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 Nov 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Leaks of documents depicting China’s strategy for incarcerating Muslims have provided solid evidence against the country, while India’s new list of citizens raises fears of Muslim discrimination. Our recommended read is on the Tory Party’s blindspot for Islamophobia, much to the dismay of colleague and former party chair, Sayeeda Warsi. This and more below:

United Kingdom

27 Nov 2019

Recommended Read | Sayeeda Warsi on Tory Islamophobia: 'It feels like I'm in an abusive relationship'

Speaking at her home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, Warsi recalls her initial elation. “I thought wow, we’ve finally broken through,” she says, revealing that though she had been lobbying Javid behind the scenes she had no idea he was going to call for the inquiry during the debate. Now, however, it appears that that commitment has been watered down. Earlier this month, days after Gove insisted that the Tories would “absolutely” hold an independent inquiry into Islamophobia before the end of the year, Johnson performed a U-turn. It would instead be a “general investigation into prejudice of all kinds”. This is not the first time Warsi has found herself at odds with her colleagues. “I’m really, really hesitant about making this Sayeeda v the Tory party,” she says, but “it’s increasingly becoming like that because there are so few other voices.” This is the party that she once chaired. “There is a lot of emotional attachment here. It’s like a really painful divorce. It does feel like I’m in an abusive relationship at the moment, where I’m with somebody that I really shouldn’t be with. It’s not healthy for me to be there any more with the Conservative party.” It’s hard to deny the Tories have a problem with Islamophobia. Yesterday, as the chief rabbi claimed the “poison” of antisemitism had taken root within the Labour party, the Muslim Council of Britain said that the Tories had a “blind spot” for Islamophobia. And Javid’s pledge followed a string of damaging revelations, via Buzzfeed, the BBC and ITV News and the Guardian. read the complete article

Recommended Read
27 Nov 2019

Muslim Council: parties must tackle Islamophobia to win votes

Candidates and parties campaigning in the general election must commit to tackling racism and Islamophobia to win the support of Muslim voters, according to the Muslim Council of Britain. A manifesto setting out how parties’ policies could affect Muslims has been published by the MCB after consulting its affiliates and communities across the UK. According to the document, British Muslim Perspectives at the 2019 General Election, there are 26 constituencies with a Muslim population of at least 20% of the total, and two – Birmingham Hodge Hill and Bradford West – with estimated Muslim electorates of over 50%. Muslim voters could influence the outcome in 31 marginal seats, the MCB said last week. On Friday, it organised its first ever voter registration drive in mosques and community organisations. The new report calls on British Muslims to ensure “every voice is heard in this election”. The report identifies 10 key pledges it wants to obtain from political parties, topped by action to tackle racism and Islamophobia. Next is religious liberty – a demand that parties defend the right of Muslims and others to express their faith through religious clothing and “reasonable accommodation of religious observance”. read the complete article

27 Nov 2019

Javid refuses to condemn PM's slurs against Muslim women

Sajid Javid has refused seven times to condemn Boris Johnson’s use of the terms “bank robber” and “letterbox” to describe Muslim women who wear a burqa. Speaking at a campaign event in Bolton on Tuesday, the Conservative chancellor was asked seven times whether he would use those terms to describe Muslim women and he declined to give a direct answer. Johnson has refused to apologise for writing in a Telegraph column last year that Muslim women wearing burqas “look like letter boxes” and that it was “absolutely ridiculous” that anyone should choose to wear one. read the complete article

27 Nov 2019

A Muslim Woman Went Viral for Confronting Anti-Semitism on the London Underground. Her Actions Hold a Lesson for Us All

A video of a hijab-wearing Muslim woman confronting an anti-Semite on a London Underground train last week has been shared widely online, both here in the U.K. and beyond. The viral clip has prompted many of us to question our assumptions about how members of Muslim and Jewish communities interact — especially as political tribalism and divisions become more entrenched on both sides of the Atlantic. No community is completely immune from indulging in prejudice. But the idea that Muslims and Jews do not get on, or that anti-Semitism is everywhere in Muslim communities, or even a strain within Muslim culture itself, is a stereotype. In reality, diaspora Muslims are more often on the same side as their Jewish brethren — not least when it comes to receiving abuse. Both communities are minorities with a history of being disenfranchised and hated. Both groups want to be seen as human beings, rather than avatars of global conflicts in which they have no say. And crucially, the conspiracy theories about secret Muslim plans for worldwide domination and the creation of “Eurabia” closely mirror far-right conspiracies about Jewish power and influence. read the complete article


