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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14 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: China announces “corresponding sanctions” against the United States after Washington penalised senior Chinese officials over the treatment of minority Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang. An essay by Azeem Ibrahim on Foreign Policy traces Modi’s slide toward autocracy. Our recommended read today is by Alison Scott-Baumann on the Islamophobia reinforced by the UK’s Prevent program. This, and more, below:

United Kingdom

14 Jul 2020

Prevent doesn't stop students being radicalised. It just reinforces Islamophobia | Recommended Read

Despite a clear lack of evidence of radicalisation in universities, Prevent training continues for staff. Indeed, a major new report of a three-year study of Islam on campus shows that almost 10% of all students believe there may be some risk on their campus. Our research reveals that Prevent reinforces negative stereotypes of Islam and Muslims: 20% of students believe that Islam is not compatible with British values; among those supportive of Prevent, the figure rises to 35%. Our research finds that Prevent discourages discussion about culture, identity and religion – especially, but not exclusively, about Islam. Students and staff are discouraged from raising concerns about Prevent. They self-censor their discussions in order to avoid becoming the object of suspicion and are sometimes discouraged from exploring, researching or teaching about Islam. They see this as a counterproductive policy in the light of the perceived need for securitisation to fight terrorism, which trumps all other human rights. read the complete article

Recommended Read
14 Jul 2020

The limits of inclusivity: Islamophobia in higher education

Bewilderment at the endurance of racism has inspired concerted attempts to understand the social structures that sustain it. How is racism enabled, reinforced and legitimated? And how might our institutions - from politics to education, healthcare and the arts - be transformed so that they are part of the solution, rather than part of the problem? Along with my colleagues Alison Scott-Baumann, Shuruq Naguib, Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor and Aisha Phoenix, I’ve spent the last five years wrestling with these questions with a focus on the experience of Muslims in UK universities. Based on a national survey of over 2,000 students and conversations with over 250 staff and students on six campuses, our conclusions are published today. Universities have long been viewed as hallowed halls of progressive thinking and cultural inclusivity. However, this myth has been challenged repeatedly over recent years. As more research has investigated cases of misogyny, sexual harassment, class-based snobbery and racism, it has become less and less tenable to treat these cases as isolated incidents. Muslims have been subjected to significant recent hostility. The ways in which Islam is perceived on campuses - and how those perceptions are reinforced or challenged - says a great deal about the capacity of universities as promoters of cultural inclusion and racial justice. Over the past 20 years, the racism experienced by British Muslims has been complicated and reinforced by a narrative of suspicion, rooted in a presumed alignment between Islam and violent extremism or other criminal behaviour. The public imagination has been shaped in this respect by right-wing journalism and mainstream politicians keen to present Islam as a social problem and a risk to be managed. This strain of racism has become especially powerful for three reasons. First, fear has been heightened because of the association of Islam with terrorism. The cultural memory of the 7/7 London bombings and subsequent attacks has been exploited by those wishing to find the roots of violence in Islam itself, despite the small numbers of perpetrators, and despite their actions provoking widespread condemnation across the Muslim community. Second, Islamophobia is legitimised via the claim that it opposes an ideology, not a community. Those who view Islam as a malign force can convince themselves that Muslims need take no offence, so long as they are politically moderate, keep themselves to themselves, and audibly denounce their faith tradition whenever called upon to do so by the white majority. Third, those with the power to shape the conversation about security have reinforced existing prejudices. While this is most blatant among elements of the right-wing tabloid press, it’s more insidiously present in government policy and its implementation in public bodies. read the complete article


14 Jul 2020

Quebec man accused of advocating genocide, making threats against Muslims, Trudeau

The RCMP's national security team has charged a Quebec man with advocating genocide — a first in the province's history, according to a police news release — after he allegedly left "disturbing online posts" directed at the prime minister and the Muslim community. André Audet, 62, of Boucherville was charged originally in December with incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred in the same investigation, but now faces two new charges in connection with the alleged threats. "For example, the accused called for the death of Justin Trudeau and encouraged the eradication of Muslims." read the complete article

14 Jul 2020

CRA case shows M103 motion has failed to address ‘Islamophobia’ in government

In 2018, the same year the M103 follow-up report was released, the CRA published statements against two members of the Canadian Council of Imams (CCI), Imam Abdullah Hakim Quick and Imam Said Rageah, that we believe falsely connected them to hate, intolerance, and terrorism. As has been reported, the Imams believe CRA used dubious examples for both imams, often taken out of context or with selective clipping, all of which had already been denied by the imams themselves in numerous public statements both before and after the CRA claims. None of this was taken into account by the CRA auditors who sidelined the valuable contributions both imams have made to their Canadian communities and in the fight against racism and extremism among youth. To make matters worse, as recently as last year, the CCI has demanded an apology from CRA for what amounts to blatant Islamophobia in this case, but to date, there has been no response from the agency. The CRA is not the only government agency to face accusations of Islamophobia or racism; others such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and our Canadian Armed Forces, and Canada Border Services Agency have all faced complaints. As cities south of the border burn in protest over systemic racial injustices, there is a real chance for the government of Canada to return to its commitment to accountability and change in the wake of M103, something that had been a matter of principle for the government three years ago when public outcry against the motion forced the Liberals to take a real stand against Islamophobia. read the complete article

