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 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: U.S announces sanctions against Chinese politicians it says are responsible for human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Hate groups, including Center for Security Policy (CSP) and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) rake in loans meant for small businesses in light of COVID. Our recommended read today is by Isobel Cockerell analyzing new videos showing China’s forced migration of Uyghurs during the pandemic. This, and more, below:


10 Jul 2020

Revealed: New videos expose China’s forced migration of Uyghurs during the pandemic | Recommended Read

Videos showing hundreds of Uyghur people being transported to forced labor schemes have shed new light on China’s continuing oppression of the Muslim ethnic group. In the early months of the coronavirus outbreak, the government locked down more than 50 million people in Hubei province and imposed strict stay-at-home measures in cities across the country. However, footage shared on social media suggests that, at the same time, a state-mandated mass migration of Uyghurs was taking place in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. In January, dozens of videos began to surface on Douyin — a version of TikTok, made by the same company, only available to Chinese users — showing crowds of people being packed onto trains, buses and airplanes. The footage shows Uyghurs being transported as part of what Beijing refers to as a “poverty alleviation” initiative. Sent far from home, they are put to work in tightly surveilled factory labor programs and often housed in dedicated labor compounds. read the complete article

Recommended Read
10 Jul 2020

Xinjiang: US sanctions on Chinese officials over 'abuse' of Muslims

The US has announced sanctions against Chinese politicians who it says are responsible for human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. China is accused of mass detentions, religious persecution and forced sterilisation of Uighurs and others. The sanctions target the US-connected financial interests of regional Communist Party boss Chen Quanguo and three other officials. Mr Chen, who sits on the Chinese Communist Party's powerful Politburo, is the highest-ranking Chinese official ever to be hit by US sanctions, the Trump administration says. He is seen as the architect of Beijing's policies against minorities, and was previously in charge in Tibet. read the complete article


10 Jul 2020

From planning murder to praising Modi: WhatsApp chats offer a window into the minds of Delhi rioters

On February 25, 11.21 pm, a person who identified himself Lokesh Solanki allegedly typed out a message on a WhatsApp group: “The whole of last night, I roamed around Bhagirathi Vihar, Ganga Vihar, Gokul Puri, Johripur. And smashed open the heads of 23 mullahs.” The areas listed were epicentres of the communal violence that engulfed North East Delhi between February 24 and 26. The message appears in transcripts submitted by Delhi Police as part of a chargesheet filed in court on June 4. The police claim these transcripts are verbatim records of the conversations in two WhatsApp groups called “Kattar Hindut Ekta” (extremist Hindu unity) and “Hindu Ekta Group” (Hindu unity) both created on February 25 and used by a group of Hindu men to coordinate attacks on Muslims. If accurate, the transcripts suggest a granular, real time view of a communal riot. In the messages, rioters discuss battle tactics and logistics – where to assemble, calls for assistance, sources for weapons and ammunition. But the transcripts also show larger currents: rioters repeatedly refer to members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bajrang Dal as playing a highly impactful role in the violence. Also mentioned are evergreen Hindutva tropes: Muslim population growth, economically boycotting of Muslims and the 2002 Gujarat pogrom – the scaffolding that helps justify terrible violence against people the rioters don’t even know. read the complete article


10 Jul 2020

Move Rohingya from flood-prone island: HRW urges Bangladesh

Human Rights Watch has called on Bangladesh to move more than 300 Rohingya refugees, including children, to the camps in Cox's Bazaar district, more than two months after they were quarantined on a small flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal. The Rohingya were rescued by the Bangladesh navy in early May after being stranded at sea for weeks, and sent to Bhashan Char island - a silty strip of land off the southern coast that is vulnerable to monsoon storms. Bangladesh has said the 308 refugees were sent to the island rather than the camps in Cox's Bazar because authorities were afraid they might have the highly infectious disease COVID-19. "Bangladesh authorities are using the pandemic as an excuse to detain refugees on a spit of land in the middle of a churning monsoon sea while their families anxiously pray for their return," Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW, said in a statement on Thursday. read the complete article

United Kingdom

10 Jul 2020

Neo-Nazis Tell Followers to 'Deliberately Infect' Jews and Muslims With COVID-19, Report Warns

Neo-Nazis are telling their followers to deliberately infect Muslims and Jews with COVID-19, as extremists look to exploit the pandemic, according to a government agency tasked with combatting extremism. The Commission for Countering Extremism says that extremists are using the pandemic to advance dangerous conspiracy theories, to cause division and breed hate. The report, "COVID-19: How Hateful Extremists are Exploiting the Pandemic", states: "We have heard reports of British Far Right activists and Neo-Nazi groups promoting anti-minority narratives by encouraging users to deliberately infect groups, including Jewish communities and of Islamists propagating anti-democratic and anti-Western narratives, claiming that COVID-19 is divine punishment from Allah on the West for their alleged 'degeneracy'. read the complete article


10 Jul 2020

#HijabisFightBack: In Brussels, Thousands Protest Belgium’s College Headscarf Ban

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Brussels in recent days, following a constitutional decision to allow the banning of headscarves in Belgian universities. The June 4 ruling states that the ban does not constitute a violation of the right to human dignity or to the right of religious freedom, as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). But several anti-racist, feminist organizations and activists — such as Belges Comme Vous, La Cinquième Vague, Imazi.Reine, the Council of European Muslims (CEM) and the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en Belgique (CCIB) — have voiced their opposition to this decision. Using the hashtags #HijabisFightBack and #TouchePasAMesEtudes (Leave my education alone), activists are using social media to highlight the ban’s discriminatory and sexist impact. In a press release, the CCIB described the ban as “an unprecedented breach of fundamental rights in terms of religious and philosophical convictions.” read the complete article

United States

10 Jul 2020

How Ramy Youssef finds humour in religion — and his own Muslim faith

The program — which also features Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as Sheikh Ali Malik — captures the push and pull between religion and everyday life, or as Youssef puts it, "Friday prayers and Friday night." "That central tension was really important for me to bring out because I felt like there were no depictions of faith or being religious that felt organic to me in the on-screen world," says Youssef in an interview with q host Tom Power. The Christian film genre feels highly sanitized, almost a commercial for the religion, he says, and other films feature priests gone bad or Muslim leaders linked to terrorist organizations. "All these really blown-out concepts. So for me, this space that is so real for people who do believe, and for people who are navigating that, was the central focus of what I wanted to make," he explains. "If anything, it's more about a person of faith of my generation than it is even specifically about being Muslim." Religion itself has become such a punch line in modern society, adds Youssef, that tackling religious belief in comedy actually seems edgy. However he doesn't fault people who are averse to religious culture because, as he puts it, religion has become an industry. read the complete article

10 Jul 2020

Hate Groups Rake In PPP Loans as Racial Justice Movement Expands

On Monday, the Small Business Administration released the names of over 650,000 PPP beneficiaries that received $150,000 or more in forgivable loans from the agency. That list included anti-immigrant hate groups the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy, and anti-LGBTQ hate groups the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel, and the Pacific Justice Institute. These six nonprofits scored between $2,350,000 and $5,700,000 in PPP loans, which will be fully forgiven if the groups maintain their payrolls. The Small Business Administration’s release of PPP data gave ranges, not exact amounts, of the loans. “Many of these groups that traffic in hate are already well-resourced, with a constant injection of funding from far-right mega-donors and dark money foundations,” Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of the Arizona branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told CMD. “This just highlights more cases of vital funding getting into the hands of those who didn’t need it, while many small businesses in our communities came up empty and are having to fold.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Jul 2020 Edition


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