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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09 Feb 2021

Today in Islamophobia: Trump’s overturned ‘Muslim ban’ means Iranian woman is finally granted visa to stay in US with her husband. In Sri Lanka, a group of Muslim families launch complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) about Sri Lanka’s policy of enforced cremation. As pro-democracy protests gain steam in Myanmar, Rohingya hope international response to the military takeover will be a turning point in their struggle. Our recommended read today is by Rabina Khan titled ” Switzerland’s referendum on burqas is an insult to women’s rights and dignity.” This, and more, below:


09 Feb 2021

Opinion | Switzerland’s referendum on burqas is an insult to women’s rights and dignity

On March 7, Switzerland will hold a referendum to decide whether to ban full facial coverings such as burqas and niqabs. Polls show that more than 60 percent of Swiss voters favor the burqa ban. Although the Swiss cantons of St. Gallen and Ticino already have a ban on full face coverings following regional votes, the Swiss government has recommended voters reject the federal proposal, saying a nationwide constitutional ban would “undermine the sovereignty of the cantons, damage tourism and be unhelpful for certain groups of women.” Those “certain groups of women” are Muslim women. It is ironic that the vote will take place on the eve of International Women’s Day on March 8, which strives for a gender-equal world. Removing a Muslim woman’s right to wear a face veil is not equality. Why should a Muslim woman who chooses to cover her face because of her faith not be allowed to do so? People of different faiths adhere to different dress codes, yet it is Muslim women who bear the brunt of this policing around the world. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day

Sri Lanka

09 Feb 2021

For Sri Lanka's Muslims, discrimination even in death

The policy of forced cremations should be examined within the context of state-sponsored Islamophobia, as those in power have nurtured, sustained & facilitated anti-Muslim sentiment and hatred. Shortly before the new year, Sri Lanka’s supreme court threw out the case brought by both Muslim and Christian families whose relatives were cremated in violation of their religious beliefs. Thus far, the government has forcibly cremated over 50 Muslims, including individuals who had not been tested for coronavirus or had even tested negative. One man whose mother’s body was forcibly cremated described his experience stating, “The day my mother died at the hospital, they took her body away and then handed me a pot of her ashes. But the next day they told me that my mother’s test was negative and it was a mistake cremating her. Every night I wake up and think of the mother’s fate.“ The youngest victim was a 20-day old infant. read the complete article

09 Feb 2021

Muslim families complain to UN over Sri Lankan Covid cremations

The case seeking interim relief is being brought on behalf of the families by the Muslim Council of Great Britain and with the support of the British law firm Bindmans. It is alleged that the Sri Lankan government is enforcing hundreds of cremations despite international and Sri Lankan medical experts saying there is no evidence that Covid-19 is communicable from dead bodies. The group of eight complainants acknowledge and accept in their claim that in battling the pandemic, “difficult decisions have to be taken which interfere with fundamental rights”. But they say the government is mandating cremation without any regard for the wishes of families or their religious beliefs. read the complete article


09 Feb 2021

Rohingya Activists Are Hoping That the Coup in Myanmar Will Be a Turning Point for Their Struggle

The Rohingya found no support from the civilian government. Indeed, in 2019 Aung San Suu Kyi notoriously defended the Tatmadaw in a hearing at the Hague, and just two weeks before the coup, her government filed preliminary objections to the International Court of Justice over the genocide case it faces. The general population had no sympathy either; many Burmese consider the Rohingya to be Bangladeshi migrants, even though the Rohingya have centuries of history in Myanmar. But in the wake of the Feb. 1 coup, some Burmese are finally changing their views of their Muslim countrymen. Says Nay San Lwin, who gained 3,000 new Twitter followers in a day last week: “They are now realizing the common enemy is the military.” Some have even begun apologizing to Yanghee Lee. The former U.N. Special Rapporteur was hailed by the rights community as a “champion of justice for Rohingyas,” while being vilified in Myanmar. When she tweeted a call for the release of Suu Kyi on Feb. 4, the thread filled up with expiations. “I do want to apologize the way I treated you in recent years regarding Rohingya,” said one user. “[Forgive] me for misunderstanding you. In the recent years, we were narrow-minded,” read another tweet. read the complete article


09 Feb 2021

‘If you’re quiet, you’re complacent’: Ottawa urged to aid Rohingya in wake of coup in Myanmar

“There wasn’t much democracy anyway, because Aung San Suu Kyi and the government that was there were puppets. All the ethnic minorities that were persecuted are now directly under the military’s command and threats,” Raïss Tin Maung, founder of the Rohingya Human Rights Network in Canada, told the Star. “The military is the authority now. There’s no filter, no check. Now it’s just unhindered, straight access to these villages for them to finish their unfinished business, in the very own words of the general.” read the complete article

09 Feb 2021

British Lawyers Find Credible Evidence Of Genocide Against The Uyghurs In Xinjiang

