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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13 Nov 2019

Today in Islamophobia: In France many oppose a march against Islamophobia and racism. In the U.S., Senator Schumer calls a retiring Islamophobe a ‘principled’ friend, even as Virginia welcomes Ghazala Hashmi as its first Muslim State Senator. Our recommended read today is by David Brophy on China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims based on the way they practice their faith. This, and more, below:



13 Nov 2019

Recommended Read | Good and Bad Muslims in Xinjiang

In an August 2019 essay, the historian David Brophy argues the Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim group of around 12 million, are being placed in a similar position in Northwest China. In Chinese state discourse, many Uyghurs are regarded as “bad Muslims,” as “pre-criminals” in need of reeducation through Chinese political ideology and language in internment camps, while “trustworthy” Uyghurs who inform on the Islamic practice of others are regarded as “good.” At the same time Hui Muslims, a Chinese-speaking group of around 10 million, are largely regarded as “good Muslims” that more integrated with the dominant Han Chinese group, with the exception of a few “bad” Hui who are seen as influenced by “foreign” Islam. At the same time, in the United States, Uyghurs are recognized as “good Muslims” who are being subjected to horrific human rights abuses and who will help the United States and its allies in a struggle for global moral and political influence. Simultaneously, many other Muslim groups—from Syria to Afghanistan—have been demonized and “banned” by the Trump administration. Ultimately, Brophy shows that in many ways Chinese state authorities are adapting U.S. and European counterinsurgency (as Brophy has noted elsewhere) and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) policies in the Uyghur Autonomous Region. He demonstrates that the underlying Islamophobic logic of CVE, assuming that pious Islamic practice causes violence and must be “deradicalized,” links Chinese Islamophobia to Euro-American Islamophobia. read the complete article

Recommended Read
13 Nov 2019

Letter to China: My Uyghur friend Zainur has been detained in one of your camps for two years

I thought I did not have sufficient information on anyone I knew to write a testimony. I knew no last names*. No Chinese ID numbers. But in packing up my apartment recently, I took a moment to open again the letters I had received from friends when I left Beijing in May 2017. Zainur (“Zeynur” in standard Latinization) penned the longest of these letters. The day I left, she sat holding my hand outside of my dorm. Other students from my program shuffled about, lining up their luggage, saying goodbye to friends. Zainur said almost nothing. When I stood to board the bus, she pressed the letter to my palms, kissed my cheek, and ran. I would later learn that she returned to her own dorm in tears. read the complete article

13 Nov 2019

Students and Professors Hold ‘Teach-In’ to Raise Awareness of Uyghur Plight in China

“We wanted to bring attention to [the Uyghurs] because it’s important, but then we wanted to situate it in the larger context of Islamophobia and try and talk about it in the right way because it’s often talked about it in the wrong way,” said Kline, who has a master’s degree in Chinese politics, foreign policy and international relations from Tsinghua University in Beijing. Since 2017, the Chinese government has imprisoned Uyghurs as well as other primarily Muslim ethnic groups like Uzbeks and Kazakhs in detention camps. The Chinese government has held approximately one to two million Uyghurs in detention camps in their native province of Xinjiang. While the government claims that the camps are “vocational training centers” and that there are no human rights violations, The New York Times reports that many have been forced to renounce Islam in the camps and are living in squalid conditions under constant surveillance. The event consisted of a presentation detailing China’s discrimination of the Uyghurs in what Kline described as “concentration camps” and a discussion among students and faculty on the issue. read the complete article


13 Nov 2019

Top Indian Court Ruling Gives Modi a Victory

India’s Supreme Court made a historic ruling on Saturday as it gave Hindus control over a holy site long contested by Muslims. The top court’s judgment represented a victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which campaigned this year on a promise that it would build a Hindu temple at the disputed area in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, where a 16th-century mosque once stood. Complex history. The Ayodhya case is intertwined with religion, violence, and modern Indian politics. Hindus claim that the mosque, erected by the Mughal emperor Babur, occupied the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama. Those claims date back to the mid-19th century, but the real showdown began in 1949, after India’s independence. Hindus broke into the Muslim site and placed an idol of Rama there, leading to a legal case and the compound gates being locked. read the complete article


13 Nov 2019

Why do so many in France oppose a march against Islamophobia and racism?

