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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24 Feb 2020

Today in Islamophobia: A Wisconsin prison warden is fired for expressing anti-Muslim sentiments, as a Portland man who killed two people during a hate-filled rant in 2017 is found guilty of first degree murder. As global pressure grows, Myanmar issues a statement expressing its intent to court martial more troops for its “Rohingya crackdown.” Our recommended read today is on Germany, and how its far-right problem cannot be ignored any longer. This, and more, below:


24 Feb 2020

Analysis: It's high time Germany faced its far-right problem | Recommended Read

The attack was the latest sign of the worrying rise of far-right extremism in Germany. The political establishment's limp response to the killings, meanwhile, once again demonstrated Germany's inability to accept and deal with the growing threat that is facing its citizens and residents. The suspect, Tobias R, a 43-year-old German, was found dead in his apartment, where police also discovered the body of his 72-year-old mother. According to German media reports, the suspect published videos and texts online in which he promoted conspiracy theories, misogyny, and racism. He allegedly claimed that a small, secret elite is ruling the world, praised German supremacy and called for the extermination of several population groups. Peaceful coexistence is increasingly fragile in Germany. In fact, the tragedy of Hanau is only the latest in a wave of far-right plots and attacks we witnessed in the country. In 2011, the coincidental discovery of a terrorist network named the National Socialist Underground caused public outrage. The members of the group had committed deadly shootings across Germany and managed to avoid detection for several years. In 2017, police apprehended a German army lieutenant for planning attacks against politicians. It was soon revealed that he had also registered as a Syrian refugee under a false name and planned to carry out attacks in order to stir more hatred against refugees. In 2018, eight members of the neo-Nazi terrorist Freital Group, from Freital, a town near Dresden, a bastion of the far-right, were found guilty of terrorism-related crimes, including attacks on refugee shelters. Racism runs deep through Germany, but it rarely makes front-page news or triggers responses by politicians, unless an extremist goes on a shooting spree. Minorities experience racism in their everyday lives. They live with a constant fear of being subjected to racist violence. read the complete article

Recommended Read
24 Feb 2020

Muslims in Germany call for action against far-right groups

Thursday's attack in the small western city of Hanau has deepened fears in Germany that minority communities are vulnerable to fascist and Islamophobic violence, and has raised questions about how much state authorities are doing to combat any threat. The killings of 10 people, mostly with immigrant backgrounds, has also prompted a backlash against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which one senior politician said should be placed under surveillance. The attack follows several high-profile incidents of far-right militancy in Germany, including the murder of politician Walter Lubcke in Kassel last June and a shooting at a synagogue in Halle in October that left two dead. Last week, police arrested 12 neo-Nazis across several German states, believed to have been part of a cell coordinating attacks against multiple mosques, apparently influenced by the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand last year. "One person carried out the shooting in Hanau, that's what it looks like, but there were many that supplied him with ammunition, and AfD definitely belongs to them," Lars Klingbeil, general secretary of the Social Democratic Party, told public broadcaster ARD. read the complete article

United States

24 Feb 2020

Wisconsin prison warden who posted anti-Muslim memes fired

A Wisconsin deputy prison warden has been fired after posting Facebook memes comparing Muslim children to garbage and equating flying a gay pride rainbow flag with raising the Confederate flag. Richard “Sam” Schneiter, a 42-year veteran of the Department of Corrections, was fired in November, records from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission provided to The Associated Press reveal. Schneiter was fired after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in July reported on his Facebook postings. In June, he posted a meme of two black garbage bags next to a Muslim woman and child in black burkas and a caption saying the woman had three beautiful children. read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

Portland man accused of killing 2 during hate-filled rant guilty of 1st-degree murder

