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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10 Mar 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Myanmar sues Reuters over reports of death of Rohingya women. In the U.S, the New York man who threatened Rep Ilhan Omar is sentenced to a year in prison, as the Biden campaign is accused of “cosmetic changes” as pro-Modi aide remains. Our recommended read today is by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi titled “Trevor Philips doesn’t understand Islamophobia.” This, and more, below:

United Kingdom

10 Mar 2020

Trevor Phillips doesn’t understand Islamophobia | Recommended Read

I’m astonished that, after decades of research and policies that improved our understanding on race, anyone still believes racism is only about the shade of one’s skin. It is not. Antisemitism is a form of racism – directed at Jews who come in many shades, black, brown and white. Racism is a demonisation and negative stereotyping of a group or perceived group, irrespective of the colour of their face. The same is true for Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim. It’s why the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, after wide consultation and evidence gathering, defined Islamophobia in 2018 as a “form of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”. Phillips has said he is surprised and dismayed at Labour’s decision, and he has not yet had the chance to answer the charges directly, but his concerns over the use of the term “racism” in this definition is baffling. On the one hand, he vehemently contends that Muslims cannot be defined as a single race, so therefore cannot suffer racism. Yet elsewhere, he has repeatedly defined Muslims as a single group, who think the same, act the same and should all be held responsible for the same things. In the past it appears that he has said that “Muslims are not like us”; he’s said that Muslims “see the world differently from the rest of us”; he suggested that British Muslims are “becoming a nation within a nation”; has said, “I thought Europe’s Muslims would gradually blend into the landscape. I should have known better,” which earned the approval of far-right leader Tommy Robinson. Generalising and racialising an entire group on the actions of a few, quoting anecdotal examples to justify an opinion about a whole community, proposing exceptionalism in policy-making based on an individual’s perceived identity, and arguing that there is a hierarchy in racism are all tell-tale signs of racism itself. read the complete article

10 Mar 2020

Conversation with an Imam: being Muslim in Post-Brexit UK

As the United Kingdom faces a post-Brexit reality spurred by an unprecedented rise in support for radical right populist parties, I interviewed Imam Saleem Hussain from Medina Mosque in Southampton, to gain an insight into how local Muslim communities view the threat of right-wing extremism, particularly in the run up to the first anniversary of the attack on the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. read the complete article

10 Mar 2020

Islamophobia cannot be dismissed as ‘free speech’

The debate around whether or not we should define Islamophobia has been going on for some time now. A few weeks ago, it was even discussed on an episode of the BBC’s The Big Questions. Those that oppose a definition being established argue that it would impact and infringe on free speech. But why is the free speech argument so readily used in relation to Islamophobia? Framing the discussion within the context of free speech can have damaging and lasting effects on Muslims. It allows and justifies the hate, prejudice, and discrimination of an entire community. And when those at the top, like Trevor Phillips, use Islamophobic language, it filters down and normalises it across society. Free speech should not mean that a person is allowed to spout or act on hate of a religion or its people. It shouldn’t mean that someone is allowed to pull a Muslim woman’s headscarf off. It shouldn’t mean that a person can plough a van into a mosque. And it shouldn’t mean that Muslims are scapegoated, vilified, and targeted whenever a terror incident happens. 11) New York man who threatened Rep. Ilhan Omar sentenced to 1 year in prison (United States) Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., 56, of Addison, a village southwest of Ithaca, was sentenced Friday on his plea of guilty in November to threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official and being a felon in possession of firearms. He was arrested in April for the call to Omar's office on March 21. During the call, Carlineo asked about the Muslim Brotherhood, called the lawmaker a "terrorist" and said, "Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull," the prosecutor's office said. Omar is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. read the complete article

United States

10 Mar 2020

CAIR, SPLC to Release White Paper on 'Hate-Free Philanthropy'

On Tuesday, March 10, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will release a white paper focusing on the role that community foundations can play in denying philanthropic funding to hate groups. The white paper is a product of a symposium composed of more than three dozen practitioners, advocates and scholars in the philanthropic sector convened in August 2019 by CAIR, SPLC and the American Muslim Fund. read the complete article

10 Mar 2020

Michigan Muslim Americans rally around Sanders on primary eve

Dearborn, outside of Detroit, has one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in the United States, and Sanders enjoys wide support from Muslims here. Dearborn's Arab-American News recently endorsed him, as did Emgage Action, a national Muslim get-out-the-vote group. Michigan will be a state to watch in November. In 2016, it flipped from Democrat to Republican for the first time in a generation, electing Trump by a margin of only 10,000 votes. Hillary Clinton was expected to sweep the Michigan primary in 2016, but Sanders won in a huge upset, thanks in big part to his willingness to denounce Islamophobia and engage with Arab American and Muslim voters. Sanders is using the same strategy in 2020. Lucky for Sanders, he has a group of tech-savvy millennial Muslims on his side. There are more than 100,000 Muslim American voters in Michigan, according to Emgage Action, out of an electorate of 2.5 million, and voter turnout among Muslims nationally nearly doubled between 2014 and 2018 in states including Michigan. Many Muslim voters also want to see candidates with foreign policy goals that tend towards peace instead of interference in other countries, particularly in the Middle East. Nationally, he said, they want to see investments in education and healthcare. read the complete article

