Today in Islamophobia: India bans Kashmir Muslim religious gatherings due to coronavirus, but Hindu pilgrimages continue. Online clothing company Shein apologizes for selling Muslim prayer mats as ‘Greek carpets’. Our recommended read today is by Em Steck and Andrew Kaczynski on Mark Kevin Lloyd, the USAID religious adviser appointee who made harsh anti-Islam comments and warned of violence if Tea Party failed in 2010 elections. This, and more, below:
USAID religious adviser appointee made harsh anti-Islam comments and warned of violence if Tea Party failed in 2010 elections | Recommended Read
A newly appointed religious freedom adviser at the United States' agency responsible for foreign aid has a long history of making inflammatory and anti-Islam remarks, including calling for an armed revolution if the Tea Party did not win at the ballot box. Mark Kevin Lloyd's appointment has previously come under scrutiny. A USAID spokesperson defended some of Lloyd's post in response to the Washington Post, noting Lloyd's comments "were in reference to radical Islam, not Islam." The Associated Press reported in 2016 that Lloyd called Islam a "barbaric cult" and said that the religion was "violent in its doctrine and practice" when Lloyd worked as a Trump campaign staffer in Virginia. In a May 2010 post that appeared on Lloyd's Twitter account and also appeared on the Facebook page of the Lynchburg Tea Party, Lloyd wrote, "Tonight I went to a presentation about Islam in USA. Facts are frightening, and everyone should be aware of what is going on around us." "Main points are they [Muslims] are well funded, socially accepted, given preference by this administration, and [are] all around us. PC (Politically Correct) is going to allow this Republic to collapse, but we already know this," the Facebook post added in a comment. "We are on our own with it, because our government is either being bought off, or is just to (sic) stupid to see what is going on." On his personal Twitter account, Lloyd tweeted in August 2014 that "Islam has certainly impacted America. Will we ever recover?" Other tweets asked his followers why they had a "soft spot for Islam," and said, "Islam in Paris. Coming to your neighborhood. It is just a matter of time." Contrary to USAID's comments to the Post, Lloyd does not refer to "radical Islam" in any of these posts but the entirety of the religion. read the complete article
The number of foreign medical graduates from Muslim-majority countries coming to the US to become doctors has declined by 15 percent under the Trump administration, exacerbating shortages in America's physician workforce, a study said Monday. International medical graduates represent about a quarter of practicing doctors in the United States, with countries like Pakistan, Egypt and Iran historically providing the bulk from Islamic nations. Overall, citizens from Muslim-majority nations made up 4.5 percent of the US physician workforce in 2019. The study appeared in Journal of the American Medical Association, and was led John Boulet, vice president of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates that oversees the certification process. Boulet and colleagues said that recent US policies, such as the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries "affect the inflow of IMGs International Medical Graduates) by restricting travel to the country for citizens from specific nations." They added: "Even a perceived immigration ban could affect who chooses to complete the requirements for... certification" while potential difficulty obtaining a visa could dissuade the program directors of medical residencies from making a job offer. The US demand for physicians has long outstripped supply for a variety of reasons, from population growth and aging, to a federal cap on funding for residency training. read the complete article
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) is calling for employees to be fired after an Islamophobic incident at a Target Starbucks in St. Paul. According to CAIR-MN, the incident occurred at the Midway Starbucks, which is located inside a Target store and operated by Target. The customer, who is Muslim, said when she ordered beverages at the Starbucks on the night of July 1, the employee wrote "ISIS" on the cup instead of her name. The customer's name is Aishah. When she asked the employee and a supervisor about it, the supervisor allegedly said it was a mistake and that it sometimes happens with customers' names. Target told KSTP both employees did apologize to the customer. CAIR added that after Aishah left the store, Target gave a new drink and a $25 gift card for Aishah to the friend she was with at the time. read the complete article
Could Facebook Help To Establish The Burmese Government’s Intent To Commit Genocide Against The Rohingya Muslims?
