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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03 Dec 2019

Today in Islamophobia: China is using DNA obtained from detained Muslims to Map faces with new technology, as the UK elections see institutional racism as a key election issue for all parties. Our recommended read today is on the state of Utah’s response to the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant action. This and more below:

United States

03 Dec 2019

Recommended Read | Trump gave states the power to ban refugees. Conservative Utah wants more of them.

This fall, President Trump signed an executive order that, for the first time, gives states and cities the authority to veto refugee resettlements. The move alarms refugee advocates, who fear a wave of xenophobic demagoguery as governors and mayors seek to prove their anti-immigrant credentials by banning new arrivals. But in Utah — deeply conservative, deeply devout, predominantly white Utah — the response has been altogether different. The governor, a Republican who aligns with Trump on most issues, wrote the president a letter in late October. He didn’t want to keep refugees out. He didn’t want to reduce their numbers. He wanted Trump to send more. “We empathize deeply with individuals and groups who have been forced from their homes and we love giving them a new home and a new life,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert wrote. Such newcomers, he added, have become “productive employees and responsible citizens.” They have been an asset to Utah, he said, not a liability. “I have to be honest: I don’t have any idea why it’s a partisan issue nationally. It’s never been one here,” said Brad Wilson, the state’s Republican speaker of the House. “Regardless of political party, we value these people.” read the complete article

Recommended Read
03 Dec 2019

American Muslims to Democrats: 'Palestine is a foreign policy priority'

Activists and academics gathered in Chicago over the weekend for the 12th annual American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) convention, calling on American Muslims and the Democratic Party to prioritise Palestine as a foreign policy issue. Those present at the convention overwhelmingly expressed the view that if a Democrat is elected president in 2020, the momentum built in the last few years over issues impacting Palestinian self-determination needed to be carried into the White House. The conference, organised by AMP, a national, grassroots organisation focused on educating the public on political and cultural issues related to Palestine, featured speakers like academic and television personality Marc Lamont Hill, activist Linda Sarsour, lawyer Zahra Billoo, and Palestinian-American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Over 3,500 people from across the US registered for the three-day convention, organisers said. The conference made special reference to the shifting sentiment towards Palestine, especially among the Democratic Party’s younger base, who increasingly see the forced separations of children from their parents at the US-Mexio border and treatment of African Americans as synonymous with the brutality meted out to Palestinians. The election of Omar and Tlaib into Congress and their mainstreaming of Palestine has helped mobilise and motivate a new generation of youth to enter politics and encouraged Muslim Americans to run for political office. But others noted that it was still significant that none of the Democratic nominees for president had shown their support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign, nor have they expressed their support for Palestinian right of return. read the complete article

03 Dec 2019

Frank Wuco, an anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ pundit, is now a senior State Department adviser

When he was a right-wing pundit, senior State Department adviser Frank Wuco claimed that Muslims “by-and-large” will “subjugate and humiliate non-Muslim members of their societies” and that their core faith purportedly instructs them that they can’t “coexist peacefully with other religions.” He also pushed conspiracy theories about the Obama administration and said that “societies and nations for millennia have suffered greatly” for LGBTQ acceptance. The Washington Post reported on November 27 that Wuco is now a senior adviser at the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. The publication added that during a 2016 radio appearance, Wuco had “suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.” read the complete article


03 Dec 2019

Nearly half a million Rohingya kids blocked from schooling by Bangladesh

Nearly 400,000 Rohingya children are being blocked from receiving an education in refugee camps in Bangladesh, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. The report, Are We Not Human?, finds the Bangladeshi government is stopping aid groups from teaching Rohingya children - the majority of whom have been living in refugee camps since August 2017 - the Bengali language and Bangladesh's school curriculum. Myanmar has also refused to recognise or accredit the use of its curriculum in the camps. In practice, that has meant that UN children's agency UNICEF has developed an informal curriculum to teach preschool and early primary school kids. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age most recently visited one of these rudimentary schools in the Cox's Bazar refugee camps in July 2018 and found the classrooms to be extremely basic, with approximately 30 students per class and one teacher. The school day only lasted a couple of hours because of limited resources and a need to run "shifts" to accommodate young children. read the complete article


03 Dec 2019

Suu Kyi’s loyalists rally for Myanmar leader before genocide trial

As Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to travel to the Netherlands to fight charges of genocide against her country at the International Court of Justice, her supporters have embarked on an impassioned publicity campaign. Suu Kyi’s reputation overseas has sunk to its lowest ebb over the treatment of Rohingya Muslims but the Nobel Peace Prize laureate enjoys overwhelming support at home, where her image is undented by accusations of complicity in atrocities. On Sunday, several hundred people gathered in downtown Yangon for the third in a series of rallies organized by supporters since the announcement was made that she would personally fight the charges. “Aung San Suu Kyi is the bravest leader in the world,” Saw Phoe Kwar, a reggae singer known for his hits ‘Love Each Other’ and ‘Stop the Hate’, told the crowds, who waved flags and chanted. read the complete article


