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.

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10 May 2019

Today in Islamophobia: A masked man fires gunshots in a UK mosque, while a Michigan city employee is fired for social media posts about a hijab-wearing Sports Illustrated model. Facebook neglects to ban a group propagating anti-Muslim content, while a network of Toronto’s wealthy elite bankrolls white supremacist Faith Goldy’s mayoral campaign. In China, a teacher details the horrors faced by Uighurs in forced internment camps, while a U.S. television show offers one of the first representations of Chinese repression of Uighurs in fictional popular culture. Today’s recommended read, by Jonah Shepp, is titled, “The Rise of the Far Right Is a Global Security Threat.” This, and more, below:


10 May 2019

The Rise of the Far Right Is a Global Security Threat | Recommended Read

When Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz was elected in 2017 on an anti-immigrant, anti-Islam, nationalist platform, many observers (including yours truly) feared that the new government would empower right-wing extremists; those fears were confirmed a few months later when the far-right Freedom Party joined Kurz’s coalition. The party took control of several key ministries, while its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, became Kurz’s vice-chancellor. On Tuesday, the New York Times published a disturbing story on what the Freedom Party has been up to since then. Shortly after the party came to power, the Interior Ministry asked the anti-extremism unit of the domestic intelligence service to hand over the names of informants who had infiltrated the far-right community; the leader of that unit refused, and a few weeks later, “armed police burst into her office and carted away years’ worth of domestic files as well as intelligence from allied nations.” read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


10 May 2019

I've fought China's slow-motion genocide of Uighur Muslims. Now, my family are victims.

Last September, six days after I spoke about China’s human rights abuses at the Hudson Institute, Chinese police abducted my sister and aunt from their homes. My family members, who both live in Xinjiang but hundreds of miles apart, were abducted on the same day, as a tactic to silence me and stop my activism in the United States. The government has seized the family members of other Uighur Americans who speak out about their human rights violations — attempting to control and silence us in the United States, as they control and silence our families in China. In Xinjiang, our mosques and religious sites have been bulldozed by a government committed to eradicating our culture. Parents are banned from naming their children traditional Muslim names, and Muslim men are forced to shave their beards. Uighurs are threatened even after death: In an attempt to eradicate our burial and funeral traditions, the Chinese government is building crematoriums. read the complete article

10 May 2019

Muslims face the duress of Chinese crackdown in Ramadan

Around 10 million Uighurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which is also known as East Turkistan, are facing a brutal crackdown that is making fasting almost impossible. The observance of Ramadan has reportedly been banned this year in East Turkistan, as was the case in previous years. The 2015 ban included civil servants, students and teachers. The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan alleged that Muslims were free to fast in East Turkistan when Ramadan commenced this year, but later confirmed via Twitter that the ban was still, in fact, in place. Uighurs say the ban is more widespread than officials claim, with some saying they have been asked to keep an eye out for anyone fasting or face collective punishment, according to World Uighur Congress spokesperson, Dilxat Raxid. read the complete article

10 May 2019

Inside China's Massive Surveillance Operation

Atawula is one of around 34,000 Uyghurs in Turkey. She is unable to contact any of her relatives—via phone, WeChat, or any other app. “I feel very sad when I see other people video chatting with their families,” she says. “I think, why can’t we even hear the voice of our children?” For Uyghurs in Xinjiang, any kind of contact from a non-Chinese phone number, though not officially illegal, can result in instant arrest. Most Uyghurs in Turkey have been deleted by their families on social media. And many wouldn’t dare try to make contact, for fear Chinese authorities would punish their relatives. It’s just one of the ways President Xi Jinping’s government maintains a tightly controlled net of surveillance over the Uyghurs in China, and it has a ripple effect on Uyghurs living all over the world. read the complete article

10 May 2019

Former Xinjiang teacher claims brainwashing and abuse inside mass detention centers

As she witnessed horror after horror and was told of others, Sayragul Sauytbay, who says she was a former employee inside one of China's sprawling network of alleged detention camps in Xinjiang province, vowed to one day tell the world what she saw. "I knew that all people there were not guilty of anything," she said. "I could do nothing to help them avoid suffering. That's why I decided that one day I would publicize what's happening there."Sauytbay shared startling allegations of torture inside the camp during an interview with CNN in Almaty, Kazakhstan. While former detainees have raised the alarm about abuse they say they've faced, Sauytbay is one of a very small number of employees to have spoken out in detail. read the complete article

