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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30 Jun 2020

Today in Islamophobia: China forces birth control on Muslim Uighurs to suppress population. Officers in San Jose, California, are put on leave after racist social media posts surface. Bridge Senior Research Fellow Mobashra Tazamal explores how COVID-19 has put a spotlight on systemic racism in the U.K. Our recommended read today is by Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott on USAID, where a Trump appointee has been accused of repeatedly making anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ comments, saying, on one occasion, that ‘female empowerment is a civilizational calamity.’ This, and more, below:

United States

30 Jun 2020

Trump appointee at USAID repeatedly made anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ comments, said 'female empowerment is a civilizational calamity' | Recommended Read

A Trump administration appointee at the United States' agency responsible for foreign aid has a history of inflammatory rhetoric aimed at refugees, the LGBTQ community and women. The comments come from Merritt Corrigan, the recently appointed deputy White House liaison at the US Agency for International Development, in tweets in 2019 and 2020. CNN's KFile reviewed 400 previously unreported tweets from Corrigan's feed, which were captured by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Corrigan previously worked at Hungary's Embassy in the US where she repeatedly tweeted support for far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, calling him "the shining champion of Western civilization," according to ProPublica, which reported on several of Corrigan's tweets on June 5. "Mass deportations when?," Corrigan tweeted in October 2019, linking to a 2010 article in which German Chancellor Angela Merkel said German multiculturalism has failed. (A picture of the article was not captured in the tweet, but a link can be viewed in the WebArchive's source code of the tweet.) In other tweets, Corrigan repeatedly expressed support for far-right anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim European political parties like the National Front in France and AfD in Germany. Corrigan repeatedly expressed hostility towards refugees and immigration, both in the United States and in Europe. In response to a report on improved conditions in Somalia, Corrigan wrote in October 2019, "Great, can we send the 70,000+ Somalis in Minnesota back then?" Later, in the same month, she said, "Immigration is the hostile governing elite's preferred agent of chaos." Also in October 2019, Corrigan tweeted support for the far-right Germany political party AfD, an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim group. "AfD continues to grow nationally. Perhaps the Germans are awakening to the fact that they don't want to live in a country where Eritrean migrants push their children in front of trains," she wrote. read the complete article

Recommended Read
30 Jun 2020

4 Officers In San Jose, Calif., Put On Leave After Racist Social Media Posts Surface

The San Jose Police Department said it has placed four police officers on administrative leave. It is investigating allegations that they posted racist and anti-Muslim messages in a private Facebook group. The allegations against the San Francisco Bay Area officers stem from an anonymous article on the website Medium. "In closely reading their posts, it is very disturbing to find how much hate, prejudice and racism they harbor," the author of the Medium post said. For example, the article flagged a comment from a current SJPD motor officer reportedly saying that "Black lives don't really matter." That same officer allegedly wrote an anti-Muslim comment about a woman who filed a lawsuit against the Ventura County Sheriff's Office saying that deputies forced her to remove her hijab while in custody. "Hell, I would have pulled it over her face," the officer wrote, according to the Medium article. A retired officer reportedly added, "I say re-purpose the hijabs into nooses." That officer also posted an offensive image of a fake advertisement for a "Sharia Barbie," with a line saying "stoning accessories available." The Medium post also alleged that an officer currently assigned to SJPD's training unit posted a message in 2015 "that racially profiles and stereotypes all Muslims as being terrorists." The training unit is responsible for instruction combating race-bias policing, according to the post. read the complete article

30 Jun 2020

Muslim groups decry 'excessive' prosecution of lawyers charged with torching police car

Lawyers Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis stand accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail through the broken window of an abandoned police cruiser during Brooklyn racial justice protests on May 30. The device burned part of the empty cruiser’s dashboard, prosecutors allege. Nobody was injured during the incident. “No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at police officers and vehicles is justified,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said. The two have both pleaded not guilty to several arson and federal explosives charges. If convicted, they face a 45-year mandatory minimum sentence, with the possibility of life in prison. The attorneys are being held without bail at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center. In a statement, a coalition of 35 Muslim, South Asian and Arab civil rights and advocacy groups argue the treatment is disproportionately harsh and likely linked in part to the lawyers' racial and ethnic backgrounds. Rahman, 31, is a Pakistani American Muslim woman. Mattis, 32, is the son of Jamaican immigrants. “These excessive charges targeting Colin and Urooj set a dangerous precedent, and function to instill fear and stifle protest by Black, South Asian, and Muslim protestors at a moment where millions take to the streets worldwide to demand justice,” the statement reads. “This prosecution is also rooted in a longstanding history of anti-Black racism and structural Islamophobia in the United States.” read the complete article

30 Jun 2020

Trump ‘white power’ tweet set off a scramble inside the White House — but no clear condemnation

The president had shared a video on Twitter that included a Trump supporter shouting “white power” at counterprotesters during a demonstration at the Villages, a retirement community in central Florida, and had called his supporters there “great people.” Senior staffers quickly conferred over the phone and then began trying to reach the president to convey their concerns about the tweet. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, son-in-law Jared Kushner and other senior advisers spoke with president, said several people familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private conversations. Roughly three hours later, the president gave the go-ahead to delete his incendiary tweet — moved, in large part, by the public calls from Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s only black Republican, to do just that, aides said. White House spokespeople said Trump didn’t hear his supporter twice shout “white power.” But neither the president nor his team publicly condemned the racist phrase, setting off another controversial news cycle for a president already struggling to unite the country amid accusations that he traffics in racist and racially inflammatory language. read the complete article


