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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29 Jun 2020

Today in Islamophobia: UN warns of ‘intensified fighting’ in Myanmar’s Rakhine state as thousands fleeAs almost 25,000 people are granted domicile certificates in Indian-administered Kashmir, fears increase of the beginning of demographic changes in India’s only Muslim-majority region. Our recommended read today is on Xinjiang, China, where authorities are allegedly forcing birth control on Uighurs to suppress the population. This, and more, below:


29 Jun 2020

China forces birth control on Uighurs to suppress population | Recommended Read

The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country’s Han majority to have more children. While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control, the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to an AP investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor. The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang is leading to what some experts are calling a form of “demographic genocide.” The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show. Even while the use of IUDs and sterilization has fallen nationwide, it is rising sharply in Xinjiang. The population control measures are backed by mass detention both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply. Having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps, the AP found, with the parents of three or more ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines. Birth rates in the mostly Uighur regions of Hotan and Kashgar plunged by more than 60% from 2015 to 2018, the latest year available in government statistics. The hundreds of millions of dollars the government pours into birth control have transformed Xinjiang from one of China’s fastest-growing regions into one of its slowest in just a few years, according to new research obtained by The Associated Press in advance of publication by China scholar Adrian Zenz. read the complete article

Recommended Read


29 Jun 2020

UN human rights experts urge India to release anti-CAA protesters

A group of United Nations human rights experts has asked India to "immediately" release people who were arrested for protesting against the country's controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed last year. "These defenders, many of them students, appear to have been arrested simply because they exercised their right to denounce and protest against the CAA," a press statement released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday. "[Their] arrest seems clearly designed to send a chilling message to India's vibrant civil society that criticism of government policies will not be tolerated," it said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government introduced CAA late last year, laying out a path to citizenship for people from six religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who arrived in India before 2015. The law excluded Muslims from the list. The determination of rights to Indian citizenship based on religion triggered mass protests across India - some led by Muslim women - and resulted in a fierce police crackdown. read the complete article

29 Jun 2020

Kashmir Muslims fear demographic shift as thousands get residency

Up to 25,000 people have been granted domicile certificates in Indian-administered Kashmir since May 18, raising fears of the beginning of demographic changes in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region. The certificate, a sort of citizenship right, entitles a person to residency and government jobs in the region, which till last year was reserved only for the local population. Last year on August 5, when India revoked the semi-autonomous status of the region, it also scrapped the local special citizenship law, guaranteed under Article 35 (A) of the Indian constitution. The move has drawn parallel with the occupied West Bank. "The decision to provide non-Kashmiri residents with a domicile certificate is certainly the beginning of the end. This is the beginning of Kashmir becoming another Palestine," Badar-Ul-Islam Sheikh, a 29-year-old resident of the main city of Srinagar, told Al Jazeera. "It is sad. It is horrible. I fear that time will come that we will not even feel safe in our homes," he said. "We have been silenced." read the complete article


29 Jun 2020

'Best of humanity': Indonesian fishermen rescue stranded Rohingya

Nearly 100 Rohingya people who were stranded off the coast of Indonesia were pulled to shore on Thursday by local people furious at local authorities' refusal to give them shelter because of fears about the coronavirus. Some 94 people from the persecuted Myanmar minority - including 30 children - were plucked from their boat by fishermen this week before being intercepted by maritime officials from Sumatra island who pulled them closer to shore. But officials in Lhokseumawe in the Indonesian province of Aceh refused to allow the group to land, citing coronavirus concerns. Angry locals took matters into their own hands on Thursday by taking to their own boats to pull the group to shore. Residents who had gathered on a local beach cheered the move, according to an AFP reporter on the scene. read the complete article

29 Jun 2020

Joe Biden 'Disappointed' With CAA, NRC, Seeks Restoration of Rights for People of Kashmir

Democratic presidential nominee and former US vice president Joe Biden wants India to take necessary steps to restore the rights of Kashmiris, and has expressed disappointment over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the implementation of the NRC in Assam. According to a policy paper – Joe Biden’s agenda for Muslim American community’ – posted recently on his campaign website, these measures (the CAA and the National Register of Citizens) are inconsistent with the country’s long tradition of secularism and with sustaining a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy. Observing that Biden understands the pain Muslim-Americans feel towards what is happening in Muslim-majority countries and countries with significant Muslim populations, the policy paper clubbed together Kashmir and Assam in India with the forced detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims in western China, and discrimination and atrocities against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority. A group of Hindu Americans has reached out to the Biden campaign expressing resentment to the language used against India and urged it to reconsider the views. The group has also sought a similar policy paper on Hindu Americans. The Biden campaign did not respond to questions. read the complete article


