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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
18 May 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In Myanmar, cyclone Mocha hit the country’s Rakhine state, where hundreds of people are missing or feared dead as flooding surged in coastal camps housing some 140,000 Rohingya internally displaced persons (IDPs), meanwhile a new report from the Cost of War Project at Brown University showed that roughly 4.5 million people have died in America’s “War on Terror” military campaigns, and in Canada, six Muslim groups are asking a Quebec court to declare unconstitutional a provincial edict that bans religious activity in the province’s public schools. Our recommended read of the day is by Helen Ann-Smith for Sky News on how despite China’s claim of the “re-education” phases being tampered down for Uyghur Muslims living in Xinjiang, reporting on the ground paints an altogether different story. This and more below:


What's happened to China's Uyghur Camps? | Recommended Read

In recent years, China's most northwestern province has been mostly closed to outsiders. The latest phase of a campaign of oppression against the native Uyghur minority has gone largely unchecked - and unreported. But for the first time since zero-COVID restrictions were dropped, Sky News has been inside the region - reporting on the ground from former detention camps, speaking to survivors and analysing satellite footage to investigate what's really going on. China claimed the phase of "re-education" is over - but this does not tell the whole story. In total, we visited 22 sites. Of the 14 locations listed as re-education camps, 13 were visibly no longer being used as detention camps, with little visible active security infrastructure. Eight were schools, two were abandoned, another two were being used as communist party offices or training centres. We couldn't determine the precise use of one site, but it appeared to be at least partly empty. We visited a further eight high-security sites thought to be operating as prisons or pre-trial detention facilities. Figures from Xinjiang's High People's Procuratorate - interpreted by Human Rights Watch - show a total of 540,826 people were prosecuted in the region between 2017 and 2021. The data shows a huge spike in both arrests and prosecutions in 2017 and 2018 at the height of the crackdown. Those arrests have since dropped (from 215,823 in 2017 to 44,603 in 2021) but they remain above what they were pre-crackdown. The data also shows many of these people are likely to still be incarcerated. read the complete article


Myanmar junta accused of blocking aid to Cyclone Mocha-battered Rohingyas as death toll climbs

The death toll from Cyclone Mocha's frontal assault on Myanmar and Bangladesh over the weekend had risen from six to at least 21 by Wednesday, with some unofficial reports suggesting the real toll could be over 200. All the deaths have been reported in Myanmar's coastal Rakhine state, on the Bay of Bengal, which took the brunt of the strongest tropical cyclone so far this year. The storm's high winds and heavy downpours destroyed hundreds of homes and shelters across Myanmar and toppled trees, power and communication lines, with most of the damage reported in Rakhine, an area home to an estimated 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims. The Muslim minority has been persecuted by successive Myanmar governments, which have refused to recognize the Rohingyas as citizens of Myanmar. For years, thousands have lived in makeshift shelters in Rakhine. The National Unity Government accused the ruling junta of blocking aid agencies from going into the Rakhine region. "No aid agency is able to deliver aid because of the military blockade," the NUG's Moe told CBS News on Wednesday. There have even been reports of the military attacking Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine as the storm approached, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. read the complete article

‘No one would have died if we were not forced to stay in our homes’ – Rohingya cyclone survivor

The 450-household village of Bay Dar, also known as Bawgadip and located in Bu May village tract, is home to some 3,000 members of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. Many residents of the community, just three miles west of the state capital of Sittwe, also reported losing family members to the cyclone, whose total death toll is not yet known. Dead bodies believed to belong to local Rohingya continued to be seen floating along the coast of Rakhine State as of Wednesday. Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing claimed in a statement on military-controlled media on Tuesday that the country had endured Cyclone Mocha with a minimal loss of life, citing 21 casualties and making no mention of the plight of the Rohingya. Yet hundreds of people are missing and feared dead as flooding surged in coastal camps housing some 140,000 Rohingya internally displaced persons (IDPs). Many were forced to flee their homes in the area more than 10 years ago by the same military under Min Aung Hlaing’s command. Since then, even with their own residences often located within a few miles of the camps, they have been forcibly confined to these sites, reliant on rations and without freedom of movement or recognised citizenship, living in bamboo huts particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. Yet despite this known vulnerability, local sources including camp administrators, journalists and volunteers told Myanmar Now that meaningful efforts had not been undertaken by the military council or international aid agencies to evacuate the IDPs from the camps or prepare them for the severity of the cyclone before it hit. Cyclone warnings over area loudspeakers were delivered in Burmese language, which many Rohingya in the area do not speak, and, even if the more than 100,000 Rohingya IDPs had opted to evacuate, the military had no plan in place to transport or accommodate this number of people—particularly those from a community it has marginalised and repressed for generations in what many have termed an ongoing genocide. read the complete article


Edmonton police investigating Islamophobic exchange on Whyte Avenue

Edmonton police are investigating an alleged hate crime on Whyte Avenue, in which two Muslim men talking about their faith on the street were approached by another man who said hateful things and poured his drink on their Quran. Slav Kornik reports. read the complete article

