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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19 Feb 2020

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., a local Indiana GOP official is found to have shared anti-Muslim rhetoric on social media, just as his predecessor did. In India, Brinda Karat asks why the country’s new citizenship law excludes members of the persecuted Rohingya and Ahmadiyya Muslim communities. Our recommended read today is by Dan Kang of the Associated Press on the leaked documents from the Chinese government, which list praying, attending a mosque, or even growing a long beard as reasoning for the detention of over 300 Uighur Muslims. This, and more below: 


19 Feb 2020

China’s ‘War on Terror’ uproots families, leaked data shows | Recommended Read

For decades, the Uighur imam was a bedrock of his farming community in China’s far west. On Fridays, he preached Islam as a religion of peace. On Sundays, he treated the sick with free herbal medicine. In the winter, he bought coal for the poor. But as a Chinese government mass detention campaign engulfed Memtimin Emer’s native Xinjiang region three years ago, the elderly imam was swept up and locked away, along with all three of his sons living in China. Now, a newly revealed database exposes in extraordinary detail the main reasons for the detentions of Emer, his three sons, and hundreds of others in Karakax County: their religion and their family ties. The database emphasizes that the Chinese government focused on religion as a reason for detention — not just political extremism, as authorities claim, but ordinary activities such as praying, attending a mosque, or even growing a long beard. It also shows the role of family: People with detained relatives are far more likely to end up in a camp themselves, uprooting and criminalizing entire families like Emer’s in the process. read the complete article

Recommended Read
19 Feb 2020

Uighurs in China: 'I didn't even know if my mum was alive'

Aziz Isa Elkun is one of many Uighur Muslims living in London who have been cut off from contacting their families based in Xinjiang. Since 2016, China has detained more than one million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang in what they call "educational centres". However, documents seen by the BBC show that these camps use violence and torture to drive Uighurs away from their Islamic beliefs. Aziz has several family members in the camps. He wants to be a voice for the Uighur community in the UK and is now calling on the UK Foreign Office to help them find out if their families are alive. read the complete article

United States

19 Feb 2020

US official who replaced 'Islamophobic' councilman denounced for anti-Muslim posts

It all started in January, when Greg Jones, a Republican member of the Kokomo Common Council - the municipal body that runs the Indiana city of 57,000 people, resigned after an outcry by Muslim groups over his past Islamophobic posts on social media. It fell on the local Republican Party to find Jones replacement after the fallout. After a primary caucus, Roger Stewart, a 911 dispatcher with no previous political experience, was chosen to take up the seat. Stewart was aware of the roots of Jones's ordeal and the ramifications of one's online behaviour. But it appears that the newly appointed council member was not aware of some of his own past posts on Facebook. "I refuse to bend, twist or change to make Muslims feel comfortable in MY COUNTRY," reads a "meme" he shared from a group called "Trump memes" last year. Weeks earlier, he had shared a post accusing Muslim elected officials who take the oath of office on the Quran of treason. "Let me say about the QURAN, if you take the Oath of Office on a book recognising Sharia Law swearing to defend honour and uphold the United States Constitution, then you have committed treason," the post said. He told the newspaper that he does not recall sharing those statements, disavowing the content. read the complete article

19 Feb 2020

Anatomy of Hate

Five years ago, three Muslim college students were gunned down in their home, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, by a white neighbor, Craig Hicks. Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha, two of the victims, had just been married. They were enjoying dinner with the bride’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, who was also killed. Police labeled the crime a parking dispute, sparking outrage among Muslims around the globe. The killings came amid a surge in reports of bias-motivated attacks against Muslims in America, which spiked 67 percent in 2015, according to FBI data. Overall that year, 5,850 hate crimes were reported across the country—a number that continues to grow. Last year, the FBI announced more than 7,120 reported hate crimes, with physical assaults reaching a 16-year high. Did the murder of the college students in Chapel Hill meet the definition of a hate crime? That question is at the heart of our new documentary re-examining a case that reverberated around the world. This film sheds light on the way the nation is responding to rising levels of bias-fueled violence and how we define what constitutes a hate crime under the law. read the complete article


19 Feb 2020

Germany's Muslims demand protection at mosques

Muslim groups in Germany have called on the government to do more to protect mosques, after a dozen members of a right-wing terror cell were arrested on Friday. The extremist group was planning attacks on politicians, asylum-seekers and Muslims. "We should not have to use private security companies to protect our mosque communities and lead talks to provide instruction on what to do if there is an attack," added Mazyek. IGMG said the state has the duty to provide for the safety of its citizens, adding that "Muslims also belong to this group,"a spokesperson for the IGMG in Cologne said on Monday. Around 100 attacks on mosques are registered each year, according to DITIB, the largest German mosque association. In the past weeks, mosques in Unna, Hagen, Essen and Bielefeld received emails threatening bomb attacks. read the complete article


19 Feb 2020

As a Rohingya refugee, I see a renaissance of my people’s culture in the Bangladesh camps

I would like to share some of these developments for a simple reason: it is important that genocide survivors such as myself are not seen as merely victims, dependent only on others to take up our cause on our behalf. The fuller Rohingya story is about much more than our collective suffering at the hands of Myanmar’s military. We are a people with agency, strength and resourcefulness, who seek dignity and meaning in our daily lives, just as others do. You might not think that in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, one of the world’s largest refugee camps, we are living through a renaissance of the Rohingya culture. As we are forced to express ourselves in displacement and exile, the revival is bittersweet – nonetheless, it is taking place. As a genocide survivor in the camps, I am bearing witness to this every day. And it gives me some hope. read the complete article


19 Feb 2020

Brinda Karat cites fate of Rohingya, Ahmadiyya communities to take on CAA

Senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat has contested the advocacy of the Narendra Modi government on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), citing the fate of the Rohingya and Ahmadiyya communities in neighbouring countries. “Why are the Rohingya and Ahmadiyya Muslims, who are being persecuted in Myanmar and Pakistan, not covered under the new citizenship law if the Centre is so concerned about people facing atrocities in neighbouring countries,” she asked late Monday night while addressing a gathering at Raipur’s 'Shaheen Bagh'. Karat also wanted to know why the NDA government didn'thave feelings for Rohingyas and Ahmadiyyas suffering in Myanmar and Pakistan (respectively). "Why were the two sects not included in the new law? Is it because they are not Hindus? You are not concerned about persecuted people. You are only projecting your narrow agenda,” she said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 19 Feb 2020 Edition


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