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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15 Jun 2021

Today in Islamophobia: The Washington Post editorial board calls attention to China’s genocide of Uighurs, stating “these atrocities taint the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing and should be reason for corporate sponsors to pull out.” In Canada, prosecutors have charged the assailant who killed four members of a Canadian Muslim family in London, Ontario with a terror crime, and in the UK, polls show that Muslim support for the Labor party is failing, due in part to the party’s unwillingness to tackle Islamophobia. Our recommended read of the day is by Scottie Andrew on calls from the Muslim community to put a halt to an upcoming film about the Christchurch shooting because it does not center the experiences of Muslim residents of Christchurch in its retelling. This and more below:

New Zealand

14 Jun 2021

A New Zealand Muslim group wants to halt a controversial film about the Christchurch mosque shootings they say 'whitewashes' the tragedy

An upcoming film set to focus on New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her response to the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings recently lost a producer in response to continued criticism from New Zealand Muslims and the prime minister herself. Since the film, titled "They Are Us," was announced last week, critics have denounced it for dramatizing the traumatic events of the shooting, which occurred just over two years ago, and for not centering the experiences of Muslim residents of Christchurch in its retelling. Producer Philippa Campbell departed the film this month after listening to the "concerns raised over recent days," she said in a statement obtained by the Hollywood Reporter. She wrote that she now agrees that the events of the shootings are "too raw for film at this time" and she does "not wish to be involved with a project that is causing such distress." The focus on Ardern is partly what inspired the National Islamic Youth Association of New Zealand to start a petition to halt production of the film. Sondos Qur'aan, co-chair of the association, told CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand (RNZ) that any film based on the shootings should focus on the Muslim people who experienced the violence and trauma firsthand. "Any story that is to be told about March 15 should be told through the lens of the Muslim community and capture the lived experiences of racism, discrimination and Islamophobia that Muslims face globally," Qur'aan told RNZ in an interview on Monday. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


14 Jun 2021

Canada: suspect charged with terror crimes after Muslim family killed with truck

Prosecutors in Canada have laid terrorism charges against a man accused of deliberately running over a Muslim family in London, Ontario, killing four members from three generations. The prosecution said on Monday that Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism and prosecutors have upgraded those charges under Canada’s criminal code. Police allege the incident was a planned and premeditated attack targeting Muslims. Veltman also faces one count of attempted murder due to terrorism activity. He has yet to enter a plea. Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, reacted to the new charges afterward, saying: “It is really important for us to name it as an act of terror … and it is important for us identify the terrible threat that white supremacism poses to Canada and to Canadians.” read the complete article

14 Jun 2021

Conservative MP Tim Uppal sorry for his role in the ‘barbaric cultural practices’ policy

A former Conservative cabinet minister is apologizing for not pushing against his party’s culturally divisive polices of the Stephen Harper era, including an effort to ban face coverings during citizenship ceremonies. In a Facebook post, Tory MP Tim Uppal says he has been talking to people about how to make all Canadians feel safe following the deadly attack this month on a Muslim family in London, Ont. As minister of state for multiculturalism in the Harper government, Uppal was the spokesman for a bill to ban wearing the niqab while taking the oath of citizenship. Campaigning for re-election in 2015, the party also proposed a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline people could call to tell authorities about the supposedly objectionable practices of others. Uppal says after the Liberals beat the Conservatives at the polls, he spent considerably more time talking to Canadians outside the partisan political bubble. He says it was through these conversations that he came to understand how the niqab policy and other pronouncements during the election campaign alienated Muslim Canadians and contributed to the growing problem of Islamophobia in Canada. “When it came to these policies, I should have used my seat at the table to push against divisiveness that promoted the notion of the other,” he said in the Facebook post. “I regret not being a stronger voice and sincerely apologize for my role.” read the complete article

13 Jun 2021

Anti-Muslim rhetoric has become 'mainstream' in Canadian culture & politics, says expert

