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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12 Jul 2021

Today in Islamophobia: Over the weekend, China vowed to retaliate in response to the U.S. blacklisting of Chinese companies involved in the repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, while in the UK, the British parliament will take up a vote on whether to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, as in India, police are investigating how dozens of Muslim women were offered for sale in online “auctions.”  Our recommended read of the day is on the 26th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

11 Jul 2021

Bosnia marks 26th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide

Thousands of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina have gathered to commemorate the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, Europe’s only acknowledged genocide since World War II, and bury 19 newly identified victims. The execution by Serb forces of more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks, most of them men and boys, is being commemorated in a series of events on Sunday, followed by the reburial of victims whose remains were found in mass graves and recently identified through DNA analysis. Twenty-six years after they were murdered, 16 men, two teenage boys and a woman will be laid to rest at a memorial cemetery at the entrance to the eastern town, joining more than 6,600 other massacre victims already reburied there. Newly identified victims are given a dignified burial each year on July 11 — the anniversary of the day the killing began in 1995. “As soon as I got up and had coffee, I came to visit the graves of my husband and his brother, to say a prayer,” Kadefa Rizvanovic, who lost 20 male relatives in the slaughter and still has not found the remains of all of them, told The Associated Press news agency. “My paternal and maternal uncles are also buried here. I said a prayer for them and for all the victims of Srebrenica,” she added. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


11 Jul 2021

China vows retaliation after US blacklists companies

China on Sunday said it will take “necessary measures” to respond to the U.S. blacklisting of Chinese companies over their alleged role in abuses of Uyghur people and other Muslim ethnic minorities. The Commerce Ministry said the U.S. move constituted an “unreasonable suppression of Chinese enterprises and a serious breach of international economic and trade rules.” The U.S. Commerce Department said in a statement Friday that the electronics and technology firms and other businesses helped enable “Beijing’s campaign of repression, mass detention and high-technology surveillance” against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. The penalties prohibit Americans from selling equipment or other goods to the firms. The United States has stepped up financial and trade penalties over China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, along with its crackdown on democracy in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong. read the complete article

10 Jul 2021

OPINION: Parliaments working together against the Uyghur genocide

Few relationships are as close as the bond between Canada and the United Kingdom. Our respective parliaments have called the world to action on the Uyghur genocide. Following a report earlier this year from the Parliament of Canada, the UK Parliament’s foreign affairs committee published a ground-breaking report this week on the atrocities unfolding in Xinjiang. The committee heard from hundreds of witnesses, from civil society, Uyghur activists, China experts, and legal and human rights experts. The evidence is unequivocal: the Uyghur people are enduring a genocide. They face forced sterilization, the destruction of their cultural heritage, forced labour, and re-education camps. The advice is unequivocal too: countries like the UK and Canada must step up our efforts to hold China accountable and build a global coalition to stop the horror we can no longer ignore. In both our countries it is often said that China’s influence is too great and its economy is too big for us to take bold steps. But united we can exert as much influence and as much moral force. As we saw when the EU Parliament recently suspended the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, in response to China’s sanctions on EU parliamentarians who had spoken up against the Uyghur genocide. When we stand together, we can make a difference. read the complete article

10 Jul 2021

First The European Parliament, Now The British Parliament To Vote To Boycott Winter Olympics 2022

On July 8, 2021, the European Parliament approved a resolution focused on addressing the deteriorating situation of human rights in Hong Kong, among others, it calls for diplomats to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022. The non-binding resolution passed with the overwhelming support of 578 votes, from across the political spectrum. Just 29 votes were cast against, and 73 votes were abstained. The resolution calls on “the Commission, the Council and the Member States to decline invitations for government representatives and diplomats to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics unless the Chinese Government demonstrates a verifiable improvement in the human rights situation in Hong Kong, the Xinjiang Uyghur Region, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and elsewhere in China.” The issue will also go before the U.K. Parliament. On July 15, 2021, the U.K. House of Commons will debate a motion calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics 2022. The motion states that “this house believes that the 2022 Winter Olympic Games should not be hosted in a country credibly accused of mass atrocity crimes; and calls upon the Government to decline invitations for its representatives to attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics unless the Government of the People’s Republic of China ends the atrocities taking place in the Uyghur Region and lifts the sanctions imposed on U.K. parliamentarians, citizens and entities.” read the complete article

