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 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, congresswoman Ilhan Omar played a harrowing death threat left recently on her voicemail, as she implored House Republican leaders to do more to tamp down “anti-Muslim hatred” in their ranks and “hold those who perpetuate it accountable,” meanwhile in Bangladesh, dozens of Rohingya refugees sent to a remote and flood-prone Bangladesh island have been allowed to visit relatives for the first time since their relocations began two years ago, and in Canada, the Muslim Association of Canada launched a set of online resources aimed at combating Islamophobia in schools. Our recommended read of the day is by the Denver Post Editorial Board, the home paper of Rep. Lauren Boebert, which apologized for Boebert’s anti-Muslim remarks targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar, noting that “Boebert is intentionally using her platform to peddle a gross and false narrative about Muslim Americans.” This and more below:

United States

02 Dec 2021

Editorial: Since Boebert seems incapable, we’ll apologize to Omar for her | Recommended Read

The Denver Post editorial board has mostly tried to ignore U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s antics because they add so little to the public discourse. But last week, Boebert crossed a line and now we must stand up for common decency. Boebert is intentionally using her platform to peddle a gross and false narrative about Muslim Americans. We cannot fathom what evil intent drives this behavior, but after first apologizing, Boebert now has made matters worse. Making a joke about suicide bombers and suggesting that a congresswoman is a threat to safety and security because she is a Muslim is both racist and a form of religious bigotry. Boebert did apologize to “anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar,” and she pledged to call Omar directly, however, Boebert reported in a strange video on Monday that that phone call went poorly, and it’s no wonder given that she prefaces the conversation by once again raising the specter of concern about Omar and threats to American security. Rep. Ilhan Omar deserved nothing short of a full apology. Instead, Boebert used the phone call as a publicity stunt and further insulted Omar. Boebert is clearly incapable of remorse or reflection, so as her fellow Coloradans — a beautiful place of tolerance and respect, diversity and freedom — we will help her. read the complete article

02 Dec 2021

Rep. Lauren Boebert's comments about Islam, Rep. Ilhan Omar and terrorism explained

Omar called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and McCarthyto "take appropriate action" after Boebert directed Islamophobic comments toward her during a campaign event in November. The congresswoman called the Minnesota lawmaker "Jihad squad" and insinuated she was a terrorist in a video posted to Twitter by extremist watchdog PatriotTakes. Omar, who is Muslim, is the first Somali American elected to Congress. In a response to the video, Omar denied the interaction ever happened, adding "Fact, this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol." "Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny & shouldn’t be normalized," Omar tweeted last Thursday. "Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation." In a statement Friday, Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders called on Boebert "to fully retract these comments and refrain from making similar ones going forward." They also called out House Republican leadership's "repeated failure to condemn inflammatory and bigoted rhetoric from members of their conference." After accusations of Islamophobia from other members of Congress, Boebert apologized Friday "to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar." Omar and Boebert did speak by phone Monday, but no apology was given, according to a statement released by Omar. "Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments. She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call," she wrote. Boebert said she instead told Omar to make a public apology to the American people for her "anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric." read the complete article

02 Dec 2021

Ilhan Omar airs death threat and presses Republicans on ‘anti-Muslim hatred’

The US politician Ilhan Omar played a harrowing death threat left recently on her voicemail, as she implored House Republican leaders to do more to tamp down “anti-Muslim hatred” in their ranks and “hold those who perpetuate it accountable”. The Democratic Minnesota representative, one of only a handful of Muslim members of Congress, has been the subject of repeated attacks by conservative pundits and some Republicans in Congress, which she says have led to an increase in the number of death threats she receives. Recently a video of the first-term Colorado representative Lauren Boebert calling Omar a member of the “jihad squad” and likening her to a bomb-carrying terrorist went viral. “When a sitting member of Congress calls a colleague a member of the ‘jihad squad’ and falsifies a story to suggest I will blow up the Capitol, it is not just an attack on me but on millions of American Muslims across the country,” Omar said during a news conference on Tuesday. “We cannot pretend this hate speech from leading politicians doesn’t have real consequences.” She then played the voicemail, laden with profanity, racial epithets and a threat to “take you off the face of this fucking Earth”, which she said was among hundreds of such messages she has reported since joining Congress. Omar said the voicemail was left for her after Boebert released another video on Monday criticising her. In the grainy recording, a man can be heard saying: “You will not be living much longer, bitch,” and that “we the people are rising up”. He calls Omar a “traitor” and says she will stand trial before a military tribunal. read the complete article