Muslim groups ask court to quash Quebec's 'discriminatory' school prayer ban

Six Muslim groups are asking a Quebec court to declare unconstitutional a provincial edict that bans religious activity in the province’s public schools. In a lawsuit filed this week, the groups asked Quebec Superior Court to “declare constitutionally invalid, inapplicable, inoperative or to annul … (the) governmental order to prohibit all forms of prayer” in schools. The groups also asked the court to rule that the principles of state secularism and religious neutrality cannot “be used to order bans on prayers or other religious practices in public places.” In April, Quebec Education Minister Bernard Drainville issued a directive formally prohibiting any practice of religious activity in schools, vocational training centres and adult education centres. Under the directive, all establishments governed by the Education Act must ensure “that no place is used, in fact or in appearance, for the purpose of religious practices such as open prayers or other similar practices.” “Schools are places of learning, not places of worship,” Drainville said at the time. In a 22-page document submitted to the court, the Muslim groups argue the decree violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. “This is about violating the fundamental rights of minors and adults in terms of their freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, but also individuals’ right of association.” Since “this is a complete ban on all forms of prayer and prayer is an essential component of Muslim religious practice, this prohibition discriminates against a group of individuals to the detriment of other groups,” the organizations argue. read the complete article


Fashion groups face new Uyghur forced labour complaint in France

Rights groups announced on Wednesday they had filed a new complaint in France against clothing giants including Uniqlo and Zara owner Inditex for allegedly profiting from forced labour of the Uyghur minority in China. The complaint, filed on Tuesday, includes allegations of crimes against humanity, aggravated reduction to servitude, genocide and human trafficking. The companies denied using forced labour in their supply chains. Rights groups say more than one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been held in re-education camps in Xinjiang, with a slew of abuses that include forced labour. read the complete article

India slammed in new US report on religious freedom

India was spotlighted for explicitly targeting religious minorities in the US State Department’s newly released 2022 Religious Freedom Report, joining a list of countries that includes Russia, China and Iran for its treatment of religious minorities. The report details a range of concerns about religious freedom in India. Among them is the continued prohibition against religious conversion in multiple Indian states, attacks against religious minorities, and systemic discrimination directed against Muslims - including “cow vigilantism”, which results in attacks for alleged cow slaughter or beef trade. ”We're continuing to encourage the government to condemn violence and hold accountable and protect all groups who engage in rhetoric that's dehumanizing towards religious minorities and all groups who engage in violence against religious communities and other communities in India," a senior State Department official told reporters at a press briefing on Monday. In one case, the report details an incident in the coastal state of Gujarat where four Muslim men were publicly flogged for allegedly throwing stones and injuring Hindu worshippers. Another incident occurred in Madhya Pradesh, a central state in India, where police arrested 148 mostly Muslim individuals in April. After the arrests, the state bulldozed 16 homes and 29 shops owned by Muslims accused of inciting violence, the report said, citing the BBC. read the complete article

A New Report Finds That the “War on Terror” Led to More Than 4.5 Million Deaths

America’s post-9/11 wars have led to more than 4.5 million deaths, according to a major new report from the Costs of War Project at Brown University. Roughly 1 million of these deaths came from direct combat in war zones across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen, while the remaining 3.5 million are “indirect deaths” that resulted from the conflicts’ “destruction of economies, public services, and the environment,” according to the report. The sobering findings highlight the long-term effects of the Global War on Terror, which has been the deadliest fight of the 21st century so far. The death toll, which Brown researchers described as a “reasonable and conservative estimate,” rivals that of major post-WWII conflicts, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam. “In a place like Afghanistan, the pressing question is whether any death can today be considered unrelated to war,” said Stephanie Savell, the report’s author, in a statement. “Wars often kill far more people indirectly than in direct combat, particularly young children.” Savell explained on Twitter that, while each war has complex causes, she chose to include conflicts where “U.S. counterterrorism has played a vital role in at the very least intensifying the violence.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

Ten things we learned from the UK NatCon conference

The National Conservatism conference, a loosely Tory party-allied gathering run by a rightwing US thinktank, has spent the past three days hearing from a range of politicians, academics and writers in Westminster. Here are 10 things we have learned so far. Perhaps the speech most reported on was by the Tory backbencher Miriam Cates, who part-channelled Viktor Orbán and Giorgia Meloni in describing low birthrates as an existential crisis for the west. The populist leaders of Hungary and Italy are explicit in wanting more domestic-born children as against immigrants, a point Cates did not make, although it was arguably implicit. More striking still was her argument that the lack of babies was down to “cultural Marxism that is systematically destroying our children’s souls”. The conference is run by the Edmund Burke Foundation, a Washington DC-based thinktank chaired by Yoram Hazony, an Israeli-US writer whose populist-nationalist ideas were seen as influential on Donald Trump’s administration. In a sometime freewheeling speech on Monday, Hazony said the UK is plagued by “neo-Marxist” agitators and called for a return to mandatory military service. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 18 May 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results