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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14 May 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Muslims in India experience rising unease under Modi, while in Sri Lanka, they are being targeted by anti-Muslim mobs seeking retaliation for Easter Sunday attacks carried out by an extremist group. In Canada, a failed Ontario mayoral candidate is ordered to pay $2.5 million for defamtory, Islamophobic videos he made smearing a Middle Eastern restaurant chain; in the U.S., Muslim workers sue Amazon for “harassing and hostile” work conditions. An op-ed argues that Republicans and right-wing media distort Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s comments to cast Muslims as inherently anti-Semitic. Our recommended read of the day is titled “China Has Also Been Targeting Foreigners In Its Brutal Crackdown On Muslims.” This, and more, below:


14 May 2019

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

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. He is an ethnic Uighur — a religious and cultural minority group that the Chinese government views as a threat to the country’s security. The government has subjected Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in the far-west region of Xinjiang to a sweeping campaign of mass surveillance and incarceration that has seen more than a million people detained in internment camps. Despite his ordeal, the young businessman was fortunate to have been released. BuzzFeed News has found that six Turkish nationals — and possibly dozens more — have gone missing in China’s Xinjiang region, including a pair of young children. None of their cases have been publicly acknowledged by the Turkish or Chinese governments, and are being reported here for the first time. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
14 May 2019

Jews Are Speaking Out Against China’s Ethnic Cleansing Of Muslims. Will It Help?

My former colleague Sigal Samuel, who has written about this extensively for Vox, says that many scholars think use of the description “concentration camps” is appropriate — especially given the cattle prods — but they have avoided the term because they didn’t want the public to think they were exaggerating. They’re not exaggerating. We cannot avoid this outrage any longer. “We Jews vowed ‘Never Again’ and have an obligation, because of our Torah and our history, to prevent this cruel dehumanization and slaughter from happening again, to any of God’s children,” Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, the rabbinic director of the Jewish Board in New York, told me in an email. read the complete article

United States

14 May 2019

The Islamophobia presidency

White evangelicals, on the other hand, were found to hold the most negative attitudes about Muslims. And it wasn't close. In fact, as the survey shows, white evangelical views of Muslims drive American Islamophobia. Those views may also help explain why white evangelicals remain President Donald Trump's strongest base of support. In Trump, white evangelicals have found a president willing to tap into rather than tamp down some of their greatest fears and strongest bigotries. Evangelical attitudes towards Muslims are often explained away, especially by insiders, as a product of their religious beliefs and, especially, evangelicals' steadfast support for the state of Israel. But the ISPU poll found that religiosity, whether measured by individual religious engagement or by group loyalty, did not determine anti-Muslim attitudes, even for evangelicals. As the report concluded, Islamophobia is "clearly more political and ideological than theological for most Americans." read the complete article

14 May 2019

Omar accuses Cheney of 'deep seeded hate and Islamophobia'

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Monday accused House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) of "deep seeded hate and Islamophobia" after Cheney repeatedly criticized Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over her comments related to Israel and the Holocaust. "Give it up, we all know you never met a Muslim you didn’t want to vilify!" Omar, a Muslim, said in response to a tweet from Cheney. "Your deep seeded hate and Islamophobia might be a tool to rally your base, but won’t get rid your colleagues. You just have to deal." read the complete article

14 May 2019

CAIR Calls for Meeting with ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ Producers Over Islamophobic Episode

CAIR said the episode, which included a character clearly based on real-life Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), falsely conflated support for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism, portrayed Muslim men in a negative light and suggested that growing Islamophobia in America is a hoax. CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said: “It is incumbent on producers to be responsible and avoid enflaming Islamophobia. As we have seen here in New York, Islamophobes have been emboldened by the rhetoric in our political discourse and all Law and Order SUV did was lend a hand to anti-Muslim bigots as they try to mainstream Islamophobia.” read the complete article

