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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25 Oct 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In China, Chen Quanguo, the man responsible for executing draconian laws against the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority, has been reportedly ousted from China’s top leadership body, meanwhile in Canada, there have been numerous hate crimes in recent days targeting Muslim women wearing the hijab, and in the United States, a coalition of 22 organizations is calling on T-Mobile to end its work with the Department of Defense for providing cell service to the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and prison site. Our recommended read of the day is by Farnush Ghadery for Middle East Eye who states that “while Iranians are risking their lives to free Iran from the shackles of the regime,” numerous groups, including German and Indian political parties, are trying to co-opt the inclusive movement for their own ends. This and more below:


25 Oct 2022

Iran protests: How political groups are using the uprising for their own agendas | Recommended Read

Various groups, from German and Indian political parties to factions within the Iranian diaspora itself, are trying to co-opt the movement for their own ends. It is pertinent to distinguish these opportunistic political agendas from the inclusive and united movement in Iran. And while Iranians are risking their lives to free Iran from the shackles of the regime, political groups have jumped at the opportunity to co-opt this feminist, inclusive revolution. In India, Hindu nationalists have used the Iranian protests to support their attacks against Muslims. In a recent Supreme Court hearing, authorities in Karnataka pointed to the anti-hijab protests in Iran as justification for the southern Indian state’s own veil ban in schools, part of a broader crackdown against Muslims in India. But this framing neglects the fact that Iranian women are fighting against the compulsory hijab as part of a larger movement to free women from the control of patriarchal state violence. The only commonality between the school veil ban in India and recent events in Iran is the attempt to control women. Meanwhile, in Germany, far-right politician Jurgen Braun has used Amini’s death and the protests in Iran as support for his party’s Islamophobic claims. Accusing the German government of taking insufficient action against the Islamic regime, he proclaimed that recent events in Iran were “very much related to the misogynistic and inhuman Islam”. For someone whose party (Alternative for Germany) thinks women should return to their traditional roles as housewives and regards feminism as hindering societal development, it is interesting to see this sudden concern for women’s rights. A common strategy of Islamophobic politics involves the deliberate conflation of religious regimes, including Iran’s, with the religion of Islam, in an attempt to victimise Muslim women and vilify Muslim men. The co-optation of the Iran protests, a united movement against state violence, is thus beyond opportunistic. read the complete article

25 Oct 2022

UK court to hear Uyghur demands to ban Xinjiang cotton

A Uyghur organization and a human rights group are taking the U.K. government to court to challenge Britain’s failure to block the import of cotton products associated with forced labor and other abuses in China’s far western Xinjiang region. Tuesday’s hearing at the High Court in London is believed the first time a foreign court hears legal arguments from the Uyghurs over the issue of forced labor in Xinjiang. The region is a major global supplier of cotton, but rights groups have long alleged that the cotton is picked and processed by China’s Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in a widespread, state-sanctioned system of forced labor. The case, brought by the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress and the Global Legal Action Network, a nonprofit, is one of several similar legal challenges aimed at putting pressure on the U.K. and European Union governments to follow the lead of the United States, where a law took effect this year to ban all cotton products suspected of being made in Xinjiang. Researchers say Xinjiang produces 85% of cotton grown in China, constituting one-fifth of the world’s cotton. Rights groups argue that the scale of China’s rights violations in Xinjiang – which the U.N. says may amount to “crimes against humanity” – means that numerous international fashion brands are at high risk of using cotton tainted with forced labor and other rights abuses. read the complete article

25 Oct 2022

MPs weighing refugee assistance for Uyghurs oppressed by China

Members of Parliament will be asked this week to throw their support behind new measures to address China’s repression of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities. Debate starts Wednesday on a motion by Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi calling on Canada to make room in its refugee intake numbers for 10,000 Uyghurs and members of other Turkic groups who have fled China and are living in third countries such as Turkey. “This motion, to resettle 10,000 Uyghurs, will help to mitigate a genocide that is unfolding now,” Mr. Zuberi, a Montreal-area MP, said. “Canada has a responsibility to help mitigate genocide and crimes against humanity. Welcoming 10,000 vulnerable Uyghurs is a partial response to this.” And on Monday, the Conservative Party will ask the House of Commons to officially endorse a report by the Commons immigration committee published this spring that likewise calls on Ottawa to develop special immigration measures to receive Uyghurs and others fleeing repression in China’s Xinjiang region. read the complete article

25 Oct 2022

How desire for freedom is uniting women of Iran and India

Two different countries, two different governments, and two different policies have each led to the same result in Iran and India — women protesting for their rights. In Iran, protestors fight for the right not to wear a hijab. In India, protestors fight for the right to wear a hijab. In both countries the fight is the same, however, the goal is different. This is a fight for freedom. The hijab is not meant to be a tool of oppression, but a symbol of faith. Its original meaning is exactly why Indian women are fighting for the right to wear it — and its distorted meaning in Iran is why women are fighting for the right not to wear it. In India, a government order banning Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in school was enforced in Karnataka. The court ruled that wearing a hijab was not essential to Islam as a religion. Muslims, being one of the largest minority communities in India, have recently come under a wave of religious-based hate crimes. The protest of Karnataka students, many of whom are only young girls, has inspired women around India to march for their right to wear headscarves or other religious clothing. In India, the reasons behind this fight are twofold. To fight for women’s rights to dress as they would like to and practice their religion as they want to is one. But another is to ensure that Muslim culture is not erased from India. Those in India who oppose the hijab cannot look to Iranian women as a defence of banning the hijab. If Iranian women were not constantly in danger for wearing a hijab “wrong” or not wearing one at all, protests regarding the hijab would not be occurring. The trouble happens when people police the wearing of this garment. Forcing someone to wear an item of clothing is a violation of rights, but so is forcing someone to remove an item of clothing. read the complete article

