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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26 May 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Family of British man jailed in India say he is being targeted for being Muslim. A webinar analyzes rising xenophobia across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our recommended read today is by Zack Budryk on House minority leader Kevin McArthy, who pulled his endorsement of California candidate Ted Howze over anti-Muslim social media posts. This, and more, below:

United States

26 May 2020

McCarthy yanks endorsement of California candidate over social media posts | Recommended Read

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday rescinded his endorsement of Ted Howze, a candidate for a California House district, after social media posts expressing anti-Muslim sentiment and accusing prominent Democrats of murder and drug use came to light. “In light of Mr. Howze’s disappointing comments, Leader McCarthy has withdrawn his endorsement. As the Leader has previously stated, hateful rhetoric has no place within the Republican Party,” Drew Florio, a McCarthy spokesman, said in a statement on Monday, Politico reported. In the posts, Howze, who is challenging Rep. Josh Harder (D), accused the Black Lives Matter movement of voting "in lock step for the same political party who held you as physical slaves and now wish to keep you as political slaves unable to effect any real change for the better,” he said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had been “hitting the crack pipe too hard” and questioned whether “a Muslim [can] ever truly be a good American citizen.” read the complete article

Recommended Read
26 May 2020

The truth about 'I'm with her'

On Saturday night, the Libertarian Party formally nominated as its 2020 presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen, a psychology lecturer at Clemson University. In celebration, Jorgensen promptly took to Twitter to "repurpose" Hillary's Clinton's 2016 "I'm With Her" slogan as her own. On Sunday, the slogan was trending as Libertarians promoted it and self-described Clinton supporters pushed back. Here's the cold hard truth in 2020: the hashtag "I'm with Her" should be revised to more accurately read "I'm with Donald Trump" -- because that's what voting for her or any third-party candidate means in this election. Here's more cold, hard truth given our two-party system: If you want to defeat Trump in 2020, the only choice is Joe Biden. I and countless others in our country simply don't have the privilege to demand purity or vote for a third party to send a message in 2020. To many, defeating Trump is personal. After all, his words and policies have caused us personal pain. For example, I'm Muslim. Trump made Muslim bashing a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, from his call for "a total and complete shutdown" on Muslims entering the country to comments like "Islam hates us." One of his first acts after being sworn in was to sign a ban targeting travelers from various Muslim majority nations. And Trump's stirring up hate against my community has continued with his retweets of vile bigots, including just a few weeks ago when he retweeted a right-wing activist -- someone the Anti-Defamation League has dubbed "an anti-Muslim blogger" -- who suggested that Muslims in America might have more rights than Christians to worship during the Covid-19 shutdowns. (In reality, US mosques were closed for services -- even during the recently concluded holy month of Ramadan.) read the complete article

26 May 2020

Questions remain after US cop kills Muslim man who 'threw rocks'

The Muslim community in the US state of Georgia is searching for answers after a sheriff's deputy shot and killed a Sudanese-American man earlier this month. Yassin Mohamed, 47, was killed on May 9 by an Evans County sheriff's deputy near the rural town of Claxton, which sits roughly 200 miles (320km) southeast of Atlanta, the state capital. According to police reports, Mohamed was throwing rocks at the deputies during the incident that led to his death. He had had several encounters with law enforcement agencies in the 24 hours prior to that incident. During one of those encounters, Mohamed was taken to hospital, leading the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) to question whether Mohamed was suffering from some kind of mental health issues. "We're unclear as to the mental state of Mr Mohamed, and until the culmination of the investigation we won't know for sure," said Murtaza Khwaja, the legal and policy director of CAIR-Georgia, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation. According to the GBI, the investigation will be turned over to the district attorney for review once completed. The prosecutor will then decide whether to file charges. It remains unclear whether the officer is still on active duty. It is the 38th officer-involved shooting that the GBI has been asked to investigate so far this year, according to a tweet from GBI Public Affairs Director Nelly Miles. read the complete article

26 May 2020

Muslim family fed others every day while fasting for Ramadan

Hamza Deib’s family was forced to close its restaurants when business dropped by 90 percent during the coronavirus pandemic — but that didn’t mean they stopped serving others. Deib, 28, his brother Anas and their seven other brothers and sisters have been cooking and donating meals to the community throughout the crisis — largely out of their own pocket. “It’s either we’re going to sit here and just be bitter about it and not do anything or we do what’s right and go out there and see who needs food,” said Deib, of Islip, Long Island. “We’re not just going to sit back and do nothing.” When Deib and his family first got started, they were only serving about 100 meals a day to hospitals and police departments, using up a large stockpile of inventory they had at their two Taheni restaurants in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Hells Kitchen, Manhattan. But then food pantries, homeless shelters and non-profit organizations started reaching out for help, so the Deib family started to expand. They’re now cooking and serving 1,000 meals a day. Deib said the most important work they’ve done has been feeding the homeless. During the holy month of Ramadan, the family worked day and night for 30 days in a row to run a makeshift soup kitchen in Manhattan while they were fasting. read the complete article

