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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23 Jun 2021

Today in Islamophobia: The conservative Australian People’s Party’s (ÖVP) is using the term, ‘political islam’ to criminalize and surveil Muslim citizens, while in France, President Emmanuel Macron has submitted a bill to the French Parliament which would allow the state to close houses of worship without a court order, as China preemptively issues an investigative order into Canadian indigenous human rights violations in advance of a Canadian call to investigate Chinese state crimes against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Our recommended read of the day is by Valerie Lucznikowska on the need to close Guantanamo Bay prison for good. This and more below:

United States

21 Jun 2021

Our Family Members Died on 9/11. We Want to See Guantánamo Bay Closed.

Keeping Guantánamo Bay open ensures that we never get justice, because the military commissions handling these cases are not based on a set system of legal precedents and cannot work. September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, of which I’m a member, has been seeking justice for almost 20 years. Granted NGO status by the Pentagon, our members have been some of the rare few allowed to attend the ongoing, unending hearings of the five men charged with plotting the attacks of September 11, 2001, being held thousands of miles away on a remote US military base on the island of Cuba, known as the “legal equivalent of outer space.” We have researched, studied, and reported on what we experienced. We know what we want. We have repeatedly called for the closure of Guantánamo. We understand that Guantánamo has only prolonged America’s endless wars and intensified anti-American sentiment around the world, all while stripping the pockets of loyal Americans. Guantánamo costs US taxpayers a whopping $13 million per year per prisoner. We, who have suffered the most in losing our loved ones, want nothing more than justice. But the inept, foot-dragging military commissions are clearly not a tenable solution. If the senators really wanted to give the families of 9/11 victims justice, they would call for the immediate closure of Guantánamo Bay and the release of the men who have been cleared. Those charged should be tried in the mainland Article III federal courts of our country, which have secured almost 700 terrorism convictions since 9/11. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


22 Jun 2021

Stateless people face Covid-19 scapegoating, persecution and exclusion

False narratives about the coronavirus have been weaponized to target stateless minorities around the world, according to a consortium of NGOs and citizenship rights activists. A new report, published by the Covid-19 Emergency Statelessness Fund Consortium, highlights how they have been scapegoated, attacked and characterized as vectors of infection, despite there being no evidence for such claims. “It’s straight out of the authoritarian playbook,” said Amal de Chickera, co-director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and an author of the document. “Where governments have failed to protect their citizens, they have tried to pin the blame on minority communities.” De Chickera outlined how Rohingya Muslim settlements in India have been attacked by Islamophobic mobs, spurred on by the belief that refugees were responsible for rising infection rates. “These people were seen as other, and therefore it was easier to be fearful of contracting the virus off them,” he said. Elsewhere in the world, the report highlighted how millions of stateless people have been excluded from access to immunization programs. Rohingya communities in India, Bangladesh and Malaysia are still waiting to be allocated shots, and stateless people in Lebanon — many of whom are born to foreign fathers and Lebanese mothers, who cannot legally pass citizenship on to their children — are struggling to register through the nation’s online portal. On Tuesday, the U.N. Refugee Agency warned that stateless people around the world might miss out on vaccinations as a result of their lack of identity documents or nationality. read the complete article

22 Jun 2021

China calls for Canada human rights inquiry, preempting demand for investigation into abuse of Uyghurs

Just moments before Canada was due to issue a call for an international investigation into crimes against Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang province Tuesday, a Chinese diplomat stepped in with Beijing’s own proposal: an investigation into Canada. “We are deeply concerned about the human rights violations against the Indigenous people in Canada,” Jiang Duan, a senior official at China’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva, said at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Jiang’s demand came immediately before Canadian officials read a statement that called on China to allow the U.N. human rights chief access to Xinjiang region to investigate more than 1 million Uyghur people who have been unlawfully detained there. The dueling demands represented a deep geopolitical and ideological divide at the top U.N. human rights body. Iran, Russia and Venezuela also backed China’s demands for an investigation in Canada. Meanwhile, more than 40 countries had signed the statement read by Canada’s Norton, including Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States. Some Canadian observers viewed the Chinese call as geopolitical wrangling. “In Canada, we had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Where’s China’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission?” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a Tuesday news conference. “China is not recognizing there is even a problem. That is a pretty fundamental difference,” Trudeau continued. “That is why Canadians and people around the world are speaking up for people like the Uyghurs who find themselves voiceless faced with a government that will not recognize what is happening to them.” read the complete article


23 Jun 2021

How China Spreads Its Propaganda Version of Life for Uyghurs

These and thousands of other videos are meant to look like unfiltered glimpses of life in Xinjiang, the western Chinese region where the Communist Party has carried out repressive policies against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities. Most of the clips carry no logos or other signs that they are official propaganda. But taken together, the videos begin to reveal clues of broader coordination — such as the English subtitles in clips posted to YouTube and other Western platforms. A monthslong analysis of more than 3,000 of the videos by ProPublica and The New York Times found evidence of an influence campaign orchestrated by the Chinese government. The operation has produced and spread thousands of videos in which Chinese citizens deny abuses against their own communities and scold foreign officials and multinational corporations who dare question the Chinese government’s human rights record in Xinjiang. It all amounts to one of China’s most elaborate efforts to shape global opinion. Beijing is trying to use savvier and more forceful methods to broadcast its political messages to a worldwide audience. And Western internet platforms like Twitter and YouTube are playing a key part. China’s increasingly social-media-fluent diplomats and state-run news outlets have since spread the testimonials to audiences of millions worldwide. read the complete article