03 Dec 2019

Rana Ayyub on India’s Crackdown on Muslims

In a conversation recorded last week, Filkins and Ayyub tell the story of how they got into Kashmir and describe the repression and signs of torture that they observed there. Ayyub’s book, “Gujarat Files,” about a massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, has made her a target of Hindu nationalists; one of the book’s translators was killed not long ago. She spoke frankly with Filkins about the emotional toll of living in fear of assassination. read the complete article

03 Dec 2019

India is escalating Kashmir conflict by painting it as terrorism

In 1992, I witnessed an Indian soldier hit a pregnant Kashmiri woman with his rifle butt and utter these words, “get rid of the terrorist you will birth.” That incident, forever etched in my mind, for me epitomises how the Indian armed forces, that operate with absolute impunity in the region, view Kashmiris. It is the very same perception that governs the minds of the right-wing, ideologically driven Hindu nationalists and their supporters who are celebrating the recent division and annexation of Kashmir. They see it as a victory over barbaric Muslims whose land and women are waiting to be conquered. In October, a senior Indian goverment figure likened the decades-long Kashmiri struggle for self-determination to terrorism. Bipin Rawat, chief of the Indian army, similarly justified the months-long clampdown in Kashmir as “a communication breakdown between terrorists in the Kashmir Valley and their handlers in Pakistan”. This is in spite of warnings from a former Indian national security adviser that the greatest threat to India is social and communal violence, not Pakistan or China. The reframing of the Kashmir conflict as a fight against terrorism readily finds support among anti-Muslim ethno nationalists and far-right political leaders. Within India, the BJP government is stoking Islamophobia by using religion as an instrument of identity politics. And the Indian media’s portrayal and characterisation of Muslims only reinforces the status of Muslims as the other and Islam as the enemy. read the complete article


03 Dec 2019

China may ban US officials from region with Muslim detainment camps

China might ban all U.S. diplomatic passport-holders from entering the country’s western Xinjiang autonomous region, Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin said on Tuesday. Hu said in a tweet that China is also considering visa restrictions against U.S. officials and lawmakers with “odious performance” on the Xinjiang issue, in retaliation to legislation being prepared by the U.S. Congress. U.N. experts and activists say at least 1 million Uighurs, and members of other largely Muslim minority groups, have been detained in camps in the remote Xinjiang region. read the complete article

03 Dec 2019

China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West

With a million or more ethnic Uighurs and others from predominantly Muslim minority groups swept up in detentions across Xinjiang, officials in Tumxuk have gathered blood samples from hundreds of Uighurs — part of a mass DNA collection effort dogged by questions about consent and how the data will be used. In Tumxuk, at least, there is a partial answer: Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person’s face. The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects. But given the crackdown in Xinjiang, experts on ethics in science worry that China is building a tool that could be used to justify and intensify racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs. read the complete article

United Kingdom

03 Dec 2019

Institutional Racism has become a Key Election Issue

What is striking is that serious allegations of institutional prejudice appear to be becoming a defining principle of this General Election campaign – on both sides of the aisle. Indeed, in terms of whose racist and prejudicial statements, actions and policies make them “unfit for high office”, issues of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party hardly present Boris Johnson as a pinnacle of human tolerance and good leadership. Anthony Browne, currently running as the Conservative Party candidate for South Cambridgeshire and a former aide to Boris Johnson, is one such example. He has recently faced criticism for his past comments describing Muslims as having divided loyalties and blaming immigrants for HIV in the UK. In a unique approach to immigration, he further advised that the Government should curb levels of immigration from “the third world” to avoid “letting in too many germs”. When it comes to allowing the poison of Islamophobia to take root in our society, in many ways, the Conservative Party seems to be supplying the fertiliser. Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) launched a report this week, From “Letterboxes” to “Ragheads”, in which more than 120 instances of Islamophobia emanating from Conservative Members of Parliament, councillors and party candidates over the past five years are analysed. Many of those included in the report are members of the Cabinet and many continue to run as candidates in this General Election. read the complete article


03 Dec 2019

Islamophobic attacks mostly happen in public. Here’s what you can do if you see it or experience it

The second biennial Islamophobia in Australia report analysed 349 Islamophobic incidents reported to the Islamophobia Register of Australia, from 2016-2017. Combined with the previous report, 592 online and offline cases were recorded in the last four years. But this represents only the tip of the iceberg. Both reports conclusively show Islamophobia in Australia does exist and is a persistent social issue, one that overwhelmingly targets women, a vulnerability that stems from being identifiably Muslim when wearing a hijab. It is also alarming that the incidents in public spaces not only continued to occur regularly, but their prevalence increased since the previous report. Guarded places, such as shopping centres, train stations and other crowded areas saw 60% more harassment than unguarded places – an increase of 30% since the previous report. Islamophobia in shopping centres was most common, accounting for 25% of reported incidents. Public opinion is where the most important opportunity to prevent Islamophobia lies. If witnesses to Islamophobic hate incidents intervene, it would strongly discourage perpetrators and others with similar sentiments. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 03 Dec 2019 Edition


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