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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04 Nov 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a number of Muslim Americans have won seats in local elections across the country, meanwhile a new federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU alleges that leaders of a northern Mississippi city were motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice when they rejected a zoning request for what would be the first mosque in the area, and lastly there’s more first-hand accounts of China’s ongoing campaign targeting Uyghur Muslims, including personal testimonies from Uyghur Muslim women who were forcibly sterilized by the authorities. Our recommended read of the day is by the BBC on France’s opposition to a campaign against anti-Muslim discrimination. This and more below:


04 Nov 2021

Hijab campaign tweets pulled by Council of Europe after French backlash | Recommended Read

Europe's top human rights organisation has pulled posters from a campaign that promoted respect for Muslim women who choose to wear headscarves after provoking opposition in France. The Council of Europe released the images last week for a campaign against anti-Muslim discrimination. A slogan on one advert read: "Beauty is in diversity as freedom is in hijab". Several prominent French politicians condemned the message and argued the hijab did not represent freedom. But some Muslim women who wear headscarves said the reaction showed a lack of respect for diversity and the right to choose what to wear in France. France's youth minister, Sarah El Haïry, said she was shocked by one poster, which showed a split image of one women wearing a hijab, and one not. In an interview on French TV, the minister suggested the poster had encouraged women to wear headscarves. She said this message jarred with the secular values of France, which had expressed its disapproval of the campaign. On Wednesday, the Council of Europe told the BBC that tweets related to the campaign had been deleted "while we reflect on a better presentation of this project." read the complete article

United States

04 Nov 2021

Bergen's Shama Haider makes history as first Muslim elected to NJ Legislature

New Jersey's Muslim community has made strides in local politics in recent years, winning seats across the state as mayors, council members and school board commissioners. Despite their growing political power, no Muslim has ever served in the state Legislature. That changed on Election Day, however, when former Tenafly councilwoman Shama Haider won the race for state Assembly in the 37th District in Bergen County. "I am extraordinarily proud of our campaign," Haider, a Democrat, said Wednesday morning. "I'm grateful to my historic running mates, who have been an immense support through these months, and I am immeasurably grateful to all the people who worked and volunteered to make this victory possible." While acknowledging the historic nature of her victory as a Muslim woman, Haider also said that should not define her. "I don't want to be this token Muslim woman in the Assembly," she said. "No, I want to be known as an effective legislator." Haider, 72, has been active in local politics for over two decades, serving on the Tenafly Borough Council twice in terms beginning in 2001 and in 2015. While the events of the Sept. 11 attacks spurred many Muslims to get involved in politics and reach out to their communities, Haider said, she had already been deeply involved in local issues at the time. Haider came to the U.S. in 1977, settling in Bergen County. She is a former fundraiser for a nonprofit that supports arts in schools and is the chairwoman of the Tenafly Democratic party. Over the years she has also served on county and borough commissions focused on women, human services, the environment and business development. read the complete article

04 Nov 2021

Lawsuit: Anti-Muslim prejudice prompted city to block mosque

Leaders of a northern Mississippi city were motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice when they rejected a zoning request for what would be the first mosque in the area, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday. American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi sued on behalf of the two Muslim men who want to build the mosque, Abraham House of God, in the city of Horn Lake. Earlier this year, the Horn Lake planning commission recommended that the site plan for the mosque be denied, and the Board of Aldermen voted 5-1 in April to uphold that recommendation. Aldermen said they denied the application because of concerns about insufficient water supply for fire sprinklers and the possibility of traffic and noise. “Despite the pretextual excuses for their decision, Board members did not work very hard to hide the true reason they denied approval for the project — anti-Muslim prejudice,” said the lawsuit, which represents one side of a legal argument. “As then-Alderman John E. Jones Jr. told the local newspaper: ‘I don’t care what they say, their religion says they can lie or do anything to the Jews or gentiles because we’re not Muslims.’” The lawsuit argues the government officials violated the First Amendment rights of the men who want to develop the mosque, Maher Abuirshaid and Riyadh Elkhayyat. It also argues that city officials violated a federal law that gives heightened legal protections in land-use decisions to people groups that face discrimination. The lawsuit asks a judge to nullify the Horn Lake officials’ decisions and to order the city to grant the land-use request for the mosque. read the complete article

04 Nov 2021

Republicans fight the American dream with their anti-Muslim attacks on Syed's nomination

Far from the political main stage, Senate Republicans are engaging in a quiet but venomous fight to derail the nomination of Dilawar Syed to a key leadership role in the U.S. Small Business Administration. At a time when investment in our economic recovery is more critical than ever, Republicans have turned their backs on working people to focus instead on sinking Syed’s well-deserved confirmation – and they’re doing so through character assassination with the sulfurous hint of anti-Muslim bias and bigotry. Syed is the right choice for the position of deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration. Endorsed by wide-ranging groups, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to a diverse coalition of civil rights, Jewish, Muslim and Christian organizations, Syed has a long-established record of working successfully with entrepreneurs from all walks of life. If confirmed, he would become the highest-ranking Muslim American administration official in U.S. history. Syed's nomination initially advanced in June, but the Senate parliamentarian rejected this vote. The process then took a nasty turn. Republican committee staff circulated an internal strategy email – or more accurately, a thinly veiled smear – that did not contain a single substantive statement but dripped with anti-Muslim bias. read the complete article

