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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17 Feb 2021

Today in Islamophobia: Human rights groups to boycott government’s Prevent review. France passes anti-radicalism bill that worries Muslims. Turkey investigates Dutch politician Wilders over Erdogan comment. Our recommended read today is on Myanmar, on enduring Buddhist support for the Tatmadaw. This, and more, below:


17 Feb 2021

When Buddhists Back the Army | Recommended Read

Days before the military seized control of Myanmar’s government on Feb. 1, Buddhist monks demonstrated in support of the country’s armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw. Carrying banners espousing claims of election fraud, monks marched through the streets of Yangon proclaiming the military as the protector of the state. Such scenes are not uncommon in Myanmar, where Buddhism is deeply intertwined with the country’s culture. For the Buddhist nationalists who backed the army and its crackdown on Muslims, the coup may seem like an opportunity—but a military coup is bad news for Buddhism in Myanmar due to its restrictions on religious freedom. It may also exacerbate Buddhist nationalism and extremist religious ideals prevalent in the country. read the complete article

17 Feb 2021

How will democracy be defined after Myanmar’s military coup?

Despite threats of police violence, crowds have continued to grow, drawing in myriad ethnic and religious communities and divergent political groupings. In a nation riven by deep social divides, where only three years ago many were championing the military’s cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, the coup has produced something wholly unexpected: a show of democratic inclusivity by a populace that, over the past decade, has shown a pointed hostility towards that principle. read the complete article

United Kingdom

17 Feb 2021

Human rights groups to boycott government's Prevent review

The Prevent strategy includes a statutory duty for schools, NHS trusts, prisons and local authorities to report any concerns they have about people who may be at risk of turning to extremism. The Prevent duty has led to cases in which teachers have reported primary school children to the police for having toy guns or talking about video games. There are thousands of referrals each year but just 11% of those referred are ultimately deemed to be at risk of radicalisation, the most recent figures show. read the complete article

United States

17 Feb 2021

Biden Executive Actions Make Unity Possible for Millions of Marginalized Americans

Critics, including the editorial board of the New York Times, have expressed discomfort with this display of executive power, and some have specifically labeled the orders divisive. But to whom? For millions of Americans, the new president’s executive actions are the much-needed first steps to helping a nation heal from the deep wounds of the Trump era, with policy that again reflects public will. Indeed, in a Feb. 7 survey analyzing 29 actions, the vast majority of the decisions enjoy broad support. Mandating mask use, reinstating COVID-19 travel restrictions, extending the moratoriums on eviction, extending the freeze on student loan payments, and increasing food stamp benefit, among others, enjoy more than two-thirds support. read the complete article

17 Feb 2021

The Trump bump? With a surge of election wins, Muslims make their mark on NJ politics

Last year, at age 26, he seized the opportunity, winning election to the Clifton Board of Education. “With the Muslim ban and everything else going on, it was basically: How can I take a back seat on this?” Awwad said, referring to then-President Donald Trump's policy restricting Muslim travelers. “I just have to jump in and take charge and represent the Muslim community as best I can and have a positive impact.” read the complete article

17 Feb 2021

Parler Is Now in the Hands of a Right-Wing Extremist Seeking a Radical Rewrite of the Constitution

The board of the far-right social media app Parler has fired its CEO and put the platform in the hands of interim CEO Mark Meckler and right-wing British political operative Matthew Richardson, along with board chair and majority owner Rebekah Mercer. Meckler, whom Mercer recruited for Parler, is a well known right-wing activist who co-founded the Tea Party Patriots and is president and CEO of the Convention of States Foundation and its partner Convention of States Action, organizations pushing for a constitutional convention to radically rewrite America’s founding document. read the complete article


17 Feb 2021

In a word: How does Uighur 'genocide' designation affect US policy?

It was on January 19 when then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the ongoing atrocities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in China's northwest a genocide. Over one million Turkic Muslims, including Uyghurs and Kazakhs, have been imprisoned in internment camps there since 2017. Pompeo's declaration followed a declaration by Congress on December 27 requiring the administration to determine within 90 days whether China had committed crimes against humanity or a genocide. New Secretary of State Antony Blinken has agreed with Pompeo's decision, saying publicly in his confirmation hearings and reiterating it afterwards, that he believes what the Chinese are doing to the Muslims in Xinjiang is indeed "genocide". read the complete article

17 Feb 2021

International Court Accuses Two Central African Militia Leaders of Attacks on Muslims

The two accused men, Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, the former soccer official, and Alfred Yékatom, the former legislator, were leaders of the mostly Christian militias known as the anti-balaka that have attacked Muslim civilians during the brutal civil war that has wracked the Central African Republic since 2013. The charges they face include murder, torture, persecution, cruel treatment, mutilation, and recruiting child soldiers. Mr. Ngaïssona is also charged with rape and extermination. read the complete article

17 Feb 2021

Turkey investigates Dutch politician Wilders over Erdogan comment

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into remarks by Dutch far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders who called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “terrorist”. Wilders made the comments on Twitter on Monday and urged Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to expel the Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands. He also called for Turkey to be expelled from NATO. Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, is one of Europe’s most prominent far-right politicians, although he has never been in government. His comments drew a backlash from Turkish officials. read the complete article


17 Feb 2021

In Montenegro, a street was almost named after Ratko Mladic

The move came earlier this month, when the Serbian monarchist movement reportedly proposed to name a street in Berane after Mladic and the local council in charge of naming settlements, streets and squares adopted the idea, at least in principle. The proposal was discussed further, but ultimately dropped. Nevertheless, say observers, that such a proposal had emerged in the first place, and was even considered, is a worrying sign. Muratovic, the imam, said officials did not condemn the proposal, rather they rejected the idea on technicalities. read the complete article


17 Feb 2021

Burka ban vote appeals to Islamophobia and feminists

Often referred to as “the burka ban”, the initiative by right-wing groups also includes a ban on the wearing of niqabs as well as other non-religious forms of face coverings. The vote is scheduled for March 7. The campaign takes place as hygiene masks are mandatory in busy public places due to the current coronavirus pandemic. It adds an ironic note to a debate which takes in religious freedom, female equality and fears of terrorism. read the complete article


17 Feb 2021

'Hate Speech in India Relies on Stoking Fear to Escape Criminal Action': Study

Titled ‘Short is the road that leads from fear to hate: Free speech in WhatsApp groups’, the research paper available on the Cornell University website states that more than one in five messages posted on 5,010 public WhatsApp groups (surveyed for the study) during the 2019 general elections engaged in “fear rhetoric”. Calling for new ways to detect ‘fear speech’, the research paper defines it as “an expression aimed at instilling (existential) fear of a target (ethnic or religious) group”, and “harmful things done by the target groups in the past or present (and the possibility of that happening again)”. Additionally, a particular tradition of the target group is portrayed in a harmful manner. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 17 Feb 2021 Edition


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