How an American TV show captured the extent of Chinese repression

Last week, a Uighur woman messaged me for an unusual reason: She wanted to share a clip from the latest episode of the CBS legal drama “The Good Fight.” The clip in question shows a Uighur woman on the witness stand of an American courtroom. She testifies that the Internet giant on trial shared her emails with the Chinese government. Her voice breaks as she says something familiar to nearly every Uighur: “My friends, my husband, two sisters, my brother are all in internment camps in Xinjiang.” The most popular source for information in the United States remains the television, and the Uighurs have made only rare appearances there. This episode of “The Good Fight” was one of the first moments in my memory in which the Uighur story was represented and, more importantly, contextualized in fictional popular culture. read the complete article


10 May 2019

Facebook Says Page With Far-Right, Anti-Muslim Content Doesn’t Violate Its Standards

A recent report by the Toronto Star and BuzzFeed News showed Never Again Canada, which has nearly 235,000 followers, spread misleading content and used a URL-masking technique to deceive its audience for months. The page also promotes and has ties to the Canadian chapter of the Jewish Defense League, an offshoot of a U.S. organization which the FBI has deemed a “right-wing terrorist group.” For months, Never Again Canada posted links that looked like they were leading to Blogger, the popular Google blogging platform. Instead, anyone who clicked on the link was redirected to other websites. After investigating the issue for nearly a month, Facebook said the page does not violate the company’s community standards. read the complete article

10 May 2019

Opinion: Anti-semitism and Islamophobia are two sides of the same coin

We also have to talk about the fact that the white-supremacist views of the gunman involved both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The gunman’s hate against Muslims and Jews are not simply two discrete conceptions — rather, in reading his text, his hatred against the two communities is interwoven. That’s important for us here in Canada to think about. For it appears that white supremacy has returned out of the dead earth. Or had it ever gone away? White supremacists take to the streets in Edmonton on a weekly basis, chanting the “14 words” of neo-Nazi white supremacy. Elsewhere, groups like the Soldiers of Odin (founded by neo-Nazis in Europe) and others have equally Islamophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments. At the other end of the country, in Quebec, Muslims, Jews and Sikhs are being targeted by the CAQ’s Bill 21. Bill 21 proposes the usage of the notwithstanding clause to bypass the constitutional rights of Canadians to prohibit Muslims and Jews from wearing religious symbols in the public sector. read the complete article

Meet the Wealthy Toronto Elites Who Funded White Nationalist Faith Goldy’s Campaign for Mayor

Goldy's campaign to become the Mayor of Toronto was bankrolled by donors living in some of Toronto’s wealthiest neighbourhoods. Although her campaign received direct support from white supremacist groups, Goldy’s recently published financial statements suggest white collar donors were bigger enablers of her far-right mayoral campaign. Of the $79,500 Goldy’s campaign raked in during last fall’s mayoral election, a new analysis by PressProgress shows almost half that money ($37,750) came from fewer than 20 donors who made donations ranging between $1,000 and $2,500 to her campaign. And despite complaining about “elites,” a list of addresses published in the public filings locates Goldy’s top donors in some of Toronto’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, including Lawrence Park, Yorkville and the financial district. A closer look at Goldy’s financial statement shows the top donors she’s shielding include wealthy investors, real estate developers and corporate consultants who make a living outsourcing Canadian jobs. read the complete article

United States

10 May 2019

Michigan city worker fired for anti-Muslim Facebook post about Sports Illustrated model

Bill Larion, 58, a former part-time surveyor for the city’s engineering division, commented Saturday on the photo posted to a news station's Facebook page, saying, "Cute picture. Should be on the cover of camels are us."On Wednesday, he was fired by the city. His remarks were also condemned by Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly who said in a statement earlier this week that the city has "zero tolerance" for bigotry by employees. Zelenak said Larion is not anti-Muslim and that "he just thought it was a funny joke." read the complete article

10 May 2019

Muslim workers at Amazon say they were scared to pray for fear of being fired

Three women have filed a federal complaint against Amazon, alleging that they have faced racial and religious discrimination while working at its warehouses in Minnesota. Calling for an investigation, these women said they feared taking time off to pray, fast, or go to the bathroom in case they were fired. They said white workers were promoted over East African and Muslim Somali workers and given better jobs. read the complete article

United Kingdom

10 May 2019

Seven Kings mosque: Gun fired during prayers

Police were called to reports of a "masked" man with a firearm entering the Seven Kings Masjid in Ilford at 22:45 BST on Thursday. Worshippers ushered him out of the building and a gunshot - thought to have come from a "blank-firing handgun" - was then heard. No injuries or damage were caused, the Met said, and it did not believe it was terrorism-related. Scotland Yard said it believed it stemmed from an earlier incident in a street close to the mosque off High Road. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 May 2019 Edition


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