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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04 Mar 2019

Today in Islamophobiaposter linking Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to 9/11 sparks outrage, Belgian school students mock Islam dressed as suicide bombers. China’s censors pull BBC broadcast from the air for mentioning Uyghur Muslims, even as the PRC expands its draconian surveillance to ethnic Kazakhs. Our recommended read of the day is by Ajai Shukla who writes on Kashmir, the disputed territory at the crux of the crisis between India and Pakistan. This, and more, below:


04 Mar 2019

Opinion | Kashmir is in a perilous state because of India’s pivot to nationalism | Recommended Read

The wider story in a crisis with such potential devastation, involving, as it does, nuclear powers, is that the Modi government has launched a nationwide anti-Muslim agenda that regards Muslims as unpatriotic, Pakistan as a cunning and implacable foe and Kashmiri separatists as its willing tools. In the narrative of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, which Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist BJP has headed for almost five years, all violence in Kashmir is blamed on Pakistan. To be sure, Pakistan has inflamed the separatist movement with diplomatic and moral support, weapons, training and even jihadist fighters sent by the army to serve “tenures” in Kashmir. Yet the wellsprings of Kashmiri separatism are indigenous and sustained Indian mismanagement means Pakistan now needs to do little to keep Kashmir burning. Successive governments, including the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance that ran India from 2004 to 2014, are guilty of neglecting the province. However, Modi’s has made neglect into a strategy. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day

United States

04 Mar 2019

Poster linking Rep. Ilhan Omar to 9/11 sparks outrage, injuries in W.Va. state Capitol

A poster connecting a Muslim congresswoman to the 9/11 terrorist attacks led to heated emotions, caused the resignation of at least one staff member and left another reportedly injured when things got physical as the altercation spilled into the chamber of the West Virginia House of Delegates. The poster, at a table in the Capitol’s rotunda, featured an image of freshmen Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) underneath one of the New York’s twin towers burning. “'Never forget’ — You said,” read text placed over the photo of the World Trade Center. “I am the proof you have forgotten,” read the caption over Omar’s image. Omar, one of the first two Muslim congresswoman ever elected, has been the target of Islamophobic smears since she took office this year. read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

Denton County GOP club hosting ex-FBI agent criticized for spreading anti-Muslim beliefs

A Denton County Republican club will on Wednesday host guest speaker John Guandolo, an ex-FBI agent who carries a vexed reputation for sharing what some have called anti-Muslim beliefs in lectures to law enforcement agencies. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate and extremist groups in the U.S., characterizes Guandolo’s seminars and organization as anti-Muslim. The SPLC reports that multiple law enforcement agencies across the country have distanced themselves from Guandolo’s teachings. read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

Couples separated by Trump's travel ban put hopes in faulty visa waiver system

On 27 January 2017, Donald Trump attempted to fulfill his campaign promise to implement “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and unrolled the first version of a travel ban that mainly targeted Muslim-majority countries. For Abbasi, who is from Iran, “that was the worst night of my life,” she said. That month, she moved to Grenada since her husband attended medical school there. “I was just sitting in front of the TV, crying and wondering what’s going to happen to us and if I could ever return to the United States.” read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

GOP's anti-Muslim display likening Rep. Omar to a terrorist rocks W. Virginia capitol

The display was set up as part of "WV GOP Day," which the party advertised on Facebook as a day when "Republicans Take the Rotunda." Several Democrats objected to the display, and reportedly got into an argument with the House's sergeant at arms, Anne Lieberman, after she allegedly made an anti-Muslim remark. Del. Mike Angelucci, D-Marion, charged Lieberman hadsaid "all Muslims are terrorists." He said that was "hate speech." "Muslims are not terrorists. Christians have killed people. That doesn’t mean Christians are terrorists. I am a Christian. I am a proud Christian. I am not a terrorist," he said, according to WSAZ. read the complete article


04 Mar 2019

Opinion | Rohingya Refugees May Have Faded From The Headlines, But Their Struggles Have Not

Around 80% of the population is women and children. They traveled, sometimes on foot, for long weeks to reach safety. One woman told me she did not have enough to feed her baby every day. I noticed that she did not have a baby with her. She painfully explained why: “We walked for 25 days. How long do you think a baby can survive only on water and very little rice?” In my conversations with women, they all said that they miss home and wish to go back one day, because a refugee camp, no matter how well prepared it can be, is never home. Yet, not one woman told me she was eager or ready to go home. When they heard a few months ago of discussions about being sent back to Myanmar they were frightened. “I could not sleep for days,” one woman told me. “We would surely be killed once we are back,” another said. read the complete article


04 Mar 2019

China’s censors pull BBC broadcast from the air as it mentioned Uyghur Muslims

Last week, the BBC’s World Service Newsday program suddenly went black for Chinese viewers. Its China correspondent Stephen McDonell had dared to mention Beijing’s imprisonment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province. McDonell speculated if the prince of the wealthy Islamic nation would raise the plight of his fellow believers — currently undergoing compulsory ‘re-education’ in ‘Chinese values’ — in detention camps. But McDonell only went so far as to say: “One thing he might be expected by some in Muslim countries to raise would be the question of the camps in the far west of China. There’s up to …” The loss of transmission was no surprise, the reporter said. It’s been happening a lot lately. “We can pretty much predict the subjects when they will cut the feed and recently coverage of Xinjiang’s mass “re-education” camps has been just such a subject,” McDonell said. But, much to his surprise, a rebroadcast of his show later that evening ran in its entirety — including the controversial Uyghur references. read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

China’s expanding war on Islam: Now they’re coming for the Kazakhs.

