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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
30 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Activists push for investigation over claims that China is forcibly harvesting organs of its Uighur population. Trump nominee for Pentagon faces Senate grilling after Islamophobia claims. Our recommended read today is by Sheren Khalel on QAnon, and how the group is amplifying Islamophobia in the name of coronavirus opposition. This, and more, below:

United States

30 Jul 2020

Masks to Sharia: QAnon is spreading anti-Muslim ideology via coronavirus opposition |Recommended Read

A secret plan orchestrated by Muslims to bring Sharia law to the United States by way of coronavirus restrictions is the latest theory backed by the increasingly popular QAnon conspiracy. The movement, believers in a collection of far-right conspiracy theories, is based on the idea that a network of "deep state" actors is working behind the scenes to control the world. In 2019, an FBI field office in Pheonix, Arizona, was so concerned, it deemed the group a domestic terrorism threat. Despite its wildly xenophobic rhetoric and threat designation, the group has gained more traction in recent months, with at least 11 Republican congressional candidates expressing support. Coupling the group's hatred of coronavirus restrictions with its anti-Muslim rhetoric, one of QAnon's most recent memes depicts an imagined trajectory that takes place over the course of four years. The first panel in the image shows a woman wearing a surgical mask, the next a cloth mask, and so on, before ending with a woman wearing a full burka, a covering often worn by Muslim women in the Gulf. "That masks leads to a burqa and then goes to Sharia law image... is part of the constructed narrative that people in the conspiracy world are using via the coronavirus to extend and expand their pre-existing perspectives," said Richard Hanely, a journalism professor who has for several years taught a class on the spread of disinformation at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. "The coronavirus anti-mask movement is like a recruitment tool for this right now," he said. Twitter has worked to take down the image, but it continues to circulate, along with others that link mask-wearing to some imagined Muslim conspiracy. read the complete article

Recommended Read
30 Jul 2020

Trump nominee for Pentagon faces Senate grilling after Islamophobia claims

U.S. President Donald Trump’s most divisive nominee for a senior Pentagon post to date is expected to face a contentious Senate nomination hearing on Thursday, with Democratic lawmakers likely to grill him over remarks they deem Islamophobic. Anthony Tata, a retired Army brigadier general and ardent defender of Trump on Fox News, would hold the most senior policy position in the Pentagon if confirmed. Tata has falsely portrayed former President Barack Obama as a Muslim and accused him of being a “terrorist leader” working to benefit Iran, according to now-deleted Twitter posts seen by Reuters. The White House said it stands by Tata’s nomination to fill the position of undersecretary of defense for policy. Democratric Senator Elizabeth Warren called Tata “by far Trump’s most unqualified & ill-suited senior defense nominee – a high bar.” She said in a statement that “an Islamophobic conspiracy theorist who called President Obama a ‘terrorist leader’ should not be #3 at the Pentagon.” read the complete article

30 Jul 2020

A Muslim woman told anyone who would listen about her run-in with white supremacists in Minnesota. One of them? Allegedly ‘Umbrella Man.’

When Sophia Rashid ran into harassment from a white supremacist biker gang in Stillwater last month, she felt the danger immediately. But it wasn’t until she got back home and scraped the internet for more information about the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood that she realized the group isn’t just dangerous; it’s organized. Sophia, a 25-year-old Muslim who wears a hijab and a niqab covering her face, voiced her fears at the time to local police and mainstream media—without much effect. Now, Sophia tells Sahan Journal her concerns have been widely recognized and legitimized. That’s because one of her alleged harassers appears to have triggered fires and looting one month before she encountered him. A search warrant affidavit now identifies one of the gang as “Umbrella Man”: a white-supremacist ex-con allegedly responsible for property destruction in the George Floyd unrest. “The minimization of what happened to me by the police, by the news, by my fellow citizens,” Sophia started, before taking a long pause and switching her attention to the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood. “Look what these guys did. Why didn’t you listen to me? Why aren’t you listening to people like me?” read the complete article

30 Jul 2020

If he gets a presidential Day 1, Joe Biden has a nearly endless list of ways to spend it

