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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
24 Jun 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In China, authorities have repeatedly promised to help trace any children reported to be missing in Xinjiang, to prove that they haven’t been forcibly separated from their parents. Those promises have not been met. In the U.S., a videogame “Six Days in Fallujah” is being called irredeemable by both critics and Gold Star parents for glorifying killing and stoking anti-Muslim sentiment, and Muslim charities in Canada file a joint petition for an investigation after several groups are seemingly singled out for “randomized” audits simultaneously. Our recommended read of the day is by 


23 Jun 2021

China is buying Muslim leaders’ silence on the Uyghurs

As the world increasingly speaks out against China’s genocide of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, the quietest voices continue to belong to the leaders of Muslim-majority countries. Look no further than Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s interview this week with Axios’s Jonathan Swan. Khan parroted China’s denial that it has placed roughly 2 million Uyghurs in internment camps and then evaded the issue over and over again. “This is not the case, according to them,” Khan said, adding that any disagreements between Pakistan and China are hashed out privately. That’s a jarring statement. Instead of offering a pro forma “Yes, of course we’re concerned by this” before moving on, Khan chose instead to minimize the problem altogether. China has given Pakistan billions in loans to prop up its economy, allowing the country to improve transit systems and a failing electrical grid, among other things. China didn’t do that out of the goodness of its heart; it did so partly to make Pakistan dependent on China, thus strong-arming it into a closer bilateral relationship. It’s a play China has run over and over through its “Belt and Road Initiative.” China aims to build a large land-and-sea trading network connecting much of Asia to Europe, Africa, and beyond. To do that, it makes investment and loan deals with nations on that “road” — like Pakistan — so that they form part of the network. The trade, in effect, is that China increases its power and influence while other countries get the economic assistance they need. Look elsewhere in the world and the story is essentially the same. Even the leaders of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — who often portray themselves as the defenders of Islam and of the ummah, the global Muslim community — are choosing to prioritize their economic relationship with China over standing up for the Uyghurs. In the short term, they may get more funds from the relationship with China, but in the long run, the price they pay is in their reputation. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
23 Jun 2021

Is It OK To Commemorate One Of Iraq's Bloodiest Battles In A Videogame?

"It was that conversation where he said, 'You know, Peter, our generation plays video games. We don't read books or even watch movies so much, we play video games.' And I was like, 'Yeah, I know.' And he said, 'Would you be interested in creating a video game to tell the stories of the battle for Fallujah?'" Tamte said yes. Seventeen years later, he's still trying to keep that commitment. He named the video game "Six Days in Fallujah," based on six battle scenarios the Marines told him about. In between play are documentary style interviews with Americans, but also Iraqis. While most of the civilians had left Fallujah by the time of the battle, there were still thousands stuck in the city. It's estimated that hundreds of them died in the U.S.-led assault. Not only Gold Star parents, but critics of the Iraq war have condemned the game, and even called it Islamophobic. "It's simply irredeemable," says Scott Simpson, with the group Muslim Advocates. "There is no way to release a game that glorifies the killing that happened." "Is it enough to have an interview of a soldier beforehand justifying their actions? Simpson adds. "I don't think so." Simpson says he thinks the game could even promote anti-Arab and anti-Muslim violence. read the complete article

22 Jun 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Closed Door’ Policy On Uyghur Persecution – OpEd

There’s both good and bad news from Pakistan. The good news is that Prime Minister Imran Khan, who just two years ago feigned ignorance on the ongoing religious persecution of Uighur Muslims in China, by saying he “didn’t know much about it,” is today fully conversant with this issue. The bad news is that last week, when interviewer Jonathan Swan asked him, “Prime Minister, why are you outspoken about Islamophobia in Europe and the US but totally silent about the genocide of Muslims in Western China,” instead of relying on independent assessment by a non-partisan organisation like UN, he has by saying that “this is not the case, according to them [Chinese authorities,” willy-nilly admitted that on the issue of Uighur Muslim being persecuted by Beijing, Islamabad prefers to believe the ‘accused’ rather than an independent ‘jury’, but more on this later. The next good news is that by vociferously condemning Islamophobia in all forums, Khan is gaining popularity as a dedicated bulwark against this global scourge, gifted with the courage of conviction to name and shame the perpetrators. The bad news is that by admitting that “Whatever issues we have with the Chinese, we speak behind closed doors,” the cricketer turned politician has himself exposed the parochial character of his much-hyped anti-Islamophobia campaign. So, while Khan may continue raving and ranting on this issue, it’s very unlikely that the international community will take a serious note of his incessant utterances since they are patently motivated by extraneous factors. read the complete article

23 Jun 2021

Riz Ahmed And Other Muslim Artists Launched A Fellowship For Muslim Filmmakers, And It’s About Time