14 May 2019

The continuing cost of the Trump Muslim ban

The No Ban Act, introduced last week Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, would repeal the Muslim Ban and safeguard against future abuses of presidential authority by limiting the executive branch’s ability to implement discriminatory policies in the future. The Muslim ban doesn’t only discriminate, it also prevents hardworking people who would be huge contributors to the American economy from coming here. According to data obtained by Reuters, the United States last year refused 37,000 visa applications due to the Muslim ban, up from under 1,000 the year before. The total number of visas issued to people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen has fallen by 80 percent since 2016. And the ban doesn’t just hurt Muslim immigrants: it also impacts American citizens like Sarah. read the complete article

14 May 2019

No, Rashida Tlaib Is Definitely Not Antisemitic

Tlaib’s full-throated defense of Omar put a target on her back. Republicans have been waiting for the moment they could pin antisemitism allegations on Tlaib in a shameless attempt to silence critiques of Israel and the broader critiques of American inequality and imperialism that Tlaib has leveled. That moment has arrived. It’s obvious from reading the comment in full that the “calming feeling” Tlaib was referring to is the knowledge that Palestine served as a “safe haven” for Jews after World War II. She does not feel calm about the Holocaust or the “horrific persecution of Jews,” just as she doesn’t feel calm about the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians that has occurred in Israel ever since. But Republicans wasted no time jumping to the ugliest possible interpretation to wield as a cudgel against Tlaib. We should see this phenomenon for what it is: a cynical strategy to discredit anyone who criticizes Israel and its fiercest advocates in the United States government, coming from people who don’t give a rat’s ass about bigotry against Jews or any other religious or ethnic minority. read the complete article

14 May 2019

Muslim women accuse Amazon of ‘harassing and hostile’ work conditions

Amazon is being accused of religious discrimination and retaliation by three Muslim workers in Minnesota who say the tech giant denied them time and space to pray and routinely assigned them less favorable work than their white counterparts, according to a federal complaint filed last week. The workers, all black women from Somalia, say Amazon created a hostile environment for Muslim workers at its warehouse in Shakopee, Minn. They also allege that Somali and East African workers were denied promotions and training that went to white workers and were relegated to more difficult tasks, like packing heavy items. “Amazon is one of the largest employers in Minnesota and it relies on these workers to make billions, but it is withholding these basic accommodations as required by law,” said Nabihah Maqbool, an attorney for Muslim Advocates, a nonprofit organization that is representing the women. “Our clients are being monitored in their warehouses in such a way that they fear each day that they will be fired when they go to work.” read the complete article

14 May 2019

Podcast | CAIR’s new report on Islamophobia: An interview with Zainab Arain

KGŞ: So let’s dive into the questions here. So this report is broken down into three main sections. I had a sneak peak. I took a look. The three sections are: the Funding Sources (the funders), Anti–Muslim Organizations (those funded), and Impact on Society. Could you share with us a brief overview of what you found over the course of your research for this report? What connections were you able to make in terms of funders, funding, the influence/impact of anti-Muslim organizations on a whole host of societal issues such as policy, legislation, court cases, public narratives about Muslims and Islam, etc.? ZA: So the main thing that we have found is that the Islamophobia Network has been drawing upon mainstream American philanthropic institutions for financial and political support for years. And, these hate groups are basically exploiting American charities, and using the robust tradition of of American philanthropy to turn around and hurt our democracy. read the complete article


14 May 2019

Laws that limit religious rights emboldens racists, particularly Islamophobia

Last week, parliamentary hearings began on Quebec’s Bill 21, which would ban public employees in “positions of authority” from wearing religious symbols. In his testimony, the philosopher Charles Taylor stated that he and Gérard Bouchard were wrong to propose restrictions on religious symbols in their 2008 report on reasonable accommodation. Taylor affirmed he had been “very naïve” for not foreseeing that such proposals would stigmatize religious minorities and feed intolerance. “The very fact that we were talking about this kind of a plan started to stimulate hate incidents, not just in Quebec but all over,” Taylor said. He added: “I really changed my mind when I saw the consequences of such policies.” Taylor’s remarks summarize rather well the findings of a research project we recently conducted at McGill University. Our research shows that laws like Bill 21 can have much graver consequences for religious minorities than the specific provisions they entail. Such laws also embolden those who harbour deep-seated xenophobia — specifically Islamophobia — and they therefore intensify minorities’ encounters of hostility and mistreatment. read the complete article

