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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06 Jul 2020

Today in Islamophobia: State Dept warns top U.S. firms over supply chain links to China’s Xinjiang, where the CCP has been accused of violating human rights of Uighurs. In Sri Lanka, Muslims protest the forced cremation of coronavirus victims. Our recommended read today is by Aysha Khan on the 2009 violence in Urumqi that set the Chinese crackdown on Uighurs in motion. This, and more, below:


06 Jul 2020

On July 5, Uighurs remember 2009 violence that set Chinese crackdown in motion | Recommended Read

Experts say that month’s unrest and the state’s aggressive response marked a major turning point in China’s brutal crackdown against the Uighur minority. The unrest began with a student-led Uighur uprising on July 5, 2009. Human rights activists and Uighur eyewitnesses insist the initial protests were peaceful. Violence only broke out, they say, when Chinese paramilitary — called in to quell the riots — allegedly fired live ammunition onto protesters. Witnesses describe and photographs depict streets with bloodied corpses lying in the streets, broken glass and buildings on fire surrounding them. Ads around the city were replaced by posters from law enforcement seeking information about and the capture of young Uighur men suspected of involvement in recent protests. Asqer’s neighbor’s sons, high school students at the time, were taken and sentenced to 15 years in prison. “I could tell what would happen in the future,” Asqer said. “I was so aware that if I just made it to the U.S., I would never return to this bloody land.” Discord between the Hans and the Uighurs, indigenous to the Xinjiang region, had been common since the Han-majority government took control of the region after the Communist revolution in 1949. The impetus for the 2009 protests came in June, at a toy factory in the city of Shaoguan, about 2,500 miles away from Urumqi. A factory worker posted an unsubstantiated rumor online that Uighur migrant workers had raped Han Chinese women there. Some Han Chinese workers responded by beating Uighur workers in a brutal attack captured on camera. At least two died in the attacks. When the gory video footage spread online, long-simmering ethnic tensions in Xinjiang rose to a boiling point and spurred the July 5 protests. “It is a very clear depiction of men being hunted down and beaten to death,” said University of Nottingham historian Rian Thum, who researches Islam in China. “The clarity of that video is what made it so powerful in mobilizing people.” Peaceful student-led protests for justice soon turned deadly. Young Uighur men rampaged through the streets on July 5, beating and stabbing Hans and attacking Han businesses. For days afterward, Han mobs armed with sticks and metal bars carried out violent reprisals. “In many ways, that was a pivotal day in terms of ethnic tensions erupting in Xinjiang itself,” said Adrian Zenz, a Washington-based anthropologist whose research helped uncover the vast scale of China’s “reeducation camps” for Uighurs. “No matter who died or who started what ... that is when the underlying rupture became visible and ethnic relations were changed forever.” “Looking back, we see there’s a logical unfolding of a repression that uses whatever means are necessary,” Zenz said during the webinar. read the complete article

Recommended Read

United States

06 Jul 2020

State Dept warns top U.S. firms over supply chain risks linked to China's Xinjiang

The U.S. State Department has warned top American companies including Walmart Inc(WMT.N), Apple Inc (AAPL.O)and Inc(AMZN.O) over risks faced from maintaining supply chains associated with human rights abuses in China’s western Xinjiang region, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday. The United States is seeking to ratchet up pressure on China at a time of heightened tensions over that country’s treatment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang and Beijing’s new national security law for Hong Kong. On Wednesday, the U.S. government issued an advisory saying companies doing business in Xinjiang or with entities using Xinjiang labor could be exposed to “reputational, economic, and legal risks”. The United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. China has denied mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training and help fight extremism. read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

‘I Am Here to Prove You Wrong’

For a century, the beauty pageant has embedded itself in the cultural identity of America. Miss Muslimah USA offers a fresh take on the well-worn event format, one that lies at the intersection of American cultural identity and religious freedom at a time when both seem to be in flux. The pageant has given Muslim women, particularly those who wear the hijab, the chance to participate in an American rite on their own terms, without having to compromise their faith. (Its motto: “promoting modesty and inner beauty.”) It was created by Maghrib Shahid, a 39-year-old Black Muslim mother and modest clothing designer from Columbus, Ohio. As a hijabi, a Muslim woman who wears a head scarf, Ms. Shahid felt that she and other women like her bore the brunt of discrimination against Muslims, a diverse population estimated to number more than three million in the United States. President Trump — a former pageant-world figure himself — has inflamed Islamophobia in the nation, through his rhetoric and by banning migration from several majority-Muslim countries. “We’re visibly Muslim, it’s us who will be attacked first,” Ms. Shahid said. “I wanted to give Muslim women the opportunity to change misconceptions about themselves.” read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

