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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01 Mar 2019

Today in IslamophobiaIlhan Omar speaks out on her Twitter scandal, and the “Secret life of Muslims” shatters religious stereotypes through art. Bangladesh refuses to take in any more Rohingya refugees, and France debates the ‘sports hijab’. An op-ed by Shelina Janmohamed argues that long before Shamima Begum’s citizenship controversy, Muslim women were targets of fraught systems. Our recommended read of the day is by Brigitte Pawliw-Fry, titled “We need to stop pretending there’s no Islamophobia in Canada”. This, and more, below:


01 Mar 2019

Opinion | We need to stop pretending there’s no Islamophobia crisis in Canada | Recommended Read

Two winters ago, I watched another tragedy unfold before me, in real time: Quebecers were attending their evening prayer in the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City. It was snowy and cold, typical for a January day. A young man named Alexandre Bissonnette attended the evening worship at the mosque. Then, he killed six of the men worshipping there. Most of the world didn’t notice. That night, CBC’s The National devoted about five minutes of airtime to it. (On the night of the London Borough attacks in the U.K. later that year, they spent several hours reporting live). Where searches about the Boston Marathon bombing on CBC, the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star revealed 768 results, there were only 194 results related to the Quebec mosque shooting. Remembering the six men who were killed and the causes of the violence did not seem like a national priority. After witnessing the real-time forgetting of this event, I spoke to over 40 Canadians. I wanted to know: Why are some tragedies less memorable? More easily forgotten? And what does that say about Canada’s national identity? The answer, I found, reveals a complicated story of how Canadians understand themselves. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


01 Mar 2019

Europe’s female Muslim comedians take the mic

A growing number of women like Azmat — who performs most nights and hosts a podcast called “No Country for Young Women” — are using humor to confront prejudice and shine a light on what it means to be female and Muslim in Europe. And at a time when populist parties and governments are trumpeting Islamophobic or anti-immigrant messages on the Continent, many feel it’s become even more urgent for them to find their voice and tell their own stories. “Some people think my parents make me wear the scarf, and that’s not true,” Azmat tells the audience. “No one in my family wears a headscarf, and they don’t even like me wearing it. Like, sometimes when I leave the house they say, ‘Why are you wearing that, people will think you’re going to blow up the bus.’” When she takes the stage “it’s about trying to own the narrative, which is usually out of our hands,” says Azmat. read the complete article

01 Mar 2019

UK Shooting Range Faces Backlash For Using Muslim Teen's Photo As Target Practice

Speaking to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire program, Wallasey's Ultimate Airsoft Range said that the range was intended "for people to learn the importance and safety of handling weapons, while having fun". "Our targets provide some fantastic reactions and conversations... bringing out the inner child in all," a spokesperson said. The shooting range had earlier posted an image of the target to Twitter, describing it as "hot off the press." The tweet also included the hashtags #NoRemorse and #MadeYourChoice. The story evidently sparked an outrage on social media with critics saying that the image "encourages violent attitudes towards those who you harbour prejudices against." read the complete article

01 Mar 2019

A Sports Hijab Has France Debating the Muslim Veil, Again

France’s longstanding attitudes toward feminism, secularism and the integration of immigrants are at the root of the many controversies, but they are also fueled by recent fears about Islamist terrorism, along with the rise of social media. The most recent debate centers on plans by Decathlon, Europe’s largest sporting goods retailer, to sell the hijab, which covers the wearer’s head and neck. Criticism quickly came from many quarters, with one lawmaker saying that the debate laid bare “this obsession around the veil and Islam.” Decathlon initially stood firm, arguing that it was focused on “democratizing” sports and that Muslim women often ran with “ill-adapted” hijabs. “Our goal is simple: to offer them a suitable sports product, without judging,” the company said in a statement on Twitter. It’s unclear why Decathlon became the focus of such criticism. Nike already sells hijabs for runners in France, but it has not faced the same scrutiny, possibly because it’s not a French brand. Some politicians defended Decathlon, with Aurélien Taché, a representative from Mr. Macron’s party, saying that France “would do well” without “this obsession around the veil and Islam.” read the complete article

01 Mar 2019

Opinion | Facebook gets it right with ban on hate propagandist Tommy Robinson

Robinson, who has become a hero to the alt-right in Australia, also attacked Facebook by claiming he had “breached no rules” and that he had merely used his page to “show people the truth”. The “truth”, which he doth speak, apparently, is calling on his social media followers to “make war on Muslims” and “terrorise and behead those who follow the Koran”, while branding 1.6 billion followers of the Islamic faith “filthy scum bags”. Despite his howls and protests of "poor me", none of his posts cited by Facebook constitutes truth, and nor do they equate harmlessly with free speech. It’s hate speech, pure and simple, and Facebook should be commended for its decision, even if it’s one that should have been made much earlier. Robinson is being banned for the same reason social media platforms have banned accounts belonging to those associated and sympathetic to ISIS and al-Qaeda, but whereas violent jihadists incite terrorism against non-Muslims, Robinson’s screeds and fascist propaganda incite violence against immigrants and Muslims, or those perceived to be either. read the complete article

