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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
20 Oct 2021

Today in Islamophobia: A new report finds that authorities in Xinjiang are using predictive policing and human surveillance to gather “micro clues” about Uyghurs and empower neighborhood informants to ensure compliance at every level of society, meanwhile in the United Kingdom, The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has become the first footballing body to sign the Muslim Athlete Charter, and in a recent interview British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed noted how the media’s portrayal of Muslims, which largely amplifies harmful stereotypes, has very real and damaging effects on the community. Our recommended read of the day is by the Washington Post Editorial Board on how Senate Republicans continue to block the confirmation of Dilawar Syed to be deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration. This and more below:

United States

20 Oct 2021

The cowardice of Senate Republicans blocking a qualified Muslim’s confirmation | Recommended Read

Dilawar Syed, President Biden’s nominee to be deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, embodies the American Dream. He came to this country 30 years ago from Pakistan in pursuit of education and opportunity and built a successful career as an entrepreneur, starting and running companies specializing in software, health care and artificial intelligence. If confirmed, he would be the highest-ranking Muslim in government. But Republicans have frozen his nomination in a Senate committee, and some of his backers — including prominent human rights and faith-based groups — say it is precisely because of his background and religion. At first, Republicans said they wanted answers on covid-relief loans to Mr. Syed’s business. When that turned out to be a non-issue — the company was entitled to the SBA loans, and it paid off the debt rather than pushing for it to be forgiven as was allowed — they questioned Mr. Syed’s association with an advocacy group that has been critical of Israel. Religious groups, including prominent Jewish organizations, cried foul and raised alarms about an email circulated among Republican committee staff focusing on Mr. Syed’s religion and place of birth. Among those springing to Mr. Syed’s defense: the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, Bend the Arc. They signed on to a letter to Congress — along with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the NAACP — that voiced support for Mr. Syed and took aim at the anti-Muslim bias coming into play. With so many Jewish organizations coming to Mr. Syed’s defense, Republicans switched tactics yet again and now claim their opposition is rooted in their objections to SBA covid-relief payments to Planned Parenthood entities. read the complete article

20 Oct 2021

‘Islamophobia is irrational,’ antithetical to American values, BYU Islam conferencegoers told

Brigham Young University’s student center has had a dedicated Muslim prayer room for more than 15 years, but a second one opened Monday and Tuesday in the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center while it hosted a major conference on Islam. The temporary prayer room was part of the first impression made by BYU and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on many of the internationally renowned participants, including Dalia Fahmy, the chair of International Relations and Diplomacy at Long Island University. Fahmy and other conference speakers battered common American and European misperceptions of Islam and Muslims. “Islamophobia is irrational,” Fahmy said during her presentation, in which she argued that anti-Muslim sentiment subverts fundamental American constitutional, social, religious and cultural values about inclusion and understanding. Latter-day Saint leaders have long sought interfaith understanding with Muslims and others, said conference chair Grant Underwood, who holds BYU’s Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding. Elders David A. Bednar and Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke together in the final conference session, issuing a call to Latter-day Saints for unity with the world’s Muslims. read the complete article

20 Oct 2021

Bloomington mosque vandalized; police search for suspect

Police are looking for the man responsible for vandalizing a mosque in Bloomington early Monday morning and leaving behind a mess of damage. Leaders at the Islamic Center of Bloomington say they feel like their mosque was targeted. Leaders of the mosque arrived early Monday morning to find nearly every area on the outside of their building had been damaged in some way after a man came in the middle of the night to wreak havoc. While police haven’t identified it as such, the mosque leaders say, they believe they were victims of a hate crime. Around 1:15 a.m. Monday, security video shows a man arrive at the center. For the next 45 minutes, he is seen destroying the property. read the complete article


20 Oct 2021

Chinese effort to gather ‘micro clues’ on Uyghurs laid bare in report

Authorities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang are using predictive policing and human surveillance to gather “micro clues” about Uyghurs and empower neighbourhood informants to ensure compliance at every level of society, according to a report. The research by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) thinktank detailed Xinjiang authorities’ expansive use of grassroots committees, integrated with China’s extensive surveillance technology, to police their Uyghur neighbours’ movements – and emotions. The findings shed further light on the extraordinary scope of the Chinese Communist party’s (CCP) of the largely Muslim and purportedly autonomous region, going beyond police crackdowns and mass arrests to ensure total control. The report also revealed the identities of officials – including two former visiting fellows at Harvard University – and the organisations that make up the political architecture of the years-long crackdown by Beijing on Uyghurs, which rights organisations say has included the detention of an estimated 1 million people in re-education camps. The report said the nominally voluntary local committees mirrored the Mao-era “revolutionary neighbourhood committees”, with daily meetings delegating home visits and investigations and assessing whether any individuals require “re-education”. However, according to ASPI, leaked police records showed the modern-day committees also received “micro clues’’ from China’s predictive policing system, the integrated joint operations platform (IJOP). Such clues could include someone having an unexpected visitor or receiving an overseas phone call, and would prompt inspection visits modelled on neighbourly interactions. read the complete article

