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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27 May 2020

Today in islamophobia: An op-ed by Zaid Belbagi outlines how the U.K’s Tory Party is becoming a breeding ground for Islamophobia. In Bangladesh, 15,000 Rohingya remain quarantined as coronavirus cases rise in the camps. Our recommended read today is by Sindre Bangstad on the 2019 attack on al-Noor mosque in Norway, and how the trial raises important questions about freedom of speech, and how it enables far-right terror. This, and more, below:


27 May 2020

The 2019 mosque attack and freedom of speech in Norway | Recommended Read

On August 10, 2019, then-21-year-old neo-Nazi Philip Manshaus made his way to al-Noor mosque in the suburban municipality of Baerum near the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on the eve of Eid al-Adha, intending to commit a massacre of Muslim worshippers. His murderous plot, however, ended in a spectacular failure. It was Saturday afternoon when he burst into the mosque, so only three worshippers were present. Two of them - 77-year-old Mohammad Iqbal and 66-year-old Muhammad Rafiq - managed to wrestle him down to the ground. Several days later, the neo-Nazi appeared in court with a bruised face, having failed to "kill as many Muslims as possible" and instead having gotten a beating from two elderly Muslims. Earlier this month the court case against him started, with prosecutors seeking a 21-year prison sentence for his crimes. As Norway goes through yet another trial of a murderous neo-Nazi, important questions have to be asked about how seriously violent far-right extremism is taken in Norway and how its ideas have been allowed to freely circulate under the guise of protecting "freedom of speech". read the complete article

Recommended Read


27 May 2020

15,000 Rohingya under quarantine as coronavirus cases rise

At least 15,000 Rohingya refugees are under quarantine in Bangladesh's vast camps, as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections there rose to 29. Health experts have long warned that the virus could race through the cramped settlements, housing almost a million Rohingya who fled violence in Myanmar, and officials had restricted movement in the area in April. "None of the infections are critical. Most hardly show any symptoms. Still, we have brought them in isolation centres and quarantined their families," Toha Bhuiyan, a senior health official in the surrounding Cox's Bazar area told AFP news agency on Monday. He said narrow roads to three camp districts - where the majority of the infections were detected - have been blocked off by authorities. Seven isolation centres with the capacity to treat more than 700 COVID-19 patients have been prepared, he said, with officials hoping to have just under 2,000 by the end of May. But, according to Nay San Lwin, co-founder of Free Rohingya Coalition, there are not enough ICU beds and ventilators available for refugees and the local community in Cox's Bazar region. read the complete article


27 May 2020

Muslim Comics Gather Over Zoom To Celebrate Eid With Jokes And Joy

Performing on a Facebook livestream, Salma Hindy began her stand-up routine by giving a shout-out to everyone in the audience who was following the guidelines to keep the coronavirus at bay, such as washing hands regularly, covering one's face and keeping a respectful distance from others. Though, as a Muslim, she found these habits a tad familiar. "You call it coronavirus, I call it sharia law!" said Hindy, referring to the set of principles Muslims abide by. The Canadian Muslim comedian was one of 40 performers taking part in The Socially Distant Eid Comedy Night, an event hosted by the Concordia Forum, a networking organization for Muslim influencers and changemakers. The goal was to give Muslims around the world some comic relief as they do the unprecedented: celebrate Ramadan and Eid in isolation at home, with fewer family members and friends than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic. The stand-up comedians come from different occupations and backgrounds, including award-winning performers based in South Africa and the U.K. Their show was livestreamed on May 24, Eid day for many countries. The event is available to watch on the Concordia Forum's Facebook page until Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET. read the complete article

