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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12 Feb 2019

Today in IslamophobiaSouth Carolina lawmakers continue to push anti- Sharia law, and reports allege that Britain’s new Brexit party has a long history of anti- Muslim comments. Rohingya activists bemoan failure of Muslim countries to address the Myanmar crisis, while Germany closes Muslim kindergarten over Islamist links. Our recommended read of the day is by Gerald Roche, who writes on the rise of Private Military Corporations, their expanding influence, and their business interests in Xinjiang and Rakhine. This, and more, below:

United States

12 Feb 2019

No court has used it, but SC lawmaker continues lonely push to ban Sharia law

State Sen. Larry Grooms last month introduced a bill to prevent the use of “foreign law” in South Carolina. The country’s largest group of legal professionals opposes the effort, which the Council on American-Islamic Relations says is part of a thinly veiled national movement to demonize the Islamic faith. Grooms’ bill does not mention Islam or its Sharia law by name. But CAIR argues the legislation purposefully is broad to circumvent legal challenges and targets Islamic religious principles and practices. While no S.C. court ever has applied Sharia law, Grooms argues there have been cases in other states where courts have. “Not all the time is American jurisprudence upheld,” he said. Grooms pointed to a New Jersey case where Sharia law was cited by a trial court in a sexual-assault case involving a Muslim couple. However, the trial court’s decision was reversed by the Superior Court of New Jersey. Grooms says his bill would ban S.C. courts from considering all religious laws — Sharia is just an example, he adds — whose application would violate rights established under the South Carolina and U.S. constitutions. read the complete article

12 Feb 2019

Opinion | Four years since the Chapel Hill shootings

Feb. 10 is Our Three Winners Day in Chapel Hill. To honor their legacy, the Town's proclamation encouraged a day of community service, as Deah, Yusor and Razan did so tirelessly while they were alive. Whether it’s a deed as small as buying a homeless person on Franklin Street lunch or as large as building a house in Orange County, take the time and perform that deed on your next day off. It’s the least we can do to honor them. Many aspects of UNC's tainted past, from blackface to racist building and stadium dedications, have come to light, decades after it should've been addressed and solved. The murder of three Muslims is not something we can write off as something of an ignorant past — it is very much our present, here and now, and a harsh reminder of the prejudice and discrimination that plagues our community and beyond. read the complete article

12 Feb 2019

Opinion | Dominique Ray died alone on death row — if he hadn't been a Muslim, it would never have happened

The killing by the state of another African American man in the death belt of the American South would not have usually drawn significant attention. But Dominique Ray was different. He died alone because he was Muslim. Had he been Christian, Alabama would have provided a state-employed Christian chaplain to give him comfort, hold his hand and prepare him for death in his final moments. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court dissolved the stay in a one-sentence order, noting that Ray had waited too long to raise the argument. Ray had been given an execution date in November 2018; he petitioned the warden to have an imam present; the warden denied the request on 23 January 2019, and Ray filed his petition five days later. Ray had committed the crimes in1999, when he was a teenager, and he had been on death row for 19 years. Justice Kagan, in dissent, called the lifting of the stay “profoundly wrong.” read the complete article

12 Feb 2019

A New Muslim Ban Challenge Seeks to Answer the Questions the Supreme Court Didn’t Settle

On Tuesday, the District Court in Maryland will hear oral arguments on the government’s motion to dismiss three pending cases, including the case IAAB v. Trump, which is being litigated by my organization, Muslim Advocates, and our partners. Although the Trump v. Hawaii decision was a setback, the Supreme Court did not settle the question of whether the ban violates the Establishment Clause in that decision. Instead, it sent it back to the lower courts, where we and our plaintiffs are renewing our legal challenge. Our individual clients, meanwhile, have had their lives put on hold indefinitely in some cases and continue to experience severe harm because of the ban. They include an American woman who is separated from her husband, who continues to live in precarious circumstances outside his home country; an American woman who has been separated from her fiancé; and U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident parents and siblings who are unable to be with their families. They and the broader communities they are part ofare continuing to experience stigma and personal loss as a result of this indefinite ban. For them, the stakes could not be higher, and it is on their behalf that we continue on with this fight. read the complete article


12 Feb 2019

Rohingya activists bemoan failure of Muslim countries to address Myanmar crisis

Muslim-majority countries continue to prioritize economic interests over the rights and lives of the Rohingya-Muslim minority facing an ongoing genocide in Myanmar, activists and other attendees at an historic international conference in New York have told Middle East Eye. Speaking on Saturday on the sidelines of the event at Barnard College, Rohingya activists, responding to the latest round of Saudi deportations of Rohingya as reported by MEE on Friday, said leaders of Muslim-majority countries had not demonstrated a political will to help put a stop to the persecution of the Rohingya. read the complete article

United Kingdom

12 Feb 2019

The Founder Of Nigel Farage's New Brexit Party Has A History Of Anti-Muslim Comments