The man accused of fatally stabbing two people and injuring a third during a hate-filled rant aboard a Portland, Oregon, train in 2017 was found guilty Friday on all 12 charges, including two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree intimidation. Jurors also found Jeremy Christian, 37, guilty of assault, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing passengers. He will be sentenced during a separate hearing. Authorities said Christian shouted hate speech that included anti-Muslim comments on a light-rail train. Some of the rants were directed at two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a head scarf. In Oregon, second-degree intimidation includes hate speech. The girls moved to the back of the train to get away from Christian, and three people tried to intervene. Two of them, Rick Best, 53, an Army veteran and father of four, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, were stabbed and killed. A third victim, Micah Fletcher, who was 21 at the time, narrowly escaped death. read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

Rights groups decry Trump's travel ban extension as new restrictions take effect

New visa restrictions issued by President Donald Trump's administration last month officially went into effect on Friday. The extension of his previous executive order additionally bans nationals from Sudan and Tanzania from participating in the diversity visa lottery scheme and suspends issuing visas for nationals from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan. "On Friday, more than a quarter of Africans will be banned from immigrating to America, leaving millions of American families cut off from their loved ones living abroad," Muslim Advocates, a Washington-based rights group, said in a statement. "This is in addition to the countless families that have already been separated by the Muslim Ban for the past three years." While there have not yet been any legal challenges to the new visa restrictions, civil rights groups have criticised them as "xenophobic". read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

CAIR-Philadelphia, Coalition Partners Protest U.S. Army War College Hosting Anti-Muslim Speaker

The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined coalition partners in protesting the decision of the U.S. Army War College to invite anti-Muslim speaker Raymond Ibrahim for a Feb. 26 lecture. Last year, the college postponed a similar speaking engagement with Ibrahim in response to widespread criticism. In response to postponement of his 2019 lecture, Ibrahim restated his bigoted claim that "Islamic terrorism and 'extremism' are intrinsic to Islam, and have been from its first contact with Western civilization in the seventh century." This year, Ibrahim is being hosted by the college's U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC). Ibrahim's writings advance a discredited theory known as the "Clash of Civilizations" and argues that "Islam and the West" have been engaged in a centuries-long war. The lecture is based on Ibrahim's 2018 book "Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West." That book promotes the unsubstantiated thesis that Islam, since its beginning, has "terrorized the West." read the complete article


24 Feb 2020

At Trump's India Rally, Modi Bets on Bolstering His Image

The rally in Modi's home state may help displace his association with deadly anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that landed him a U.S. travel ban. It may also distract Indians, at least temporarily, from a slumping economy and ongoing protests over a new citizenship law that excludes Muslims. But beyond the pageantry and symbolism of the visit, experts expect little of substance to be achieved for either side. “For Modi, Trump's visit to India offers a useful distraction from the domestic political tumult playing out across the country,” said Micheal Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the U.S.-based Wilson Center. “I don't think the visit will have much impact on domestic politics in either country.” To welcome Trump, who last year likened Modi to Elvis Presley for his crowd-pulling power at a joint rally the two leaders held in Houston, the Gujarat government has spent almost $14 million on ads blanketing the city that show them holding up their hands, flanked by the Indian and U.S. flags. read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

India’s Muslims Are Terrified of Being Deported

Last December, India passed the CAA, which provides a route to citizenship to members of six religious minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan—but not for Muslims. Coupled with the NRC, a supposedly definitive list of Indian citizens, the provision is facing criticism for being anti-Muslim and unconstitutional. A similar list in Assam has already been used to single out Indian-born Muslims for potential deportation. And while members of other faiths now have the shield of the CAA as a route back into Indian citizenship if they’re branded as illegal by the NRC process, Muslims have no such respite. That’s a big problem. Even today, 38 percent of Indian children under the age of 5 do not have birth certificates. Other documents can substitute, but they’re also often lacking—especially for older people. The reasons for this are varied—lack of awareness, inaccessible registration centers, and no immediate requirement for these certificates to access social services. Government data shows that 6.8 million births were not registered in India in 2015-2016, and the situation is worse for older residents, who were born when home births were more prevalent in the country. There’s a gulf between government rhetoric on the NRC and what critics believe—but the record of an increasingly hard-right Hindu nationalist government under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) makes the government’s word seem dubious at best. There has been a systematic scapegoating of Muslims under BJP rule. Human Rights Watch published a report in 2019, observing that the party uses “communal rhetoric” to spur “a violent vigilante campaign,” whereby radical cow protection groups lynched 44 people to death, 36 of them Muslims, between May 2015 and December 2018. Prior to its landslide win in the 2019 elections, the BJP also used religious polarization as a campaigning tool, making promises such as the expedited construction of a temple in place of a demolished mosque in Ayodhya. read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

