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
02 Jun 2021

Today in Islamophobia: A coalition of around 180 human rights advocacy groups has issued a “call to action” urging all countries and athletes to boycott what they’re now calling the “genocide Olympics,” while in the United States, a Muslim woman is the focus of a religious discrimination complaint filed against Southwest Airlines after a flight attendant targets her for wearing a hijab, and in India, a local government administration in Uttar Pradesh has been accused of filing a “false and unfounded” police report against eight Muslim leaders who had opposed the “illegal” demolition of their mosque. Our recommended read of the day is by Jennifer Berry Hawes on the autobiography of Omar, the only known surviving autobiography written in Arabic by someone enslaved in America. This and more below:


United States

I Am Omar

That’s not surprising. Omar wrote his most historically important text, a brief autobiography, 190 years ago, and it spent much of the last century forgotten in an old trunk in Virginia. When he wrote it, Omar was 61 and more than two decades into a long enslavement in America, first in Charleston and then North Carolina. He lacked the freedom for candor, though he’d become a minor celebrity for his exotic script and born-again zeal for Jesus. Or so they said. Despite memorizing the Quran during his youth here in this region called Futa Toro, Omar apologized when he wrote. He had forgotten much of his people’s script and hoped they wouldn’t laugh at him should they somehow, miraculously, ever read it. Now, the imam holds those words in his hands. Perched on a high-back wooden chair, Sy flips quickly through the pages, scanning them. At the last one, he pauses. From a 171-year-old photograph, Omar stares out wearing a headwrap and a gaze of wisdom. Sy smiles back. Then he returns to the start of Omar’s story. The room falls silent as he reads, save the sounds of tea pouring and children giggling and songbirds chattering as they fly in and out of his home. Sy is among the first people living in Futa Toro to read Omar’s autobiography in full. He can understand Omar’s meaning in a way only someone who lives here can. Omar wrote that he was 37 years old when “infidels” attacked his village. They slaughtered many people and dragged him away to a slave ship that hauled him across the Atlantic Ocean. The ship landed in Charleston, the nation’s busiest slave port. During the 56 years of captivity that followed, Omar wrote at least 15 surviving texts in Arabic, although nobody around him could read them. They include letters, Muslim and Christian verses, and the only known surviving autobiography written in Arabic by someone still enslaved in America. Given that perhaps one in five African captives brought to the U.S. was Muslim, the rarity of such texts speaks to a great loss of faith and learning. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
01 Jun 2021

Muslim woman told on flight she ‘would bring the whole plane down,’ advocacy group says

A Muslim woman is the focus of a religious discrimination complaint filed against Southwest Airlines on Tuesday after she said a flight attendant targeted her because she was wearing a hijab. The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, sent a press release Tuesday about a complaint the chapter filed against Southwest Airlines. A Muslim woman, who was born and raised in America, the press release says, was sitting in an exit row on a Southwest Airlines flight. A flight attendant made her move, saying that she “couldn’t speak English and would bring the whole plane down in an emergency,” according to the complaint. At the same time, the flight attendant allowed the woman’s sister, who does not wear a hijab, to sit in the same seat. read the complete article

01 Jun 2021

Omar reintroduces bill to repeal law used to justify Trump's Muslim ban, Japanese Americans' internment

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Tuesday reintroduced legislation seeking to repeal an 18th-century law that was used as justification for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and, more recently, for the Trump administration’s ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries. The bill, called the Neighbors Not Enemies Act, was unveiled in a press release Tuesday from Omar’s office, with the congresswoman joined by 40 co-sponsors in backing the repeal of the Alien Enemies Act of 1798. The act, part of the Alien and Sedition Acts, remains in effect to this day, though the three other bills targeting immigrants and foreign nationals during times of war have since expired or been repealed. The Alien Enemies Act specifically allows a U.S. president to decide how individuals from an enemy country should be “apprehended, restrained, secured and removed” during wartime. Omar, who first unveiled legislation seeking to repeal the act last year, said Tuesday that the centuries-long law is “xenophobic” and “must be taken off the books.” “No one should be targeted based solely on their religion, ethnicity or national origin,” added Omar, one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress. read the complete article

02 Jun 2021

'Taste Of Your Own Medicine': Caller Threatens Rape, Bombing At Palestinian Center In Clifton

Clifton police provided extra security while investigating a deluge of threatening phone calls Tuesday to the Palestinian American Community Center. “Is this the terrorist community center?” the caller asked during one of more than 30 exchanges with staff that began before noon and continued until nearly 6 p.m. Referring to himself as “Jebediah,” the caller said he lived “next to” the Lakeview Avenue center and was going to “beat your f*****g ass.” “You Palestinians blow up children and behead them,” he said at one point. “I'm going to come rape you and give you a taste of your own medicine.” Selaedin Maksut, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said his organization has asked the FBI to join what city police said is a bias investigation. Racist, Islamophobic, anti-Arab, and misogynistic language was used against the staff, he noted. It wasn’t the first time a caller has targeted the center -- which offers Arabic classes, along with youth events -- but it was by far the most troubling, Maksut said read the complete article