In the wake of a violent attack that killed four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., last Sunday night, conversations about the roots of Islamophobia have increased among Canadians. The roots of Islamophobia can be linked to the "consistent pairing" of Muslims with terrorism and violence, according to social psychologist Stephen Wright. These misconceptions, the Simon Fraser University professor says, have permeated Canadians' shared beliefs — and that can have dire consequences. "When we set up a group of people to have an underlying view of them as threatening, this then, of course, provides much more justification for violence against them," he told Cross Country Checkup. Wright attributes it to something called implicit bias, the subconscious acceptance of a viewpoint or perspective that people aren't aware of. Jasmin Zine, a sociologist who has studied Islamophobia in Canada for more than a decade, says that the causes that may have led to this tragedy are nothing new. "What is significant about Islamophobia and distinctive about it as a form of oppression is the fact that there is this industry behind it," the Wilfred Laurier University professor said, pointing to prominent media figures and white nationalist groups, among others, who perpetuate anti-Muslim rhetoric. "However, it isn't just through those mechanisms that Islamophobia operates. It's not just fraud and conspiracy theories. It is very much part of the mainstream." The conditions that have spurred anti-Muslim hate and rhetoric in Canada have existed for years, according to Zine, who cited key political decisions and security laws, like Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act, that came into effect after the attacks of 9/11. read the complete article

14 Jun 2021

Canada is holding a national summit on Islamophobia. Will it kick-start real change?

Ahead of an impending summit to fight Islamophobia, the head of the National Council for Canadian Muslims wants one thing to be clear: politicians in attendance must go beyond rehashing the messages of hope and sorrow the Muslim community has heard before. “What we need to be clear about is that the summit is not a conference,” executive director Mustafa Farooq told the Star. “The summit is really where we’re figuring out and negotiating out timetables for action.” A date for the gathering has not been set, but some agenda items are already taking shape. “It’s going to be about taking action on things like appointing a special envoy on Islamophobia, action on potentially introducing new legislation for dismantling white supremacist groups,” Farooq said. A lengthy list of Muslim and human rights groups backed the initial call for the event, also appealing to other levels of government to fold anti-Islamophobia education into school curriculums, end discriminatory legislation and develop new approaches to tackling street harassment. read the complete article

14 Jun 2021

Canada’s Islamophobia problem is real. It’s time we dealt with it

From fierce opposition against Motion 103, a motion in the provincial legislature to recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear and condemn all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination, to the bill forbidding teachers, police officers and many government officials from wearing religious symbols in Quebec, anti-Muslim hatred and sentiments have seeped into Canadian institutions and politics. We speak to Iqra Khalid, the Liberal MP who authored Motion 103, on what the work of dismantling Islamophobia in Canada means. read the complete article


14 Jun 2021

Elderly Muslim man beaten and has beard shaved by men chanting Hindu slogans

An elderly Muslim man was allegedly attacked by a group of men who forced him to shave his beard and shout Hindu religious slogans in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. A video of the incident from the Ghaziabad district of the state, which borders the national capital Delhi, has now gone viral. The elderly man, identified as Abdul Samad Saifi, says in another video that he was in an auto rickshaw when two men jumped in and started beating him up after covering his face with a piece of cloth. Mr Saifi says they took him to a forest, locked him up in a room and started thrashing him. He says the men forced him to shout Hindu nationalist slogan “Jai Shri Ram” (glory to Lord Ram, a Hindu deity). The elderly man says there were at least five men and that they at one stage put a gun to his head, threatening to kill him. The men told him that they had killed many Muslims before, he says. Mr Saifi says he was punched, and beaten up with wooden sticks. read the complete article

15 Jun 2021

Indian court grants bail to activists arrested over Delhi riots

A court in India has granted bail to three young activists arrested under a stringent terror law in connection with the deadly anti-Muslim riots that erupted in the capital New Delhi last year. The bail granted to them on Tuesday relates to a case in which the police alleged they were part of a “larger conspiracy” in the Delhi violence that followed protests against a controversial citizenship law passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in 2019. Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, members of a feminist collective, and university student Asif Iqbal Tanha were arrested in May last year under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). First introduced in 1967 as an “anti-terror law”, the UAPA allows detention of an accused person for up to 180 days without charges. The law has been made tougher in recent years after a number of amendments gave sweeping powers to law-enforcement agencies, triggering outrage by rights groups and international organizations. read the complete article


14 Jun 2021

Al Jazeera condemns threats to Indian journalist for report on Covid-19 funds to US Hindu groups