The legal opinion indicates that there is evidence that the crime of genocide is currently being committed against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Uyghurs, as an ethnic group, fall within the purview of the protected groups for the purposes of the definition of genocide (as in Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and Article 6 of the Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court (ICC)). According to the legal opinion, that “it is at least arguable on the available evidence that there is an intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Uyghur population of Xinjiang as such.” The evidence suggests that the actus reus requirements for the following specific crimes of genocide are fulfilled: “causing serious bodily or mental harm to Uyghurs in detention, including acts of torture and forced sterilizations; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” read the complete article

09 Feb 2021

MP calls for Britain to boycott Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

Iain Duncan Smith has called for Britain to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The Chingford and Woodford Green MP has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese Government, especially in regard to its treatment of Uyghur Muslims. Speaking on LBC Radio, Mr Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative party, said: “I think that the Government should boycott the Olympics. “Given the nature of all that is going, the appalling behaviour of China across a whole range of issues, sadly it’s not just what I believe to be the genocide of the Uyghurs. In response, the editor-in-chief of state-backed Chinese tabloid Global Times, took to twitter to warn China would response to any nation which pulls out with ‘serious sanctions’. “Boycotting 2022 Beijing Winter Games, an unpopular idea, won’t receive wide support,” Hu Xijin said. “IOC and athletes will both oppose it, and China will seriously sanction any country that follows such a call.” read the complete article

09 Feb 2021

Nourin Mohamed Siddig: The African art of reciting the Koran

The comparison made with Blues music is not an accident. According to historian Sylviane Diouf the chants, prayers and recitation of enslaved West African Muslims, which can sound similar to that of Muslims across the Sahel region to Sudan and Somalia, may have contributed to the creation of "the distinctive African American music of the South that evolved into the holler and finally the Blues". According to tradition, the Koran, Islam's holy book, is typically recited in a singing manner, encouraged by the Prophet Muhammad, who said that people should "beautify the Koran with your voices". read the complete article

09 Feb 2021

Uighur speaks out against husband's 'deportation' from UAE

Leaving behind two children, 35-year-old Ahmad, identified in China as Aihemaiti Talifu, was detained when he visited a police station in Dubai in 2018 to obtain paperwork. She believes Beijing had demanded the paperwork to set a trap in Dubai in order to capture Ahmed and later deport him back to China. According to Talip, Ahmad worked for a logistics firm in Abu Dhabi for five years before setting up his own company in the Emirati capital. read the complete article

09 Feb 2021

Uighur exiles condemn 'shameful' parliamentary tactics on Trade Bill

Last week, the government suffered a defeat in the House of Lords when 171 peers supported an amendment to give British courts jurisdiction over genocide cases. The amended Trade Bill returns to the Commons on Tuesday and MPs from all parties were lining up to endorse the Lords' new clause. But the numbers were looking tight. So ministers used a parliamentary procedure to ensure that rebel and opposition MPs can't vote on amendments separately. read the complete article

09 Feb 2021

France’s New Public Enemy: America’s Woke Left

Disputes that would have otherwise attracted little attention are now blown up in the news and social media. The new director of the Paris Opera, who said on Monday he wants to diversify its staff and ban blackface, has been attacked by the far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, but also in Le Monde because, though German, he had worked in Toronto and had “soaked up American culture for 10 years.” With its echoes of the American culture wars, the battle began inside French universities but is being played out increasingly in the media. Politicians have been weighing in more and more, especially following a turbulent year during which a series of events called into question tenets of French society. Mr. Macron — who had shown little interest in these matters in the past but has been courting the right ahead of elections next year — jumped in last June, when he blamed universities for encouraging the “ethnicization of the social question’’ — amounting to “breaking the republic in two.’’ read the complete article

United Kingdom

09 Feb 2021

In the UK, Muslims find comfort in receiving vaccines at mosques

Vaccination centres have been set up in expected locations such as pharmacies but also in cinemas, a London football ground and other places of worship such as a Hindu temple. Nuru Mohammed, the mosque’s imam, said the idea to convert the space into a clinic was to help people who were not “well-informed” about the vaccination campaign, amid fears and false information that had been circulating among the Muslim community. read the complete article

United States

09 Feb 2021

Trump's overturned 'Muslim ban' means Iranian woman is finally granted visa to stay in US with her husband

All that has now changed, after she was awarded a visa to stay in the US by the embassy in Montreal, with officials saying it is thanks to Joe Biden overturning the ban on people entering from certain Muslim countries, of which Iran was one. Reversing the controversial policy from the Trump Administration was one of the first things Joe Biden did when he entered office last month. "Finally, finally Mona has a US visa - she's coming to the US," Mr Smith says in an emotional video clip after the embassy meeting. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Smith said the travel ban "destroyed" their lives. "I remember seeing the headline on my iPhone that Trump was going to ban travellers from certain Muslim countries from entering the United States. "I just remember sitting there and I turned white and my hands got all sweaty." "Our lives were destroyed. I mean, it sort of ruined our lives for the last four years both psychologically and practically." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Feb 2021 Edition


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