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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26 Oct 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a “new documentary is painting an in-depth portrait of what life has been like for Muslim-Americans who came of age after 9/11, and the impact of anti-Muslim rhetoric and policy,” meanwhile in Myanmar, five years after forcibly taking land from Rohingya Muslims who had lived there for generations, the government is preparing to officially transfer ownership to its current occupiers, and in the the United Kingdom, the high court heard that “government agencies have broken the law by not investigating the importation of cotton products manufactured by forced Uyghur labourers in China.” Our recommended read of the day is by Seyit Aydogan for Anadolu Agency on a new report from Canadian academics that finds the Islamophobia industry in the US has a market of $1.5 billion, and voices in the industry have made transnational connections, which has allowed “them to spread their disinformation and misinformation far more widely.” This and more below:


26 Oct 2022

Report shows 'Islamophobia industry' in Canada has become transnational | Recommended Read

A study conducted in Canada revealed the networks that influenced and funded Islamophobia, as it "has become a transnational sector." Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Jasmin Zine, a professor of Sociology, Religion and Culture, and the Muslim Studies Option at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the Islamophobia industry has a market of $1.5 billion in the US only. Saying that the market is coordinated by 39 US-based organizations, Zine and her team concluded the 127-page report in four years. "Islamophobia networks are transnational. They're not just in Canada or the United States. A lot of funding for this industry comes from the US, and some of the studies there show it's a $1.5 billion market in total. Some of this support is promoting anti-Islamic propaganda," Zine said, adding that it has also infiltrated Canada. Noting that they were unable to do the same research done in the US to Canada because they were not allowed to have access to the types of documents needed, Zine said support to the "Islamophobia industry" has also found its support in Canada. She further noted the transnational ties among actors influencing Islamophobia in Europe and elsewhere, adding that such ties also "strengthen the power of these networks and allow them to spread their disinformation and misinformation far more widely." Citing her report, Zine affirmed that "media outlets" are one of the major actors in the "Islamophobia industry." read the complete article

26 Oct 2022

Allyship or Islamophobia? Selective Activism Exposes Your Prejudice

I had a protective gait as I walked by my hijabi mother. Scanning everyone around us, analyzing every look we got. After all, Montreal is home to Bill 21. At some point during our many walks around the city, I wanted to pop into our hotel room to pick something up. We were only about a five-minute walk away from it. I pleaded with my mother to come with me, but she refused. “I don’t want to go back, I want to keep walking,” she said. Finally, I gave up and rushed to the hotel without her. Later that night my mother confessed that after wandering into a Pharmaprix, a man shouted at her to “go back to her country!”—I was infuriated, kicking myself for letting her walk around alone. During the height of the Iran protests, as I sat in the metro, I saw a man opposite from me holding a sign that advocated for Iranian women. I couldn’t help but think of my mother’s experience just a few months ago. I couldn’t help but wonder if that man sitting in front of me would have created a sign, taken a metro and stood alongside Muslim women to show his support. Maybe I’m being pessimistic, but I don’t think he would’ve. As a woman and a human being, I feel touched that the world is taking notice of the battles women of color face. I feel relieved that people with influence are finally shedding light on the oppression. As a Muslim, however, I feel fearful. Not because powerful women are standing up for their rights, but because I know the world will use this cause as an excuse to further justify their Islamophobic acts. read the complete article

26 Oct 2022

Failure to investigate UK imports linked to forced Uyghur labour unlawful, court told

UK government agencies have broken the law by not investigating the importation of cotton products manufactured by forced Uyghur labourers in China, the high court has heard. The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is challenging the home secretary, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency (NCA), claiming a failure or refusal to investigate imports from Xinjiang, allegedly home to 380 internment camps, was unlawful. In London on Tuesday, Jenni Richards KC and Tom Forster KC, for the congress, said there were reasonable grounds to suspect breaches of criminal and civil law under the Foreign Prison-Made Goods Act 1897 and the Proceeds of Crime Act (Poca) 2002, which concerns money laundering. In written arguments, they said 85% of Chinese cotton was grown in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR); named four Chinese companies they said were involved “on a very large scale”; and detailed those firms’ connections to the UK. “It can and should be reasonably inferred from the evidence that the vast majority of the cotton manufacturing done in facilities operated by these companies in the XUAR is carried out by labourers subject to conditions of detention and forced labour,” they said. In oral submissions, Richards went further, saying it was “inevitable” such cotton products emanated from detention and forced labour. Forster said that “well-known” UK companies, which he did not name, sourced products from three of the four Chinese firms identified. read the complete article

