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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28 Dec 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In France, Macron’s government has shut down a mosque north of Paris, claiming the sermons there incited hatred, violence, and “defend jihad,” meanwhile in the United States, President Biden signed into law a $770 billion defense bill he criticized for including provisions that effectively make it impossible for him to shut down the Guantánamo Bay military prison, and in Australia, Muslim organizations voice deep concern regarding the government’s religious discrimination law, which they say could place “a heavy burden” on already marginalized Muslim communities because it allows discrimination on national security grounds. Our recommended read of the day is by Audrey Bowler for Media Matters for America on Tucker Carlson and how he spent 2021 trafficking in and mainstreaming the racist and violent “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. This and more below:

United States

28 Dec 2021

Fox News spent 2021 mainstreaming the white supremacist “great replacement” theory | Recommended Read

While Tucker Carlson has been flirting with white nationalism for years, 2021 was the year he went full-tilt and repeatedly said the quiet part aloud, explicitly referencing the white supremacist “great replacement” conspiracy theory – and earning praise from infamous former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. And Carlson’s status as the most-watched Fox prime-time star seemingly encouraged his fellow hosts to follow suit; Laura Ingraham warned her viewers that Democrats “will import new voters to offset and eventually replace all you old people.” Carlson has long pushed white supremacist talking points with full corporate support from Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch. In the process, he has gained praise from white nationalists, while the Anti-Defamation League has repeatedly called for his firing. White nationalism is now a pillar of Fox’s prime-time platform, and the Murdochs are willing to fund and defend their hosts’ hatred. By repeatedly launching nativist attacks with warnings of an “invasion of your neighborhood” and migrants “coming to our backyard,” Fox News’ goal here is clear: to scare its audience into buying the fantasy of “white genocide.” read the complete article

28 Dec 2021

Biden signs $770 billion defense bill but criticizes Guantanamo Bay restrictions

President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law a $770 billion defense bill he criticized for including provisions that effectively make it impossible for him to shut down the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In a statement, Biden said that while he approved of the measure overall, he was unhappy with a number of legislative restrictions, including one aimed at thwarting efforts to close the facility, which former President Barack Obama had vowed to do. "Unfortunately ... the Act continues to bar the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees to the custody or effective control of certain foreign countries," Biden said, adding that another component "bars the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees into the United States unless certain conditions are met." "It is the longstanding position of the executive branch that these provisions unduly impair the ability of the executive branch to determine when and where to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees and where to send them upon release," he said. "I urge the Congress to eliminate these restrictions as soon as possible." read the complete article


28 Dec 2021

Rohingya refugees stranded off Indonesia

Scores of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar were stranded off the coast of Aceh province in Indonesia as authorities debated if the boat was allowed to land on Tuesday, while locals feared the repercussions of extending help. The boat piled with more than 100 refugees, the majority of them women and children, was spotted in the ­waters of Bireuen, Aceh, on the weekend and made contact with fishermen on Monday, a local community leader said. Officials had instructed residents not to help pull the boat ashore and instead tightened ­security around the area, arguing that helping refugees was against the law and it was risky to do so considering the pandemic. A navy official in the Lhokseumawe area in northern Aceh said that they had to make sure the refugees remained at sea while waiting for further instructions. “If you ask whether they will be pulled ashore, it is not in my hands to answer. That is the authority of the government,” base commander Dian Suryansyah said. Local customary leader Badruddin Jusuf said that fishermen communities in the area were “upset and angry” at the delayed response from officials. “We want to help them but we are forbidden from doing so. We want authorities to make a decision, whether these people will be pulled ashore or sent back to the sea, any decision…as long as they are not abandoned like this,” Mr Jusuf said, adding that he felt “pity” looking at the children on the boat. Residents of Bireuen had sent out packets of biscuits, instant noodles, milk and water to the Rohingyas, but worried that it wasn’t enough for about 120 people on board. read the complete article

28 Dec 2021

Why Israel Must Boycott Beijing's Olympic 'Genocide Games'

