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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22 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Chinese companies sanctioned by the U.S deny allegations of links to human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The United States House of Representatives prepares to vote on legislation reversing President Donald Trump’s Muslim and African Bans. Our recommended read today is by Omar Suleiman titled “America’s Problem with Policing Doesn’t Stop at the U.S Border.” This, and more, below:


22 Jul 2020

America’s Problem With Policing Doesn’t Stop at the U.S. Border | Recommended Read

Now that Floyd’s murder has forced a national conversation about policing within our country’s borders, it’s time the American public begins to reckon with the victims of our foreign policy abroad. Since waging the war on Iraq, how many Americans can name a single one of the approximately 200,000 civilian casualties of that war? Even when exposed to the gross images of torture at Abu Ghraib at the hands of members of the U.S. military, the victims’ faces remained blurred and their names unknown. What if we knew the names, faces, and stories of the victims of Eddie Gallagher, the war criminal pardoned by President Donald Trump who, according to his colleagues, would be OK with “killing anybody that was moving” during his time in Iraq? Or the 30 pine nut farm workers in Afghanistan caught off guard by a U.S. drone in 2019? When the U.S. military chooses to publicize its actions abroad, the videos we get of drone strikes usually include little more than a sudden green haze demonstrating the might of American weaponry. We don’t hear the last cries of the unsuspecting victims. We don’t see them hold each other tight, hoping they’ll somehow be missed. We see our machinery, but never their humanity. They don’t even become hashtags: just hidden casualties. For years, researchers have logged the details of America’s opaque drone war, a fulcrum of the war on terror that is a signature part of President Barack Obama’s legacy, now continued by Trump. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that up to 17,000 people have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia, while Airwars has tracked reports of nearly 3,000 civilians being killed by the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Intercept in 2015 published a secret cache of U.S. government documents detailing the inner workings of the drone program, and a New York Times investigation in 2017 found that civilians were killed at a rate 31 times higher than that acknowledged by the anti-ISIS coalition. read the complete article

Recommended Read
22 Jul 2020

Banned Chinese Companies Deny Allegations They Abused Uighurs

Several Chinese firms and the major international brands they supply pushed back against the Trump administration’s decision to add 11 Chinese companies to a government blacklist for aiding human rights violations, saying they had found no evidence of forced labor or other abuses in their supply chains. On Monday, the Trump administration added the Chinese companies to the so-called entity list, which bars them from buying American technology and products without a special license. Nine companies were added to the list for their use of forced labor, while another two were included for conducting genetic analyses that were used to further the repression of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region, the Commerce Department said. The list of companies sanctioned on Monday included current and former suppliers to major international brands such as Apple, Ralph Lauren, Google, HP, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and Muji, according to a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank established by the Australian government. The group cited the websites of the sanctioned Chinese companies, which mentioned their financial relationships with major American brands. read the complete article

United States

22 Jul 2020

Beware the Anti-Defamation League’s Efforts to Partner with Progressive Orgs

A new campaign called #StopHateForProfit was recently launched by a coalition of progressive groups to pressure large corporations to boycott Facebook until the company takes concrete steps to combat hate speech. Progressive organizations like Color of Change, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Free Press, Sleeping Giants and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) have co-sponsored the effort and are using their social media to solicit other corporations to join the effort. They are understandably eager for something to be done. From anti-Black racism, anti-Semitic bile involving George Soros taking over the world, and anti-immigrant hate, to President Trump’s overt use of white nationalist propaganda on social media, anyone who’s spent time on Facebook can tell you it’s a cesspool of disgusting, racist paranoia. Which is what makes the inclusion of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the coalition so troubling. Despite its public portrayal of itself, the ADL isn’t a civil rights group in any meaningful sense, but rather, a veiled pro-Israel lobbying organization that uses superficial language of inclusiveness and anti-racism to defend Israel from criticism from the left. The ADL already assists large social media platforms in determining what is and isn’t hate speech, and by teaming up with the #StopHateForProfit effort, the group will likely have even more say in determining what content is worthy of publication. The problem is that the ADL has made it clear on a number of occasions that it considers the entire basis of the peaceful Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement—embraced by virtually all of Palestinian civil society—to be hate speech, specifically any claim that denies Israel’s “existence as a Jewish state” (e.g. its claim to ethnonational supremacy over non-Jews living in Palestine). The ADL smearing Black activists who oppose Israel isn’t new. In the 1960s, the ADL harshly criticized the Black-led Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers for their criticisms of Israel, equating these “negro extremists” with the KKK and American Nazi Party. The ADL also worked with the Israeli government in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s to spy on Arab groups, as well as leftwing anti-South African apartheid activists. As Pulitzer Prize-winning author Glenn Frankel noted in Foreign Policy magazine in 2010, “The Anti-Defamation League participated in a blatant propaganda campaign against Nelson Mandela and the ANC in the mid 1980s and employed an alleged ‘fact-finder’ named Roy Bullock to spy on the anti-apartheid campaign in the United States—a service he was simultaneously performing for the South African government. The ADL defended the white regime’s purported constitutional reforms while denouncing the ANC as ‘totalitarian anti-humane, anti-democratic, anti-Israel, and anti-American.’” read the complete article