India’s Muslims rush to collect documents after new law fuels anxiety over their citizenship status

Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government passed a controversial citizenship law in December, many Indian Muslims have been in a state of heightened alert. The law has fueled anxiety that the government’s next step will be to conduct a long-promised nationwide citizenship test, which Muslims see as an excuse to target their status in India. Now Muslims across the country are racing to collect property deeds, land records, graduation documents, voter records, and birth and death certificates in case the government asks for them — not an easy task in a country where many records are poorly maintained and not digitized. read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

Suppressing Secularism: The Marginalisation of India’s Muslims

On December 12, 2019, India’s Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). The bill is unique and contentious because it uses religion as a discriminator, as it will fast-track citizenship for almost all of South Asia’s most prominent religious groups, with one notable exception: Muslims. The pointed exclusion of a group that comprises 14% of the Indian population has caused many to denounce the legislation as unconstitutional and Islamophobic. India’s conception was as a secular democracy, a country that found its strength in its diversity and plurality of religions. However, this idyllic image has been repeatedly undermined, especially by the hard-line Hindutva program of the BJP under the leadership of the controversial Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP defends its bill by claiming that it specifically seeks to protect religious minorities who are fleeing persecution in the aforementioned countries, and so it offers solace to groups such as Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs. Yet the bill’s critics point to India’s constitution, which guarantees that all are equal before the law (Article 14) and cannot be discriminated against based on religion (Article 15). read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

Journalism is under attack in India. So is the truth.

“Jihadi.” “Presstitute.” Those are some of the insults the government of India routinely deploys against critical journalists. I’ve been at the receiving end of both. A few weeks ago, the Twitter account of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party called me a “jihadi” for my criticism of its polarizing tweets against Muslims in India. But I’m far from alone. Journalists are facing enormous pressures and intimidation in India. Fabrication, hyper-nationalism and self-censorship are on the rise as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi tightens its grip on the country’s political and economic life. High-profile journalists have been pushed aside for not toeing the line. As a result, many of India’s finest journalist and editors can’t find supportive newsrooms. As India heads down the path of authoritarianism and hyper-nationalism, the price for speaking up is rising. Minorities are being stifled and intimidated. Protesters speaking against tyranny and discrimination are demonized. Never has journalism in India been in more urgent need of resolute moral clarity. read the complete article


24 Feb 2020

Myanmar to Court-Martial More Troops Over Rohingya Crackdown, Army Says

Myanmar's army said in a statement on Friday it would hold more court-martials over alleged abuses against Rohingya Muslims, after a government-appointed commission said soldiers committed war crimes against the minority. The panel concluded, in a report published in January, that members of the security forces, among "multiple actors", were responsible for war crimes and serious human rights violations during a military-led crackdown against the group in 2017. The army said in a post on its website on Friday it had studied the panel's report in great detail and was reviewing allegations. read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

Is Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of covering up war crimes?

According to the UN, at least 10,000 people have been killed and more than 700,000 have fled Rakhine state since the Myanmar military's crackdown began in 2017. Thousands of Rohingya women and girls have been raped, and around 300 villages burnt to the ground. The former spokesperson of Myanmar's de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is dismissing the allegations, describing them as "one-sided". "Most of the international people live in the rumours, hearsay," Nyo Ohn Myint said. "This is a political accusation … because you know, they just joined the bandwagon," he added. Nyo Ohn Myint also questioned the evidence gathered by the international community - which has been denied access to Rakhine state by Myanmar's government. "When I read the US State Department report that said the Rohingya women were raped by soldiers and surrounded by hundreds of soldiers, it looked like the very, you know ... third-class Hollywood movie," he said. Nyo Ohn Myint suggested that some of the women who gave accounts of their rape to Amnesty International were lying. "I don't know because if I, if I look at her eye, maybe she was true or maybe she was lying," he said. read the complete article

