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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20 May 2020

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S, the Trump administration finalizes indefinite extension of coronavirus border restrictions. In India, police apologize for beating up lawyer, saying they thought they were a Muslim. Bangladesh and India prepare for Cyclone Amphan, the biggest storm in 20 years, as it looks set to impact millions living in coastal areas. Our recommended read today is by Felice Leon on Malcolm X, and the “fullness of his revolutionary life.” This, and more, below:

United States

20 May 2020

Reimagining Blackness: Remembering the Fullness of Malcolm X's Revolutionary Life | Recommended Read

History has told us that Malcolm X was the anti-MLK. A brilliant man full of rage (and quips), he openly referred to white people as the devil. The existing one-dimensional myth of Malcolm X was configured by the mainstream media and punctuated with notes of racism and Islamophobia. As we are well aware that the history of black people in the United States is often misrepresented—it’s no surprise that narratives about Malcolm X (one of the most iconic civil rights leaders) are a bit, well, hollow. How, exactly, have we gotten Malcolm X wrong? As Peniel E. Joseph, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., points out that Malcolm X was a beautifully dynamic human being who was far more than the fearsome leader that history has ascribed him to be. Malcolm X was unequivocally fierce with biting wit, but he was also a family man; a global political activist, traveling to the Middle East, Africa and Europe to advocate for a “radical human rights movement”; and heck, according to Joseph, the “by any means necessary icon” was even a funny dude. read the complete article

Recommended Read
20 May 2020

‘There’s no place for hatred in our state’: Addressing the trend at Reopen Illinois rallies

Gov. JB Pritzker says he is worried for his family's safety following several protests with antisemitic signs on display. The governor addressed his concerns just two days after 800 people gathered outside the Capitol building. A separate Reopen Illinois rally took place in downtown Chicago. "You saw some of the signs. You saw the vehemence that people are carrying those signs with swastikas and pictures of Adolph Hitler, references to me and my family," Pritzker said. "Yeah, I’m concerned." A group of community leaders from across Illinois also held a virtual press conference Monday morning to address the protests. They specifically condemned the antisemitic, racist and extremist rhetoric shown on signs and speeches in both cities. "Hitler, Holocaust, and Nazi comparisons are antisemitic - period. Such comparisons delegitimize and trivialize the deaths of the six million Jews and millions of others, and soldiers who fought to defeat Nazism," said Anti-Defamation League Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg. "But beyond that, this language is especially concerning as ADL recently reported antisemitic incidents are up in Illinois 340% since 2016 and are at a national all-time high." Andy Kang is the Executive Director of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice of Chicago. He says hateful rhetoric has almost always led to violence and hate incidents. "That in and of itself also changes our political culture, and unfortunately it's led to some of the most shameful policies that our government and our country has ever adopted." Later, Kang emphasized xenophobia or the scapegoating of the Asian community, or Islamophobia is "not just incredibly reckless, it's dangerous." read the complete article

20 May 2020

Anti-Islamophobia Community Organization #VigilantLove Uses Arts For Healing | VIdeo

This grassroots organization fights Islamophobia with activism, art, and communal healing. read the complete article

20 May 2020

Ramadan in Quarantine | Video

During Ramadan, Muslims come together to pray, fast, and celebrate the Quran. This year, for the first time in history, Ramadan is being observed in isolation—no mosque, no extended-family gatherings, and no traditional Eid celebration. Sherihan Moustafa, 33, is a Brooklyn-based mother of six and a devout Muslim. She’s also an entrepreneur; her company, Urban Modesty, caters specifically to Muslim Americans seeking trendy, modest clothing. In a new short documentary from The Atlantic, Moustafa and her family explain the challenges of practicing Ramadan during a pandemic. “It’s a test,” she says. “It’s a difficult time to be a mom or to have a business, or any of that. But there are a lot of people that are far worse off.” Besides, she says, “Ramadan also teaches you to be grateful for everything you have.” read the complete article

20 May 2020

Trump administration finalizes indefinite extension of coronavirus border restrictions

The Trump administration finalized a rule that would allow it to extend the coronavirus border restrictions indefinitely. The move amends and extends a rule already in place that allows the administration to close borders for public health reasons, as it has. The new provisions would ban the "introduction of certain aliens" until the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that the coronavirus no longer poses a threat to public health. The administration has extended border restrictions between Mexico and Canada in 30-day intervals since March, with the latest extension taking place Tuesday. The new provision would give Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, authority over when the U.S. borders are safe to reopen. read the complete article

20 May 2020

Drag Race star Jackie Cox gives candid take on the show’s Jeff Goldblum controversy

“There’s a difference between an oppressive religious government or a government that oppresses people in the name of religion versus personal freedom of expression of culture and religion,” she told Entertainment Weekly. Jackie said that earlier on in season 12, she had discussed the difference between the Iranian government being anti-LGBT+ people, and Iranian people – “certainly the ones I know in my life” – not being that way. The Drag Race star continued: “And there are queer people in that group who are underrepresented who don’t have that voice, and there are practicing queer Muslims. “I am not one of them, but I’m here to represent them and my own interpretation of the Islamic faith — my own version of which I grew up with. “Perhaps for Jeff and the audience, they hadn’t thought of those things as separate before, or hadn’t thought through that all those complicated feelings can exist at the same time in one person. “It’s not as simple as, well, I don’t agree with what the Iranian government says, therefore I don’t support any part of my history or culture or what my family does or doesn’t believe.” When asked about the reaction to her conversation with Goldblum, Jackie said that she didn’t want to “take away from anyone’s reaction to those questions and for anyone’s feelings of how that affected them”. “It illustrates how we can approach the same question from a different point of view,” she continued. “There’s this feeling that so much of Western media has portrayed us as terrorists, as these negative connotations… I know for so many people in our community, it’s always a little disheartening that those are the first things people think of. “Hopefully, this will be a conversation for people to learn more.” read the complete article


