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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16 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Southern Poverty Law Center adds Stephen Miller to its extremist list. The U.S weighs sweeping travel ban on Chinese Communist Party members. Our recommended read today is by Rayhan Asat and Yonah Diamond on “the world’s most technologically sophisticated genocide” currently happening in Xinjiang. This, and more, below:


16 Jul 2020

The World’s Most Technologically Sophisticated Genocide Is Happening in Xinjiang | Recommended Read

Two recent disturbing events may finally awaken the world to the scale and horror of the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs, a mostly secular Muslim ethnic minority, in Xinjiang, China. One is an authoritative report documenting the systematic sterilization of Uighur women. The other was the seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of 13 tons of products made from human hair suspected of being forcibly removed from Uighurs imprisoned in concentration camps. Both events evoke chilling parallels to past atrocities elsewhere, forced sterilization of minorities, disabled, and Indigenous people, and the image of the glass display of mountains of hair preserved at Auschwitz. Over a million Turkic Uighurs are detained in concentration camps, prisons, and forced labor factories in China. Detainees are subject to military-style discipline, thought transformation, and forced confessions. They are abused, tortured, raped, and even killed. Survivors report being subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, repeated beatings, stress positions, and injections of unknown substances. These mass detention camps are designed to cause serious physical, psychological harm and mentally break the Uighur people. The repeated government orders to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins”; “round up everyone who should be rounded up”; and systematically prevent Uighur births demonstrate a clear intent to eradicate the Uighur people as a whole. Between 2015 and 2018, population growth rates in the Uighur heartland plummeted by 84 percent. Conversely, official documents show that sterilization rates skyrocketed in Xinjiang while plunging throughout the rest of China, and the funding for these programs is only increasing. Between 2017 and 2018, in one district, the percentage of women who were infertile or widowed increased by 124 percent and 117 percent, respectively. In 2018, 80 percent of all IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang despite accounting for a mere 1.8 percent of China’s population. These IUDs can be removed only by state-approved surgery—or else prison terms will follow. In Kashgar, only about 3 percent of married women of childbearing age gave birth in 2019. The latest annual reports from some of these regions have begun omitting birth rate information altogether to conceal the scale of destruction. The government has shut down its entire online platform after these revelations. The scale and scope of these measures are clearly designed to halt Uighur births. With Uighur men detained and women sterilized, the government has laid the groundwork for the physical destruction of the Uighur people. At least half a million of the remaining Uighur children have been separated from their families and are being raised by the state at so-called “children shelters.” read the complete article

Recommended Read
16 Jul 2020

Uyghurs bussed across China for forced labour in factories – new footage

The US State Department announced new sanctions today on some employees of Chinese tech companies, including Huawei, for their involvement in human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region; home to the country’s persecuted Uyghur community. This comes as new footage has emerged showing Uyghur people being bussed out of their region to work as forced labour in factories across the country, a new phase in China’s campaign to forcibly assimilate its Muslim minority. read the complete article

16 Jul 2020

Who will stop the Uighur genocide?

As President of the World Uighur Congress and a Uighur myself, the last three to four years have been incredibly tragic and disheartening. The Uighur community is suffering profoundly, this is a pain that will never leave us. We have had to watch in almost slow motion as the Uighur people have been forced to endure a series of worsening atrocities at the hands of the Chinese government. Over the last three years, it has become clear that the Chinese government is trying to erase us, our ethnic identity and us as people. We are being subjected to genocide, but have received little more than words of concern, until recently. We have not even received that from most Muslim-majority countries, who have hyprocritcally chosen to support China's genocidal policies against Uighurs. As the very existence of the Uighur people is at stake, we ask who will hold China accountable and stop the Uighur genocide? While Uighurs have always faced oppression from the Chinese government, the policies from the Chinese government shifted dramatically. What began as discrimination and human rights violations, shifted to a strategy of dehumanisation, assimilation and genocide. read the complete article


