German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruined Europe. But core to their beliefs is another, unlikely recurrent theme: that Donald Trump is a visionary leader. And they call their liberal, politically correct critics in the West Báizuǒ — a mocking term that translates to “White left.” read the complete article

Recommended Read
02 Dec 2019

Huawei providing surveillance tech to China’s Xinjiang authorities, report finds

Chinese technology giant Huawei has provided sophisticated computing and big data services to authorities in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang region, where officials have ordered the construction of an extensive network of digital surveillance and control even as large numbers of Muslims remain locked inside prison-like centres for political indoctrination and skills training. In June, Huawei’s global cybersecurity and privacy officer, John Suffolk, said the company does not directly do business with security services in Xinjiang, saying it works only with third-party contractors. “We stay in the commercial space,” he said. But considerable evidence suggests otherwise, underscoring Huawei’s role as a provider of technology for a powerful state monitoring apparatus that authorities say is designed to stamp out radicalization. read the complete article

02 Dec 2019

What can the Muslim world do to save the Uighurs and Islam in China?

I arrived in Urumqi on Aug. 16. From Aug. 17 to Aug. 19, we attended several lectures by Communist Party officials regarding the history, religion and human rights practices in Xinjiang. In these sessions, Chinese officials like Xu Guixiang and Ma Pinyan delivered the white paper on Xinjiang, issued by the Chinese government. In these lectures we were told that the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims were migrants in this region, Islam was forcefully imposed by the Arabs and Turks, and Xinjiang has always been part of China. During our stay, we visited the Museum of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in Urumqi, the Aksu Museum and the Kashgar Museum. In these museums, the Chinese government is delivering the same message from the white paper: Xinjiang has historically been Chinese, the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims are migrants, Islam is a foreign religion and it was imposed by force on the Uighurs. On top of that, the Chinese were showing to the visitors that Islam was causing much trouble in Xinjiang since it was a source of extremism and terrorism. To fight that, the government of China had built some "Vocational Education and Training Centers" where the extremists were being deradicalized. On Aug. 20, our hosts sent us to the city of Aksu to visit the Onsu County Vocational Skills Training Center. Here we were supposed to meet the "extremists and terrorists" whom China was "deradicalizing." read the complete article

United Kingdom

02 Dec 2019

Given Britain’s history it’s no surprise that racism still infects our politics

In 1955, Winston Churchill told his cabinet he wanted to fight the general election on the slogan: “Keep England White.” In 1964, in Smethwick, West Midlands, a Tory candidate bucked the national trend to win with a campaign slogan: “If you want a n***** for a neighbour vote Labour.” In 1968, Enoch Powell warned there would “rivers of blood” if non-white immigration were not halted. In 1978, Margaret Thatcher referred to Britain being “swamped by people with a different culture” – a phrase repeated by David Blunkett in 2002 in reference to asylum seekers’ children in schools. In 2009, the British National party won two seats in the European parliament. In 2014, Nigel Farage, then the leader of Ukip, said “the basic principle” of Powell’s rivers of blood speech was “correct”: his party topped the poll in the European elections later that year. The current prime minister has refused to apologise for referring to black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” and Muslim women as letterboxes. A single black MP, Diane Abbott, receives half of all the online abuse sent to female MPs. Racism is not new to British politics. How could it be? As a nation built, in no small part, on slavery and colonialism, it has long infected our culture and institutions. And since politics emerges from that culture, is embedded in those institutions and involves distributing resources and power, it could never be immune. It is not just a matter of individuals with bad ideas, but a system of oppression that does bad things. All parties navigate it – you can’t be on the ballot and not be in society. read the complete article

02 Dec 2019

Boris Johnson refuses to apologise for racist 'burka' comments

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to offer an outright apology for Islamophobic comments he made in 2018, which led to a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes. On Friday morning, as he fielded questions from listeners on LBC radio station in London, he said: "When I write this stuff, I never set out to cause pain or hurt. I really do want to make sure that everybody feels that they are valued, that they face no prejudice, that they face no discrimination. "You just need to go back and look at the context. So much of this stuff is disinterred with a view to distracting from the basic issues of this election." read the complete article