21 Jun 2021

Paving over the dead

Sky News has uncovered evidence showing the extent to which Uighur sites are being bulldozed and built over as part of China's efforts to change the autonomous region they come from. Among the monuments to the past which have been replaced are cemeteries, religious buildings and typical architecture. A Sky News team visited Hotan in China's western Xinjiang province and found cultural and historical landmarks flattened and replaced by concrete, and what could be a bone from a grave that had been paved over. read the complete article


21 Jun 2021

Surveilling and Criminalizing Austrian Muslims: The Case of ‘Political Islam’

In this commentary, I deal with how the governing conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) managed successfully to fundamentally reshape the state’s politics towards Muslim communities by introducing the terminology of ‘political Islam’ in the public discourse. I show how this affected the political discourse, how the governing ÖVP has been using institutions to produce knowledge in order to criminalize Muslimness, and how this also affected the work of the domestic intelligence agency and subsequently police operations. I argue that by introducing the notion of ‘political Islam’ came a criminalization of vocal and/or organized Muslims as well as anti-racist actors. read the complete article


22 Jun 2021

France’s Macron Pushes Controls on Religion to Pressure Mosques

President Emmanuel Macron is redrawing the line that separates religion and state, in a battle to force Islamic organizations into the mold of French secularism. In recent months, his administration has ousted the leadership of a mosque after temporarily closing it and poring over its finances. Another mosque gave up millions in subsidies after the government pressured local officials over the funding. A dozen other mosques have faced orders to close temporarily for safety or fire-code violations. The government has taken these actions as a precursor to a much broader push to rein in the independence of mosques and other religious organizations across France. Mr. Macron has submitted a bill to Parliament, called the Law Reinforcing Respect of the Principles of the Republic, that would empower the government to permanently close houses of worship and dissolve religious organizations, without court order, if it finds that any of their members are provoking violence or inciting hatred. In addition, the bill would allow temporary closure of any religious group that spreads ideas that incite hatred or violence. Religious organizations would have to obtain government permits every five years to continue operating, and have their accounts certified annually if they receive foreign funding. The bill will be debated next week in the National Assembly, where Mr. Macron’s majority is expected to pass it by the end of the year. It applies to all houses of worship, including churches and synagogues, but the government’s actions are aimed at mosques and Islamic organizations. read the complete article

New Zealand

22 Jun 2021

Aaraf Adam’s Visual Project Spotlights Black Muslim Women in New Zealand

Business student by day and creative director by night, Aaraf Adam is on a mission. The 20-year-old Sudanese-American is the founder of KanSuda, a new multimedia platform putting Black Muslim women and POC femmes on an overdue pedestal. Adam moved from Washington DC to Wellington, New Zealand as part of a semester abroad scheme at her university in 2020, weeks before the world was hit with a global pandemic. Her experience there, combined with her identity, inspired her project, which she debuts today with a beautiful photo series titled Unity. Black Unity and the equally breathtaking film, Finding your LIGHT. “My aim was to bring together Black Muslim women in the diaspora, specifically in New Zealand, because Afro-Kiwis exist,” Adam tells AnOther. “When I got there I noticed that despite the lack of Black faces in the fashion scene, there was an amazing community of Black creatives in the country – many of whom were Muslim women. I wanted to create something that highlighted their visibility.” “I noticed that most projects and collaborations I was being approached about always had the Black struggle and our fight for freedom at the centre of it because I’m Black and I’m American,” she explains. “I wanted to do something different, I wanted something that embraced my Blackness rather than focusing on how difficult it is to be a Black person. I wanted to create a beautiful shoot that said ‘this is who we are’ and so I just decided to do it.” As a Muslim woman who wears the hijab, Adam’s faith is as much part of her identity as her race. She knows first-hand the damaging effects of Islamophobia and racism combined, reiterating the importance of her vision for KanSuda. “Hijabi women are not at the forefront at all in New Zealand. A lot of people I came across had never even seen a Black Muslim woman before even though they do exist within their country. So that, and news of the implementation of France’s hijab ban, fueled this passion that I had for the importance of us being visible and being heard.” read the complete article


22 Jun 2021

BROWN: Islamophobia must be erased in Canada -- now

Whether it is in London, Peterborough or Quebec City, hate crimes against Muslims are real and a reminder that there is still much work to do in Canada. After the senseless massacre in Quebec City on Jan. 29, 2017, I had Muslim friends who couldn’t sleep for fear of going out in public the next day while wearing a hijab and facing hate or targeted violence. A few weeks later, I was eager to rise at Queen’s Park as leader of the Opposition and support a Liberal MPP’s motion on Islamophobia. I was enthusiastic to support the motion and even more proud to stand in the provincial legislature and declare, “Islamophobia is real and we have to condemn it unreservedly.” It was disappointing to see 91 federal MPs in Ottawa subsequently vote against the same motion, which passed nonetheless. Islamophobia can’t be a partisan issue. It’s about what is right and what is wrong. Additionally, if there was ever a time for federal leaders to speak up against Quebec’s ban on religious symbols for public-sector workers through the province’s Bill 21, it’s now. Whether it be with a hijab, yarmulke, turban or any other religious garb or symbol, Canadians have a right to express their faith. The federal government can’t simultaneously be against Islamophobia in English Canada and allow it in Quebec. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Jun 2021 Edition


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