02 Dec 2021

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Ilhan Omar on Islamophobia

While facing new death threats on the heels of Islamophbic comments by Rep. Lauren Boebert, Rep. Ilhan Omar joins Mehdi in her first interview since it all went down. read the complete article

02 Dec 2021

Lauren Boebert Is Inciting Violence Against Muslims. This Can't Be Tolerated.

When Democrats in Congress voted to censure Gosar — with the backing of just two Republicans — they made it clear that inciting violence against another member of Congress is not acceptable behavior. Now, they must hold Boebert to the same standard and censure her for her dangerous Islamophobic attacks aimed at Ilhan Omar. As Omar said at the press conference, “It is time for the Republican Party to actually do something to confront anti-Muslim hatred in its ranks, and hold those who perpetuate it accountable.” Bigoted rants like Boebert’s have a clear aim: to incite real-world violence. And time and again, Muslim Americans — especially Muslim women — are the targets. After 9/11, violent attacks against Muslims rose significantly. Mosques were burned and destroyed. People were beaten and held at gunpoint. Muslims faced the brunt of misplaced anger, even though the community and country we love were under attack. This type of hate, bubbling under the surface of our country, is what members of the GOP use as a political tool. They fan the flames, all for political gain, and disregard real-life consequences. Donald Trump did this for four years from our highest level of elected office. He scapegoated Muslims as the cause of America’s problems, claiming “Islam hates us” while banning foreign nationals from seven predominantly-Muslim countries. The result? An increase in hate crimes against Muslims, which rose year after year during Trump’s presidency. In fact, researchers found a direct correlation between an increase in Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric during his presidency and hate crimes committed against Muslims. When public officials use their platform to stoke anti-Muslim hate, people experience real violence — from verbal abuse to physical assault. read the complete article

02 Dec 2021

Islamophobic comments are the latest racist rhetoric to come from fringe lawmakers

KELLY: Deirdre, what is the leader of Republicans in the House, Kevin McCarthy - what's he doing to address all this? WALSH: Not very much at all - he has not publicly condemned Boebert's comments. He's trying to work behind the scenes to try to tamp things down. But so far, it's not working. You know, those on the far right of the House Republican Conference are closely allied with former President Trump. And they've been adopting sort of similar behavior in terms of racist comments, offensive language. McCarthy wants to be elected House speaker if Republicans do win control of the chamber next fall. So he has to walk this line between trying to sort of tone down these comments but not tick off the Trump wing because he needs votes from all across the conference if he's going to be elected speaker. KELLY: Well, what is the conversation all across the conference among House Republicans about how to deal with these offensive comments from fringe members? WALSH: It's really broken out into the open this week. And the lack of civility between members inside the Republican conference is really striking. You know, the party's struggling with how to deal with those on the right. And few members are really saying, like, this is not OK. We saw what happened when one did - South Carolina Republican Nancy Mace. She criticized Boebert's comments. And then she was subject to a string of insulting tweets from Marjorie Taylor Greene, another right-wing member, who said Mace was not a true conservative. And she threatened to support a primary challenge to defeat her. I talked to Mace today, who pushed back at Greene. read the complete article