July 4th Needs To Include Muslim Identities

With July 4th, Americans all around the country can feel a sense of celebration; however, when you are Muslim and American, there are fewer options to couch both the religious and cultural identity together. For Reem Sayes, her solution has been to create Days of Eid. She wanted to create a company where the products represent a celebration of who Muslims are regardless of the occasion. Fortunately, Days of Eid has the primary goal “to help embolden the Muslim identity of our children and help them embrace their uniqueness,” Reem explains. Using a business model that is direct-to-consumer through their website, Reem designs and creates home and holiday decor products in-house that celebrate and reflect Islamic traditions. “We believe that your home should tell your story, who you are, what you love, what your beliefs and values consist of. When people walk in your home they should get a sense of those things. And for me and many other American Muslims that was hard to do and that compelled us to start Days of Eid,” Reem adds. When thinking about her childhood, Reem recalls how it was often a struggle to find herself in a sea of negativity and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. She wanted to fill the void of mothers and their children questioning their religious identities and wanted to find a solution as she understood the issues of feeling pride in one’s identity. For quite some time, Reem thought about her own children's struggle with who they are; consequently, she made it her mission to highlight Muslim Americans through Days of Eid. read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

Tuesday’s primary features N.J.‘s 1st Muslim woman candidate for Congress

Like many challengers to sitting House Democrats in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, writer Amani Al-Khatahtbeh supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal and wants to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. What makes her different is that she is the first Muslim woman to run for Congress from New Jersey, according to Jetpac, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based group that trains American Muslims to run for public office and become active in politics. At a time when President Donald Trump ran on a platform of banning Muslims from entering the country and went all the way to the Supreme Court to impose restrictions on visitors from several Muslim majority nations, Al-Khatahtbeh said her candidacy was “a moral obligation to this moment in time.” read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

Viewpoint: What Donald Trump gets wrong about Somalia

President Donald Trump is making Somali-American congresswoman Ilhan Omar one of the bogeywomen of his campaign for re-election to the White House in November - and by proxy her country of birth, Somalia. In his most recent attack, at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he tore into the 37-year-old alleging that she wanted to bring the "anarchy" of Somalia to the US. In response Ms Omar said his remarks were "racist". She added that his anger came out of a recent poll that had shown him trailing his rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, in her state, which is home to a large Somali-American community. Such rhetoric plays well to his base, so the electoral stage has been set, the cast chosen - and Ms Omar and Somalia have starring roles. In fact they both debuted last year at Mr Trump's rally in North Carolina, where the crowd chanted about Ms Omar: "Send her back! Send her back!" In the US, Minneapolis is home to one of the largest Somali diaspora populations in the world - a visibly black and Muslim community. Since 9/11 there have been fraught conversations over the place of Muslims in America. Mr Trump often uses anti-Muslim rhetoric in his portrayal of good versus bad migrants, playing into these fears. For the president, Ms Omar does not fit into his idea of a "good migrant". The proud Hijab-wearing politician fought for her right to wear headwear in the House of Representatives, overturning a 181-year ban. She is not afraid of being Muslim - something that differentiates her from another prominent American-Somali woman Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch politician, who is a vocal critic of Islam. read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

