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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19 Nov 2019

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, more information has surfaced about Stephen Miller’s ties to White Nationalism. In the United Kingdom, Islamophobia remains at the core of the Tory Party values. Our recommended read today is by Yohann Kosky’s interviewing  Anthropologist Darren Byler on China’s horrific treatment of Uyghur Muslims. This, and more, below


19 Nov 2019

Recommended Read: Xinjiang: living in a ghost world

Darren Byler: The detention of a million people has happened over the last three years. The state decided that they were going to move from what they called a ‘hard-strike campaign’ against Uyghur ‘separatism, terrorism and extremism’ to a ‘re-education campaign’. They determined that around 10 per cent of the Uyghur population – the total population is around 12 million – were pre-terrorists or pre-criminals. The Chinese authorities think of what they’re doing as something similar to what the UK calls Prevent, which is countering violent extremism before it happens. Beijing saw Uyghurs turning towards more pious forms of Islamic practice and was afraid that this would lead to violent struggle, although there was little evidence that this was necessarily the case or would happen. It decided pre-emptively that it would detain this number of people. What is it like to live as a Uyghur today in Xinjiang? What Uyghurs tell me is that their communities have been turned into open-air prisons. They say the camps are horrible and everyone should pay attention to the camps. But that’s just one symptom, one element of the system. They say that the larger problem is that the future of Uyghur identity is under threat: Uyghur language itself is being eliminated, it is not taught in schools, people are not encouraged to speak it in public, and religious practice has [effectively] stopped throughout the region. Then they talk about the restrictions on their movement. One man told me that he feels like they’re living in a ‘ghost world’, where they’re alive but isolated from the rest of the world. read the complete article

Recommended Read
19 Nov 2019

“He refused”: China sees online tributes to an official who freed Muslims in Xinjiang

According to the Times, the documents detailed that Wang Yongzhi, former party secretary of Yarkand, a county in southern Xinjiang that has been singled out by Xi as a “front line” in the country’s fight against religious extremism, released over 7,000 of 20,000 detainees there. Wang, who was tasked with delivering economic growth in the region, was worried that the mass detentions would worsen ethnic relations, thereby making it impossible to record the economic progress needed for his promotion. He was detained and being investigated that year for “gravely disobeying the party central leadership’s strategy for governing Xinjiang,” according to the report. Wang was stripped of his party membership and fired from his post, according to a 2018 report (link in Chinese) in Chinese media, the last known report about him. Wang’s case was sent to a procuratorate. It’s unclear what public prosecutors charged him for or what sentence he received. Despite being blocked in China, some people were able to access the New York Times report possibly with the use of a virtual private network. On Weibo, China’s largest social media platform, some users paid tribute to Wang by reposting a line from the report about his greatest political sin, as listed by authorities in an internal report: “He refused to round up everyone who should be rounded up.” read the complete article

19 Nov 2019

After Times Report, China Defends Its Crackdown on Muslims

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geng Shuang, criticized the newspaper’s report, published on Sunday, saying it smeared China’s efforts against extremism. But he did not dispute the authenticity of 403 pages of leaked internal documents that confirmed the coercive nature of the measures used against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in western China over the past three years. A group of 12 United Nations human rights experts has presented the Chinese government with a scathing critique of its counterterrorism laws and de-radicalization regulations, warning that they flout binding obligations under international law and risk stoking the extremism they are said to be intended to prevent. In a 21-page letter addressed to Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the experts said that laws and regulations that provide the legal framework for China’s mass incarceration of Uighurs and other Muslims are “neither necessary nor proportionate.” The chilling details contained in the documents obtained by The Times — such as Mr. Xi’s description of Islamist radicalism as a virus or a drug addiction that required “a period of painful, interventionary treatment” — also prompted new condemnations from Western politicians. read the complete article

United States

19 Nov 2019

The White Nationalist Websites Cited by Stephen Miller

Peter Brimelow, the founder of the anti-immigration website VDARE, believes that diversity has weakened the United States, and that the increase in Spanish speakers is a “ferocious attack on the living standards of the American working class.” Jared Taylor, the editor of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance, is a self-described “white advocate” who has written that “newcomers are not the needy; they are the greedy.” As a young Senate aide, Stephen Miller, President Trump’s chief immigration adviser, referred to the two sources while promoting his anti-immigration views, suggesting deeper intellectual ties to the world of white nationalism than previously known. The law center has labeled VDARE a “hate website” for its ties to white nationalists and publication of race-based science, and the Anti-Defamation League calls American Renaissance a “white supremacist journal.” Both sites approvingly cite Calvin Coolidge’s support for a 1924 law that excluded immigrants from southern and Eastern Europe, and praise “The Camp of the Saints,” a 1973 French novel that popularizes the idea that Western civilization will fall at the hands of immigrants. Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia who studies right-wing movements, said in an email that “both VDARE and American Renaissance are white nationalist organizations, who provide a pseudo-intellectual veneer to classic racism.” In one email to Ms. McHugh, Mr. Miller writes approvingly about “The Camp of the Saints.” Chelsea Stieber, a specialist in French literature at Catholic University, said the approving reference is disturbing because the book makes the case against migration in explicitly racial terms. “In white nationalist circles, it invokes the theory of the Great Replacement and the fall of the white West,” she said, referring to the theory that white civilization will be overrun by dark-skinned invaders from the developing world. read the complete article

