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 2021

Today in Islamophobia: The government of Austria’s ‘National Map of Islam’ continues to face sharp criticism from the international religious community, as in the U.S., Democratic representatives are calling on President Joe Biden to expedite VISA applications for Afghan war allies, and Muslim women in the city of Edmonton, Alberta live increasingly in fear as hate crimes rise in the province against the Black Muslim community. Our recommended read of the day is by Huffington Post’s Jessica Schulberg on President Biden’s lack of action on releasing any of the 11 Guantanamo Bay detainees approved for transfer to another country. This and more below:


United States

13 Jul 2021

Men At Gitmo Have Been Cleared For Release For Years. Why Hasn’t Biden Let Them Out?

Six months into his presidency, President Joe Biden’s administration has not released a single person from Guantanamo Bay. The White House has issued only vague pledges, and the delayed releases have made advocates and lawyers for the men concerned that Biden will not prioritize closing the infamous military detention center. Eleven of the 40 men who remain imprisoned at Guantanamo have been cleared for release through an arduous government review process, meaning they are considered safe to send home or to another country, pending security assurances from the receiving country. Several have been cleared for years, with no explanation for their continued, indefinite imprisonment without charge. Many of the cleared men are growing increasingly hopeless about their prospects for freedom. It’s been hard to discern exactly what the administration plans to do with Guantanamo — and how fast.White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in February only that closure “is certainly our goal and our intention.” Last month, NBC reported that the Biden administration is taking an “under-the-radar” approach to Guantanamo closure in hopes of reducing political blowback. As the men languish, Biden has yet to pull many of the administrative levers necessary to close the prison for good. For example, Obama established a special envoy for Guantanamo closure at the State Department — a point person within the government who ideally would work to unite various bureaucratic agencies toward the goal of shutting the prison down. That role was eliminated under Trump, and Biden has not yet brought it back. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


13 Jul 2021

Democrats, Refugee Groups Pressure Biden To Act Faster For Afghan Allies

Democrats are calling on President Joe Biden to fulfill his promise to the thousands of Afghans who assisted the U.S. during the war by speeding up their evacuations and approving visa applications to enter the U.S. ― before it’s too late. “We’re going to see pictures of them lined up against a wall and machine-gunned. And that’s not an exaggeration,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said on MSNBC Tuesday morning, urging the Biden administration to act swiftly and decisively. Leahy introduced a supplemental funding bill Monday that includes assistance for those Afghans, such as authorization for 20,000 more Afghan special immigrant visas and $100 million in emergency aid for Afghan refugees. Biden announced last Thursday that the U.S. would evacuate Afghan translators and other allies who assisted the U.S. during the decade-long war, and that relocation flights would begin later this month. But exact details of the plan remain unclear, including where they will be relocated or how long they are expected to wait for approval to enter the U.S. This has created widespread concern from Democrats and advocacy groups. read the complete article

13 Jul 2021

Turkey's Erdogan, China's Xi discuss Uyghurs in phone call -Turkish presidency

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Tuesday it was important to Turkey that Uyghur Muslims live in peace as "equal citizens of China" but said Turkey respects China's national sovereignty. Erdogan made the comments during a phone call with Xi in which the two leaders discussed bilateral and regional issues, according to a statement from the Turkish presidency. U.N. experts and rights groups estimate over a million people, mainly from the Turkic language-speaking Uyghur and other Muslim minorities, have been detained in recent years in a vast system of camps in China's western Xinjiang region. China initially denied the camps existed, but has since said they are vocational centres and are designed to combat extremism. It denies all accusations of abuse. "Erdogan pointed out that it was important for Turkey that Uyghur Turks live in prosperity and peace as equal citizens of China. He voiced Turkey's respect for China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Turkish presidency statement said. Some of the 40,000 Uyghurs living in Turkey have criticised Ankara's approach to China after the two nations agreed an extradition treaty last year. Turkey's foreign minister said in March the deal was similar to those Turkey has with other states and denied it would lead to Uyghurs being sent back to China. read the complete article

13 Jul 2021

China Scoffs at Genocide Charges, Calls Human Rights Report 'Waste Paper'