Farage has thrown his “full support” behind a new party founded by former UKIP candidate Catherine Blaiklock, who has herself repeatedly made anti-Muslim comments and promoted online material attacking Muslims. Blaiklock registered the Brexit party with the Electoral Commission on Feb. 5 and is said to be hoping to run candidates in the European elections in May if the UK has not left the EU by then. The new party has been endorsed by Farage. read the complete article

12 Feb 2019

UK university unveils country's first sports hijab to encourage Muslim women to participate

Brunel University, which is only one of four in the UK to offer a free sports programme, spotted a gap in the number of women taking part – and in particular those wearing hijabs. A 2017 study by Sport England found that just 18 percent of Muslim women participate in regular sport, against 30 percent of the UK’s female population as a whole. Brunel’s has been made from materials specifically designed to keep the wearer cool while also respecting their religious beliefs. Some sports giants already have their own hijabs on the market, however at £15 Brunel’s is about 40 per cent cheaper than the one Nike launched in 2017. read the complete article


12 Feb 2019

Uighurs to China: Post a video of my missing relatives, too

The social media campaign, launched Tuesday under the hashtag #MeTooUyghur, follows the release of a state media video showing famed Uighur musician Abdurehim Heyit, who many believed had died in custody. The authenticity of the video could not be verified, and it was not clear where and by whom it had been filmed. "China, show us their videos if they are alive!" Halmurat Harri, a Finland-based Uighur activist, wrote on Twitter. He urged the government to also release videos to prove that others believed detained are in good health amid reports of neglectful and sometimes brutal conditions in the camps. Many Uighurs outside of China have said they are unable to contact relatives still in Xinjiang . Fearing that their loved ones have been ensnared by the security dragnet, they say they do not even know whether their family members are dead or alive. read the complete article

12 Feb 2019

Transnational Carceral Capitalism in Xinjiang and Beyond | Recommended Read

On 22 January, the innocuously-named ‘Frontier Support Group’ (FSG) announced plans to open a ‘training centre’ in Xinjiang, where approximately one million people are currently being held in concentration camps. Frontier Services Group is a private security firm, run by Blackwater founder, Erik Prince. FSG first announced plans to open an office in Xinjiang in March 2017. And in November of that year, they appointed Lü Chaohai as Head of their northwest regional operations. Previously, Lü was the Vice-president of the Xinjiang Construction and Production Corps, the paramilitary-cum-commercial organisation tasked by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with developing Xinjiang’s economy. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


12 Feb 2019

Opinion | A far-right politician converted to Islam. It’s not as surprising as it sounds

Van Klaveren’s epiphany occurred while he was working on a book that started off as an anti-Islam polemic but morphed into a defense of the faith. Worse or better still (depending on your perspective), van Klaveren had not so long ago been the right-hand man of Geert Wilders, the godfather of Dutch far-right extremism. Wilders has gone from demanding the banning of the Koran, supposedly in the defense of free speech, to calling for a “head rag tax,” the complete banning of mosques, hijabs and Islamic schools, and a halt to Muslim immigration. Although van Klaveren’s conversion strikes his former allies as inexplicable, it is not as bizarre or surreal as it appears. He hasn’t rejected religion, after all; he’s merely changing one strain of it for another. Rather than being like a vegetarian who suddenly becomes a carnivore, van Klaveren’s change of heart is more akin to a committed soda drinker switching from Coca Cola to Pepsi. read the complete article


12 Feb 2019

Germany closes Muslim kindergarten over Islamist links

Officials in the city of Mainz on Monday withdrew the license of the only Muslim kindergarten in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate amid allegations that the facility was promoting Salafism. The president of the state's youth office, Detlef Placzek, said the promotion of Salafist materials meant that the nursery no longer adhered to the German constitution. Officials had a duty to intervene, Placzek said, when an operator was unwilling or unable to "to create the conditions that ensure the well-being of children." Arab Nil-Rhein chairman Samy El Hagrasy rejected the accusations of extremism and said he would be appealing. "We accept and respect the constitution," said El Hagrasy, adding that the decision was "incomprehensible and a mystery." read the complete article


12 Feb 2019

Australia called to act against Chinese detention of Uighurs

The Guardian reported on Monday that at least 17 Australian residents are being held under house arrest, in prison or detained in so-called "re-education" centres in the far western region of Xinjiang, also referred to by some Uighurs as East Turkistan. They are thought to have been detained while on trips to visit relatives in China and some have family members who are Australian citizens. "As soon as they arrive, their passport is taken away because they're holding a Chinese passport, even though they have permanent residency," Nurgul Sawut, the Uighur-Australian activist who provided The Guardian with the details of the 17 affected, told Al Jazeera. "We're not only talking about the 17 people back in Xinjiang. We're talking about their direct family members here in Australia. There are 17 families whose lives are destroyed. They can't continue with their work. Their mental health is deteriorating," she said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 12 Feb 2019 Edition


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