26 Oct 2022

Our unconscionable role in the Uyghur genocide

On Oct. 18, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) hosted a series of events entitled “Support Uyghur Rights” to raise awareness about the Uyghur genocide and to encourage students to take action. The event highlighted McGill’s involvement in the Uyghur genocide through an examination of the university’s unconscionable endowment fund. Currently, McGill holds multi-million dollar investments in several corporations that profit directly from the Uyghur genocide, contributing to a culture of complicity that is typical of a historically colonial and profit-driven institution. The university must divest, provide resources for the McGill community to stay informed on the atrocities committed in East Turkestan, and support student activist efforts. The Chinese government continues to commit human rights violations and crimes against humanity in East Turkestan, constituting the largest mass incarceration campaign of ethnic and religious minorities since the Holocaust. Twelve million Uyghurs live in East Turkestan, or the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and along with other Turkic peoples native to the region, they have been fighting for independence for almost a century. Since 2017, more than one million people have been detained, and in 2020, researchers documented the existence of 201 reeducation camps and 179 detention centres in East Turkestan. In addition to mass surveillance and indoctrination, Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples have been subjected to torture, brutal and inhumane living conditions, and forced labour. Research has found that over 20 per cent of all cotton in the global clothing market has been tainted by forced Uyghur labour. Countless children have been separated from their families and incarcerated women have been subjected to systematic rape and forced sterilization. read the complete article

United States

26 Oct 2022

Muslim Life In Post 9/11 America

A new documentary is painting an in-depth portrait of what life has been like for Muslim-Americans who came of age after 9/11, and the impact of anti-Muslim rhetoric and policy. Mehdi talks to award-winning director Nausheen Dadabhoy about the news events that have sparked Islamophobia and how Muslim Americans have endured — and often overcome — the backlash. read the complete article

26 Oct 2022

Civil Rights Activists Say Appointment of Right-Wing Hindu Americans to DHS Would Increase Islamophobia, Racism

Indian American organizations, activists and academicians are raising concern at the appointment of three Indian Americans aligned with Hindutva – the Hindu nationalist ideology – to high-profile jobs in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The three are tied to India’s Hindu supremacist outfit, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which controls India’s federal government and persecutes Muslims and Christians in that country. Their appointments raise fears that the DHS will discriminate against Indian Americans Muslims, Christians and Dalits, the activists have said. Earlier this month, the DHS named Chandru Acharya, a leader of the U.S. nonprofit Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), to its faith-based security advisory council. Two months ago, the DHS appointed Amit Jani, who has RSS ties, as its acting White House liaison. In March, the DHS named Sonal Shah, also connected with the RSS, to an advisory council. In May, Shah was also named Chief Commissioner of the White House Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. “The appointment of Acharya, Jani and Shah to important DHS positions is extremely concerning as Hindutva is intrinsically Islamophobic,” said Sunita Viswanath, Executive Director of Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR). “In the past, the DHS has discriminated against Muslims by the surveillance of mosques. Recruiting Hindu nationalists will increase and amplify Islamophobia, racism and anti-immigrant positions at the DHS.” “The problems with the DHS appointing people linked to far-right extremist groups are obvious. Such a move – which imperils minority communities and human rights advocates – is bad news for U.S. multiculturalism and all who hold progressive values,” said Dr. Audrey Truschke, an Associate Professor at Rutgers University. Dr. Truschke has been at the receiving end of online Hindu supremacist attacks and threats for years. read the complete article

26 Oct 2022

Why Do We Hate Each Other?

A group of scholars at the University of California, Los Angeles, is determined to better understand why people hate each other and what can be done to stop it. The university launched a new three-year initiative earlier this month that supports 23 different research projects, exploring how and why different social groups come to discriminate against each other and how to prevent it from happening. The projects are wide-ranging. Teams of faculty members and student researchers, including some undergraduates, will be studying the neuroscience of hatred, the impact of racial slurs on Latino high school students, how hate speech on social media affects children, why people stigmatize homelessness, how race affects decisions to call security personnel in response to patient emergencies at UCLA Health system hospitals and how video games might serve as a tool to teach tolerance, among other topics. “We recognized that Islamophobia was a prevalent force in American society, and that was also worthy of study,” Myers said. “And then we thought about the persistence of anti-Black racism in the United States and anti-LGBTQ expression. Later came a significant uptick in anti-Asian expression and violence. And I think we had the sense that there’s really, sadly, an unending series of case studies that could be included in our research undertaking.” read the complete article