29 Jun 2020

UN warns of 'intensified fighting' in Rakhine state as thousands flee

The United Nations has called for "urgent measures to spare civilians" in Myanmar's conflict-wracked northwest, saying fighting has intensified between the army and insurgents. The military has been battling the Arakan Army (AA) — a rebel group seeking more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists — in Myanmar's Rakhine and Chin states since January last year. Scores of civilians have been killed in the area and tens of thousands displaced. The two sides have traded allegations of abuse. Under lockdown and with an internet blackout across much of the conflict zone, reporting from the area is difficult to verify. The UN expressed concern on Sunday over "reports of intensified fighting" in northwest Rakhine state's Rathedaung township. The area is home to more than 10,000 civilians, and local sources report they are either fleeing or are trapped by the ongoing conflict, the UN said. The UN also said in a statement on Sunday it was concerned by intense fighting in Kyauktan, including reports people were trapped and houses damaged. read the complete article

United States

29 Jun 2020

4 California officers on leave amid probe of racist posts

Four police officers in Northern California have been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate a Facebook group in which members made bigoted and anti-Muslim comments. The article, by an unnamed blogger who said they were the partner of a law enforcement officer in the San Francisco Bay Area, showed screen shots of what appears to be Facebook posts in which a member of the group called Black Lives Matter activists “domestic enemies.” The article gave another example in which members of the Facebook group commented about a Muslim woman whose hijab was pulled off by a sheriff’s deputy in Ventura County. One suggested pulling the hijab over the woman’s face, and another suggested using hijabs as nooses. Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area, said that sort of Islamophobic sentiment is concerning no matter who writes it, and is “even more terrifying” coming from police officers. read the complete article

29 Jun 2020

A Virginia county enacted new rules that seem intended to block a Muslim cemetery

For about 20 years, the All Muslim Association of America had quietly run a small Islamic cemetery in suburban Stafford County, south of the District, without a hint of controversy. It was only in 2016, after the nonprofit group purchased a new parcel for a larger cemetery — with the first nearly at capacity — that the trouble began. And that trouble has borne a distinct whiff of Islamophobia. At the urging of two residents whose property abuts the AMAA’s new parcel, one of them a member of Stafford’s Planning Commission, local officials rewrote the county zoning rules. The new rules ban cemeteries located within 900 feet, the length of three football fields, of any private homeowner’s well used for drinking water. The state standard — the county previously had no such rules regarding cemeteries and water sources — had required a separation of only 100 feet. The clearly intended effect of Stafford’s shift was to block the Muslim group’s new cemetery. It has now triggered lawsuits by the Justice Department and advocates representing the Muslim association, who point to civil rights and constitutional violations in Stafford’s actions. read the complete article

29 Jun 2020

Confronting Our Complicity: A Case for Renaming the Student Commons

At Manhattan College, the racial demographics are vastly different–that is to say, whiter–than the rest of New York City, especially the Bronx. For decades, this disparity has lulled our institution into a quiet complacency on issues of race. Now, as countless people take to the streets demanding racial justice and police reform, the College must look inward at its own complicity and take one of the most critically overdue steps to promote racial equity on campus: rename the Raymond W. Kelly ‘63 Student Commons. Given recent interest in renaming, we find it necessary to provide the Manhattan College community with the following context and analysis. During his term as NYPD Commissioner from 2002 to 2013, Mr. Kelly implemented multiple policies that disproportionately affected people of color. To start, he was featured in the anti-Muslim film The Third Jihad, which the NYPD used to train over 1,400 officers. Also during Mr. Kelly’s tenure, the NYPD spied on Muslim citizens throughout the New York City metropolitan area and infiltrated many Muslim Student Associations in the City and surrounding suburbs. Most notably, he greatly expanded New York City’s infamous stop-and-frisk policy, which disproportionately targeted Black and Latinx neighborhoods, and was ruled unconstitutional a year before the dedication of the student commons. Finally, shortly after his tenure as Commissioner, Kelly published a book titled Vigilance, in which he disapprovingly cited “the Ferguson effect,” in reference to the outrage after Michael Brown’s death, as a cause of disengaged, hesitant policing, and falsely insisted that this would result in increased crime. read the complete article

29 Jun 2020

In her DACA dissent, Sonia Sotomayor shows she’s ‘a voice of one’ on systemic racism on the most conservative Supreme Court in decades

Along with the Supreme Court’s majority, Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered a widely celebrated ruling this month that temporarily kept in place an Obama-era program shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. But in her own short and piercing partially concurring opinion, she went further than any of her colleagues. Sotomayor declared the court erred by rejecting claims that anti-Mexican and anti-Latino racial hostility was at the root of President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative. Trump rode to the White House on an overtly anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim platform. His two picks for the Supreme Court — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — have made it the most conservative in more than 75 years and a poor venue to challenge systematic racial bias, legal experts said. But Sotomayor, a liberal who is the first and only Hispanic justice, has emerged as a sharp, steady and often lonely critic of administration policies she sees as clearly motivated by racial and ethnic discrimination — and of her colleagues’ willingness to look the other way. “Sotomayor is a voice of one,” said Kari E. Hong, an associate professor at Boston College Law School. “She has been the only justice to consistently bring in a real world experience of discrimination having experienced that discrimination herself.” With Congress in a deadlock over immigration and citizenship, administration officials have rewritten and gutted protections for immigrants, making more than 100 changes to federal rules, largely affecting Black, Latino, and Muslim families. When those have been successfully challenged in lower courts, the administration has appealed directly to the Supreme Court, which has shown itself likely to reject or set aside claims of racial animus. read the complete article

