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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11 Jun 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Norway court jails mosque gunman Manhaus for 21 years. Lawyers representing The Gambia in the ICJ case against Myanmar ask the United States district court to order Facebook to release posts and communications from Myanmar’s military and police. Our recommended read today is by Mehdi Hasan on the far right boogaloo movement, and how it is trying to hijack anti-racist protests for a race war. This, and more, below:

United States

11 Jun 2020

How the Far-Right Boogaloo Movement Is Trying to Hijack Anti-Racist Protests for a Race War | Recommended Read

The anti-racism protests that have convulsed cities across the United States are also being used as cover, to quote the president, for “acts of domestic terror.” In late May, for example, three Nevada men were “arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities say was a conspiracy to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas,” reported the Associated Press. Federal prosecutors say the men had molotov cocktails in glass bottles and were headed downtown, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by AP. “People have a right to peacefully protest,” said Nicholas Trutanich, the U.S. attorney in Nevada. “These men are agitators and instigators. Their point was to hijack the protests into violence.” But here’s the thing: None of these three men were members of antifa, the left-wing, anti-fascist protest movement that has been blamed both by the president and his attorney-general Bill Barr for recent violence. They were all self-identified members of the so-called boogaloo movement, aka “boogaloo bois” aka “boojahideen” — perhaps the most dangerous group that, until the past week or so, most Americans had never heard of. The complaint filed in Nevada last month described “boogaloo” as “a term used by extremists to signify coming civil war and/or fall of civilization.” According to Cynthia Miller-Idris, an expert on domestic extremist groups at American University, members of the boogaloo movement “are all united by the idea that they are fighting against government ‘tyranny’ and want to launch a violent insurrection against the government and bring about a second civil war.” read the complete article

Recommended Read
11 Jun 2020

In the Aftermath of George Floyd Killing, an Uneasy Discussion about Racism in Minnesota's Muslim Community

The killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day, which has ignited high profile demonstrations against racism across the United States, is also helping to expose long-festering wounds of racism in Minnesota’s estimated 150,000-member Muslim community. In the fraught atmosphere after Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, racist comments surfaced on social media that Lianne Wadi, the daughter of Holy Land CEO Majid Wadi, and her cousin Suleiman made on Instagram several years ago. Layla Asamarai and Julie Henderson, Twin Cities Muslim scholars who lead regular online discussions that typically focus on mental health issues in the community, focused their talk over the weekend on the history of race, the persistence of racism and the importance of speaking frankly about anti-blackness — even if it means airing the community’s dirty laundry. Imam Asad Zaman, executive director of Muslim American Society of Minnesota, urged people in a Facebook post to “uproot the sin of racism” from their community and to stand in solidary with black Americans in their struggle for justice. Many religious leaders in Minnesota — and across the nation — also addressed the issue in their Friday sermons. Ordinary Muslims who don’t have access to large platforms took to their personal social media accounts to express their frustration with bigotry in the community. Kamal watched for several years as Somali congregations fled Masjid Al-Tawba in Eden Prairie after Arab leaders at the mosque described them in derogatory terms. The last straw was when a Lebanese board member took the microphone between prayers during Ramadan in 2016 and called Somalis “cockroaches” because of parking issues. “I know racism is everywhere but experiencing it at the mosque wasn’t something I expected,” Kamal said. “Somalis are no longer at the mosque now. They fled. They established their own mosque in Minnetonka.” read the complete article

