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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24 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: The Twitter account of Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders among those hacked. Analysis by Param-Preet Singh explores how Myanmar is responding to the ICJ’s ongoing litigation of the Rohingya genocide. Our recommended read today is by Ali Harb titled ‘Dismantle’ racism: Muslim-American Democrats issue platform proposals.” This, and more, below:

United States

24 Jul 2020

'Dismantle' racism: Muslim-American Democrats issue platform proposals | Recommended Read

This year, dozens of Muslim-American Democratic delegates drafted their own platform of recommendations to the party, calling for addressing systemic racism and ending programmes that treat Muslims as a threat to national security. The Muslim-American coalition's platform covers a comprehensive range of domestic and foreign policy issues, making bold recommendations, including ending drone strikes and freezing arms sales to "countries in turmoil". The delegates also urge ending profiling and spying on Muslim Americans, including through "counterextremism" programmes that focus on the community, like Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP). "Democrats will reject any and all institutional and systemic racism in our society," the document reads. It calls for repealing the Patriot Act, which gave the government sweeping powers after the 9/11 attack; ending the No Fly list, which bars citizens deemed as threats from boarding planes without due process; and abolishing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency responsible for deporting immigrants. "As Democrats, we oppose the FBI’s mapping of minority communities and the use of informants to prey on minors and those suffering from mental illness or other cognitive disabilities to lure them to engage in crimes that they would not commit otherwise to advance political objectives," the document reads. "These programs use profiling and surveillance as a means of securing prosecution against Black and Brown communities. They expose already overpoliced communities to additional law enforcement contact." Nadia Ahmad, a law professor who co-authored the platform and helped identify and contact Muslim delegates across the country, said the document aims to convey an "authentic" vision for the policy goals that Muslim Americans are seeking. read the complete article

Recommended Read
24 Jul 2020

A new film goes inside the war on civil rights, and this time ACLU lawyers are the stars

That night in Brooklyn, Elyse Steinberg, headed down to the courthouse and joined the crowd protesting newly inaugurated President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.” She watched as ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt emerged onto Cadman Plaza to announce a federal judge had granted those stranded in airports an emergency stay. And the next morning, Steinberg, co-director of the 2016 documentary “Weiner,” headed into the office and straight to the white board. “She essentially kicked down the door and wiped [the board] clean and wrote ‘The Fight’ in huge letters and said, ‘we’ve got to get inside the ACLU,’ ” says Eli Depres, a filmmaker who works with Steinberg. In California, actress Kerry Washington (“Scandal,” “Confirmation”) had the same thought. The “Muslim ban” wasn’t all that caught her attention; so did the promises Trump had made over the campaign. She called her agents. “Who is on the ground with these lawyers?” Washington remembers asking. “Who is going to be in the trenches? And when we found out that we were both interested, we thought, let’s just get to work.” The resulting documentary, “The Fight,” won a special jury award at Sundance earlier this year and will be released July 31 on streaming services. The film follows four teams of ACLU attorneys as they battle the Trump administration’s attempts to change laws on gender equality, immigration, abortion rights and the census. The timing of the film’s release, just three months before the general election, is no coincidence. read the complete article

24 Jul 2020

Stephen Miller’s Grandmother Died of COVID-19. Her Son Blames the Trump Administration.

This month, Stephen Miller, the extremist anti-immigrant Trump adviser who has promoted white nationalist ideas, lost a relative to the coronavirus pandemic, and his uncle tells Mother Jones that the Trump administration is partly to blame for this death. David Glosser is a retired neuropsychologist and passionate Trump critic who has publicly decried Miller for his anti-immigrant policies, and he contends that Trump’s initial “lack of a response” to the coronavirus crisis led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans who might have otherwise survived. In an interview, he says, “With the death of my mother, I’m angry and outraged at [Miller] directly and the administration he has devoted his energy to supporting.” Miller has played a role in the Trump White House’s ineffectual response to the coronavirus crisis. He was credited with helping to write the Oval Office address Trump delivered on March 11 that was widely panned. In that speech, Trump branded the coronavirus as the “foreign virus” and downplayed the damage already caused by it. He hailed his administration’s actions regarding the growing pandemic, ignoring his recent and repeated efforts to dismiss the threat posed by the virus. Trump announced in this speech that he would suspend all travel from Europe to the United States—a statement that caused panic, as Americans overseas rushed back to the United States and ended up in crammed and unsafe conditions at US airports. (The ban only applied to foreign citizens.) In the months since, Miller has attempted to exploit the pandemic to implement anti-immigration measures. read the complete article