As Islamophobia gains momentum and normalises in French society, tens of thousands of Muslims and allies of the cause descended on the streets of the French capital on Sunday, on the eve of the commemorations of November 11th, Armistice Day. Since the attack perpetrated by Mickael Harpon, a white French man, who converted to Islam a few years ago — in which four policemen were killed and two wounded – a new form of liberalisation of Islamophobic speech has appeared, sharper and unapologetic. On prime time television, journalists and 'experts' compete for the worst wickedness targeting French Muslims. 
The event followed Mrs Fatima E., a hijabi mother who was asked to remove her veil by an elected representative Julien Odoul of Marine Le Pen’s party, the Rassemblement National (former Front National), while on a school trip at Regional Council of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte in the Centre of France. More than eighty TV and radio debates centred around the question of whether the wearing of the hijab was an attempt to undermine secularism. Out of all of these programs, only twice were veiled Muslim women invited, Sarah El Attar and the journalist and YouTuber, Nadiya Lazzouni, who were called twice on two separate occasions on CNews, a TV channel known for its right-wing political agenda. read the complete article

13 Nov 2019

Meet the French women fighting Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism with trips to Auschwitz

That is thanks to Samia Essaba, a high school teacher, and Suzanne Nakache, a Jewish former pharmacy owner, and the women’s group Langage de Femmes, or Women's Voices, which they founded in 2017. Essaba, a Muslim, is an English teacher in a high school in the rough Paris suburb of Noisy-le-Sec, while Nakache used to run a pharmacy in the ethnically mixed 20th arrondissement of the capital. They came together to fight the tensions that they saw around them in their daily lives between Muslims, who number around five million in France, and Jews, whose community is about half a million strong. Their mission - to combat the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that blights French society. “We have women who wear the headscarf, cleaning women, executives from big companies, Jewish women who wear wigs, Christian women from posh areas, and secular women,” Nakache said when The Local met her at a meeting of the Anglo-American Press Association of Paris. They hold film screenings, social events, and excursions to bring these women together and let them talk and bounce their ideas and opinions off each other. read the complete article

United States

13 Nov 2019

Who is Ghazala Hashmi, Virginia’s first Muslim state Senator?

Hashmi says she felt compelled to run for office due to Trump’s xenophobic policies. Hashmi was driving to work in 2017 when she first heard about President Trump’s decision to ban refugees from certain predominantly-Muslim countries. Initially frozen with terror, she made up her mind to get involved. “I could continue to be quiet and accept things,” she said. “Or I really had to become much more visible.” In addition to being the first Muslim state Senator, Hashmi is also set to be the first Muslim woman to serve in the Virginia General Assembly. Despite being inspired to run by national issues, Hashmi says she is focused on working on subjects that directly impact Virginians most. “I know there was an undercurrent of people feeling very disenfranchised, and also distressed over national-level politics,” she said. “But what I heard the most when I was talking to voters at their doors and speaking to so many folks in the community is that they really wanted a Virginia assembly that focuses on the issues that matter to them.” read the complete article

13 Nov 2019

Why Did Chuck Schumer Call an Islamophobe His “Principled” Friend?

To which Kingian principles was Schumer referring? His call for George W. Bush to “get a medal” for torturing terror suspects? His repeated demands for journalists in the United States to be prosecuted? His refusal to “morally blame” his friends in the IRA for the killing of civilians? His insistence that Eric Garner was to blame for his own death, and not the NYPD officer who put him in a chokehold? Or maybe it was his deep-seated and long-standing Islamophobia. In a rare media dissent on Monday, the Daily Beast’s Spencer Ackerman pointed out how “no legislator did more to demonize American Muslims” than the 14-term Republican representative from Long Island. “Long before there was Donald Trump, there was Peter King,” he wrote. How so? King has said there are “too many mosques in this country” while also claiming “over 80 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams.” He has called “radical” Muslims in the United States “an enemy living amongst us.” read the complete article

13 Nov 2019

Muslim Survivors Of Domestic Violence Need You To Listen

It is a challenge for domestic violence victims to seek help, regardless of their ethnicity or religious background. Shame and fear are powerful silencers. But Muslim women like Naas’ mother face distinct and arduous obstacles, according to a HuffPost investigation. HuffPost spoke to more than a dozen survivors from Muslim backgrounds, as well as staffers from multiple faith-based agencies catering to the American Muslim community. A number of victims said they were distrustful of U.S. state and federal agencies due to past experiences of discrimination. When they did decide to seek help, HuffPost found, they often contended with Islamophobic stereotypes, sometimes voiced by the very people tasked with keeping them safe. Many who turned to religious leaders for support said they encountered unprepared imams with little to no training on the dynamics of domestic abuse. Almost all of the women interviewed said they struggled with the cultural stigma of divorce. The recent surge of Islamophobia — hate crimes, bigoted policies and daily incidents of harassment — has only made confronting domestic violence more challenging for the Muslim community. As stories in the media often stereotype Muslim men as a monolithic, violent group that oppresses women, fear of judgment from non-Muslims makes the issue of gender-based violence especially difficult to address, said Juliane Hammer, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of the book “Peaceful Families: American Muslim Efforts against Domestic Violence.” read the complete article