26 Oct 2022

Ending Perpetual War

Successive U.S. administrations have failed to end the “Forever War,” the global armed conflict the United States has waged against terrorist groups continuously since 9/11. Though generally eschewing the phrase “war on terror,” the Obama administration maintained the war footing in the form of indefinite detention at Guantánamo Bay and status-based targeting under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), as did the Trump administration with even fewer safeguards in place. The Biden presidency has yet to turn the corner. Recent reports suggest Biden is following a similar playbook for direct action (airstrikes and special operations raids) as his predecessors. While the administration has slowed the pace of drone strikes in nearly every theater – with the exception of Somalia, where strikes are ratcheting up again – these trends may be easily reversed in secret at any time and by anyone who occupies the Oval Office. The war on terror has ebbed, not ended. It is in this context that we must now assess the new presidential policy framework for counterterrorism operations. Far from ending perpetual war, the latest counterterrorism guidance appears to further entrench the elaborate rules governing targeted killing constructed during the Obama administration. read the complete article


26 Oct 2022

India’s ‘Hijabi Performer’ Aims To Counter Hate Through Theater

When the south Indian state of Karnataka banned hijabs from public schools this year, theater and performance artist Sania Saifi thought about her own experience in school. When she was a student, her school in Delhi banned hijabs from 2013 to 2015. “On my first day of school, the school administration ordered me not to wear a headscarf in the class,” Saifi said. “The second day, two teachers were already stationed outside my class to keep an eye on me, and they wouldn't allow me into the classroom until I took off my hijab.” During those two years, Saifi followed the school’s rules and removed her hijab upon arriving. But she felt guilty for breaking her own principles: She wanted to wear the hijab to show her devotion to Islam and represent her community. So when she enrolled in college at Delhi University's Deshbandhu College to study theater, she decided she would always wear her hijab while performing. “It is a matter of choice for every Muslim woman to wear or not wear hijab, or wear whatever they feel like wearing,” Saifi said. “Our choices should be respected, be it in India, Iran or any part of this world.” When Saifi auditioned for her first role in college, the selector choosing actors told her the theater requires removing her headscarf. "I was outraged at the time because everything that had happened in school had seemed to rush back,” Saifi said. “However, after a brief pause, I proclaimed that if I do theater, I will perform while donning my hijab.” And that was that. The auditions continued, and Saifi was given a role. "I'm proud of myself for standing my ground and telling them no,” she said. “That's when the journey of ‘The Hijabi Performer’ began.” read the complete article


26 Oct 2022

Myanmar junta strips Rohingya of ownership of land they were forced to flee in 2017

Noor Kamal, 31, was one of more than 700,000 ethnic Rohingya from northern Rakhine State who marked the fifth anniversary of their painful exodus from their homeland this past August. Now living at the Shofiullah Kata refugee camp in Bangladesh, Noor can hardly imagine what his native village of Myin Hlut, in conflict-torn Maungdaw Township, looks like now. There was once a large market at the centre of this prosperous village of some 20,000 inhabitants that Noor remembers as his favourite place to be when he was growing up. Now a father with a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, his own parents had three acres of land in Myin Hlut that they farmed to provide for their children. When he and his family were forced to flee in 2017, Noor was running a pharmacy in the village. Since then, the entire village has been razed to the ground—burned and bulldozed by the military forces that emptied it of its Rohingya residents. Most of the land where the village once stood is now occupied by border guard forces under the command of the junta that seized power in February 2021. Now, five years after taking this land from those who had lived there for generations, the regime is preparing to officially transfer ownership to its current occupiers, according to documents seen by Myanmar Now. A total of more than 700 acres in two townships—Maungdaw and Buthidaung—are about to be handed over to the military-controlled No. 1 Border Guard Police Division Office, the documents show. read the complete article


26 Oct 2022

'It is exciting': Ausma Malik to become first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to sit on Toronto city council

There will be nine new faces on Toronto’s city council this year, including the first hijab-wearing Muslim councillor elected to office, Ausma Malik. “If you look at the results across the city, it is exciting. We are changing not just the face of what progressive political leadership can look like in Toronto, but also its substance,” Malik told CP24 on Tuesday. Malik, 38, cruised to victory in Monday night’s election and won the councillor position in downtown Ward 10-Spadina-Fort York with 36.6 per cent of the votes, besting her nearest challenger by about 15 points. This is not the first time Malik made history in the political realm. From 2014 to 2018, she served as a Toronto District School Board Trustee for Ward 10-Trinity-Spadina, becoming the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to be elected to public office in Canada. She said she is proud to help pave the way for more representation and inclusion in municipal politics. “What I'm so excited about is the next generation and the new generation of leaders, of activists in our community that will see a role for themselves in political leadership in our city that is about serving all of us and making our city more equal, more livable, more affordable, and most of all, being a climate leader,” Malik said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 Oct 2022 Edition


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