01 Mar 2019

Opinion | Long before Shamima Begum, Muslim women were targets

It’s probably one of the reasons the Shamima Begum case is having such a profound impact; one dimensional stereotypes about Muslim women already run so deep. Begum embodies this exact victim-terrorist paradox. While the former Bethnal Green schoolgirl did join Isis, we don’t know whether she committed crimes while in Syria, and none of us will unless she is brought to face justice. But the binary way in which her story has been framed – she is either a dangerous public enemy and security risk covered from head to toe in her long black clothing, audaciously demanding to be taken back to Britain, or she is a helpless victim, tricked into marriage to a man twice her age, rape, three pregnancies, the loss of two babies, post-natal depression and war trauma – is unhelpful. It ignores the fact that sometimes the truth is complex and lies somewhere between the extremes, and that is having an impact on other Muslim women in Britain. read the complete article

01 Mar 2019

Tories Failed To Expel 'Islamophobic' Member Allegedly Behind Far-Right Protest At MP's Office

Ex-Tory member Colin Raine ranted on Facebook about “aggressive muzzies” who he claimed were praying in public to “provoke a reaction”. In the 2017 post, the military veteran, who was then a member of Bishop Auckland Conservative Association, added: “If it is a fight they want I feel they will soon get one.” He has also called those who back remaining in the European Union “traitors”. Raine further boasted online about meeting Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017 and has previously stood as a Tory candidate in local elections. He was reported to the Tory party in November for allegedly organising a ‘save Brexit’ protest outside Labour MP Helen Goodman’s office. But it seems that the party did not expel Raine and instead allowed his membership to expire, with the association chairman telling HuffPost UK he “decided not to apply for renewal”. In November last year, Goodman wrote to Tory chairman Brandon Lewis, informing him that the protest included members of the far-right group the Democratic Football Lads Alliance and an English Defence League splinter group called North East Infidels. She said: “My concern is not that people were exercising their right to protest in public: it is that a Conservative was lining up with the racist far-right, especially given that I receive representations from ethnic minority constituents who say they no longer feel safe.” read the complete article


01 Mar 2019

Rohingya crisis: Bangladesh says it will not accept any more Myanmar refugees

Bangladesh is now sheltering more than a million Myanmar refugees in camps, some 700,000 of whom have poured over the border in the past 18 months having fled a military-led crackdown in Rakhine state where thousands were killed, women were raped and villages razed. Speaking to the UN security council on Thursday, Bangladesh foreign secretary Shahidul Haque said: “I regret to inform the council that Bangladesh would no longer be in a position to accommodate more people from Myanmar.” Most of the Rohingya arrived in Bangladesh between August and December 2017 in the midst of the brutal campaign of violence the UN has described as ethnic cleansing and possible genocide. However, last year about 16,000 Rohingya crossed the border to Bangladesh, fleeing ongoing abuses. A UN envoy stated last year there was still an “ongoing genocide” in Rakhine. read the complete article

United States

01 Mar 2019

Ilhan Omar speaks out on her Twitter scandal, anti- semitism, and progressive foreign policy

Omar joins Mehdi Hasan on this week’s episode of Deconstructed and opens up about the Islamophobic and racist attacks she’s endured since entering Congress, discusses her work with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and clarifies her position on the Venezuela crisis. Over the course of the interview, Ilhan comments on her Twitter scandal, and allegations of anti- semitism, along with her views on progressive foreign policy. read the complete article

01 Mar 2019

Court rejects state secrets claim in FBI mosque surveillance suit

The long-awaited decision from a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel is a blow to the government’s use of the so-called state secrets privilege to combat lawsuits alleging illegal electronic snooping. The long-running legal case involves the FBI’s use of a paid informant to infiltrate California mosques in the middle of the last decade. FBI agents and the informer, Craig Monteilh, had a falling out. He later filed a lawsuit and also publicly alleged that he’d been instructed to carry out an intrusive, broad-scale undercover operation that included dating Muslim women and planting recording devices in mosque facilities. The ruling issued Thursday came not in Monteilh’s suit but one filed in 2011 by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of an imam and two Muslim worshipers, charging that the surveillance was illegal and unconstitutionally intruded on their freedom of religion. read the complete article

01 Mar 2019

Mercer Funding for Muslim-Ban Front Group Revealed

New financial filings show how a deep-pocketed dark-money group run by the wealthy pro-Trump Mercer family financed a campaign to preserve President Trump’s ban on immigration from a number of Muslim-majority nations. The group, Making America Great, took in more than $5.6 million in 2017 from five anonymous donors. It used that money to pay Cambridge Analytica, the Mercers’ controversial data-targeting firm, nearly $1 million, according to financial records obtained by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and shared exclusively with PAY DIRT. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Mar 2019 Edition


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