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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08 Oct 2021

Today in Islamophobia: Universal Electronics Inc., a U.S. remote-control maker, has told Reuters it struck a deal with authorities in Xinjiang to transport hundreds of Uyghur workers to its plant in the city of Qinzhou, while in India, the government of Assam has said it will continue with eviction operations despite a huge controversy that erupted after two people were killed and 11 others injured during an earlier operation, and calls are being made to Congress to repeal the AUMF, which has given the executive branch broad power to wage war around the globe. Our recommended read of the day is by Megan K. Stack for The New Yorker on the inconsistency of American Feminism in the Muslim world. This and more below:


08 Oct 2021

The Inconsistency of American Feminism in the Muslim World | Recommended Read

The war against the Taliban would not be pure retribution—the invasion was also extolled as a liberation. “The rhetoric was, like, ‘These Muslims beat women and kill them. We’re going to go liberate them, take off their burqas, take off their hijabs,’ ” Ibrahim said. “This is where this anti-hijab sentiment started.” The irony, for Ibrahim, was that the speeches and headlines about rescuing Muslim women in Afghanistan fed the suspicion and slights that she, a Muslim-American teen-ager, had to bear at home. Many Americans believed fervently at that time that they were at war with Islam. One of the world’s great religions, with its complex texts, generations of scholars, and varying interpretations, had been boiled down in the American imagination to two basic notions: jihad and the repression of women. The assignment strikes me as emblematic of a moment when Western journalists felt free to opine on the innards of Islam, and tried to spice up their features by using “Allah” instead of just “God” while writing about Muslims. It was a story conceived at a time when people in the United States sat around and discussed the extent to which Muslims were bad. Now I wonder whether my poking and prodding at the hijab is best understood as an unwitting continuation of the tradition of Western colonizers who condemned the veiling of women while they invaded and plundered foreign lands. The French did this in Algeria, the British in Egypt. And then the United States continued the tradition in Afghanistan. TV news was full of manipulations and dire prognostications, people who preached doomsday scenarios about jihad and Sharia, concepts they only dimly understood. And the women—suddenly they were all so worried about the women, but only certain women. I think we all know this, even if subliminally: advertising the confinement of women in Afghanistan wasn’t useful only because we wanted to have a war; it also allowed us, the Americans, to feel enlightened and superior. It was a way to throw something shameful outside ourselves. In the United States, fathers dress up their daughters in white and slip purity rings on their fingers, staking a claim on their hymens. A big brother is expected to frighten his sister’s date, to establish himself as a kind of psychological guard dog in the middle of her sexual awakening. We admit no connection, none at all, between these practices and the guardianship laws and honor killings we fetishize overseas, even though they are various fruit of the same tree: the internationally ubiquitous notion that a woman’s body belongs to the men of her family, that she herself is a valuable that must be protected. read the complete article

08 Oct 2021

EXCLUSIVE: US electronics firm struck deal to transport and hire Uyghur workers

U.S. remote-control maker Universal Electronics Inc (UEIC.O) told Reuters it struck a deal with authorities in Xinjiang to transport hundreds of Uyghur workers to its plant in the southern Chinese city of Qinzhou, the first confirmed instance of an American company participating in a transfer program described by some rights groups as forced labor. The Nasdaq-listed firm, which has sold its equipment and software to Sony, Samsung, LG, Microsoft and other tech and broadcast companies, has employed at least 400 Uyghur workers from the far-western region of Xinjiang as part of an ongoing worker-transfer agreement, according to the company and local officials in Qinzhou and Xinjiang, government notices and local state media. read the complete article

08 Oct 2021

After the Fall of Kabul, the US Needs to Reject China’s Narrative on Terrorism

The U.S. should stay focused on pressuring China to end genocidal policies targeting Uyghurs. Further, the U.S. needs to assist Afghan Uyghurs who are at risk of rendition to China, where they face almost-certain torture and imprisonment. After 9/11, in another cynical move, Beijing claimed the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) posed a significant threat to China’s security. Chinese officials asked the United States to designate ETIM as a terrorist organization, which it did in 2002. The problem was no one had heard of the group. This September, former assistant secretary of state for Central Asia, Richard Boucher, said, “China had been asking us to do that for years and we’d say, ‘Who are these guys? We don’t really see it, we don’t see an organization, don’t see the activity.’” In other words, China’s claims about ETIM had no backing. China is recycling the same discredited line about ETIM again in 2021. Hyping an unsubstantiated “extremism” threat is a key tactic in the Chinese government’s propaganda war to deflect condemnation of its atrocities in the Uyghur region. read the complete article