30 Jun 2020

'Dalit-Muslim Unity Is the Only Way to Stop the March of Hindutva in Bengal'

As West Bengal’s assembly elections approach, there is increasing speculation about how the Citizenship Amendment Act will impact Dalit votes in the state. In this interview with the All India President of the Joint Action Committee for Bengali Refugees (JACBR) Sukriti Ranjan Biswas, Dwaipayan Sen explores various aspects of this significant issue. Even though the CAA and NRC have been widely acknowledged as discriminatory towards Muslims in particular, there is an assumption that it will serve the interests of Hindus. Do you think this is true with respect to Dalits in West Bengal? Why, or why not? It’s commonly known that the BJP is a party driven by Hindutva ideology. In the Indian context, this means that the party is naturally anti-Muslim. But I’d like to begin this discussion with a reminder that the party is in equal measure anti-Dalit Hindu. If we forget this fact, then any discussion of CAA and NRC will be misleading, as in fact we can already see. We must not forget how the BJP’s wishes to deceive Dalit Hindus by their calls for Hindu unity. Why do you think certain sections of Bengali Dalits are in favour of these measures? Many Dalit refugees (among other refugees) believe – despite many hesitations and dilemmas – that the CAA makes it possible for them to acquire Indian citizenship. In fact, no other party or government is saying anything about solving the problem of citizenship for refugees. The opposition is only asking for the repeal of the CAA, and don’t even have an alternative proposal. The opposition is, therefore, losing the support of the refugees, and the BJP’s strategy of polarisation between Hindus and Muslims is thus proving to be successful. The only way to stop Hindutva or the BJP in Bengal or in India is to forge a political alliance and unity between Muslims and Dalits. But this is a very difficult task. Because the Brahminists in every opposition party recognise the threat from that one source, all parties and the media actively and collectively seek ways to do everything in their power to concoct conflicts between Dalits and Muslims, and disrupt any move towards their unity. read the complete article


30 Jun 2020

China forces birth control on Muslim Uighurs to suppress population

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. read the complete article

United Kingdom

30 Jun 2020

As Britain faces up to racism, it’s time the Conservative Party properly addressed Islamophobia

From the failure to include our horrific colonial history on the school curriculum to the structural inequalities in place which have led to disproportionate deaths from Covid-19 in BAME, and particularly Muslim and Jewish, communities. And as the Black Lives Matter movement continues, individuals and corporations alike have been keenly showcasing their anti-racist credentials, not least the Government and Conservatives Party. For years, the Muslim Council of Britain has been shining a light on the Conservatives’ very acute problem with a specific type of racism: Islamophobia. This month marks one year since all Conservative leadership contenders, including Boris Johnson, committed to holding an inquiry into Islamophobia in the party. An inquiry is now taking place – but as it is internal we are concerned that it will not be independent. Instead of examining the extent to which Islamophobia has infected the party, from elected politicians to standard members, this “inquiry” will instead merely look at the effectiveness of the party’s procedures for dealing with complaints of racism – equivalent to an internal complaints assessment. This misses the point entirely. There is a clear problem at hand: a sizeable chunk of the Conservative Party have racist views towards Muslims and are not afraid to voice these. A YouGov poll for anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate found that 40 per cent of Conservative members want to reduce the number of Muslims coming to Britain, nearly half would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister, 54 per cent believe Islam is a threat to the British way of life, and two thirds of members believe the far-right conspiracy theory that parts of UK are under Sharia law. read the complete article

30 Jun 2020

In the U.K., COVID-19 Puts a Spotlight on Systemic Racism

The COVID-19 pandemic has been regarded as a “great equalizer;” however, the effects of the novel coronavirus clearly reveal the deep-seated inequalities that exist in society today. In the United Kingdom, this is visible in the identities of the victims of COVID-19. Data reveals that Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) peoples are disproportionately impacted by the virus. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing social and economic divisions while bringing systemic racial disparities to the surface. Additionally, in the middle of a public health crisis, historically marginalized communities are on the receiving end of hate campaigns, often scapegoated by those in power in an effort to divert attention from the failure to tackle the crisis. In our current atmosphere, these communities are faced with a dual threat to their lives: COVID-19 and systemic racism. read the complete article


30 Jun 2020

European Islamophobia Report 2019

The fifth edition of the annual European Islamophobia Report (EIR) has been presented. It includes a general assessment of Islamophobia in Europe in the year 2019 and 32 country reports that include almost all EU member states and additional countries such as Russia, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Montenegro. The EIR 2019 brought together 35 scholars, experts, and civil society activists from various European countries who are specialized on racism and Islamophobia studies. They cover various issues from media, politics, and the justice system to the Internet, and offer concrete policy recommendations for civil society and politics. The EIR informs practitioners, scholars, and the general public and its findings have been cited frequently by international organizations, politicians, NGOs, scholars, and local and international media outlets. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Jun 2020 Edition


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