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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06 Mar 2020

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.K, a dossier of more than 300 allegations of Tory party Islamophobia is submitted to equality watchdog. In the U.S, Nida Allam makes history by becoming the first Muslim woman to win an elected office in the state of North Carolina; and experts warn of more “apartheid cities” following anti-Muslim violence in India’s capital, Delhi. Our recommended read today is by Narzanin Massoumi titled “Why is Europe so Islamophobic?” This, and more, below


06 Mar 2020

Why Is Europe So Islamophobic? | Recommended Read

In 2018 alone, France saw an increase of 52 percent of Islamophobic incidents; in Austria there was a rise of approximately 74 percent, with 540 cases. The culmination of a decade of steadily increasing attacks on Muslims, such figures express a widespread antipathy to Islam. Forty-four percent of Germans, for example, see “a fundamental contradiction between Islam and German culture and values.” The figure for the same in Finland is a remarkable 62 percent; in Italy, it’s 53 percent. To be a Muslim in Europe is to be mistrusted, visible and vulnerable. Across the Continent, Islamophobic organizations and individuals have been able to advance their agenda. Islamophobic street movements and political parties have become more popular. And their ideas have been incorporated into — and in some instances fed by — the machinery of the modern state, which surveils and supervises Muslims, casting them as threats to the life of the nation. From the street to the state, Islamophobia is baked into European political life. This has been nearly 20 years in the making. The “war on terror” — which singled out Muslims and Islam as a civilizational threat to “the West” — created the conditions for widespread Islamophobia. Internationally, it caused instability and increased violence, with the rise of the Islamic State in part a consequence. Domestically, in both Europe and the United States, new counterterrorism policies overwhelmingly targeted Muslims. read the complete article

Recommended Read
06 Mar 2020

You are ‘covering for anti-Muslim’ Delhi riots — Tulsi Gabbard slammed for Hinduphobia tweet

Tulsi Gabbard, still a US presidential candidate despite minimal support, has been criticised for tweeting about ‘Hinduphobia’ in US, with many accusing her of “covering for an anti-Muslim pogrom“. Many users have accused Gabbard of defending “fascism” in India. One Sujit Das, from Ann Arbor in Michigan, said: “Hindutva is fascism, and calling it such is not Hinduphobic. Denounce Modi and the Delhi pogroms.” “Tulsi here is minimising or even covering for an anti-Muslim pogrom…reprehensible, jaw-dropping and disgraceful!!” said Toronto-based writer Jeff Halperin. One user even raised questions about Gabbard’s ties with the BJP government in India and said: “#TulsiGabbard understands that criticising her for wearing colors of a foreign political party, the #BJP, on more than 1 occasion, speaking at 10+ #RSS events, giving platform to #RSS/#BJP spokesperson at her wedding & offering apologetics for #Modi has nothing to do w/religion.” read the complete article


06 Mar 2020

Experts warn of more 'apartheid cities' following Delhi violence

India risks greater segregation in its cities after deadly riots in the capital New Delhi last week, with minority and poor people likely to be blocked from accessing housing in desirable neighbourhoods, human rights experts said on Thursday. The capital city of more than 20 million people is now likely to see greater segmentation along religious lines as has happened in other Indian cities, such as Mumbai and Ahmedabad, said Miloon Kothari, a housing and human rights expert. "We generally see greater ghettoisation in a city after a riot because of fear and insecurity, with city authorities themselves sometimes reorganising neighbourhoods that entrench that segregation," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Apartheid cities are being created due to political, planning and gentrification processes that divide communities further, impoverish the poor, and makes it easier to target vulnerable communities again." read the complete article

06 Mar 2020

Delhi Waqf Board to start repair of mosques vandalised in violence: Khan

Delhi Waqf Board chairman and AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan on Thursday said the work for repair of mosques damaged in the violence in northeast Delhi will be taken up by the panel with an initial fund of Rs five lakh. The Masjid Committee of Waqf Board will start repair work from Friday and an advance of Rs five lakh has been issued for the purpose, Khan said. The panel claimed that 19 mosques were damaged during the violence last week. read the complete article

