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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04 Dec 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Sri Lanka continues nationwide curfew in face of anti-Muslim violence, as the US House launches a bill to sanction Chinese officials over the treatment of Uighur Muslims. Our recommended read today details how recent document leaks to the New York Times have led to a global demand for answers from China. This and more below:


04 Dec 2019

Recommended Read | China Must Answer for Cultural Genocide in Court

The substantial leaks to the New York Times and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists of internal policy documents of the Chinese Communist Party regarding the crackdown on the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s western region of Xinjiang dramatically shift the conversation on this issue. They lay bare what is unambiguously a deliberate and calculated campaign of cultural genocide—initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping and driven to its current extreme implementation by Xinjiang’s local party boss, Chen Quanguo, a Han Chinese nationalist hard-liner who led successful efforts at so-called pacification in Tibet before being transferred over to the western region. The only question that remains is what the international community is prepared to do about it. At this point, thanks in part to international attention, the camps themselves may be being wound down—but not to good ends. Instead, around half a million people are being transferred to the prison system directly, with the authorities sometimes making use of the same detention centers but simply changing the names. Hundreds of thousands more are being sent into forced labor facilities. Outside of the detention camps themselves, the society in Xinjiang has begun to increasingly resemble an apartheid regime, where Han settlers from eastern China assumed to be loyal to Beijing are given plum jobs and mostly Muslim locals are surveilled 24/7 by the most pervasive technological police state in the world. read the complete article

Recommended Read
04 Dec 2019

China Leaks: ‘It was no mistake… it’s a distraction for worse to come,’ says Uyghur-Australian

With the release of leaks in the past week, much of the world is just now waking up to China’s “Training and Education” camps in Xinjiang (that’s how the Chinese government refers to our homeland. They will never recognise it as a sovereign state). But I can confidently say that 100 per cent of the Uyghur people living in Adelaide have had at least one family member imprisoned, ‘disappeared’ or killed at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP don’t make mistakes, so I worry that these leaks are a bluff that form part of long-term strategy. I think this is a distraction for something worse to come. I often think about the light-hearted expression, 'What's the worst that could happen'? I have lost touch with most of my extended family in East Turkistan. The worst part is the uncertainty. Am I supposed to grieve their death or am I supposed to pray that they will make it out alive? But I don’t know if this is good news. Is it worse for the outside community to know what is happening and do nothing? Or not do nothing about it because they didn't know? We should stand up, not just government, but as human beings and say, we can’t do this to other human beings. read the complete article

United States

04 Dec 2019

After Stephen Miller Emails, Policymakers Must Make a Stand Against White Nationalism

On November 12, the Southern Poverty Law Center released emails from senior White House adviser Stephen Miller showing his use of white supremacist materials and arguments that have now shaped Trump administration thinking and policy. The emails, sent to Breitbart before the 2016 presidential election and leaked by a former editor at the white nationalist news site, include Miller sharing a study tracking a purported demographic surge of Muslims in the United States, and another in which he promoted the work of an anti-immigration author who argues that “Hispanic immigrants are less intelligent than white Americans." On the same day the emails were published, documents released pursuant to congressional investigations confirmed Trump administration officials communicated with the late Republican strategist Thomas Hofeller regarding the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Further, according to the New York Times, “a senior Census Bureau official and friend of Mr. Hofeller, Christa Jones,” helped draft official government justifications of the question had it been added. The Trump administration’s use of Hofeller’s work has been suspected since earlier this year, when a trove of his documents was unearthed during litigation challenging the addition of the census question. The explicit goal of adding the census question was to depress the count of immigrant communities. This move was calculated by Hofeller to directly benefit “Republicans and non-Hispanic whites” by artificially diminishing the representation of immigrant communities on the census, which is used to draw congressional districts. While the Hofeller story has received comparatively less attention than the Miller emails, these documents show contrary to the administration’s claims—that officials at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Justice, and within the White House conspired to warp the country’s integrity as a representative democracy in order to enhance the political clout of white people. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

04 Dec 2019

Sri Lanka extends nationwide curfew after anti-Muslim riots

Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide curfew for the second night in a row after a wave of anti-Muslim violence in the wake of the Easter bombings. A Muslim man was stabbed to death while rioters torched Muslim-owned shops and vandalised mosques during Monday‘s attacks. Police have arrested 60 people, including the leader of a far-right Buddhist group. The United Nations has called for calm and a “rejection of hate”. A nationwide curfew, declared for the second night running, will come into effect at 21:00 (15:30 GMT) on Tuesday. The country‘s North-Western province, where the worst violence flared, will be shut down for longer, police said. read the complete article

United Kingdom

04 Dec 2019

General election: Voter fraud claims are being 'weaponised' to spread Islamophobia, says think tank

Accusations of voter fraud are being "weaponised" on social media to inflame Islamophobia, a leading anti-extremism think tank has warned. Researchers at The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) found the topic of voter fraud had risen in prominence in the lead-up the general election, often connected to anti-Muslim sentiment. Mr Davey said that although the circumstances were peculiar to the UK, the overall narrative was familiar from other countries. "This forms part of a broader trend," he said. "We saw very similar narratives unfold in last year's Swedish election, and it appears that this is becoming a trope which anti-Muslim actors are drawing on globally." Immediately after the Peterborough by-election the issue of voter fraud became prominent on social media, linked to anti-Muslim sentiment. On 8 June, two days after the by-election, 48% of the 13,418 tweets sent on the topic discussed voter fraud. Six of ten most active accounts had recently posted or re-tweeted anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant content, the ISD found. Forty per cent of the tweets shared a link to a petition calling for an investigation into allegations of postal vote fraud. read the complete article