26 May 2020

The Pandemic Upends Islam’s Holiest Month

The coronavirus has killed more than 29,000 and sickened over 367,000 people in New York, upending daily life and unleashing economic turmoil. For Muslims, it has also transformed one of the most important holidays of the year from a joyful occasion marked by family dinners, communal prayers and busy social calendars into a somber and solitary month celebrated under the shadow of sickness, death and joblessness. But with a need to maintain public health, Zoom calls and socially distant food drives have replaced family gatherings and community prayers, as Muslims have sought to make the most of a Ramadan like no other in memory. “For a lot of people, it has been very tough on them mentally and emotionally,” said Abdul Aziz Bhuiyan, chairman of the Hillside Islamic Center on Long Island. “Some of the Islamic centers were able to go online to do programs, but people living in more distressed communities don’t have access to these kind of online events or social media.” The weight of the pandemic has fallen disproportionately on immigrant and minority populations with high poverty levels and a lack of access to regular health care. Muslim leaders say the Bangladeshi community in New York, one of the city’s fastest growing immigrant groups, has been particularly devastated by the virus and the economic damage it has caused. read the complete article


26 May 2020

Dealing With Xenophobia in Times of COVID-19

During recent weeks, human rights and antiracist organizations have documented numerous cases of aggressive behavior and hate speech towards Asian people in various European countries, Canada, and the USA. Similarly, people belonging to other minorities have been experiencing xenophobia. In the past weeks, the Roma, Europe’s largest ethnic minority, have been the victims of COVID-19 related online hate speech, and other forms of discrimination. Refugees, migrants and asylum seekers are being scapegoated as alleged potential carriers of the coronavirus and a health threat to European societies. The internet is overflowing with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories spread by far-right groups. Anti-Muslim actions have been intensified extensively in Asia and globally, and Africans have suddenly become a target for xenophobia in China. Even European nationals living peacefully together started to criticize each other again. Apparently growing xenophobia, hate and scapegoating during times of hardship are among the post-COVID-19 challenges that the whole humanity will face. read the complete article

26 May 2020

Family of British man jailed in India say he’s being targeted because he’s Muslim

Sohail Hughes, 29, from Dewsbury, has been detained in Bhopal since March, accused of spreading coronavirus and violating visa regulations. He had been on an extended holiday to visit family in the Gujarat region and mosques. But his family say he had to seek refuge in a mosque when lockdown was announced in India on March 24 because the government gave the public only four hours to get to where they needed to go before all public transport was stopped. This left foreigners, such as those stranded in yoga centres, temples and other such places with nowhere else to go. Hughes had his passport seized before being kept in quarantine for more than a month inside a hostel. While in quarantine Hughes has been repeatedly tested for COVID-19 and has always been negative. In a petition signed by over 25,000 people his family said: “Sohail was offered two flights home on separate occasions but his passport was seized by the local police and he was put into quarantine not once but twice and was kept in quarantine for 35 days even though he tested negative. He had a court hearing last Thursday which was dismissed and his bail was rejected and has now been kept in a detention centre till another court accepts the case. read the complete article


26 May 2020

India activists held over citizenship law protest

Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita took part in a sit-in against a contentious citizenship law a day before deadly riots broke out. They are among several activists who have been arrested since India's lockdown began on 25 March. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been accused of using the pandemic to crack down on dissent. Ms Narwal and Ms Kalita, both in their early 30s, have been remanded to custody for two days. They are founding members of Pinjra Tod, a popular student movement to enable women to reclaim public spaces. In a statement, the organisation said the women are facing charges of attempted murder, criminal conspiracy and obstructing public officials. read the complete article

26 May 2020

Unrequited Love: Expressing Muslim Sentiment Through Bollywood Songs

Virtually all commentators or chroniclers of a movement attempt a rational approach to show some underlying tenets or insights. That is exactly what I was trying to do when I set myself up to write a piece on the fate of the anti-CAA protests and activists. But I found the task hard because not only that emotions pervade the social life disrupted by the pandemic, but a dark shadow of overwhelming emotions covers political life too. The distancing norms and the lockdown both, together have had a debilitating effect on the poor and the vulnerable. For someone in my economic and cultural position it has been a mixed bag. There is the guilt and relief of privilege. Simultaneously, there is a feeling of being under siege because I belong to the Muslim community in India. As a participant observer of the anti-CAA movement life has been an emotional roller coaster since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by the parliament in December 2019. The long-standing majoritarian politics has felt like a looming existential crises from much before that. To top it all is the inability to say anything that adequately captures what one feels because of the discursive limits to articulation in public. There are questions of sedition flung at one when one tries. Or someone who is or has been close to the establishment will do a ‘good Muslim’ and reduce one to a ‘bad Muslim’. Suffice it to say that it can be difficult to express what the heart feels. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 May 2020 Edition


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