27 May 2020

It’s time for the US to rethink Huntington’s philosophy: Part II

Many social scientists, both when "Clash" first appeared and since, have pointed out how preposterous it is. For one thing, monolithic civilizations don’t exist. Huntington drew a very scientific-seeming map of world civilizations for his book, but looking at it for too long will make your eyes cross. Is there really a single African civilization that runs from Sierra Leone to Madagascar? Is India, home to the third-most Muslims of any country in the world, definitively in a single Hindu civilization and not at all part of an Islamic civilization? Not in any analytically meaningful way. When they’re not dressed up in the finery of social science, the word we usually use for dramatic generalizations about people based on ethnicity is “racism” — and there’s no good reason not to apply it here. For another, even if you accept the idea of civilizations, Huntington’s prediction of an era dominated by inter-civilizational conflict has not come true. A number of studies — most recently this one — show that, since the Cold War, there has been about as much conflict within putative civilizations as between them — a strong indication that "Clash" actually can’t explain very much about modern conflict. Despite this, there are people who have made an effort to keep Huntington’s work from being left in the dustbin of social science history. Many university professors assign "Clash," even if just to explain how wrong it is, and some policymakers still use it to justify hawkish positions. A recent article in the journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, by Stephane Baele, Gregorio Bettiza, Katharine Boyd, and Travis Coan, highlights another group that has worked to keep the "Clash" thesis alive: ISIS. read the complete article

27 May 2020

Pakistan not to stay silent to let Modi regime kill Muslims: Qureshi

Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday said Pakistan would not stay silent, allowing the fascist Modi government to round up Muslims to be beaten and killed. “Pakistan will not stay silent, allowing the fascist Modi government to round up Muslims to be beaten and killed. To have their nationalities stripped, their livelihoods robbed, their demography changed and their future insecure," he said on Twitter. The foreign minister's statement came after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said countering anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia was his “top priority" and he “fully agrees" with the assessment that it could pose a threat to international peace and security. The UN chief gave the statement recently at the virtual meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states at the UN in response to the comments from Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram, who drew his attention to the rising cases of anti-Muslim violence and Islamophobia in India and urged him to adopt a more focused and consistent system-wise approach to fully tackle the menace. read the complete article

27 May 2020

For The Fourth Year Running, Black Muslims Are Sharing Photos Of Themselves Celebrating Eid With #BlackoutEid

A nonreligious tradition of Eid since 2016 is #BlackoutEid. It's a hashtag created by a Twitter user for black Muslims. At the time they told BuzzFeed News they "wanted to see how other Black Muslims celebrated Eid." It came in response to Snapchat not sharing the photos of black Muslims on their official Eid story, and since then, it has been going for four years straight. This year, most of those photos are of people indoors. Others are in their gardens and some have decided to edit out their backgrounds to make their photos a little different. And unlike previous years, people have been posting their #BlackoutEid content on TikTok too. Without further ado, here are 37 photos and videos of black people celebrating Eid. read the complete article

United Kingdom

27 May 2020

Muslim woman becomes UK's first hijab-wearing judge

A Muslim woman has become the first judge in the UK to wear the hijab, after she was appointed as a deputy district judge on the Midlands circuit last week, British media reported on Tuesday. Raffia Arshad, 40, who grew up in Yorkshire, north England, had been practicing law as a barrister while wearing the Islamic headscarf prior to her promotion. As an ethnic minority woman from a working-class background, Arshad shared that she always thought "people who looked like me" were held back from making it far in her profession, but her promotion proved the opposite. The mum-of-three said she now wants "to make sure the sound of diversity is heard loud and clear", according to comments she made to Metro newspaper. "It's definitely bigger than me, I know this is not about me. It’s important for all women, not just Muslim women, but it is particularly important for Muslim women," she said. With discrimination rife in some parts of British society, Arshad told the newspaper that young Muslims will be inspired to pursue their dreams if they see more people who look like them in every profession. "The judicial office are doing their utmost to promote diversity and at the time they appointed me they didn't know I was going to be the first hijab-wearing judge," she said. "I've been appointed on merit, not because I wear a hijab." read the complete article

27 May 2020

Tory party becoming a breeding ground for Islamophobia

Preoccupied with the current pandemic, policymakers and the media alike took little notice of this month’s decision by the Equality and Human Rights Commission not to conduct an inquiry into allegations of Islamophobia within Britain’s ruling Conservative Party. The decision of the watchdog to forgo an investigation is indicative of a political callousness concerning the slander of British Muslims that is unfortunately increasingly mainstream. As a lifelong and indeed active Conservative, I can only regret a state of affairs that has led to the growing alienation of hardworking and patriotic British Muslim voters. In the political mudslinging that has characterized the incredibly divisive experience of Brexit, the party has all but surrendered to a hitherto latent and dangerously xenophobic force within it. There are no fewer than 300 cases of alleged Islamophobia within the party, ranging from its local activists to its highest representatives. The real tragedy, however, is not in the discriminatory nature of these sentiments, but rather that the party and its leadership simply continues to fail to deal with the issue head-on. read the complete article

