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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20 Mar 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Rohingya refugees sketch their stories in a new grassroots comics collaboration. Maya Prabhu outlines how Indians in Punjab are using their history to add “substance to solidarity.” Our recommended read today is from the Atlantic Council on India’s anti-Muslim Indian Citizenship Law, and the ways in which the policy continues to divide communities within the country. This, and more, below:


20 Mar 2020

Understanding India’s citizenship controversy | Recommended Read

Last December, the Indian parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which gives non-Muslim minorities originally from neighboring countries a faster path to citizenship. There were also talks of the government introducing a registry of citizenship across the country, widely known as National Register of Citizenship (NRC). The NRC process has already taken place in the northeastern state of Assam, leaving hundreds and thousands of people at risk of statelessness. The CAA, combined with the proposed nationwide NRC, risks disenfranchising Muslims across the country as it provides a pathway to citizenship for non-Muslims but has no remedies for Muslims caught up in NRC processes. Understanding the full importance of India’s citizenship controversy requires deeper attention to the uncertainty regarding citizenship rights across the country, the potential risk of statelessness unfolding in the north-eastern border state of Assam, how state and federal levels of government are grappling with citizenship issues, and the global and regional implications of recent political developments in India. The secular foundations of India, the world’s largest democracy, are currently under great stress. There is a need to ensure the constitutional foundations of India are defended and protected and that any measures taken are compliant with international norms and values. India is at a critical point. When representatives of the ruling party foster hostility and violence, it remains to be seen how they can then also solve these very same issues. But, as we have seen with the Rohingya, mass disenfranchisement is never a long-term solution and these issues do not go away. read the complete article

Recommended Read
20 Mar 2020

A spirit of protest: How Indians are uniting in Punjab

By lunchtime on a bright Sunday in mid-February, the small roads that led towards the grain market of Malerkotla, the only Muslim-majority town in the Indian state of Punjab, were choked with parked-up charter buses. A tractor towing a trailer full of grey-bearded Sikh farmers inched forward between the vehicles and gaggles of banner-toting protesters, past a few long-limbed, khaki-turbanned, traffic-directing police, and then came to a thwarted halt. A slogan bounced around the thronged square: "Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, aapas mein hain behen bhai!" - an affirmation of fraternal feeling across communities of faith. Similar pledges of solidarity have been shouted at marches and sit-ins all over the country in the turbulent few months since India's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led government enacted a new citizenship law in December. At protest sites I visited in Delhi, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, their refrains of togetherness rang defiant. This was national unity as resistance: scrappy and adamant. But in Malerkotla, there was a note of matter-of-fact assurance in the rehearsals of communal amity. The mood was festive. Children wore their best clothes. Small clusters of police officers strolled through the crowd chatting and sipping from tiny cardboard cups of tea. In the spirit of the Sikh tradition of the langar - the food served to all regardless of caste or religion - free food was distributed everywhere: rotis and chickpea curry, bread pakoras. This was Punjab's largest anti-CAA demonstration to date, and in crowds numbering somewhere between 50,000 and 140,000, a sizeable majority of the protesters appeared to be Sikh and Hindu. read the complete article


20 Mar 2020

Rohingya refugees sketch their stories through 'grassroot comics'

Rohingya refugees in India can now document their life stories in a comic book, thanks to a collaborative effort by two non-government organisations based in the capital New Delhi. The comic titled Rendered Stateless Not Voiceless was put together by World Comics India, a collective that promotes comics as a communication and empowerment tool for the marginalised section of society. "There are almost 70 stories narrated and sketched by participants themselves including myself. The idea is to create awareness of our life stories with first-hand stories shared by the participants," Ali Johar, education coordinator at RHRI, told Al Jazeera. "As most of the Rohingya refugees have no way of sharing their stories, the book gives them a platform to share them, as well as have ownership of their own stories in the book," Johar, 25, told Al Jazeera. read the complete article