09 Jul 2021

Why 'political Islam' can be a gateway to democracy

The post 9/11 "war on terror", which fuelled a dramatic upsurge in Islamophobia across the West through the stigmatisation of all Muslims as potential terrorists or "jihadist sympathisers", has now been dramatically expanded into a war not just against actual terrorism, but also "Islamism", "political Islam" and non-Muslims labelled as "Islamo-leftists". In certain countries, especially France - which since the first 1989 "headscarves affair" has sadly become the West’s laboratory for Islamophobic experimentation - those witch hunts have even morphed into official state policies. These are often replicated by other western countries. After France, Denmark announced that it was launching an “investigation” into the alleged spread of “Islamo-leftist” activism in its own universities. Justified by problematic “conveyor belt” theories of radicalisation and “gateway drug” concepts advanced by certain hyper-mediatised (and overrated) academics, and based on simplistic and broadly debunked notions of “Islamism” as the “antechamber” to violent armed jihadism, this type of demonisation now aims to censor, ban and criminalise everything presented as “political Islam” - even when it’s not. Far from limiting itself to violent extremist action, this all-out enterprise brings together governments, mainstream media, think tanks and certain sectors of academia in a highly deleterious securitisation of Islam and Muslims, who are conceived as an existential threat to national security, and more generally, “western civilisation”. It proceeds via gross confusion among religious conservatism, fundamentalism, radicalisation, “political Islam”, Islamism, non-violent extremism, and jihadist terrorism (whether real or potential). The consequence of that fallacious continuum among qualitatively different phenomena is that mere religious orthopraxy, such as an emphasis on prayer rituals or Islamic dress, is immediately perceived as the “gateway” to jihadism, and treated as such. But this only seems to apply to Muslims. Islamophobic double standards ensure that Jews, Christians and others remain untouched by such gross generalisations and false equations. Prominent philosopher Jacques Ranciere goes further, analysing this new war on Islamism as an attempt to “criminalise all social struggles and civic actions in favour of discriminated minorities and immigrant groups by presenting them as potential auxiliaries of jihadist terrorism”. Such policies are not just gravely anti-democratic, but also profoundly counterproductive, since civic engagement in the life of one’s nation - including politics - is a well-known factor in both the inclusion of minorities and the pacification of frustrations, which may otherwise find outlets in more radical forms of engagement. Research has amply demonstrated that civic participation, even when fuelled by a sense of religious duty to contribute to one’s society, far from representing the “threat” that some have dreamed up, is actually a powerful factor of integration, helping to consolidate one’s sense of belonging, place, citizenship and identification with the nation. read the complete article

12 Jul 2021

How the War on Terror Enabled China’s Surveillance Dystopia

Twenty years after 9/11, the U.S. has failed to achieve its missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the War on Terror’s worst legacy lives on in nearby western China, where the Communist Party has erected a vast surveillance system. During the course of researching my book The Perfect Police State: An Undercover Odyssey Into China’s Terrifying Surveillance Dystopia of the Future, I learned how a political maneuver the U.S. made following 9/11 allowed a major escalation in China’s designation of the ethnic group as an enemy element in Chinese society. Among the accused men was a group of 22 Uyghurs who were captured in Afghanistan and flown to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Some of them had been members of a loose, ragtag coalition at camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they had received weapons training they could use in the future against China, if the opportunity arose. Their detention was legitimized by an alleged political maneuver in 2002. At the United Nations, Chinese diplomats protested America’s proposed invasion of Iraq. Hoping China might drop its opposition, lawyers defending the Uyghur terrorist suspects believed that the George W. Bush administration designated the Uyghur independence group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist organization. China continued to oppose war in Iraq despite the alleged favor but didn’t vote to block the Iraq invasion at the UN Security Council. All of the Uyghur detainees said they hadn’t heard about al Qaeda until after they were sent to Guantanamo Bay. But as far as the United States was concerned, they were not disgruntled dissidents fleeing persecution in China and passing through Afghanistan, as they claimed, but militant jihadists waging a war on liberal democracy itself. Even if the liberal democracy in question was Chinese. Suddenly, with America’s blessing, China had what it needed: a terrorist bogeyman. The decision to lock up the Uyghurs at Guantanamo Bay, with no evidence of a terrorist plot, helped China justify its treatment of the Uyghurs. It painted them as a terrorist time bomb that needed to be defused through heavy-handed measures. And now, China justifies the surveillance of the Uyghurs by citing the terrorist threat. read the complete article