News organisation Al Jazeera Media Network on Sunday condemned the online harassment and death threats made by Hindutva social media users to Indian journalist Raqib Hameed Naik for his articles on the alleged misuse of Covid-19 relief funds in the United States. The Al Jazeera articles, published in April, said that federal Covid-19 relief funding amounting to $833,000 (over Rs 6.10 crore) had been given to the Hindu American Foundation and four other US foundations which, the reports alleged, had “ties to Hindu supremacist and religious groups”. The articles said that the Hindu American Foundation, Vishwa Hindu Parishad America, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, Infinity Foundation, and Sewa International had received the funds under three programs “aimed to provide economic relief to distressed businesses and keep their workforce employed during the Covid-19 crisis”. One of the Al Jazeera articles quoted a statement by a group called the Coalition to Stop Genocide in India, alleging that the five groups “have ‘existential links’ with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ‘fountainhead of Hindu supremacist ideology’ and ‘ideological parent’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party”. read the complete article

12 Jun 2021

'A scandal': Andrews government signed contracts with Chinese business linked to Uighur labour

Liberal MP David Davis says "it is a scandal" the Andrews government has signed contracts with a Chinese business with links to Uighur labour "without proper checks and balances". The Andrews government has purchased train parts for a $2.4 billion metro project from Chinese suppliers linked to Uighur workers, choosing to remain with the company because finding a new supplier would cause delays and cost too much. read the complete article

United Kingdom

14 Jun 2021

Muslim support for Labour party falling, polling shows

Keir Starmer has been warned not to take Muslim voters for granted, as polling shows support for the Labour party, and his personal ratings, falling among Muslim communities. Muslim voters have traditionally been strongly aligned to Labour, with constituencies with large Muslim populations considered among the party’s safest seats. But since the end of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, amid a swing to the right in domestic and foreign policy, and concerns over Starmer’s willingness to tackle Islamophobia in the party, that historic alignment is being increasingly called into question. According to the poll of 504 British Muslims, carried out by Survation on behalf of the Labour Muslim Network, 72% said they identified with Labour and the party had a net favorability rating of +42%. However, 37% said their view of Labour had become more unfavorable in the past 12 months, as opposed to 25% whose view of the party had become more favorable – a net -12% drop in favorability. read the complete article


14 Jun 2021

Myanmar’s pro-Rohingya social media campaign gathers mass support

Hundreds of thousands of Myanmar’s anti-military government protesters have flooded social media with pictures of themselves wearing black in a show of solidarity with the Rohingya, a minority group that is among the most persecuted in the country. Since the military overthrew civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power in a February 1 coup, an anti-military movement demanding a return to democracy has grown to include fighting for ethnic minority rights. The mostly-Muslim Rohingya – long viewed as interlopers from Bangladesh by many in Myanmar – have for decades been denied citizenship, rights, access to services and freedom of movement. The military has long claimed the crackdown was justified to root out rebels, and Aung San Suu Kyi defended the army’s conduct by travelling to the Hague to rebut charges of genocide at the UN’s top court. The Myanmar public was largely unsympathetic to the Rohingya’s plight, while activists and journalists reporting on the issues faced vitriolic abuse online. On Sunday, activists and civilians took to social media to post pictures of themselves wearing black and flashing a three-finger salute of resistance, in posts tagged “#Black4Rohingya”. “Justice must [be] served for each of you and each of us in Myanmar,” prominent rights activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi said on Twitter. Local media also showed a small protest in Myanmar’s commercial hub Yangon, with black-clad demonstrators holding signs in Burmese that said they were “protesting for the oppressed Rohingya”. read the complete article


14 Jun 2021

The horrors of Uyghur genocide will not be hidden

Under the guise of counterterrorism and anti-extremism, China has forcibly incarcerated more than 1 million Uyghurs in brainwashing camps intended to wipe out their culture, traditions and language. It has subjected them to forced labor conditions. It has carried out a punitive population-control strategy to reduce the Uyghur birthrate while boosting the growth of majority Han Chinese in southern areas of Xinjiang where the Uyghurs have long predominated. All of these atrocities taint the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing and should be reason for corporate sponsors to pull out. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 15 Jun 2021 Edition


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