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 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a new exhibition connects local Chicago police violence to human rights violence in Guantanamo Bay prison, as several Chicago Police commanders took their torture tactics there, meanwhile in Canada, a Muslim international relief charity is asking the Supreme Court to “review the Federal Court of Appeal’s refusal to freeze a government-imposed suspension – which prohibited the charity from issuing tax receipts – while a challenge of the penalty played out,” and in the United Kingdom, the Muslim Council of Britain says the new prime minister must treat ‘systemic’ Islamophobia within the Tory party seriously after ‘an alarming radio silence’ on the issue from Boris Johnson. Our recommended read of the day is by Katie Paul for Reuters on Meta’s (parent company of Facebook) first annual human rights report, which rights organizations have criticized for not including a full assessment on India that Facebook had commissioned from an independent law firm. This and more below:


15 Jul 2022

Facebook-owner Meta releases first human rights report | Recommended Read

Facebook owner Meta (META.O) released its first annual human rights report on Thursday, following years of accusations that it turned a blind eye to online abuses that fueled real-world violence in places like India and Myanmar. The report, which covers due diligence performed in 2020 and 2021, includes a summary of a controversial human rights impact assessment of India that Meta commissioned law firm Foley Hoag to conduct. In its summary, Meta said the law firm had noted the potential for "salient human rights risks" involving Meta's platforms, including "advocacy of hatred that incites hostility, discrimination, or violence." The assessment, it added, did not probe "accusations of bias in content moderation." Ratik Asokan, a representative from India Civil Watch International who participated in the assessment and later organized the joint letter, told Reuters the summary struck him as an attempt by Meta to "whitewash" the firm's findings. "It's as clear evidence as you can get that they're very uncomfortable with the information that's in that report," he said. "At least show the courage to release the executive summary so we can see what the independent law firm has said." Human Rights Watch researcher Deborah Brown likewise called the summary "selective" and said it "brings us no closer" to understanding the company's role in the spread of hate speech in India or commitments it will make to address the issue. Rights groups for years have raised alarms about anti-Muslim hate speech stoking tensions in India, Meta's largest market globally by number of users. read the complete article

15 Jul 2022

How Documentation Is Critical to Exposing China’s Abuses of the Uyghurs

This month, U.S. companies are scrambling to comply with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) that went into effect three weeks ago, ensuring they have no goods in their supply chains made through the forced labor of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority. Here we see an important example of how far efforts have come to document abuses against Uyghurs and other minorities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Documentation efforts including journalistic reporting, investigative work by human rights researchers, and the collection and preservation of witness testimony by NGOs have each played an important role in exposing abuses and linking them to official responsibility in China, laying the foundation for countries like the United States to respond with concrete policy changes such as the UFLPA. Because of the efforts of documenters, journalists and human rights researchers, today we know that since 2017 China has detained more than 1 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Hui and members of other minority groups in special internment camps or converted detention facilities in the XUAR, where many have been subjected to forced labor and “reeducation.” More than 380 detention camps have been identified. We also know that the Chinese government carried out a sweeping campaign to slash birth rates in the XUAR since 2017, resulting in birth rates in the mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar plunging by 60 percent after that year. read the complete article

United States

15 Jul 2022

DePaul Art Museum Exhibition Explores Links Between Chicago Police and Guantanamo Bay Torture

The exhibition, “Remaking The Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantanamo,” connects local Chicago police violence to human rights violence in Guantanamo Bay prison. Several Chicago Police commanders took their torture tactics there. Guest co-curators from the “Tea Project” wanted the university exhibition to connect war to individuals’ lives. Guantanamo Bay is a military detention camp in Cuba. While Guantanamo Bay imprisons people from all around the world as part of the US military’s international regime, the Chicago Police Department has a similar history of enacting state violence and brutality at home. “The Tea Project [is] about our ongoing relationship to being at war,” said co-curator Amber Ginsburg, who is from Hyde Park. “For most Americans, [it] seems rather far away, but for those of us who live in Chicago, it’s actually quite close.” “This transitions to Chicago because it turns out that Richard Zuley, who was a Chicago police commander, was taken to Guantanamo to train in what is termed enhanced interrogation,” Ginsburg said. “In other words, torture.” Zuley was a CPD commander from 1977 to 2007 who trained Guantamano officers on his Chicago torture methods in 2003. He was in charge of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s interrogation in Guantanamo, the Guardian reported. Zuley’s torture methods between Chicago and Guantanamo involved shackling suspects to police-precinct walls, accusations involving planted evidence, and threats of harm to family members. Slahi’s interrogation involved “multiple death threats, extreme temperatures and sleep deprivation,” according to reports. read the complete article