24 Jul 2020

As an American Jew, I Will Not Stand for the Scapegoating of Ilhan Omar | Opinion

Republicans would love to see Omar lose her seat. Her effectiveness is not only a direct rebuke to those who reject progressive policies, but also a strong visual of a Black Muslim American woman in power. Yet now, Trump and Republicans, in a panic about losing the November elections, are ramping up their attacks against Omar to mobilize their base. Her Blackness, her Muslim faith and her having been a refugee fit neatly into the president's longtime re-election strategy of division and fear. "Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," he tweeted in 2019, speaking of Omar and her fellow progressive Democratic congresswomen of color. Omar is not, as her critics argue, the "divisive" one. Instead, she is the one being attacked for having the guts, like Lewis, to speak truth to power. Back in the 1960s, Lewis, too, was attacked for being "divisive"—a behavior that we now look back on with honor and respect. So the choice is clear: One can either stand with Omar against these attacks or be an accomplice to them. As an American Jew, I have seen this playbook before. I will not accept the scapegoating of Omar. Scapegoating never ends well. read the complete article

24 Jul 2020

House votes to repeal Trump's 'anti-Muslim' travel ban

The House on Wednesday voted to repeal the Trump administration's travel ban and further restrict the president's power to limit entry to the US, a symbolic victory for Muslim American and civil rights groups. The bill, which passed the Democrat-controlled House 233-183, had initially been slated for action in March, before the coronavirus forced scheduling changes on Capitol Hill. The measure is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it has no GOP support. But the bill's passage by the House still elated advocates who had long pushed for formal action against a travel ban that they see as discriminatory. "This is a historic moment for Muslims," Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, one of the groups working in support of the bill, said ahead of the vote. Passage of the the No Ban Act will "show Muslims, who have been banned and scapegoated by the Trump administration, that we deserve rights and dignity", Khera added. read the complete article

24 Jul 2020

The House votes to remove the ‘moral stain’ of Trump’s immigration policies

On Wednesday the House passed the No Ban Act, legislation introduced last year by Sen Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.). The act aims to repeal Trump’s ban on arrivals from majority-Muslim countries and prevent future presidents from issuing discriminatory bans on foreign nationals or followers of specific religions. “Throughout the history of the U.S., we’ve had a series of tragic nativist chapters in our history,” Coons told me this week. “Did I think we’d be facing another one? No. But when Donald Trump announced his candidacy, I remember thinking I am so glad I live in a country where a man like this couldn’t be president. I was wrong, and we’ve seen how damaging that has been.” The first iteration of what became known as the Muslim ban halted entry into the United States of citizens from seven countries, five of which are majority-Muslim. Since then we’ve watched as immigration officials have separated kids from their parents in detention centers, with at least one of them dying in custody. The images of children in cages provoked an intense backlash and could end up costing Trump at the polls — to the extent that his policies have led his own voters, especially college-educated white Republican women, to question his xenophobic and racist policies. read the complete article


24 Jul 2020

Twitter account of Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Wilders among those hacked

Twitter says an elected Dutch anti-Islam party leader was among 36 account holders whose direct message inboxes were accessed in a recent high-profile hack. The politician, anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, said Thursday that he was informed by Twitter that his account was compromised by a hacker, who posted tweets on his account and sent false direct messages, or DMs, in his name. The hacker ”indeed also got full access to my DMs which of course is totally unacceptable in many ways," Wilders said. The social network revealed more details of the intrusion late Wednesday after completing a review of the 130 accounts that were targeted. read the complete article

United Kingdom

24 Jul 2020

London’s “Mega Mosque:” Islamophobia in the COVID-19 “New Normal”

