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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28 Mar 2019

Today in IslamophobiaGroup highlights civil rights abuses against Muslims in the U.S, while queer Muslims in the UK feel “caught in the middle”. In Myanmar, campaigners target firms doing business with the military, in Montreal, a councillor is removed from caucus after anti- Muslim comments. Our recommended read of the day is by Akbar Shahid titled “Dual loyalty is a Slur”. This, and more, below:

United States

28 Mar 2019

Opinion | 'Dual Loyalty' Is A Slur ― One Muslims Face All The Time | Recommended Read

Omar’s foes were right about one thing: Suggesting that members of a religious or ethnic minority are guilty of dual loyalty is an inherently bigoted and dangerous charge. It’s also one that Muslim Americans ― especially those who, like Omar, dare to run for political office ― face every day. The assumption behind such commentary is that the 3 million or so Muslims who live in the U.S. are more closely tied to the 1.6 billion Muslims globally than they are to anyone else and that their faith makes them less committed to America. That’s the foundation for the troika of dark suspicions that define anxiety about Muslims in the U.S.: that they want to impose religiously mandated Shariah law, that they’re linked to violent foreigners and that they have a particular animus toward Israel because of how it treats the Palestinians read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
28 Mar 2019

On Muslim Women's Day, Women-Only Mosques Are About Much More Than Prayer

The sacredness of the mosque has been a focus of much Muslim discourse in recent years. As many young Muslims have found themselves “unmosqued” — feeling that their needs were not being met in the traditional mosque and that their leadership was being sidelined — they have sought to reclaim the mosque experience. On Muslim Women’s Day, we celebrate a wholly innovative solution in the American context: women-only mosques. In 2015, M. Hasna Maznavi and Sana Muttalib, side-by-side with their male allies, opened the Women’s Mosque of America to help Muslim women deepen their faith. The founders say they want to revive the “legacy of female Muslim scholarship and leadership in the earliest years of Islam” by uplifting female voices; they’re careful to note that the mosque is not about the “liberation” of women from Islam but is instead a celebration of women’s place in the religion. In this space reserved for women (and children) only, the women lead one another in prayer and study. The project was so successful in nurturing spirituality for Muslim women that, two years later, a second such mosque, the Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque, opened in Oakland, California. read the complete article

28 Mar 2019

Opinion | Weaponized Faith in PA Legislature is Unacceptable

Monday 3/26 marked the historic swearing-in ceremony of Movita Johnson-Harrell as the first Muslim woman elected state representative in Pennsylvania. Islamophobia tainted Johnson-Harrell’s swearing-in when Rep. Stephanie Borwicz used the routine invocation to unleash faith-based aggression on Johnson-Harrell and her 55 guests, which included Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Much of Borowicz’s invocation was noticeably a direct attack on Johnson-Harrell. In a less than 2-minute prayer, Borwicz praised Jesus 13 times, asserting, “Jesus, we’ve lost sight of you.” She ended with a plea to overcome evil and that “at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Jesus that you are Lord.” An objection from a representative can be heard in the background. read the complete article

28 Mar 2019

Group highlights civil rights abuses against Muslims

In its first annual civil rights report, the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it received 232 requests for legal assistance last year, down about six percent from 2017, when the organization saw a surge in requests for help on immigration cases related to the Trump administration's ban on travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries. The goal of the report is to educate the public about the abuses local Muslims are facing while also encouraging people to step forward if they're dealing with similar issues, said Barbara Dougan, the group's civil rights director. read the complete article


28 Mar 2019

Campaigners target firms doing business with Myanmar's military

The Okkala Golf Resort in Myanmar's main city, which hosts about 150 golfers a day, is owned by the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), an opaque military conglomerate that provides the generals with off-the-books income. Following widespread outrage at the military's 2017 campaign of mass murder and rape against Rohingya civilians, the United Nation's human rights envoy for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has urged foreign countries to consider reinstating sanctions against the company. read the complete article