19 Nov 2019

New York man pleads guilty to making death threats against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The upstate New York man who called Rep. Ilhan Omar’s office and threatened to shoot her after calling her a “terrorist” pleaded guilty to the crime on Monday. Patrick Carlineo, 55, now faces up to 10 years in prison for the March 21 threat. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 13. Carlineo was arrested after the incident and later told federal investigators that he is a “patriot” and that he hates radical Muslims who are critical of President Trump. read the complete article

19 Nov 2019

Opinion | Stephen Miller Is a White Nationalist. Does It Matter?

Miller’s aversion to nonwhite immigrants, after all, is hardly a secret — it’s why he has his job in the first place. He’s been pushing white nationalist policies for three years, championing the Muslim ban and the sadistic policy of family separation and encouraging Trump to slash refugee admissions. In an email to McHugh, Miller argued against Mexican hurricane victims receiving temporary protected status, a provision protecting people displaced by natural disasters and wars from deportation. (“T.P.S. is everything,” he wrote.) Now he’s a leading figure in an administration that has tried to yank T.P.S. from more than 300,000 people. Meanwhile, he reportedly worked on a plan with Gordon Sondland, Trump’s hackish ambassador to the European Union, to encourage more immigration from Europe. The Washington Post reported that some of his own co-workers believe he holds racist views, though he insisted otherwise. So it’s not a shock to learn about the roots of Miller’s ideology. There’s a difference, however, between knowing something and proving it. “The evidence is incontrovertible,” Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me of Miller’s white nationalist associations. “It’s no longer speculation. It’s now been substantiated.” He said bluntly: “Stephen Miller must resign.” On Monday, a coalition of civil rights organizations including the ADL, the N.A.A.C.P. and United We Dream sent a letter to the White House demanding Miller’s removal, writing, “Supporters of white supremacists and neo-Nazis should not be allowed to serve at any level of government.” Ocasio-Cortez sees a possibility for protests. “It’s really just a matter of sticking to it and not allowing this to fall out of the media cycle,” she said. “This is something that I personally am committed to. This is a really big deal.” I hope she’s right. If she’s not, it will show us how much hate we’ve learned to tolerate. read the complete article


19 Nov 2019

Indian Muslims to seek review of Hindu temple site ruling

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an umbrella body of intellectuals and organisations, said on Sunday it would seek a review of the judgement, which rejected Muslim claims over the land. In a landmark verdict on November 9, India's top court ruled that a 2.77 acre (1.1 hectare) plot of land in the town of Ayodhya should be awarded to Hindus, who believe it is the birthplace of Lord Ram, a physical incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu. read the complete article

19 Nov 2019

Modi Pushes to Grant Citizenship to Non-Muslim Immigrants

The legislation seeks to provide citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Muslims are excluded from the list. Modi’s political opponents say the move to shelter non-Muslim refugees is a way for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to push its Hindu nationalist ideology. Home Minister Amit Shah has defended the proposed legislation by saying that Muslims do not face persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh and therefore do not qualify. “If someone comes here to earn a livelihood or to disrupt law and order, then they are intruders,” Shah said in a TV interview last month. “This is absolutely unconstitutional. The main purpose of the bill is actually to target Muslims who have migrated to India,” said Suhas Chakma, a human rights expert and director of the New Delhi-based Rights and Risks Analysis Group. “It is a divisive policy.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

19 Nov 2019

I've been researching Islamophobia for years – don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t an epidemic within the Tory party

2019 began with calls for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. As we approach the final month of the year, the party is continuing to turn a blind eye. This is all occurring against a backdrop of mounting evidence illustrating the pervasiveness of the issue; one could even call it an epidemic. Anti-Muslim rhetoric is present at all levels, from party members to elected representatives, and all the way to the top as exemplified by prime minister Boris Johnson’s history of offensive statements. Following Theresa May’s departure, Tory party candidates running for prime minister appeared to agree that an investigation into the problem was needed, only to backtrack and give the nod instead to an investigation into all types of “prejudice and discrimination, including antisemitism.” The party is evading calls for a serious independent investigation into Islamophobia even as anti-Muslim comments from Conservative Party members and elected officials continue to be unearthed. For the Conservative party, it seems promoting stereotypes, using racial slurs, and supporting far-right conspiracy theories targeting Muslims is acceptable conduct. read the complete article