15 Jul 2022

San Francisco Public Library accused of censorship, Islamophobia over mural project

Organizers of a mural project and their supporters are accusing the San Francisco Public Library of censoring a mural and failing to be an inclusive, equitable community space. "Wall + Response," a project organized by the Clarion Alley Mural Project inviting 16 Bay Area poets to respond to four murals on Clarion Alley in San Francisco, was scheduled to open at the Main Library branch on March 12 and have public programming at the library through the summer. However, one week before the event, San Francisco Public Library informed project organizers that one of the murals, "Arab Liberation Mural," had to be removed for the event to proceed. "Arab Liberation Mural" features six Arab leaders, including Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh, Moroccan educator Mehdi Ben Barka and photojournalist Yasser Mortaja. The mural also includes a crowd of people holding up signs saying, "Sanctuary for all," "Hands Off Sacred Land from Shellmound to Jerusalem," "Zionism is Racism," and "No War!" The mural was created by a diverse group of community organizations, artists, and Jewish allies to express the struggles against racism and xenophobia of Arabs, Muslims, people of color, immigrants, and refugees. The artwork for "Wall + Response" arrived at the library during the first week of March. When the library's exhibitions team looked at the murals, "the phrase 'Zionism is Racism' stood out in the  Arab Liberation Mural," according to a statement from San Francisco Public Library. Clarion Alley Mural Project put out a blog post on March 10 to announce that the exhibit was not opening that weekend and the public program scheduled for March 13 was no longer happening. "By conflating Zionism with Judaism, it is clear the San Francisco's Public Library is caving to right-wing and Islamophobic rhetoric. Zionism is a political ideology, which is being used to defend an apartheid state," the blog post said. "To conflate Zionism and Judaism is like coalescing white supremacy with Christianity; they are not the same." read the complete article

15 Jul 2022

Cato Lawsuit to Discover if Trump Lied to SCOTUS about the Muslim Ban

A new lawsuit by the Cato Institute could answer the question of whether the Supreme Court was wrong to accept assertions from former President Trump that his 2017 travel ban was based on security concerns, not animus again Muslims. Despite rescinding the ban, President Biden has still refused to disclose documents that Trump told the Court were the basis of his decision to ban immigrants from certain majority Muslim countries. In a 5–4 decision, the Court’s majority found that the ban was based not on Trump’s open animus against Muslims, but instead on a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that supposedly detailed national security concerns. But the majority simply accepted this report as legitimate without ever seeing it. Indeed, DHS has allowed no one outside the Executive branch to see it. After President Biden rescinded the ban—which he called “discriminatory”—I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on behalf of the Cato Institute for the DHS report. DHS ignored it, so now Cato is suing. It will be the first time Biden’s DHS will have to either justify keeping the report a secret from the public or else release it. Even if DHS refuses to release the report, the court can order it to do so. read the complete article


15 Jul 2022

Canadian Muslim charity asks Supreme Court to review CRA suspension

A Muslim international relief charity is telling the Supreme Court of Canada the federal government should not be allowed to “shoot first and hold a hearing later” when it comes to levying administrative penalties. Ottawa-based Human Concern International is asking the top court to review the Federal Court of Appeal’s refusal to freeze a government-imposed suspension – which prohibited the charity from issuing tax receipts – while a challenge of the penalty played out. The Canada Revenue Agency levied the one-year suspension in July 2021 following an audit by the revenue agency’s charities directorate that flagged concerns about six initiatives. The suspension has now expired, but HCI is still pursuing the matter in court, saying it has significant repercussions for the charitable sector as a whole. In its application seeking a hearing in the Supreme Court, HCI says the rule of law in Canada will be “significantly diminished” if the court does not step in. The charity argues federal agencies will be empowered to impose penalties before an airing of the issues _ and prior to a determination of guilt. “Justice will be denied to innocent parties, as government agencies will be free to extract punishments from citizens, even where the punishment cannot be reversed in the event bureaucratic error is identified at trial.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

