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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28 Jan 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Ilhan and Tlaib come under fire from the GOP for their criticism of Israel.  UN envoy presses Myanmar military chief to be prosecuted for Rohingya genocide while British Uighur Muslims press Britain hold China accountable. Our recommended reads for today concern India and its growing ‘fake news’ problem. Ahead of the Indian elections, reports have emerged of the use of WhatsApp to spread disinformation about Muslims. Samarth Bansal writes for HuffPost on the Modi App, and its potential for spreading animus. Billy Perrigo writes for TIME on WhatsApp, and the BJP’s use of volunteers to spread fake news on the platform.
This and more, below:


28 Jan 2019

How Volunteers for India's Ruling Party Are Using WhatsApp to Fuel Fake News Ahead of Elections | Recommended Read

Ahead of national elections in April and May, India’s political parties are reportedly pouring money into creating hundreds of thousands of WhatsApp group chats to spread political messages and memes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has drawn up plans to have three WhatsApp groups for each of India’s 927,533 polling booths, according to reports. With each group containing a maximum of 256 members, that number of group chats could theoretically reach more than 700 million people out of India’s population of 1.3 billion. read the complete article

Recommended read
28 Jan 2019

Assam citizenship bill: Anti-migrant protests rock north-east India

A Assamese Citizenship (Amendment) bill seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Supporters of the bill have defended it by saying that Muslims have been excluded as the bill offers Indian nationality only to religious minorities fleeing persecution in neighbouring countries. It comes months after the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) - a list of people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, a day before neighbouring Bangladesh became an independent country. Around 3.62 million of those left off the register have submitted claims for inclusion again. read the complete article

28 Jan 2019

Narendra Modi App Has A Fake News Problem | Recommended Read

“Of the total 40,000 rape cases in India in the last ten years, 39,000 had a Muslim rapist. Still, Congress and Rahul Gandhi say that Hindus are rapists and terrorists. Shame on Congress and Gandhi family!” read a post shared by Sanjay Gupta in August in a Google Plus group called “Narendra Damodar Das Modi”. What Gupta had shared was fake news: official crime data in India doesn’t document the religion of the criminal, and Congress President Rahul Gandhi never made any such remark. read the complete article

Recommended read

United States

28 Jan 2019

Omar, Tlaib come under fire from GOP

House GOP leaders condemned the appointment of Omar, a Minnesota progressive, to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, pointing to her past criticism of Israel. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) moved last week to try to block Tlaib, who represents a district that includes part of Detroit, from leading a delegation to Palestine. That came after Tlaib drew GOP ire within 24 hours after taking the oath of office this month with a fiery call to “impeach themotherf---r." read the complete article

28 Jan 2019

American anchor for Iranian TV says she was mistreated during US detention

“This is something that needs to be condemned across the table,” said Marzieh Hashemi, whose 10-day detention ended when she was released late Wednesday. “It is not about me. It is about the US justice department and government – that they feel that they can just take people’s rights away, sweep them off of the streets, hold them in the name of being a material witness and not charging them … indefinitely.” read the complete article

28 Jan 2019

As Muslim extremism nosedives, researchers question law enforcement’s focus | Recommended Read

Extremists in the U.S. killed 50 people in 2018, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, which looked at fatalities from all groups. Only one of those attacks was perpetrated by someone associated with a radical Islamist group. The rest were carried out by right-wing extremists of various ideologies, mostly white supremacists like Robert Bowers, who killed 11 members of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in October. read the complete article

Recommended Read
28 Jan 2019

Russia's Not To Blame For Trump Fans' Anti-Muslim Terror Plot, Judge Says At Sentencing

Three Kansas men ― Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein and Gavin Wright ― were convicted last April on weapons of mass destruction and civil rights charges for plotting to bomb a Garden City, Kansas, apartment complex predominantly occupied by Somali refugees. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sentenced Allen, a 52-year-old Iraq War veteran, to 25 years in prison plus 10 years of supervised release on Friday. Stein ― who used some of the most extreme rhetoric in the case ― received 30 years behind bars. Wright was sentenced to 26 years in prison. read the complete article

28 Jan 2019

US militia members plead guilty to pipe bomb attack on mosque

Hoping to scare Muslims into leaving the United States, members of an Illinoisan militia group rented a truck and drove more than 805km to bomb a Minnesota mosque, two men admitted on Thursday. Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris said that when they arrived at the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington on August 5, 2017, they broke a window and threw a lit pipe bomb and a petrol mixture inside, causing an explosion, fireand extensive damage. No one was injured in the attack, which happened just as morning prayers were about to begin, shaking members of the local Muslim community. read the complete article