United Kingdom

06 Mar 2020

Islamophobia: Muslim council urges investigation into Conservative Party

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has renewed its call for an independent inquiry into accusations of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, accusing it of failing to act. In a letter to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the MCB accused the party of a reluctance to address what it said was a "systemic" problem. The MCB has submitted an updated document to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, saying it was "regrettable" no action had been taken and citing further instances which it said showed anti-Islam sentiment was prevalent within the party. The allegations include comments said to have been made by some MPs which the MCB claims are "anti-Islam" and contribute to a "toxic culture" in the party which makes Muslims feel unwelcome. The group has also compiled a list of dozens of incidents of Conservative councillors or representatives allegedly sharing Islamophobic content online, as well as more than 180 similar incidents involving people claiming to be party members - some of which have been previously reported. Responding to the MCB's document, the Conservative Party said it "consistently takes decisive action to deal with any incidents of hatred, abuse or intimidation". read the complete article

06 Mar 2020

Labour MP becomes the first hijab-wearing woman to make a speech in the House of Commons

A Labour MP has become the first woman to address the House of Commons wearing a hijab. Apsana Begum was elected as MP for Poplar and Limehouse in the 2019 general election. She made her first speech on parliament on Thursday, taking part in an International Women’s Day debate. Begum paid tribute to her predecessor, MP Jim Fitzpatrick, before describing some of the “rich history of women’s struggles for social justice” in her constituency. She said: “It is in this tradition of socialism, community solidarity and action that I now address the chamber today having been the first British Bangladeshi woman elected as secretary of the Tower Hamlets Labour Party, and now the first hijab-wearing member of parliament.” read the complete article

06 Mar 2020

300 allegations of Tory Islamophobia sent to equality watchdog

A dossier of more than 300 allegations of Islamophobia in the Conservative party has been submitted to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, increasing pressure on the watchdog to launch a formal investigation. The submission from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) catalogues evidence of allegedly Islamophobic comments and actions by hundreds of activists, councillors, and advisers to the prime minister. Sally-Ann Hart, the MP for Hastings and Rye, was put under investigation by the party for sharing a post claiming a women’s march had been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood to promote the “Muslim agenda”. Anthony Browne, the MP for South Cambridgeshire, questioned the loyalty of Muslims to Britain when responding to Muslim leaders’ concerns about the Iraq war. Karl McCartney, the MP for Lincoln, retweeted Islamophobic and antisemitic posts by Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins. Browne and McCartney apologised for their actions. read the complete article

United States

06 Mar 2020

North Carolina woman says she's first Muslim American woman to win elected office in the state

Nida Allam made history on Tuesday night when she became the first Muslim American woman to be elected to office in North Carolina, her campaign says. Allam, who ran as a Democrat, was one of five women to win the party's primary for the Durham County Board of Commissioners' five seats, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. She finished fourth with 39,523 votes. "People of Durham you made history last night by electing me as the FIRST Muslim Woman to serve the state of North Carolina," Allam tweeted Wednesday morning. "I can't even express how grateful I am to have earned your trust and support." The campaign told CNN that officials looked back at previous North Carolina election data, county by county, and found no previous Muslim American women who had won elections to hold office in the state. read the complete article

06 Mar 2020

The Stuff of Nightmares: How the Specter of “Enhanced Interrogations” Affects the 9/11 Military Commissions in Guantánamo

