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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01 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: In Myanmar, three military officers are found guilty by a court-martial investigation by authorities. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warns that the Chinese government’s repressive population control measures against Uyghurs and other Muslims—including forced sterilization—might meet the legal criteria for genocide under international law. Our recommended read today is by Sanya Mansoor on ongoing demands by lawmakers to remove Mark Kevin Lloyd, a recently appointed USAID official, for previous anti-Muslim comments. This, and more, below:

United States

01 Jul 2020

Lawmakers and Advocates Demand Removal of USAID Official as Biden Calls Trump Appointees 'Islamophobic' | Recommended Read

Pesidential candidate Joe Biden has criticized two of President Donald Trump’s appointees at U.S. agencies for being Islamophobic, pointing out that they have “both published offensive, anti-Muslim tirades on social media.” Biden’s statement on Sunday followed a request to speak on-the-record from Muslim advocacy group Emgage Action, which was exclusively obtained by TIME. It takes aim at Mark Kevin Lloyd, who President Donald Trump appointed as Religious Freedom Adviser at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Brig. General Anthony Tata (Ret.), who was nominated to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the Department of Defense. Biden’s statement pointed to a number of older Islamophobic social media posts from the two nominees. Lloyd had said in now-deleted Facebook posts from 2016, cited by the Associated Press, Emgage Action and Biden, that Islam was a “barbaric cult” and that people should be forced to eat bacon before buying a gun. Biden’s statement also noted Lloyd had previously referred to the religion as “violent in its doctrine and practice.” A screenshot of that post is linked to by national civil rights organization Muslim Advocates. Tata had posted in now-deleted Tweets that “Islam was the most oppressive violent religion I know of” and that President Barack Obama was a “terrorist leader,” per CNN and Biden’s statement. The former Vice President’s statement also referenced a comment by Tata that Obama “did more harm to US vital interests and help Islamic countries than any president in history.” “Islamophobia is a pernicious disease. It does not belong in the halls of government,” Biden said in a statement provided to TIME, promising that under his presidency he would “appoint individuals who represent the values of our nation and respect all racial, ethnic and religious communities.” read the complete article

Recommended Read
01 Jul 2020

Muslim Americans assert solidarity with Black Lives Matter, finding unity within a diverse faith group

Muslim American businesses are common in lower-income areas, such as the part of Minneapolis where Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck. And as the writer Moustafa Bayoumi has noted, this puts stores in a precarious position – catering for the community while also duty-bound to report crime to the police, sometimes under the threat of being closed down if they don’t comply. As a Muslim scholar of Islam who has written about the role of Muslims in the making of the United States, I recognize that the circumstances of Floyd’s death hint at the proximity and complex relationship that different sections of America’s Muslim community have with law enforcement and with the Black Lives Matter movement. Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, has said that the store will no longer call the police on customers. Nationally, there have been numerous statements from groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Council on American Islamic Relations and the American Muslim Institution. A joint announcement by over 35 national Muslim civil rights and faith groups and more than 60 regional groups noted that Black people were “often marginalized” within the broader Muslim community. It continued: “And when they fall victim to police violence, non-Black Muslims are too often silent, which leads to complicity.” The intersection of race, class and national identity means that views vary on issues such as police, protests and discrimination. A 2019 survey found that 92% of Black Muslims believe there is a lot of discrimination against Black people, compared with 66% of non-Black Muslims. Nonimmigrant Muslims are more likely to have lived out the history of the United States, including the unjust legacy of slavery. As Americans, they were also taught early on and often that the right to protest is protected under the Constitution. read the complete article

01 Jul 2020

Donald Trump has built his political career on stoking racial tensions

An overwhelming majority of Americans have come to recognize the injustice of systemic racism and want change, but how can meaningful change occur if our president makes racist comments? Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign rhetoric, his Muslim ban, his separation of undocumented immigrant families, his “good people on both sides” response to the white supremacist rally at Charlottesville, Virginia, and his insensitive response to recent cries to end police brutality and establish racial justice should have ended all doubt about his racist politics. If you are still unsure, then President Trump’s recent retweet of a video showing a white man driving a golf cart adorned with “Trump 2020” and “America First” while shouting “white power” in response to protesters makes his political racism crystal clear. But to that racist display, Trump added, in his retweet which has since been deleted: “Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe [Biden] is shot. See you soon!!!” Can there be any doubt? Trump’s press secretary claims that President Trump didn’t hear the statement but only saw the enthusiasm of his supporters. Really! Donald Trump has built his career on stoking racial tensions. Sadly, it helped him win in 2016. Maybe that’s why he continues to do it now. Hopefully, it will be one of many reasons he’s defeated in 2020. read the complete article