04 Nov 2021

Tania Fernandes Anderson Makes History As Boston’s First Muslim City Councilor-Elect

Tania Fernandes Anderson made history Tuesday as Boston’s first Muslim-American city councilor-elect, soundly defeating perennial candidate Roy Owens with 73% of the votes to his 27%, according to unofficial polling results. In January, she will assume the seat currently occupied by Acting Mayor Kim Janey, representing Roxbury, Dorchester and part of the South End. “I don’t feel like we’ve totally won yet, but we’ve made a huge accomplishment,” Anderson told a crowd of around 25 supporters and volunteers at her office in Nubian Square Tuesday night. “We will win together if we partner, if I include people, if I'm responsive, if I'm effective...if we can continue to work on breaking down the segregation between Roxbury and South End, if we can begin to be actually sincere about the work and putting the community first. That's when I will start feeling really good.” Anderson, a Sunni Muslim who was born in Cape Verde, is also the first African immigrant elected to the Boston City Council. When asked about the significance of being the first Muslim elected to the council, Anderson pushed back, asking to be seen as more than just her religious identity. “We always say the ummah, which means ‘community.’ It doesn't necessarily exclude non-Muslims,” Anderson told GBH News. "As the person that I am — Muslim, Cape Verdean, someone who's been undocumented, an African immigrant and now African-American — I think that all of that is what makes me a very dynamic Black woman.” “Yes, I'm making history. Yes, I am Muslim,”Anderson continued, “but if I have to wear that all the time, you're separating me.” read the complete article


04 Nov 2021

'They want us to be extinct': Uyghurs speak out on the Chinese government's forced sterilisation, Islamophobia and manipulation

Gulzara Muhammed is an ethnic Uyghur exile originally from Xinjiang and now living in Turkey with two children. She came from a devout Muslim family, with her husband being the Imam of their local mosque in China. Gulzara recalls how early expressions of Islamophobia by Chinese authorities turned into more sinister practices against her family. “My family were under surveillance by Chinese authorities just because my husband was an Imam and my father who lives with us had begun teaching the Quran to Uyghur children. We would get constant disturbances by Chinese police asking about our activities which intensified over a period of months, even though we were simply following our faith,” she tells The New Arab. In 2018 Gulzara’s husband was arrested along with her elderly father under the guise of “inciting and spreading hatred”. Copies of the Quran were confiscated from her home and her residence was turned upside down as police ‘aggressively hit and forcibly handcuffed’ her loved ones. Gulzara was later told by a nurse that she had a ‘cyst’ that needed to be removed and that they needed to operate urgently as her ‘life was at risk’. “I told them I do not have any symptoms of a cyst and suspected something was wrong. I remember being given an injection and I became unconscious. When I woke up I was in pain and was told that the procedure is done but now I will not be able to have any more children.” Gulzara was horrified as questions swirled in her mind as to what had just happened to her. “They lied to me. They tricked me. They have sterilised me without my consent and one day I hope they (the Chinese government) will own up to their misdeeds as it is them who orders hospitals to do this. They are trying to stop the Uyghur population from growing and this is the only way they can do it – by targeting us, Uyghur women.” read the complete article

04 Nov 2021

Top Books To Read On Uyghur Cause

While a large number of people know about the situation of Kashmiris, Palestinians, Rohingya etc, not many know about what China is doing with the Uyghur. The world especially the Muslim brotherhood still chooses to remain silent against the horrors unfolding in Uyghurland where Muslims are being brainwashed, forced to become zombies. Right at this moment while you read this, Millions of Uyghur Muslims are locked up in concentration camps, their children are sent to filthy orphanages, young men and women who have somehow survived have become victims of forced labour in China. But how did it all start? Who are the Uyghur? What led to their suffering and why has China occupied their country, East Turkestan? In order to learn the answers to all these questions and to find the voice of the world’s most unheard community, you must read the books mentioned below. The Chinese Government is brutally suppressing our voice but we Uyghurs refuse to remain silent. read the complete article

04 Nov 2021

Two new books shed light on the plight of the Uyghurs

Now Xinjiang has the world’s attention once more, this time as a site of horrors. In recent years the Chinese Communist Party has detained more than 1m Uyghurs (an indigenous group who make up 45% of Xinjiang’s population), Kazakhs and other mainly Muslim minorities in prison camps. Party officials claim they are re-educating “extremists” and help Uyghurs train for better jobs. Observers say they preside over a crime against humanity. In the West, the plight of the Uyghurs has prompted an explosion of books and articles—and many angry Chinese rebuttals. Two books by Americans offer complementary ways of understanding what has been happening. “In the Camps” by Darren Byler, an anthropologist, considers the detention of the Uyghurs through the eyes of former inmates and camp workers. Mr Millward’s weightier tome, a revised version of “Eurasian Crossroads”, first published in 2006, sets the developments within 4,000 years of history. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Nov 2021 Edition


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