10 Jul 2021

Muslim women offered for sale in fake India 'auction'

Police in India are investigating how dozens of Muslim women were offered for sale in fake "auctions" online without their knowledge, in a case the victims say illustrates growing Islamophobia across the country. Photos of more than 80 women were reportedly uploaded in recent weeks to GitHub, an open software development platform, under the title "Sulli deal of the day". "Sulli" is derogatory slang for Muslim women. Hana Mohsin Khan, an airline pilot, was alerted last week by a friend who directed her to a link that led to a gallery of images of women. "The fourth picture was mine. They were literally auctioning me as their slave for the day," Khan told AFP. "It sends chills down my spine. From that day till today, I am just in a constant state of anger," she said. GitHub said it has now suspended the users' accounts, saying they violated its policies on harassment, discrimination and inciting violence. Delhi police have filed charges -- but against unknown persons because they do not know the identity of the perpetrators. read the complete article

11 Jul 2021

The Hypocrisy and Opportunism of the RSS's 'Outreach' to Muslims

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, the parent organisation of the Bharatiya Janata Party, is not exactly known for advancing the cause of communal harmony. Many of its members are known for their trenchant support to the idea of “Hindu Rashtra”. They regularly demonise minorities, especially Muslims, on various counts including their eating habits and, lately, with the made-up theory of “love jihad”. I have first-hand experience of the Sangh’s myopic thought process after interacting with one of its subsidiaries (to which I was invited to give a presentation on border management), which was supposedly aimed at identifying the problems of the border population but was actually more interested in their religious profiling. The RSS is trenchantly an anti-minority organisation. People belonging to this organisation have not only been making anti-minority statements but many also openly advocate violence against them. The hate speeches by Amu and the Jamia shooter are thee before us. Several reports suggest that Hindutva activists were involved in fomenting the Northeast Delhi riots of 2020. However, the RSS and Bhagwat have maintained a stoic silence about several instances of atrocities against Muslims. The RSS has never in the past seven years spoken a word against cow vigilantes involved in the lynching of Muslims for something as common as transporting cows from one place to another. The adverse effect on the social fabric of the country is for everyone to see. The amount of hatred towards Muslims in the seven-year rule of the BJP led by a sangh pracharak is palpable. However, it has now reached a stage where it is proving to be counterproductive, especially in the absence of any concrete proof of improvement in the lives of masses. While what Bhagwat said is a welcome departure from what the others have been saying, one cannot ignore the context in which these remarks have been made. The sudden change of heart in my view is directly related to the changed political scenario and perhaps an internal assessment by the RSS pointing toward an impending loss of political power in Uttar Pradesh – the largest state and also the crucible of the Hindutva ideology of hatred towards minorities. The loss of West Bengal despite the BJP’s communal electioneering has shown that the discerning citizen understands that while religion is important in their lives, it is survival and the availability of the basic needs which is more important. read the complete article


09 Jul 2021

A grade 10 student in Toronto has more courage tackling Islamophobia than most politicians

Alisha is 16, and she’s just finished Grade 10 at Agincourt Collegiate Institute in Toronto. She’s also a Muslim who’s been alarmed at the tide of Islamophobia she sees in the country and has decided to do something about it. She revived the long-dormant Muslim Students’ Association at her high school. She got to work building a website that listed the prevalence of hate crimes against Muslims and offered ways that allies could help (donating money, attending workshops). She spoke about Islamophobia at the Toronto District School Board’s equity forum. I’ve always admired activists like Alisha who find their voice when they’re young, who refuse to be cowed or silenced. They’re all over the world now, taking governments to court over climate policies, or demanding a reckoning on racial justice. They make a lot of us old folk uncomfortable, because they have the energy and vision to shape a different world. It’s like we took a perfectly good car, smashed it up, and left them the smoking ruin to rebuild from scratch. It seems, in other words, rather unfair to leave the cleanup to those who didn’t make the mess. When it comes to the subject of Islamophobia, in particular, there’s a huge amount that could be done, and leadership that could be taken – but the adults in the room are dropping the ball. read the complete article

09 Jul 2021

Ottawa announces dates for national summits on Islamophobia, antisemitism

The federal government has announced that two emergency national summits — one on antisemitism and one on Islamophobia — will take place on July 21 and July 22 respectively. Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger made the announcement in a media statement on Friday. "We must actively listen to the voices of communities directly affected by racism," Chagger said in the statement. MPs voted unanimously in favour of a motion calling for a national summit on Islamophobia in June, following the attack in London, Ont., that killed four members of a Muslim family as they were out for an evening walk. The government announced it would hold an additional summit on antisemitism on the same day that motion passed. read the complete article


