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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03 Jun 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Trump signs order directing USAID to take action on global religious freedom. Steve King, U.S house republican with a history of racist remarks, loses primary. Our recommended read today is by Bridge Senior Research Fellow Nena Beecham on mass surveillance to track COVID-19, and how the practice threatens Black and Brown communities. This, and more, below:

United States

03 Jun 2020

Mass Surveillance to Track the Coronavirus Threatens Black and Brown Communities | Recommended Read

Despite these proposals, past crises have shown us that mass surveillance will not only fail to save us, but is practically guaranteed to have negative consequences for Black communities and communities of color. In order to safeguard the privacy and rights of the communities that have been hit hardest by COVID-19, it must be asked: Why is mass surveillance being proposed as one of the most viable solutions to the ongoing pandemic, and why aren't resources being channeled into our broken public health infrastructure instead? This is a particularly urgent question as police forces around the country mobilize against Americans standing up against police brutality, and President Trump urges governors to “track” and lock up protesters. The rhetoric of war and the normalization of surveillance during the war on drugs paved the way for the war on terror. In the aftermath of 9/11, expanded surveillance powers were rapidly granted without regard for the long-lasting implications they would have. The Patriot Act completely transformed the nation’s surveillance authority. As detailed by the ACLU, it increased government power to conduct records searches, secret searches, intelligence searches, and “trap and trace" searches. The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, a special registration system that disproportionately focused on Arab and Muslim males, was also welcomed as a viable post-9/11 surveillance measure. read the complete article

Recommended Read
03 Jun 2020

Joe Biden's Muslim state of exception

Last month, one prominent Muslim group, Emgage PAC - which calls itself the largest Muslim American federal political action committee - endorsed Joe Biden for president. "As president, I will stand up for Muslim communities across the country, immediately repeal Donald Trump's Muslim ban and embrace diversity as a core strength of our nation, not demonise it," Biden proclaimed shortly after being endorsed. These words may seem comforting but they fall terribly short. The Muslim American community should take Biden's promises with a pinch of salt and scrutinise his political record on issues that have disproportionately negative effects on its members. One of these issues is the "state of exception," ie, when a state exercises its sovereign powers under an emergency situation to implement policies (ostensibly for the public good) that it otherwise would not under normal circumstances. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these policies could include the use of data collection and face surveillance to curb the spread of the virus, raising questions about civil liberties and privacy rights. Muslims are familiar with these questions, as they have long been targeted by the state of exception and know better than anyone else that curtailing rights in the name of security often means compromising both. For Muslims, surveillance under a state of exception has been the norm and Biden's record on it ought to be interrogated, as we discuss political accountability amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that Republicans cannot be trusted to keep us safe, so we turn to Democrats for survival, but we are made to take a Faustian bargain that we must be quiet and accept crumbs for safety. This can no longer be the case. Joe Biden must terminate CVE/TVTP if elected. It is my view that, ultimately, the collective liberation of marginalised communities will not come from electoral politics. A country built upon the backs of enslaved peoples and through the genocide of the Indigenous will never truly save us. read the complete article

03 Jun 2020

Steve King, House Republican With a History of Racist Remarks, Loses Primary

Representative Steve King of Iowa, the nine-term Republican with a history of racist comments who only recently became a party pariah, lost his bid for renomination early Wednesday, one of the biggest defeats of the 2020 primary season in any state. The defeat was most likely the final political blow to one of the nation’s most divisive elected officials, whose insults of undocumented immigrants foretold the messaging of President Trump, and whose flirtations with extremism led him far from rural Iowa, to meetings with anti-Muslim crusaders in Europe and an endorsement of a Toronto mayoral candidate with neo-Nazi ties. read the complete article

03 Jun 2020

Man gets 10-month sentence for threatening Muslim politician

A North Carolina man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 months in prison for anonymously threatening on social media to lynch a Muslim-American man who ran for a state Senate seat in Virginia, according to prosecutors. Joseph Cecil Vandevere, 53, of Black Mountain, had faced a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison after a federal jury in Asheville, North Carolina, convicted him in December of interstate communication of a threat to injure a person. Vandevere was charged last June in connection with a tweet directed at candidate Qasim Rashid. The March 2018 tweet included a picture of a lynching and read, “VIEW YOUR DESTINY.” Rashid posted a screenshot of the threatening tweet and reported it to the FBI. The judge also ordered Vandevere to pay $224 in restitution to Rashid. read the complete article

03 Jun 2020

Trump signs order directing State Dept., USAID to take action on global religious freedom

President Trump on Tuesday quietly signed an executive order directing the State Department to take more concrete action in countries identified as violating religious freedoms, assigning $50 million to support such efforts. The executive order, called “Advancing International Religious Freedom,” tasks the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to fund programs that promote and protect religious freedoms abroad. The order also calls for diplomats to increase efforts raising concerns with partner countries over religious discrimination. The president did not hold a public ceremony for the signing nor make public remarks about the implementation of the order. In the 2020 annual report, USCIRF for the first time recommended India be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” for “a sharp downward turn” in religious freedom in 2019, particularly against Muslims, according to the report. A Country of Particular Concern, or CPC, designation is considered the most serious category of documenting religious freedom violations and infringement. For 2020, USCIRF recommended new CPC designation for Nigeria, Russia, Syria and Vietnam. It called for renewing CPC status for Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. read the complete article


03 Jun 2020

First Rohingya refugee dies from coronavirus in Bangladesh

An elderly Rohingya refugee has become the first person to die from the novel coronavirus in the camps in southern Bangladesh, officials said. The man, aged 71, died on May 31 while undergoing treatment at the camp's isolation centre, said Bimal Chakma, a senior official of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, on Tuesday. The Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are members of a mostly Muslim minority who fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017. More than a million of them live in camps in Cox's Bazar, a coastal district in southeast Bangladesh. The death was in the Kutupalong shelter - the biggest refugee camp in the world - which alone is home to roughly 600,000 people. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 03 Jun 2020 Edition


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