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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01 Oct 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a gunman who went on a shooting spree at a California synagogue about a month after setting fire to a nearby mosque was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison, while in Michigan, three Muslim men are suing Detroit police officers they claim moved to arrest them last year amid false accusations and bias against their religious identity, and in China, the government appoints a new governor for Xinjiang where the ruling CCP is accused of carrying out mass detentions and other abuses against members of the Uyghur and other Muslim minority groups. Our recommended read of the day is by Reuters on the killing of Mohib Ullah, a prominent Rohingya Muslim leader, in a refugee camp in southern Bangladesh on Wednesday. This and more below:


01 Oct 2021

Rohingya leader shot dead in Bangladesh refugee camp | Recommended Read

Gunmen shot and killed a prominent Rohingya Muslim leader in a refugee camp in southern Bangladesh on Wednesday, a United Nations spokesperson and a local police official said, following months of worsening violence in the world's largest refugee settlement. Mohib Ullah, who was in his late 40s, led one of the largest of several community groups to emerge since more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar after a military crackdown in August 2017. Invited to the White House and to speak to the UN Human Rights Council, he was one of the most high-profile advocates for the Rohingya, a Muslim minority that has faced persecution for generations. A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the agency was "deeply saddened" by the killing of Mohib Ullah. "We are in continuous contact with law enforcement authorities in charge of maintaining peace and security in the camps," the spokesperson said. Mohib Ullah's group, the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights, made its name documenting atrocities the Rohingya suffered during the Myanmar crackdown, which the UN has said was carried out with genocidal intent. At the Bangladesh refugee camps, Mohib Ullah went from hut to hut to build a tally of killings, rape and arson that was shared with international investigators. His organization worked to give refugees more of a voice inside the camps and internationally. Speaking to the UN Human Rights Council, he said the Rohingya wanted more of a say over their own future. read the complete article

United States

01 Oct 2021

Muslim men's arrests spark federal lawsuit against Detroit police

Three Muslim men are suing Detroit police officers they claim moved to arrest them last year amid false accusations and bias against their religious identity. According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, on Sept. 26, 2020, the officers responded to a home on the west side where Khalil Muhammad and Clifford Williams lived and a friend, Roberto Guzman, visited. Muhammad had called 911 to report a female acquaintance he recently allowed to live in the home had attacked them with a hammer and destroyed his property, the filing stated. The woman was having personal problems and needed a place to stay after being released from the hospital, said Amy Doukoure, staff attorney with the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is representing the men. When officers arrived at the scene on Greenlawn, the woman identified the group as Muslims, the lawsuit said. According to body cam footage The Detroit News reviewed, she accused the men of attacking her. While speaking with his colleagues on the scene, one of the officers is recorded saying, “Muslims lie a lot.” The officer also made “several explicitly Islamophobic comments,” including saying that Muslims are “controlling,” especially toward women, the lawsuit said. Although Muhammad told police he and the two others were attacked, and Guzman appeared bloodied, the officers didn’t consider that, “nor did they do any investigation into the claims that (the woman) had destroyed property or used a claw hammer to assault the Plaintiffs,” Doukoure said. read the complete article

01 Oct 2021

California gunman gets life without parole for synagogue murder, mosque arson

A man who admitted to killing one worshiper and wounding three others in a shooting spree inside a California synagogue about a month after setting fire to a nearby mosque was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. John T. Earnest, 22, pleaded guilty in July to a single count of murder, three counts of attempted murder and a charge of committing arson in a place of worship, in a deal with local prosecutors sparing him from possibly facing the death penalty. The defendant was sentenced in a San Diego courtroom to a life prison term less than two weeks after pleading guilty to federal hate-crime charges stemming from the same two attacks in 2019. He faces an additional life term when he is sentenced in the federal case in U.S. District Court on Dec. 28. read the complete article

01 Oct 2021

American exceptionalism, Islamophobia, 9/11 discussed in School of Cinema-hosted event