During the lockdown, the US-based news service, Breitbart, ran a story about plans for a new “mega-mosque” in central London. Proposed for the historic Trocadero building near Piccadilly Circus in the heart of London’s entertainment and theater districts, Breitbart claimed that plans had been submitted to Westminster’s local authority to convert parts of the building into a mosque with a capacity to host around 1,000 worshippers. Having been widely shared on social media, the Breitbart story not only claimed that local residents were shocked by the size of the mega mosque, but so too was it alleged that some had voiced concerns about the increased risk of terrorism, that worshippers would try and enforce an alcohol ban in the surrounding area, and that there would be a conflict with those frequenting Soho, London’s gay quarter. While some of those lodging complaints about the mosque will no doubt have had legitimate claims, the Breitbart article clearly acted as a catalyst for the radical right in Britain to jump on the opposition bandwagon. By using the term “mega-mosque,’ Breitbart reverted a tried and tested trope that has been successfully deployed in other parts of the country by various radical-right groups to derail plans for other new mosques. While this affords an opportunity to consider how the radical right have focused on size when it comes to opposing mosques, so too does it give us a timely insight into how the radical right’s campaigns of Islamophobia might change in the “new normal” of a post-COVID-19 world. read the complete article

24 Jul 2020

Another Anti-Muslim Piece in Murdoch's Flagship Paper Ends in a Libel Settlement

The dogged loyalty of The Times newspaper to the anti-Muslim reporting of its chief reporter Andrew Norfolk is proving expensive. This week, for the second time in eight months, it has had to settle a libel case arising out of an article with Norfolk’s name on it. In the latest case, the broadsheet has apologised for, and is paying compensation for, wrongly linking a Muslim banker with support for female genital mutilation, as part of an article by Norfolk feebly attempting to associate a Qatari-backed British bank with Islamist extremism. The article, from August last year, followed a Norfolk model familiar to anyone who has read UNMASKED, the study of his journalistic methods that I published in June last year with Paddy French. A torrent of dubious innuendo about Al-Rayan bank was followed by the clipped admission – down in the 10th paragraph – that it ‘meets all regulatory and legal requirements’ and that clients the Times described as ‘controversial’ all operated lawfully. In other words, there was no story, just smears, among them that insinuation that Al Rayan’s former boss, Sultan Choudhury, endorsed female genital mutilation. Choudhury, claimed Norfolk, had been an unpaid director of the British arm of a global religious institute “whose speakers and instructors have included advocates of child marriage, female circumcision and the death penalty for adultery and apostasy”. This unjustifiably conflated two organisations, as the charity MEND has explained here. In brief – and as was made clear to him before publication – Norfolk was linking Choudhury with the Al Kauthar Institute, where his connection had been with the Al Kauthar Foundation, and he had no association whatever with any remarks supporting female genital mutilation. read the complete article

24 Jul 2020

About-face: politicians switch from vilifying burqas to mandating masks

There is evidence that supports the public health benefits of wearing face coverings in public. But the UK government and public have been slow to accept masks as a pillar of the country’s coronavirus strategy. This should perhaps come as no surprise after two decades of negative messaging about face coverings, largely targeting Muslim women. Since 9/11, Muslims in the west have endured constant scapegoating and vilification for their religious and lifestyle choices. This includes the wearing of the hijab, burqa, and niqab – different types of hair and face covering. These garments have been attacked by politicians, including the UK prime minister himself, often characterised as impeding communication, being non-British and representing an anti-western patriarchal culture. The fact that Boris Johnson is now calling for face coverings to be imposed is particularly ironic given his past comments on the subject. When he was foreign secretary in 2018, Johnson wrote in his column in the Telegraph newspaper that while he opposed a ban on Muslim face coverings, he nonetheless felt “entitled” to see the faces of his constituents, and likened women who wore the niqab to letterboxes and bank robbers. “Human beings must be able to see each other’s faces and read their expressions,” he wrote. “It’s how we work.” read the complete article