United Kingdom

24 Feb 2020

Immigrants built Britain. Now their Conservative children are disowning them

Once this brownwashing is complete, Javid senior plays one final role, with a biblical twist – he is to then be denied by his own son. The route that brought him here – paving the way to his son’s spectacular rise through the City and the government – has been blocked. Under new migration policies, Javid senior would not have been allowed in. The new policies effectively close Britain’s borders to all those classed as unskilled workers and those who cannot speak English at a certain level. When Javid was asked, in 2018, if he was sad about supporting laws that would have barred his own father, he replied that he was “very optimistic about our future because … we will remain the global-outlook nation that welcomes people from across the world.” Just not people like his father. Last week Priti Patel was a little more blunt when she conceded that her parents, Indians from east Africa, would no longer be welcome. “This is the point,” she said. “We are changing our immigration policy to one that’s fit for purpose for our economy, based on skills.” Skills. The country no longer needs her parents’ skills. The founders and owners of a successful chain of newsagents across London and the south-east, it’s not clear what dire economic need their admission to the UK would have fulfilled at the time. They simply came, did a job well, and bore children who became so well-integrated and influential that they used their power to change the very laws that allowed their own existence in the first place. read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

Ryanair boss calls for extra checks on Muslim men at airports

The chief executive officer of Ryanair has sparked outrage after calling for the profiling of Muslim men at airports, claiming "bombers" will "generally be of a Muslim persuasion". Michael O'Leary made the remark while discussing airport security with the Times of London newspaper. In the interview published on Saturday, the airline's controversial boss said: "Who are the bombers? They are going to be single males travelling on their own... If you are travelling with a family of kids, on you go; the chances you are going to blow them all up is zero." The 58-year-old added: "You can't say stuff, because it's racism, but it will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion. Thirty years ago it was the Irish. "If that is where the threat is coming from, deal with the threat." read the complete article

24 Feb 2020

'It was about starting a dialogue': A year on since It's Not About The Burqa

I've now read It's Not About The Burqa twice and for its third visit, I'm going to have to pray the margins become magically wider. The title was shortlisted for Foyle's 2019 Non-Fiction Book of The Year and recently released its paperback edition – awaiting a new wave of readers to hear the lived experiences by Muslim women for everyone. In the time the best-seller has been published, we've witnessed Brexit unfold and been exposed to new heights of Islamophobia in the UK, so it made sense to talk to a few of the contributors about what they have learnt since the book's release. "There is no one way to be a Muslim woman," puts editor Mariam Khan simply. A message echoed throughout the book, and what in turn, has also been received. This is clear in It's Not About The Burqa, with passages varying from being a lovechild to an affair, what it's like wearing a rainbow coloured hijab to expressing being a queer Muslim woman at Pride and why an unregistered nikkah is not safe for Muslim women. "There is no correct way and we [Muslim women] can be contradictory to each other." Which is perhaps what resonates so much with readers – this dismissal of the wild notion that Muslim women are the same. read the complete article


24 Feb 2020

‘Anti-Muslim sentiment permeates policies of both India and US,’ says Amnesty as Trump meets Modi

Human rights organisation Amnesty International on Monday said “anti-Muslim sentiment permeates” the policies of both United States and Indian leaders and alleged that the values that the two governments now share are bigotry and hostility. A joint statement was released by Amnesty International USA and Amnesty International India ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to India. “Anti-Muslim sentiment permeates the policies of both US and Indian leaders,” Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA’s executive director, said in the statement. “For decades, the US-India relationship was anchored by claims of shared values of human rights and human dignity. Now, those shared values are discrimination, bigotry, and hostility towards refugees and asylum seekers.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 24 Feb 2020 Edition


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