01 Jul 2020

Kayleigh McEnany and the Women Who Do PR for White Supremacy

Although I had seen McEnany on TV before, our real-life encounter stunned me. This was a few months before the 2016 election that put Trump in the White House, and I was blown away by her defense of then candidate Trump and how effectively, albeit delusionally, this woman was able to dismiss away the countless, and valid, sexual assault accusations against him. McEnany would go on to become an even more ardent defender of Trump, eventually leaving her CNN gig to become the Republican National Committee (RNC) spokeswoman, after which she started her current job as White House press secretary. All along the way to Trump’s White House, McEnany sprinkled her path with very passionate and public defenses of the president. For the longest time, McEnany’s almost unearthly ability to justify the worst of the president’s inexplicable words and actions — from sexual assault to his Muslim ban to his more recent “White power” video tweets — mesmerized me. I couldn’t figure out if McEnany was delusional, in love with Trump, or just being super-strategic about her career. Was this woman actually buying what she was selling? Or just a damn good saleswoman? After a few months of watching her perform at the White House podium as the latest press secretary, I think I finally understand that what McEnany is doing for Trump is what White women do and have done for White supremacy for centuries: soften its image and provide its public relations (PR). read the complete article

01 Jul 2020

Ilhan Omar, Joaquin Castro demand removal of USAID religious freedom adviser for social media posts

Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro and Ilhan Omar called for the "immediate removal" of a religious freedom adviser at the U.S. Agency for International Development for his past comments they said demonstrate a "historical pattern of prejudice against the Islamic faith and the Muslim population." The appointment of Mark Kevin Lloyd, who worked as the Virginia field director for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, drew immediate opposition because of his posts on social media, including one that called Islam a "barbaric cult." "Mark Kevin Lloyd, who has a long history of promoting hateful, Islamophobic rhetoric has no business promoting religious freedom abroad," said Omar, who became one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018. "Someone who doesn’t recognize the importance of religious diversity in our country cannot credibly promote religious freedom internationally." Castro said it was wrong to reward Lloyd's "pattern of prejudice and bigotry against those of the Islamic faith." He noted that 32% of the countries that USAID works with are majority Muslim, "and all of those countries need our help." "I fear with Mr. Lloyd at the helm those countries will face further discrimination. I strongly urge USAID to remove Mr. Lloyd from his position as USAID’s Religious Freedom Adviser effective immediately," Castro said in a statement. read the complete article

01 Jul 2020

Muntaas Farah and Yezi Gugsa: Teenagers lead the charge in Rochester

Muntaas Farah has been thinking a lot lately about a moment from her childhood. She was 14 and wearing her hijab. "My first instance with Islamophobia and racism happened with my mom, in the car,” she said. ”People were yelling, 'Go back to your country. You don't belong here.’” Farah, whose parents immigrated from Somalia, says the memory from five years ago was galvanizing. In that moment, she suddenly understood the ostracism her parents faced in Rochester, a largely white city of about 115,000. It pointed her down a path of activism for racial justice. "I want to belong here. I want to make this place my home as much as the next person," she said. Now 19, Farah said it was clear what she needed to do after watching the video of George Floyd's death. On June 6, she and a group of friends — including Yezi Gugsa and Mouny Ould-Ali — organized a protest that drew hundreds to Mayo Park. There's no official head count, but local law enforcement said it was the largest protest the city has seen in decades. The teenagers — driven by a racism in their city that they say is both subtle and exhausting — have been the force behind Rochester’s protests since Floyd’s killing. read the complete article


01 Jul 2020

Myanmar finds troops guilty in Rohingya atrocities court-martial

Three Myanmar military officers have been found guilty by a court-martial investigating atrocities against the Rohingya in conflict-ridden Rakhine state, the army announced. The rare action against members of the military on Tuesday comes as Myanmar faces charges of genocide at the UN's top court over a brutal 2017 crackdown against the Rohingya. Some 750,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh during the crackdown, carrying with them accounts of widespread murder, rape and arson. Rights groups accused security forces of committing atrocities in various villages, including Gu Dar Pyin, where they alleged at least five shallow mass graves had been found. After initially denying the allegations, the military started court-martial proceedings in September last year, admitting there had been "weakness in following instructions" in the village. read the complete article


01 Jul 2020

Is China Preventing Births Among Persecuted Uighur Muslim Minority Communities?

