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 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) will host a private screening in Washington D.C. of the BBC documentary “India: the Modi Question,” during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the country, meanwhile in the UK, police caught a far-right extremist inspired by the Islamophobic Christchurch terrorist making “submachine gun and ammunition” and collecting terrorism material, and in India, an Apple employee in Bengaluru publicly expressed his disappointment with the company’s inaction around the Islamophobia that he he experienced from colleagues. Our recommended read of the day is by Kaanita Iyer for CNN on the appointment of Nusrat Choudhury who has made history as the first Muslim woman to join the federal judicial bench in the United States. This and more below:

United States

First Muslim woman confirmed as federal judge | Recommended Read

Nusrat Choudhury was confirmed Thursday as a federal judge by the US Senate, making history as the first Muslim woman and the first Bangladeshi American to join the federal judicial bench. Choudhury currently serves as a legal director for the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she has pushed for police reform with a focus on litigating discriminatory practices. According to the ACLU, her work includes challenging the Milwaukee Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy and the New York Police Department’s surveillance practices post 9/11, which have been criticized as discriminatory against Muslim Americans. Choudhury is only the country’s second Muslim American federal judge – following Quraishi’s confirmation – and her historic confirmation highlights the lack of diversity among federal judges, by race and ethnicity, and gender. read the complete article

Mass. high court vacates convictions against man whose attorney made racist posts

The highest court in Massachusetts has vacated sex trafficking convictions against a Dorchester man after the discovery of racist social media posts by his lawyer. Anthony Dew, a Black man of Muslim faith, was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to human trafficking charges. But the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled to vacate his conviction and remand the case for a new trial because of the racist behavior and Facebook posts made and circulated by his court-appointed attorney, the late Richard Doyle. In 2016, Doyle encouraged him to plead guilty in exchange for having a rape charge against him dropped. The SJC ruling said that Doyle's public social media posts and his behavior toward Dew were so biased that "we cannot credibly assume that Doyle's representation was not affected by his virulent anti-Muslim and racist views." In a concurring opinion, retiring Justice Elspeth Cypher wrote that she wanted to clarify that there was no place for racist behavior in court and "once an actual conflict has been established there is no need to prove that the actual conflict prejudiced the defendant." "We must be aware of and concerned with the confidence of not just this defendant, and not just all Black and Muslim clients represented by Attorney Doyle, but rather all Black persons and members of the Muslim faith in our community, not simply those who have come into contact with the criminal justice system," Cypher wrote. read the complete article


The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act is US Law. Where Are the Sanctions?

On June 17, 2020, at the stroke of a pen, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy (UHRP) Act became law in the United States. It was the first piece of legislation focused on the rights of the Uyghur people anywhere in the world. Coming at a time of mounting reports of mass internment, the UHRP Act was a beacon of hope, and welcomed by Uyghurs worldwide. Three years on, the UHRP Act has seen only token implementation. Tokenism isn’t enough to fight a genocide. The Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkestan are experiencing ongoing crimes against humanity and genocide at the hands of the Chinese government. As former editor Ambassador Beth Van Schaack wrote for Just Security in 2021, “it is not necessary to wait for a group to be destroyed in whole or in part” before invoking the Genocide Convention. The key, she continued, is finding ways to actuate “the preventative potential of the Genocide Convention — the promise made by Raphael Lemkin of ‘no more extermination, no more mass killings, no more concentration camps, no more sterilizations, no more breaking up of families.’” The scale of the abuses against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples is staggering, with an estimated two to three million people detained without charge or trial in a giant mass internment program. Then there are the forced sterilizations, forced labor, and other atrocity crimes. read the complete article

Protests planned for Modi's US visit over India human rights

U.S. rights groups plan protests next week against India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to Washington over what they say is India's deteriorating human rights situation. The Indian American Muslim Council, Peace Action, Veterans for Peace and Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition plan to gather near the White House on June 22 when Modi is due to meet U.S. President Joe Biden. Washington hopes for closer ties with the world's largest democracy, which is sees as a counterweight to China, but rights advocates worry that geopolitics will overshadow human rights concerns. The United States has said these include government targeting of religious minorities, dissidents and journalists. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have invited policy makers, journalists and analysts next week to a screening in Washington of a BBC documentary on Modi that questioned his leadership during the deadly 2002 Gujarat riots. read the complete article