Around the world, solidarity with the Uyghur people is building in response to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Years of activism are coming to fruition: The United States has announced a diplomatic boycott of the games, with Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and others following suit. This is a coalition of nations choosing to prioritize the rights of the Uyghur people over the spectacle and economics of this event. It is more critical than ever that governments around the world decide which side of this fight they will stand on. The question we ask is: What side will Israel choose? This genocide, we must remind, is one carried out by a regime that has defended its crimes publicly; in fact, it celebrates the concerted efforts to forcibly sterilize Uyghur women as "emancipation," a liberation from being "baby-making machines" for extremism. It is a regime that declares it will "show no mercy" towards the Uyghurs, whom they have referred to as having an "infectious thought virus" due to their ethnic and religious identity. The presence of concentration camps and the detention of more than a million Uyghurs in these facilities constitutes the largest mass internment of an ethno-religious group since the Holocaust. We have seen reports that crematoria are being built adjacent to the camps. Meanwhile, corporations are profiting off Uyghur forced labor on an enormous scale. Earlier this month, an independent people’s tribunal in London delivered its verdict, determining that the People’s Republic of China has committed genocide against the Uyghurs. With this independent and thorough determination, the burden now falls on governments around the world to respond, particularly those 152 states that are signatories to the UN Genocide Convention. read the complete article

28 Dec 2021

U.S., China squabble over whether lower-level officials attending Olympics constitutes ‘diplomatic boycott’

U.S. officials said that Washington’s “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Olympics will remain in place, with no high-level official spectators, though there are plans to send consular and diplomatic security support staffers. China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday had derided the boycott as a “farce,” saying it had received visa applications from U.S. personnel for the 2022 Winter Games, which kick off Feb. 4. But a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said in a statement Tuesday there will be no “diplomatic or official representation given [China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses.” Some consular and security officers will go to assist athletes and coaches, the spokesperson said, adding that any visa applications would be for them. “It is standard to have those personnel on the ground, and those personnel do not constitute official or diplomatic representation at the Games.” read the complete article


28 Dec 2021

Narendra Modi and the Bloodthirsty Dharam Sansad Speakers Are Closer Than Most People Think

Speaking in his regular dog whistle mode, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reinforced the hideous message of the Haridwar ‘Dharam Sansad’. People expressing their disappointment over the failure of BJP leaders and Union ministers – let alone the prime minister and the home minister – to condemn the genocidal calls against Muslims made by speakers there need to understand that there is no substantive difference between them. After the prime minister’s recent speech, one should not be surprised over his silence; rather, one is better placed to understand the coherence in Modi and Yati Narsinghanand’s ideology. There should henceforth be no problem in understanding the relationship between the Dharam Sansad and the politics of the BJP. While addressing the Lakhpat Gurdwara in Kutch on December 25 via a video link, Prime Minister Modi said that the dangers the Sikh Gurus had warned about are present in the same form today. Modi further said, “Guru Tegh Bahadur’s sacrifice and his heroic acts against Aurangzeb have taught us how the country should fight terrorism and religious extremism.” Mindful of the fact that he was addressing a Sikh audience, Modi repeatedly referred to the atrocities of the Mughals and Muslim rulers and the struggle of the Sikh Gurus against them: “During their (Mughal) rule there were so many atrocities that the Sikh Gurus laid down their lives for the country…” According to newspaper reports of the speech, Modi talked about the Sikh Gurus as opponents of various Muslim rulers. He praised the Gurus as, according to him, they were giving their life fighting these rulers. They were doing this for the country. Guru Gobind Singh also fought Hindu kings, who saw the khalsa as a threat to the caste system. But Modi makes no mention of that. read the complete article

28 Dec 2021

India's main opposition party urges Indian diaspora to condemn anti-Muslim hate speech

India's main opposition party has called upon the Indian community in Australia and around the world to condemn a recent religious conclave in India that called for mass killings of Muslims in the country. The three-day gathering, called Dharma Sansad, sparked outrage in India after videos of right-wing Hindu figures calling for the ethnic cleansing of 220 million Muslims in the country went viral on social media. “The Indian community all over the world should put pressure on the present dispensation and Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] to work in a certain way to get back our pluralistic society and stop judging people based on their religion, their caste, their creed,” Shama Mohamed, the spokesperson for the Indian National Congress party, told SBS News. Ms Mohamed’s comments come days after Hindu right-wing figure Yati Narsinghanand claimed at the religious gathering that swords are insufficient in the "battle against Muslims" and better weapons are necessary to become victorious. read the complete article


28 Dec 2021

Coalition’s religious discrimination bill sends ‘dangerous signal’, Muslim groups say