27 Nov 2019

More Uyghur Horror: Harvesting Hundreds of Thousands of Organs from Mass Murder

We now know there upwards of 3 million Muslims being held in upwards of 500 concentration camps. We also know children are being separated from their families; that the wives of detained Uyghur men are forced to sleep with male Han Chinese government officials; and that detainees are subjected to pack rape, forced sterilizations, torture, and even death. Now a new report published in the journal BMI Medical Ethics has revealed what appears to be China’s effort to cover up its harvesting of body parts from Uyghur Muslim detainees by falsifying organ donation data, suggesting that upwards of 90,000 Muslims and other political prisoners are being executed each year for the purpose of profiting from the sale of their live organs. read the complete article

27 Nov 2019

Devastating leaks have deprived China of its main strategy to deflect mounting evidence of its mass oppression of Uighur Muslims

China has long denied its mass surveillance and prison-camp detention of the Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang. But a series of classified government documents, leaked to The New York Times and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists this month, has knocked down this line of defense. We now have solid proof of the Uighur oppression from within the Communist Party. The leaks are devastating and extraordinary, but China likely doesn't care. It has brushed off the documents by calling them fake news, and continued to defend its actions in the region. read the complete article

27 Nov 2019

'What has happened to me': manga depicting Uighur torture hits 2.5m views

A manga depicting the plight of an Uighur woman who was detained and tortured in China has clocked up millions of views and spawned versions in several languages. The popularity of “What has happened to me,” by the Japanese manga artist Tomomi Shimizu, coincides with rising global anger over China’s treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority based in the country’s northwest border region of Xinjiang. Shimizu’s short manga, which has been translated into English, Chinese, Uighur and other languages, tells the story of Mihrigul Tursun, a Uighur woman who was detained three times by the Chinese authorities after returning from Egypt. The account includes Tursun’s time living in Egypt, where she gave birth to triplets, and her accounts of being tortured and detained in China on three separate occasions between 2015 and 2017. read the complete article

United States

27 Nov 2019

‘This is horrifying and unacceptable’: Islamophobic graffiti condemned by Astoria senator

Astoria state Senator Michael Gianaris called on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to investigate anti-Muslim graffiti that was found over the weekend at an Astoria bus stop as a hate crime. A photo taken at the bus stop at Ditmars Boulevard and Steinway Street shows a scribble that reads “If you see someone with a turban, chop it off” scrawled on a billboard. “This is horrifying and unacceptable, and the NYPD should promptly investigate this incident as a hate crime,” wrote Gianaris in a letter directly to the Police Commissioner James O’Neill. read the complete article


27 Nov 2019

Agra under threat as Hindu nationalists target Muslim history

If the regional government of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has its way, the historical city of Agra — home to the famous Taj Mahal — might soon have a new name. The authorities set up a committee on Nov. 18 assigning Agra-based Ambedkar University the task of finding a suitable replacement. Agra came to prominence in India in the medieval ages when the Muslim ruler Sikander Lodi moved the capital from Delhi to Agra in 1504 due to its strategic location. The first Mughal ruler Babar, after defeating the Lodi ruler in 1526, retained Agra as his capital and laid the foundations for Agra fort, the seat of the Mughal power. Agra was in the news two years ago also when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh removed Taj Mahal from its tourism directory. After an outcry it was restored, but critics felt that this was an attempt to undermine the Islamic places and history of the state by the Hindu right-wing government under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath. The BJP legislator from Agra, Jagan Prasad Garg, says that the word “Agra” does not have a meaning; the place was called “Agarvan” 5,000 years ago and therefore “its name should revert to its original form.” read the complete article

27 Nov 2019

India proposes nationwide citizen's list, Muslims fear discrimination

India's Home Minister, Amit Shah, recently proposed creating a National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the entire country. Although Shah assured the Indian Parliament that no groups would face discrimination, resistance to the proposal has been mounting, with several Indian states describing it as a move to target and harass minorities. A similar exercise in India's northeastern state of Assam has already drawn condemnation as 1.9 million people, many from non-Hindu minorities, were not included in the list. Indian political activists say that carrying out a similar process across India will spread anxiety among non-Hindu minorities around the country. "The country today stands at the brink of catastrophic human suffering and injustice. If the government implements the NRC, it risks tearing the country apart, reopening the wounds of partition, and ultimately destroying India's secular democratic constitution," said Indian human rights activist Harsh Mander. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 27 Nov 2019 Edition


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