A driving point of Kazi’s argument is American exceptionalism, and that the 9/11 attacks excessively and unnecessarily increased U.S. military presence at home and throughout the world. Immediately following the attacks, Kazi said, major news publications put forth a narrative of unity in “this moment of grief and terror,” but what ultimately happened was “uniting around militarism.” “I think American imperialism and American militarism do a brilliant job of hiding in plain sight,” Kazi said, citing fighter jet flyovers during NFL football games and that key correspondents on major news networks are often ex-military officials or executives from defense businesses as evidence of this point. All of this, Kazi says, is a means to an end, with the “end” result being Islamophobia. The term Islamophobia, according to Kazi, applies to more than just people of Islamic faith. Tiruchelvam honed in on this point as well, stating that the fear-induced Islamophobia following 9/11 provided an excuse for police and federal agents to commit further violence against Black Americans under the guise of anti-terrorism. read the complete article


01 Oct 2021

Don’t believe everything you hear about people having sex with animals

In what was a triumph for headline writing but a disaster for the human spirit, low-rent British tabloid the Daily Star once ran with the front-page story: “Asylum seekers eat our donkeys.” Not to be outdone, the Sun once went with the story “Swan Bake” that accused “callous asylum seekers” of “barbecuing the queen’s swans.” Not deterred in the slightest, two members of the Polish government this week held a quite extraordinary press conference in which they attempted to warn people of the dangers posed by those wanting to cross the border and enter the country. Many of these people were, according to Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński and Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, involved in terrorism, organized crime and people smuggling — and they had plenty of footage to prove it, with a number of images of weaponry, fake IDs, drug-taking and more displayed on a giant screen. But worse was to come as on the screen appeared an image — and there’s no easy, or clean, way to say this — of a man shagging a farm animal. “He raped a cow, wanted to get to Poland?” ran the tagline on state-run TVP television. Opposition politicians were quick to point out this was clearly Islamophobia of the basest kind. And a little bit of digging from local media found that — and again, I’m pretty sure you’ve already realized this — the image was not in fact from a recently procured migrant’s phone but actually old footage that’s available on the internet. read the complete article

01 Oct 2021

They: What Muslims and Non-Muslims Get Wrong About Each Other by Sarfraz Manzoor - extract

Why is it, I ask, that his children continue to respect their father when they are in their late teens and early 20s while our children are under 10 and are already refusing to listen to us? The discussion often becomes polarised and could be described as a clash between my wife’s middle-class White values and my working-class Pakistani-Muslim ones. Is my desire for children to be more deferential to parental authority a product of my cultural heritage? It is true that when I talk to other parents from south Asian backgrounds they instantly recognise my complaints and frustrations, but it is also true that the style of parenting my father and his like practised is sometimes referred to as Victorian, which makes the claim that it is culturally specific less persuasive. That said, I still associate the liberal child-focused parenting that my wife prefers as being imbued with “British values”, whereas the style of parenting I would practise were it entirely my choice would not be as authoritarian as the manner in which I was raised, but could be reasonably described as following Asian, Pakistani or Muslim values. It isn’t only in the way we are raising our children that I have become aware of the distance between British and Muslim values. One thing I hear often from my White friends is the idea that they never want to be a burden on their children in later life. Bridget’s parents are already clearing out the attic in their home because they don’t want to put their children through the emotional ordeal of having to go through their belongings after their deaths. The starkest example of not being a burden concerns what White parents expect from their children when they become too old to live independently: they expect nothing. This was not how I was raised. I was brought up to believe there was an unwritten contract between parents and children: the parents take care of the children and then, in time, the children look after the parents. The concept of “burden” is never entertained. read the complete article


01 Oct 2021

China appoints new Xinjiang governor amid abuse accusations

China has appointed a new governor for Xinjiang where the ruling Communist Party is accused of carrying out mass detentions and other abuses against members of the Uyghur and other Muslim minority groups. A former vice governor, Erkin Tuniyaz gained some notoriety for delivering a vociferous defense of Chinese policies in the northwestern region, particularly the use of facilities critics call detention centers but which China says are intended for vocational training and deradicalization and turning the region's residents away from terrorism and extremism. Tuniyaz, 59, is an ethnic Uyghur who studied economics and law and worked his way up through a variety of posts in Xinjiang. His appointment was announced late Thursday. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Oct 2021 Edition


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