As former vice president Joe Biden hones his list of what to tackle on his first day were he to win the White House, he has pledged a portfolio of actions that would impact a wide and diverse array of American life. Presidential candidates have long made “Day 1” pledges that don’t actually occur during the first 24 hours — and often instead guide their first 100 days. But Biden is stretching even the usual limits, with his growing list of far-reaching and wide-ranging commitments. His advisers acknowledge that he will likely be unable to cram it all in, especially with his attention fixed on the novel coronavirus, but they have been keeping a running tally and reviewing his speeches to determine how to prioritize the Day 1 agenda. Biden’s nearly never-ending litany of first-day promises has been blurted out on social media, in interviews and during speeches. “On my first day as President, I will rejoin the @WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage,” he tweeted on July 7. “Day 1, if I win, I’m going to be on the phone with our NATO allies saying we’re back,” he told KPNX in Phoenix on July 14. “We’re back and you can count on us again.” “I will end the Muslim ban on Day 1,” Biden said last week at a virtual event hosted by Emgage Action, a Muslim advocacy organization. “Day 1. I’ll work with Congress to pass hate crime legislation.” It doesn’t stop there. An incomplete list: He’s pledged to send a bill to Congress repealing liability protections for gun manufacturers, and closing background check loopholes. He would send an immigration bill to Congress creating a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants and retaining rights for “dreamers” who were brought to the United States as children. He would move to eliminate tax cuts passed under Trump in 2017, affecting individuals as well as large corporations. He said “on Day 1” he would begin to address systemic racism, although he has not said specifically what he would do immediately. He would “on the first day” direct his secretary of housing and urban development to form a task force and, within 100 days, provide a road map for ending homelessness. read the complete article


30 Jul 2020

Feelings of aggravation

The demolition of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was a turning point in the history of independent India. On 6 December 1992, a mob of Hindu supremacists tore it down, claiming that it stood on the birthplace of Lord Rama, a Hindu God. According to them, the Mughal Empire destroyed a temple to build the mosque in the early 16th century, and they wanted to reverse things. Arfa Khanum Sherwani was affected by Islamophobic rioting that spread throughout India. She is from another part of Uttar Pradesh. What did you experience on 6 December 1992? I was 12 years old, and I was lucky to survive. I am from a Muslim family. Tensions had been building up for some time, and many of our Muslim neighbours had already fled. My father, however, believed in India’s secular constitution. He only realised after the riots had started that we had to flee. For a while, my baby brother and I were separated from our family. It was only after several hours that I could reach a community relief camp where we were safely reunited with our family. This frightful night overshadows my entire life. read the complete article


30 Jul 2020

5 real steps the US could take to help Uighurs in China

Of course, there are a number of areas — international trade, for one — where US-China cooperation is critical, so any policy would have to be weighed against other US interests. Yet experts I spoke to said there are several ways the US could pressure China without fully upending the world’s most vital bilateral relationship. “It’s not all or nothing,” James Millward, a Georgetown University professor who studies China’s repression of Uighurs, told me. I spoke to nine experts, former US officials, and policymakers to ask them what more the US could feasibly do right now to push China on the Uighur issue. Five clear policy options emerged. Let’s take each of the five proposals in turn. One solution, then, is for the US to form a coalition of like-minded countries to put diplomatic and economic pressure on China over the Uighur issue. Experts say many European and Asian nations — like France, Germany, and Japan — would surely join in, and having the US at the forefront of the coalition would give them the political space and backing they don’t yet have to confront China. If there’s one policy proposal to hit China where it hurts, it’s to go after its purse and the suppressive technologies it funds. Experts I spoke to identified four major ways to do just that: stop supporting forced Uighur labor, cease any assistance to China’s mass surveillance and repression capabilities, keep sanctions going, and use the 2022 Beijing Olympics as “a key pressure point” The US could keep the spotlight on this issue, experts say, by continually publishing intelligence documents and other reports that show just how morally appalling the situation in Xinjiang really is. Without deep US involvement to counter China’s goal to make the UN more Beijing-friendly, then, experts worry there may be no effective way to push back on the country at the global organization. Instead of just focusing on punishing China, experts say, the US could equally focus on helping Uighurs in need. One good place to start would be to allow Uighur refugees to start a new life in the United States. read the complete article