02 Dec 2021

The Biden Administration’s Moment of Truth on Torture Evidence

Abd Al-Rahim Hussein Al-Nashiri is headed to federal court to prevent the U.S. government from using torture-derived evidence in his capital prosecution before the Guantanamo military commissions. As discussed in detail in these previous posts, prosecutors claimed the authority to use such evidence in certain circumstances in his case, and the military commission judge signed off. On Oct. 15, Al-Nashiri filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking to enjoin the government from offering, and the military commission judge from considering, torture-derived evidence. We are among a group of scholars, former United Nations Special Rapporteurs on torture, retired military and intelligence officers, and human rights advocates who filed an amicus brief in support of Al-Nashiri’s petition. The government has not yet responded to Al-Nashiri’s petition, which provides an opportunity for it to course-correct for consistency with U.S. legal obligations and related public commitments. read the complete article

02 Dec 2021

Marjorie Taylor Greene, in feud with Nancy Mace on Islamophobia, launches personal attack over abortion

House Republicans Nancy Mace and Marjorie Taylor Greene are in a public and highly personal feud over abortion and religion, amid the ongoing fallout from Islamophobic remarks by some GOP lawmakers. Greene (Ga.) denounced her colleague as “the trash in the GOP conference” — appearing to accuse Mace of being aligned with Democrats on religious and abortion issues, rather than her own party. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) summoned Greene and Mace for separate meetings Tuesday to address the simmering feud, a person familiar with the talks told The Washington Post. CNN first reported on the meetings. McCarthy and other House GOP leaders are facing calls to condemn Islamophobic remarks by members of their conference, amid growing concerns that their silence is enabling extremist rhetoric that contributes to bigotry and potential threats of violence toward Muslims. Mace, in a Sunday interview on CNN, had criticized Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) for likening Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — who is Muslim and wears a hijab — to a suicide bomber, citing it as an example of “racist tropes and remarks” that have been made on both sides of the aisle. Greene and Boebert have both called Omar a member of the “Jihad Squad” — a reference Greene repeated during her Twitter exchange with Mace on Tuesday, in which she suggested that Mace “just go hang with your real gal pals, the Jihad Squad. Your out of your league.” read the complete article


02 Dec 2021

Leaked documents link top Chinese leaders to crackdown on Uyghurs

Adrian Zenz, an expert on China's crackdowns on ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, was commissioned to review and analyze the documents by the Uyghur Tribunal in the United Kingdom, which received the leaked documents in September. According to him, the documents provide fresh evidence that China's top leaders directly or indirectly mandated the policies implemented in Xinjiang since 2014. Zenz says the leaked documents are an identical subset of the Xinjiang Papers that were first reported by The New York Times in 2019. However, the Times didn't highlight the key items and disclose all of the transcripts, he said. Zenz believes this new evidence validates the previously disclosed information about the crackdowns in Xinjiang. DW: What's the significance of the latest Xinjiang leaked document? Adrian Zenz: First it's the connection between what Xi Jinping said and the subsequent policy development. It is much stronger than we understood in 2019 based on the revelation made by The New York Times. That's not simply because our knowledge of the atrocity has increased, but also because I've undertaken a careful comparison with the subsequent texts. The second biggest difference is that the file contains several documents, including documents issued by the central government, which were not mentioned by The New York Times. What we see is a bombshell connection to experts who understand the language and evolution of the language and how these languages end up in the subsequent policies. The big deal is that Xi Jinping really set the stage for the internment and re-education camps, and also focused on the forced labor transfers for promoting employment in factories and for population-equalizing birth control, which sounds quite innocuous on paper, but if you identify and compare the exact same phrase in policy documents in Xinjiang, you will realize that the implication is much bigger than that. read the complete article

