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 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, 20 advocacy and religious organizations have sent a letter to Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer, expressing concern over Spencer’s defense of hiring new Assistant City Attorney Jennifer DeMaster, who previously worked for an anti-Muslim organization, meanwhile in the Czech Republic, the Marriott hotel in Prague declined to host a conference of activists and leaders from China’s Uyghur diaspora this month, and in the United Kingdom, the shadow equalities secretary has called on the Conservatives to take a “firm stance on Islamophobia as terror attacks like Liverpool are manipulated by racists to justify hate crimes against Muslims.” Our recommended read of the day is by a Rohingya who works for MSF for The Diplomat who talks about the Myanmar military’s genocide of the Rohingya community in 2017, and notes “I fear for the future of my community and country under Myanmar’s dehumanizing, segregated system, but I see a chance for change.” This and more below:


19 Nov 2021

A Rohingya Remembers Myanmar’s Brutal Crackdown in 2017 | Recommended Read

This piece is a first-person account from a Rohingya who works for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Myanmar. The author’s name is being withheld for safety reasons. In 2003, I was being treated for malaria by MSF in my home village in Maungdaw township, Rakhine state. As they nursed me back to health, I was amazed to hear about the lifesaving work MSF was doing throughout northern Rakhine. I decided to work for MSF, starting out as a Rohingya language translator in MSF’s mobile clinics, before working as a health educator. Nearly 18 years later, I now set up and run mobile clinics like the one that treated me all those years ago. A lot has changed in Rakhine state during my time with MSF. I watched tensions grow between Rakhine and Rohingya communities in the wake of the deadly violence that erupted in 2012 and the campaign of targeted violence waged against the Rohingya in 2017, which forced mass displacement. Today, I fear for the future of my community and country under Myanmar’s dehumanizing, segregated system, but I see a chance for change as people’s perspectives on the Rohingya slowly begin to shift. I saw houses burning with my own eyes. I saw the smoke billowing from the embers of Rohingya communities in downtown Maungdaw. At night I heard gunshots from all directions. I watched people fleeing Myanmar, crossing the Naf river into Bangladesh. Over 100 members of my family, including my parents and sisters, did leave, however. They now live in camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. I have not seen my mother since April 2017. There is nothing left of the Rohingya villages that were burned down. All traces of the people who lived there have been scrubbed from existence. Where trees have not reclaimed the land, the government has built border guard camps and settlements for other ethnic groups. I saw a newly built, fenced-in encampment with guard towers at each corner, filled with prefabricated container homes in northern Maungdaw. This is the home waiting for any Rohingya brave enough to return. read the complete article

United States

19 Nov 2021

First Muslim Woman Elected to New York City Council

Shahana Hanif is breaking barriers in New York City Hall as the council’s first Muslim woman. Adam Kuperstein reports. read the complete article

19 Nov 2021

Hate Crime Investigation Underway After Man Grabs Woman’s Hijab At UMBC

University of Maryland Baltimore County Police are investigating a reported hate-bias crime, the school confirmed to WJZ. A student reported that a stranger tried to pull off her hijab Tuesday night at The Commons, a student activity hub at the school. There are no details on the suspect or any charges at this time. “Acts such as this have no place at UMBC,” the school said in a statement. “Hate and bias are counter to UMBC values, especially our community’s deep commitment to diversity and inclusion and welcoming people of all backgrounds.” read the complete article

19 Nov 2021

A UC Berkeley study explores Islamophobia 20 years post 9/11

This year, UC Berkeley scholars released a report that dug into the question: How common is Islamophobia nearly 20 years since 9/11? They surveyed more than a thousand people from Muslim communities nationwide about their anti-Muslim experiences — whether from private citizens, or government. Almost two-thirds said they had either personally experienced or know someone who had been affected by policies targeting Muslims. Elsadig Elsheikh co-authored the study "Islamophobia Through the Eyes of Muslims." He’s the director of the Global Justice Program at UC Berkeley's Othering & Belonging Institute. In this interview, he talks about his findings. read the complete article

