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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10 Jan 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are forced into labor programs in China, as Bollywood backing grows in India’s anti-Modi protests. LA Times traces how North Dakota has gone from being a haven for immigrants to being anti-refugee since Trump’s election in 2016. Our recommended read today is by Zak-Cheney Rice on the conditional ‘Americanness’ of Iranian-Americans. This, and more, below:

United States

10 Jan 2020

When the ‘Americanness’ of Iranian-Americans Is Conditional | Recommended Read

Agents were allegedly pulling people aside on the basis of their Iranian heritage, asking where they lived, what they did for work, whether they’d served in the military, and questions about their families. Reports from advocates and lawyers about the total number of people screened differ, but all range from 40 to 75. According to BuzzFeed News, Blaine-based immigration attorney Leonard Saunders saw a nearly block-long line of them waiting to be inspected; the wait was so substantial, he said, that CBP officers had begun passing out juice boxes, prepackaged fruit, and crackers to quell their hunger. read the complete article

Our recommended read today
10 Jan 2020

Feds open investigation into Blaine border stops; Iranian American tells of being pulled aside at Sea-Tac Airport

The civil-rights office confirmed the investigation Wednesday, and said it is sending investigators to Washington state, according to Subhan Cheema, Jayapal’s spokesman. The investigation comes as reports continue to surface, including from an Iranian American who said he was pulled aside at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for a prolonged “secondary inspection.” read the complete article

10 Jan 2020

Only the U.S. Military Can Have PTSD, GOP Representative Tells War Refugee

The Minneapolis Democrat — who inspires a visceral fury in her Republican colleagues matched perhaps only by that toward Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — greeted news of President Trump’s intensifying antagonism toward Iran, highlighted by a Friday drone strike that killed the country’s top military official, Qasem Soleimani, by saying, “I feel ill a little bit because of everything that is taking place, and I think every time I hear of conversations around war, I find myself being stricken with PTSD.” It’s not an unexpected reaction to the kind of circumstances that marked Omar’s early life — which included an exodus from war-torn Somalia at the age of 8 and four years living in a Kenya refugee camp before immigrating to the United States. read the complete article

10 Jan 2020

North Dakota was an immigrant haven — until Trump was elected

For decades, this conservative, predominantly white capital city has played host to refugees from around the world. Things started to change with the 2016 election of President Trump, who has suggested that many refugees are criminals and has extolled his belief in putting “America first” by drastically reducing the number allowed to enter the United States. Now, because of a federal policy announced in September, the 49 states and 600 counties that have welcomed refugees — only Wyoming has never taken part in federal resettlement efforts — each have the power to decide whether to continue doing so. read the complete article

10 Jan 2020

'Muslims in my house': A tribute to a beloved centenarian

Mrs. Harding, a silver haired 80-year-old, showed us around and explained that she lived upstairs. She asked what we taught, what we believed in as educators and what we thought was the most important thing for children to learn and to become. She reiterated that she was not interested in continuing to have a school in her home after her retirement. The next day Mrs. Harding called. Before we had a chance to make small talk, she said, in what we came to know as her no-nonsense teacher voice, “My children grew up in Herndon when water fountains were marked ‘whites’ and ‘Negroes,’ and I had to explain why this was wrong. I don’t want to see that again in my lifetime. I would like to have you Muslims in my house and have your school here, because what you’re teaching and how you’re teaching is what all people need to learn.” read the complete article


10 Jan 2020

Rumi, Caught Between US and Iran

The Rumi quote Tiffany Trump shared was apparently fake and not traceable to Rumi’s writings. Nevertheless, her decision to invoke Rumi on Instagram, on several occasions, is revelatory of Rumi's reception in our present moment. A Muslim who is inextricably linked to the long history of Iranian culture is also one of the most popular and ubiquitously quoted (or misquoted) poets in the United States and the West. Rumi has inspired celebrities like Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Madonna, and Tilda Swinton; Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s youngest daughter is named Rumi Carter. More than 1.7 million Instagram posts are tagged #Rumi. But many of the English translations that have contributed to Rumi’s rise in the West also tend to downplay his Islamic roots. read the complete article

