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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14 Mar 2019

Today in IslamophobiaU.S says China’s treatment of Muslims worst abuses since 1930s, even as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation ‘commends’ the PRC’s treatment of Uighur Muslims. In Australia, a politician calls for a ‘final solution’ to ban on Muslim migration, in Geneva, a councilor is forced to sit out a meeting because of her headscarf. Our recommended read of the day is titled “Islamophobes came for Americans on the campaign trail” by Lawrence Pintak, Brian Bowe & Jonathan Albright. This, and more, below:

United States

14 Mar 2019

Islamophobes Came for Americans on the Campaign Trail | Recommended Read

A new poll surveying Muslim candidates in the 2018 midterms shows such attitudes are a pernicious—and sometimes menacing—reality for Muslims entering the public arena, particularly for women. Our team identified 166 American Muslims who ran in the 2018 primaries, from the governorship of Michigan to city councils and school boards. Of those, 23 were candidates for Congress, 50 ran for state legislatures, and five sought statewide office. We surveyed that high-profile group as part of a larger project on Islamophobia in the midterms. More than half took part in the survey. The candidates’ experiences were decidedly mixed. Almost 40 percent of respondents said they encountered little or no anti-Muslim sentiment, but about a third said the level of Islamophobia they encountered was “high” or “very high.” Only four candidates reported experiencing no Islamophobia at all. None of those were women. Several heard disparaging comments about Islam from their rivals in the race. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
14 Mar 2019

Opinion | ‘Our diversity is our strength’: Movita Johnson-Harrell will be Pa. Legislature’s first female Muslim lawmaker

On Tuesday, voters in West Philadelphia elected the first Muslim woman to serve in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. Democrat Movita Johnson-Harrell, an anti-gun violence advocate and former staffer for District Attorney Larry Krasner, won two-thirds of the vote in a four-way special election for the 190th District. When she is sworn in March 25, Johnson-Harrell will be one of three openly Muslim members of the Legislature. The other two are Rep. Jason Dawkins and Sen. Sharif Street, both Philadelphia Democrats. “I think this is a good sign for Pennsylvania,” Johnson-Harrell told the Capital-Star after her win. “Our diversity is our strength.” She added that her election, as well as the election of the first two Muslim women to Congress last year, are a show of force against discrimination and bigotry. read the complete article

14 Mar 2019

Minnesota probe finds no evidence day care fraud was funneling money to terrorists

The state's legislative auditor released a report Wednesday stating that some daycare providers in the state are fraudulently over-billing the state's Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), but not to the scale that has been reported by local news stations. The report also found that there was no evidence to support claims reported by a local Fox affiliate from Scott Stillman, a former employee with the Department of Homeland Security, claiming that money obtained fraudulently by Somali-American daycare providers was being sent back to Somalia in the form of remittance payments to loved ones that would be stolen or otherwise obtained by local terrorist groups. read the complete article

14 Mar 2019

Muslim U.S army soldier claims command sergeant ordered her to remove her hijab

Sergeant Cesilia Valdovinos told The Army Times she was at a chapel in Fort Carson, Colorado, on March 6 and was forcefully taken outside by her command sergeant major to remove the hijab in front of other people. Valdovinos, who is a member of the 704th Bridge Support Battalion, told the publication her hijab has been approved to wear with her uniform by her brigade commander and was not wearing her hair in a regulation bun. She claims no one asked her if she was wearing the regulation bun before Command Sergeant Major Kerstin Montoya took her by the arm outside and forced her to take off her hijab. “To me, it was the same thing as if they had asked someone to take their top off,” the 26-year-old soldier told The Army Times. read the complete article

14 Mar 2019

Ammar Campa-Najjar accuses GOP leadership of hypocrisy over anti-bigotry resolution

Campa-Najjar is seeking a rematch, and has renewed his demands that Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter be held accountable for anti-Muslim rhetoric. The last race was swamped in its final weeks by outrage and confusion after the Hunter campaign released an ad baselessly casting Campa-Najjar — a Christian born to Mexican-American and Palestinian parents — as part of a “well-orchestrated plan” by terrorists “to infiltrate Congress.” Amid last week’s vote for a resolution condemning religious intolerance in light of comments made by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, Campa-Najjar accused Republican leadership of a double standard for failing to denounce Hunter for the ads. Campa-Najjar relaunched his campaign in January and believes he is better positioned to unseat Hunter this cycle, having already attracted the interest of national Democrats. read the complete article