David Horowitz’s Book Predicting a Trump Victory Was Not Well-Timed

It came as no surprise that the book is awful. Horowitz, a former left-wing extremist turned right-wing extremist, is known for claiming that Barack Obama is an America-hating secret Muslim whose autobiography was actually written for him by Bill Ayers. What did surprise is that the book does not actually predict a Trump landslide. It advances hardly any claims about Trump’s reelection prospects at all. The preface contain an ominous and revealing disclaimer: “As this book was in its final stages and heading for the printer, America and the world were struck by a deadly virus originating in Wuhan, China.” In place of arguing that Trump will win, Horowitz devotes most of the book to the theme that has preoccupied him for years: arguing that Democrats, not Republicans, are the real racists. Horowitz decries the unfairness of Trump being called racist “for daring to criticize Elijah Cummings.” (He was called racist for calling Cummings’s district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”) He expresses indignation that Democrats would “characterize the moratorium [on travel from a list of Muslim countries] as an ‘anti-Muslim ban,’ though it was neither anti-Muslim not a permanent ‘ban.’” (Trump himself described the policy during the campaign as “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” before tweaking it in office to pass legal muster.) Horowitz even sticks up for Trump’s defense of right-wing demonstrators who objected to a Charlottesville city-council vote to remove its Robert E. Lee statue — “not because they were racist,” he insists. Two sentences later, Horowitz adds as an inadvertently hilarious aside, “Unfortunately, the rally attracted extremist groups, including neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.” That is an unfortunate coincidence, indeed. How a completely non-racist protest managed to attract a mass gathering of the most virulent racists in the country, Horowitz does not say. read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

#CULTUREServants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas | Book Review

In the second decade of the 21st century in America, Muslims consider themselves “as American as apple pie,” don American-flag hijabs, and consider their presence and participation in American politics as a crowning achievement. There is little to no resemblance between the majority of the American Muslim population today, and the very first Muslims who landed in America – not as privileged individuals, but as enslaved people at the hands of vicious white colonizers who had already decimated the Indigenous population and who had no qualms about destroying the lives of their slaves. Dr Sylviane A. Diouf’s book “Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas” tracks the journeys and experiences of African Muslims who found themselves shipped aboard slave-trafficking vessels and taken to the other side of their known world. From their induction into the Transatlantic slave trade, to their determination to uphold the five pillars of Islam – regardless of their circumstances – to the structure of the enslaved Muslim community, their prized (and dangerous) literacy, and their never-ending resistance against slavery, Diouf illustrates in incredible detail the powerful and painful experiences of enslaved African Muslims, and the legacy that they left behind in the Americas. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

06 Jul 2020

Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka's Muslims decry forced cremation

Sri Lankan authorities are insisting on cremation for coronavirus victims - a practice forbidden by Islam. The nation's minority Muslim community says they are using the pandemic to discriminate. Fathima's family and others in Sri Lanka's Muslim community say the authorities are violating their rights by forcing them to cremate victims even though coronavirus victims can be buried. They argue it's the latest step in a pattern of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese population. A petition against the cremation rule has been accepted by the country's Supreme Court, which will begin hearing the case on 13 July. Many Muslims in Sri Lanka feel they have been demonised since April 2019, when Islamists linked to little-known local groups targeted high-end hotels and churches in Colombo and in the east of the country, killing more than 250 people in a spate of devastating attacks. Since the death of the first Sri Lankan Muslim from coronavirus on 31 March, some media outlets have openly blamed the Muslim community for spreading the disease, even though only 11 deaths have been officially recorded in the country. All 11 bodies, including Muslims, were cremated. read the complete article


06 Jul 2020

Why do Muslim states stay silent over China’s abuse of the Uighurs?

In many countries, criticising China is the new blasphemy. Nowhere can you see the power more nakedly displayed than in Muslim-majority regimes. Once, they tried to murder blasphemous novelists and screamed about their desire to defend the prophet from the smallest insult. Today, they bend their knees and bite their tongues as China engages in unspeakable atrocities against the largely Muslim Uighur population of western China. One of the great crimes of the 21st century is being committed in front of our eyes. We see it, yet we don’t register it. The Chinese Communist party is reverting to type, and reviving the totalitarian fear of the Mao era. To bring down numbers of the largely Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang, the China scholar Adrian Zenz reports, the Communists are forcing women to be sterilised or fitted with contraceptive devices. If they resist, the state sends them to join the one million Uighur people and other Muslim minorities detained in what the state defines as “re-education” camps. A BBC investigation found that China was separating children from their families so they grew up without understanding Islam. But the main reasons why Muslims suffer in silence is that the Muslim-majority countries that raged against Rushdie, Jyllands-Posten and Charlie Hebdo have decided to stay silent. They use the idea of Muslim solidarity only when it suits them. Many have been bought off. China is now a more active and influential voice at the United Nations because so many countries are benefiting from billions of dollars in Chinese investments through its “Belt and Road” infrastructure programme. read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

American businesses have the power to change China’s behavior. Time to step up.