On June 29, 2020, a report published by China expert Adrian Zenz added yet another layer to the atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the Chinese government against the Uighur Muslim minority communities in Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The report suggests that Uighur Muslims women have been subjected to forced sterilization that significantly affected births within the persecuted minority group. According to the findings, “natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically; growth rates fell by 84% in the two largest Uyghur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, and declined further in 2019. For 2020, one Uyghur region set an unprecedented near-zero population growth target.” The research suggests that “documents from 2019 reveal plans for a campaign of mass female sterilization in rural Uyghur regions, targeting 14 and 34% of all married women of childbearing age in two Uyghur counties that year. This project targeted all of southern Xinjiang, and continued in 2020 with increased funding." Furthermore, it identifies that “by 2019, Xinjiang planned to subject at least 80% of women of childbearing age in the rural southern four minority prefectures to intrusive birth prevention surgeries (IUDs or sterilizations), with actual shares likely being much higher. In 2018, 80% of all new IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang, despite the fact that the region only makes up 1.8% of the nation’s population.” read the complete article


01 Jul 2020

Pompeo calls China Muslim sterilization reports 'shocking' and 'disturbing'

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday labeled as “shocking” and “disturbing” reports that China’s ruling Communist Party is using forced sterilization, forced abortion and coercive family planning against minority Muslims. Pompeo highlighted a report about the situation in China’s Xinjiang region by German researcher Adrian Zenz published by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation think tank. Pompeo, a persistent critic of China, including its treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, said in a statement the findings were consistent with decades of Chinese Communist Party practices “that demonstrate an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and basic human dignity.” “We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanizing abuses.” read the complete article

01 Jul 2020

USCIRF Warns that Forced Sterilization of Uyghur Muslims is Evidence of Genocide

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warned that the Chinese government’s repressive population control measures against Uyghur and other Muslims—including forced sterilization—might meet the legal criteria for genocide under international law. “It’s evident from the Chinese government’s own data that the Communist Party’s policies are clearly designed to prevent population growth for the Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Turkic Muslim peoples,” said USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel. “We urge the State Department to investigate whether the Chinese authorities’ deliberate and systematic attempt to genetically reducing the Turkic Muslim population in Xinjiang meets the legal definition for genocide as contemplated in the Genocide Convention. We also call on the U.S. government to introduce a resolution at the U.N. on these crimes that the Chinese Communist Party has committed against the Uyghurs and other Muslims in China.” Under Article II(d) of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” is considered evidence of genocide. read the complete article


01 Jul 2020

We Are Moving Towards a Human Rights Apocalypse in Kashmir’

Sardar Masood Khan, the President of Pakistan-Administered Kashmir, this week proposed a ‘Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions’ movement against India over its human rights and international law violations in Indian-Administered Kashmir. Khan’s plea to the OIC and sub-state members of the international community comes as India begins the next phase of its Hindu settler colonial project in Muslim-majority Kashmir, in defiance of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions numbered 47, 51, 80, 96, 98, 122 and 126, which determine that the final status of the disputed territory “will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations”. For the past seven decades, India has defied these resolutions in denying eight million Kashmiri Muslims the right to determine their own future by maintaining military control over the territory while granting semi-political autonomy to the local population. On 5 August 2019, however, New Delhi suddenly revoked this status by signalling its intent to illegally annex the territory and launch its Hindu settler colonial project. India’s colonisation of Kashmir can arguably be described using any number of terms, including demographic genocide or ethnic cleansing, which is why Khan is pleading for a ‘Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions’ movement against India. I spoke with Khan, who was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations from 2012 to 2015, to discuss the current realities on the ground in Kashmir. read the complete article


01 Jul 2020

How racism functions and shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified public attention to the unequal vulnerability of Indigenous and Black people and amplified other racialized inequalities inherent in society: from exposing exploitable labour in the front lines to inadequate care and resources. Some argue that Canada doesn’t have a problem with racism. Others vigorously demonstrate the systemic and insidious effects of structural and everyday racism. Still others want to study the issue, call witnesses to verify that systemic racism exists. That was the take of the Bloc Québecois, which resulted in accusations of racism and the expulsion of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh from the House of Commons. How much further study is required? How many witnesses need to be called to establish the reality of racism and the violence it authorizes? As someone active in Canadian critical race studies for over three decades, I wrote Discourses of Denial to demonstrate the entrenched denial around racism that is often camouflaged under the veneer of Canadian politeness and a token celebration of diversity. More than a decade later, governments and institutions at all levels continue to deny the reality of racism. When acknowledged, the talk shifts quickly to managing diversity or tokenizing difference. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Jul 2020 Edition


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