Rights groups to screen BBC’s Narendra Modi documentary before his US visit

Two prominent global human rights groups – Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) – announced that they will hold a private screening in Washington DC of the BBC documentary on Narendra Modi banned in India. Indian prime minister Modi is going on a state visit to the US, hosted by US president Joe Biden, from 21 June and will be in America till 24 June. Just two days ahead of the visit, HRW and Amnesty will hold a private screening of the BBC documentary titled “India: the Modi Question” for audiences that include policymakers, journalists and analysts, it was reported on Tuesday. HRW said it wanted the screening to serve as a reminder that the documentary had been banned in India, according to Reuters. The documentary, according to the BBC, investigates tensions between Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and the country’s Muslim minority. read the complete article


Madrid celebrates its Muslim past in Spain’s new museum

A crucial part of Madrid’s Islamic heritage goes on display for the first time towards the end of this month as a new museum opens its doors to the public in the Spanish capital. One of the star attractions of the Galeria de Colecciones Reales is part of Madrid’s original Umayyad fortified wall. While the discovery of this medieval wall is not new, the language used to promote the exhibit signals that after years of vacillating, Spain’s capital is finally prepared to embrace its Muslim past. Drawing from the latest archaeological evidence, the museum endorses the narrative – long widely accepted in academic circles – that Emir Muhammad I of Córdoba founded Madrid in the ninth century. “Madrid is the only European capital with Islamic origins,” said Álvaro Soler, the archaeologist and curator responsible for the exhibit. Soler added that this fact has long been an inconvenient truth: “When Felipe II decided to establish the capital in Madrid [in 1561], he was embroiled in religious wars against the Turks. He found himself facing the paradox that he was going to put the capital in a Muslim city. And that’s how the whole process of manipulating the city’s history began.” The archaeological record reveals the true story. read the complete article


Apple employee in Bengaluru alleges Islamophobia, harassment; quits after HR inaction

An Apple India employee allegedly resigned after the company failed to address issues of 'misconduct, harassment and islamophobic comments from colleagues’. A man, who claimed to be a former employee at Apple India, has alleged that he was forced to quit after facing workplace harassment, Mint reported. Khalid Parvez took to LinkedIn to share his ordeal and added that he had resigned before securing a new placement. He accused the Apple Bengaluru office’s HR department of bullying and disregard for mental health issues. After raising a ‘grievance related to mental harassment, verbal abuse, Islamophobia and managerial errors’ with the HR for the first time in 11 years of work experience, Parvez shared his disappointment over the inaction. Initially asked to ‘trust the system’, the former sales manager wrote on the employment-focused platform that he was assured of an investigation in the matter. However, after a two-month-long inquiry, Parvez was met with denial and counter-accusations from the employee relations (ER) team, he claimed. read the complete article


The Rohingya Crisis and the Myth of Myanmar Sovereignty

The Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military, has used the norm of sovereignty to justify its brutal crackdown on the Rohingya minority while avoiding international pressure, stating it is an internal matter. Indeed, some other countries cited the norm of sovereignty to avoid taking action on the Rohingya crisis. They have argued that the crisis is an internal matter for Myanmar and that it should be resolved through bilateral negotiations. The myth of Myanmar sovereignty has allowed the junta to commit atrocities with impunity. In order to end the Rohingya crisis, the international community must debunk this myth and take action to hold the Tatmadaw accountable. It has been almost six years since over 1 million Rohingya refugees entered Bangladesh, desperately seeking to avoid a brutal crackdown by the Myanmar military. Since then, Bangladesh has been trying to repatriate the stranded Rohingya through bilateral and multilateral means. However, there is still no concrete hope of a sustainable Rohingya repatriation. The responsibility to protect (R2P) norm entails that sovereignty comes with responsibility. That means if a state fails to protect its people from internal or external harm, the international community will have not only the right but the obligation to intervene to protect human rights. The Rohingya crisis can be considered a blatant failure of international protection, which is evident in all three pillars of R2P. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Midlands far-right extremist was making “submachine gun for religious war”

A far-right extremist from Leamington Spa was caught making a “submachine gun and ammunition” and collecting terrorism material, say police. During the trial at Birmingham Crown Court the jury heard how Ben Styles, 25, was inspired by the Islamophobic Christchurch terrorist and making weapons in his garage with the aim of starting “a religious war”. Styles had acquired various tools including a lathe and a drill press and was making a gun when Counter Terrorism officers from the West Midlands arrested him and searched his home in Plymouth Place on 12 April 2021. Prosecutor Matthew Brooks detailed how Styles had travelled to New Zealand shortly before the Christchurch terror attack in 2019. The massacre of 51 Muslim worshippers shot to death by a far-right terrorist sent shockwaves around the world. Styles reportedly became fascinated by the Christchurch terrorist and collected his manifesto and a video of the notorious massacre according to police. Mr Brooks said Styles wrote a manifesto in which he stated that he was on a “mission” and “being in a religious war against the Jews and other targets of extreme right-wing terrorists”. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 16 Jun 2023 Edition


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