19 Nov 2021

Islamophobia, the Surveillance State & U.S. Wars of Aggression w/ Dr. Nazia Kazi

How does the relentless U.S. war machine sell its operations to the public? Dr. Nazia Kazi, an activist and professor of Anthropology at Stockton University, explains how the managers of the U.S. empire foment Islamophobia and other racist ideas at home as an integral part of waging war abroad. Dr. Kazi challenges theories of racism that ignore U.S. foreign policy, and discusses how Islamophobia has played a central role in justifying U.S. acts of aggression, in excusing military atrocities, and in creating a massive new surveillance apparatus at home. That surveillance has been turned on Muslim and Arab Americans, along with social movements from Occupy Wall Street to Standing Rock to Black Lives Matter. Dr. Nazia Kazi is author of the book “Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics,” which has just been republished in a second edition. read the complete article

19 Nov 2021

Religious leaders call on Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer to fire new hire tied to anti-Muslim 'hate groups'

Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer's hiring of a lawyer who worked for anti-Islamic groups — and his top deputy's subsequent direction that staff keep "an open mind" to their new colleague — is drawing condemnation from 20 advocacy and religious organizations. In a letter sent Wednesday, the groups said it was "deeply concerning" to see video of Spencer's Special Deputy City Attorney Celia Jackson in a staff meeting saying that people hold "different views" in response to criticism of the recent hiring of new Assistant City Attorney Jennifer DeMaster. The Journal Sentinel published the video earlier this month. "Would it be acceptable to hire staff who have actively worked to suppress the constitutional rights of Black Americans or Jewish Americans?" the group wrote. "We certainly hope not." "We are deeply concerned about the message your office is sending to people of all faith, especially Milwaukee Muslims, by employing a former member of a designated hate group. More importantly, we are concerned that Ms. DeMaster’s anti-Muslim extremism will impact her ability to make impartial decisions." The coalition called for Spencer to fire DeMaster unless she "publicly renounces her past efforts to restrict the rights of Muslims and pledges to treat all people equally under the law" and asked Spencer to meet with local Muslim leaders. DeMaster worked from 2015 to 2017 as a legal analyst for the Clarion Project, which has been labeled one of the major proponents of Islamophobia in the United States. The position followed her work as law clerk at the American Center for Law and Justice, where she prepped attorneys on "Sharia law (and) radical Islamic ideology," according to a resume she filed in federal court. read the complete article


19 Nov 2021

Exclusive: Marriott refused to host Uyghur conference, citing "political neutrality"

The Marriott hotel in Prague declined to host a conference of activists and leaders from China's Uyghur diaspora this month, citing "political neutrality," an email shared with Axios shows. Why it matters: The Chinese government has condemned the World Uyghur Congress, which has attempted to rally global attention to the genocide in Xinjiang, China. The decision to reject the conference reflects China's growing ability to extend authoritarian control beyond its borders by making clear to corporations that crossing the party's red lines will be bad for business. The World Uyghur Congress consists mainly of Uyghurs living in exile and advocates for the rights of those who remain in the Xinjiang region in western China, where upwards of one million people have been held in internment camps. About 200 delegates from 25 countries gathered in Prague from Nov. 12-14 to elect the organization's new leadership and hold discussions with politicians, academics and civil society representatives from around the world. The Prague Marriott Hotel declined to host the conference. read the complete article

19 Nov 2021

Iraq War game 'that glorifies killing Arabs' delayed again amid controversy

A controversial war game called ‘Six Days in Fallujah’ has been delayed until late 2022, as backlash over the game continues over its depiction of the Iraq War. The game, which is being developed by Victura, is loosely based on the bloody 2004 Second Battle of Fallujah, when US and UK forces assaulted the northern Iraqi city. Critics previously launched a petition to several technology giants, including Microsoft and Sony (which own Xbox and PlayStation respectively), not to host the video game. The petition, launched by the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has slammed the game as an "Arab murder simulator" that glorifies violence. Others thought the game, which is based on a real battle during the Iraq War that killed some 800 Iraqi civilians, "justifies the illegal invasion of Iraq and reinforces Islamophobic narratives". The petition reads: "As a gamer I join the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Veterans For Peace in calling on Microsoft, Sony and Valve to ban their platforms from hosting or digitally distributing Six Days in Fallujah, an Arab murder simulator that will only normalize violence against Muslims in America and around the world." read the complete article

