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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16 Jun 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Kansas Republican group defends decision to invite speaker who compared Islam to cancer. The Muslim Council of Britain– the U.K.’s largest Muslim umbrella body– calls on the government to ensure racism against Muslims is taken seriously, after Boris Johnson’s announcement of a commission to tackle racial inequality in the country. Our recommended read today is by Zainab Iqbal on the precarity of Black Muslim lives in America, titled “I Shouldn’t Have to be Afraid to Just Live.” This, and more, below:

United States

16 Jun 2020

‘I Shouldn’t Have To Be Afraid To Just Live:’ Alhassan Umar From The Bronx Goes Viral In Brooklyn | Recommended Read

When Alhassan Umar was almost two years old, he moved to the Bronx from Ghana. A few months later, 23-year-old Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by the police in that very borough. About twenty-two years later, George Floyd was also killed. Now, Umar, a 23-year-old Bronxite himself, has had enough. It’s time to speak up, he said. And speak up he has. On a warm Sunday afternoon, he spoke to us about escaping his Muslim identity and then embracing it, what his Blackness means to him, and his speech at the Barclays Center that went viral. Umar is a Black Muslim. He has four younger sisters and he fears for their life all the time. He fears for his own life. “Every time I hear police sirens or if a cop car passes by me, I walk slowly. My heart starts beating fast even though I’ve done nothing wrong,” he said. “Because I’ve seen way too many videos where if I was to encounter them, things will probably not end well for me. And I shouldn’t have to feel like that. I shouldn’t have to be afraid to just live.” He then mentioned a hadith (word of the Prophet) that said “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” “The America I would like to see is an America that applies this hadith. An America where every person I come across cares for me and has my best self-interest at heart,” he said. “Where we are not selfish. Where we don’t hurt one another. Where we don’t watch people starve right in front of us and do nothing. Where we don’t judge one another. Where we help one another and love one another. That’s the America I would like to see.” read the complete article

Recommended Read
16 Jun 2020

Muslims Join to Demand Police Reforms, Back Black-Led Groups

“The victimization of unarmed Black Muslims has a long and troubling history,” said a coalition statement signed by more than 90 civil rights, advocacy, community and faith organizations. “As American Muslims, we will draw on our diversity, our strength, and our resilience to demand these reforms because Black lives matter.” Proposed changes include prohibiting racial profiling and maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, such as choke holds; making it legally easier for prosecutors to hold law enforcement accountable; and redirecting police funding "into community health, education, employment and housing programs.” The statement also calls for establishing “a federal standard that use of force be reserved as a last resort, only when absolutely necessary” and after exhausting all reasonable options. “I’m hopeful and heartened by the number and diversity of groups that have signed on,” said Kameelah Rashad, president of Muslim Wellness Foundation, also a co-convener. “That says to me that there’s at least recognition that we as a whole can no longer separate Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, surveillance, and violence. People are reconciling with the notion that means our struggles are intertwined.” Now, she said, is the time for action. “It’s vital that non-Black Muslims develop a respect for the resilience and resistance of Black people.” read the complete article

16 Jun 2020

Kansas Republican group defends decision to invite speaker who compared Islam to cancer

The Dodge City Republican Expo on June 27 will include appearances by three U.S. Senate candidates — Rep. Roger Marshall, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Johnson County Commissioner Dave Lindstrom — and a debate between two candidates to succeed Marshall in the heavily Republican 1st Congressional District, former Lt. Governor Tracey Mann and Finney County Commissioner Bill Clifford. It will also feature a speech by John Bennett, a former Oklahoma state representative who called for the removal of U.S. mosques in 2017. He is now vice president of Understanding The Threat, a group that offers training to police departments on how “to dismantle the Marxist/communist and jihadi networks inside the United States,” according to its website. Bennett has previously compared Islam to cancer and distributed a questionnaire to Muslim students asking them to answer if they beat their wives before he would agree to meet with them. Laura Tawater, the president of the Wild West Republican Women’s Club and the 1st District Republican vice chair who organized the expo, has rejected the request to cancel Bennett. The group’s hate message is not restricted to Muslims. According to CAIR, the founder of Understanding the Threat, former FBI agent John Guandolo, called Black Lives Matter a communist organization during a radio interview last week and said “we should round up the leaders and execute them for trying to revolt and overthrow the government. read the complete article


16 Jun 2020

Longread: Genealogy of Islamophobia and Construction of Muslims as Enemy in India

Being a Muslim in India is one of the biggest threats since the last few years, particularly in the reign of the BJP. I think the prevailing narrative has its base in the predecessors of radical Hindu ideologue. The consequential series of pity narrative and villainizing Muslims in the eye of Indians got manifested as terrorists, anti-nationals, cow murderers, inequity towards women in Islam, beef issue, Islamophobic cartoons, appropriation in the newspapers, systematic targeting of Muslims regarding anti-CAA protest by linking these Muslim students cum activists to Delhi riots and very incapacitated apprehension of Islam as the threat to Hinduism. In this article, an effort is made to explore Islamophobia in the thoughts and writings of Hindu Nationalist ideologoes which was later transformed in the speeches, interviews and the podcasts of BJP leaders which provided a base to its increase in our day to day lives. After providing a background to this, my focus will be on the strategy and propaganda adopted by ultra-nationalist organizations of Hindutva and the political leaders of the BJP – who are working in the various dimensions of characterizing Muslims as Islamophobic. The BJP and RSS act out the Islamophobic chronicle at the lowest level in the country. read the complete article