14 May 2019

Kevin Johnston ordered to pay $2.5M for 'hateful, Islamophobic' remarks against restaurant chain owner

In a decision released Monday, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded $2.5 million in damages to Fakih and Paramount, a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area, for defamation over a series of videos and online posts made by Kevin Johnston, some on his website Freedom Report, starting in July 2017. Johnston, who most recently ran for mayor in 2018 when he lost out to current mayor Bonnie Crombie, placing second with 13.5 per cent of the vote, was charged in 2017 for offering a $1,000 reward in exchange for videos of Muslim students praying in schools. He, his website, and Ron Banerjee were named as defendants in Fakih's original lawsuit, filed Aug. 4, 2017. From July 23 to Aug. 1 of 2018, the judgment says, the defendants published eight videos making false and malicious statements, including that Fakih was an "economic terrorist" who was under investigation by CSIS and that Paramount was "little more than a front" whose purpose was to facilitate "Islamic discussion." read the complete article

United Kingdom

14 May 2019

Brexit Party: Senior official defended ‘persecuted’ Tommy Robinson and mocked Islamophobia

Noel Matthews, the Brexit Party’s national election agent, posted an article sympathetic to the far-right former English Defence League leader, writing: “THIS. Tommy Robinson Drew Attention to Grooming Gangs. Britain Has Persecuted Him.” The former Ukip candidate has written that “Islamophobia is a silly, made up word” and tweeted: “Is it Islamaphobia or Islamophobia? I missed it when that word was made up”. His description of Islamophobia as “a silly, made up word” came in 2017, when he also said: “Poor old islamophobia. Used to be the best excuse for closing down the debate until those others came along.” In a 2018 post, he said Islamophobia was “criticism of special treatment for those with religious conviction”. Following the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville at which a counter-protester was murdered, Matthews endorsed remarks by Donald Trump that both sides were to blame, writing: “He’s right.” read the complete article


14 May 2019

‘Why do I fear to go out in my own country?’ In Modi’s India, rising unease among Muslims.

For Abdullah Ashraf, the changes in his country can be measured by the things he no longer does. He never used to worry about wearing clothing that could identify him as Muslim. Now, when he goes on a road trip, he sticks to wearing jeans and a T-shirt. After his family celebrated a major holiday, they would bring goat meat from the feast back from the countryside. Today, it is a risk they will not take: The meat could be mistaken for beef by self-described “cow protection” vigilantes. Until last year, Ashraf, 32, gathered with other Muslims in a park near the office of his outsourcing company for midday Friday prayers. Then Hindu extremists targeted such outdoor meetings in this suburb of Delhi that epitomizes India’s economic rise. They brandished sticks, shouted slogans and shoved worshipers. Now Ashraf prays in a spot designated by the police: an unpaved parking lot studded with rocks. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

14 May 2019

Sri Lanka vows 'maximum force' against anti-Muslim rioters

Mosques and Muslim-owned shops have been vandalised or set on fire, and one Muslim man has been slashed to death. A curfew will remain in the North-Western province until further notice, police said. In the Catholic-majority town of Chilaw, Muslim-owned shops and mosques were attacked after a dispute that started on Facebook, police said. A 38-year-old Muslim businessman identified as the author of the post that sparked the violence was arrested. A man died from stab wounds after a mob attacked his business in Puttalam District, also in Sri Lanka's north-west. "Mobs had attacked him with sharp weapons at his carpentry workshop," a police official told AFP news agency. "This is the first death from the riots." read the complete article

14 May 2019

Sri Lanka Declares Curfew After Mobs Target Muslims

Sri Lanka on Monday declared a countrywide curfew to control the worst outburst of violence since the deadly Easter Sunday bombings, after mobs attacked mosques and the homes of Muslims. In the weeks since the bombings — which were claimed by the Islamic State and killed more than 250 people — tensions have remained high across the island nation. Officials did not provide details of casualties from the most recent clashes. Agence France-Presse reported that at least one Muslim man was killed, slashed to death by a mob at his carpentry shop. The government has intermittently blocked social media to avoid the spread of misinformation, and the police have declared curfews in some cities after smaller clashes. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 May 2019 Edition


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