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 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., new video footage shows that a truck with anti-Muslim imagery targeted four separate mosques in New Jersey, meanwhile Sky News reveals that a number of Muslim-majority countries had talked about a plan for captains to wear armbands to bring awareness to Islamophobia at the 2022 World Cup, and in India, the ruling BJP party has scored a landslide victory in the western state of Gujarat on Thursday. Our recommended read of the day is by Omer Kanat for The Diplomat on the one year anniversary of the Uyghur-Tribunal, which found China’s actions against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang amounts to genocide. This and more below:



08 Dec 2022

December 9 Is Uyghur Genocide Recognition Day | Recommended Read

On a cold and clear day in London, one year ago, the Uyghur Tribunal delivered an historic judgment. The December 9 verdict that China had committed genocide against the Uyghur people was momentous because independent experts recognized our suffering. The day was also a milestone since the world now had the evidence it needed to end that suffering. Uyghurs have designated December 9, the day of the Tribunal’s verdict, as “Uyghur Genocide Recognition Day.” We simply cannot let the Chinese government escape accountability for its crimes. The rationale for the Uyghur Tribunal was premised on the insufficiency of multilateral institutions to hear evidence on allegations of gross human rights abuses committed against the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples since 2016. The panel of international experts and lawyers reviewed over 500 witness statements and heard live evidence from more than 30 eyewitnesses and survivors of the Chinese government’s concentration camp system. The panel also heard testimony from 40 expert witnesses. The evidence database includes upwards of 100,000 pages of documents. The testimonies described a systematic campaign to eradicate Uyghur culture, religion, and language through policy and practice. Moreover, horrific details emerged about widespread forced labor, disappearances, mass imprisonment, torture, sexual abuse, and coercive birth prevention measures. Pointing to evidence of forced sterilization of Uyghur women, the panel judged the atrocity crimes to be in contravention of the Genocide Convention. read the complete article

09 Dec 2022

Muslim nations proposed World Cup armband to raise awareness of Islamophobia

Morocco has become the first Muslim nation ever to reach the quarter-finals, and it is the first time that football's biggest event has come to the region. It is a platform some officials in Qatar wanted to use to raise awareness of discrimination faced by Muslim people. Designs have been obtained by Sky News for armbands that featured the words "No place for Islamophobia" and featuring a Palestinian headscarf pattern. Officials in the World Cup host nation talked about a plan for captains to wear them with other countries including Saudi Arabia and Morocco, it is understood. A senior Qatari official told Sky News: "Prior to the start of the tournament, Qatar, and some of the other Muslim-majority teams, were in advanced discussions regarding whether the players could wear armbands raising awareness for the growing movement of Islamophobia. "When the armband proposal was eventually discussed with FIFA, they were told that it violated FIFA's rules and would not be allowed. "The teams accepted the decision but were disappointed that an important issue such as this, which negatively impacts the millions of Muslims around the world, was not being given a platform during the first World Cup to be hosted in a Muslim-majority region." read the complete article

08 Dec 2022

The Internet’s New Favorite AI Proposes Torturing Iranians and Surveilling Mosques

ChatGPT, the latest artificial intelligence novelty act, is easily the most impressive text-generating demo to date. Just think twice before asking it about counterterrorism. The tool was built by OpenAI, a startup lab attempting no less than to build software that can replicate human consciousness. Just as any human programmer may bring their own prejudices to their work, a language-generating machine like ChatGPT harbors the countless biases found in the billions of texts it used to train its simulated grasp of language and thought. And after gorging itself on an unfathomably vast training diet of text data, ChatGPT apparently ate a lot of crap. For instance, it appears ChatGPT has managed to absorb and is very happy to serve up some of the ugliest prejudices of the war on terror. When asked to find a way to determine “which air travelers present a security risk,” ChatGPT outlined code for calculating an individual’s “risk score,” which would increase if the traveler is Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, or North Korean (or has merely visited those places). Another iteration of this same prompt had ChatGPT writing code that would “increase the risk score if the traveler is from a country that is known to produce terrorists,” namely Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Yemen. The bot was kind enough to provide some examples of this hypothetical algorithm in action: John Smith, a 25-year-old American who’s previously visited Syria and Iraq, received a risk score of “3,” indicating a “moderate” threat. ChatGPT’s algorithm indicated fictional flyer “Ali Mohammad,” age 35, would receive a risk score of 4 by virtue of being a Syrian national. read the complete article

10 Dec 2022

Racism, xenophobia, and discrimination: mapping pathways to health outcomes

Despite being globally pervasive, racism, xenophobia, and discrimination are not universally recognised determinants of health. We challenge widespread beliefs related to the inevitability of increased mortality and morbidity associated with particular ethnicities and minoritised groups. In refuting that racial categories have a genetic basis and acknowledging that socioeconomic factors offer incomplete explanations in understanding these health disparities, we examine the pathways by which discrimination based on caste, ethnicity, Indigeneity, migratory status, race, religion, and skin colour affect health. Discrimination based on these categories, although having many unique historical and cultural contexts, operates in the same way, with overlapping pathways and health effects. We synthesise how such discrimination affects health systems, spatial determination, and communities, and how these processes manifest at the individual level, across the life course, and intergenerationally. We explore how individuals respond to and internalise these complex mechanisms psychologically, behaviourally, and physiologically. The evidence shows that racism, xenophobia, and discrimination affect a range of health outcomes across all ages around the world, and remain embedded within the universal challenges we face, from COVID-19 to the climate emergency. read the complete article

