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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30 Mar 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, a newly released report studies three organizations that lost their charitable status due to anti-terrorism financing and anti-radicalization policies, as the first draft of a controversial ‘anti-extremism’ law is being debated in the French Senate, and elsewhere in Europe, the EU’s anti-racism summit left many expectations from the world community unmet. Our recommended read today is by Isabela Dias on the unearthing of the John Tanton boxes and startling discoveries about the modern anti-immigration movement. This and more below:

United States

30 Mar 2021

One Man’s Quest to Crack the Modern Anti-Immigrant Movement—by Unsealing Its Architect’s Papers

In the days following the 2016 presidential election, then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and President-elect Donald Trump posed for photographs at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. Kobach, an anti-immigration hardliner whose name was being floated to lead the Department of Homeland Security, held a binder and a stack of papers on his left hand. Zoomed-in images revealed the title—“Kobach Strategic Plan For First 365 Days”—and bullet-pointed agenda items that included reinstating a Bush-era registry for immigrants based on religion, ethnicity, and nationality and cutting off the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. Hassan Ahmad, an immigration lawyer running a small law firm in Virginia, was familiar with Kobach’s longtime efforts to curb immigration. For Ahmad, a Pakistani-American, the photo of Trump and Kobach presaged the “kinds of people,” as he put it, who would be calling the shots on immigration at the White House. Soon after he saw the Trump and Kobach photo, Ahmad set out to discover who was, in his words, “the flamethrower.” That same month, he learned from a New York Times article that John Tanton, the nativist founder of prominent anti-immigration organizations, had donated a trove of documents to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, in the 1980s. The John Tanton Papers are stored in 25 cardboard boxes containing correspondence, memos, legal filings, news clips, and photographs—documents dating from 1960 to 2007 that illuminate Tanton’s relentless fundraising efforts and reveal that he “was obsessed with white nationalism,” Ahmad says. But only part of the archive is currently available to the public. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day

United Kingdom

25 Mar 2021

Judge orders Muslim woman to remove veil during High Court dispute

A judge ordered a Muslim woman to remove her veil while giving evidence at a virtual High Court hearing. The woman was embroiled in a dispute with her estranged husband over their children. She did not wish to be seen "unveiled" by male participants unless the judge deemed it "necessary", barrister Alistair Perkins said. Judge Sarah Morgan said she should uncover her face when she and her estranged husband were giving evidence. read the complete article

29 Mar 2021

5 Black British Muslim Women Making Waves Right Now

Muslims make up 4.8% of the British population. Black Muslims constitute about 10% of British Muslims and face the combined challenges of racism and Islamophobia, both within Muslim communities and in wider society. Add being a woman into the mix and you’ve got yourself an intersection of marginalized identities with treble the stereotypes to dismantle. While there have been calls for increased Black, Muslim and female representation in recent years, those who fall under all three categories still struggle to feel like they fit anywhere. For all the talk of inclusivity and intersectionality, society has left Black Muslim women behind. We're amplifying the voices of Black Muslim women in mainstream media, who are making serious waves right now. Click through to check them out. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

30 Mar 2021

Sri Lanka: Discrimination against Muslims and Tamils is getting worse

Sri Lanka recently passed regulations allowing detention without trial for two years for those suspected to have caused “religious, racial or communal disharmony”. This is a significant expansion of the already notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which has historically been used to target Tamils and Muslims. Alongside a proposed ban on Islamic face coverings and the closure of more than 1,000 Islamic schools, this move is a further indication that Sri Lanka seems determined to repeat its past. Sri Lanka has consistently used laws to marginalize vulnerable communities, and these latest actions continue policies designed to oppress Tamils and Muslims, while strengthening the majoritarian ethnocracy that has dominated the country since shortly after its independence in 1948. read the complete article


29 Mar 2021

‘Random’ tax audits of Muslim charities provide cover for biased terrorism suspicions, report finds

A new report titled “Layered Suspicion” released Monday studies three organizations that lost their charitable status to two key policies: anti-terrorism financing and anti-radicalization. The three are the Ottawa Islamic Centre and Assalam Mosque, the Islamic Shi’a Assembly of Canada and IRFAN-Canada. The report examines how long-standing tropes of Muslims as the menacing outsiders who pose an imminent threat to society influence tax audits of Muslim-led charities. It looks at biases implicit in the audit, what interpretations auditors make and if there was bias in the selection of their evidence. Authors Anver Emon, a University of Toronto law professor and director of its Institute of Islamic Studies, and Nadia Hasan, chief operating officer of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), found that tax audits are often used as a cover for structural biases in policies related to financing terror and radicalization. These policies operate in the shadows of an otherwise ordinary audit, the authors write, raising concerns about basic fairness, transparency and accountability. Organizations are often told it’s a random audit. But for years, Hasan said, “we were hearing all kinds of grumblings about the kind of information auditors were asking that didn’t seem right. But nobody could put their finger to what was going on.” read the complete article


29 Mar 2021

Bill aims to tackle rising extremism in France. Some say it's an infringement of rights.

A draft law being debated in the French Senate this week aimed at strengthening the country and stamping out extremism has unwittingly revealed just how divided the country is. Proponents of the controversial bill put forward by President Emmanuel Macron’s government say it is simply intended to reinforce the nation’s “republican values” — liberty, equality and fraternity. But for some, Macron’s focus on Islamic radicalization has reinforced negative religious stereotypes, dividing French Muslims over the bill and their relationship with their nation. Other experts say they are concerned about the ramifications of the legislation. read the complete article


29 Mar 2021

The EU needs to face its institutional racism problem

The European Union’s anti-racism summit, which took place on March 19, was a critical opportunity for the EU to meet the demands of last year’s global protests against police brutality and structural racism. Unfortunately, EU leaders did not meet expectations. Although racial justice movements have made clear their demands for an end to police brutality and institutional racism, during the summit, EU leaders focused overwhelmingly on the individual dimensions of racism, such as hate speech. There was little talk of how EU states and institutions themselves reinforce racism with their own policies, how racialized people are dying at the hands of police or how anti-racism civil society organizations are facing unprecedented attacks. In short, little of the devastating reality of racism in Europe was addressed at the summit and there is a danger that that EU governments will go back to “business as usual” after its conclusion. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Mar 2021 Edition


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