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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10 Sep 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Muslim immigration detainees in Australia say they haven’t been given halal food for more than a year. In the U.S, Facebook takes down Trump-friendly group that posed anti-Muslim message. Our recommended read today is by Ibram X. Kendi titled “The Violent Defense of White Male Supremacy.” This, and more, below:

United States

10 Sep 2020

The Violent Defense of White Male Supremacy | Recommended Read

The summer began on May 25, when the police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in Minneapolis, Minnesota, suffocating his pleas for life. Largely peaceful demonstrations followed, and Trump tweeted: “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen.” He added, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The summer ended on August 25, when Kyle Rittenhouse borrowed an AR-15-style assault rifle from a friend and allegedly fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony M. Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz. These three people had been demonstrating in Kenosha, Wisconsin, against the police shooting of Jacob Blake two days earlier. Trump suggested that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. “He was trying to get away from them,” Trump said. “And he fell and then they very violently attacked him … He probably would have been killed” if he didn’t defend himself with lethal force. The violence of Chauvin and Rittenhouse bookended the summer of Trumpism. The three long, hot months from May 25 to August 25 compressed 413 years of American history into a cellphone video in which anyone could easily see the history for what it has always been: the violent “self-defense” of white male supremacy. Colonialism, capitalism, slavery and slave trading, Indian removal, manifest destiny, colonization, the Ku Klux Klan, Chinese exclusion, disenfranchisement, Jim Crow, eugenics, massive resistance, “law and order,” Islamophobia, family separation—all were done in the name of defending life or civilization or freedom. Trumpism is the latest—or last—chapter in the story of this America. Like its antecedents, Trumpism is the violent defense of white male supremacy. Adherents of Trumpism think they are facing a choice between white male supremacy and “anarchy.” And right now, Trump’s federal agents, Trump-supporting paramilitary domestic terrorists, and Trump-supporting police officers from Kenosha to Austin believe they are fighting against anarchy. Which is to say, they are fighting to maintain white male supremacy. Which is to say, they are defending law and order. Defending their America—where white men can rule and brutalize without consequence. read the complete article

Recommended Read
10 Sep 2020

Facts Over Fear: Standing with Our American Muslim Neighbors

Facts Over Fear: Standing With Our Muslim Neighbors: A five-part webinar series exposing misinformation promoted by the anti-Muslim industry and providing concrete steps to being an effective ally to American Muslims. This is for especially important as we prepare for the November election, because research shows Islamophobia spikes around elections, as politicians and pundits exploit anti-Muslim sentiment for political gain. read the complete article

10 Sep 2020

House candidate Burgess Owens frequently promoted content from Alex Jones, including an anti-Muslim smear against a Gold Star father

Right-wing commentator and congressional candidate Burgess Owens frequently shared content from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website. In one instance, Owens promoted an anti-Muslim smear against Gold Star father Khizr Khan that claimed that he might share responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and the death of his son in Iraq. Media Matters previously documented that Owens, who is running for Congress in Utah's 4th Congressional District, plagiarized numerous passages in his book Why I Stand. In May, Owens appeared on a QAnon program and asked for money and support for his campaign. On Twitter, prior to starting his run for Congress, Owens frequently promoted Alex Jones and his Infowars website and tagged Jones' now-banned Twitter account. On August 4, 2016, Owens promoted a despicable Infowars article smearing Khizr Khan, a Gold Star father whose son Army Capt. Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004. Khan spoke about his son at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. In the Infowars article that Owens shared, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Wayne Madsen claimed that Khan co-founded “an academic periodical that seeks to defend the arcane Sharia law to a legal system based on Western jurisprudence.” The article also concocted an evidence-free conspiracy theory that Khan’s legal work may have helped the 9/11 hijackers enter the United States. The Infowars article additionally claimed that in “making it easy for Saudis, Emiratis, and others to game the U.S. immigration system, Khizr Khan shares in some of the responsibility for his son’s death.” read the complete article

10 Sep 2020

Facebook takes down Trump-friendly group that posed anti-Muslim message

A pro-Trump Facebook group that posed a demeaning, anti-Muslim question to would-be followers drew membership of more than 62,000, including several local Republican politicians. Facebook has now blocked one of at least two groups called “California For Trump” for violating rules against hate speech – to the relief of many local Muslims and advocates. But the ban is sparking cries of censorship from some Trump supporters, who insist social media platforms and media at large are silencing conservative voices. People who asked to join the Facebook group got a message saying they could speed up the acceptance process by stating why they loved Trump, whom they voted for in 2016, and answering this question: “Describe Islam. Was Mohammed a prophet or a goat humping, slave trading, pedophile?” Earlier this month an aspiring member could skip these questions and still get in the group. So it’s not clear how many members actually responded to the question or if all members even saw it. Either way, local members of the Muslim community said they were pained to see elected officials join a group that promotes an Islamophobic message. “Encountering such hate-filled, derogatory language directed at my religion, Islam, like the question in this pro-Trump group, makes me feel sad that such ignorance still actually exists and that my religion is maliciously being used as a political pawn,” said Sabiha Khan of Garden Grove. read the complete article