12 Jul 2021

Rohingya wary as Myanmar's anti-junta resistance reaches out

A shadow government is breaking taboos in Buddhist-majority Myanmar by welcoming Rohingya into its anti-junta coalition, but many in the long-persecuted Muslim minority are wary after living through decades of discrimination and deadly violence. Myanmar has been in turmoil since the government of Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted in a February coup, sparking huge pro-democracy protests and a bloody military crackdown. Dissident lawmakers from her party dominate a "National Unity Government" in exile, rallying support for the resistance among foreign governments and on international news broadcasts. Last month they invited the Rohingya to "join hands" to end military rule, promising to repatriate those who fled to Bangladesh after a deadly 2017 military assault on their communities in western Rakhine state. They also pledged to grant citizenship to the minority, which has long been stateless after decades of discriminatory policies. The use of the word "Rohingya" was new -- wary of sentiment among the mostly Buddhist, ethnic Bamar-majority population, Suu Kyi's government had referred to the community as "Muslims living in Rakhine." But suspicion lingers among those Rohingya still in Myanmar, where they are widely seen as interlopers from Bangladesh and have been denied citizenship, rights and access to services. "Giving a promise and then getting support from abroad –- it's like putting bait for fish," said Wai Mar, who has been living in a displacement camp for almost a decade. "We're worried we exist only to be human shields or scapegoats," Wai Mar added. "We can't put all our trust and expectations in them because we've been oppressed for so long." Despite the overtures, there are no Rohingya representatives among the National Unity Government's current 32-member cabinet. read the complete article

United Kingdom

09 Jul 2021

The stench of Islamophobia in the Labour Party is getting stronger

Whether through cack-handed mismanagement or calculated strategy, the opposition is sowing pain, alienation and mistrust among Muslim members and voters alike, while also pursuing the sort of principles-free, divide-and-rule tactics that would make a colonial-era viceroy proud. Such hurtful inconsistency was in evidence in the quiet reinstatement of writer and broadcaster Trevor Phillips after he was suspended from Labour over alleged Islamophobia last year. Among Phillips’s comments are that UK Muslims are a “nation within a nation” and that a Muslim family fostering a non-Muslim girl would be “akin to child abuse”. A progressive party engaging in such grotesque dog-whistling – presenting Muslims as backward and as outside the “wider” population – should feel ashamed even in the best of times. But we are not in the best of times. Labour took this approach in a constituency where their candidate’s sister, Jo Cox, was murdered in 2016 by a far-right extremist. Labour did this at a time when hate crimes and attacks against British Muslims have spiralled and Islamophobia has become an ugly feature of our society, with a third of the population thinking that Islam is a threat to the British way of life. Our main opposition party did this while a nativist Conservative government is, for its own political gain, stoking prejudice-filled division, tied to hostility to multiculturalism and immigration. If the Labour leadership does not possess either the nerve or the nous to take on this toxic political culture, they might at the very least not actively engage in it. Speaking to Muslim organisers and members, the heartbreak is clear: the party they have tirelessly campaigned for is not addressing their concerns, not even when a report from the Labour Muslim Network last year showed that one in four Muslim members and supporters had directly experienced Islamophobia in the party, while one in three had directly witnessed it. read the complete article

New Zealand

11 Jul 2021

Muslims abused on outreach mission on New Zealand streets

Muslims taking to the streets in a bid to educate Kiwis about their faith have copped verbal abuse. Representatives of the Discover Islam NZ project have been visiting New Zealand towns to talk to everyday Kiwis and break down Muslim stereotypes. In Tokoroa on Thursday, project member Haris Ahmed said engaging with people on the street had not always met with success, or compassion. “We were down in Whanganui and this couple came up to myself and one of my colleagues [who was] holding a board that said ‘Meet a Muslim’. They were about 45-50 years old … The guy said: ‘You know why the Christchurch attack happened … because you Muslims choose to come to our country, that is why you guys got killed, if you guys weren’t here, this wouldn't have happened.’” Ahmed said the man took the opportunity to address two imams having sit-down conversations in a nearby cafe, but only to add: “I have nothing to talk about. It’s just because you guys chose to come to this country, and you got killed.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 12 Jul 2021 Edition


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