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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15 Oct 2021

Today in Islamophobia: Apple has taken down one of the world’s most popular Quran apps in China, after a request from officials, meanwhile in the United States, Stafford county officials just ended a five-year saga aimed at blocking a proposed Islamic cemetery and agreed to a $500,000 settlement but failed to admit guilt, and the presence of headscarves on the runway at Paris Fashion Week has Amani asking “Doesn’t France hate headscarves? Or is it only when Muslim women wear them?” Our recommended read of the day is by Rhana Natour for VICE on Noor Salman, the wife of the Pulse nightclub shooter, and how she herself was a victim of Mateen’s violence and of a “justice system that was able to scapegoat her because she was Muslim.” This and more below:

United States

15 Oct 2021

The Shooter’s Wife: Noor Salman, Wife of the Pulse Nightclub Gunman, Is Ready to Speak | Recommended Read

Salman would spend over a year in prison during these legal proceedings, some of it in solitary confinement. Though she was ultimately acquitted, the verdict did little to dissipate the cloud of suspicion that hung over her in Orlando. Equally adamant are those who believe Salman was another victim of Mateen’s violence, and of a justice system that was able to scapegoat her because she was Muslim. They point to the fact that she herself showed no signs of extremism or a history of violence and that key parts of her confession were proven false. “I thought the whole thing was a travesty,” said Jacquelyn Campbell, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and domestic violence researcher who submitted expert testimony for the defense during Salman’s pre-trial hearings. “I do not believe she aided and abetted. I believe she was trying to get through to the next day,” she told VICE News. In a series of exclusive interviews with VICE News, Salman has finally told her side of the story, one that provides a glimpse into how the private violence of domestic abuse can evolve into the public terror of a mass shooting. read the complete article

15 Oct 2021

A Muslim cemetery was finally approved in Virginia. Now bigotry needs a proper burial.

A suburban Virginia county south of D.C. recently put a quiet end to a five-year saga in which the odor of Islamophobia grew into a stench as time dragged on. That the events surrounding a proposed Islamic cemetery in Stafford County unfolded under color of local law, and were allowed by county officials to fester for year after year, was more than poor judgment. It has become a sterling example for local governments of how not to deal with minority communities. What ensued was an embarrassment to Stafford and a Kafkaesque odyssey for the county’s Muslim community. That it ended, mercifully, with the county’s capitulation — authorities there ceased their attempts to block the proposed cemetery last year, and recently agreed to a $500,000 settlement, without admitting guilt — does not mitigate the gratuitousness of the entire episode, which was a waste of taxpayers’ time and money. Construction is expected to begin soon on the new cemetery, under the auspices of the AMAA, which provides low-cost burials and funerals for Muslims in need across the region. Though it ended well, the story also showed that bigotry has yet to be given its proper burial. read the complete article

United Kingdom

15 Oct 2021

Racist letters sent to Wakefield Labour councillors

Racist and anti-Muslim letters sent to councillors have sparked a police investigation. Four members of Wakefield's Labour group received the notes, which branded Islam "dangerous" and warned of a "Muslim takeover". Signed off with "a Conservative colleague", the letters took aim at one councillor and their religion. The Conservative group said it was "shocked" and the messages were not sent by one of its members. In the letter, seen by the BBC, Muslims are described as "very dangerous". Referring to one councillor, it urged recipients to "avoid this person at all costs", adding: "We cannot allow Muslims to take over". West Yorkshire Police said it was investigating allegations of malicious communications and sending communications of an offensive nature. Labour members Steve Tulley, Michael Graham, Betty Rhodes and Olivia Rowley all received a version of the note. read the complete article

15 Oct 2021

Glenrothes mosque terror plot accused said threats were 'a joke'

A man accused of terrorism offences told police his claim he was going to set fire to a mosque was a "joke", a court has heard. After his arrest, Sam Imrie told officers he wasn't serious when he claimed on social media that he planned to broadcast live to internet users. The High Court in Edinburgh heard a recording of the 24 year-old being interviewed by detectives in July 2019. Imrie denies nine charges, including three under the Terrorism Act. Investigating officers believed he was plotting a terrorist attack at Fife Islamic Centre in Glenrothes. Imrie told them he had been drinking when he allegedly posted comments on instant messaging app Telegram. Speaking about a series of comments in which he said he "hated" Jewish, Black and Muslim people, Imrie told them: "I wouldn't do it if I was sober." The evidence emerged on the fifth day of proceedings against Imrie, who is from Glenrothes. read the complete article

15 Oct 2021

Telegram is warned app ‘nurtures subculture deifying terrorists’

