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 Jan 2019

Today in Islamophobia: China takes diplomats on tour of Xinjiang ‘re-education camps’ as an Uighur Muslim woman details life inside. In India, a lower court passes a citizenship bill excluding Muslims while in Myanmar, the Rohingya face a new challenge as fighting breaks out between Buddhist rebels and the Myanmar army. Elsewhere, Texas Republicans vote to oust Muslim vice chair and the English far-right seeks to co-opt the yellow vest. This, and more, below:


09 Jan 2019

India's lower house passes citizenship bill that excludes Muslims

India's lower house of parliament has approved a bill that would grant residency and citizenship rights to non-Muslim immigrants, sparking protests that brought the country's populous northeast to a near standstill. The legislation, which still needs the approval of the upper house, seeks to grant rights to Hindus, Jains, Parsis and several other non-Muslim religious groups who migrated without documents from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Critics have called the proposal, contained in the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, blatantly anti-Muslim and an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to boost its Hindu voter base ahead of a general election due by May. read the complete article


09 Jan 2019

China Takes Diplomats to Tour Xinjiang ‘Re-Education Camps’

Diplomats from 12 countries with large Muslim populations and some foreign media visited Xinjiang, after months of silence by governments across the Islamic world in the face of China’s crackdown on minority Muslim Uighurs in its far western region. Calls have grown in the West to pressure President Xi Jinping’s government to stop the alleged human-rights abuses against the Uighurs, although it has so far escaped serious criticism from officials in the Islamic world. Reports indicate that up to 1 million Uighurs might be held in 're-education camps' in China's Xinjiang province. read the complete article

09 Jan 2019

Uyghur woman details life inside Chinese 're-education camp' in Xinjiang

Gulbahar Jelilova, who says she spent 15 months inside one of the camps, has given a rare firsthand account of the conditions. "Sometimes they tied weights of up to 5 kilograms to our feet as a way of punishment. [At other times] they would put handcuffs [on us] and we would be forced to look at the wall across for about 17 hours." read the complete article

09 Jan 2019

The cone of silence around China’s Muslim ‘gulags’

Chinese authorities have repeatedly waved away “fake” reports of Uighur internment as “hearsay,” arguing that the measures are necessary to curb Islamist extremism and relieve many in the population of their “backwardness.” Recently, Beijing allowed a handful of reporters to visit the region, with reports emerging of detained “students” being compelled to sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands” in English for the gathered journalists. According to Reuters, inmates are allowed to leave these facilities only when they “have reached a certain level with their Mandarin, de-radicalization and legal knowledge.” read the complete article


09 Jan 2019

'Panic' grips Rohingya as Myanmar army battles Buddhist rebels

Frequent clashes between Myanmar security forces and Buddhist rebels in Rakhine state have spread alarm among thousands of Rohingya refugees living in no-man's-land on the country's border with Bangladesh, as concerns grow over the intensified fighting. Some of the fortifications are directly adjacent to a border fence running alongside a stream and overlooking shacks erected by an estimated 4,500 displaced Rohingya living in the narrow strip of land. Refugee community leader Nur Alam said gunfire could frequently be heard after dark on the other side of the border. read the complete article

United States

09 Jan 2019

Muslim Woman Was Allegedly Assaulted, Her Hijab Pulled, In Possible Hate Crime

A Muslim woman from Oklahoma has alleged that an attacker pulled her hijab and told her to “go back to [her] country” in an incident that police are now investigating as a potential hate crime. The incident reportedly occurred while Jenan Ayesh, from Enid, Oklahoma, was in Dallas with family a little over a week ago. Ayesh said she was later diagnosed with a concussion. read the complete article

09 Jan 2019

Texas county Republicans to vote on Muslim vice chair ouster

Republicans in one of the most populous counties in Texas will decide on Thursday if they should remove a party vice chairman who is Muslim following allegations he has denied that suggest he prefers Islamic over U.S. law and opposes the GOP’s pro-Israel stance. Infighting over Shahid Shafi has deterred some potential donors from giving to the Tarrant County Republican Party’s main fundraiser ahead of the vote set for Thursday, one party leader told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . Some have even speculated that the ouster of Shafi could drain fundraising efforts and jeopardize the party’s 2020 campaign. read the complete article

09 Jan 2019

Recommended Read | Why the new Congress has inspired me to reclaim my American identity | Opinion

Aya Hijazi reflects on the election of Muslim women to the U.S Congress, and its impact on her sense of American identity. "I haven’t always been willing to embrace my identity as an American. But experiencing these momentous developments has given me new faith in my country. This spirit of change, solidarity and empowerment means to me that America will continue its move toward greatness." read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


09 Jan 2019

The Far Right Is Trying to Co-opt the Yellow Vests

The Yellow Vest movement, which began as a nebulous economic protest in France, has found a new life with far-right groups abroad. This weekend in Manchester, England, Yellow Vest protesters decorated their vests with logos of the far-right English Defense League. In Edmonton, Canada, the Yellow Vest protesters were joined by members of the anti-Muslim group Wolves of Odin. The result indicates an international movement riddled with extreme ideologies co-opting the insignia of the popular French protests. read the complete article

09 Jan 2019

Facebook and PayPal delete 'yellow vest' organizer James Goddard's accounts after abuse of MPs outside parliament

Organizer James Goddard's Facebook profile disappeared amid calls for police to prevent the group from “harassing” politicians, journalists and pro-EU protesters. His PayPal account was disabled a short time later on Tuesday afternoon. Goddard had used his Facebook page to call “yellow vest” protests that have been taking place for the past month in London and other UK cities, and livestream demonstrations to hundreds of thousands of viewers. The “yellow vests” have blocked bridges and roads in London protests, while supporters held rallies in cities across the UK this week. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Jan 2019 Edition


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