28 Jan 2019

'Muslim ban': Two years on, Trump's order still destroying lives

"We've seen families torn apart, individuals not being able to visit loved ones, weddings that were missed, healthcare they haven't been able to receive, students not being able to come to school - there is a real life daily impact that it has, and that's ongoing," Abed Ayoub, the legal director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), said. Late in 2017, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Senator Chris Murphy introduced a bill that would "prohibit the use of any funds or fees to implement" the order. Another "legislative fix", according to McCaw, would be to reform the Immigration and Nationality Act, on which Trump based his executive order. McCaw acknowledged that such efforts have minimal chances of passing through Congress, as Trump's Republican Party is still in control of the US Senate. A legislative push, however, is still important, he said. "It is to communicate to the American public that this order can be overturned by Congress, if there is enough votes," he said. read the complete article

28 Jan 2019

Opinion | The Trump Administration Is Making a Mockery of the Supreme Court

Our organization, the International Refugee Assistance Project, was among the groups that filed the first challenge to the executive order, and we won a series of injunctions temporarily blocking the ban from being enforced. But in June the Supreme Court upheld a modified version of the ban in a 5-to-4 decision. The waiver process is opaque, arbitrary and unreasonably harsh, and it has not mitigated the ban’s effects on thousands of families in dire circumstances. It makes a mockery of the rule of law. The waiver provision in the ban stipulates that those barred by their nationality from entering the United States may be granted waivers if they satisfy a three-part test: Applicants must show that being denied entry would cause “undue hardship,” that their entry would be “in the national interest” and that their entry would “not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.” But there are no published instructions as to how or where to apply for a waiver. Nor is there a form to fill out. This is in direct violation of the text of the ban, which explicitly directs the secretaries of state and of homeland security to clarify the process. read the complete article


28 Jan 2019

Prosecute Myanmar army chief for Rohingya 'genocide': UN envoy

Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, added that holding the perpetrators to account for their crimes was necessary before the refugees who fled the country could return. Lee, who is barred from Myanmar, was speaking on Friday during a trip to Thailand and Bangladesh, where she met officials and Rohingya driven out of western Rakhine state after an army crackdown in 2017. "Min Aung Hlaing and others should be held accountable for genocide in Rakhine and for crimes against humanity and war crimes in other parts of Myanmar," said Lee, referring to the military's commander-in-chief. read the complete article

United Kingdom

28 Jan 2019

'Moslem terrorists' scrawled on walls of Newcastle Islamic school that was once set of Byker Grove

Mindless thugs scrawled "moslem terrorists" and a swastika among other offensive images inside the Bahr Academy in the city's West End, which sits on the former set of Byker Grove. Debris lies strewn across the building, with pictures showing an overturned table and fire extinguishers lying on the floor. The break-in is believed to have happened at some point overnight between Thursday and Friday. Northumbria Police has confirmed the incident is being treated as a hate crime. read the complete article

28 Jan 2019

'My son was terrified': how Prevent alienates UK Muslims

Ifhat Smith’s son was 13 years old when he was questioned by school officials and asked if he was affiliated to the jihadist group Islamic State. Smith was shocked when she ultimately realized her child had been questioned under the government’s Prevent strategy – but was left baffled when she discovered the interrogation was triggered by his use of the term “eco-terrorist” in a classroom discussion about environmental activists. The boy was in a French class at his school in Islington, north London, when he used the phrase to describe some images. The experience of Smith’s son reflects the central concern surrounding the government’s Prevent strategy for years: that it fosters discrimination against people of Muslim faith or background and inhibits legitimate expression. read the complete article

Saudi Arabia

28 Jan 2019

Opinion | Why Saudi Arabia hates Muslim women in the US Congress

The two Muslim women at the centre of attention of the Saudi propaganda machinery are Palestinian American Rashida Tlaib, the newly elected US representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district, and Somali American Ilhan Omar, newly elected US representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district. Naturally, many racist conservatives in the United States were upset with the election of two Muslim women to the US Congress, and their run-of-the-mill xenophobia was expected. But the vitriol Saudi-affiliated media outlets and commentators spewed was indeed something new. read the complete article


28 Jan 2019

Kenya court overturns ruling on wearing hijab in schools

Kenya's top court has overturned a 2016 Court of Appeal ruling that allowed Muslim students to wear hijab in non-Muslim schools. In Thursday's ruling on the petition filed by the Methodist Church of Kenya, the Supreme Court said every school has a right to determine its own dress code. The hijab is a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion. The 2016 ruling came after a church-run school banned female students from wearing the hijab, saying that it sowed discord. Kenya has had a long-running dispute over the role of the hijab at Christian schools, with some of them banning the hijab outright in the past. Around 10 percent of the Kenyan population practices Islam, while 84 percent follows Christianity, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Jan 2019 Edition


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