United Kingdom

02 Dec 2021

Incriminating report shows why language matters when covering Islam

A newly released report has detailed the myriad of ways in which mainstream media organisations perpetuate anti-Muslim rhetoric. From October 2018 to September 2019, the Centre for Media Monitoring analysed 34 British media outlets through their online websites and 38 television channels to ascertain the ways in which organisations employ anti-Muslim and anti-Islam language. The centre, which highlights negative trends and biases in media through charitable funding, found that 14 percent of articles analysed were either "Biased" or "Very Biased" with top offending publications being Christian Today, The Spectator and Daily Mail Australia. The report also found 60 percent of articles across mainstream publications associated negative aspects and behaviours with Muslims and Islam, with AFP, Reuters and Associated Press listed as top offenders. It cited numerous examples of wire services ascribing negative behaviour to Islam by linking the religion with crimes like murder, torture, rape and female genital mutilation in their coverage, even when the belief has no place being in the story. The review noted seven percent of articles analysed were found to employ negative tropes and generalisations against Islam. According to the centre, the Spectator had the highest proportion of articles that misrepresented Muslims and Islam, noting that articles that engage in such misrepresentation and put out “irrelevant” and “misleading” headlines are mostly produced by right-wing media outlets. The report noted that 1 out of 3 articles are seen as very biased against Islam despite only 6 percent of articles focusing on religion. read the complete article


02 Dec 2021

New online resources launched to help combat Islamophobia in Ontario schools

Ontario students and teachers now have access to a set of online resources aimed at combating Islamophobia in schools. The Muslim Association of Canada, a national non-profit organization, launched a website Thursday that features three courses, four workshops and six hours of educational videos to help address anti-Muslim biases that teachers and students may have. Memona Hossain, a member of the association’s team that developed the site, said the resources on offer are important to help schools address Islamophobia. “This is definitely necessary work,” said Hossain, who is also a PhD student at the University of Toronto. “Our hope is that this type of work will inform long-term change, not just short term.” The Muslim Association of Canada received a $225,000 grant from the Ontario government in June that supported its work on the website, which can be found at read the complete article


02 Dec 2021

France’s right-wing Les Républicains hold first round of presidential primary

Polls currently indicate former health minister Xavier Bertrand as the best-placed candidate to unseat President Emmanuel Macron, but the moderate 56-year-old upset many grassroots activists by quitting the party in 2017. Other contenders include former EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, head of the Paris region Valerie Pecresse—the only woman in the race—as well as mayor and doctor Philippe Juvin. Hard-right southern MP Eric Ciotti has stood out in four televised debates over the last few weeks with his hardline stance on immigration, proposals for a French “Guantanamo” prison for Islamist terror suspects, and a flat tax of 15 percent on businesses. He is closest in views to far-right TV pundit and author Eric Zemmour, who officially launched his bid for the presidency on Tuesday, seeking to outflank veteran far-right leader Marine Le Pen with his anti-Islam and anti-immigration views. The roughly 150,000 members of the Republicans party, which traces its roots back to French war hero Charles de Gaulle, are casting their ballots electronically, with the results of the first round of voting set to be announced on Thursday afternoon. The top two placed candidates will proceed to a run-off contest, with the winner to be declared on Saturday. read the complete article


02 Dec 2021

Bangladesh allows relocated Rohingya refugees to visit families

Dozens of Rohingya refugees sent to a remote and flood-prone Bangladesh island have been allowed to visit relatives for the first time since their relocations began two years ago. Nearly 20,000 members of the stateless Muslim minority, who fled neighbouring Myanmar in 2017 after a brutal military crackdown, have already been sent to Bhashan Char island. Bangladesh has been criticised by rights groups for the relocation plan, which aims to eventually move around 100,000 refugees to ease overcrowding in cramped refugee camps near the coastal city of Cox's Bazar. Authorities on Tuesday allowed 68 Rohingya to leave the formerly barren island to visit their family members on the mainland. read the complete article


02 Dec 2021

5 must-read books that represent the modern-day Muslim experience

With the rapid rise of Islamophobia, far-right politics, and anti-migrant rhetoric, it’s never been more important to listen and engage with Muslim communities in the Western world. It’s only when our voices are heard and amplified that we can really begin to unpack and attempt to resolve the many issues facing our communities. And there is no better way to understand and engage with Muslim communities than reading about our experiences and stories from within those very communities. These five reads are all from Muslim writers offering their own unique perspectives on a range of topics, whilst also platforming the voices of their own communities. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Dec 2021 Edition


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