01 Jun 2021

The complicated politics of a Beijing 2022 boycott

China is slated to host the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. But a growing chorus of human rights activists is calling for countries to boycott the games over the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, which the US State Department has called a “genocide.” A coalition of around 180 human rights advocacy groups has issued a “call to action” urging all countries and athletes to boycott what they’re now calling the “genocide Olympics.” If Beijing is allowed to host an Olympics-spectacle-as-usual, they say, it amounts to acceptance of the Chinese government’s atrocities against the Uyghurs, its anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong, and its other human rights abuses. “For us, if a genocide is not the red line to boycott the Olympic Games, then nothing is,” said Zumretay Arkin of the World Uyghur Congress, one of the groups backing the campaign. Some Republican and Democratic politicians in the US, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have also voiced support for some version of a boycott. Pelosi called for a “diplomatic boycott” that would see heads of state refrain from attending while still allowing athletes to compete in the games; Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) proposed an economic boycott and a diplomatic one, urging American spectators not to attend in person to reduce the revenue Beijing makes from their tourism. Lawmakers in other countries have made similar calls. So far, the Biden administration has said it is not discussing any joint boycott with allies. That may be because pulling off a real and sustained boycott, particularly as an exercise of US foreign policy, is itself an olympic feat. read the complete article


01 Jun 2021

World Uyghur Congress founder's brother handed life sentence in China

The co-founder of a global Uighur movement's brother has been handed life in a Chinese prison. Though the jail term has arisen lately, 48-year-old Hushtar Isa was interned in 2017 in one of China's widely criticised camps, The Times reported on Tuesday. His detainment in 2017 followed an allegation of "inciting terrorism". World Uyghur Congress (WUC) co-founder and Hushtar's sibling, Dolkun Isa, said: "It is very clear that China is trying to push Uighur exiles to silence, because my parents and siblings have never engaged in politics. "Silencing and revenge is their only aim, because they have been unhappy from the beginning with my activism." Dolkun began residing abroad in 1994, launching WUC in Munich 10 years later. China alleges that the organisation led race riots in 2009 in the Uighur home province of Xinjiang. Amid what they claim are counter-terror efforts, the authorities have now held perhaps one million members of the Uighur and other Xinjiang Muslim communities, in a move rebuked by rights organisations. read the complete article


01 Jun 2021

India mosque demolition: officials accused of filing false report on Muslim leaders

A local government administration in Uttar Pradesh has been accused of filing a “false and unfounded” police report against eight Muslim leaders who had opposed the “illegal” demolition of their mosque, in a case filed in an Indian court. The bulldozing of the Masjid Gareeb Nawaz Al Maroof last month, carried out on the orders of the local administration of Barabanki district, caused an outcry and sent many local Muslims into hiding. In the days after the demolition, the Barabanki administration filed a police case against eight local Muslim leaders who had opposed the demolition, accusing them of forging documents that had led to the mosque being illegally registered on government land. In a petition filed at Allahabad high court published on Tuesday, representatives for the mosque administration alleged that a “false and unfounded” police report had been made against the Muslim leaders. In an order, judges found that the state government had provided no proof to the court of falsified or forged documents, but gave the government three more weeks to produce the evidence. The Muslims named in the case were also granted protection from arrest. The local administration that ordered the mosque to be flattened on 17 May had called it an “illegal structure” intruding on government land. The demolition has drawn comparisons with the demolition of Babri Masjid, a mosque torn down by a rightwing Hindu mob in 1992. read the complete article


01 Jun 2021

Ban on headscarves could be abolished following latest in STIB discrimination case

The Brussels public transport operator STIB-MIVB has decided not to appeal a discrimination conviction related to employees wearing headscarves, paving the way for an abolishment of the existing ban on head coverings that signal religious, political or philosophical beliefs. “STIB has always been a pioneer in the field of diversity,” said STIB’s Chairman of the Board Merlijn Erbuer. “It is because we want to continue along this path that the management committee decided not to appeal the decision of the labour court, despite its imperfections.” The case against STIB goes back to December 2015, when a woman wearing a headscarf first applied for a job with the transit agency through an intermediary company. After being rejected for the job, she applied again in January of 2016 and was again rejected because STIB employment regulations do not allow signs of religious, political or philosophical beliefs. A labour court ruled this a case of double discrimination at the beginning of May, saying that not only is a ban on headscarves disproportionate to the intended purpose (guaranteeing the neutrality of the public transit company), but it also results in gender discrimination. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Jun 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results