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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15 Jul 2021

Today in Islamophobia: U.S. President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is leaving fear and uncertainty for many Afghans amidst the security situation of the country, while an Imam’s family in the Canadian town of Hamilton are left afraid for their lives after being terrorized by a motorist in what police are calling a hate crime, and in the UK, as a result of an online petition launched by three Muslim women, PM Boris Johnson has stated those who hurl racist abuse online at players will be banned from attending matches in stadiums. Our recommended read of the day is by Tahir Hamut Izgil on his first hand account of the atrocities committed by the Chinese state against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. This and more below:


14 Jul 2021

One by One, My Friends Were Sent to the Camps

If you took an Uber in Washington, D.C., a couple of years ago, there was a chance your driver was one of the greatest living Uyghur poets. Tahir Hamut Izgil arrived with his family in the United States in 2017, fleeing the Chinese government’s merciless persecution of his people. Tahir’s escape not only spared him near-certain internment in the camps that have swallowed more than 1 million Uyghurs; it also allowed him to share with the world his experience of the calamity engulfing his homeland. The following articles are Tahir’s firsthand account of one of the world’s most urgent humanitarian crises, and of one family’s survival. Among the galaxy of talented Uyghur writers in Xinjiang, Tahir is to my knowledge the only one who has escaped China since the mass internments began. His account combines a poet’s power of expression with a clear eye for the moral ambiguity found in even the most extreme circumstances. While the system of state terror in Xinjiang is orchestrated by an inhuman bureaucracy, the individuals running that system—and those crushed by that system—are human in full, and their complexity is present throughout Tahir’s narrative. The world revealed by that narrative is one we all must grapple with. The Chinese government’s war on its Uyghur minority is new, but the tools it employs are familiar. State repression in Xinjiang relies on weaponized social media, computer algorithms that monitor and predict behavior, and an array of high-tech surveillance technology, much of it developed in the West. Islamophobic discourses that gathered strength in the U.S. have been central to China’s efforts to justify its Xinjiang policies, while Western corporations have been implicated in supply chains reaching back to forced labor in the Uyghur region. Soon, the world will need to decide whether the 2022 Winter Olympics should be held in Beijing, a city where officials are actively orchestrating concentration camps. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


14 Jul 2021

Muslim community 'gravely concerned' for Hamilton imam's family as police investigate hate crime

Members of Hamilton's Downtown Mosque are "gravely concerned" for the family of Imam Kamal Gurgi, as police investigate what they're calling a hate crime against a Muslim woman and her adult daughter. "We are gravely concerned for the safety of our imam's family and the whole community in light of continuing social media threats," the mosque's president, Murshid Abdallah, said in a statement released late Monday night. A 40-year-old man was arrested Tuesday afternoon. 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 Monday when they were almost hit by a vehicle pulling out of a parking spot. The driver uttered death threats toward the mother and daughter while using racist slurs targeting the Muslim community, police say. When the mother and daughter hid from the man in nearby bushes, he threatened to kill them when he found them, they add. He eventually drove away after bystanders heard one woman's cry for help and intervened. read the complete article

14 Jul 2021

Saskatoon community rallies against anti-Muslim hate after attack

Members of the Saskatoon's Eastview community, home to a Muslim man who was stabbed and beaten in June, gathered on Tuesday in a expression of solidarity with the man and condemn racism. Muhammad Kashif said he was attacked at about 5:30 a.m. CST on June 25 near his home in Eastview. He said he was stabbed, had a portion of his beard cut off and was knocked unconscious by at least two attackers, who yelled, 'Why you are here? We don't like you are Muslim." More than 100 community members and supporters drew up signs at James Anderson Park and walked around the park in a march of solidarity. Caitlin Grant, one of the three organizers, said that they were "disturbed" to hear of the racially-motivated attack in their community and felt they needed to respond. "We just hoped that it would be something that would show everyone in our community that we don't tolerate hate here and we want everyone to be safe and welcome and celebrated and feel like they belong," Grant said. They have received donations for the cause which they say will be directed toward appropriate organizations. Kashif was also at the event. He said it's been tough the past few weeks, especially for his kids, who have been scared since he was attacked. Kashif said it makes him feel better to see all the support, but what he wants is for everyone to live in harmony regardless of their backgrounds. "My message is no more hate. We can [all] stay under one roof," Kashif said. read the complete article

United Kingdom

14 Jul 2021

North’s first female Muslim council leader, Arooj Shah, targeted in firebomb attack on car

Police are investigating after the Labour leader of Oldham Council was targeted in a firebomb attack on her car. The vehicle, belonging to Arooj Shah – the first female Muslim to lead a northern authority – was set ablaze at 1.30am on Tuesday morning. No one was hurt in the incident, but so intense were the flames that a neighbouring property was damaged. The “cowardly” attack was immediately condemned by politicians across the Greater Manchester area. “My solidarity with Councillor Arooj Shah, who has been targeted in such a cowardly way,” said Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton. “The full weight of the law must be seen to bring those accountable to book. read the complete article

14 Jul 2021

Racists targeted England’s Black players. 1 million people have signed a petition to ban abusers from matches for life.

