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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09 Dec 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Uyghurs wait for Biden’s China policy as cultural genocide continues in Xinjiang. Reports allege Huawei has tested AI software that could recognize Uighur minorities and alert police. Writing for The New Arab, Bridge Senior Research Fellow Mobashra Tazamal urges the new Biden administrations to “succeed where Obama did not,” and close Guantanamo. Our recommended read today is by Rachel Harris on Islamophobia, the Global War on Terror, and China’s policies in Xinjiang. This, and more, below:


09 Dec 2020

Islamophobia, the Global War on Terror, and China’s policies in Xinjiang | Recommended Read

Certainly, Chinese government representatives have said repeatedly that Islam is the problem. They claim that the campaigns in Xinjiang are needed to identify and root out what it calls the “three evils” of “terrorism, separatism and religious extremism”. Official sources claim that the internment camps are actually “vocational training centers” where detainees undergo forms of re-education intended to combat extremist Islamic ideology, which has poisoned the minds of people and led to widespread violence in the Xinjiang region. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
09 Dec 2020

‘It’s the history of medicine and race’: Why ethnic minorities are concerned about the Covid vaccine

There is also the fact that ethnic minorities are underrepresented in clinical trials – 93% of those who signed up for the trials registry for the development of the vaccine (including ongoing tests) were white – which may raise questions about the effectiveness of the drug on other ethnicities. None of this is to say that Black, Asians and other minorities don’t want to be protected against coronavirus, but rather that this history may contribute to a general mistrust in public healthcare. While antivaxxers are often treated as an ignorant monolith, not all vaccine hesitancy is equal. Black and brown people want to be able to express their legitimate fears over the vaccine due to how the medical field has treated them in the past. For a lot of people, their trust in the vaccine correlates to their trust in the state. read the complete article

09 Dec 2020

Uyghurs Wait Nervously for Biden China Policy As 'Genocide' Continues

For the Uyghurs and other minority groups, a great deal is at stake over the coming four years. As the world waits to see what path Biden will take on China, activists are urging the incoming team not to forget what is happening in Xinjiang. Right now, the Biden administration is somewhat of an "unknown" for the Uyghur community, Irwin said, following four years of quite clearly China-skeptic policy. "They know that there's been consistent pressure and at the very least, people in the administration who are speaking loudly and clearly about opposition to this." For the UHRP's part, though, Irwin said he doesn't believe "we have any reason to be too concerned." This in part because of the broad bipartisan support the issue has drawn in Washington, he explained. Irwin said the UHRP is also encouraged by signs that Biden will be better able to command a broad coalition of nations in pushing back on China, something Trump showed little interest in doing alongside his unilateral America-first agenda. "You simply need to be maintaining good relationships with the [European Union], for example, with other countries who are supportive of you," Irwin said. read the complete article

09 Dec 2020

Intel, Nvidia probed over tech allegedly used against Uighurs

United States Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Representative Jim McGovern on Tuesday sent letters to Intel Corp and Nvidia Corp seeking information on the sale of advanced computer chips allegedly used by China to conduct mass surveillance on Uighurs in the country’s remote Xinjiang region. The executives were also asked whether they knew their technology would be used to support surveillance activities conducted by China’s police forces and whether they took steps to ensure their products were not used for human rights abuses or to compromise US national security. read the complete article


09 Dec 2020

New French law may increase discrimination

A bill that will be put before the Cabinet on Wednesday would increase surveillance of all mosques in France, as well as their financing, with the government also aiming to add more oversight to the training of imams. The draft law would also limit homeschooling, create new rules against online hate campaigns and permit imprisonment for intimidating public servants on religious grounds. The bill could reach Parliament in early 2020 and come into force a few months later. Asif Arif, a lawyer who is also a member of the Ahmadiyya community and the author of the book Etre Musulman en France (Being Muslim in France), said the new measures missed the target. "Terrorists no longer get radicalized in mosques," he said. "That all happens online and while they are in contact with international networks." read the complete article