Sometimes Zharqynbek Otan can be found in the middle of the night, standing stiffly at attention beside the bed he shares with his wife, Shynar Kylysheva. She says his memory fails him, and he periodically wanders off into the streets of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. When his family manages to find him, he has difficulty recognizing them and resists returning home. Otan, a 31-year-old cook, spent nearly two years in various forms of detention in neighboring China, including in one of the notorious “reeducation” camps in Xinjiang, the massive western region that shares a 1,100-mile border with Kazakhstan. His wife petitioned tirelessly for his release from a camp in Zhaosu County, but when he came home in late 2018, he brought the trauma of his ordeal back across the border with him: Otan is not the man he was. Cases like his are common in this part of the country. And they represent a significant shift in Beijing’s repressive approach to Muslim minorities. For decades, China has suppressed the language and faith of its Muslim citizens. But until recently, the effort has been contained largely within China’s own borders. Now the sweep has come to include the fluid region where Chinese nationals and Kazakh citizens have long moved freely back and forth between their countries, with those on opposite sides of the border mingling and marrying and working among one another. read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

Traveling Through the Uyghur Homeland with Artist Lisa Ross

In 2002, artist Lisa Ross found herself in China. She decided to venture to the far western regions of the country, which she heard were home to a predominantly Uyghur population. She would return numerous times after that to document many aspect of a community that was about to change forever. Her photos are haunting, since they represent a world that is no longer there, as the Chinese authorities are imposing strict assimilationist policies on the local populations. It is believed that over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim populations have been forced into “re-education camps” that have been built in the last few years. A number of Ross’s contacts in the region have been disappeared and detained in such camps. read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

China presses tough message to diplomats on Xinjiang's 'murderous devils'

China is taking an increasingly strident tone as it defends its de-radicalization program in western Xinjiang, telling foreign diplomats recently that “absurd preachings” from Islamist extremists there had turned some people into “murderous devils”. Xinjiang Deputy Governor Erkin Tuniyaz, an ethnic Uighur, told the envoys gathered at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing that violence perpetrated by fanatics was “once rampant” in Xinjiang, according to a copy of his speech seen by Reuters. read the complete article


04 Mar 2019

Belgium students mock Islam dressed as suicide bombers

Senior students traditionally celebrate graduation ceremonies 100 days before the end of school year, Mahinur Ozdemir, an independent member of parliament from Brussels Regional Parliament, told Anadolu Agency. “However, it is scandalous that these students chose the theme as ‘Islam and Saudi Arabia’ and imitated prayer moves wearing headscarves and bombed belts, therefore relating Muslims with terrorism.” Principal Jan de Gendt of the College Paters Jozefieten, the Catholic school in Ghent where the students attend, defended their actions and said it is an event for entertainment and does not aim to provoke or upset anyone read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

Dutch mosque targeted by PEGIDA in Islamophobic attack

A mosque in the Netherlands was attacked by members of the Islamophobic German group Pegida, who defaced the building with racist banners, a mosque official said on Sunday. At the entrance of the As Soennah mosque, frequented by Moroccan worshippers, the attackers hung banners and figurines including insults to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Abdelhamid Taheri, the head of the mosque, told Anadolu Agency that he told police about the attack when he saw the banners after morning prayers. Taheri said security cameras around the mosque show that the attack was carried out by three people linked to far-right Islamophobic group Pegida. read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

Opinion | The Tories’ response to raging Islamophobia? Turn a blind eye

Almost half (49%) of Conservative voters see Islam as a threat to the British way of life, with a similar number (47%) believing the false conspiracy theory that there are no-go areas where sharia law dominates and non-Muslims cannot enter. While we cannot be certain of the driver, it is noticeable that these sentiments appear at the same time as the Conservative party is being seen to be trying to placate the hard right. Let’s look at one of the statistics – about Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (popularly known as Tommy Robinson), who is described as a far-right Islamophobic extremist by Hope Not Hate. An unbelievable 42% of Tory voters have a positive view of the way Yaxley-Lennon highlights issues ignored by the media (compared with 18% of Labour voters). read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

Tory Party Showing 'Tell-Tale Signs Of Institutional Racism' Over Islamophobia, Says Baroness Warsi

The Conservative Party is showing “worrying tell-tale signs of institutional racism” over its handling of Islamophobia, Baroness Warsi has said. It comes after HuffPost UK revealed the Tories failed to expel member Colin Raine,despite him sharing hate online and an allegation he was behind a far-right protest at an MP’s office. Military veteran Raine ranted on Facebook about “aggressive muzzies” who he claimed were praying in public to “provoke a reaction”. Raine’s membership was instead allowed to expire, Bishop Auckland Conservative Association confirmed. read the complete article

04 Mar 2019

Revealed: Ukip membership surge shifts party to far right

Membership has risen by about 50% over the 12 months from a low point a year ago, rapidly reshaping the party in the image of its leader, Gerard Batten, who describes Islam as “a death cult” and has appointed the anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson as an adviser. Conversations with more than two dozen current and former Ukip figures, many of them senior, have uncovered an exodus of more moderate senior members and localorganisers, hollowing out Ukip’s ability to fight future elections. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Mar 2019 Edition


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