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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07 Oct 2019

Today in IslamophobiaUN says Myanmar is unsafe for Rohingya return, as China starts choosing arbitrary imprisonment of minorities over concentration camps. In the U.S, uproar over ACT for America hosting its gala at Mar-a-Lago prompts the resort to cancel the event; in the U.K, a new report suggests far right groups are using the guise of “protecting women’s rights” to target Muslims. Our recommended read today is by Nick Schifrin and Dan Sagalyn titled “China calls it re-education, but Uighur Muslims says it’s ‘unbearable brutality’.” This, and more, below:


07 Oct 2019

China calls it re-education, but Uighur Muslims say it’s ‘unbearable brutality’ | Recommended Read

Uighurs are Muslims who trace their roots back thousands of years in Central Asia, most currently living in the Chinese province Xinjiang. The group represents less than 1 percent of China's population, but they have endured what the U.S. calls one of the worst human rights crises of modern times. Nick Schifrin reports on how Communist China has persecuted this religious and cultural minority. Abdulsalam Mohammed (through translator): They brought everyone in there because they called us suspicious. There is unimaginable oppression inside. Every day, they'd toss us a little bread and water, so that we didn't die, and, every day, they would interrogate 15 or 20 of us with unbearable brutality. We are a people who've lost their freedom. We became their target because we'd studied religion and because we had influence in our society. They locked us up in jail. Then, after taking us to a camp, they'd tell us that we hadn't done anything wrong, that they were just educating us. read the complete article

Our recommended read for today
07 Oct 2019

Opinion | China Has No Room for Dissenting Friends

What was remarkable was the 37 countries issuing a counter letter praising China’s human rights record, from humanitarian luminaries including such as Syria, Myanmar, and North Korea. More interestingly, about half of the signatories of this letter were Muslim-majority countries. If the issues had been about Palestinians or even the Rohingya, one might expect the usual cynical domestic virtue signaling by political leaders around the well-worn claims of Muslim solidarity. Instead, they chose to loudly broadcast their support for Beijing’s policy of eradicating the old Islamic culture of the ancient Silk Road gateway to the Chinese heartland in Xinjiang. Unlike the West, China has a much lower tolerance for disagreement and criticism. In part, this is down to the political system. Western democracies are built upon disagreement and criticism. A Western government can hardly complain to Ankara or Riyadh about comments they make on domestic affairs when that country’s political opposition, media, and public opinion would have already raised those points. That ability to take criticism and hopefully respond by improving is one of the key strengths of the West’s political culture. But what’s curious is that the very same leaders and countries would have no compunction voicing objections to any real or imagined ill-treatment of Muslims by Western countries. Many of these countries, and certainly Turkey and Saudi Arabia, owe their security and their regional power and prominence to U.S. and NATO guarantees. There is no sense in which many of these countries are more dependent on China than they are on the United States. The asymmetry comes out of China’s expected response. read the complete article

07 Oct 2019

Inside Chinese camps thought to be detaining a million Muslim Uighurs

Around 10 percent of the Uighur population of Xinjiang is locked up, according to the U.S. government and human rights organizations. The Chinese Communist Party maintains these centers are a crucial part of its effort to counter terror, extremism and separatism. International rights groups charge that Chinese authorities are actually engaging in mass arbitrary detention, torture and mistreatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang. Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit group based in New York, has alleged “rampant abuses,” including torture and unfair trials of the population. Gay McDougall, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, accused China last year of turning Xinjiang into “something resembling a massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy, a sort of no-rights zone.” read the complete article

07 Oct 2019

From camps to prisons: Xinjiang’s next great human rights catastrophe

Their barbarian nature aside, these recent sentences are particularly worrying as they indicate the likely direction in which the repressions in Xinjiang are now heading. Following a year and a half of the incarceration of millions in police detention centers and de facto concentration camps, the Chinese authorities have unmistakably changed course in the fall of 2018. In an effort to fend off both international condemnation and the increased media coverage, Beijing has reacted by launching a campaign to whitewash the camps – through media propaganda, Potemkin tours, and solicited diplomatic approval – while simultaneously dismantling the system and releasing many into various forms of residential surveillance or forced job placement. However, as suggested by the government’s own statistics, some limited reporting, and the new evidence presented by victims’ relatives and former detainees in neighboring Kazakhstan, an incredible number of those detained in 2017 and 2018 are now being given lengthy sentences and transferred to major prisons like the one in Urumqi. read the complete article

07 Oct 2019

Abortions, IUDs and sexual humiliation: Muslim women who fled China for Kazakhstan recount ordeals