16 Jun 2020

America’s Disdain for Black Lives Extends to Africa

The present unrest is but the latest wave in the struggle for justice and the structural change needed to protect the human rights of people of African descent. Africans know this. They know it in part because they have experienced the same racism and militarism in U.S. foreign policy toward the continent from colonial times to the present. This history includes U.S. support for Belgian King Leopold II’s brutal rule of Congo at the end of the 19th century, which claimed as many as 10-15 million lives, and the U.S. role in the capture of Nelson Mandela by the apartheid South African state in 1962. What is less well known in both the United States and in Africa is Washington is responsible today for ongoing violence against Africans in Africa. U.S. militarism on the continent inevitably results in the killing of unarmed civilians in Somalia and elsewhere in Africa, mirroring the police killings of black Americans in the United States. The growth of the U.S. military footprint in Africa is a white American knee on Africa’s neck. But Washington’s violent behavior in Africa is not captured on smartphone videos. A sharp militarization of U.S. relations with Africa followed 9/11 and the so-called global war on terrorism. In 2003, the Bush administration established the first permanent U.S. base on the continent, in Djibouti. U.S. Africa Command was created in 2007. U.S. troop presence rapidly increased by nearly 170 percent. By 2016, special operations commandos in sub-Saharan Africa soon represented around 17 percent of those deployed globally. Between 2015 and 2018, U.S. Defense Department counterterrorism aid to African countries more than tripled. Especially under the Trump administration, drone bases have proliferated, and airstrikes have spiked, particularly in Somalia and Libya. In the first two years of the Trump presidency, drone strikes in Somalia alone were more than double the total number of raids there during the previous two U.S. presidencies combined. read the complete article

16 Jun 2020

Traffickers demand payments for Rohingya stranded at sea

People traffickers holding hundreds of Rohingya refugees at sea are demanding payments from their families before they will release them from boats off the shores of Southeast Asia, relatives and rights groups say. Several hundred Rohingya, members of a Muslim minority from Myanmar fleeing persecution at home and refugee camps in Bangladesh, have been stranded for months after countries sealed their borders to block the spread of the coronavirus. Three people who said their relatives were at sea told Reuters that traffickers had demanded money to release them from boats that have been off Southeast Asia since February, trying to find a place to land. read the complete article

16 Jun 2020

OP-ED: The big reveal of institutional racism

Floyd’s murder re-energized the Black Lives Matter movement. Over the past couple of weeks, protests have erupted across the largest cities in the US, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has publicly voiced his support for the protests. Even through this pandemic, people felt compelled to protest racism and oppression, knowing that they are endangering themselves by taking part in gatherings. Sympathetic protests have been staged in Montreal, London, Sydney, and other cities. Protesters demand social reform to address the unjust status quo of institutional racism and the defunding of law enforcement agencies. They argue that the money would be better used to fund services such as education and health care, which would improve opportunities for disadvantaged communities. As a direct result of the protests, the Minneapolis City Council has voted to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. In the light of George Floyd’s murder, it is time for Carlson and the American right to stop denying the existence of institutional racism. The establishment that marginalizes people based on the colour of their skin can no longer turn a deaf ear to voices of dissent. While we criticize America, we must not forget to clean up our own house. Institutional racism and police brutality exists even in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, the authorities have ordered marriage registrars not to allow Rohingya refugees to marry Bangladeshi citizens. This is a direct infringement of the rights of the Rohingya, and of the Bangladeshi citizens who wish to marry Rohingya, too. read the complete article


16 Jun 2020

Covid-19 in the World's Largest Refugee Camp: Dr. Sanjay Gupta's coronavirus podcast for June 15

It's World Refugee Day on June 20, a time to commemorate the most vulnerable populations around the world. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta turns to Bex Wright, who covers the Rohingya refugee crisis for CNN, and David Miliband, the CEO of the International Rescue Committee, to talk about how we can never be free of a global pandemic unless everywhere in the world is safe. read the complete article

United Kingdom

16 Jun 2020

Muslim Council of Britain Fears Anti-Muslim Prejudice Won't Be Addressed in Racism Commission

The U.K.'s largest Muslim umbrella body is calling on the government to ensure racism against Muslims is taken seriously, after Boris Johnson announced a commission to tackle racial inequality in the country. The prime minister has announced the launch of a racial equality commission to look at "all aspects of racial inequality" after people took to the streets across the country to protest racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. Critics have come out to say that this echoes previous investigations that led to little action and has been announced as a "deflection" away from Black Lives Matter protests or from the fact that those from Black, Asian, minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to die from COVID-19. The government is still yet to officially publish leaked recommendations from a report looking into the racial disparity in coronavirus deaths. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) fears that prejudice against Muslims may be ignored and not actually addressed in the commission. read the complete article

16 Jun 2020

Dismay as No 10 adviser is chosen to set up UK race inequality commission

The new government commission on racial inequalities is being set up by a No 10 adviser who has cast doubt on the existence of institutional racism and condemned previous inquiries for fostering a “culture of grievance”, it has emerged. Munira Mirza, the head of the No 10 policy unit, is leading much of the work to form the commission on race and ethnic disparities announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday after the global wave of Black Lives Matter protests, the Guardian has been told. It is understood that Mirza has said she hopes to recruit Trevor Phillips as part of the commission. Phillips, a former chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, would be a controversial choice, having previously referred to UK Muslims as being “a nation within a nation”. The Institute of Race Relations thinktank said it would be hard to have confidence in the commission’s outcomes. “Any enquiry into inequality has to acknowledge structural and systemic factors. Munira Mirza’s previous comments describe a ‘grievance culture’ within the anti-racist field and she has previously argued that institutional racism is ‘a perception more than a reality’,” a spokesperson said. “It is difficult to have any confidence in policy recommendations from someone who denies the existence of the very structures that produce the social inequalities experienced by black communities.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 16 Jun 2020 Edition


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