15 Jul 2022

New Tory leader ‘must take serious action on Islamophobia after Boris’s radio silence’

Britain’s leading Muslim organisation says the new prime minister must treat ‘systemic’ Islamophobia within the Tory party seriously after ‘an alarming radio silence’ on the issue from Boris Johnson, and little discussion on it within the leadership contest so far. The outgoing British leader should have apologised in his resignation speech last week for letting down the Muslim community, as well as many other people across the UK, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain believes. Speaking to, Zara Mohammed has warned ‘no concrete steps’ have been taken to tackle the ongoing problem – despite the MCB recording more than 300 instances of Islamophobia in the Tory party since 2019. Her remarks come after allegations from Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani that her ‘Muslimness’ was raised when she was fired as a transport minister reignited claims the party is institutionally Islamophobic. A long-awaited 2021 review into Islamophobia within the Conservatives acknowledged there had been anti-Muslim sentiment and criticised the party for failing to properly investigate allegations – although no evidence was found that the political group was institutionally Islamophobic. Critics condemned the report as a ‘whitewash’, arguing that it focused on the complaints process and failed to identify endemic party prejudice. Whoever is selected to lead the UK out of the last five hopeful candidates ‘must represent everybody and they have to make sure that they do that fairly’, Ms Mohammed has said. read the complete article


15 Jul 2022

The disappearing duality of my Indian-Muslim identity

It was 2002 in Northern India, and an Islamophobic police force backed by then Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, meant protection was determined by religion. Bloodshed ensued as Muslim men were hunted and slain in the streets, while women were raped, gutted, and then set alight as they took their last breaths in generational homes. For two months, mass graves would await the bodies of the thousands who fell. It set a precedent for Islam in India; to find peace would be rare, and the threat of political displacement or death to those indigenous would continue to loom. Modi, now Prime Minister, has continued his regime to further perpetuate Islamic hate, with his rallies evoking the same racial divide reminiscent of the Trump era. His Islamophobic propaganda and supremacist ideologies have been nothing short of horrifying and fit to induce an ethnic cleansing. Across the country, reports confirm a growing fear of Muslim persecution. As Hindu leaders are recorded issuing ‘direct calls for genocide,’ mobs are seen ‘smashing beer bottles inside the mosque,’ as well as the creation of a fake auction site listing Muslim-female journalists and activists for sale, all of whom are prominent critics of the BJP. The harsh reality remains that India has never been a nation that is ‘post’ Partition, and the riots, religious feuding, and dismantling of a country which has never ceased is proof enough. The Western world is finally turning its eyes to a genocide that has been ongoing for decades. read the complete article


15 Jul 2022

China: Xi Jinping visits Xinjiang for first time since Uyghur crackdown

Chinese President Xi Jinping was in the eastern region of Xinjiang, state media reported on Friday, for what it believed to be his first visit to the region since launching a crackdown against the Uyghur minority there that has been called a "genocide" by Western countries. The president inspected the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a supra-governmental organization under US sanctions, and praised its "great progress" in reform and development. Documents leaked in May, and believed to be credible, put a light on the mass detentions of more than one million Uyghur Muslims in "re-education camps," as well as a litany of other human rights abuses. Xi last publicly visited the region in 2014 following an attack that killed three people. The crackdown began three years later. The Chinese president was in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi on Tuesday before traveling to the city of Shihezi on Wednesday, state-run news agency Xinhua reported. Xi called the region a "core area and hub" in China's Belt and Road infrastructure and influence initiative that seeks to build ports, railways and power stations to better connect China's economy to Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The Chinese leader met with XPCC leaders and "learned about the history of the XPCC in cultivating and guarding the frontier areas," Xinhua reported. The XPCC runs its own courts, schools and health systems in Xinjiang. He also reportedly called for the better preservation of the cultural heritage of minority groups, US news site Bloomberg reported. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 15 Jul 2022 Edition


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