19 Nov 2019

The Tories Knew About This Candidate's Anti-Muslim Tweet, But Let Her Stand Anyway

The Conservative Party knew one of its candidates at the upcoming election had been embroiled in its ongoing Islamophobia scandal, but decided to let her stand anyway after she quietly deleted her Twitter account. Eight months ago, Anjana Patel sent an unprompted tweet to Malala Yousafzai demanding to know "how are you going to help?" after two Hindu girls were allegedly kidnapped, "molested and forcibly converted" to "your religion, Islam". Patel's tweet appeared to suggest that Yousafzai, the 22-year-old Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was somehow responsible for the actions of other Muslims. "The world should know about this barbaric act by Islamists. Don't block me," Patel wrote to Yousafzai on March 26, tagging the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Patel's tweet was included in a dossier of alleged anti-Muslim social media conduct by Conservative councillors sent by LBC to the Tory party last week. Conservative HQ said it had already investigated Patel's tweet — sent while she was a Tory councillor in Harrow — and "concluded" an investigation. Patel's Twitter account was quietly deleted. read the complete article


19 Nov 2019

Australian Muslims share 'terrifying' stories of Islamophobia

A new analysis of hate crimes showed Muslim women and girls were the most common targets of the nearly 350 Islamophobic incidents reported over a two-year period, with abuse starting from as early as preschool. The 2019 Islamophobia in Australia report found 60 per cent of attacks occurred in public in 2016 and 2017, double the proportion of recorded incidents in the previous 15 months. Excluding online abuse, in at least half of the 202 remaining cases, victims noted that people who were passing by did not offer to help. The report, produced by Charles Sturt University's Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation, found more than 70 per cent of the victims were Muslim women and girls. They were subjected to verbal abuse, profanities, physical intimidation and death threats in public places, most often while shopping. read the complete article

19 Nov 2019

Pregnant Muslim mother relives the traumatic moment she was called a terrorist in a shopping centre car park because she was wearing a headscarf

A pregnant Muslim mother has spoken out about how she was abused and called a terrorist for wearing a hijab while in a shopping centre car park. Gemma Khodr said the shocking incident outside a supermarket in Cairns, Queensland, the worst Islamophobia she had ever experienced in Australia. 'All of a sudden I started to hear the words "Muslim" and "terrorist",' she told SBS. The man repeatedly hit her car window and eventually followed her to the police station - where he began to make excuses for his behaviour. 'It was scary seeing that animosity, that hatred he had. But you get that, being Muslim and wearing a headscarf,' she said. read the complete article


19 Nov 2019

Teacher union to sue Quebec on religious symbols ban

A union federation representing 45,000 teachers in Quebec is suing the Canadian province over its ban on the wearing of religious symbols by many public employees. The lawsuit by the Fédération Autonome de l’Enseignement challenges a state secularism law passed this year that prohibits some civil servants from wearing symbols of religion, such as hijabs and crosses, while at work. The most contentious rule is that any new police officers, judges, lawyers and teachers are banned completely from wearing any religious symbols while on duty. Existing employees get an exception as long as they keep the same job. read the complete article


19 Nov 2019

The Muslim Headscarf Is Driving France Crazy. Once Again

In recent months, however, Jibril says he feels that his country is turning its back on him. Although things had calmed down, the public discourse against immigrants has resumed. The debate over the future of France and of its Muslim inhabitants has engendered a mix of hate and fear. He says he has had passengers who let go of their inhibitions and say exactly what’s on their mind. One told him that he would be happy to wake up one morning and find that the country’s immigrants, particularly Muslims, had disappeared. It was a fantasy shared by many of his friends, the passenger acknowledged. Jibril turned up the volume and acknowledged that he had become addicted to discussions on the radio about “the Islamic threat.” It’s on from morning to night, he said. “Islam, Islam, Islam.” He’s a Muslim who advocates complete separation between religion and state. On the radio, the politician and the academic were trying to have a calm conversation about a proposed amendment to the 2004 law banning the wearing of religious symbols in public institutions to adult chaperones on school trips. The academic claimed that it would violate a basic right. The politician argued that allowing Muslim women to wear headscarves while accompanying schoolchildren on trips was a ploy to bring in Islam “through the back door.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 19 Nov 2019 Edition


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