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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02 Jun 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom condemns police brutality against African Americans in the United States. In India, video emerges of a doctor’s Islamophobic tirade against Muslims in which he blames the community for spreading coronavirus in the country. Our recommended read today is by Joshua Geltzer on the ongoing protests against police brutality in the U.S., and the actions of an administration that made the protests an inevitability. This, and more, below:

United States

02 Jun 2020

Don’t Let Trump Say the “American Carnage” of 2020 is What He Claimed in 2016. It’s Not.| Recommended Read

President Donald Trump is already trying to convince Americans that what his supporters are calling the “American carnage” of 2020 is the one Trump falsely warned about in 2016 and 2017. First, without sharing any factual basis, he tweeted on Saturday, “It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!” Then, without any legal basis, he tweeted on Sunday, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” But the violence we’re seeing right now is not the so-called “American carnage” Trump described in 2016 as he simultaneously claimed only he could lead the country out of it. As November approaches, we can’t let Trump scare Americans into believing his version of events. The insidious core of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was that Americans should be full of fear—hate-fueled fear. Trump inflated and intertwined a number of threats, conjuring an America under siege from jihadist terrorists, immigrants pouring over the border, and inner-city violence. This was, relentlessly, Trump’s trio of topics at campaign rallies: ISIS, Mexican immigrants, and Chicago’s murder rate. He didn’t need to be explicit—though sometimes he was anyway—that the first claim scapegoated Muslim Americans, the second Latino and Latina Americans, and the third black Americans. It was enough to repeat endlessly the three claims—and to link them, by falsely asserting that terrorists were entering America through our border with Mexico and that immigrants were fueling terrorism and other crimes—for Trump to run a campaign driven by fear. In turn, his most outrageous campaign promises were presented as responses to the very threats Trump mischaracterized: a Muslim ban, purportedly to stop terrorists from entering the United States; a border wall, purportedly to keep out immigrants; and an indulgence of rough police tactics, purportedly to get tough on crime. Once Trump took office, he didn’t walk back his incendiary rhetoric. He doubled down on it. In an astonishingly dark inaugural address, Trump spoke of “American carnage” that did not exist, at least not as he described it. But he’d already conjured it for enough voters to get himself elected. read the complete article

Recommended Read
02 Jun 2020

From Orientalism To Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim Rhetoric And The Rise Of Hate Crimes In America

The terms Islam, Arab, and Middle Eastern have long been conflated with each other, and are increasingly depicted in an unfavorable light. These negative attitudes spiked considerably during the aftermath of 9/11, with the FBI reporting a 1,700 percent increase of hate crimes against Muslim Americans between 2000 to 2001. Discrimination towards Muslim Americans was present before the attacks, relating to Islam being frequently portrayed by the media as violent and barbaric. Afterward, the group faced a tremendous upsurge of negative stereotypes. The lasting racial and religious animosity has left Muslims, Arabs, Middle Easterners, and those who share stereotyped resemblances to these groups fearful of potential hostility and hatred from other groups. While the topic of Islamophobia in the United States has been more widely covered after 9/11, anti-Muslim attitudes date back thousands of years. Historically, negative images of Islam have pervaded popular and political discourse. As Palestinian writer and intellectual Edward Said famously explored in his seminal work Orientalism, published in 1978, there is a vast history of distorted views of the Orient through the eyes of the West, including the U.S. Islam was and still is largely depicted as monolithic; a large and diverse group of peoples, with unique cultures, languages, and histories, are lumped together as violent, barbaric, and underdeveloped. In 1981, Said published Covering Islam, which primarily focused on Western media images of Islam. Whereas the old Orientalist image was of a distant, primitive, and static people, the new sense of Islamic threat that was exacerbated by the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis had re-coded Islam into something violent, oppressive, fanatic, and too close to the West. The rise of Islamophobia is generally found to have taken place since the 1990s during the post-Cold War era. It differs from Said’s interpretation of Orientalism in that it is a wholly negative conception in which racialized Muslims are seen as a menace to Western societies. The exotic and mystified “Other” had transformed into a clear-cut image fueled by prejudices and stereotypes. read the complete article

02 Jun 2020

Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom condemns racism

The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom condemns the murders and brutal treatment of African Americans. The use of excessive, unwarranted, and unnecessary deadly force against Black members of our society are against our values of decency and safety for all peoples living in our country. Our Sisterhood is upholding and working toward social justice for all people. Racism in our society must be addressed beyond the actions of individuals. It is ingrained in our society and requires structural, social, and cultural change. Our Sisterhood stands in solidarity with our African American sisters and brothers. We will work together as allies to deepen our understanding of the issues of civil rights, racial inequality, and brutality facing our society. We will strengthen our abilities to address these grave concerns, not just with words but with compassionate and resolute actions. The women of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom stand for justice when anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish hate targets one of our communities. We will continue to stand against bias and racism aimed at all people. None of us live in a safe and just society until we all live in a safe and just society. read the complete article


02 Jun 2020

What Muslim Canadians can teach Asian communities about the discrimination that sadly lies ahead

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic is unfortunately reminiscent of 9/11 – except that it is now Asian-Canadians (and in particular, Chinese-Canadians) who have become prime targets of xenophobia. There has already been an uptick in the number of hate crimes. Many in the Asian-Canadian community feel the spectre of racism while out in public. I have spent almost two decades fighting xenophobia directed against Muslim communities in Canada, from hate crimes to discriminatory employment practices to state-sanctioned rendition policies. What I’ve learned might be useful for Asian-Canadian advocacy organizations needing to push back on current and future discrimination. Such organizations should document incidents, no matter how small, because such data is vital for public policy initiatives. As such, there should be ample publicity in community publications about what constitutes an incident, and where individuals can report this information. Currently, the Chinese Canadian National Council has an online reporting form, and there should be open lines of communication with police forces to ensure that any incidents are promptly investigated. These advocacy organizations should also educate community members about their basic rights as provided by the Charter. Efforts should be under way to contact school boards to ensure that once students return to the classroom, there will be heightened vigilance of anti-Asian discrimination. All of the above requires human resources and money. As such, members of the business and legal communities need to step up and offer funds and their time. read the complete article