United States

12 Dec 2022

New Video Footage Shows Truck With Anti-Muslim Messages Targeting 4 Mosques

A truck displaying anti-Muslim billboards targeted a fourth New Jersey mosque the same day it targeted three others in November, HuffPost has learned. An unidentified driver drove a commercial truck that displayed images of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in New Jersey on Nov. 26 — the 14th anniversary of the attack. Community members said it appeared to be a pointed and coordinated attempt to intimidate Muslims in the area. It was previously known that the truck had appeared at the Muslim Center of Middlesex County in Piscataway, the New Brunswick Islamic Center and the Muslim Community of New Jersey Masjid in Fords. New footage shared exclusively with HuffPost shows that the truck also made an appearance at the Masjid Al-Wali in Edison around 10:16 a.m. on Nov. 26. At least two congregants told mosque leaders that they saw the truck again later that same day at the mosque. Mosque leadership is still reviewing the footage to see how many times the truck drove and parked on the property. Dina Sayedahmed, the communications manager for the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the incidents “deliberate and well-coordinated.” “By targeting Islamic centers and repeatedly circling their premises, the perpetrator expects New Jersey’s Muslim community to answer to, or even feel shame for, an event that occurred entirely independent of them,” she told HuffPost in an emailed statement. “To demand that Muslims in New Jersey answer for Muslims oceans away is not only unreasonable but also dangerous.” read the complete article

09 Dec 2022

Pembroke Pines teacher fired after viral video shows her interrupting Muslim students while in prayer

A Broward County teacher was fired after a video of her interrupting Muslim students while in prayer went viral. The teacher, who has not yet been identified, worked at Franklin Academy, a charter school in Pembroke Pines. The video starts with tranquil music and two boys reciting an Islamic prayer in Arabic. Shortly after, you can hear the teacher saying, “Hold on, this in my office and y’all doing this magic?” A woman identified as another teacher barges in and starts blowing a whistle. The teacher is then heard saying, “I believe in Jesus so I’m interrupting the floor.” The same teacher appeared to step or kick the boys’ hands as she walked over their mats. The video was posted on TikTok Wednesday and has already racked up over 3 million views on social media. Wilfredo Ruiz, of the Council on American and Islamic Relations, told Local 10 News’ Cody Weddle that the video is ‘repulsive’ and that the teacher’s actions were a clear case of bullying. read the complete article

08 Dec 2022

‘Dangerous’ anti-Muslim messaging remains a mystery

Muslim leaders in New Jersey say that they still haven’t gotten any answers as to who was behind a billboard truck that drove around the parking lots of four Islamic centers and mosques displaying anti-Muslim images. The truck first visited the Muslim Center of Middlesex County in Piscataway. News 12 has learned that what appears to be the same truck was also seen at Islamic centers in Edison, North Brunswick and Fords. The truck had images of the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, India. The truck incidents coincided with the anniversary of that attack. A spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations New Jersey wrote in a statement, "To demand that Muslims in New Jersey answer for Muslims oceans away is not only unreasonable, but also dangerous. We're already seeing an uptick in anti-Muslim incidents.” The statement continued, “This year alone we’ve received 150 calls reporting anti-Muslim incidents. And this only adds more flame to the fire.” read the complete article


08 Dec 2022

Indian PM Modi’s BJP scores landslide win in Gujarat state

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has scored a landslide victory in the western state of Gujarat, election results showed on Thursday, in a strong performance ahead of the general elections due in 2024. The Hindu nationalist BJP retained its 27-year control of Gujarat – the home state of Modi – but lost power in northern Himachal Pradesh state to the main opposition, the Congress Party. The BJP has not lost state assembly elections in Gujarat, a western industrial state, since 1995. Modi was Gujarat’s top elected official for 13 years before becoming prime minister in 2014. Modi has fashioned himself as a champion of Hindu causes after the deadly 2002 Gujarat riots – one of the worst outbreaks of religious violence since India’s independence in 1947. Rights groups say nearly 2,000 people – most of them Muslims – were killed and dozens of women were raped that year following the burning of a passenger train carrying a large number of Hindu pilgrims. The BJP has been accused of using religious polarisation to gain Hindu votes. The Modi government facilitated the release of Hindus convicted of gang rape during the 2002 riots just ahead of the state elections. In multiple reports in Indian media, people in the state expressed that rising inflation and unemployment were issues in the state, but Modi’s towering personality and the anti-Muslim sentiment probably coloured their voting decision. read the complete article


08 Dec 2022

What Is Happening In China?

The last few years have seen several reports about serious human rights violations in China, and especially atrocities targeting ethnic and religious minorities, including the Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities, Falun Gong practitioners and many more. However, recent weeks have seen a new wave of human rights violations: a crackdown against protesters peacefully opposing strict COVID-19 restrictions, including in Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai and Wuhan. The protests were a direct response to a tragic fire in Urumqi which resulted in the deaths of 10 people. COVID-19 restrictions were blamed for the rescue attempts. Protests which followed were met with crackdown including tracking and questioning of protesters. In early December, it was announced that China would lift some of its most severe COVID-19 policies. However, considering China’s human rights legacy, the change in policy does not necessarily mean any significant change, and especially to the communities which have been facing discrimination, marginalization and persecution for months and years. Among others, Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities, who were the victims in the tragic fire of November 24, 2022, and sparked nation-wide protests, continue to be subjected to atrocities amounting to the legal definition of genocide and crimes against humanity. In August 2022, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights published its report on the situation of human rights in Xinjiang, China, finding that Uyghurs may have been subjected to international crimes, and in particular, crimes against humanity. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Dec 2022 Edition


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