This past month, in coordination with the Pillars Fund and Left Handed Films, Riz Ahmed and other Muslim actors, writers, and directors helped launch the Pillars Artist Fellowship, which is aimed toward Muslim storytellers in the US and UK. According to a study conducted by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative called "Missing & Maligned: The Reality of Muslims in Popular Global Movies," less than 2% of more than 8,500 speaking characters they examined in top films were Muslim. Looking closer, there's a lack of diversity in the Muslim characters shown on TV and in movies, with an overwhelming majority of them being male and Arab. Ahmed says, "The representation of Muslims on screen feeds the policies that get enacted, the people that get killed, the countries that get invaded." With this fellowship, fellows will receive $25,000 to fund their projects, workshops with industry professionals, and a chance to showcase their work to industry partners at the end of their term. The advisory committee for the fellowship includes Riz Ahmed, Mahershala Ali, Sana Amanat, Karim Amer, Rosa Attab, Lena Khan, Nida Manzoor, Hasan Minhaj, Jehane Noujaim, and Ramy Youssef. read the complete article

23 Jun 2021

US sanctions Chinese solar firms for Uighur human rights abuses

The United States on Wednesday restricted exports to five Chinese companies that it said were implicated in Chinese human rights violations, including large producers of polysilicon for the solar panel industry. The companies were listed over human rights violations and abuses of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, according to a US government filing on Wednesday. The US Department of Commerce said the firms are accepting or utilising forced labour. read the complete article


22 Jun 2021

China fails to meet promises on missing Xinjiang children

Over the past two years, the Chinese authorities have repeatedly promised to help trace any children reported to be missing in Xinjiang, to prove that they haven't been forcibly separated from their parents. Those promises have not been met. Out of sight, sweeping silently across China's vast western region, a campaign of mass-incarceration had already begun with a rapidly expanding network of what were, at first, highly secretive "re-education" camps. A parallel network of boarding schools was also being built with the same aim; the forced-assimilation of Xinjiang's Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other minority groups whose identity, culture and Islamic traditions were now seen as a threat by the ruling Communist Party. One policy paper, published the year after Kalbinur's departure, made clear that the purpose of such boarding schools was to "break the influence of the religious atmosphere" on children living at home. Kalbinur's story is just one of a large number of similar accounts of missing children gathered by the BBC from members of Xinjiang's Uyghur and Kazakh diasporas in Turkey and Kazakhstan. read the complete article

23 Jun 2021

How China threatens prominent Uyghurs — in the US, in China and everywhere

In April, the Chinese government released a video about Gulchehra, a U.S. citizen living in Northern Virginia, and her 81-year-old father. It purports that they pose a violent threat to Chinese sovereignty and have been put on a roster called the Shanghai List. According to the Chinese government, they are now terrorists. “I was expecting a more serious reaction from the American government, for the State Department to give a statement, to condemn China and say, stop harassing a U.S. journalist,” she told me. “I’m using my voice but it’s not enough. This is mentally torture, separation from my parents for 20 years.” The Chinese government has taken aggressive measures against citizens and former citizens living in foreign countries who it perceives to be a threat. A new report by the Uyghur Human Rights Project and the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs includes the first case-by-case map of China’s transnational repression against Uyghurs. It also reveals that, between 1997 and December 2016, China was involved in the detention or deportation back to China of over 851 Uyghurs across 23 countries. Since 2017, China’s actions against overseas Uyghurs have “expanded dramatically as part of the broader security sweep.” Since 2017, the report finds, at least 695 Uyghurs have been detained or deported to China from 15 separate countries. It also documents that since 1997, when the first cases of rendition of Uyghurs to China were recorded in Pakistan, China’s “transnational repression has expanded to include a full gamut of activities from espionage, cyberattacks, and physical assaults, to the issuance of Red Notices via Interpol.” The threat of retaliation back to China looms constantly over Gulchehra. “My children are worried when I go to the supermarket, what might happen to me,” she said. read the complete article


23 Jun 2021

As A Muslim, I Face Islamophobia. As An Immigrant, I’ve Failed Indigenous People

On June 8, I was in London, Ont., watching a blue flag with a white infinity symbol flutter high above a crowd of thousands. They had all gathered to mourn and honour the Canadian Muslim family that was killed in a hate-motivated attack just two days before. When I learned, I decided to go talk to him. I asked the flag holder why he was here. He paused and said one quick line: “The Métis Nation is here in solidarity with the Muslim community and condemns what happened to our brothers and sisters.” I thanked him and walked away with an immense sense of grief and guilt. A woman just behind the man stopped me to ask what the flag represented. I later watched her tap his shoulder and say thank you, to which he responded with a hand on his heart. In the week before the attack on the Afzaal family, bouquets of flowers, children’s shoes and stuffed animals piled up outside schools, city halls and traffic stops across the country, after a mass grave was found on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. The ink on statements mourning the lives of those Indigenous children had barely dried when the statements condemning Islamophobia began. We’re also grappling with our relationship to each other, which many of us are thinking about properly for the very first time. In recent days, I’ve watched immigrant community organizers reach out to Indigenous partners to organize vigils and information campaigns, about both mass graves at residential schools and Islamophobia. I’ve heard from immigrant kids whose parents are asking them how they can learn more about reconciliation, and offering prayers for Indigenous families. I’ve seen social media posts from aunties and their kids alike suggesting Indigenous businesses to support in these very trying times. The confluence of the Kamloops discovery and the London attack have made me, an immigrant from Pakistan, question what it means to be a good ally while you’re also suffering. read the complete article

