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 2020

Today in Islamophobia: In India, anti-Muslim laws cause refugee outflows to Bangladesh, even as 15 Rohingya die while trying to escape camps in the country. In the US, the Trump administration settles with 300 refugees impacted by the Muslim Ban. Our recommended read today is by Lily Levin, who argues Duke University’s upcoming talk with John Bolton normalizes white supremacist ideas on campus. This, and more below:

United States

11 Feb 2020

Why is a white supremacist coming to Duke? | Recommended Read

John Bolton has yet to open his box of secrets surrounding what he knows about Trump’s collaboration with Ukraine, but he is still slated to speak at Page Auditorium on February 17. Bolton’s worst moments do not involve his actions—or lack thereof—in the impeachment inquiry. John Bolton is, in all fundamental aspects of character, a white supremacist. Bolton’s Islamophobic views were also actualized through his role, from 2013 to 2018, as the chairman of the Gatestone Institute, an alleged anti-Muslim thinktank spreading fears of a “Great White Death.” The Gatestone Institute’s President Nina Rosenwald inherited a fund that has contributed $2.8 million to anti Muslim media. Bringing a white supremacist and war criminal to campus as a part of a program that professes to “prepare the next generation of strategists” is, conservatively speaking, a pretty bold statement to make. Bolton’s foreign policy stances are sugar-coated as “hawkish.” In reality, they are terrifying. John Bolton was selected to speak at Duke because he is relevant in the news, not because his views are thoughtful or well-defined. We’re living in an era that is marked by the normalization of white supremacy, the far-rightward shift of mainstream political thought, the justification of hate. The band-aid we’ve used to mask centuries of genocide and slavery and mass incarceration is slowly peeling away, espouging a flood of historical trauma and internalized colonization and rampant racism. John Bolton, like Trump, is merely a byproduct of this phenomenon. He can simultaneously be labelled as an intellectual and an Islamophobe because, in our country, these two terms are not mutually exclusive. Many of the most historically praised scholars use inaccessible language and bogus science to attempt to indoctrinate others in their xenophobic theories. read the complete article

Recommended Read
11 Feb 2020

Trump administration settles with more than 300 refugees delayed by travel ban

The settlement involves two lawsuits that had been consolidated in a challenge to Trump’s effort to restrict travel from 11 mostly Muslim nations, resulting in delays for hundreds of refugees. Under the terms of the settlement, the federal government won’t automatically admit the refugees; instead, officials agreed to move the cases to the top of the list for processing, the AP reported. “The government tried to keep refugee families apart under the pretense of national security,” Lisa Nowlin, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, said in a statement. “This settlement aims to undo the harmful effects of the illegal and misguided ban on refugees.” read the complete article

11 Feb 2020

The evolution of Trump's Muslim ban

Donald Trump's campaign call for all Muslims to be barred from entering the United States has morphed over the past three years into a complex web of travel and immigration restrictions placed, to varying degrees, on 7% of the world's population. read the complete article

11 Feb 2020

The Supreme Court Is As Complicit As the Senate

In legal escapades outside of the realm of impeachment, for instance, Trump and his administration have internalized the lesson that if no one will stop you, there’s no reason to stop. Less than two years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the third iteration of the president’s ban on entry by nationals of several Muslim-majority countries (the “travel ban”). By upholding the ban, the court made clear that it would not stop the president from incorporating his bigotry into official immigration policy. Since then, the president has dramatically expanded the scope of the travel ban to other countries with substantial Muslim populations and has enacted several other immigration restrictions that disproportionately disadvantage nonwhite immigrants. After receiving a pass on xenophobia, the president has continued to do it again and again. Last week, he expanded the entry ban to cover five additional countries (Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Eritrea, and Myanmar) with substantial Muslim populations. In one of those countries (Myanmar), a group of Muslims (the Rohingya) are fleeing religious persecution and genocide. The president had previously said, according to the New York Times, that Nigerians should “go back to their huts.” In fact, the justices, like the Republican senators, acknowledged that the entry ban may very well have been motivated by anti-Muslim animus. But they claimed that, in light of the president’s expansive powers over immigration, the court would uphold the entry ban so long as someone could think that the ban had a valid purpose (such as protecting national security) even if the ban actually had an illegitimate one (such as targeting Muslims). And, the court continued, a person could think the president’s entry ban had a valid purpose because the ban did not apply to all of the world’s Muslims, among other reasons. Again, it does not take a genius to see how that decision signals that the court is unwilling to stop the president from making policy based on bigoted, thinly veiled Islamophobia or racism. read the complete article