10 Jan 2020

Trump Administration’s Actions in Middle East Complicate Its Criticisms of China

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a news conference this week in which he justified President Trump’s order to kill Iran’s most powerful general, he also took the opportunity to criticize China twice: for its mass detentions of Muslims and for its repressive policies in Hong Kong. China hit back immediately. “It must be pointed out that the wars staged by the U.S. in the Middle East over the past years have caused countless Muslim casualties and displacement as well as turmoil in the region,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said at a news conference in Beijing. “As has been proven, it is precisely the U.S. that has infringed upon Muslim human rights.” read the complete article


10 Jan 2020

China claims its Muslim 'concentration camps' in Xinjiang contribute greatly to the international counter-terrorism efforts

China has praised its Muslim re-education camps in Xinjiang, where more than one million Uighurs and other ethnic minorities are said to have been detained. The facilities, referred to as 'concentration camps' by human rights activists, have made significant contribution to the international counter-terrorism efforts by eliminating extreme thoughts, according to the country's Foreign Minister. They have safeguarded Xinjiang residents' lives and protected the public's right to religion, said the top official, adding countries opposing Beijing's campaign are those that disrespect Islamic civilisation. read the complete article

10 Jan 2020

Uyghurs & Other Muslim Minorities Forced into Labor Programs to Work in Chinese Factories

In China, a shocking new exposé has revealed that Chinese authorities are systematically forcing Muslims — mostly Uyghurs and Kazakhs — into labor programs to supply Chinese factories with a cheap and compliant workforce. The New York Times investigation, based on official documents, interviews and visits to the far-western region of Xinjiang, reveals a sweeping program to push poor farmers, villagers and small traders into sometimes months-long training courses before assigning them to low-wage factory work. The programs work in tandem with indoctrination camps where an estimated 1 million adults from the Uyghur community are being imprisoned. China claims its labor programs are “vocational training centers” designed to combat extremism and alleviate poverty, while Uyghur activists say they are part of China’s ongoing campaign to strip them of their language and community and to carry out cultural genocide. We speak with Austin Ramzy, a New York Times reporter who co-authored the recent exposé, and Nury Turkel, a Uyghur-American attorney and board chair at the Uyghur Human Rights Project. read the complete article


10 Jan 2020

Bollywood backing grows for students in anti-Modi protests

Opposition to the policies of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, is gathering strength in Bollywood as a growing number of actors voice their support for student protesters. A day after one of Bollywood’s highest-paid stars, Deepika Padukone, showed her solidarity with young protesters by appearing alongside them, a host of high-profile actors and directors have backed the students, who have been demonstrating against a new citizenship law observers say discriminates against Muslims. Those speaking out include Sonakshi Sinha, Anurag Kashyap, Varun Dhawan, Sonam Kapoor, Suniel Shetty and Nikkhil Advani. The protests have been met with violence from police and rival student groups. read the complete article

10 Jan 2020

Bollywood actor faces boycott calls after joining student protest

An Indian actor who joined students protesting against the government has been subjected to calls on social media for a boycott of her upcoming film, as well as drawing praise for being a rare Bollywood A-lister to stand up against a crackdown on dissent. Deepika Padukone stood silently behind students chanting anti-government slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi on Tuesday evening, surprising many in a country where top film stars typically avoid politics. read the complete article

10 Jan 2020

The growing radicalisation of Hindus threatens the Indian republic and the Constitution

A growing number of Hindus now speak the insecure and angry language of those willing to discard their own culture, law and constitution and succumb to the dark fantasies of Hindu supremacy. Majoritarian visions, now openly expressed, empowered and normalised as reality, are the armoury from which India’s ruling party fashions its arsenal of Hindu supremacist behavior, from the assaults on India’s universities to using a raft of laws, new and old, against Muslims. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Jan 2020 Edition


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