29 Jun 2020

After Floyd, Raw Talk, Racial Reckoning Among US Muslims

As a young student, Hind Makki recalls, she would call out others at the Islamic school she attended when some casually used an Arabic word meaning “slaves” to refer to Black people. “Maybe 85% of the time, the response that I would get from people ... is, ‘Oh, we don’t mean you, we mean the Americans,’” Makki said during a virtual panel discussion on race, one of many organized in the wake of George Floyd's death. “That’s a whole other situation about anti-Blackness, particularly against African Americans,” said Makki, who identifies as a Black Arab Muslim. In recent weeks, many Muslims in the U.S. have joined racial justice rallies across the country and denounced racism in sermons, statements and webinars. American Muslims, Black and non-Black, are also having raw conversations like Makki's as they grapple with questions of racial equity, tensions and representation in their own faith communities. Muslims in America are diverse. No racial or ethnic group makes up a majority of Muslim American adults, and 20 percent are Black, according to a 2017 survey by Pew Research Center. Margari Hill, executive director of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, says she has seen a surge of interest, questions and demand from Muslim communities for her expertise: Can she look at a statement or provide topics for a program? Are there resources in Arabic or Bengali? Is it more appropriate to say Black or African American? Can she talk about anti-Blackness? “There’s been a lot of calling out and calling in and deep reflection," she said. “We’re asking people to be committed to, like, unlearning, you know, and building authentic relationships” that last beyond the current moment. “The openness of all different corners of the Muslim community to have this conversation in a really robust way is unprecedented and it is commendable,” said Imam Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “The challenge is when the protests eventually fizzle and the next calamity hits our country, will the conversation continue within the Muslim community?” For this not to be a fleeting moment, Walid said, the makeup of leadership at national Islamic organizations must be more representative. He and others have called for more Black Muslim speakers and not just to talk about race or only during Black History Month. read the complete article

United Kingdom

29 Jun 2020

Veiled racism: How the law change on Covid-19 face coverings makes Muslim women feel

The visibility of being a woman wearing a niqab, hijab, burqa, headscarf or face covering, is something many Muslims have become familiar with: between 2018-2019, 47 per cent of religious hate crimes in the UK victimised Muslims. A Tell Mama report indicates around 80 per cent of victims in these cases are visually identifiable Muslims – those wearing clothing “associated with Islam”. As well as a constant undercurrent of fear, Muslims have had to deal with spikes in hate crime following acts of global terrorism: the Christchurch mosque attacks caused a 600 per cent rise in UK anti-Muslim hate crime. One Muslim woman in Oxford had a man mimic gun noises at her when she went out wearing a hijab afterwards. But as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the globe, and governments are trying to establish means of controlling the virus spread, Muslims are no longer going to be the covered-minority. From 15 June 2020, Boris Johnson – the same politician who caused a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment with his column in 2018 – has made it mandatory that all people in England wear face coverings on public transport. As well as encouraging them in other places it is hard to social distance like shops or supermarkets. The government even issued guidelines on how to make your own face covering at home. Although the motivation for wearing the face covering is different, the outcome is the same: a nation now being mandated to wear the same garment that a minority (it is not known exactly how many women wear the niqab, although there have been some reports statistics have been inflated) has historically been scrutinised, and mocked, for choosing to adopt. read the complete article


29 Jun 2020

‘Division, hatred and fear’: Victoria's Muslim community concerned it's fielding blame for coronavirus spike

Recent media reporting is creating “division, hatred and fear” and has unfairly laid the blame for Melbourne’s coronavirus spike on Muslims, according to the Islamic Council of Victoria. Herald Sun newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt and Sky News commentator Peta Credlin have been among those in the media over the past few days to lay blame for the rise in cases at the feet of multicultural communities. ICV vice president Adel Salman said there was no evidence that Muslims were responsible for causing the surge in cases but that hasn’t stopped some media outlets from focusing on the community. “It plays to a narrative and it’s picked up by those who believe that narrative, that ‘here we go again, Muslims are a threat, they are either trying to harm us with guns and bombs and cars, or now through the virus',” he told SBS News. Several of Victoria’s recent coronavirus clusters have been based in the north and north-western suburbs, areas with high multicultural populations and with large Muslim communities. These areas have been designated as community transmission hotspots by the state government, and testing has been ramped up there. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 29 Jun 2020 Edition


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