02 Dec 2019

Antisemites to the left, Islamophobes to the right … election misery continues

This election has definitely been the most depressing I have ever covered. Both for the quality of debate and the wilful disregard for the truth by politicians from all parties. Yet today marked a new low in the campaign. It began with the chief rabbi attacking Labour for the poison of antisemitism within the party and saying he feared for the moral compass of the country if Jeremy Corbyn won the election. What was so obviously needed was for the leader of the Labour party to apologise for not having done more and to promise to be more transparent in dealing with cases of antisemitic behaviour. But Corbyn just could not bring himself to say sorry. Presumably because he isn’t. Later that day, shortly after the Muslim Council of Britain had condemned the Conservative party for institutional Islamophobia, I went to a speech in Bolton where Sajid Javid, the Muslim-born chancellor, initially claimed that no one in the Tory party leadership had ever been been accused of Islamophobia. It was gently pointed out to him that Boris Johnson had indeed been accused of exactly this, but Javid was unable on seven separate occasions to say whether he condemned the prime minister or would himself be happy calling Muslim women letterboxes. He also professed to be not bothered that the independent inquiry into Islamophobia that he had insisted every candidate sign up to in the leadership debate was going to be watered down into a general inquiry into racism. It was abject. Antisemites to the left, Islamophobes to the right. Take your pick. read the complete article

02 Dec 2019

Green Party accused of 'Muslim-bashing' after co-leader says he would ban halal slaughter

The Green Party have been accused of "Muslim bashing" after co-leader Jonathan Bartley said he supported banning halal slaughter. Birmingham candidate Khalid Mahmood (Lab), who is defending the seat of Perry Barr, said: "This is nothing to do with the green agenda. This is purely to do with scapegoating the Muslim community. "Every party now wants to jump on the band-wagon of Muslim bashing and this exactly what they are doing." Mr Bartley was asked during the radio interview whether he supported banning halal slaughter. He said: "I think yes. I'm afraid I have to be honest about it. "When we are talking about care for animals and animal sentience, we are the strongest party on animal rights and I don't think religious observance should ever trump our care for the planet, our care for sentient animals." read the complete article


02 Dec 2019

Germany's far-right AfD picks new leaders amid protests

The election of Tino Chrupalla, a legislator from Saxony on Saturday, is a tribute to former Communist eastern states where the AfD has made big gains in three elections this year. He will lead Germany's largest opposition party with Joerg Meuthen, an economics professor from the industrial southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, who serves as a European Parliament legislator. The AfD is the biggest opposition party in the Bundestag national parliament, which it entered for the first time in 2017, propelled by voters angry at conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision in 2015 to admit almost one million mainly Muslim asylum seekers. Merkel's conservatives have said they cannot work with the AfD, saying its anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic rhetoric contributes to an atmosphere of hate that encourages political violence. read the complete article

United States

02 Dec 2019

Ilhan Omar's opponent banned from Twitter after suggesting congresswoman should be hanged

Danielle Stella, a candidate hoping to challenge Omar for her Minnesota seat in the 2020 election, tweeted earlier this week, "If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged." The post that followed included a crude drawing of a body hanging from gallows with a link to a right-wing website on her belief that Omar should be hanged if a conspiracy that Omar provided sensitive intelligence to Qatar and Iran were true. NBC News has found no evidence that support this claim, but Stella is also a known purveyor of the far-right fringe QAnon conspiracy theory. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed on Saturday that Stella had been permanently banned from the platform but did not specify why. read the complete article


02 Dec 2019

Blood and Soil in Narendra Modi’s India

A week earlier, Modi’s government had announced that it was suspending Article 370 of the constitution, which grants autonomy to Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state. The provision, written to help preserve the state’s religious and ethnic identity, largely prohibits members of India’s Hindu majority from settling there. Modi, who rose to power trailed by allegations of encouraging anti-Muslim bigotry, said that the decision would help Kashmiris, by spurring development and discouraging a long-standing guerrilla insurgency. To insure a smooth reception, Modi had flooded Kashmir with troops and detained hundreds of prominent Muslims—a move that Republic TV described by saying that “the leaders who would have created trouble” had been placed in “government guesthouses.” The change in Kashmir upended more than half a century of careful politics, but the Indian press reacted with nearly uniform approval. Ever since Modi was first elected Prime Minister, in 2014, he has been recasting the story of India, from that of a secular democracy accommodating a uniquely diverse population to that of a Hindu nation that dominates its minorities, especially the country’s two hundred million Muslims. Modi and his allies have squeezed, bullied, and smothered the press into endorsing what they call the “New India.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Dec 2019 Edition


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