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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25 Nov 2020

Today in Islamophobia: According to a new report by Radio Free Asia, authorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have now detained hundreds of Muslims imams or religious leaders. An app called MuslimPro shared private data with brokers who passed it on to US military, and in a blow to Hindu hardliners, an Indian high court struck down a previous order that religious conversion “just for the purpose of marriage” was unacceptable, with justices stating “the right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion… is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty.” Our recommended read of the day is by Elise Swain from The Intercept on President-Elect Joe Biden’s continued silence surrounding his stance on ending drone warfare. This and more below:

United States

22 Nov 2020


President-Elect Joe Biden has maintained silence for years on the controversial and continued use of so-called targeted killings — lethal strikes by drones, cruise missiles, and occasionally military special operations raids. Biden has never publicly disavowed or criticized former President Barack Obama’s legacy of expanding the use of drones, nor made clear his own policy on the continuation of targeted killing conducted by the Department of Defense and, clandestinely, the CIA. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
24 Nov 2020

Wealthy Mercer family dramatically scaled back giving to conservative causes in buildup to 2020

The Mercer family’s contributions to conservative causes dropped by about 90% in the buildup to the 2020 election. The change came as the family began to distance itself from President Donald Trump and larger parts of the Republican Party. The Mercer Family Foundation donated just over $1.4 million to outside causes, with the majority going to the dark-money group known as the Donors Trust, according to the nonprofit’s new 2019 tax return. That $1.4 million represents over a 90% drop in contributions from the Mercer family compared with the year prior. In 2018, the family foundation gave just over $12 million to often conservative organizations, including $500,000 to the Government Accountability Institute, or GAI, a think tank founded by conservative investigator Peter Schweizer and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

Trump crams one last racist policy into his final days as president

President Donald Trump is threatening to veto the annual defense spending bill, which would change the names of U.S. military bases that honor Confederate military leaders. For someone who came into office on a wave of racism and who in one of his first official acts made racism an official policy of the U.S. government, it only makes sense that one of Trump's last would be just as deeply racist. The president has skillfully stoked the racism inherent in his base. He has consistently helped translate this into official actions since his first days in office, starting with the so-called Muslim ban, in a trend that continues to place white people's grievances over national security. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

New Trump rule could require up to $15,000 bond for travel to US

The outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump issued a new temporary rule that could require tourist and business travelers from two dozen countries – most in Africa – to pay a bond of as much as $15,000 to visit the United States. The US State Department on Monday said the temporary final rule, which takes effect December 24 and runs through June 24, targets countries whose nationals have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travelers. The Trump administration said the six-month pilot program aims to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and will serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

Biden Can Restore America’s Credibility on Religious Freedom

Thanks to Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban,” his fueling of white Christian nationalism, his administration’s decimation of refugee resettlement for people fleeing persecution, and his bizarre fondness for authoritarians who trample on human rights, America’s standing on religious freedom is badly damaged. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

MuslimPro's 'data sale' benefiting the US army is betrayal that puts Muslim lives in danger

MuslimPro's sharing of private data with brokers who passed it on to US military exposed its Muslim users to the lethal consequences of US state surveillance. What differs in this instance is not the particular act of selling one's data; as consumers in the digital age we are all aware that our information online is never safe and there are always conditions to using these services. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

Trump’s QAnon Lawyer Inspired Even More George Soros Disinformation

Last week Sidney Powell, the QAnon-supporting lawyer representing President Donald Trump, claimed that a group run by billionaire philanthropist George Soros was sharing office space with the company at the center of baseless accusations that the presidential election had been rigged, Dominion Voting Systems. The claim was a lie, but that didn’t matter, and now, days later, disinformation claiming Soros has been arrested for election interference is flooding social media. read the complete article


23 Nov 2020

China Has Started Detaining Hundreds Of Uyghur Muslim Leaders: Report

Amid reports of atrocities against Uyghur Muslims in China’s remote area of Xinjiang continue, authorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have now reportedly detained hundreds of Muslims imams or religious leaders, as per Uyghur linguist in exile. According to a report by Radio Free Asia, the detention of the religious leaders has created an atmosphere in which the people belonging to the minority are “afraid of dying”. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

China criticizes pope over comment on Uighur Muslim minority

China criticized Pope Francis on Tuesday over a passage in his new book in which he mentions suffering by China’s Uighur Muslim minority group. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Francis’ remarks had “no factual basis at all. “People of all ethnic groups enjoy the full rights of survival, development, and freedom of religious belief,” Zhao said at a daily briefing. Zhao made no mention of the camps in which more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other Chinese Muslim minority groups have been held. read the complete article


25 Nov 2020

‘You’re Not Like Other Muslims’ And Other Islamophobic Indianisms

Islamophobia is everywhere, on Twitter, when you’re house hunting, in a discussion with friends, at parties, in the midst of a divorce, because you expressed an opinion and, of course, in that all-time favourite ‘compliment’, ‘But you don’t look like a Muslim’, which became the title of historian Rakshanda Jalil’s 2019 book. In a country that is increasingly hostile to its Muslim citizens and one that used the pandemic to inject itself with a booster shot of Islamophobia, hatred is everywhere, from new laws that govern marriage and citizenship to foot soldiers who champion “Hindu saviour” Arnab Goswami and celebrate news of an interfaith couple getting a divorce. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