19 Nov 2021

The U.S. Can't Keep Absolving Itself Over Afghanistan | Opinion

When a Pentagon inspector general reviewed a U.S. drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 civilians—including seven children—and concluded in early November that no wrongdoing had occurred, the U.S. reiterated the message that it sent over 20 years of war in Afghanistan: It does not value Afghan life. The strike targeted a man, Zemari Ahmadi, whom military personnel had claimed was an ISIS fighter. Ahmadi was actually an aid worker. Such incidents are disastrously typical of the two-decade "War on Terror." But unlike most drone attacks, which are shrouded in secrecy to evade public scrutiny, the Aug. 29 attack came in the midst of the haphazard U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan—and so was much more visible to people around the world, and in the United States. In the early November ruling by the inspector general, the U.S. attempted to close a chapter on its occupation of Afghanistan by absolving itself in one of its final acts of violence in that long war. The episode is grimly characteristic of the entire war, when incidents like the strike that killed Ahmadi's family were not the exception but the rule. From documented war crimes during the 2001 invasion to the August drone strike and the killing of Afghans seeking refuge during the withdrawal, the U.S. has operated with disregard and contempt for Afghan life. Year after year, the U.S. carried out drone strikes in Afghanistan—more than 13,000 in total. U.S. troops conducted regular night raids on Afghan homes, as well as joint operations with Afghan forces armed and trained by the U.S. that killed and terrorized many civilians, including children. read the complete article

United Kingdom

19 Nov 2021

'We've been called terrorists': Nadiya Hussain admits it's become 'normal' for her family to face vile Islamophobia and it's caused them to 'stay at home'

Nadiya Hussain has shared insight into her family's experiences of Islamophobia, after she and her daughter were called 'terrorists'. Speaking on Times Radio, the TV chef, 36, explained that in the wake of recent terror attacks in the UK, such abuse has become 'normal' for her family, and has made them more inclined to 'stay at home'. She said: 'Not long ago, I was out with my daughter and it was post a terror attack and I had somebody called myself and my daughter terrorists. 'And that's something that's, I suppose, I shouldn't have to say this, but it has become normal. 'So when things like that happen, we kind of tend to stay at home a little bit more because we know that the kids might experience something like it. Nadiya, who is the daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, went on to describe the difficulty in explaining the racism to her children. She explained: 'My children have experienced it and it's a really difficult one to explain to kids. 'It's really tough to explain to children, but unfortunately, that's something that they're going to experience in their own lives. 'All we can do is create a safe and happy environment for them at home because I can't control what happens outside.' read the complete article

19 Nov 2021

Liverpool bomb: Surge in Islamophobia as racists use Liverpool attack to justify hate crimes against Muslims

The Conservatives need to take a firm stance on Islamophobia as terror attacks like Liverpool are manipulated by racists to justify hate crimes against Muslims, the shadow equalities secretary has said. Labour’s Anneliese Dodds has written to the Conservative Party asking it to take urgent action to tackle Islamophobia, telling i that there has been a “very concerning” surge in attacks directed at Muslim people following last week’s Remembrance Sunday terror attack. Ms Dodds and Afzal Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Deputy Leader of the House and chair of the Labour Muslim Network, have jointly written to Conservative Party Co-Chair Oliver Dowden MP, calling on his party to “do much more” to tackle the scourge. Among the demands, the shadow equalities secretary and Mr Khan are urging the Tories to abandon what they call the “bizarre practice” of referring to “anti-Muslim hatred” instead of Islamophobia. The Conservative Party is the only major UK political party that has not adopted the definition, which has been endorsed by over 800 British Muslim organisations. “Research shows terror attacks are manipulated by racists, who use the tragedy to justify making Islamophobic attacks on the community,” Ms Dodds told i. “With incidents like Liverpool, it seems to lead to a rise in hate crimes against the Muslim community, and that’s very concerning. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 19 Nov 2021 Edition


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