14 Mar 2019

Opinion | We should be outraged by Fox and its apologists

Advertisers have begun to flee from both Pirro’s and Carlson’s shows, but Fox News for now is keeping them on the air. Now that we have established that overt, ugly racism and misogyny are not career-enders at Fox News, and in fact are features, not bugs of these shows, I think we can understand why the Democratic Party doesn’t want this outfit moderating its debates. The Fox News organization is now inextricably tied to hateful, racist, hurtful speech, not to mention complete toadyism to President Trump and utter lack of journalistic standards. It doesn’t get an invitation to join “polite company.” Without xenophobia, Trump idolatry and Islamophobia, Fox hosts would have nothing to talk about. Fox and its apologists tell us that critics of its hosts’ racism and misogyny are part of an insincere outrage industry. This is akin to the excuse that Trump is merely being “politically incorrect” when he expresses racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and Islamophobic views. It’s of a piece with right-wing defenders saying he’s a great president — and his tweets are just “words.” read the complete article


14 Mar 2019

How the Far Right Weaponized Europe’s Interior Ministries to Block Refugees

Herbert Kickl might be the most important far-right ideologue you’ve never heard of. He’s radically reshaping both refugee policies and the tone of political discourse across Europe. A longtime strategist for Austria’s nativist Freedom Party (FPÖ), Kickl has gone from working behind the scenes to becoming the country’s interior minister. And with a string of controversial statements and policy proposals—primarily related to immigration and refugees—he is using his newfound prominence to help ensure that those issues remain a part of the conversation domestically. Kickl is an example of a broader trend in Europe. The FPÖ entered government in the fall of 2017, partnering with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party. read the complete article

14 Mar 2019

Opinion | Why Anti-Muslim Hate Is Back With a Vengeance in Britain's Ruling Party

Historically, the Conservative Party was slow to accept the changes in British society brought about by immigration. Memories are long, and British Muslims contrast Conservative MP Enoch Powell’s anti-immigrant "rivers of blood" speech in 1968 with the Labour Party’s enactment of race relations legislation that made racial discrimination unlawful. But despite that unpromising history, the Conservative Party has changed slowly but steadily. That change accelerated when David Cameron became party leader in 2005. He stayed for several days with a Muslim family in Birmingham and spoke very positively about Muslim family values. In the 2010 general election, only about 15% of British Muslims voted Conservative, but by the 2015 generalelection this increased dramatically to 25%. Sadly, since the high point of 2015, Conservative Party has gone backwards in regard to British Muslims. read the complete article


14 Mar 2019

I Am Rohingya: A Genocide in Four Acts review – youthful counterblast to oppression

Yusuf Zine’s documentary provides a platform for those younger migrants whose parents fled persecution by the Myanmar government to tell their stories twice over – first on camera to the director, who’s spent the past few years assisting the Canadian social services, then on stage in a college-theatre production workshopped from their experiences. The resulting film forms another of this century’s lessons in how profound trauma can be worked through and converted into art, applause, affirmation, acknowledgment. Zine wants us to see his charges as peppy, upbeat individuals – kids who’ve wholeheartedly embraced the chance they’ve been handed for a better life, including the prospect of a creative career – before he reframes them as victims and survivors. When we learn what exactly these ingenues have been through – and the dramaturgy reveals a distressing litany of mutilations, rapes and bereavements – their optimism seems not just admirable, but an act of defiance, a counterblast against the limited future their oppressors had in mind for them. read the complete article


14 Mar 2019

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation ‘commends’ China for its treatment of Muslims

One of the largest inter-governmental bodies in the world has endorsed China’s treatment of its Muslim citizens, just as the country is facing growing scrutiny for its policies targeting Uighurs in Xinjiang. The Council of Foreign Ministers under the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held a meeting in Abu Dhabi on March 1 and 2. It adopted a resolution on “safeguarding the rights of Muslim communities and minorities in non-OIC member states,” which included a positive reference to China. read the complete article

14 Mar 2019

U.S. says China's treatment of Muslim minority worst abuses 'since the 1930s'

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted abuses in Iran, South Sudan, Nicaragua and China in the department’s annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” but told reporters that China was “in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations.” “For me, you haven’t seen things like this since the 1930s,” Michael Kozak, the head of the State Department’s human rights and democracy bureau told the same briefing, referring to abuses of China’s Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region. “Rounding up, in some estimations ... in the millions of people, putting them into camps, and torturing them, abusing them, and trying to basically erase their culture and their religion and so on from their DNA. It’s just remarkably awful.” “It is one of the most serious human rights violations in the world today,” he said. read the complete article


14 Mar 2019

Australian politician calls for a ‘final solution’ to ban Muslim migration

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and all major political parties on Wednesday condemned a speech by a minor senator who used the term “final solution” in calling for a revival of a “White Australia” restrictive immigration policy. Senator Fraser Anning on Tuesday called for a national vote on whether to ban Muslim migration. Anning said Muslims were responsible for acts of terror and crime and were dependent on welfare. Muslims account for less than three percent of Australia’s population, census data shows. Amid national outrage Turnbull, who will head to the polls within nine months, quickly condemned Anning. “We reject, we condemn racism in any form, and the remarks by Senator Anning are justly condemned and rejected by us all,” Turnbull told Australia’s parliament. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 Mar 2019 Edition


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