20 Mar 2020

It’s Time for US Companies to Investigate Forced Labor in China

A recent report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) estimates that, between 2017 and 2019, the CCP transported at least 80,000 Uyghurs to forced labor facilities throughout eastern China. According to the report, over 80 multinationals buy components from these facilities, including giants like Amazon, Apple, and Volkswagen. The U.S. government has ethical and legal obligations to act. The Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits importing into the United States any goods produced with forced labor. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has the power to block imports under this law, should investigate the products and Chinese facilities that ASPI identified. But when it comes to collecting evidence, CBP faces significant challenges. Rooting out forced labor takes time, expertise, and tedious work. Global supply chains obscure goods’ origins by routing them through multiple countries and creating complex corporate-ownership structures. Making sense of supply chains is more difficult without importers’ internal documents, contacts, and communications — which CBP often lacks. And China, which keeps a tight lid on its detainment policies and threatens whistleblowers, makes forced Uyghur labor especially hard to trace. This is why CBP has blocked imports from just one company, Hetian Taida Apparel, for its connections to forced Uyghur labor — despite extensive reporting on the practice. read the complete article

United States

20 Mar 2020

Louie Gohmert Again Suggests Obama Officials Had Anti-Muslim Activist Philip Haney Killed

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, has repeated his claim that Obama administration officials may have been involved in a plot to kill Philip Haney, an anti-Muslim activist whose death in February has spawned conspiracy theories among right-wing activists and media outlets. Haney was a former Department of Homeland Security agent and self-styled whistleblower who became a right-wing folk hero of sorts for his attacks on the Obama administration; he said he believed that God was guiding his efforts. In an interview posted by the right-wing One America News Network last weekend and promoted this week by the Trump-supporting Intercessors for America, Gohmert said circumstances around Haney’s death are “more than suspicious” and “extremely problematic.” “It’s hard for me to believe that it was a suicide,” Gohmert said. “We had talked about it. I owe it to Phil. I promised I would continue to push if that ever happened.” “He still had an awful lot of information from his days at Homeland Security and the improprieties under the Obama administration,” Gohmert claimed. “There are probably people who would not want their names associated with stopping investigations that would have prevented major killings and atrocities in this country.” Haney’s first book, “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,” claimed that former President Barack Obama committed “treason” by undermining counterterrorism efforts. Gohmert said Haney was “working on a second book where he did name names.” Gohmert also said that Haney wore a thumb drive with information about Islamic extremists around his neck and that it was missing from his body when he died. read the complete article

20 Mar 2020

Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign is officially over

Gabbard’s decision to drop out, announced March 19, was long in the works. She had consistently averaged around 1 to 2 percent in national polls and performed poorly in primaries; her candidacy largely served as a single-issue protest run against American military adventurism rather than a serious bid for the presidency. Gabbard’s decline came in a peculiar fashion: She picked a series of high-profile fights with the Obama administration over foreign policy. In 2015, terrorism was arguably the biggest fight in American partisan politics. ISIS had just swept across northern Iraq, seizing control of the country’s second-largest city; the Obama administration had launched a new war in Iraq to roll them back. Republicans blamed Obama. One of the most common arguments from Republicans in the run-up to that year’s midterm election was that Obama refused to say the phrase “radical Islam,” arguing that the president’s commitment to political correctness was preventing him from identifying the root cause of jihadist violence: Islamist theology. Very few Democrats were willing to echo the Republican arguments on this front. Gabbard was an exception. As early as January 2015, she started going on every cable channel that would have her — including Fox News — and bashing Obama’s policy on terrorism. She sounded indistinguishable from a Republican presidential candidate. In January 2019, the Intercept, a left-aligned antiwar outlet, published a deeply reported exposé on Gabbard’s ties to Hindu nationalists. Gabbard has long supported Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an anti-Islam right-winger who had previously been barred from entering the US due to being personally implicated in deadly anti-Muslim riots. In turn, American Hindu supporters of Modi had become some of Gabbard’s biggest donors — including some disturbingly Islamophobic groups. read the complete article

New Zealand

20 Mar 2020

Muslim women and children racially abused at Christchurch shop

A woman abused at a Christchurch shop says it is one of a growing number of racist attacks against women wearing hijab in the city. Maha Galal, her two daughters, and a friend with her two young children were shopping at The Warehouse in Hornby about 8pm on Wednesday when a man abused them beside the counter. The abuse was loud, repetitive, and deliberate, she said. "It's too much," Galal said. "I don't want this to happen again." Her 13-year-old daughter Norhan cried and told mother, "Don't ask me please to wear the hijab anymore". She wants Kiwis to start intervening when they see racist abuse, and for it to be taken seriously by the law. Another woman recently had her hijab pulled from behind in Shirley about 10 days ago. In the third incident, the wife of a mosque attack survivor was sworn at by a passing cyclist and told to "go home" about a week ago. It happened in front of cameras outside the mosque, so she hoped police would take action. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 20 Mar 2020 Edition


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