23 Jun 2021

Muslim charities concerned about targeted audits call for security watchdog probe

Muslim charities from across Canada, fearful they are being unfairly singled out for audits, want the national security watchdog to investigate the matter. Charities, non-profit organizations and supportive civil society voices are flagging the concerns in a letter sent Wednesday to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several members of his cabinet. A recently released report by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group said the Review and Analysis Division of the Canada Revenue Agency’s charities directorate works with national security agencies to carry out the audits, with little accountability. It said that from 2008 to 2015, 75 per cent of the organizations whose charitable status was revoked following division audits were Muslim charities, and that at least another four have had their status pulled since then. It added that despite these revocations, not a single Muslim charitable organization or individual associated with one had been charged with a terrorist financing crime. read the complete article

United States

23 Jun 2021

#WeStandWithHuda online campaign launched following 'Islamophobic, anti-Palestinian' heckling at US school graduation ceremony

The Muslim graduate speaker at New York’s The Wheatley School was reportedly booed and told to "go back to Pakistan" by a parent after she spoke about her heritage and the plight of Muslims across the world, according to the reports. She made particular reference to Palestinians, who recently experienced an onslaught of violence by Israeli forces in Gaza and the West Bank. On 20 June, the 17-year-old Muslim student, who wears a hijab and is of Pakistani descent, gave a graduation speech that was approved by the school principal. The school insists that the student did not stick to the approved speech. During the speech, the student, who has not been named for child protection reasons, urged her peers to educate themselves on global topics, including the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and Uighur Muslims, as well as global warming. Her speech read: "Educate yourself about international dilemmas, including the ethnic cleansings of Palestinians and Uighur Muslims. Families are continuously torn apart and real human lives are being lost but ignored. The student was then booed by some parents who chanted "we support Israel". Parents then reportedly harassed and bullied the student and her family. One parent is caught on video asking the student, "what about Hamas?" Another parent made the anti-immigrant statement, "go back to Pakistan!" In response, the principal of the school claimed the speech approved by the body was not the same one the student gave. He later sent two emails to the parents. The principal's email was criticised by the civil rights groups, who called for a retraction and apology for "failing" to support his student in the face of abuse. "Instead of supporting the student, they made false and defamatory statements about the student and failed to address the harassment and bullying the student and her family received at graduation and continue to receive," said CAIR New York’s Legal Director Ahmed Mohamed. read the complete article

23 Jun 2021

NYPD Investigating Anti-Muslim Attacks In Queens

The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating two anti-Muslim attacks in Queens. Police say a man seen on surveillance video followed a couple Sunday night near Liberty Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard while making anti-Muslim statements. Investigators say the suspect punched each of them and pulled at the woman’s hijab. An hour later, police believe the same man attacked another man and woman, again making anti-Muslim statements before punching them both. read the complete article


23 Jun 2021

Myanmar’s armed forces show no signs of restraint amid rising Rohingya revolts

For decades, ethnic minorities in Myanmar have fought repression and political persecution by central authorities who deny those minorities full rights. And now that fight has new political momentum. Ko Aung Myo Min, Human Rights Minister, National Unity Government: We may be different in religion, ethnicity, but we are human beings, and we must respect the identity of the people. Nick Schifrin: Ko Aung Myo Min is the human rights minister in Myanmar's opposition National Unity Government. It works in exile, or in hiding, and was created in response to the February 1 coup that deposed an elected civilian government and installed army leader Min Aung Hlaing. The National Unity Government recently released a historic policy paper that calls for Burmese to have equal rights as citizens regardless of ethnicity. The statement focuses on the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in a largely Buddhist Myanmar. In 2017, a military campaign that a U.N. panel said had genocidal intent massacred thousands of Rohingya civilians. For the first time, the National Unity Government statement acknowledges violence and gross human rights violations inflicted upon Rohingya by the thuggish military. It calls for repatriation of Rohingya refugees and Rohingya birth citizenship. But Rohingya activists say that is not enough. Wai Wai Nu, Rohingya Activist: Unless they acknowledge Rohingya as their own ethnic nationality group, the apartheid and discriminations and treating Rohingya as second class will never end. Citizenship alone cannot address this issue. That's what we all need to understand. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 24 Jun 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results