20 May 2020

Victims of COVID-19 fill Muslim cemeteries in France

The closure of France’s borders with some African countries due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created problems regarding the burial of deceased Muslims of North African origin. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, which all have large numbers of immigrants in France, have refused the repatriation of their deceased. This in turn has led to the filling up of Muslim cemeteries in France. According to the president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), Mohammed Moussaoui, there are 600 areas for Muslim tombs in France; the tombs face Makkah and are distributed over 35,600 municipalities. Suspending the repatriation of the deceased from North African countries has caused distress to Muslim families because of the lack of space for Muslims in French cemeteries. Many of those families have had to place their relatives’ bodies in morgues as they wait for transport back to their homelands. Kamal Kabtane, the imam at the Grand Mosque of Lyon, explained to Arab News that there are only limited areas in Muslim cemeteries. “In Lyon, we have fewer than a thousand spaces, and I raised this issue to try to find solutions. We must think in the long term and for all those who were born here and consider France their homeland. We must establish genuine high-capacity Muslim cemeteries oriented toward Makkah, and not just small areas for Muslims.” Kabtane noted that the management of cemeteries in France is municipal and each mayor must decide for his/her own town. read the complete article


20 May 2020

Bangladesh, India brace for Amphan - biggest cyclone in 20 years

India and Bangladesh evacuated millions of people from the path of the most powerful storm in 20 years, which is expected to make landfall as early as 09:00 GMT on Wednesday and has raised fears of extensive damage to houses and crops and disruption of road, rail and power links. The authorities' move to save lives was complicated by continuing efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic and enforce social distancing. Many thousands of migrant workers are on the roads trying to get home from big cities after a nationwide lockdown destroyed their livelihoods, while more than a million Rohingya are in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Approaching from the Bay of Bengal, super cyclone Amphan was expected to hit the coast of eastern India and southern Bangladesh with winds gusting up to 185 kilometres per hour (115 miles per hour) - the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane. "It is already a huge challenge to contain the spread of coronavirus amongst the Rohingya refugees living in overcrowded camps, sharing water and toilet facilities. Cyclone Amphan is also a major threat to the millions of vulnerable Bangladeshis living in low-lying flood-prone coastal areas," Dipankar Datta, country director of Oxfam in Bangladesh said in a statement. read the complete article


20 May 2020

Muslims Are Alienated From PM Modi, Not the Indian State: Survey

An ongoing nationwide survey during the COVID-19 pandemic by C-Voter reveals that Indian Muslims have a lot of trust in virtually all public institutions of India, except the Prime Minister and the Central government. The entire world and the global media remains focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the human and economic devastation caused by it. But when it comes to India, the part of the focus has been on alleged Islamophobia and rising intolerance towards Muslims even during the pandemic. Top media outlets like Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian and BBC among others have been highlighting this ever since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014. But recently, a US Congressional body on religious freedom the USCRIF has rebuked India for discrimination against Muslims. The Organisation of Islamic Countries has raised similar concerns. read the complete article

20 May 2020

Madhya Pradesh Police Apologise for Beating Lawyer, 'We Thought You Were Muslim,' They Say

In Madhya Pradesh’s Betul, an incident which is striking in its example of Islamophobia and police highhandedness has come to light. On March 23, a lawyer Deepak Bundele was beaten up brutally by the state police while he was on his way to a government hospital for treatment. A month later, he is under pressure from the police to withdraw his complaint. Police officials, in their defence, told Bundele that he was beaten up because they had wrongly identified him as a Muslim man. Speaking to The Wire, Bundele said that on March 23, between 5.30 and 6 pm, he was on his way to the hospital when he was stopped by the police. “The nationwide lockdown hadn’t come into place then but Section 144 had been imposed in Betul. I have been an acute diabetic and blood pressure patient for the last 15 years. Since I was not feeling well, I decided to visit the hospital and get some medicines. But I was stopped by the police midway.” Bundele, who sports a beard, said that he explained to police personnel that he had to get his medicines but one of them slapped him without trying to listen to what he was saying. read the complete article

20 May 2020

Indian channel Zee News slammed on social media over coronavirus tweet, Islamophobia

Indian social media on Tuesday slammed Zee News editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary over a hypocritical tweet pertaining to the coronavirus, its employees testing positive, and apparent Islamophobia stemming from the TV channel's targeting of the Tableeghi Jamaat back in March. Hashtags such as #ZeeNewsSealKaro (#SealZeeNews), #CoronaZEEhad, and #ZEEhadi, a play on the word jihadi trended on Twitter after Chaudhary — an anchor at and the editor-in-chief of Zee News — wrote on the microblogging website that the channel's employees who contracted the deadly coronavirus "came to work because they’re committed professionals". After many of the Tableeghi Jamaat members tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Zee News had specifically criticised Muslims and used terms such as "corona jihad", engaging in hate-mongering and egging on the Islamophobia in a country where bloody communal riots are common news. Other hate-mongering channels such as Republic TV and its anchor, Arnab Goswami, had also joined in to malign Muslims and cause further divide in the nation. Twitter users were quick to point that out. Similar to how Chaudhary and Zee News had accused the Tableeghi Jamaat of hiding patients of the deadly coronavirus, user @aflatoon391 wrote: "Sudhir Chaudhary hides Corona's case. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 20 May 2020 Edition


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