24 Jul 2020

What Myanmar Is and Is Not Doing to Protect Rohingyas from Genocide

Despite repeated resolutions from the U.N. Human Rights Council and General Assembly condemning these atrocities, Myanmar faced few consequences. That bleak reality changed in November 2019 when Gambia filed an application before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging that Myanmar’s atrocities against the Rohingya in Rakhine state violated various provisions of the Genocide Convention. Myanmar must now answer for its brutal treatment of the Rohingya before a credible international tribunal. The court has already signaled how serious it is about its scrutiny. In its January 2020 unanimous order on provisional measures, the ICJ found that Myanmar had not presented “concrete measures aimed specifically at recognizing and ensuring the right of the Rohingya to exist as a protected group under the Genocide Convention.” The court directed Myanmar not to commit and to prevent genocide, and to preserve any evidence of allegedly genocidal acts committed against the Rohingya. Myanmar, as a party to the Genocide Convention, is legally bound to comply with the court’s order, and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has acknowledged the court’s role as a “vital refuge of international justice” in settling this dispute. Prior to its first report to the ICJ on the implementation of the order, submitted in late May of this year, the Myanmar government issued presidential directives to ensure that officials do not commit genocide, to prohibit the destruction or removal of evidence of abuses, and to denounce and to prevent the proliferation of hate speech. The impact of these directives on the ground, however, has been nonexistent. In reality, the situation for civilians in Rakhine state has actually worsened over the past year, as the armed conflict between the Arakan Army, an ethnic Rakhine armed group, and Myanmar’s military has increased insecurity across the state and displaced as many as 160,000 civilians. Hundreds of ethnic Rakhine and dozens of Rohingya civilians have been killed in the fighting. Myanmar’s announcement of new military clearance operations raises concerns of further risks to civilians. Preventing genocide is also not just about preventing further violence. The Rohingya in Rakhine state are subject to “oppressive and systemic restrictions” on freedom of movement and access to food, health care, and humanitarian assistance, all of which may be indicative of the Myanmar government’s intent to destroy the group in whole or in part. And these conditions are only getting worse. read the complete article

New Zealand

24 Jul 2020

Exclusive: Christchurch gunman flew a drone over mosque weeks before March 15 shooting

Police have admitted the Christchurch mosque gunman could have been planning his attack weeks before March 15. An Official Information Act request by Newshub reveals the shooter flew a drone over the Deans Ave mosque on January 8 - 10 weeks before he would open fire and kill 51 people. He launched it out of Hagley Park, just across the road in an evil act of premeditation. The news has sickened young Kiwi Muslim leader Haris Murtaza. "They were being scoped out by the gunman, and he was doing his research," Murtaza told Newshub. Imam Gamal Fouda is convinced Tarrant even prayed at the mosque in the lead-up. "If you look at the way he behaved in here. He knew the place like his house," Fouda told Newshub. read the complete article


24 Jul 2020

Analysis- Austrian state’s ‘pioneering’ anti-Muslim institution

The integration minister of the Austrian government has set up a unique new center to document what it calls “political Islam”. But the attempt to “fight the dangerous ideology of political Islam”, as the minister claims, turns out to be the latest step in surveilling Muslims and pushing Muslim civil society organizations to the margin. The project was praised by all three presenters as a pioneering move in Europe. Integration Minister Susanne Raab, a longtime fellow of chancellor Sebastian Kurz from the governing Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), has presented the establishment of a documentation center together with two “experts” from the affiliated board, the German theologian Mouhanad Khorchide and the director of the Programme on Extremism at George Washington University, Lorenzo Vidino. Khorchide, who is a widely celebrated “moderate” Muslim, has been known for unequivocally supporting the closure of mosques by Austria’s previous far-right government, which was later ruled to be illegal by the court of administration. And Vidino has been frequently used by the Kurz-led government to support their claims against “political Islam”, although –or rather, because– he has a dubious history with anti-Muslim networks. read the complete article


24 Jul 2020

Who are the Uighur people and why do they face oppression by China?

The Uighur are an ethnic minority group of Muslims living in China’s north-west region of Xinjiang. There are an estimated 11 million Uighurs in the region – almost half of its total population. There is credible evidence that up to one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being held in “re-education” detention centres in Xinjiang, according to a report by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Beijing has denied any mistreatment – claiming that these camps are “vocational training centres” which help stamp out extremism by Islamist separatists, as well as giving people new skills. There is evidence Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population. A report released in June by China scholar Adrian Zenz claimed the Chinese authorities were forcing Uighur women to be sterilised or fitted with contraceptive devices across Xinjiang. A recent Associated Press investigation discovered women in the province have faced fines and threats of detention for breaching limits on having babies. It also found the authorities force intrauterine devices (IUDs), sterilisation and even abortion on Uighur women. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 24 Jul 2020 Edition


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