MPs, leaders of faith communities, and groups involved in countering hate have sent a letter to Telegram urging it to take action as it emerged as an “app of choice” for racists and violent extremists. An image was projected on to Telegram’s offices in London this week by the campaign group Hope not Hate, which has organised the letter, in a move to shame the company. A report this week found that the messaging app had emerged as a central hub for several conspiracy movements espousing antisemitic tropes and memes, including QAnon, as well as others on the extreme right promoting violence. Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope not Hate, said: “Time and time again Telegram has failed to take action in tackling the vile and dangerous content hosted on its platform. Our research has shown that the messaging app has become a cesspit of antisemitic content, with minimal moderation or action from Telegram itself to prevent this endless spread of hatred.” The letter, which was signed by president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, several MPs and others working against anti-Muslim hatred, stated: “The platform has facilitated and nurtured a subculture that cheerleads for and deifies terrorists, and regards mass murder not only as a means to revolution and retribution but as a form of entertainment – all in the name of privacy.” read the complete article


15 Oct 2021

Inside China's high-tech penal colony with Darren Byler: podcast and transcript

Since 2017, a high-tech form of colonization has been rapidly growing in Xinjiang, China. As many as 1.5 million Muslim Uyghurs have vanished into high-security camps and factories. The Chinese regime describes these sites as “vocational education and training centers” that are utilized to counter terrorism. But what actually goes on inside of these internment camps? That’s the subject of Darren Byler’s new book, “In The Camps: China’s High-Tech Penal Colony.” In it, Byler draws on a decade of research on the region. He joins to discuss his findings and the role of various forms of technology including facial recognition, smartphones and apps like WeChat, in government surveillance. read the complete article

15 Oct 2021

Apple takes down Koran app in China

Apple has taken down one of the world's most popular Koran apps in China, after a request from officials, the company has confirmed to the BBC. Quran Majeed is available across the world on the App Store - and has nearly 150,000 reviews. However, Apple removed the app at the request of Chinese officials, for hosting illegal religious texts, the company said. The Chinese government has not responded to a request for comment. The deletion of the app was first noticed by Apple Censorship - a website that monitors apps on Apple's App Store globally. The Chinese Communist Party officially recognises Islam as a religion in the country. However, China has been accused of human rights violations, and even genocide, against the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang. read the complete article


15 Oct 2021

Are Headscarves Only Cool When They’re on the Runway?

Amid the Paris Fashion Week jungle of runways and after-parties, shimmering dresses, and sky-high heels, there was an unexpected trend this year: head coverings. At first glance, not much seemed out of the ordinary. Hair scarves have been a fixture in the fashion world for decades — not least the quintessential silk scarf of the “French girl” caricature. But what made it confusing was the elephant in the room: Doesn’t France hate headscarves? Or is it only when Muslim women wear them? France launched its latest Islamophobic controversy earlier this year when the national legislature tried to pass a law banning Muslim girls under 18 from covering their hair in public and any hijabi mothers from accompanying their children on school trips. France has targeted Muslim women and girls for decades: Hijabs have been banned in public schools since 2003, and niqabs, or face veils, were banned in 2010. It’s something I’ve experienced myself: On a trip to France in 2017, I was forced to remove my hijab against my will by officers at Nice Airport. “You’re in France now,” they told me. So what happens when head coverings appear on France’s most visible global platform: the runways of Paris Fashion Week? And, more importantly, who has the privilege to wear them? read the complete article

15 Oct 2021

U.N deal offers no guarantees of free movement for Rohingya on island - leaked copy

A deal for the United Nations to start work on a remote Bangladeshi island where the government has sent thousands of Rohingya refugees offers no guarantee they will be allowed to move freely to the mainland, according to a copy of the agreement. The Bangladesh government has moved nearly 19,000 Rohingya refugees, members of a persecuted mostly Muslim minority from Myanmar, to Bhasan Char island from border camps, despite protests by refugees and opposition from rights groups, who have likened it to an island jail and said some relocations were involuntary. Refugees have called for freedom of movement between the remote and floodprone island, several hours off the coast, and the sprawling mainland camps near the port town of Cox’s Bazar, while dozens have died in recent months attempting to flee on rickety boats. read the complete article


15 Oct 2021

France honours ‘quiet hero’ teacher killed for showing Prophet Mohammed cartoons

A year after the brutal murder of a French teacher, beheaded for showing his students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, schools are struggling with how to teach core French values without inflaming tensions with young Muslims. On Saturday, several ceremonies will be held in memory of the popular teacher hailed by President Emmanuel Macron as a "quiet hero" of the French republic. Macron was accused by leftist critics at the time of stigmatising Europe's biggest Muslim community and pandering to the far-right ahead of 2022 elections. But on the right, voters and politicians have long been urging tougher action to restore the state's authority in what a group of teachers described in a 2015 book as the "lost territories of the Republic". They include controversial media pundit Eric Zemmour, a possible candidate for the presidency in next year's vote, who has declared Paty's murder proof that France is in a "civil war" with radical Islamists. The anti-Islam commentator, whom polls show closing in on Marine Le Pen for the leadership of the far-right, stresses the need for immigrants to assimilate into French society. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 15 Oct 2021 Edition


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