New Zealand

28 Mar 2019

With respect: how Jacinda Ardern showed the world what a leader should be

There was something both comforting and distressing about the way the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, consoled her country’s Muslim community after the Christchurch mosque attack. Comforting because here, for once, was a normal human reaction; not robotic or platitudinous, not scripted or insincere. This is the distressing dimension of Ardern’s compassionate poise, that it is so unfamiliar, so rare. At a time when governments in Europe and the United States are either brazenly anti-Muslim and xenophobic, or at best silent on the matter of immigration and Islam, what should be the norm is elevated to exceptional. It is a sign of the times that Muslims feel grateful for Ardern’s outreach, and that the world is lauding her for a response that should come easily to any head of state whose citizens have been slaughtered. Her empathy brings the shortcomings of others into relief. Her performance was impressive, but the bar is low. read the complete article


28 Mar 2019

Montreal councillor removed from caucus after anti-Muslim comments

A Montreal borough councillor who caused a furor when she stated publicly how upset she was to be treated by a doctor wearing a Muslim head scarf was kicked out of her party’s caucus Wednesday. Lynne Shand will sit as an independent councillor for Anjou, borough Mayor Luis Miranda said in an interview. Miranda’s decision was a reversal from two days earlier when he told CBC Shand would remain in his party despite her anti-Muslim comments. read the complete article

United Kingdom

28 Mar 2019

Tories refuse to adopt definition of Islamophobia

Theresa May faced questions from MPs about why she had “failed to act” on the allegations of Islamophobia within her party and if the definition, recommended by the all-party group for British Muslims, would be adopted. The Independent says the definition, which was produced after six months of consultations, “classifies discrimination against Muslims as a form of racism and has been described as a necessity to tackle the rise of far-right racism”. read the complete article

28 Mar 2019

Opinion | The Mosque at the Nexus of State Violence and Hate Violence

In the span of one week, 50 New Zealand Muslims were being buried after a mass shooting and five attacks on mosques in the U.K. were reported. Most recently in the U.S., a mosque was set on fire in California and tagged with graffiti referencing the New Zealand attack. Nevertheless, and despite the targeting of Muslims on a global scale, this moment has allowed governments across the world to feign concern for the Muslim community — operating on the premise that state violence and hate violence are disconnected and are motivated by different rationales. read the complete article


28 Mar 2019

New Zealand attack: Suspect donated money to Austrian far right

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says there is a link between a far-right movement in his country and the suspect in an attack on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in which 50 Muslims were shot dead. The suspect, a 28-year-old white supremacist identified as Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, donated 1,500 euros ($1,700) to the anti-immigration Identitarian Movement in Austria (IBOe) in early 2018, according to prosecutors. On Monday, the home of Identitarian Movement spokesman Martin Sellner in Austria's capital, Vienna, was searched as part of an investigation into possible links to the suspect. "It has been confirmed that there is a financial link between the man who perpetrated the attack in New Zealand and the Identitarian Movement in Austria," Kurz told reporters following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. read the complete article


28 Mar 2019

China Has Also Been Targeting Foreigners In Its Brutal Crackdown On Muslims

A week later, with his arms and legs shackled to a chair in an underground interrogation room in the city of Ghulja in western China, where he had lived before he became a naturalized citizen of Turkey, he asked for a third time to speak to Turkish diplomats. This time the answer came sharp and clear. “You are not a Turk,” an officer told him. “You are from here. Don’t think you are special — we kill people like you so that others can live in peace.” The young businessman said he had endured 38 days of interrogations, hunger, sleep deprivation, and abuse in Chinese custody before finally being released and deported back to Istanbul, without ever being told of any charges against him. read the complete article


28 Mar 2019

The violence of Islamic State, al-Qaeda and white nationalists is similar. The causes aren't

While nationalists aim to die for their nation and jihadis for their faith. The two are now described as mirroring each other in their brutality and savagery. Yet, we should be careful in seeing fundamental similarities between old and new forms of terrorism to satisfy our quest to explain attacks that might appear similar, but have very limited common causes. Violence by al-Qaeda or IS came to haunt us after freelance fighters were used to pursue short-term geopolitical goals. When the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan ended, there was no exit strategy, rehabilitation programme or containment policy for the militants who had done the fighting. Jihadis spread around the world, with many returning to their home countries feeling like outcasts - used for a goal and then condemned to prison cells. They retreated into their theology books to find justifications for a new round of terror against those who betrayed them. They jumped on the grievances that many felt came about as a result of centuries of a power imbalance between Muslims and the West. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Mar 2019 Edition


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