11 Jun 2020

Why Minneapolis Was the Breaking Point

In July 2016, we all watched Philando Castile die on camera, shot five times at point-blank range by a police officer during a traffic stop in suburban Minneapolis. A week later Mica Grimm, one of the leaders of the local Black Lives Matter chapter, traveled to the White House, where the then-mayor and then–police chief of St. Paul dressed her down in front of President Barack Obama—declaring the protests about Castile’s death “a disgrace.” Exactly one year later, in the same city, came the death of Justine Damond, a 40-year-old yoga teacher who had called police to the alley behind her house because she thought she heard a woman’s screams. A police cruiser arrived, but when Damond approached, the officer got startled and shot her. It would take two more years, but in April 2019, the local prosecutor finally secured a conviction of a police officer. But instead of a victory for the protesters, it was a cruel irony. The convicted officer was a Somali American, a black man, who was sent to prison for 12 and a half years after shooting and killing a white woman. The following January, the most powerful newspaper in America endorsed the presidential campaign of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who in eight years as a county prosecutor had never once brought charges against a police officer for misconduct. After losing, Klobuchar offered herself up as a potential running mate for Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. That she’d even be considered for either post—despite new reporting that suggests she put an innocent black teenager behind bars for life—underscored how unseriously much of mainstream politics still seemed to be taking the movement. In the years since Ferguson, the Minneapolis activists had helped elect progressive-reform types to both of the Twin Cities’ governments, and secured significant new police-oversight and accountability measures. But the pace of change remained infuriatingly slow. Then, on Memorial Day 2020, came the cycle’s latest deadly churn: The police killed George “Perry” Floyd. Once again, Noor felt a disorienting heaviness as thousands of fed-up people stormed the streets—first in Minneapolis, then across the country, and ultimately in cities around the world. The activists in the city where Floyd died are tired of meetings and town halls and promises. Enough, they’ve declared in word and deed. read the complete article

Content Warning
11 Jun 2020

Gareth Bryant On Being A Black Muslim Man In America

Gareth Bryant has been on Earth for 38 years thus far. In these 38 years, he has experienced a lot. He’s dealt with racism and xenophobia. He lost himself and then found himself. He discovered faith. And he never let anything stop him. Every morning, Bryant wakes up and prays Fajr. If he doesn’t have work that day, he goes back to sleep. He is currently a chaplain at Northwell Health Lenox-Hill Hospital. He explained that the coronavirus has everyone on edge. People look at one another strangely and there is a lot of paranoia. Before working at the hospital, he did prison chaplaincy. When visiting patients at the psychiatric ward at the hospital, he cannot help but think of the similarities – the checkpoints and security measures put into place, he explained. On Sunday, June 14, Bryant will be leading a spoken word session for Young Muslims that addresses systematic racism. He’s been writing poetry since 2008; writing about anything and everything. Racism is something Bryant knows a lot about. He explained that it is impossible to grow up in NYC and not witness police brutality on any level. “It’s impossible,” he repeated. He remembers being in junior high school and being racially profiled by the police. He remembers being “randomly” stopped by police during Stop and Frisk. “I experienced these types of things. It’s racist, but it’s also xenophobic,” he said. Ironically, he explained, the cops that have harassed him have been non-white officers. Which brings him to racism in the Muslim community. “It’s impossible to be a Muslim in our modern times and not experience any form of racism or xenophobia. I personally witnessed and experienced more xenophobia from Muslims than I ever experienced from non-Muslims.” read the complete article


11 Jun 2020

The Portuguese rediscovering their country's Muslim past

It should not be too surprising that Arabic influences can still be found in the Portuguese language. For centuries, the region was ruled by Arabic-speaking Muslims known as Moors. In the 8th century, Muslims sailed from North Africa and took control of what is now Portugal and Spain. Known in Arabic as al-Andalus, the region joined the expanding Umayyad Empire and prospered under Muslim rule. But that legacy has been largely forgotten in the predominantly Catholic country. In Portuguese schools, the five centuries of Muslim rule are studied only briefly. Textbooks place more emphasis on a triumphant "reconquest" of the territory by Christian rulers, aided by crusaders, that ended in the 13th century. Since then, Portuguese identity has been constructed in opposition to the Moors, historically depicted as enemies. But not everyone agrees with this version of history. "A great part of the population converted to Islam," explains Filomena Barros, a professor of Medieval History at the University of Evora. Research has suggested that by the 10th century, half the population of the Iberian peninsula was Muslim. For Barros, Muslims who sailed from North Africa were no more foreign than the Christian kings and armies from northern Europe who conquered the territory before and after them. "The Iberian Peninsula kept being conquered," she says. "It's interesting we don't talk about the Roman conquest, or the Visigothic conquest, but we always talk about the Islamic conquest." read the complete article


11 Jun 2020

Palestinian-Israelis protest as Muslim cemetery in Jaffa bulldozed to make way for housing project