13 Nov 2019

Signing a Waiver to Run in Hijab Isn't the Solution. It’s the Problem

Last year, I was initially disqualified at the National Championships for my choice. At the end of that 70.3-mile race, I was hot, sweaty, and exhausted, yet excited to be headed into the off season. I was confident I had raced fast enough to make the US World Championship Team by counting women in my age group at the run turn around. I was anxious to see where I placed but before I could even sit down, a friend quietly pulled me to the side. “Khadijah, you need to check the results. You’ve been disqualified.” I had not been shown a card on the bike, so I immediately went to the results area where the officials were located and asked why I was disqualified. The official told me that as a non-wetsuit race (because the water temperature was about 78 degrees Farenheit), my kit had violated the rules. I asked the official to inspect my transition area to see my swim skin (a thinner, non-buoyant replacement for wetsuits), but he refused. The head referee—whom I had told I was racing fully covered at the athletes briefing—happened to walk up. I explained what had just transpired, and the disqualification was overturned. read the complete article

13 Nov 2019

Federal court rules in favor of ACLU, Arab American couple; rules suspicionless searches of phones and laptops unconstitutional

The court ruled that suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional. The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, which included an Arab American couple, Ghassan and Nadia Alasaad, as plaintiffs. “This ruling significantly advances Fourth Amendment protections for millions of international travelers who enter the United States every year,” said Esha Bhandari, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “By putting an end to the government’s ability to conduct suspicionless fishing expeditions, the court reaffirms that the border is not a lawless place and that we don’t lose our privacy rights when we travel.” The Alasaads and their children were returning from a vacation in Quebec in July 2017, where their 11-year-old daughter had become sick. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers questioned the father and searched through his unlocked phone, detaining the family for hours. After five hours, Ms. Alasaad was ordered by an officer to provide the password to her locked phone. The family objected, in part because Ms. Alasaad is a Muslim who wears a headscarf in public and had photos in her phone of herself without it, the ACLU of Massachusetts said. The Alasaads were forced to wait for a female officer to check through her phone after their original objection. They left about six hours after initially being detained, and received their phones about 15 days later. read the complete article

13 Nov 2019

Muslim leaders call for hate crime investigation in mosque vandalism in Minneapolis

Twin Cities Muslim leaders are urging police and the FBI to investigate weekend vandalism at a northeast Minneapolis mosque as a hate crime. Surveillance video from the Salaam Cultural Center shows a person throwing rocks through a glass entry door and then kicking out the remaining broken glass around 3:40 a.m. Sunday. Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said mosques have been on edge since the attacks in New Zealand and the 2017 firebombing of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. "We look forward to hopefully this being not something of a pattern that we continue to see that mosques will be targeted for vandalism of any kind," Hussein said. read the complete article


13 Nov 2019

A fine day out in Houston with Trump and Modi

Two events held on the same day, 22 September, confused India-watchers. At ‘Howdy Modi’, a gigantic political extravaganza in Houston, more than 50,000 ‘Am-Indians’ kept cheering Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump. India appeared like a super power strutting on the global stage! Modi sold an America-sized India! The India projected in a meeting in Bangalore was very different, afflicted with social degradation, faux nationalism, mob lynching, rising religious intolerance and falling economic growth. The speaker presenting this negative analysis was noted TV journalist Ravish Kumar, the occasion his receipt of the first Gauri Lankesh Memorial Award, in memory of the activist and journalist who was murdered in 2017. He cautioned the young Indians that bigotry they were learning in WhatsApp University would destroy their future. The audience nodded in agreement. read the complete article

United Kingdom

13 Nov 2019

Revealed: Tory councillors posted Islamophobic content on social media

Twenty-five sitting and former Conservative councillors have been exposed for posting Islamophobic and racist material on social media, according to a dossier obtained by the Guardian that intensifies the row over anti-Muslim sentiment in the party. The disclosure that 15 current and 10 former Tory councillors have posted, shared or endorsed Islamophobic or other racist content on Facebook or Twitter will increase pressure on Boris Johnson after he backtracked on a pledge to hold an independent inquiry into the issue. Inflammatory posts recorded in the dossier, which has been sent to the party’s headquarters, include calls for mosques to be banned, claims the faith wants to “turn the world Muslim”, referring to its followers as “barbarians” and “the enemy within”. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Nov 2019 Edition


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