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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22 Jun 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In India, Rohingya refugees say they just want a place of safety after experiencing their fifth fire in their camp in the last nine years, meanwhile Pakistan’s Prime Minister refused to condemn the Chinese government’s alleged human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. In the United Kingdom, a lecturer at the University of Oxford describes Ed Hussain’s recent book as an “anti-Muslim screed” full of “prejudice and what appears to be outright fabrication.” Our recommended read of the day is by Harsha Panduranga on the Biden administration’s new strategy for preventing domestic terrorism. Panduranga argues the new program “rests on the same flawed foundation and impose many of the same harms” of CVE programming, which broadly treated Muslim Americans as terrorism risks. This and more below:

United States

22 Jun 2021

Op-Ed: Why Biden's strategy for preventing domestic terrorism could do more harm than good

President Biden’s just-released National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism features this approach in its plan to combat far-right violence. The Homeland Security Department describes this as a “public health” approach, which may sound appealing. But decades of research show that we cannot reliably identify potentially violent people. And trying to do so will invite more police involvement in mental health and social services and bias against the same communities that bear the brunt of far-right violence, as a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice documents. Many of the behaviors and traits the center identifies as markers of potential violence — being socially alienated, depressed, having a “grievance,” for example — are both vague and common. Treating what are often adverse social conditions as potential police matters hurts efforts to support people struggling with these conditions. The new center essentially puts a new label on Homeland Security’s old Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention program, which Biden had promised to end. That program, in turn, was a rebrand of a war-on-terror-era program called Countering Violent Extremism, which broadly treated Muslim Americans as terrorism risks. These earlier programs treated actions such as attending a mosque more frequently and being concerned about anti-Muslim discrimination or human rights abuses as reasons for criminal suspicion. While the Biden administration’s disavowal of the heavy-handed targeting that marked the war on terror approach is welcome, the new program’s prevention activities rest on the same flawed foundation and impose many of the same harms. read the complete article


22 Jun 2021

U.N. rights chief seeks Xinjiang visit this year, says HK trials key test

The top United Nations human rights official said on Monday she hoped to agree on terms for a visit this year to China, including its Xinjiang region, to look into reports of serious violations against Muslim Uyghurs. It was the first time that Michelle Bachelet had publicly suggested a timeline for the visit, for which her office has been negotiating the terms since September 2018. China's U.N. mission in Geneva, contacted by Reuters for comment, said Xinjiang and Hong Kong were "inalienable parts of China's territory" and that it brooked "no interference by external forces". Its spokesman Liu Yuyin later said in a statement that China welcomed Bachelet to visit, including Xinjiang, but the visit should be a "friendly one" aimed at promoting cooperation "rather than making the so-called 'investigation' under the presumption of guilt". read the complete article

22 Jun 2021

Pakistan PM Imran Khan refuses to condemn China's Xinjiang crackdown

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to condemn the Chinese government's alleged human rights abuses against the Muslim-majority Uyghur people in Xinjiang in an interview with Axios Sunday. When pressed on reports of widespread detention and abuse of Uyghurs, Khan said China had been "one of the greatest friends to us in our most difficult times," and any conversations with Beijing on Xinjiang would happen "behind closed doors." Khan said Beijing had denied reports of widespread abuses of Uyghur Muslims in private conversations with Islamabad. Up to 2 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to have been placed in a sprawling network of detention centers across Xinjiang in recent years, according to the US State Department. Many former detainees allege they were subjected to attempted indoctrination, physical abuse and even sterilization. read the complete article


22 Jun 2021

Accused in fatal London, Ont., truck attack on Muslim family makes brief court appearance

The London, Ont., man charged with first-degree and attempted murder, and terrorism in the hit-and-run on a Muslim family out for an evening walk earlier this month made a brief virtual court appearance Monday morning. Nathaniel Veltman, 20, faces four first-degree murder charges, one attempted murder charge and associated terrorism charges. As in his previous court hearings, Veltman appeared via video link from the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre on Monday. The hearing lasted under two minutes, during which a law student told court that the accused was in talks with Toronto lawyer Christopher Hicks. The case was put over until June 28 to give the lawyer and Veltman time to speak and agree on a retainer. Veltman hasn't had a bail hearing yet or entered a plea. He has indicated he will need to apply for legal aid. read the complete article

22 Jun 2021

Muslim teacher creates summer reading list for families who want to fight Islamophobia