22 Jul 2020

US House poised to vote on reversing Trump's 'Muslim ban'

The United States House of Representatives is set to vote on Wednesday on legislation reversing President Donald Trump's controversial order banning entry to immigrants from mostly Muslim-majority countries. The bill, called the NO BAN Act, has broad support among Democratic legislators and is likely to pass the Democrat-controlled House despite opposition from Republicans and the White House. "There are today millions of Americans who, because of the Muslim ban, are separated from families and loved ones: parents who can't be reunited, families who can't be reunited, grandparents who are missing out on life events," said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a group supporting the bill. The bill expands anti-discrimination provisions in US immigration law and would limit the ability of US presidents in the future to bar entry based on religion. read the complete article

22 Jul 2020

Nadirah Pierre's Instagram Comedy Hails Representation for Black Muslim Women

“Since the 7th grade, people have always been laughing at the things I’ve had to say and even if I was serious, somehow they’d still be laughing,” Nadirah tells Teen Vogue. “So, for me, once I began doing these videos on Instagram, I had to accept that I may actually be funny.” Nadirah’s niche of miniature comedic sets on social media touches on polygamy, racism, mental health, body positivism, and more — opening up her humor to a wider audience, both Muslim and not. Now at 23 years old with over 80,0000 Instagram followers and multiple stand-up shows under her belt, Nadirah is taking her funny very seriously. Her work amplifies her own saying, “Nobody else wants to talk about it, so I have to talk about it.” Growing up, comediennes like Monique and Luenell gave Nadirah a glimpse into owning who she was, unapologetically. Describing herself as growing up “hefty”, Nadirah found that although these women were big, bold, and proud, the missing link of identity that Nadirah could’ve gravitated toward much earlier in life was the existence of Black Muslim women in entertainment — namely those who wore a hijab (headscarf). Stepping into her light as a comedienne, one thing Nadirah will never find funny is her battle for respect. At the intersection of her identity (a Black Muslim woman), she has often been met with microaggressions, unequal pay, misogynoir, and the systemic racism that continues to stifle Black voices. And now, in an era where people are publically critical, having to dismiss trolls who are often policing what Nadirah says and how she says it. “For Muslim men, they’re given the license to do and say pretty much whatever they want but the expectation for Muslim women is that we have to be soft, quiet, and behind-the-scenes,” she says. “An organizer for an event once asked me to perform behind a literal curtain and I could say that I was appalled, but the expectation is that Muslim women don’t deserve a rightful space anywhere that isn’t in the house. And to be Black and Muslim makes you damn-near obsolete altogether.” read the complete article

22 Jul 2020

Peter Thiel is Spending $850,000 to Bring 'Muslim Registry' Architect to the Senate

An upcoming primary in Kansas has been upended by billionaire Peter Thiel, who is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into a PAC supporting the hard-line anti-immigration candidate. While traditional Republican Party organizations have backed Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) for the open Senate seat, Thiel has put his resources into a PAC backing Kris Kobach, a figure in the extreme anti-immigration wing of the Republican party, who has been linked to Trump’s Muslim ban and is currently involved in a private crowdfunded effort to build a wall along the southern border. Much of Thiel’s support for Kobach has come through the Free Forever Political Action Committee, an independent group funded almost entirely by Thiel. Thiel has donated a staggering $850,000 to the group, with the PAC only reporting $30,000 in donations that did not come from the secretive billionaire. Thiel’s most recent donation was $500,000, made in a single lump sum on June 25th. Thiel also personally donated the maximum $5,600 contribution to Kobach’s campaign in September of last year, part of a wave of early donors that included conservative luminaries like Steve Bannon, Rebekah Mercer, and Blackwater founder Erik Prince. read the complete article

22 Jul 2020

Trump once flirted with white nationalism. Now it’s a centerpiece of his White House.

President Donald Trump has a symbiotic relationship with white nationalists. It’s been a constant in nearly every element of his presidency: The white nationalist violence in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was followed by a pronouncement that there were “some very fine people on both sides.” The election of Congress’s most diverse class in 2018 ever was met with tweets demonizing women progressives of color, telling them to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.” Even Covid-19, a disease spun out of the animal kingdom, has been cast as a foreign foe that was at best the fault of — and, at worst, created by — nonwhite people, with the president insisting on using racist language around it. And Trump arguably launched his political career by appearing on shows like Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor in 2011 to speculate that “maybe” President Barack Obama’s birth certificate “says he is a Muslim.” As president, Trump energizes white nationalists on two levels: with his rhetoric and through his staffing and policy choices. In turn, many have given him their support. In doing so, Trump has given an overt platform to white nationalists in a way that is unprecedented in the modern political era. read the complete article

22 Jul 2020

I’m a Jewish Republican. Ilhan Omar is a dear friend.