From its peak of 780 detainees in 2005, 40 people remain incarcerated at Guantánamo, a Naval Base just over 100 square kilometres in size, located in a steamy outpost at the southeastern tip of Cuba. At a current annual cost of USD 13 million per inmate, some of the 40 who remain are “forever detainees”, who will never be charged, but will be released at the conclusion of the “War on Terror”. The Military Commissions are essentially hybrid courts; a cross between the U.S. federal court system and a military court-martial. They have been controversial since inception. Attacked for their perceived incompatibility with international fair trial standards and on the basis that they are not ‘regularly constituted courts’ as required by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, the narrative of the Commissions being a “failed experiment” has taken hold, and is proving difficult to shake. The fair trial concerns are neither minor nor peripheral. Under the Military Commissions Act (2009), the presumption of innocence has been significantly weakened (if not obliterated) by personal jurisdiction being triggered by a determination that the accused are “unprivileged enemy belligerents”; namely those who have engaged in or materially supported hostilities against the U.S., or were part of al-Qaeda at the time of the alleged offence. The U.S. position is that any attack on U.S. forces is a war crime, and that any support of hostilities or membership in al-Qaeda can be construed as supporting terrorism. As such, the presumption of innocence is effectively a legal fiction. Why invent new permissive evidential rules, and weaken due process protections and fair trial guarantees which enjoy near-universal recognition among states? One plausible explanation is that the Government case rests in significant part on information obtained through “enhanced interrogation” techniques that would be inadmissible before a U.S. Federal Court. It is unlikely that the 9/11 proceedings will be able to extricate themselves from the narrative of “enhanced interrogations” or its graphic imagery. The very structure and governing instruments of the Military Commissions appear to have been molded to fit around these underlying and preceding events. Whether the specter of the years of black site renditions can ever lift from the proceedings, or indeed Guantánamo itself, is yet to be seen. Certainly for the moment, it maintains a palpable presence. read the complete article


06 Mar 2020

Those Shoes Were Made by a Uighur Detainee

Even “model Uighurs”—those who have been careful not to contradict the Chinese government—now live in a climate of constant high-tech surveillance. Authorities have detained what human-rights groups now estimate to be at least 1.5 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic Muslims in more than 1,000 concentration camps in Xinjiang. Beijing frames these camps as voluntary “vocational training” and “deradicalization” centers. But testimony from those who have escaped, as well as leaked Chinese Communist Party documents, reveal them to be more sinister, designed to obliterate minorities’ non-Han languages, heritage, and Muslim beliefs. Former detainees have described overcrowded cells and torture. One man told Time that he was thrown into a hole in the ground and punished with cold-water drenchings and severe beatings; the torture drove him to attempt suicide. There have been reports of routine sexual harassment, rape, and forced sterilization. German researcher Adrian Zenz has described the camps as “nothing less than a systematic campaign of cultural genocide.” Some have compared the scale of incarceration to the Holocaust. China is a major producer of the world’s cotton—and most of it is grown in Xinjiang, where human rights experts say that detainees are now being “graduated” into forced labor in regional factories, where they produce materials and goods for the textile, garment, and tech industries. More than 30 percent of US apparel imports hails from China. Odds are that some of the clothes you are wearing right now can be traced back to the region—where they may have been produced, at least in part, by incarcerated Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. On Sunday, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) published a report estimating that at least 80,000 Uighurs had been relocated to other parts of China between 2017 and 2019, where they were pressed into conditions “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labor.” The think tank’s report also named 83 brands that had “directly or indirectly benefit[ed] from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through potentially abusive labor transfer programs as recently as 2019”—including Adidas, Calvin Klein, L.L. Bean, Zara, and Uniqlo, among many others. read the complete article


06 Mar 2020

No alternative: What the AfD wants for Europe

When it first emerged in 2013, the AfD set about campaigning against “Brussels Eurocracy” and in favour of quitting the euro. In a relatively short space of time, as a reaction to the arrival of almost 800,000 refugees from Syria in Germany after 2015, the party moved sharply to the right, ousted its founders, and focused on a racist, often anti-Semitic and Islamophobic agenda. Denouncing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to keep the doors open and playing on fears of Islamist radicalism, the AfD entered the Bundestag in 2017. It has since followed suit in all of Germany’s state parliaments. With this significant political representation, the AfD is now actively working on its “alternative” Europe: a chauvinistic and ultranationalist vision of nation states that cooperate only to advance their own economic interests and to reduce immigration – especially that from Muslim countries. For the AfD, the very idea of a more united and integrated Europe remains anathema, as does the concept of “European sovereignty”. But the party has now turbocharged this original Euroscepticism with the belief that Islam has no place in either Germany or the rest of Europe. Its constant refrain is one of accusing immigrants of extremism and representing “foreign” values, often with deeply racist language referring to Muslims as “camel herders” and Islam as a “decaying cadaver”. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 06 Mar 2020 Edition


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