Some said that they were forced to undergo abortions in China’s Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, others that they had contraceptive devices implanted against their will while in detention. One reported being raped. Many said they were subjected to sexual humiliation, incidents that included being filmed in the shower and having their intimate parts rubbed with chile paste. The allegations come as China expands a years-long crackdown on its Muslim minority, which includes not only Uighurs but also Kazakhs and other ethnic groups. While the experiences described could not be independently verified, local rights groups and lawyers say they are common — and reveal a wider pattern of abuse directed specifically against women, aimed at curbing their ability to reproduce. read the complete article

United States

07 Oct 2019

Opinion | The Trump Administration Needs Policies to Match its Xinjiang Criticism

While condemning China’s abuses of religious minorities is vital work, these words ring hollow from an administration that disregards the basic dignity of Muslims at home and abroad. Xinjiang has been reduced to just a tool in the administration’s box that it wields in neither a subtle nor productive way. The United States only takes this tool out when it wants to goad China. The Trump administration’s anti-Muslim policy stance is well documented and it weakens the United States’ position as a negotiator on China. China is counting on U.S. insincerity in rhetoric and policy to advance its Xinjiang policies with impunity. read the complete article

07 Oct 2019

Anti-Muslim Group ACT for America Planned Gala at Mar-a-Lago

ACT for America claims to be the nation’s largest grass-roots national security organization, and is considered the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups. Michelle Malkin, a conservative columnist, author and television commentator, will be the keynote speaker, according to an invitation posted on the organization’s website. Standard tickets are $1,500 per person and premium tickets, which put attendees at the head tables, are $2,500. Premium tickets are sold out, according to the website. read the complete article

United Kingdom

07 Oct 2019

Far right poses as protectors of women to target Muslims, official extremism report finds

Far-right activists are exploiting concerns about the safety of women and children to target Muslims and ethnic minorities, an official report has found. The Commission for Countering Extremism said some groups “deliberately distort the truth to persuade their audience to adopt discriminatory and hateful attitudes”. The government agency’s first major report, seen exclusively by The Independent, warned that the tactic was drawing in white communities who would not normally support the far right, and worsening social division. read the complete article

07 Oct 2019

Counter-terror police running secret Prevent database

Counter-terror police across the UK have been running a secret database containing details of thousands of individuals referred to the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation Prevent programme, the Guardian can reveal. The National Police Prevent Case Management (PCM) database is managed centrally by national counter-terrorism policing headquarters. It is accessible to all police forces across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as the Home Office, according to documents sent to human rights group Liberty and seen by the Guardian. The stated aim of Prevent, a voluntary programme, is to divert people from terrorism before they offend and crucially deals with individuals who have yet to cross the criminality threshold. read the complete article


07 Oct 2019

How Canada’s far right is using anti-Muslim propaganda to target Trudeau

The video of the YouTube imam, for example, was uploaded by a prominent Ontario anti-Muslim activist, and then viewed, shared and liked on at least three anti-Trudeau Facebook pages with a collective reach exceeding 185,000. Dozens of videos on these pages are a conspiratorial pastiche in which Trudeau coddles Muslim extremists and throws open Canada’s borders at the behest of George Soros. And they have been clicked almost 700,000 times. The eddies of such online outrage sometimes spread into the real world. At a town hall meeting in January, an audience member accused Trudeau of supporting Sharia law – before intimating that he should be hanged for treason. read the complete article


07 Oct 2019

Modi’s Philosopher

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is a divisive figure in contemporary Indian politics. A founding thinker of the ideology of Hindutva, he is the intellectual forebear of the hardline nationalism that today animates the ruling BJP. At the same time, his promotion of violence and his virulent anti-Muslim views placed him at odds with much of the political establishment of post-independence India. With the BJP’s rising political fortunes, many of Savarkar’s once marginal ideas have drifted from the periphery of right-wing politics into the mainstream. To better understand the man whose thought has come to have such a hold on contemporary Indian politics, I met with Vinayak Chaturvedi, associate professor of history at the University of California Irvine. A scholar of South Asia, Chaturvedi’s first book explored the tension between peasant politics and Indian nationalism on the questions of land and labor in Gujarat. But it is his forthcoming book, an intellectual history of Savarkar, that I was most interested in discussing. read the complete article


07 Oct 2019

UN investigator: Myanmar is not safe for Rohingyas to return

The U.N.’s independent investigator on Myanmar says it’s not safe for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh to return because Myanmar has failed to dismantle its “system of persecution” of Rohingyas. Yanghee Lee said in a report to the General Assembly circulated Friday that living conditions for the remaining Rohingya in northern Rakihine state “remain dreadful.” The Rohingya can’t leave their villages and earn a living, she said, making them dependent on humanitarian aid whose access “has been so heavily diminished that their basic means for survival has been affected.” “While this situation persists, it is not safe or sustainable for refugees to return,” said the U.N. special rapporteur appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 07 Oct 2019 Edition


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