30 Jul 2020

China’s Forced Sterilization of Uyghur Women Violates Clear International Law

As new evidence emerges of the Chinese government’s forcible sterilization of Uyghur women, communities around the world are sure to recognize elements of a familiar pattern. Official measures to control the Uyghur population in China’s Xinjiang region reportedly aim for nearly no population growth, through a combination of sterilization and long-term birth control measures. Plans are said to include “subject[ing] at least 80 percent of women of childbearing age … to intrusive birth prevention surgeries” and punishing birth control violations by internment in “training” camps. At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in the population growth of the Han community, China’s majority ethnic group, in Xinjiang. Adrian Zenz, the author of the new report on these measures, describes his findings as “rais[ing] concerns that Beijing is doubling down on a policy of Han settler colonialism” and “provid[ing] the strongest evidence yet” that China is carrying out a genocide of the Uyghur population. Heartbreakingly, forced sterilization is a practice that has persisted into this century and overwhelmingly targets Indigenous women and members of other minority groups, transgender people, persons with disabilities, and intersex people. Failures to eradicate these practices and provide redress for previous eras’ “population control” measures have helped permit involuntary sterilization to continue in many places. In some countries and circumstances, sterilization is mandated or carried out under color of law, while in others it may be illegal but goes unpunished. The body of international law identifying forced sterilization as both an atrocity crime and a human rights violation has expanded to address the many current-day iterations of this form of eugenics, though the challenge of compliance remains. read the complete article

30 Jul 2020

Activists push for investigation over claims China is forcibly harvesting organs of Uighur population

Despite claims that all harvested body parts now stem strictly from "voluntary" donors after death, human rights activists and international leaders are collecting evidence that the beleaguered Uighur Muslim community in Xinjiang province, also known as East Turkistan, could be the latest in a long line of state-sanctioned "victims" being killed for their hearts, lungs, liver, kidneys and other vital body parts – sometimes extracted from their bodies while still alive. Earlier this month, two Uighur activist organizations – the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement and the East Turkistan Government in Exile – filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Beijing leadership, alleging that the top brass had committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uighurs, including the stealing of organs from the mostly Muslim Turkic ethnic group and urging an inquiry. According to multiple survivors and family members seeking refuge abroad, Chinese officials started exhaustive medical examinations – involving ultrasound and blood samples – of those in Xinjiang around four years ago. But immediately, suspicions were raised that the data was being used to ascertain who had the healthiest organs for "donation." "This selection was purely racial: over half of the population of Xinjiang, the Han Chinese, were exempt from the medical tests," Gutmann said. Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, who has extensively studied the illicit organ harvesting issue, highlighted that at Kashgar airport in Xinjiang, there are even signs in various languages signifying the route for transporting organs to the aircraft for exportation abroad. Photographs published in September 2018 show "priority lanes" for this very purpose. read the complete article

30 Jul 2020

China is replacing languages of ethnic minorities with Mandarin

In its September 2019 white paper, “Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China,” Beijing claimed that it has effectively guaranteed ethnic minority rights in administering state affairs, with representation of all 55 ethnic minority groups in the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. It also claimed that it fully protects the freedom of ethnic minorities to use and develop their spoken and written languages, and that the state protects by law the legitimate use of spoken and written languages of ethnic minorities in the areas of administration and judiciary, press and publishing, radio, film and television, and culture and education. China claims to have established a database for the endangered languages of ethnic minority groups, and has initiated a program for protecting China’s language resources. Contrary to the propaganda, however, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is gradually replacing the languages of China’s minorities with the Chinese language, and the government has started the process to replace Uighur and Tibetan language in the schools in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the Tibetan Autonomous Region, introducing Mandarin as the medium of instruction. Besides these examples, China separately has been pushing a “Sinicized religion” campaign in China, defying the growing international condemnation over its sweeping crackdown on Muslims and Christians. The push to “Sinicize religion” — introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2015 — is an attempt by the officially atheist CCP to bring religions under its absolute control and in line with Chinese culture. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Jul 2020 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results