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 2021

Today in Islamophobia: As more evidence emerges of genocide in Xinjiang, US reintroduces bill to ban forced-labor products from the region. In India, government policies continue to target activists and minorities. Our recommended read today is by Joseph Hammond on US government’s renewed focus on anti-extremism programs on far right, and why many Muslims still oppose such measures. This, and more, below:

United States

19 Feb 2021

As US refocuses anti-extremism programs on far right, many Muslims still oppose them | Recommended Read

Many in the Muslim American community are expressing ambivalence about this shift. “Countering violent extremism” — a phrase that emerged in the decade after 9/11 — is defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as “proactive actions to counter efforts by extremists to recruit, radicalize, and mobilize followers to violence.” “We are against equal opportunity surveillance,” said Fatema Ahmad, executive director of the Muslim Justice League. “CVE perpetuates the criminalization of people, violence and police surveillance. Some in the Muslim community may feel this is sweet, sweet revenge against a group that has long targeted others, and I get that. Yet, this approach won’t solve anything and may make things worse.” read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
19 Feb 2021

Can Biden fulfil Obama's promise of closing Guantanamo Bay?

"It's extremely important and absolutely necessary to have a change in policy. The US needs to reset its relations with the rest of the world, especially the Muslim world," Daphne Eviatar, director of security and human rights at Amnesty International USA, told The New Arab. "It has to denounce the idea of indefinite detention. In the US, Guantanamo has become a symbol of Islamophobia. It's all Muslim men that are imprisoned there. The US is talking a lot right now about racism and white supremacy. We've got to see Guantanamo as a symbol and an outcome of that. It's something we wouldn't have otherwise." read the complete article

19 Feb 2021

Opinion | It’s Time to End the Oppressive Policing of Muslim Youth

However, surveillance and oppressive policing don't always look as starkly and directly violent. During the Obama administration, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) ( programs were proposed as solutions to violent ideologies. To many liberals and progressives, they seemed like a good idea at the time. CVE and its successor, TVTP (Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention) (, claim to prevent "ideologically motivated violence to further political goals". In reality, they perpetuate a long tradition of law enforcement surveilling and undermining Black, Muslim, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. In CVE-style programs, the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and the National Counterterrorism Center target Muslim people – particularly those who are Black and brown. These efforts collaborate in insidious ways with community organizations to expand surveillance (hospitals, universities, police departments, and city governments for example). Too frequently, whenever surveillance, security, and policing have expanded the result has often been increased violence and harm against marginalized people. read the complete article

19 Feb 2021

US lawmakers press military over data purchases from Muslim apps

In a letter sent to Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on Thursday, more than a dozen members of Congress demanded to know the process behind the military's purchases of location data. Last year, Vice News reported that the popular prayer app Muslim Pro sold its users' location data to a company called X-Mode, which then sold it on to third-party contractors which in turn provide the data to the US military. read the complete article

19 Feb 2021

US reintroduces bill to ban forced-labour products from Xinjiang

The updated version of legislation that passed the House 406-3 in the previous Congress in September is similar to a Senate version that was reintroduced last month after being held up in the previous session. The House bill would authorise the US president to apply sanctions against anyone responsible for labour trafficking of minority Uighurs or other Muslims in Xinjiang, a leading producer of cotton and cotton products. It would also require financial disclosures by listed US companies about engagement with Chinese firms and entities engaged in abuses, a provision not included in the Senate version. read the complete article


19 Feb 2021

France to ban far-right group Generation Identity

The National Assembly approved on February 16 a bill to fight Islamist extremism and separatism in an attempt to tackle the root causes of jihadist violence – in response to a wave of attacks that has seen more than 250 people murdered since 2015. But Macron’s centrist government is also worried about the far-right – especially seeing as a poll by magazine L’Express and daily Le Parisien in January put populist National Rally leader Marine Le Pen at 48 percent compared to 52 percent for Macron in the 2022 presidential election race. read the complete article


19 Feb 2021

Abhorrent’: Malaysia’s plan for Myanmar repatriation condemned

Rights groups are urging the Malaysian government to halt plans to send more than 1,000 Myanmar people currently in immigration detention back to Myanmar despite the political turmoil triggered by the military coup on February 1. Malaysia said this week that it had accepted Myanmar’s offer to send the navy to bring back 1,200 people who are currently held in its detention centres. read the complete article

19 Feb 2021

TEICH: The Uyghur genocide is a genocide, let’s call it one

On Tuesday, when asked, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to recognize that the acts being committed by the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang constitute a genocide. He articulated that the term must only be imposed based on “facts and evidence,” and it must be “properly justified and demonstrated.” Trudeau is correct in theory, but wrong in this case. It is true that we cannot throw around the “genocide” label carelessly, and that doing so could weaken and undermine true instances of genocide, both future and past. read the complete article

The Muslim Ban Is Finally Gone—3 Travelers Share What That Means for Them

“My family and I were refugees that escaped from war, so we created a life that we thought would be better and have traveled the globe. However, with my husband being American and my daughter having dual citizenship, the Muslim ban was a constant stress. I was always separated for extra screenings—even while traveling with my toddler. It’s hard enough traveling with a baby, but then you find TSA has no sort of empathy for a crying baby, sifting through my personal belongings and making me repack them, without help, simply because of my name or the fact that I wear hijab. I like that the ban has been lifted, but I don’t feel comfortable traveling to the U.S., even post-COVID, which is sad because my daughter has an entire family there. I am truly triggered by the constant discrimination of immigrants. It is time to recognize that we all contribute to the global society.” read the complete article


19 Feb 2021

India: Government Policies, Actions Target Minorities

Authorities in India have adopted laws and policies that systematically discriminate against Muslims and stigmatize critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Prejudices embedded in the government of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have infiltrated independent institutions, such as the police and the courts, empowering nationalist groups to threaten, harass, and attack religious minorities with impunity. read the complete article

19 Feb 2021

Why CAA has made a comeback in Bengal, Assam and Kerala polls

He said the CAA rollout process would begin once the Covid-19 vaccination programme is completed. The CAA provides for an alternative mechanism for acquiring citizenship by non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The exclusion of Muslims from the purview of the CAA became controversial as it introduced religion as a criterion for deciding Indian citizenship. It has become a polarising factor in politics and elections. Following Amit Shah’s thrust for the CAA, other BJP leaders amplified the statement in Bengal, Assam and also Kerala. BJP’s push for the CAA has been met with a pushback from the rival parties. read the complete article

United Kingdom

19 Feb 2021

Football: How racism and Islamophobia are corrupting the beautiful game

While national media coverage has focused on the targeting of professional football players, the beautiful game at the grassroots level is being ignored. For this reason, my colleague and I wanted to speak with those who seem to have been forgotten by the Football Association. The people with whom we spoke told us about how they experienced Islamophobia and racism from members of the public, and from players on other teams. In some cases, incidents of abuse that started offline later moved to the online realm. read the complete article


19 Feb 2021

Allegations of shackled students and gang rape inside China's detention camps

On the first day of her new teaching job at a Chinese government-run detention center in Xinjiang, Qelbinur Sidik said she saw two soldiers carry a young Uyghur woman out of the building on a stretcher. "There was no spark of life in her face. Her cheeks were drained of color, she was not breathing," said Sidik, a former elementary school teacher who says she was forced to spend several months teaching at two detention centers in Xinjiang in 2017. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 19 Feb 2021 Edition


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