20 Oct 2021

Xinjiang’s ‘architecture of repression’ targets Muslim Uighurs

In November of 2018, Anayit Abliz, a Muslim Uighur from China’s far western region of Xinjiang, was sentenced to three years in prison for using a file-sharing application called Zapya and a virtual private network (VPN) to communicate online the previous year. During the months of detention leading to his conviction, the teenager’s family was subjected to intrusive surveillance, with their daily activities chronicled in a series of reports filed under the heading, ‘Situation regarding persons who are detained or going through re-education’. In one incident, a neighbourhood watcher entered Abliz’s family home and reported they had found his father, mother and sister all watching television. Another time, the government-assigned monitor noted that the family members were just “going about their business” inside their house. It is thought that in Xinjiang, the discovery by authorities of the widespread use of the Zapya application “prompted millions of investigations at the grassroots level” similar to the intrusions faced by Abliz’s family, according to a new report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) based in Canberra. Between July 2016 and June 2017, government monitors assigned by Beijing flagged at least 1,869,310 Uighurs and other citizens in Xinjiang for using Zapya, the report revealed. ASPI’s latest report is based on thousands of documents leaked to the think tank. Since early 2017, vast numbers of Uighur men and women, as well as other Muslim ethnic minorities, have been arbitrarily detained or imprisoned according to the United Nations and human rights groups. They include hundreds of thousands who have been sent to prisons, in addition to the one million the UN estimates to have been sent to internment camps. read the complete article


20 Oct 2021

Thousands flee Myanmar for India amid fears of a growing refugee crisis

Terrified farmers and families with children in Myanmar are fleeing into India as the military junta that seized power in a February coup continues to seek out and eliminate resistance along the country's border. The Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is known, has targeted areas that are home to thousands of armed civilians who call themselves the People's Defence Force. Soldiers have fired rocket launchers into residential neighbourhoods, burned down homes, cut off Internet access and food supplies, and even shot at fleeing civilians, according to residents. Aid groups say they are preparing for a flood of refugees but are concerned that countries surrounding Myanmar such as Thailand may push them back. In Chin State in the north-west of Myanmar, an entire town of roughly 12,000 people has nearly emptied out in the past month. Residents have reported a large buildup of troops in recent weeks, signalling a potential wider crackdown by the Tatmadaw and leaving many people desperate to escape. "In the eight months since the army seized control, roughly 15,000 people in Myanmar have fled for India, according to the United Nations. read the complete article

20 Oct 2021

‘It’s time to flip the script’: Riz Ahmed talks about poor Muslim representation in the film industry

British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed recently slammed the depiction of Muslims in the global media, tracing the structure of minority representation in the film industry and highlighting how powerful the painted picture can be. “The stories we tell about communities affect the laws that get passed, the people that get attacked, the countries that get invaded,” he said in an interview to Muslim, a YouTube channel and media outlet that makes content for young Muslims to connect with and empower each other, amplify their faith, and share their lifestyles and views. He pointed out the very real and damaging effects a certain portrayal of a community can have, rightfully calling it "dangerous" seeing as hate crimes are often based on misunderstandings and stereotypes. The Tillman Story (2010), a film on war in Afghanistan, is an example of a purely American narrative used to glorify their side while reducing the other to nothing but violence. Ahmed went on to define the image that Muslims are assigned, establishing its two poles — “We’re either invisible or villainized.” The Sound of Metal star spoke about the lack of depth a Muslim character has on screen and said they are often shown in an Islamophobic light. He asserted that such a depiction must be met with the same level of disgust as films featuring blackface and discrimination against indigenous people. In general, we need to change the way Muslims are viewed in the global media. We can do this by, as Ahmed said, “showing a diverse Muslim community — racially, geographically, we need more women, different sexualities, abilities.” read the complete article


20 Oct 2021

How Hamilton Muslims are building ‘safe spaces’ to ask questions

In August, Hamilton city council voted unanimously to support municipal recommendations from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to tackle Islamophobia. Work is underway to develop street harassment laws, create a plan to celebrate local Muslims and launch public awareness campaigns, among other things. Gurgi and other Hamilton imams say it’s important to stop hate from going unchecked, especially on social media. “Ask local imams, don’t ask Imam Google,” said Imam Sayed Tora of the Muslim Association of Hamilton, referencing advice from Hamilton’s former police chief. The association is in talks with police and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) about staff education to fight systemic Islamophobia. The group is also looking to create “safe spaces” in schools and the community where people can “ask difficult questions about Islam and Muslims” without being judged. read the complete article

United Kingdom

20 Oct 2021

Muslim Athlete Charter: Football Association of Wales signs pledge on equality and diversity

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has become the first footballing body to sign the Muslim Athlete Charter. By signing the pledge, the FAW will be committed to recognising Muslim needs in football for players, staff and spectators attending games. The FAW will aim to become fully accredited to the Nujum Sports Muslim Athlete Charter in the future. Chief executive Ebadur Rahman said the organisation will assist the FAW to "aspire to be even more inclusive". Rahman added: "Having signed the pledge, the FAW is joining a positive movement of solidarity, equality and recognition of the contribution Muslims make for their respective clubs and teams."Nujum is here to support professional clubs and their players, and contribute positively to their equality and diversity agenda." read the complete article

Sri Lanka

20 Oct 2021

Easter attacks increased hostility to Muslims in Sri Lanka

Hostility toward Muslims has increased in Sri Lanka after the Easter bomb attacks, Amnesty International said in a new report urging authorities to break the alarming trend and hold perpetrators accountable. Sri Lanka's government must bring an end to consistent discrimination, harassment and violence against the Muslim community and eliminate state policies that explicitly target the minority group, the global rights watchdog said. It published the report titled From Burning Houses to Burning Bodies: Anti-Muslim Harassment, Discrimination and Violence in Sri Lanka on Oct. 17. The report documents the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka since 2013 laced with an upsurge in Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism, which saw discrimination against Muslims constantly spiral, from a series of mob attacks committed with impunity to the government’s discriminatory policies including forced cremation of Muslim Covid-19 victims. The current proposals to ban both the niqab (face veil) and madrasas (religious schools) are the latest cases of the state’s discriminatory policies against the Muslim community, it noted. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 20 Oct 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results