United States

14 Jul 2020

New Islamic Center in Warren vandalized, organization urges authorities to investigate as a potential hate crime

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is urging authorities to investigate the recent vandalism of a new Islamic center in Warren as a possible hate crime. Members of the community arrived at the Al Ihsaan Islamic Center on Saturday to find several broken windows and a hammer left at the scene. The Warren Police Department did take the report of vandalism but has not mentioned if it would be investigated as a potential hate crime. read the complete article

14 Jul 2020

Philly’s police union chief condemns Proud Boys days after they attended a Pence after-party at the FOP lodge

Philadelphia police union president John McNesby has issued a more forceful condemnation of the alt-right group the Proud Boys, following criticism that he had not responded strongly enough to photos of officers openly mingling with the group’s members outside a union-sponsored fund-raiser late last week. Proud Boys describes itself as a “Western chauvinist” fraternity and has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “general hate group.” Extremism experts note the group’s tendency to publicly disavow racism and bigotry — as its Philadelphia chapter does in declaring itself a “multi-racial organization” — while affiliating with white nationalists and spreading violent anti-Muslim, misogynistic and anti-immigrant rhetoric. read the complete article


14 Jul 2020

Modi’s Slide Toward Autocracy

In the six years since Modi won his first election, it has become clear that his style of leadership poses an existential threat to the world’s largest democracy. Through his wildly successful promotion of Hindutva ideology, Modi is poised to remake India into a Russian-style “managed democracy”—one retaining all the trappings of democracy while operating as a de facto autocracy. As the Indian independence movement progressed, it developed two models of an independent India. The Congress party believed it would be possible to unify India only if religious differences were set aside and the new economy sought to improve the lot of the poorest. At the same time, some strands of Hindu nationalism began taking a sectarian approach. India could be unified only when all foreign influences were removed. This saw the development of the Arya Samaj, a new syncretic religious tradition that introduced European-style monotheism and proselytizing to Hinduism in the 1870s. The Arya Samaj laid the foundations for attempts to define “Hindu-ness” by a cadre of nationalist thinkers through the following decades. And the movement came into its own with the explicit articulation of an exclusionary notion of Hindu-ness and Hindu nationalism in a 1923 pamphlet called “Essentials of Hindutva” (later retitled “Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?”) by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. This duly formed the ideological basis for the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), founded two years later, arguing that an independent India should be a state for Hindus (and Buddhists). Today, the RSS is more powerful than ever. Modi cut his teeth in sectarian politics as a member of the RSS, and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is one of a number of RSS offshoot organizations. Ideology is critical to its success. When the BJP stands for elections, it does not merely stand against other parties on policy grounds. It stands to challenge the secular constitutional order on which the Indian Republic was founded. read the complete article


14 Jul 2020

China trades sanctions with U.S. in row over Uighur Muslims

China announced "corresponding sanctions" against the United States on Monday after Washington penalised senior Chinese officials over the treatment of minority Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang. China's move comes as relations between the world's two biggest economic powerhouses have slumped over disagreements on issues including the coronavirus pandemic, trade, Huawei and a sweeping national security law imposed on Hong Kong. The sanctions targeted Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, U.S. Representative Chris Smith, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Rubio and Cruz have both sponsored legislation that would punish China's actions in Xinjiang. Smith has also been a vocal critic of China on issues ranging from Xinjiang to Hong Kong and the coronavirus. All three are members of President Donald Trump's Republican Party. read the complete article

14 Jul 2020

TV anchors outrage over Uyghurs in China, but stay quiet about Indian Muslims

China ko Musalmano se itni nafrat kyun hai (Why does China hate Muslims so much)?” asked India TV in the first week of July. The anchor was referring to the atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province, China. The question, which has been asked by many TV anchors in the past week, is legitimate, and the answer is a rather harrowing one. But what must be noted is that these very TV channels have for long remained tightlipped about the atrocities committed against Muslims in India. But most Indian TV channels have always preferred zooming into the atrocities against Muslims in Xinjiang. It again turned to the plight of the Uyghur Muslims as China clashed with India at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The latest coping mechanism of chest-thumping channels after having cheered Chinese app ban seems to be the re-focus on Uyghurs in China. Hypocrisy died a new death when India TV’s anchor Ajay Kumar said, “China ke musalmano ko dharmic azaadi nahi hai,” (China’s Muslims don’t have religious freedom). While Muslims in India do have religious freedom, many fear for their safety in these polarised times — something that most Indian TV channels conveniently choose to not document. The idea is not to compare the cruelties faced by Uyghur Muslims to the plight of Indian Muslims. Rather it is a call to question and investigate oppression of minorities everywhere. And we should start with our own country. If the discrimination against an ethnic minority in China is so intolerable to the Indian media, what is stopping them from speaking up about the oppression of Muslims in India today? The Indian media blames Muslims for all issues, from violent riots to spreading Covid-19. Muslims in the country today have felt targeted by the current political dispensation. read the complete article


14 Jul 2020

Indonesia: Aceh community support rescued Rohingya refugees

A community in Indonesia is banding together to support a group of Rohingya refugees they rescued. People in Aceh province towed their boat to safety late last month. Now they are trying to connect unaccompanied children with their families. Al Jazeera's Jessica Washington reports from Jakarta, Indonesia. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 Jul 2020 Edition


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