India: Case against Netflix over temple kissing scene in show

A police case has been filed against two executives of online streaming service Netflix after a leader of the governing Hindu nationalist party objected to scenes in the series, A Suitable Boy, in which a Hindu girl kisses a Muslim boy against the backdrop of a Hindu temple. A First Information Report (FIR or official police complaint) was registered in Madhya Pradesh state on Monday against two executives of Netflix for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of Hindus. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

Uttar Pradesh criminalises 'forced' religious conversions by marriage

India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party approved a decree in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday laying out prison terms for anyone compelling others to convert their faith or luring them into these conversions through marriage, officials said. The move follows a campaign by hardline Hindu groups against some interfaith marriages that they describe as “love jihad”, Muslim men engaging in a conspiracy to turn Hindu women away from their religion by seducing them. Critics said the unlawful conversion order approved by the cabinet of Uttar Pradesh, run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP, was aimed at further alienating India’s 170 million Muslims by painting them as aggressors plotting to weaken Hindus. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

‘We don’t see this couple as Hindu-Muslim’: Indian court throws out case against interfaith marriage

In a blow to Hindu hardliners in the fiery debate over interfaith marriage in India, a state’s high court has struck down a previous order that religious conversion “just for the purpose of marriage” was unacceptable. The Allahabad High Court gave the ruling as part of its decision in a case filed against a Muslim man by the parents of his formerly Hindu wife, who had converted to Islam last year before marrying him. It’s the sort of case that would have been held up as an example of the right-wing conspiracy theory “Love Jihad”, which claims a coordinated campaign by Muslim men to convert Hindu women to Islam through seduction or forced marriage. read the complete article


24 Nov 2020

HRW calls on Saudi Arabia to reveal status of detained Uighurs

Human Rights Watch has called on Saudi Arabia to "immediately disclose" the status of two Uighur Muslim men who were detained in the country last week, amid fears they could be deported to China. "Saudi Arabia's attempts to seek positive publicity through hosting the G20 would be severely undercut if it detains and forcibly returns fellow Muslims back to unbridled persecution in China," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "Saudi authorities should immediately disclose the status of the Uighur detainees and clarify why they arrested them," he added. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

This Black Friday, commit to boycotting companies that use forced Uighur labor

Take those Nike sneakers you’ve been eyeing for a while. As of January 2020, nearly 600 Uighur workers from China’s Xinjiang region were forced into labor by Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co. Ltd, Nike’s primary manufacturer. During the day, these laborers spend hours working in a factory, and at night they are forced to receive Mandarin lessons and ideological training. Uighur workers are barred from practicing Islam — their religion — and prevented from maintaining their dietary restrictions. They are kept in separate living quarters from paid laborers. When workers are allowed to roam the few meager blocks beyond the compound, Chinese officials monitor their every move. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

Muslims have visualized Prophet Muhammad in words and calligraphic art for centuries

Visual depiction of Muhammad is a sensitive issue for a number of reasons: Islam’s early stance against idolatry led to a general disapproval for images of living beings throughout Islamic history. Muslims seldom produced or circulated images of Muhammad or other notable early Muslims. The recent caricatures have offended many Muslims around the world. This focus on the reactions to the images of Muhammad drowns out an important question: How did Muslims imagine him for centuries in the near total absence of icons and images? In my courses on early Islam and the life of Muhammad, I teach to the amazement of my students that there are few pre-modern historical figures that we know more about than we do about Muhammad. read the complete article

25 Nov 2020

Australia could show real contrition by offering Afghan victims’ families a pathway to resettlement

Last week’s Brereton report found credible evidence that 39 Afghan civilians - including children - were murdered by Australian Special Forces deployed in Afghanistan. It details allegations of “‘competition killing’ and ‘blood lust’; the inhumane and unnecessary treatment of prisoners; and cover-ups of unlawful killings and other atrocities” by alleged Australian perpetrators who had thoroughly de-humanised Afghan civilians. We are Hazara Australians who were forced to flee Afghanistan due to its ongoing violence and insecurity. As Afghans and Australians, we share in the profound community distress at the findings of this report. As the General said himself, the loss and pain of the victims’ families are unimaginable. read the complete article


24 Nov 2020

Muslim schools are allies in France’s fight against radicalization – not the cause

A new bill announced on Nov. 18 will eradicate home-schooling options for French parents of children age 3 and above except in very limited health-related cases. It will also increase scrutiny of independent schools and assign national identification numbers to school-aged children to make it easier to track attendance. The reforms appear to assume that France’s highly centralized public school system is the right option for all French youth, and that limiting alternative schooling options – especially Muslim schools – will hedge against radicalization, separatism and teachings contrary to secular French Republican norms. read the complete article

24 Nov 2020

French app users sue Muslim Pro over alleged data sharing with US military

French users of a popular Muslim prayer app are suing the company for sharing data with companies connected to the US military, their lawyers said on Monday. Former subscribers to the Muslim Pro application, which claims to have 95 million users, filed the complaint after a report by Vice's Motherboard said the US military purchased the location data of millions of Muslims from around the world. The company is reported to have sold this data to a company called X-Mode, which then sold it on to third-party contractors, including defence contractors and the US military. The data that X-Mode sold to the US military was used for "counter-terrorism, cybersecurity and predicting future COVID-19 hotspots", according to Vice. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 25 Nov 2020 Edition


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