The government’s religious discrimination law could place “a heavy burden” on already marginalised Muslim communities because it allows discrimination on national security grounds, Islamic organisations have said. Scott Morrison has said the proposed legislation should “give Australians of faith confidence – confidence to be themselves and confidence in the country they belong to”. But three organisations have raised concerns about a section of the bill that says it is not unlawful “for a person to discriminate against another person on the ground of the other person’s religious belief or activity” for national security reasons. The exemption applies if the person discriminating “is performing a function or exercising a power relating to law enforcement, national security or intelligence under a law or program of the commonwealth”. The bill says “the conduct constituting the discrimination” must be “reasonably necessary in performing the function or exercising the power”. The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (Aman) said the proposal “imposes a heavy burden on Muslim communities who are already marginalised and feel highly vulnerable”. “There is absolutely no legal justification for authorities to discriminate against communities or people based on their faith,” the network said in a submission to the parliamentary joint committee on human rights. “Their work is to assess and prevent the risk of violence.” The government has argued the bill is needed to prohibit direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of religious belief or activity in work and other areas of public life. Aman argued other parts of the bill provided “a much-needed safeguard” from discrimination, but the exception clause “sends a dangerous signal to law enforcement that religious discrimination against Muslims will continue to be necessary”. read the complete article


28 Dec 2021

‘It was amazing to find the sisterhood’: Awareness campaign focuses on barriers to sports participation

A talented and passionate rugby player, Amreen Kadwa was named most valuable player of her team at Victoria Park Collegiate Institute and the Yeomen Lions Rugby Football Club. “You don’t get that kind of adrenalin and boost of energy through anything else,” Kadwa said of the sport. As much as she loved rugby, she admits to having felt unwelcome in sports in the past, due to her religion, culture and appearance — “especially in my youth when I was navigating who I was as an individual,” said Kadwa, who emigrated from India to Scarborough with her family at age 10, identifies as South Asian Muslim and wears a hijab. Although her rugby teammates were open-minded and understanding, she said she would still sometimes remove her hijab to fit in more during practices. Also, she said, “Alcohol is a big part of rugby culture, so we would go to bars after almost every game. It just wasn’t my scene, so I would feel very unwelcome there.” Four years ago, Kadwa founded and became the executive director of the Hijabi Ballers, an organization catering to the needs of Muslim girls and women — regardless of whether they wear a hijab — in sports, through increasing their participation levels while recognizing and celebrating their athleticism. Now 26, Kadwa wasn’t alone in her feelings of exclusion. An Ontario Sport Network survey of Ontarians aged 13 to 64 showed nearly a quarter of those polled didn’t feel welcome in sports; three-quarters believed accessibility to be one of the biggest barriers to participation in sports and just over a quarter said body image issues were barriers. To encourage all Ontarians to see themselves in sports, enrol in leagues and programs, and raise awareness of the benefits of sports and recreation, the network has launched a provincewide awareness campaign; the Hijabi Ballers is one of the groups spotlighted. read the complete article


28 Dec 2021

China replaces Communist party official associated with security crackdown on Uyghurs in Xinjiang

Beijing has replaced the Community Party of China’s (CDC) chief of the Xinjiang region who was notorious for allegedly cracking down on Uyghur Muslims in the area. The state-controlled media Xinhua News reported on Saturday that Chen Quanguo has been replaced as the Xinjiang party chief by Ma Xingrui. The new Xinjiang party chief, Mr Ma, 62, is an aerospace engineer and served as the governor of Guangdong province since 2017. Mr Chen, meanwhile, is moving on to a new role, according to Xinhua News. But the details of his new role have not been made public. Several experts said that the move might be an attempt by Beijing to revamp its image prior to the 2022 Winter Olympics. Mr Chen, 66, is a senior party official and accused by rights activists of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. He was also sanctioned by the United States last year “in connection with serious rights abuses against ethnic minorities” in Xinjiang — which include mass arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse targeting Uygurs and other mainly Muslim minorities in the region. But it was reported that in spite of his tarnished record according to the West, he might be up for a promotion, according to the South China Morning Post. read the complete article


28 Dec 2021

France closes mosque north of Paris after 'unacceptable' preaching

The mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people some 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Paris, will remain shut for six months, according to the prefecture of the Oise region where Beauvais is located. It said the sermons there incite hatred, violence and "defend jihad". The move comes two weeks after Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he had triggered the procedure to close the site because the imam there "is targeting Christians, homosexuals and Jews" in his sermons. This, the minister said, was "unacceptable". Local authorities were legally bound to launch a 10-day period of information-gathering before taking action, but told AFP on Tuesday that the mosque would now be shut within two days. Local daily Courrier Picard reported this month that the mosque's imam was a recent convert to Islam. The paper quoted a lawyer for the association managing the mosque as saying that his remarks had been "taken out of context", and said that the imam had been suspended from his duties following the prefecture's letter. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Dec 2021 Edition


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