02 Jun 2020

Muslim teen in hijab punched repeatedly during alleged hate crime on transit

Police are asking for the public's help identifying a suspect in an alleged hate crime that targeted a Muslim teenager who was wearing a hijab on public transit. Authorities said the 17-year-old victim and her mother boarded a bus in downtown Vancouver on the afternoon of May 21, and that a fellow passenger began mocking her ethnicity and asking if she was Canadian. The suspect then told her, "Your smile is making me want to punch you in the face," or something to that effect, before punching the teenager in the head several times and partially knocking off her headscarf, according to a news release from Metro Vancouver Transit Police. The victim's mother and another passenger intervened, and the suspect got off the bus at Hastings Street and Jackson Avenue. The Good Samaritan followed her and called 911 only to be attacked as well, police said. Authorities allege the suspect took off her boots and began hitting the Good Samaritan, then brandished a knife and ran away. read the complete article


02 Jun 2020

Indian doctor shows Islamophobia in hate speech against Muslims over coronavirus

An Indian doctor has been recorded in an exposé-style video engaging in blatant Islamophobia and hate speech against Muslims, especially the members of Tableeghi Jamaat, stressing that "these people are terrorists". In videos posted by anti-Islamophobia activist CJ Werleman and fact-checker Mohammed Zubair, the principal of Kanpur's Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi (GVSM) Memorial Medical College, Arati Dave Lalchandani, can be seen talking about Muslims in a derogatory manner. "These people are terrorists and we are giving them VIP treatment," Dr Lalchandani — a cardiologist by profession — can be heard saying. "We are wasting our resources on such people and getting our doctors sick for them. "We use almost 100 [coronavirus] test kits everyday on them. If they didn’t exist here, we would not be needing these kits. These people should be beaten and sent to jungles and jails and kept in solitary confinement," she said in the video. The woman then seems to appeal to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to "give an order that state’s resources won’t be used on them". "We are sacrificing Rs1 billion of the nation for these 200 million people," she said, referring to the Muslims' population in India. read the complete article

United Kingdom

02 Jun 2020

Corbyn questions impartiality of body conducting antisemitism inquiry

Jeremy Corbyn has questioned the impartiality of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is conducting an inquiry into the Labour party’s handling of antisemitism claims. Speaking to the website Middle East Eye in his first major interview since stepping down as Labour leader, Corbyn accused the EHRC of being “part of the government machine”. His comments come as the equalities watchdog prepares to publish its findings, which are expected to be highly critical of many of Corbyn’s closest allies. The EHRC launched a formal investigation into Labour a year ago after it received hundreds of complaints about antisemitism in the party. It was only the second such inquiry into a political party by the watchdog, after one into the British National party. It is seeking to establish whether the party committed unlawful acts and whether it has responded to complaints of unlawful acts in a lawful, efficient and effective manner. Last month the EHRC dropped plans to launch an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservatives after the party set out new details of its own investigation. read the complete article


02 Jun 2020

News of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

In its sixth report on Austria, the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) lauds positive measures taken by the authorities on several fronts. Nevertheless, ECRI criticizes “high levels” of Islamophobia reflected in increasingly xenophobic public discourse. Political speech has taken on highly divisive and antagonistic overtones particularly targeting Muslims and refugees, according to the report. The media have reported on racist statements by extreme right-wing party members. The report also highlights the underreporting of hate crimes and recommends that the authorities facilitate closer cooperation and institutionalise a continuous dialogue between the police and groups at risk of hate-motivated crime as means of confidence building. Headscarves in primary schools is another issue raised in the report, especially a recent amendment to the School Education Act, which prohibits pupils under the age of 10 from wearing “ideologically or religiously influenced clothing which is associated with the covering of the head”. Reiterating the importance of equality of treatment of all religious groups, ECRI encourages the authorities to review the new provision to ensure that it respects the principle of neutrality, pursues a legitimate aim and is free of any form of discrimination against any particular group of pupils. read the complete article


02 Jun 2020

Italy’s Muslims call for more Islamic cemeteries in wake of virus

As national and international travel was banned at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, the bodies of Muslim dead in Italy could not be transported back to where the deceased person came from as was previously possible. This caused “a dramatic situation in Italy, with several corpses left on hold in mortuaries as there are no Islamic cemeteries where they could be buried,” said Abdallah Redouane, secretary-general of the Great Mosque of Rome. The situation was even more serious in the north of Italy, the area most affected by the coronavirus and where the highest number of deaths were reported. The Islamic community there is also larger, making the situation even more difficult for Muslims, Redouane told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. According to the 2018 census, 2.6 million Muslims live in Italy and consist of 4.3 percent of the population; 56 percent of them hold foreign citizenship and 44 percent are Italian citizens. Despite Islam being the second largest religion in the country, only 50 of the nearly 8,000 Italian municipalities have dedicated spaces for Muslims inside their cemeteries. When those spaces are available, they are very limited in most cases and there are not enough of them to meet demand, which dramatically increased in the first half of 2020. “Dozens of other Muslim families lived this same nightmare in the COVID-19 emergency,” Jihad, 59, a doctor living in Rome, told Arab News. “That was a double suffering; along with losing their beloved relatives people felt deprived of the primary right of burying their dead in a dignified way in a country where they contribute to economic growth with their work every day,” he said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Jun 2020 Edition


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