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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11 Feb 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Quebec mosque shooter is sentenced to life in prison, Rohingya activists demand justice at New York summit. Turkey condemns China’s ‘torture and political brainwashing’ of Uighurs in Xinjinag even as families remain apart in the U.S as the Muslim Ban enters its third year. Geneva votes to ban religious symbols on public employees, and lynching of Muslims grows in India. Our recommended read of the day is by Farid Hafez, who writes on structural racism the challenge of Muslim identity in party politics. This, and more, below:


11 Feb 2019

Quebec mosque shooter is sentenced to life in prison

Alexandre Bissonnette will have to wait 40 years longer than usual before he can apply for parole. In his decision, Judge Francois Huot rejected a prosecution request for a 150-year sentence, which would have been the longest ever in Canada, saying “subjecting a murder to a sentence that exceeds his life expectancy” would be a cruel and unusual punishment under Canadian law. But he also noted the killer’s “visceral hatred of Muslim immigrants.” “You killed six of your compatriots whose only crime was to be different than yourself,” Huot said in court. “With your hatred and racism, you’ve ruined their lives, yours and your parents’, and the crime you’ve done deserves the greatest denunciation,” he said. read the complete article

11 Feb 2019

How Alexandre Bissonette's sentence could fuel Canada's far-right

Following Bissonnette's attack that killed six men on Jan. 29, 2017, there was an uptick in anti-Muslim violence according to Perry. One mosque in Edmonton has already increased security. Arif Ali, president of Markaz Ul Islam mosque, told Day 6 that they've received threatening, racist letters for three weeks. Moving forward, there is fear that the far- right make a martyr of Bissonette. read the complete article

11 Feb 2019

Opinion | Canada's Islamophobia Problem Won't Be Solved By Denying Its Existence

A wave of reactions poured in after Quebec Premier François Legault stated that Islamophobia does not exist in the province. The timing of such a statement from the premier could not have been more insensitive. Legault chose to make it on the second anniversary of the Quebec mosque massacre which took place in 2017. A 2018 Statistics Canada report shows that hate crimes reached an all-time high in 2017, based on incidents reported in both Quebec and Ontario. Quebec reported a 50-per-cent increase in the number of hate crimes in the month after the massacre in the mosque, mainly towards Muslim Quebecers. Ontario witnessed a 207-per-cent increase in hate crimes against Muslims, an 84-per-cent increase in crimes against Black people and 41-per-cent increase on incidents against Jewish people. read the complete article

11 Feb 2019

Opinion | The Bissonnette sentencing doesn’t bring closure on Islamophobia | Recommended Read

While life imprisonment for Mr. Bissonnette with no chance of parole for 40 years seems inadequate for the six lives that he brutally ended and those he maimed, what strikes even deeper into the heart of the Muslim community is the fear that we, as a country, have not learned much from that deadly episode. Two days after the second anniversary of the Jan. 29, 2017, shooting, Québec Premier François Legault denied Islamophobia existed in his province – a denial, described by the CCIQ community as a “punch to the gut” that sent the message thathate against Muslims wasn’t real. This was quickly followed by the province’s new Minister for the Status of Women Isabelle Charest opining that the hijab worn by Muslim women as part of their religious convictions was a “symbol of oppression.” Another day, another dog whistle directed at Muslims. read the complete article


11 Feb 2019

Rohingya activists demand action against Myanmar at NYC summit

Without the spectre of accountability or justice, the atrocities would simply multiply, according to Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK. "The people in the [refugee] camps want justice. This is the first thing they told me," Tun Khin told Al Jazeera on the sidelines of the conference which was organised by the Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC). "If there is no accountability, the oppression will continue. Why would the military stop if they know there will be no consequences for their actions? "And if the Rohingya are to return to Myanmar, their safety has to be guaranteed. We are facing an existential threat." In his remarks, via a pre-recorded video message, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur for Myanmar, told attendees at the conference that she was troubled to hear reports the Myanmar military was building new bases in the Rakhine state. "Democratic space, including the freedom of speech and association, is ever fragile, and communities across the country remain divided along religious and ethnic lines," said Lee. read the complete article


11 Feb 2019

Turkey condemns China's 'torture and political brainwashing' in Xinjiang

In a strongly-worded statement Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said hundreds of thousands of prisoners were subject to "torture and political brainwashing" in China's camps. "We call on the international community and theSecretary General of the United Nations to take effective measures in order to bring to an end this human tragedy in Xinjiang," the statement said. He claimed thousands of children had been separated from their parents by the Chinese government. But Chinese state-run media has strongly refuted some of Turkey's claims, saying they "violated the facts," including allegations that Uyghur folk singer Abdurehim Heyit had died in jail. State-run Chinese Radio International (CRI) released a video on its Turkish website appearing to show Abdurehim Heyet alive. "Today is February 10, 2019, I'm in the process of being investigated for allegedly violating the national laws. I'm now in good health and have never been abused," the musician said haltingly in the video. read the complete article

United States

11 Feb 2019

School Board Member Resigns Over Anti-Muslim Facebook Post

The Plum Borough School District board says they will meet on Saturday to accept the resignation of Brian Wisniewski. His Feb. 1 post showed a picture of a white man in a cowboy hat holding a gun with the American flag as a backdrop with the words: "Does it worry anybody that we have three devout Muslims in Congress who have unlimited access to our top secret government documents?" In his resignation letter to the district, Wisniewski says he's sincerely sorry for the post that happened "in a moment of frivolity." read the complete article