11 Feb 2020

Facts over fear campaign

The recent expansion of the Muslim ban and speeches by politicians show that it is happening again. Scholars know anti-Muslim statements by politicians rises dramatically in the months leading up to an election. Further, studies show that violent language against groups multiplies support for political violence. The result is a more divided America and an increase in hate crimes against our Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, LatinX and Black neighbors. What politicians may not know, is that they are repeating the false and dehumanizing messaging of anti-Muslim hate groups. Anti-Muslim hate groups spend over $30 million per year in an intentional campaign of dehumanization against American Muslims. The politicians are not alone in repeating their messages. Some mainstream media and faith leaders repeat these messages so broadly that even allies of the Muslim community repeat their defamatory messages. This dehumanization leads to 42% of Muslim children being bullied in schools once a year, anti-Muslim laws being passed in state legislatures, not so random screening at airports, and of course the shameful Muslim ban. Pastor Terry Kyllo of Paths to Understanding and Aneelah Afzali of the American Muslim Empowerment Network responded by creating the Facts Over Fear Video Campaign. Working with Studio Capon, they created five animated videos to counter the dehumanization of Muslims and teach allies how to respond to these false claims. read the complete article

11 Feb 2020

By Targeting Africans, Trump's Muslim Ban Is Even More Racist

After the announcement, Democrats and immigration advocates have condemned the expanded policy, noting that the new order not only doubles down on targeting Muslims ― but it now explicitly targets Africans and Black African Muslims. More than 12,000 people are expected to be impacted per year, according to a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson. Aya Saed, a Bertha Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights who focuses on systematic unlawful policies, said that it was no coincidence that these particular African nations were targeted, especially in light of Trump’s comments about Africans. In 2018, President Donald Trump reportedly referred to several African nations as “shithole countries” during an immigration meeting at the White House. A year prior, Trump allegedly said Nigerian visitors would never “go back to their huts” in a 2017 meeting. He was angry over the number of visas awarded to travelers from certain countries, according to those present at the meeting. Saed predicts that the international backlash will be minimal due to “the lack of power that some of these countries can wield in American politics.” She also added that those communities inside the United States may not be well advocated for by current immigration groups due to their small constituency sizes. read the complete article


11 Feb 2020

Cops hit me in my private parts: Over 10 female Jamia students admitted after scuffle with police

Speaking to India Today TV, the resident doctors at the health centre said that some of the injuries were so severe that the students had to be shifted to Al-Shifa hospital. "More than 10 female students have been hit on their private parts. We have found blunt injuries and some have been hit in a way that we had to shift them to Al Shifa because injuries are serious in nature," the doctors said. "Some students have also suffered internal injuries as they have been hit on chest with lathis," they said. A student, who was being treated at the health centre told India Today TV that a female cop removed her burqa and hit her in private parts with a lathi. read the complete article

11 Feb 2020

Bangladeshis in India fear deportation, spike in border smuggling

Bangladeshis living in India say the passage of India's controversial citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) has created a "growing climate of hostility" towards Muslims, causing an increase in the smuggling of people along the India-Bangladesh border. Those fleeing fear that if they do not leave, the Indian government will send them to various detention centres operating in the Indian state of Assam and in other parts of the country. read the complete article