16 Jul 2020

U.S. Weighs Sweeping Travel Ban on Chinese Communist Party Members

The presidential proclamation, still in draft form, could also authorize the United States government to revoke the visas of party members and their families who are already in the country, leading to their expulsion. Some proposed language is also aimed at limiting travel to the United States by members of the People’s Liberation Army and executives at state-owned enterprises, though many of them are likely to also be party members. Details of the plan, described by four people with knowledge of the discussions, have not yet been finalized, and President Trump might ultimately reject it. While the president and his campaign strategists have been intent on portraying him as tough on China for re-election purposes, Mr. Trump has vacillated wildly in both his language and actions on the Chinese government since taking office in 2017. He has criticized China on some issues, particularly trade. But he has also lavished praise on President Xi Jinping, pleaded with Mr. Xi to help him win re-election and remained silent or even explicitly approved of the repression in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The presidential order would cite the same statute in the Immigration and Nationality Act used in a 2017 travel ban on a number of predominantly Muslim countries that gives the president power to temporarily block travel to the U.S. by foreign nationals who are deemed “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” The 2017 ban was fought in the courts and expanded this year. read the complete article

16 Jul 2020

How can we get home? Americans left stranded in Yemen amid war and pandemic

The Trump administration has come under heavy criticism from Yemeni-Americans after many said they were abandoned in the war-ravaged country by Washington during the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of Yemeni-Americans have found themselves trapped in the country since 18 March, when the internationally recognised government shut its airspace to commercial flights because of the virus. The US State Department launched repatriation flights to several countries, including Argentina, Peru and Saudi Arabia, earlier this year. So far, it has coordinated the repatriation of 101,386 Americans from 136 countries and territories - but Yemen was not included in the charter scheme. "These are our people, American citizens," Mohamed Atia, the secretary of the Yemeni American Association, told MEE. "If there were US citizens stranded in Germany or France, the American government would have sent an airplane to get them back. "What's the difference between those Americans in Yemen, and those in any other country?" read the complete article

16 Jul 2020

The Similarities In Far-Right Islamophobia And Anti-Semitism

This article seeks to highlight the fact that, far from being two separate, distinct and independent phenomena, contemporary Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are closely analogous and linked products of a single, artful far-right narrative. However, whereas the more recent far-left narrative closely mirrors that of the far-right in its anti-Semitism, it differs markedly on Islamophobia. The EU mass migration crisis and terror attacks by Islamic extremists have added to populist paranoia and assisted the far-right’s anti-Muslim propaganda and its claim to be patriotically justified. For example, Lukinykh examines the far-right characteristic of biasing its anti-Muslim language to convey hidden messages, including the fusion of evocative imagery and false assertions; generalization of ‘them’ as a hegemonic and demonic Islamic monolith; an ill-defined ‘patriotism’ based on a blood-and-earth claim; dogmatic falsehoods and characterizations aimed at provoking Islamophobia and hatred of Muslims; protection of Christianity and the West from an alleged Islamic threat. However, the far-right’s anti-Islamic narrative is strikingly similar to its traditional anti-Semitic stance. For example, most of Lukinykh’s observations above apply readily to longstanding far-right anti-Semitism simply by replacing the words ‘Muslims’, ‘Islamic’ and ‘Islamophobia’ by respectively ‘Jews’, ‘Jewish’ and ‘anti-Semitism’. The analogy of patriotic far-right ‘antigens’ fighting both Muslim and Jewish ‘pathogens’ is echoed by Allchorn’s observation about the similarity of anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic forms of cultural and biological racism. Far-right disparaging stereotyping of Jews and Muslims has gone further by promulgation of anti-Semitic theories that allege a high-level conspiracy between prominent Jews and Muslims to harm the native populations of Europe. For example, the leading US far-right activist David Duke has asserted that Jews are prominent among global elites orchestrating the mass immigration of Muslims into Europe, with the aim of destroying Europe’s white Christian culture and its various national economies. In this regard, the international investor and philanthropist George Soros, (who is Jewish), has become the far-right’s whipping boy by being characterized as the instigator of a combined and terrifying Jewish-Islamic threat. read the complete article

United States

16 Jul 2020

Southern Poverty Law Center adds Stephen Miller to its extremist list

The organization wrote in its entry for Miller that the aide “is credited with shaping the racist and draconian immigration policies of President Trump.” It credits Miller with orchestrating the Trump administration’s hardline immigration positions, such as the zero-tolerance policy that has led to family separations at the southern border, the so-called Muslim Ban, the decision to halt green card issuance during the coronavirus pandemic. It also blamed Miller for speeches made by Trump that were interpreted as dogwhistles for racists. “Through the conscious use of fearmongering and xenophobia, Miller implements policies which demonize immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, in an apparent effort to halt all forms of immigration to the United States,” the SPLC argued. read the complete article