11 Feb 2019

Republican Club Leader Advised Nazi Sympathizing, Anti-Muslim German Party

The newly elected president of a storied Republican club in New York City said he advised a virulently anti-Muslim and Nazi-symapathizing German party, the Daily Beast reported. Ian Walsh Reilly was elected last week to lead the Metropolitan Republican Club, which has counted Theodore Roosevelt and Michael Bloomberg as members. In a speech during the club’s elections, Reilly noted that he had consulted for Alternative furr Deutschland, or AfD. “Last year I founded a consultancy with a friend who is also active in GOP politics. The Yorkville Group is what we called it,” Reilly said. “It has provided services, not just to statewide candidates like [New York candidate] Jonathan Trichter, but to international political parties like Alternative fur Deutschland.” read the complete article

11 Feb 2019

Opinion | McCarthy Demands Democrats Treat Two Muslim Members As Bigots Like Steve King

Having chuckled and nodded and otherwise tolerated Steve King’s racist antics for many years, House Republicans finally got shamed into denouncing the old nativist recently when he began identifying himself with global bigotry as a sort of movement of conscience. But now their leader, Kevin McCarthy, is trying to turn this around via a bold false equivalency claim. This attack is without question focused on the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Their principal sin, it seems, has been to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement aimed at pressuring Israel into fundamentally changing its policies towards Palestinians and occupied territories. BDS, of course, is a red flag to many supporters of Israel, particularly those who identify with the current Israeli government’s drift toward abandoning any possible two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the idea that BDS equals anti-Semitism – or even anti-Zionism — is ludicrous on its face. And so those seeking to go after Ilhan and Tlaib have to toss in random questionable comments and plenty of guilt-by-association. read the complete article

11 Feb 2019

Opinion | Structural racism and the challenge of Muslim identity in party politics | Recommended Read

In an age of Islamophobia as a widespread acceptable form of racism, this was of symbolic nature. Two Muslim women, not men, not only contradicted the image of the oppressed Muslim woman, but also showed their constituency that they are humans working for the progress of their societies. This is especially important given the many experiences of Muslim politicians that are excluded from the political realm. One of the most prominent examples from Europe is the case of the Swedish Green Party. In 2016, a trusted member of parliament for eight years, who in 2014 had become the first Muslim minister in Swedish history, was ousted alongside numerous other party members for allegedly being "infiltrated" by the Muslim Brotherhood. While these allegations had been trumped up in 2016 McCarthy style and were unsubstantiated, still the media attention had created so much pressure on the Green Party that they submitted themselves. Other politicians with a Muslim background have gone through similar experiences, albeit on a less prominent level and are thus less known. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
11 Feb 2019

Families remain apart as Muslim Ban enters third year

About 15,000 Syrians received visas annually prior to the ban. That number “is in the dozens now. It’s almost stopped completely,” said Melanie Nezer, senior vice president for public affairs at HIAS, which is headquartered in Silver Spring. “We’ve completely withdrawn from the global solution” of aiding those seeking to flee their home countries, she said. “The Muslim Ban was just the start of the administration really rolling back” entry to those seeking asylum, she said. Trump’s call for a wall between Mexico and the United States “is all part of the same strategy.” read the complete article


11 Feb 2019

Opinion | Why Lynchings Have Become A Substitute For Communal Riots

"Lynching comes without the burden of guilt that used to accompany riots. It is more effective, lethal and sinister. It strikes at the very identity of the community. It is far more demoralizing than the traditional communal violence, but serves the same purpose as riots did in the years gone by: to engender a climate of distrust and fear. On one side are Hindus who begin to look at any Muslim, particularly those with conspicuous manifestation of being one, with distrust. In their mind, all Muslims are beefeaters. And, maybe, even cow slaughterers. Nothing wrong with that if you are in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and vast stretches of the Northeast, but often a fatal flaw in north and west India. To those Hindus denied the benefit of education and economic cushion, a Muslim is one who deliberately provokes Hindus by eating beef. They do not know the reality or the history of beef eating in their own religion. For such a misled vigilante, the Muslim is the ‘other’ who must be shown his place. For him, a Muslim is what the latest video, real or fake, on WhatsApp shows him to be. Also, a Muslim is to be tackled, again, in the way those hooligans do in the lynching videos. That brings us to Muslims. With each lynching incident, the community slips deeper into fear, and into its own shell. And a community which is often told to join the mainstream slips further away." read the complete article


11 Feb 2019

Geneva to ban religious symbols on public employees

Geneva residents on Sunday voted for a controversial new "secularism law", which will among other things ban elected officials and public employees from wearing visible religious symbols. The new law's stated ambition is to expand the dialogue between religious groups and the state, and to better define the limits to religious expression in the public sphere. The far left, the Greens, feminist organisations, unions and Muslim groups all opposed it, and collected enough signatures to force the issue to a public vote. Critics claim the law will have an oppressive and discriminatory effect, with some condemning it as Islamophobic and warning that Muslim women who wear a headscarf are being targeted. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Feb 2019 Edition


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