A Chinese official has laughed off accusations of human rights abuses including continuing genocidal policies against Uyghurs in northwestern China, calling a new U.S. State Department report a "a piece of waste paper." In a progress report on genocide and atrocities prevention sent to Congress on Monday, the Biden administration listed key regions of concern in Africa and Asia, highlighting what the U.S. government has deemed "crimes against humanity" in Xinjiang, where rights groups say mainly Muslim-minority groups such as Uyghurs are subject to mass detention and forced labor. The State Department has upheld the Trump administration's determination that the Chinese government is continuing to commit "genocide" in the autonomous region, where it says a range of human rights violations include "imprisonment, torture, enforced sterilization, and persecution." Beijing, which has consistently denied all charges, says it is carrying out a widespread counterterrorism campaign in Xinjiang, where its once predominantly Muslim population is being "de-radicalized." read the complete article


13 Jul 2021

The ‘National Map of Islam’ and Austria’s state-sanctioned Islamophobia

The government of Austria continues to receive criticism for its National Map of Islam website which highlights the locations 620 mosques and Muslim associations across the country and their possible links abroad. This initiative is the latest instance of right-wing state policies that have problematised Austrian Muslim communities as the alien ‘Other’ and national security threat. This continues a trend that can be seen over the last five years and has been documented in various studies and polls such as a Chatham House survey which indicated that 65 percent of Austrians supported the statement: "All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped." Shifting public opinion and the election of populist parties have enabled the implementation of surveillance programmes and raids in the name of fighting extremism and terrorism. Austria has a history of monitoring the activities of its minorities and the current plight of Muslims in the country is the culmination of the rightward shift in its politics over the last 15 years. The increasing popularity of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) has styled itself on an anti-immigration platform that claims to defend Austrian identity and culture from outsiders and openly demonises Muslims and their faith. The Islamophobic rhetoric of the FPÖ relies on three key themes – security, identity, cultural compatibility – a strategy which has been cop-opted by larger parties such as the ÖVP and SPÖ, and positions itself to appease voters concerned about multiculturalism, Islam and immigration. read the complete article


13 Jul 2021

Why are Muslim women living ‘in fear’ in this Canadian city?

Dunia Nur was out buying paint when it happened. The community organizer in Edmonton, Alberta was speaking Somali to her aunt on the phone when a man at the shop aggressively told her to “speak English”. When she tried to get out of the situation, he blocked her path. “He was offended at the fact that I was speaking my language,” Nur, a Somali Canadian and the president and co-founder of the African Canadian Civil Engagement Council, told Al Jazeera. “I tried to move and then he blocked me.” It also came amid a string of verbal and physical attacks against predominantly Black Muslim women in and around Edmonton since late last year – a reality that Nur said has left many members of the community feeling afraid to leave their homes. In late June, two sisters, Muslim women who wear hijabs, were attacked by a knife-wielding man who hurled racial slurs at them on a path just outside the city. In other instances, Muslim women have been knocked to the ground while out on a walk or threatened while waiting for public transit. The city says Edmonton police have received reports of five incidents involving Black women wearing hijabs since December 8, 2020, and the police force’s hate crime unit arrested and laid charges against a suspect in each case. But Muslim community advocates say incidents often go unreported. “We had a town hall meeting where many women came out and actually stated that they have previously been attacked with knives, they have been told to go back to their homes, they have experienced a lot of gender-based violence and hate-motivated crimes – it just went unreported,” Nur said. “Muslim Black women are being attacked and they are being attacked because of anti-Black racism and they’re being attacked because of Islamophobic rhetoric and they are being attacked because they are women… I feel like right now we’re at a point that we’re not sure what’s going to happen to us when we go outside.” read the complete article

13 Jul 2021

Arrest made after Muslim woman, daughter faced 'terrifying' threats Hamilton police believe was hate crime

A 40-year-old man was arrested by Hamilton police Tuesday in what is being investigated as a hate crime after a Muslim mother and her daughter faced racial slurs and threats to their lives. Police say the mother, 62, and daughter, 26, were walking through a parking lot in the Ancaster Meadowlands area around 9:30 p.m. ET on Monday. A vehicle pulled out of a parking spot, officers say, and almost hit one of them. The driver uttered threats toward the mother and daughter while using slurs targeting the Muslim community, according to police. The mother and daughter ran across the street and hid behind some bushes, according to police. Officers say the man searched for them and threatened to kill them when he found them. One of the women ran screaming for help, police say, and people nearby intervened. The man drove away. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 Jul 2021 Edition


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