16 Jul 2020

SPLC Action Fund Statement on Sebastian Gorka's Nomination to the National Security Education Board

SPLC Action Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Margaret Huang issued the statement below after the White House announced the appointment of Sebastian Gorka — a right-wing media figure who injects Islamophobia into national security issues — to the National Security Education Board, which provides oversight to the National Security Education Program (NSEP). “By placing Sebastian Gorka in a position that influences national security interests, President Trump has abandoned all public pretense and decided to openly embrace extremist views. “Someone like Gorka has absolutely no place in the federal government, even less as a member of the NSEB. His ties to anti-Muslim extremists have been well documented. He spoke to the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend in 2016, a hate group that gives anti-Muslim voices a platform to project hate and misinformation, and is a regular guest on anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney’s radio program. “The NSEP is supposed to help provide a broad pool of civil servants who understand different cultures and speak critically needed languages to work for the United States government. By placing someone like Gorka on the board that oversees this critical program, President Trump is sanctioning discrimination and exclusion of individuals who hold these skills that are gravely needed.” read the complete article

16 Jul 2020

Ilhan Omar: When I spoke out about systematic oppression, the Republican response was vicious

It was something I’ve become accustomed to as a black Muslim woman in public life. Donald Trump explicitly called all Somali immigrants a “disaster” for Minnesota at a 2016 campaign rally in my state. As soon as I was elected, the Republican Party announced it would make racial division an explicit strategy. It has followed through on that promise. Early in my term, the president tweeted another deceptively edited video of me, implying that I celebrated the 9/11 attacks (itself an Islamophobic dog whistle). As recently as last week, the Trump campaign produced a video calling former vice president Joe Biden a “Trojan horse” for me and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Such continued distortions are a sign of the president’s weakness among voters. We know his team wouldn’t be relying so heavily on racist distortions if it were confident in its policies’ popularity. As the unrest sweeping the country illustrates, we cannot simply bottle up our pain. We cannot ignore the double standards women and people of color face as elected officials, and the way our media institutions act as an accelerant. We have a responsibility to speak our truths, to call out double standards where we see them, so that others can see our pain. We need to jettison the zero-sum idea that one person’s gain is another’s loss. I want your gain to be my gain; your loss to be mine, too. When a refugee is able to flee oppression and come to America — that benefits all of us. And when we lose a member of our community to the virus or to health-care costs that are out of reach, we all fail. read the complete article


16 Jul 2020

Delhi Police Affidavit Shows Muslims Bore Brunt of Riots, Silent on Who Targeted Them and Why

A Delhi Police affidavit giving the most detailed government account yet of the communal violence which shook the capital’s north-east district in February this year has provided for the first time an official break-up by religion of the victims. And though the Sangh parivar rumour-mill has consistently described the riots as ‘anti-Hindu’, the data makes it clear that Muslims bore the brunt of what was essentially targeted, organised violence. The list of the dead provided in an annexure to the affidavit submitted to the Delhi high court on July 13 establishes that 77% of the civilians killed – 40 out of 52 – were Muslim while the remaining 23%, or 12, were Hindu. A separate annexure provides a Hindu-Muslim break-up of houses and shops destroyed. Here, even though its tabulation establishes that Muslims suffered greater losses, the Delhi Police appear to have deliberately undercounted the extent to which they were targeted. For houses damaged, the police give the total number as 185, comprising 14 Hindu houses, 50 Muslim ones and zero ‘unknown’. This suggests that just 27% of the homes damaged or destroyed belonged to Muslims. But when the area-wise breakup is correctly added, the Muslim total rises from 50 to 90, i.e 48.6%. But even this is a gross undercount as the police has withheld the breakup for Khajuri Khas – where the single largest number of houses were destroyed (54) – and Karawal Nagar (23). Both are Hindu majority areas with Muslim pockets within them and it was the residents of those pockets who bore the brunt of the mobs. Assuming many if not most of the 41.6% houses belonging to the ‘unknown’ category are in fact Muslim houses, then it could be that 85-90% of the brunt was borne by Muslims. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