09 Dec 2020

France's Treatment of Its Muslim Citizens Is the True Measure of Its Republican Values

Recent measures are being justified on the basis that sections of the Muslim community are in conflict with republican values, but there is little evidence of this. In fact, in the largest quantitative study of the relationship between terrorism and discrimination in France, researchers from the Centre for the Study of Conflict in Paris unearthed the exact opposite. They found that overall Muslims deeply trust the institutions of the Republic, more so even than the control group, aside from the media and the police: ”What emerges from the study looks more like a massive adherence of French Muslims to the Republic.” Crucially, the study found that trust in the institutions of France diminished with only one factor: experiences of discrimination, something it predicts the latest measures are likely to exacerbate. The study concludes by saying “there is no rejection of the values and institutions of the Republic in France, by a majority of Muslims.” read the complete article


09 Dec 2020

China’s Neo-Totalitarian Turn and Genocide in Xinjiang

In Xinjiang over the past four years, we have seen a series of Han-majoritarian assimilationist policies directed against Turkic Muslims, especially Uyghurs, in the aftermath of the 2009 Ürümchi protest-turned-riot, and especially since the launch of the Chinese government’s “People’s War on Terror” in 2014. Some have argued that these measures constitute “cultural genocide.” The policies include restrictions on the Uyghur language; the replacement of “bilingual education” with “national language education,” namely, Mandarin-only teaching in schools and colleges; desecration and destruction of religious sites; the coercive Sinicization of Uyghur culture; gendered violence, including enforced sterilizations; mass disappearances and detentions; and systematic human rights violations committed in the network of internment camps (involving physical and psychological torture and deaths), high‑security prisons, and forced labor situations. In this article, we first draw on visual data, including images of erasure obtained during a 2018 field trip to the region and satellite imaging, to support the charge of “cultural genocide.” We then consider recent evidence of coercive birth control and ask whether what is taking place in Xinjiang should more correctly be described as genocide, without the modifier “cultural.” read the complete article

09 Dec 2020

Big Data Program Targets Xinjiang’s Muslims

The big data program, the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), apparently flagged the people on the Aksu List, whom officials then evaluated and sent to “political education” camps in Xinjiang. Human Rights Watch first reported on the IJOP in February 2018, noting that the policing program aggregates data about people from various sensory systems in Xinjiang, and flags to officials those it deems potentially threatening. Officials then evaluate these individuals’ “general performance” together with other sources of information, and send some to political education camps and other facilities. Human Rights Watch “reverse engineered” the IJOP mobile app in May 2019 and revealed the dubious criteria this mass surveillance system was programmed to flag, including many lawful behaviors. read the complete article

New Zealand

09 Dec 2020

New Zealand mosque shooter radicalized by YouTube, investigation finds

It also found that the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, told investigators that while he frequented hangouts such as 8chan and 4chan, much of the anti-Muslim content he accessed was found on YouTube. Jacinda Ardern, the country's prime minister, said that her government would implement all the recommendations raised in the report, according to The Associated Press. She added that she would be in contact with YouTube's leadership over the issue. read the complete article

09 Dec 2020

Royal commission findings confirm anti-Muslim bias by intelligence services, mosque leaders say

“We’ve known for a long time that the Muslim community has been targeted with hate speech and hate crimes – this report shows that we are right.” Fouda said that before the terror attack, he had reported suspicious people around the Deans Ave mosque but was disappointed by the lack of action taken by police. “The report shows that institutional prejudice and unconscious bias exists in government agencies and that needs to change.” read the complete article


09 Dec 2020

Indian police arrest Muslim men under anti-conversion law

Police in northern India have arrested 10 men for allegedly compelling women to change their religion after getting married, using a new anti-conversion law popularly called the "Love Jihad" law, officials said. Last month, Uttar Pradesh state became the first Indian province to pass a law against forced or fraudulent religious conversions, laying out prison terms for anyone compelling others to convert their faith or luring them into these conversions through marriage. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Dec 2020 Edition


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