On June 8, 2020, The Gambia filed an application for discovery with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The application asks the Court to compel Facebook to provide information related to the personal Facebook accounts of Myanmar officials. The information that The Gambia seeks is to be used in an action brought by The Gambia against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, The Netherlands. The recent application for discovery against Facebook indicates that “statements on social media, including Facebook, made by officials and representatives of Myanmar hostile to the Rohingya, or encouraging violence against them, including but not limited to statements made by senior military officers directed at rank-and-file soldiers or armed civilians who carried out attacks against the Rohingya, may constitute evidence of genocidal intent necessary o support a finding of responsibility for genocide.” It further emphasizes that “Facebook is a dominant platform in Myanmar of disseminating anti-Rohingya hate speech and incitement to violence. Indeed, an independent report commissioned by Facebook found that the platform “is being used [in Myanmar] by bad actors to spread hate speech, incite violence, and coordinate harm.” Moreover, the UN Fact-Finding Mission concluded that such hate speech is directed against the Rohingya and is pervasive in Myanmar, and that “messages portraying Rohingya as violent, dishonest, anti-Bamar, anti-Buddhist, illegal immigrants and/or terrorists… are particularly widespread on social media.” The application further states that “Using the Facebook platform, the military has circulated discriminatory posts to generate fear, mistrust and hatred against Rohingya Muslims.” read the complete article
Online clothing shop Shein has apologised for selling Muslim prayer mats on its site. The mats sold were labelled as "frilled Greek carpets" and had pictures of the Kabaa on them. The Kabaa is a building in the centre of Mecca, considered the most sacred place by Muslims around the world. Shein was also accused of cultural appropriation for using white models to sell sleepwear that imitated cultural clothing. The retailer has now apologised via a statement to its more than 11m Instagram followers, and removed the items from its site. read the complete article
Jusna Begum wakes up to her phone ringing at 1am. When she answers, it’s an inconsolable woman who has just lost her father to coronavirus. This has become the new normal for Begum, despite her being neither a grief counsellor nor a medic or chaplain. Rather, she is the person who would usually have washed the bodies of the deceased – a fundamental Muslim ritual in death. “Not only did these families lose someone, they felt they couldn’t get closure as they were unable to go through the correct Islamic processes before burial,” she told the Guardian. “We couldn’t wash the bodies at all so the deceased were being buried in the clothes that they went into hospital in. They came to us in a black body bag and left in that same bag without it ever being opened. Hundreds of bodies were buried like this.” An analysis by the Office for National Statistics of coronavirus-related deaths across England and Wales by ethnicity has shown people from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background are at a greater risk of their death involving the virus. Meanwhile, a report published by Public Health England last month found that people of Bangladeshi heritage are dying at twice the rate of their white counterparts. Other BAME groups had between 10% and 50% higher risk of death. read the complete article
India has banned all religious gatherings in Kashmir, including Muslim ones, but allowed a Hindu pilgrimage to take place despite rising coronavirus deaths and active lockdown measures. A government order in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir meant the regional administration prohibited all social and religious gatherings, but a Hindu pilgrimage was reportedly exempt from the ruling. Hindus will be allowed time to visit a shrine in Amarnath cave at an elevation of 3,888 metres in the Phalgam area of south Kashmir. Authorities said the pilgrimage will be done in a "restricted manner" beginning at the end of the month, and they added 500 Hindu pilgrims will be allowed per day. Jammu and Kashmir have been under lockdown for 11 months. The decision to allow a Hindu pilgrimage only in the Muslim-majority state could cause problems in the region, which has been offset by violence. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, violence has escalated in Kashmir in recent months as India steps up its counterinsurgency operations. read the complete article
A little over 18 years ago, hundreds of Islamic monuments and Muslim places of worship were targeted in Gujarat as part of the organised violence in February-March 2002. While much of the Indian media confined itself to reports of the destruction of the nearly 300-year-old shrine of Vali Gujrati, The Guardian did not hold its punches as it reported: “Two hundred and thirty unique Islamic monuments, including an exquisite 400-year-old mosque, were destroyed or vandalised during the recent anti-Muslim riots in the Indian State of Gujarat, according to a local survey. Experts say the damage is so extensive that it rivals the better publicised destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan or the wrecking of Tibet’s monasteries by the Red Guards." In 2020, the Gujarat model is sought to be replicated in India’s capital. The attacks on the Muslim places of worship have not stopped during the lockdown. A mosque in Dwarka was repeatedly attacked. Another in Bijaswan met the same fate. A little earlier, a mosque in Alipur had been attacked. These assaults came on the heels of the February violence in North East Delhi in which 19 mosques and dargahs were either burned down or defiled. Twenty-four such attacks have taken place on Delhi’s Muslim houses of worship this year, spreading fear among the minority community. Some of them are too afraid to even register a formal complaint with the police, preferring to settle for negotiations under duress with the vandals. read the complete article
Islamic Women’s Council says police failed to take March 15 threat against Hamilton mosque from person in Christchurch 'seriously'
A threat made against a Hamilton mosque, set to be coincidentally carried out on the same day as last year’s Christchurch terrorist attacks, is a key part of a critical submission to the Royal Commission looking into the deaths. New Zealand Muslims say the Government had years to tackle growing Islamophobia before the Christchurch attacks that killed 51 people and left many others seriously injured. The prominent Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand has released its almost 130-page submission it gave to the Royal Commission, which is seeing if state agencies knew and did enough. The council says it “made intense efforts” to engage with the Government in the five years before the attacks and that it sought protection and support for the vulnerable Muslim community. The submission says these efforts then intensified because of mounting Islamophobia, and that there “can be no question” that the council’s push would have been clear to the Government. “Almost nothing was in place by the time of the mosque shootings,” the submission says. “No nationwide strategy, no coordinated or linked protection programmes by police or SIS, no register of hate crimes." read the complete article
Uighur exiles urged the International Criminal Court on Monday to investigate Beijing for genocide and crimes against humanity, the first-ever attempt to use international law to hold China’s ruling Communist Party accountable for its draconian crackdown on the Muslim minority. A team of London-based lawyers representing two Uighur activist groups has filed a complaint against Beijing for pursuing the repatriation of thousands of Uighurs through unlawful arrests in or deportation from Cambodia and Tajikistan. The case could bring greater international scrutiny of the Chinese state’s power to impose its will beyond its borders. The lawyers’ 80-page filing includes a list of more than 30 Chinese officials they said were responsible for the campaign, including Xi Jinping, the Communist Party leader. The court’s mandate is to seek justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and other atrocities. But China does not recognize its jurisdiction, raising the question of how far the case will go. read the complete article