I know this may sound surprising to people who have only heard the version of Ilhan portrayed in the media. But I have known Ilhan for almost a decade, and I can attest to her strength of character, her love for our country and her acceptance of all people regardless of their faith. Like any human being, Ilhan is not perfect. And there is a lot of fair criticism of her. But, as her friend, it’s been difficult to see Ilhan called names rooted in xenophobia and Islamophobia. I was pained by the latest attack against her — this time in a Tucker Carlson segment the Lincoln Project accurately pointed out as racist. The most painful accusation though is that Rep. Omar is anti-Semitic. I know Ilhan feels deeply that all forms of hate are connected. She has said repeatedly that she cannot speak out against Islamophobia if she is not also speaking out against the dangerous rise of anti-Semitism. In fact, the first op-ed she wrote after being elected was on the dangerous rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S. “Like members of the Jewish community, I know how it feels to be hated because of my religious beliefs,” she wrote. “Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same bigoted coin.” read the complete article


22 Jul 2020

Communalism and COVID-19 Have Changed the Classroom for Indian Muslim Children

The UNESCO document briefly mentions the need for particular attention to the most vulnerable populations, including among them “refugees, migrants, minorities, those living in poverty and in remote geographical areas or urban slums, children with disabilities, those who lack nutrition and protection, those exposed to child labour, violence and other adverse conditions.” Added to this list is the ‘vulnerability of females’ which the document says needs to be acknowledged. However, the concern remains largely limited to a learning gap brought about because of barriers to accessing education, confinement, lack of supplementary teaching and impact on nutrition and health because of school closure, for many who depend on schools for it. However, there is very little attention towards how schools should prepare themselves to handle other forms of vulnerabilities the pandemic has thrown up, in the forefront of which is prejudice, discrimination and the ‘othering’ of the marginalised. We use in this article, the case of Indian Muslims, but these insights could very well translate to other communities facing deprivation based on their social identity. Over the last year, a lot has changed for Muslims in India. read the complete article

22 Jul 2020

Muslims of India Are Done With Hate And Fear: What Shaheen Bagh Showed Me

Cut to 2019, when a right-wing government was voted back to power with a huge mandate, despite its openly communal agenda. For the first time, I looked up the Internet for information to emigrate to some place in Southeast Asia. Many friends have been leaving, not wanting their kids to grow up in an India that we had never imagined would become a reality. I still haven’t had the spine to fill up the forms, though. In a conversation with my sister-in-law, I told her I would shift out of India with a very, very heavy heart if at all I was compelled to do so to save my life. One of my closest friends still urges me to be pragmatic and leave before it is too late—‘Jaan hai toh jahaan hai,’ he tells me. ‘What use is anything when you’re dead?’ Both my sister-in-law and my friend are ‘Hindu’. I mention their religion because it is now the new normal. (Or maybe I mention their religion as a kind of insurance. Unlike a Patel or a Kapoor who emigrates and becomes a much-admired NRI, a Quraishi who even thinks of emigrating is a traitor. The fact that I have Hindu relatives and friends who care for me and want me to find a safe future outside India might keep the mob from my door.) As I write this, parts of northeast Delhi are burning in riots. Pro-CAA protestors accompanied by the police vs anti-CAA protestors. To put it simply, Hindus, aided by the police, vs Muslims. Houses, shops, schools, places of worship, anything belonging to Muslims is being burnt down. Muslims are being lynched. Hindus are being stabbed and shot, too, but it makes no sense to try and be ‘balanced’ here, because that would be dishonest. It would mean falling into the trap set up by the people who have engineered the riots. There is no doubt that a majority of those who have been killed and injured are Muslim, and almost every house and shop that has been looted and set on fire belonged to Muslims. Often, a shop owned by a Muslim has been burnt down while a shop right next to it that is owned by a Hindu has been left untouched. read the complete article


22 Jul 2020

German state bans burqas, niqabs in schools

Baden-Württemberg will now ban full-face coverings for all school children. State Premier Winfried Kretschmann said burqas and niqabs did not belong in a free society. A similar rule for teachers was already in place. State Premier and prominent Green politician Winfried Kretschmann conceded that cases of full-face veiling in schools were rare, but said that nonetheless, a legal ruling was necessary for the rare cases. Kretschmann said that full-face veiling did not belong in a free society. But he added that such a ban at the university level, where students are adults, was a more complex question. For now, the rule in Baden-Wurttemberg will only apply to primary and secondary education read the complete article


22 Jul 2020

Malaysia court to hear bid to overturn caning of Rohingya men

A Malaysian court will hear a bid to set aside caning sentences handed down to 27 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, lawyers said, a punishment that rights groups have decried as vicious and tantamount to torture. Muslim-majority Malaysia has long been a common destination for Rohingya seeking a better life after escaping a 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar and, more recently, refugee camps in Bangladesh. But Malaysia, which does not recognise refugee status, has recently turned away boats and detained hundreds of Rohingya, saying it can not take in more migrants because of the struggle its economy is facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In June, a court on Malaysia's Langkawi island sentenced 40 Rohingya refugees to seven months in jail for arriving in the country by boat without a valid permit, Collin Andrew, a lawyer representing the refugees, told Reuters news agency on Tuesday. Twenty-seven men among them were also sentenced to caning, a penalty that Andrew will be seeking to overturn in court on Wednesday. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Jul 2020 Edition


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