10 Mar 2020

New York man who threatened Rep. Ilhan Omar sentenced to 1 year in prison

Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., 56, of Addison, a village southwest of Ithaca, was sentenced Friday on his plea of guilty in November to threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official and being a felon in possession of firearms. He was arrested in April for the call to Omar's office on March 21. During the call, Carlineo asked about the Muslim Brotherhood, called the lawmaker a "terrorist" and said, "Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull," the prosecutor's office said. Omar is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. read the complete article

10 Mar 2020

Biden campaign accused of 'cosmetic' changes as pro-Modi aide remains

Joe Biden's presidential campaign has appointed a former aide to Hillary Clinton as senior advisor on Muslim American engagement following revelations that his predecessor has close ties to India's right-wing Hindu government. The appointment of Farooq Mitha, a longtime Biden supporter and former Muslim advisor to the Clinton campaign in 2016, comes after weeks of pressure to remove Amit Jani as coordinator given his strong ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party. Over the last 10 days, at least two petitions have been circulating calling on Jani to be removed from the White House hopeful's campaign team. Last week, several Muslim-American political advisors were approached to help find a new Muslim aide in a process reportedly led in part by Mitha. The Biden campaign has yet to officially announce Mitha's appointment, but Middle East Eye understands that Jani will continue in his current role as the campaign's Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) national vote director. Sources close to the campaign told MEE that Biden's aides would not want to risk alienating Hindu- Americans by removing Jani from staff. read the complete article


10 Mar 2020

Indian State Ordered to Remove Billboards 'Naming and Shaming' Anti-Government Protesters

The top court in India's most populous state ordered authorities on Monday to remove large displays of the names, pictures and addresses of dozens of anti-government protesters, amid fears that they encourage attacks by vigilante mobs. The government of Uttar Pradesh in northern India put up six hoardings last week in prominent places in Lucknow, the state capital, identifying people it says joined in violent protests against a new citizenship law based on religion. Allahabad High Court in Uttar Pradesh ordered the state government to remove the posters by March 16, saying they were "an unwarranted interference in [the] privacy of people". The state government, run by an ally of India's Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will comply with the court order but is considering its "legal options", the chief minister's top adviser, Mrityunjay Kumar, said. read the complete article


10 Mar 2020

I was in China doing research when I saw my Uighur friends disappear

I began my doctoral dissertation research in 2014 in the capital city of the Uighur homeland, Urumqi, and lived there for 24 months. Urumqi is a large, diverse city of more than 3 million people. In addition to being the home of Muslim ethnic minorities such as the Uighurs, the city is also home to Han Chinese residents. I interviewed 66 Han Chinese and 98 Uighur people during my stay. I saw the early years of the surveillance in Urumqi and by February 2017 some of my Uighur neighbors started to disappear. I soon discovered that in Urumqi, the rules varied according to neighborhood. City resident permit applications in Uighur-majority districts in Urumqi were under stricter regulations than those in Han-majority districts in Urumqi. I lived in a Uighur-majority district, called Tianshan Qu in Chinese. For Uighur migrants living in this district, each application for a city resident permit required several layers of permission. According to the instructional documents given to me during my fieldwork, this discrepancy was an official policy: All minorities, except Han, had to abide by this process neighborhood committee officials in Urumqi told me. Their reason was that some Uighurs were suspected to be terrorists. As scholar Darren Byler points out, in Xinjiang people were “segmented,” not just by family but by “ethnicity and work units.” They were also “bifurcated by urban or rural legal residency status.” Regular home inspections were carried out by the neighborhood committees, primarily to ensure migrant Uighurs complied with registration requirements. They had been occurring on a regular basis since 2014. read the complete article


10 Mar 2020

Myanmar army sues Reuters over report on deaths of Rohingya women

Myanmar’s police said the army had filed a lawsuit against Reuters news agency and a local lawmaker for criminal defamation, weeks after the military objected to a news story published about the death of two Rohingya Muslim women as a result of shelling in Rakhine state. After publication, the army said its artillery fire had not killed the women or caused other civilian injuries and blamed insurgents of the Arakan Army (AA), who are fighting for greater autonomy in Rakhine state. The AA denied responsibility and blamed the army. Reporters are banned from the area where the incident happened. Police Lieutenant Kyaw Thu, the acting station head in Buthidaung township, in the north of Rakhine state, told Reuters both the news agency and the lawmaker, Maung Kyaw Zan, were being sued under section 66D of the Telecommunications Act. read the complete article


10 Mar 2020

How much of your stuff is linked to forced Uighur labour?

A new report conducted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (APSI) has revealed harrowing evidence of China's exploitation of Uighur Muslims, including their transfer to factories across the country to carry out forced labour for foreign brands. Many major brands such as Apple, Adidas and Nike have been implicated in the report, with some saying they are investigating the claims, and others saying they were unaware this had occurred. Nike told the Washington Post it was "committed to upholding international labour standards globally" and that its suppliers were "strictly prohibited from using any type of prison, forced, bonded or indentured labour." The BBC reported that Apple had said it was "dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve". While these brands might reaffirm their commitment to ensuring the safety of Uighur Muslims, questions over accountability in global supply chains must be raised. If Uighurs were being transferred out of Xinjiang as early as 2017, how could global brands not know that it was occurring, and why haven't there been investigations into the identity of factory labourers? Global brands including Adidas, Bosch and Panasonic told ASPI that they had "no direct contractual relationships with the suppliers indicated in the report, but no one could rule out a link further down their supply chain". This excuse is unacceptable. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Mar 2020 Edition


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