08 Oct 2021

Chelsea Manning tells Canadian tribunal she blew whistle on War on Terror

Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of espionage and theft for supplying WikiLeaks with thousands of U.S. government documents, has told a federal tribunal she should be allowed into Canada because her only crime was to make principled disclosures. “Now, people take it for granted the disaster of Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ms. Manning told Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) on Thursday. Testifying via video from her home in the United States, she said the world would not know as much about calamities caused by these U.S.-led military interventions except for her past decisions to release massive amounts of classified material. “The war on terror was being sold to different places and it was a broad, encompassing effort involving every country you could think of,” Ms. Manning told the IRB. “I wanted to show how the sausage was made – how these discussions were happening.” read the complete article

08 Oct 2021

After 20 years of drone strikes, it’s time to admit they’ve failed

“The truth is that we could not differentiate between armed fighters and farmers, women, or children, ” Lisa Ling, a former drone technician with the US military who has become a whistleblower, told me. “This kind of warfare is wrong on so many levels.” More than 1,100 people in Pakistan and Yemen were killed between 2004 and 2014 during the hunt for 41 targets, according to the British human rights organization Reprieve. Most of those targets are men who are still alive, like the Haqqanis, or Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who just published another book while thousands of people have been murdered by drones instead of him. As far back as 2014, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that only 4% of drone victims in Pakistan were identified as militants linked to Al-Qaeda. It also underlined that the CIA itself, which was responsible for the strikes in the country, did not know the affiliation of everyone they killed. “They identified hundreds of those killed as simply Afghan or Pakistani fighters,” or as “unknown,” the report stated. read the complete article

United States

08 Oct 2021

Only Congress Can End Washington’s Endless Wars

A bipartisan coalition in Congress is demonstrating renewed interest in repealing and reforming authorizations for the use of force, including the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (known in legal circles as the 2001 AUMF), which has been the legal foundation for the war on terror and which turned 20 last month. There could hardly be a better moment for the Biden administration and Congress to take stock of whether two decades of fighting in countries from Niger to the Philippines has made the United States or the wider world safer and whether, and to what extent, military force remains a necessary counterterrorism tool. Yet the Biden administration appears focused solely on how to conduct the conflict rather than on more fundamental questions like whether to continue waging war or against whom. At the same time the administration speaks of “ending endless wars,” it continues discussing future “over-the-horizon” counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. For the past 20 years, Congress has left the executive branch largely to its own devices to demarcate the legal and policy bounds of the war on terror, often in secret. Such a state of affairs is a constitutional aberration. The declare war clause and other provisions of the U.S. Constitution afford Congress, not the president, the lion’s share of power to decide against whom and where the United States is at war. But the combination of the 2001 AUMF’s broad wording, interpretive leaps by the executive branch, and congressional acquiescence have together enabled an end-run around constitutional design—creating a system in which the president and his advisors determine where and against whom to wage the war on terror. read the complete article

08 Oct 2021

'The Problem With Jon Stewart' is he was absent during Trump's regime

“If only Jon Stewart was still hosting 'The Daily Show' during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump would have never won!” In the months after the 2016 election, I can’t tell you how many times I heard or read the sentiment that Jon Stewart could somehow have saved us from Donald Trump becoming president. On Aug. 6, 2015, Stewart stepped down from his perch as host of the show that so many of us watched to make sense of the world. Seven weeks earlier, Trump had slithered down his golden escalator at Trump Tower to announce his run to essentially put the white back in the White House. The thought that Stewart’s presence could have changed things makes some sense. It’s not just that he would have brutally mocked Trump during his candidacy, but it’s also that Stewart’s comedic barbs at Trump’s expense had already been shown to get under Trump’s thin skin. In 2013, in response to Stewart’s comedic jabs, Trump tweeted, “I promise you that I'm much smarter than Jonathan Leibowitz – I mean Jon Stewart.” Many people — including Stewart — rightfully believed Trump was trafficking in antisemitism by referring to Stewart’s given last name. While Trump is out of the White House, it feels as though America is in more need of saving than ever in our lifetimes. Well, the good news is that Stewart is back! The Emmy Award-winning comedian just kicked off his new biweekly Apple TV+ show, “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” that, by its own description, aims to address problems plaguing our nation and to “discuss how we come up with change.” read the complete article