When it comes to China’s human rights abuses, the position of the American business community is prone. China has just passed a national security law for Hong Kong that has essentially ended any hope of liberal democracy there. The Associated Press reports that the Chinese government has added forced abortion and mandatory birth control to the mass surveillance, concentration camps and family separations that it has already inflicted on its Uighur community. This is inching close to attempted genocide, and it is what inspired Collison’s tweet. There’s a legitimate argument that businesses should be loath to take political stands — don’t they have enough to do, just making products and selling them? But that defense is hard to maintain as my inbox overflows with messages from companies that want to be sure I know about their latest initiatives to fight systemic racism and police brutality. These are worthy causes, but embracing politics looks more convenient than moral if your principles vanish at the first sign that they might cost you something. And that’s particularly true since the U.S. business community is probably the group with the most power to actually change China’s behavior. Ali Wyne of the Atlantic Council recently told me that corporate pressure would likely be a “more potent source of medium- to long-term pressure on China to change its human rights behavior than … political admonishments from the U.S. government.” Condemning U.S. racism, however, is costless, while standing up to China risks corporate investments in cheap Chinese manufacturing, or companies’ access to China’s 1.4 billion consumers. So it takes a leader like Collison, who does only limited business with China, to say what has to be said. read the complete article


06 Jul 2020

FIR filed against Rajasthan hospital whose doctor said won't treat Muslims on WhatsApp group

The Rajasthan police has filed an FIR against three people working for a private hospital in Rajasthan’s Chiru district a day after its staff was accused of sharing anti-Muslim messages on a WhatsApp group. Screenshots of the WhatsApp group that went viral on Sunday showed discrimination against Muslim patients regarding COVID-19 treatment. While the hospital owner issued an apology, a probe has been initiated. The hospital Shrichand Baradiya Rog Nidan Kendra is in Sardarshahar town of Churu. Controversy arose when screenshots of the chats on a group for staff members by the name of ‘Bardia Rise’ went viral on June 5. As per the chat, the hospital staff would not attend to Muslim patients. Two days later on June 7, a complaint was sent to the police control room at Sardarshahar by Maqbool Khan, district president of Muslim Parishad Sanstan. It is also alleged that one of the participants of the chats is Dr Bhagwati Choudhary, wife of hospital owner Dr Sunil Choudhary. The chats say that the staff would not perform X-ray of Muslim patients. It also says that Muslims coming to OPD will not be provided treatment. read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

‘Killed 2 Muslims, Threw Them in Drain’: Riot-Accused on WhatsApp

This message was sent at 11.49 PM on 26 February by Ganga Vihar resident Lokesh Solanki alias Rajput on a WhatsApp group called “Kattar Hindut Ekta”. This was in the middle of the Northeast Delhi riots. At least nine people, most of them members of this WhatsApp group, have now been arrested by the Delhi Police for killing Muslims in Bhagirathi Vihar that falls under Gokulpuri Police Station. Delhi Police recently filed three charge sheets – FIR numbers 102/20, 103/20 and 104/20 – in connection with three of these murders and it contains transcripts of a few WhatsApp conversations in the Kattar Hindut Ekta group. The police is considering the chats as “extra judicial confessions”, according to the charge sheet. read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

‘Tear Them Apart’: How Hindutva WhatsApp Group Demanded Murder, Rape of Muslims in Delhi Riots

At 11:44 pm on February 26, a message sent on a WhatsApp group boasted of the murders of two men. It read: “Tumhare Bhai ne abhi 9 bje k krib b.vihar m 2 mulla mare hai (Your buddy has just killed two mullahs [derogatory word used for Muslims] in Bhagrirathi Vihar at around 9 pm).” On the morning of February 27, the lifeless bodies of two brothers – Mohammad Aamir and Hashim Ali, aged 30 and 16 – were found in a drain in Bhagirathi Vihar, covered with gory wounds. The night before, Asghari, their mother, had received a phone call from Aamir. “Paanch minute mein ghar pahunch jayengey (We will be home in five minutes),” he had told her. But he never came home. Neither did his brother. There were communal riots in Delhi at the time. Aamir and Hashim were two among the more than 50 victims of the violence. Aamir’s eight months pregnant wife and two daughters are now alone. She is still observing her iddat (Islamic period of waiting after being widowed or divorced) and prays all day, every day for justice for Aamir. In a statement, Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said: “During the investigation of these cases, it was found that during the peak rioting, a ‘Whatsapp’ group was created in the intervening night of 25/26.02.2020, which had 125 members. Two active members of this ‘Whatsapp’ group were located and joined in the investigation. During the investigation, their mobile phones were scanned and the specific ‘Whatsapp’ group created on 25.02 was also identified. During the further investigation, it was revealed that while some members of these groups were only sending and receiving chats, few others were involved in active rioting (sic).” read the complete article