27 May 2020

Chelmsford gin bar comments prove Islamphobia concerns are real, say objectors

A gin bar and distillery has been given a licence despite concerns from members of a neighbouring mosque that worshippers will experience increased Islamophobia. Known formerly as the Farm Shop Café and then later Pause at 13 Moulsham Street, the venue is set to become a bar and shop on the ground floor, a gin distillery on the first floor and a gin school on the second floor. There will be outdoor pavement seating to both the front and side of the building, with removable seating area barriers. It means The Only Way is Gin can sell alcohol from midday until 11pm between Monday to Wednesday, until midnight on Thursdays and Fridays, until 2am on Saturdays and 11pm on Sundays. But objectors claim the bar could lead to an increased risk of drink–fuelled Islamophobia. They add that comments which followed a previous story on the fear from Chelmsford’s Muslim community prove the undercurrents of anti-Muslim sentiment that exists and which could lead to Islamophobic comments or actions. Ayman Syed, who has been secretary of the mosque for ten years, told the licensing committee last week: “Where I do have an issue is the potential abuse they might receive, the wording a customer might say while the children or the parents go by. “When you start looking at Muslim children it is much more targeted where it is based around comments where people talk about being a terrorist, a bomber and these snide comments will put children off from coming and put parents off from bringing their children. “It is something they face in school and we fear it is something they might face with a new neighbour next door.” read the complete article

United States

27 May 2020

Anti-Asian Racism Is Taking a Mental and Emotional Toll on Me

Like so many of us, I was already dealing with social isolation, economic uncertainty, and a pandemic threat. This left me too depleted to cope with the uptick in hate crimes against Asian Americans after the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, China. Every time I saw reports of Asians and Asian Americans getting spit and coughed on, beaten up, and attacked with acid, I retreated deeper into my home and into myself. This discrimination against Asian Americans is not only misdirected and wrong, but it also takes a toll on the overall physical and mental health and well-being of Asian Americans across the country. These days I feel like I’m dealing with two pandemics: COVID-19 and anti-Asian racism. Asians in the United States have long been targets of xenophobia. Under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinese immigrants became the first ethnic group to be barred from the United States, a ruling that lasted 61 years.Post-9/11, people of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian descent endured (and continue to endure) anti-Muslim bigotry and hate crimes. Then the COVID-19 pandemic began, and far too many people have used it as an excuse to stoke the flames of racism against Asian Americans. read the complete article

27 May 2020

Tuesday marks 3 years since deadly MAX stabbing attack

According to testimony, on May 26, 2017, Jeremy Christian, who was 35-years-old at the time, boarded a MAX train and almost immediately began spewing hate speech towards two black teenage girls. One of those girls is Muslim and was wearing a hijab. As the train arrived at the Hollywood Transit Center, Micah Fletcher confronted Jeremy Christian telling him to stop yelling at the girls. Others like former Marine, Shawn Forde, also tried to get Christian to leave the girls alone by trying to divert Christian's attention to him. Forde also attempted to alert the conductor by pressing the alert button inside the train. Talisien Namkai Meche started moving closer to Christian with his phone in his hand. Almost immediately, as video shows, Christian grabbed his phone and threw it to the ground. That’s when Namkai Meche stood up, facing Christian face-to-face. That’s when video shows Christian pull a knife out of his pocket and stab the men in the throat. First was Fletcher, then Namkai Meche. Another man, Ricky Best, was also stabbed. As soon as Fletcher was stabbed, he ran to the platform to get away. Good Samaritans worked to save his life by applying pressure to his wounds. Several people tried to save Best and Namkai Meche, but doctors testified major arteries were cut in the stabbing and it would have been impossible to save them. Best died on the train. Namkai Meche died shortly after arriving at the hospital. In February 2019, a jury unanimously found Christian guilty of all charges. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 27 May 2020 Edition


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