Last week, Rabia Khokhar, a resource teacher in the Greater Toronto Area, tweeted out an in-depth list of children’s books centered around Muslim voices and authors. The books touch on everything from cooking with parents, music, belief in oneself and adventure -- all in an effort to encourage parents and fellow educators to do their part in fighting Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in their own circles. “I think if you can see yourself in an experience like family, friendship, teamwork or sports -- universal experiences -- I really believe that’s one of the ways that we can build bridges of understanding and really counter those negative stereotypes with children,” Khokhar told by phone Monday. “I think every-day stories restore the dignity of people,” Khokhar said, explaining that doing something fun like a reading challenge is one of the best ways to not only help children realize how much power they have but get families to empathize with marginalized communities. read the complete article


22 Jun 2021

After fire in Delhi camp, Rohingyas refugees say all they want is a place of safety

Close to midnight on June 12, a fierce fire rapidly engulfed the Rohingya refugee camp in Madanpur Khadar in South Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj vicinity. Fifty six homes were reduced to ashes in bare minutes, while screaming residents, most of them asleep at the time the fire started, ran desperately to save their lives. The fire left them no time to salvage any of their possessions. The fire took with it their meagre savings, their clothes and modest belongings, and most precious to them – the United Nations High Commission for Refugees-designated “refugee cards”, vital documents for people who have fled repression in their home country of Myanmar. A woman said disconsolately, “People are giving us food. But we don’t want to eat. We just want a place of safety.” Cramped under plastic roofs at the edge of the burned-down camp, residents who spoke to our team from the Karwan e Mohabbat campaign for harmony in confidence refused to accept that a mere short circuit had caused the catastrophe. Some spoke in muffled tones of the regular threats they were subjected to from land and state officials, others pointed to the lack of police and political attention that repeated fires in their settlement have received over the years. This was not the first time that this community found itself scrambling in the ashes, sifting hopelessly in the ruins of their hovels for anything that the fire may have spared. It was the fifth fire in their camp in the last nine years. read the complete article

United Kingdom

22 Jun 2021

Ed Husain's Among the Mosques: Fanning the flames of Islamophobia

Having finished reading his book, my own assessment is that Husain simply represents a polished version of Tommy Robinson’s rhetoric. A comparison with a figure like Robinson may seem far-fetched, but consider Husain’s remarks on British Muslims, who he seems to assume are all immigrants - despite the fact that roughly half of the country’s Muslims were born here. In a 2015 interview (and another in 2017), Robinson called for a halt to Muslim immigration to the UK. While Husain doesn’t state things so explicitly, from the very outset of his book and throughout its pages, he expresses his anxiety about the increasing numbers of Muslims in the UK. Arguably, however, he goes much further than Robinson when he calls for the deportation of Muslims if they don’t assimilate. A striking feature of Husain’s text is the number of people he cites who do not actually appear to exist. I have repeatedly looked up individuals he quoted, generally expressing various degrees of Islamophobic derision towards Muslims - but again and again, my research has turned up no real candidates. Husain’s Islamophobia is perhaps best encapsulated in his use of the term “caliphism”, which to him, represents an ideology according to which Islam is not a religion confined strictly to the private sphere. Any conception of Islam that doesn’t conform to his radical conception of secularism is seen as akin to the caliphate of the so-called Islamic State. read the complete article


22 Jun 2021

Les Hijabeuses: the female footballers tackling France’s on-pitch hijab ban

Diawara refused to take her hijab off. “It’s in accordance with my beliefs,” she says. “It’s something that I choose to wear.” The referee refused to budge. She spent the match on the bench, watching her team play without her. Now 21, and studying for a master’s in Paris, Diawara said the encounter left her feeling angry and as if she did not belong. “I was trapped between my passion [for football] and something that is a huge part of my identity. It’s like they tried to tell me that I had to choose between the two,” she says. Diawara has channelled her anger into action and is co-president of Les Hijabeuses, a collective of young hijab-wearing female footballers campaigning against the FFF’s ban as part of a wider battle to promote a more inclusive society in France, which has seen a rise in far-right groups and Islamophobia. Formed in May 2020 by community organisers from the Citizen’s Alliance, which campaigns against social injustices in France, the Paris-based Hijabeuses now has more than 100 members. They play football together, connect with other teams across France and put on training sessions to encourage other young hijab-wearing women to get into football. The group’s aim, says Chaïb, is that all women “whatever they believe or whatever they wear or whatever their background, can play freely without being stigmatised and without having to mentally prepare themselves to go into battle – because this is what it feels like”. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Jun 2021 Edition


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