16 Jul 2020

On Hejaaz Hizbullah: The latest victim of Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act

As much of the island was celebrating the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, senior lawyer and minority and civic rights activist Hejaaz Hizbullah got an unusual call from the Ministry of Health. They said they were worried he may have contracted COVID-19 and advised him to remain at home. Hejaaz had been in touch with the authorities about the pandemic. A day earlier he and others had written to the Sri Lankan president about his government’s decision to ban Muslims from burying their dead, forcing them to cremate their remains instead – a violation of their right to freedom of religion, as protected by Sri Lanka’s constitution and its international obligations. The World Health Organization’s guidelines for the safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19 allows for either burial or cremation. The health officials never visited, but he did get a knock on the door from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police. They handcuffed him and placed him under arrest, without explaining why. When Hejaaz’s relatives asked if the police had an arrest warrant, they were warned not to ask any questions. The CID officials then rummaged through his office, casting through his legal files and seizing his phone and laptop. They asked him to dial numbers on his phone and asked if he recognised them. Before leaving with Hejaaz, they took two files from his drawers – both relating to District Court cases on properties owned by Yusuf Mohamed Ibrahim, a client. Hejaaz’s family believes he is being targeted for his professional work as a lawyer and his peaceful activism for the human rights of Sri Lanka’s embattled Muslim minority. Hejaaz is currently serving a detention order for 90 days authorized by the Sri Lankan President, even though a detention order can only be made by the Minister of Defence and Sri Lanka has no cabinet Minister for Defence. Under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), one of the main tools used to perpetrate human rights violations in Sri Lanka, any “suspect” can be placed in detention – without charge and without being produced before a judge. The detention order can be renewed for a further 90 days and continue to be renewed for up to 18 months. read the complete article

16 Jul 2020

UK must lobby Sri Lanka to end forced cremation of Muslims

In a sign of callous disrespect, the Sri Lankan government has been forcibly cremating Muslims who have died as a result of Covid-19, leaving family members of the country's minority Muslim community unable to fulfil their religious rights when burying their dead. Earlier this month, UK Member of Parliament Naz Shah wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the British government to take emergency steps to prevent such human rights abuses against Sri Lanka's Muslim minority. Shah highlighted the UK's duty to address the issue, given Sri Lanka is a UK partner and member of the commonwealth. As a British Sri Lankan Muslim myself, with family in Sri Lanka, I welcome British MP Naz Shah's call on the UK government urging them to protect the country's Muslim minority - a community that has endured intensifying Islamophobia in recent months, and especially since the pandemic outbreak. The UK must now leverage its influence as a Commonwealth ally, to pressure Sri Lanka into ending these forced cremations. read the complete article


16 Jul 2020

New French PM says battle against 'radical Islamism' a priority

France's newly-appointed Prime Minister, Jean Castex, has vowed to be "intransigent" in defending France's official secularism, promising to fight "radical Islamism in all its forms" as "an absolute priority". Unveiling new government policy in Paris on Wednesday, Castex told the National Assembly that the French republic was being "shaken to its foundations" by "the coalition of its enemies - terrorists, conspiracy theorists, separatists and communitarians". Castex, a centre-right provincial mayor who graduated from the elite National School of Administration, said a new law to combat "separatism" would be introduced after the summer break. It would aim to "avoid certain groups becoming closed in around ethnic or religious identities," he said. Yasser Louati, head of France's Justice and Liberties For All Committee, told Al Jazeera that Castex's use of the term "separatism" is "heavily charged and specifically targets Muslims whose recent mobilisations against racism and Islamophobia irritate the dominant, conservative segment of French society". "The recent use of the term 'separatism' by Emmanuel Macron marks a new escalation in state-sponsored Islamophobia in that it perpetuates the fantasy of an enemy within, the same way France did with Jews in the past," Louati said. "There are no calls for secession, at least not by Muslims. But if the government interprets calls for equality as calls for separatism, then that further exposes the hypocrisy of French institutions that wrap themselves in the banner of human rights and a colour-blind republic, while calling [for] a more violent repression against minorities." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 16 Jul 2020 Edition


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