11 Feb 2020

The school play that sent a mother to prison

An Indian school play involving nine to 12-year-olds became the subject of national attention after it landed a young mother and a teacher in jail. "I'm not sure how I ended up here," says 26-year-old Nazbunnisa, a single mother who did not give her last name and who works as a domestic help. She was arrested on 30 January, along with Farida Begum, a teacher at her daughter's school. The charge against them: sedition, which the women, both Muslim, deny. They spoke to the BBC in a prison official's office at Bidar district jail in the southern state of Karnataka. Both were on the verge of tears - they said they are trying to be "strong", but their lives have suddenly tuned "upside down". The two women are accused of spreading "false information" and of "spreading fear among [the] Muslim community" and of using children to insult India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The play was about a controversial new citizenship law, which has polarised India since it was passed in December by the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). read the complete article


11 Feb 2020

“Hold Your Institution Accountable”: The Uighur Crisis, Genetic Research, & Yale

A 30-year old Uighur Muslim now living and working in Boston, Yilihamu grew up in Moyu, Xinjiang with his mother, father and younger brother. In their hometown, the family ran a local restaurant and grocery store. His parents also worked for the Chinese Communist Party in their province. Though detention centers and re-education camps first sprung up in 2014, Yilihamu explains that for most of his life, Uighurs have not been able to openly practice their faith or engage in cultural practices. Outside of detention, Chinese control over Uighurs is exercised not only through physical and digital tracking devices, but also through genetic surveillance. Tens of millions of Xinjiang residents were coerced into taking part in the “Physicals for All” program, in which in the state collected massive amounts of biometric data: audio recordings for use with voice recognition technology, iris scans, blood types, and DNA samples. With the help of a Yale professor, authorities learned how to use this information to further their genetic analysis capabilities: In February 2019, The New York Times reported that Kenneth Kidd, Yale Professor of Genetics, invited Li Caixia, a forensic physician from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, to collaborate at his lab in New Haven. After nearly a year of working with Kidd, Li took DNA samples taken from various ethnic groups back with her to China; these samples were compared to DNA material from Uighurs. From there, Chinese police were able to understand how to genetically differentiate Turkic minorities from other groups, thanks to the research Li had done in New Haven. read the complete article


11 Feb 2020

At Least 15 Rohingya Die in Boat Capsize, Dozens Missing

At least 15 Rohingya Muslim refugees died and many more were missing on Tuesday, after a ship carrying about 130 people capsized in the Bay of Bengal while trying to reach Malaysia, a Bangladesh coast guard official said. About 70 of those aboard the vessel were rescued alive, said the official, Hamidul Islam, adding that it had set sail early on Tuesday, packed with people trying to illegally flee from camps near the resort town of Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. "It was inhumane," he said. "The boat was carrying roughly 130 people, while it had a capacity of 50." Women and children make up the 15 dead, said Islam, adding that the vessel capsized near Saint Martin's Island, off the southeastern tip of Bangladesh. read the complete article


11 Feb 2020

The U.N.’s top court ordered Myanmar to protect the Rohingya. Here’s how that could matter.

This legally binding decision has been hailed by human rights advocates as a “first taste of justice” for the Rohingya. However, whether it actually protects the Rohingya will depend on the diplomacy that comes next. The case may take years to adjudicate. Proving genocide will be difficult, because that requires evidence of the Myanmar government’s intent, not just its actions. Last week’s judicial order amounted to a preliminary injunction, not a decision on the merits. Nevertheless, it has important legal implications and could help protect the Rohingya ⁠ — if it catalyzes stronger diplomatic pressure on Myanmar. It’s important not to overstate the order’s legal significance. In many respects, it simply reaffirmed Myanmar’s obligations as a signatory to the 1948 Genocide Convention and related international criminal law. In addition, the ICJ opted not to require Myanmar to admit a team of U.N. investigators, which had been Gambia’s boldest request. Gambia, which is prosecuting the case, will therefore have to rely on information obtained by U.N. fact finders, journalists and civil society groups operating largely outside of Myanmar. The U.N. Security Council has the power to enforce ICJ decisions, but China and Russia, two of the Security Council’s permanent members, are likely to veto any effort to act against Myanmar. Myanmar’s leaders fear further U.S. and European sanctions, which would leave them more dependent on China for trade and investment — something they want to avoid. That gives Western governments leverage. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Feb 2020 Edition


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