Under regulations from 1989 designed to deter offensive behavior, those who hurl racist abuse at players from the stands at stadiums are banned from attending matches. But the rules do not cover online trolling — of which there is plenty. Facing growing criticism, the prime minister announced Wednesday that the order would be extended to cover online racism. Three women, Shaista Aziz, Amna Abdullatif and Huda Jawad, who describe themselves as the “Three Hijabis” because they are Muslim and wear hijabs, led much of the push among fans to stop future perpetrators both online and offline from watching soccer in a stadium, launching a petition on titled “Ban racists for life from all football matches in England." In an email to The Washington Post, Abdullatif said the response to the petition has been “incredible” and promised that the group’s work was just beginning. “We need to see action. We need to ensure we’re not just talking, which we’ve done many times before about racism in football. Words alone don’t create change,” she said. “Those perpetrating this behavior need to be held accountable.” read the complete article

14 Jul 2021

Report recommends Scottish journalists, police attend Islamophobia awareness training

Journalists and police should undergo training on the role of the media in "fostering Islamophobia", a new report by Newcastle University says. The report, produced by Newcastle University professor Peter Hopkins, found that racism against Muslims has increased in recent years. Hopkins made several recommendations, including the creation of reporting guidelines and regulating the use of photographs and other visual imagery in reporting. The study found that verbal and physical assaults have intensified, especially on public transport, with four fifths of Muslims living in Scotland saying they had experienced Islamophobia. The report was commissioned by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, along with a cross-party group of MSPs looking at tackling Islamophobia. It sets out 45 recommendations for organisations. The recommendations include drafting a formal definition of Islamophobia, diversifying recruitment to government and media positions and requiring local authorities, schools and Police Scotland to provide training on countering Islamophobia. read the complete article


15 Jul 2021

Indian Muslims have come to terms with Hindutva. They are now looking for survival strategies

The Pew report, however, does not present this finding as a conclusive answer. It unpacks this aggregate Muslim response in relation to regional diversity. This region-wise assessment offers us a very different picture. Around 35 per cent Muslims in north India claim that they have faced religious discrimination in the last one year. One finds a very similar response in the northeast. Thirty-one per cent Muslims in this region confirm that there is a lot of discrimination against them. The Muslim response in central and western parts of the country is rather unexpected. These regions have also experienced a lot of communal violence in the past. The situation has only deteriorated in the last few years. Yet, we do not find any overwhelmingly critical Muslim response in these states. Why? These findings, I suggest, underline four serious aspects of religious discrimination in contemporary India. First, the violent anti-Muslim Hindutva politics is a north-centric phenomenon. Although various reflections of this politics can be found in other parts of the country, the Babri Masjid dispute, Shah Bano episode, love-jihad campaign, and the aggressive cow protection movement provide a contextual specificity to violent Hindutva in the north. Second, this regional variation also demonstrates a very serious fact of our public life. The anti-Muslim discourse has now been normalised. Third, the overall Muslim reaction to various facets of religious discrimination also point towards a failure of violent Hindu essentialism. The act of lynching and its wider dissemination through popular media (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) is guided by two related impulses. It aims to mobilise a community of anti-Muslim ‘warriors’ (the lumpen elements) in the name of Hindutva. At the same time, there is a wider objective to create terror and fear in the minds of Muslims. The Pew survey shows that violent Hindu politics has not yet succeeded in terrorising the Muslim mind. This brings us to the fourth aspect of religious discrimination. Poor, marginalised, unemployed Muslims, it appears, have realised that anti-Muslim Hindutva has emerged as the dominant narrative of Indian public life. This realisation encourages them to work out various survival strategies. read the complete article


14 Jul 2021

Biden’s Afghan Withdrawal Will Spark the Next Refugee Crisis

Afghans are already fleeing to neighboring countries; they include more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers who have escaped to Tajikistan, causing that country to mobilize reservists to patrol the border. “The brunt will be felt in the neighboring countries: Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan,” noted Stefano Stefanini, a former ambassador of Italy to NATO and former national security advisor to the Italian president. “To some extent, the U.S. is sheltered by distance—though Washington is providing special visas to the many Afghans who translated, drove, and worked for the Americans. But many refugees, at great cost and risk, will try to get to Europe. It might not be the most direct route, but Italy, via Libya, will be the main landing point. Then the new flow from the Hindu Kush will work its way north to Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the U.K.” In 2015, Germany and Sweden were the two most popular countries for asylum-seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Although the recipient countries have since worked hard to integrate the asylum-seekers, the challenge has been made more difficult by the fact that many asylum-seekers arrived alone. In Sweden, more than 35,000 asylum-seekers who arrived in 2015 registered as unaccompanied minors; 92 percent of them were men and two thirds were Afghan. The challenge is not just housing and looking after the hundreds of thousands of Afghans who successfully make it to Europe; it’s also handling the ones who don’t qualify for asylum. (There’s general consensus that Afghan military interpreters and their families should be granted asylum by the countries whose soldiers they worked with.) Over the past few years, various European countries have strengthened their asylum rules, making it harder for people from Afghanistan to be approved. read the complete article

15 Jul 2021

U.S. Senate passes bill to ban all products from China's Xinjiang

The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Wednesday to ban the import of products from China's Xinjiang region, the latest effort in Washington to punish Beijing for what U.S. officials say is an ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim groups. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would create a "rebuttable presumption" assuming goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and therefore banned under the 1930 Tariff Act, unless otherwise certified by U.S. authorities. Passed by unanimous consent, the bipartisan measure would shift the burden of proof to importers. The current rule bans goods if there is reasonable evidence of forced labor. The bill must also pass the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law. It was not immediately clear when that might take place. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 15 Jul 2021 Edition


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