04 Dec 2019

Brexit Party founder echoes Donald Trump by calling for Muslim ban in UK

The founder of the Brexit Party - who created the organisation before Nigel Farage took over - has called for a Muslim ban in response to the London Bridge tragedy. Catherine Blaiklock, who was forced out as leader after her racist views were exposed, took to Twitter to attack Boris Johnson for his response to the incident. Echoing Donald Trump with his own Muslim ban, she tweeted: "How about stopping the highest ever non-EU migration. How about stopping Jihadis from returning. How about stopping further Muslim immigration. How about stopping radical Islamic mosques and funding from Saudi and Qatar?" She later tweeted a seven-point plan which included calls for a return for capital punishment. Blaiklock also took to Twitter to stoke up tensions by tweeting that "diversity is our weakness". She wrote: "Are those terrorists in that picture really British? Do they look British? Do they think like a British person? Are they loyal to Britain? Do they have anything in common with Britain? Do they like Britain? Or are they actually Indian or Pakistani?" read the complete article


04 Dec 2019

Bollywood and the Politics of Meat

Until then, my consumption of meat and fish and eggs felt like something personal and insignificant, like my fondness for the color blue. Now, I realized, it was a defining choice: I am not among the “our” the prime minister spoke of. I was the “they” who consumed meat. But Mr. Modi’s “they” is essentially a dog whistle against Muslims, who are seen as meat eaters in vegetarian Hindu India. the fault line around meat has shaped a murderous course of events in India particularly around beef, which upper-caste Hindus, who consider cows holy, eschew. Human Rights Watch reported that 44 people were killed between 2015 and 2018 on the suspicion of transporting cows to be sold for meat, 36 of them Muslims. I find myself refraining from eating meat when I travel alone or am in unfamiliar places. India’s rightward shift, and the ascendance of Islamophobic politics in the garb of cow protection and vegetarianism, was soon reflected in Bollywood. In “Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi,” a 2019 Bollywood biopic of Rani Laxmibai, a 19th-century Indian princess who fought against Britain’s colonial army, soldiers snatch a calf to kill for steak. Rani Laxmibai, played by the film star Kangana Ranaut, rescues the calf and offers a lesson: “Learn to respect the people, and the sentiments of the land you are standing on,” she says. The film was a box-office success. read the complete article

04 Dec 2019

Pondering their future in their own homeland: Muslims fearful in a hate filled India

Built on what the Hindus believe is the birthplace of their chief deity Lord Ram, they have considered the site sacred ground for centuries. The more extreme elements of the Hindu community, however, claim without any conclusive evidence that Ram's temple once occupied the same land, and clamoured for the mosque to be torn down and for a temple built in its place. In 1992, these militant outliers got their wish. Urged on by senior political leaders, thousands of frenzied right-wing Hindus descended on Ayodhya and tore down the mosque, posing triumphantly atop the famous domes before they came crashing down. The Babri Masjid's destruction led to some of the worst communal riots India has seen since its independence – Hindu mobs went on a rampage killing thousands of Muslims across the country in its wake. Twenty seven years later, on November 10, 2019, India's Supreme Court called the demolition of the Babri Masjid illegal, but chose to reward the same mob that destroyed it the permission to build their temple on the site of the they had destroyed – Lord Ram's mandir (temple) will stand where Babur's masjid (mosque) once stood. read the complete article


04 Dec 2019

Boris Johnson cannot criticise us over racism after calling Muslim women letterboxes, UEFA president says

The head of European football has accused Boris Johnson of hypocrisy for criticising racism in the game given his notorious comments about Muslims. Aleksander Ceferin, the president of governing body UEFA, admitted it needed to do more to tackle abusive fans – but said he would not take criticism from the prime minister. “When a politician that calls women with burkas post boxes or mailboxes, then says publicly that he condemns UEFA, do you reply to that? Do you believe it's honest? Come on,” he protested. Speaking to the Mirror, Mr Ceferin said: “When you see high politicians, prime ministers, when you see presidents of republics who are racists, who were sexist, who were homophobes, you see that something is wrong. “Because if you see an idiot from the streets shouting you say, 'okay, put him in prison' and that's it. read the complete article


04 Dec 2019

Rohingya child refugees being denied education: HRW report

Bangladesh is blocking aid groups from providing education to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children in refugee camps, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday. In a report titled, Are we not human?: Denial of Education for Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh, the New York-based rights body urged authorities to urgently lift restrictions that deprive Rohingya refugee children of their right to education under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to HRW, about 400,000 school-age children living in Cox's Bazar refugee camps are affected by the fact that the Bangladeshi government does not provide formal, accredited education in the camps and bars UN agencies and NGOs from doing so. The report further states that Rohingya children are banned from attending schools outside the sprawling refugee camps. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Dec 2019 Edition


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