Dozens of Palestinian residents of the city of Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, protested on Tuesday evening against the destruction of a historic Muslim cemetery by Israeli authorities. Bulldozers lon Monday evening, accompanied by large numbers of Israeli police, began digging up graves in the Isaf Cemetery - which dates back to Ottoman times - to make way for the construction of a privately-owned housing project. Prior to the creation of Israel, Jaffa was a predominantly Palestinian Arab city. Most of its Palestinian residents were forcibly expelled by Zionist militias in the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe), during the establishment of Israel. Today, around 16,000 Palestinians, who hold Israeli citizenship, remain in Jaffa, which today has about 30,000 Jewish residents. Jaffa was annexed to Tel Aviv by Israel in 1950. Like most Muslim religious endowment (waqf) property, the Isaf Cemetery was placed under the control of the Israel Land Authority. Palestinian-Israelis have been unable to recover waqf land taken over the Israeli government. read the complete article


11 Jun 2020

Big Brother's Patriarchal Authoritarianism

From December 2019 to March 2020, thousands of peaceful protestors, mainly led by women, occupied hundreds of public spaces across India such as Shaheen Bagh. This around-the-clock occupation was in opposition to the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which has been called fundamentally discriminatory and anti-Muslim by the UN human rights office. While the focus of the anti-CAA protest was around questions of citizenship, the monumental role women played in it makes it a milestone in the feminist movement in India. Starting in April 2020, the Indian government started arresting the diffused female leadership of the anti-CAA movement, generally accusing them of inciting violence and even of terrorism. Some of these women include Gulfisha Fatima, a Muslim community leader; Safoora Zargar, a university student and member of the Jamia Coordination Committee who was three months pregnant at the time of arrest; Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, founders of the Pinjra Tod campaign which protests sexism on college campuses and beyond. Further, these activists were imprisoned in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting them at a serious health risk. But “India is not China”, as many like to say – India is a democracy and China a dictatorship – so how can the above two cases be compared? For such people, and for others who do not see the patriarchy of the Modi government clearly, Fincher’s concept of “patriarchal authoritarianism” in Betraying Big Brother will be useful. Under patriarchal authoritarianism, subordination of women is a fundamental element of the authoritarian state. Although Fincher’s focus is China, the patriarchal authoritarianism of Modi government is visible in the recent arrests and elsewhere. read the complete article

11 Jun 2020

In New India, a Muslim Rose Smells Different From a Hindu Rose

It took an incident in a very cosmopolitan setting among what I took to be “people like us”, fellow writers at a literary gathering, to show me that the cocoon of education and the ‘privilege’ that comes with it can only protect me so far, and no further. That one can be defined only by one’s name – because it contains a marker of one’s religious identity – was a new and altogether unpleasant realisation. That we have always been a classist society has been amply evident in ways too numerous and obvious to be recounted; but when religion is added to the mix and socio-economic factors taken away, we are left with something that eats away at the idea of India, or at least the idea of India that existed till not very long ago. Recent years have demonstrated how fragile and fallacious the link between class and bigotry is in the India that has slowly and steadily been refashioning itself. The prejudice that glimmered when the mask of political correctness slipped from a friend, colleague or neighbour, or when arguments of freedom of speech and the “right to offend” were invoked by an academic or journalist or public intellectual has given way to a militant and muscular authoritarianism. The veneer of polite society has been stripped and the fig leaf of liberalism discarded; a new sensibility among the middle and upper-middle class is making them unabashed in their display of social hostility towards the “other”. What was once said in a snide whisper or not-so-funny aside is, to use an already over-worked term, the “new normal”. Over the past few months of lockdown, it is hard to tell which is galloping faster: the coronavirus or Islamophobia? From saffron flags on vegetable carts to the widespread use of expressions such as ‘corona jihad’, from Emirati royalty entering the fray to register their dismay to our own politicians telling us that the virus has no religion, it has been a free fall. Implicit anti-Muslim feelings have given way to explicit hate-mongering. Social boycott has been compounded with economic boycott fostered with fake videos of Muslim vendors deliberately smearing fruits and vegetables with their saliva. As a people, we are split wide open. read the complete article