08 Oct 2021

NJ Teacher Accused of Pulling Hijab Off 2nd Grade Student's Head

A New Jersey school district is investigating an incident where a teacher allegedly pulled off a 2nd grader's hijab in front of her class on Wednesday. The girl's mother and Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who is from Maplewood, made the allegations about a Seth Boyden Elementary schooler teacher in social media posts on Thursday, saying that the teacher told the young girl that her hair was beautiful and she did not have to wear hijab to school. "The young student resisted, by trying to hold onto her hijab, but the teacher pulled the hijab off, exposing her hair to the class," Muhammad wrote in her Instagram post. "Imagine being a child and stripped of your clothing in front of your classmates. Imagine the humiliation and trauma this experience has caused her. This is abuse. Schools should be a haven for all of our kids to feel safe, welcome and protected— no matter their faith," she added. "We cannot move toward a post-racial America until we weed out the racism and bigotry that still exist in all layers of our society. By protecting Muslim girls who wear hijab, we are protecting the rights of all of us to have a choice in the way we dress." read the complete article


08 Oct 2021

Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed: The 'cancer' in Quebec is hate, not Islam

Few things bring out Islamophobia like an election campaign and dog-whistle politics. Sadly, there is nothing new about political candidates pandering to racist constituents, in Quebec and elsewhere. As a fiercely proud Quebec-born, Canadian Muslim woman, I am disgusted that a member of a political party in Quebec City has compared Islam to cancer ahead of the Nov. 7 municipal elections. We should not be subjected to this kind of vitriol against the Muslim community in our provincial capital less than five years after they had to bury six worshippers following one of the worst acts of terrorism on Canadian soil. In case you missed it, Alain Giasson, who is running for mayor, said he believes Boufeldja Benabdallah, the former president of the mosque where the mass shooting took place — and who is now running for council for an opposing party — is promoting the Islamization of the provincial capital. Such comments must not be tolerated. And yet the province’s elections commission says it does not have the power to do anything about it. The cancer growing inside Quebec society is the hate that’s directed at “the other” — those who do not look like the majority, practise their faith like the majority, or dress like the majority. That is the cancer that must be excised from our society. When someone who is seeking such a lofty position as mayor can use such vile and disgusting language towards a faith practised by nearly 2 billion people worldwide and get away with it, I say we have a problem with our political oversight. read the complete article

08 Oct 2021

Anti-Islamophobia strategy launched at Ontario school board

Ontario's Peel District School Board has become the first school board to announce the implementation of an anti-Islamophobia strategy for both staff and students. read the complete article


08 Oct 2021

Assam Government’s Eviction Drive Kicks Up Controversy

An eviction drive launched by the Assam government against Bengali-speaking Muslim encroachers on government land has snowballed into a huge controversy after two people were killed and 11 others, including nine policemen, injured during the operation. A similar operation was executed without any trouble on September 20 at another location in the same region when the evicted families were relocated elsewhere. An estimated 7,000 people have been rendered homeless as a result of these eviction drives. The government has assured evicted families of compensation with land provided elsewhere. The controversy notwithstanding, the Assam government has said that it will continue with eviction operations against those encroaching on free government land. Plans have been firmed for another drive at a forest in Lumding. read the complete article

United Kingdom

08 Oct 2021

Tory councillor in Worthing suspended over alleged support of far right

The Conservative party has suspended a councillor and is investigating allegations that he has been a secret supporter of a far-right organisation. Tim Wills, a borough councillor in Worthing, West Sussex, is alleged to have been a supporter of Patriotic Alternative (PA), a racial nationalist group that seeks the removal of ethnic minorities from the UK. In discussions on a PA channel of the social media app Telegram, he is alleged to have called for the promotion of conspiracy theories such as “white genocide” and urged the group to “infiltrate and influence those in power”. Calls for Wills to be expelled from the Conservative party were led by the antiracist campaign group Hope Not Hate, which published the results of an investigation into him as Boris Johnson was addressing his party’s annual conference on Wednesday. “It is frankly abhorrent that a councillor representing the Conservative party in Worthing not only actively supports Patriotic Alternative – an antisemitic, white nationalist organisation – but has openly endorsed racist conspiracy theories,” said Nick Lowles, the chief executive of Hope Not Hate. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 08 Oct 2021 Edition


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