United Kingdom

06 Jul 2020

Salaam, Liverpool: Salah and Mane, the Muslims who saved a club

Liverpool F.C. - which claimed its first Premier League title in 30 years last weekend - boasts two men of the second, and higher order: Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, the two soccer savants that spearheaded Liverpool's historic 2019-2020 campaign. Salah and Mane are Muslims, and unapologetically so. The Arab and Black Muslims were thrust onto a stage - English football - long tainted by anti-Black racism and xenophobia. They traveled distinct journeys en route to Liverpool, and encountered challenges that tested their resolve upon arrival. But their faith provided them both with a common path toward not only overcoming the pitfalls that foiled other footballers, but to transcend on and off the pitch. The juxtaposition was surreal against the Islamophobia fanned by Brexit and Boris Johnson. The scenes inspired by Salah were magical. Everyday Englishmen, women and young people chanted, "I'll be Muslim too" and revelled in the thought of "sitting in a mosque." The Muslim stars were challenging the Islamophobia that gripped England and the world around it. And the Mane and "Salah Effect" was not just symbolic or anecdotal, but measurable. "Per the Stanford University Immigration Policy Lab, Salah is credited with single handedly reducing Islamophobia and hate crimes in Liverpool since he signed with the club in June 2017." Specifically, the Stanford University study found that hate crimes in the metropolitan Liverpool area declined by 19 percent, and anti-Muslim comments spiraled 50 percent since Salah joined Liverpool in 2017. Salah's impact is quantifiable, and his on-the-field play and off-the-field presence is changing hearts and minds at a time when nativism has been spiking in England, and Islamophobia proliferating across the world. read the complete article

06 Jul 2020

Divide and rule: How the right-wing media created a Great British Culture War

This divide and rule discourse wrapped around a culture war has been ratcheted up since the EU referendum, where a Pandora’s box of normalised idiocracy, hatred and division has opened up. Previously repugnant opinions and discourse that were previously considered off limits or on the margins of society went mainstream. What was unleashed was the extreme reactionary and xenophobic imagery of Nigel Farage standing next to a poster with Middle Eastern refugees with a poster headline that screamed ‘Breaking Point’. Reality TV grifters like Katie Hopkins have become high profile media commentators with huge platforms to spew out islamophobia on a daily basis. Hatred has become common parlance. Demagoguery has become a vote winner. All of this normalised hatred is played out on our traditional media and then amplified and regurgitated as the world’s biggest pub argument on social media. Extremism on the margins have now rebranded as ‘populism’ and a resulting snowball effect of unleashing wider bigotry within society. It’s hardly a surprise that racially linked hate crimes in England and Wales have doubled since 2012, and have significantly spiked since the EU referendum in 2016. Britain has been poisoned by this cesspit of tabloid media for far too long. They are poisoning the minds of millions of people into believing things that are diametrically opposite to their best interests. But this is what the tabloids want. They want a culture war because hate still sells. They also want to deflect the blame away from decades of government misdemeanours and onto something else. It has become a devious parlour game where they whisper, ‘there’s nothing to see here folks, but you might see something that you don’t like if we guide you over here’. It’s a game of psychological deflection and classic tactic of divide and rule. The tabloid press are ripping apart a Britain that was once thought to be outward looking and inclusive, to a point where it self destructively votes to remove itself from the most successful trading alliance between nations in the history of the planet. They have achieved this by demonising foreign institutions and citizens from foreign backgrounds, specifically targeting the EU and the Muslim community. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 06 Jul 2020 Edition


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