11 Jun 2020

Bollywood Stars Are Speaking Out About Racism in the U.S. But They're Getting Backlash for Endorsing Skin Whitening Creams

As anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd have spread across the world, Bollywood stars have spoken out against racism in the United States. But on social media, many users are calling these stars “hypocrites” for posting about anti-racism on social media while promoting skin lightening products and remaining silent about police violence against minorities in India. Priyanka Chopra, an Indian actor and singer who won the Miss World pageant in 2000, faced significant criticism online after writing on Instagram that “there is so much work to be done and it needs to starts at an individual level on a global scale” in reference to the George Floyd protests. “We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and end this hate.” Online users were quick to point out that Chopra starred in the 2008 Hindi film, Fashion, where her character feels shame for having sex with a black man. They also noted that Chopra, along with other Bollywood stars such as Disha Patani, Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, have starred in skin whitening advertisements in the past. “In India, darker skin is undesirable and fairer [skin is] considered superior by many, irrespective of class, caste, religion,” says Neha Mishra, assistant professor at Jindal Global Law School and an expert on colorism. Mishra adds that through accepting endorsement deals, stars are signaling a disapproval of “black or brown” skin. While Padukone attended a CAA protest at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in January, becoming the only A-lister from Bollywood to make a public appearance at these rallies, most have stayed silent on the violence and discrimination against India’s Muslims. Critics say they are only speaking out against racism in the United States because it is now a popular stance to take among celebrities. “Their support was a mere “in thing” to do, to reach a wider audience, while they chose not to do anything about the poor lives, migrant lives in India at all,” says Mishra. “Do they also not matter?” read the complete article


11 Jun 2020

Unwanted: Bangladesh, Malaysia reject rescued Rohingya refugees

Bangladesh has said it will not take back nearly 300 Rohingya who were detained by Malaysia after their boat was found drifting off the country's northwestern island of Langkawi, as hostility towards the mostly Muslim refugees continues to grow. Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said his country was "neither obligated nor in a position to take any more Rohingya" and urged the global community to help relocate the more than one million Rohingya who fled there after a brutal crackdown in their native Myanmar in 2017. 9) Lawyers seek Facebook posts of Myanmar leaders in Rohingya case (International) Lawyers bringing a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Myanmar of genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority have asked a United States district court to order Facebook to release posts and communications from the country's military and police. The ICJ, based in the Hague, has agreed to hear a case accusing Myanmar of genocide against the Rohingya in violation of a 1948 convention. In 2018 UN human rights investigators said that Facebook had played a key role in spreading hate speech that fuelled violence in Myanmar. Facebook has said it is working to block hate speech. A request, filed on behalf of the Gambia on June 8 with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, calls on Facebook to release "all documents and communications produced, drafted, posted or published on the Facebook page" of Myanmar military officials and police forces. read the complete article

11 Jun 2020

Top 10 books On Black Muslim History

The history of Black Muslims seems to be trapped between Bilal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Malcolm X. While these are particularly bright supernovas in the pantheon of giants from Muslim history, they are far from being the only stars in that history. Recent events have meant that many Muslims want to actively close that gap in their knowledge of Black Muslims. This isn’t just an academic interest, it is one of the recurring pieces of advice given by Black Muslims themselves when asked what the rest of the Muslim community can and should do to actively fight against racism in all its forms. So here, in no particular order, are my Top 10 books on the history of Black Muslims in the English Language. read the complete article


11 Jun 2020

Norway court jails mosque gunman Manshaus for 21 years

A Norwegian court has sentenced a gunman to 21 years in prison - with a minimum term of 14 years - for killing his teenage step-sister and opening fire at a mosque. Philip Manshaus, 22, opened fire at the al-Noor Islamic Centre in Baerum, west of the capital Oslo, last August. Several shots were fired in the mosque but nobody was seriously hurt. Manshaus was overpowered before police arrived. It was treated as an act of far-right racist terror. Police found evidence that Manshaus was inspired by Brenton Tarrant, accused of deadly attacks on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in March 2019. The 14-year minimum sentence for Manshaus is more than the minimum 10 years in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. Norway increased the minimum sentences for such cases in 2015. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Jun 2020 Edition


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