United States

25 Oct 2022

A New Jersey teacher accused of removing a student’s hijab sues Olympic fencer and others

A New Jersey elementary school teacher is suing Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad for viral social media posts made last year accusing her of forcibly removing a student’s hijab, a headscarf worn by some Muslim women and girls. The defamation lawsuit filed on Oct. 5 accuses the American fencer and other defendants of “categorically false allegations of bigotry, child abuse, and gross pedagogical misconduct.” It further alleges that teacher Tamar Herman’s life and reputation were irreparably harmed by the “flood of interest and outrage” caused by Muhammad’s nearly identical Instagram and Facebook posts, both describing a tug-of-war scenario between Herman and the second-grade student, in which Herman was accused of trying to remove the hijab while the student held onto it. Herman’s account of what happened contrasts with what was alleged in a lawsuit filed by the student’s parents. In her suit, Herman says that she thought the student’s hijab was a hood over her normally close-fitting hijab and only gently brushed it back from covering the student’s eyes. Once she realized the garment was a hijab, her lawsuit states she quickly apologized and “restored the hood to its original position immediately.” She also says that she did not comment on the student’s hair. read the complete article

25 Oct 2022

Activist groups call on T-Mobile to stop providing cell service to the Guantánamo Bay prison site

A coalition of 22 organizations is calling on T-Mobile to end its work with the Department of Defense for providing cell service to the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and prison site. T-Mobile has worked with the Department of Defense more than 4,000 times. At least 11 of these contracts, according to research conducted by the coalition and shared with Insider, are for providing cell service to the Guantánamo Bay prison site. The activist groups Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE), MPower Change, and Little Sis, the leading voices in the coalition, focus on highlighting corporate contractors for the Guantánamo Bay prison 20 years after it opened in 2002. It comes on the heels of their Big Tech Sells War campaign, which highlights tech companies supplying infrastructure in support of the War on Terror. "T-Mobile cannot claim to be working toward anti-racism while simultaneously providing services and telecommunications infrastructure to Guantánamo, a site that is synonymous with racial profiling, torture, and unlawful detention," a letter from the coalition to T-Mobile says. "You're providing services and infrastructure to a site that is synonymous with racial profiling, with torture, with unlawful detention, and in particular, around Islamophobia," Kudaimi said. The US has held almost 800 people in the Guantánamo Bay prison, often without being charged with a crime, since it opened in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks. Prisoners at the site have awaited trial for years and experienced torture, beatings, and force feedings. read the complete article


25 Oct 2022

Religious show and tell: Ottawa’s Islamic Heritage Month helps educate, but some say more is needed to combat hate

October is Islamic Heritage Month in Canada, when Muslim congregations across the country hold events to celebrate and explain Islam to the wider community. But while Muslims are grateful to share the details of their religion, many say such events are only part of what’s needed to reduce the stigma adherents often face. According to the Ottawa Muslim Association, there are 40,000 Muslims in Ottawa. The city also has 44 mosques and Muslim community centres. There are about 1.15 million Muslims in Canada. Monia Mazigh, secretary of the Ottawa Muslim Women’s Organization (OMWO), is among those who think that while such events are worthwhile, more must be done to fight the stigma Muslims face. “In a time where there is increasing [incidents of Islamophobia], I think it is very important. … But there are other measures that should be taken as well, in parallel with having the Islamic Heritage Month,” she said. She said she would like students in all levels of education to be taught about the importance of Muslim contributions to Canadian society, for instance, as well as being taught how to help counter Islamophobia. Mathyssen said education was one of the calls to action created during the National Action Summit on Islamophobia, held in Ottawa in 2021. read the complete article

25 Oct 2022

Muslim Women in Montreal North victims of hate incidents

“Being a visibly Muslim woman in Quebec is becoming harder and harder,” says Lina El Bakir from NCCM, after three hate incidents targeting women wearing a hijab in Montreal North occurred within six days. Felisha Adam reports. read the complete article


25 Oct 2022

'Architect' of horrific Uyghur crackdown 'ousted' from China’s top leadership body World

Chen Quanguo, the former party secretary in charge of Xinjiang's Uyghur-majority region, has been reportedly ousted from China's newly elected top leadership body. Chen's name was missing from the 205 members of the Central Committee, the command centre of China, following the 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress last week. He is widely regarded as the man responsible for executing draconian laws against the country's Uyghur Muslim minority, in a crackdown described by the US and others as a genocide. He has been accused of being behind the forced disappearances, mass surveillance, and brutal incarnation of the hundreds of thousands of Uyghur Muslims. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 25 Oct 2022 Edition


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