10 Sep 2020

OPM Nominee Pledges ‘Nonpartisan’ Governance Despite Anti-Islam, Conspiracy Theorist Views

President Trump’s nominee to lead the federal government’s human resources agency declined to apologize during a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for offensive comments he made on Twitter in 2016, but promised that if confirmed, he would run the agency in a “nonpartisan” manner. John Gibbs, a former software engineer and Christian missionary who has served as a political appointee at the Housing and Urban Development Department since 2017, was asked repeatedly by senators of both parties on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee about incendiary tweets accusing the leadership of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign of engaging in satanic rituals and describing the Democratic party as the party of “Islam” and “gender-bending.” “There have been things that you’ve written in the past which have been disparaging of Islam, and at the same time you have promoted some relatively extreme, if not bizarre or nonsensical, conspiracy theories, including the idea that the leaders of the Democratic party had participated in satanic rituals of some time,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. “I wonder, do you believe those things, and if you do, how can those possibly be separated from an HR responsibility to people who represent a wide array of backgrounds?” “An individual wrote a book and invited someone to a dinner—that is what we know,” Gibbs said, apparently referring to a controversial art installation from Marina Abramovic. “As a political commentator, I reported on that at the time, but that is something that is behind me—that is not my current role. I can assure you that I have led in a nonpartisan fashion over the last three years during my service in government, and if I am confirmed as OPM director, I will continue to lead in a nonpartisan fashion.” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., asked if Gibbs “regretted” stoking anti-Muslim sentiment with his Internet posts before entering government. But Gibbs insisted that as a Black man whose ancestors were slaves, he has experienced discrimination “firsthand” and does not tolerate it in any form. read the complete article


10 Sep 2020

Myanmar soldiers confess to mass murder of Rohingya Muslims in new video: rights group

Two Myanmar military deserters say they were ordered to take part in the indiscriminate mass killing and rape of Rohingya Muslims in 2017, a human rights group claims, in video confessions which correspond with individual accounts given by survivors of the alleged atrocities. The footage of the soldiers would represent the first admission by members of Myanmar's military that a campaign of violence against the minority ethnic group took place in the country's western Rakhine State. That campaign has previously been described by the United Nations and human rights organizations as having the "hallmarks of genocide." The video confessions of Private Myo Win Tun and Private Zaw Naing Tun were filmed in July by the Arakan Army, a rebel group currently in combat with the Myanmar military, and released by the non-government organization Fortify Rights, which says it has analyzed the footage and found it to be credible. "We destroyed the Muslim villages near Taung Bazar village. We implemented the clearance operations in the night-time as per the command to 'shoot all that you see and that you hear.' We buried a total number of 30 dead bodies in one grave," said Myo Win Tun in his video statement. The two soldiers are believed to now be in the Hague at the International Criminal Court where an investigation into the Rohingya crisis is underway. read the complete article


10 Sep 2020

Tell Me: How do we overcome Islamophobia?

TRT World's Ayca Aydogdu shares your views and asks your questions from her home in self-isolation. Islamophobia and anti-Semitism expert Maryyum Mehmood and Huffington Post reporter Rowaida Abdelaziz debate on how we can overcome Islamophobia. read the complete article

10 Sep 2020

Mahmut: China is Engaged in Genocide of Uyghurs

As British MPs accuse China of ethnic cleansing, human rights activist Rahima Mahmut discusses her own experiences and what she sees as genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Mahmut, from the World Uyghur Congress, tells Daybreak Europe's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing that companies and consumers must stop buying goods from the Xinjiang region which are tainted by forced labour. read the complete article

10 Sep 2020

Disney's Choice To Film Mulan In Xinjiang Tacit Approval Of Chinese Oppression Of Uyghurs: Activist

Rushan Abbas, an Uyghur-American activist, has hit out at Disney over its choice to film several scenes of the movie 'Mulan' in northwestern China's Xinjiang, saying it is tacit approval of the Chinese government's brutal campaign against the Uyghurs. In a video statement, Abbas, whose sister went missing two years ago, wondered how Disney got permission to film the movie in a place where there are several restrictions and said the Chinese regime values money over human lives. "The issues raised by Disney's choice to film in a land stained by China's genocide has serious implications for the entire global community. As an Uyghur Muslim, I am horrified that the destruction of my people is being overlooked because of China's blood money. Many individuals are already complicit in this genocide by using the products made by Uyghur slaves and now by the ways that Disney gives tacit approval of the Chinese regime's actions," she said. Abbas, who herself is from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, wondered whether the Disney crew passed by the concentration camp, where her sister is believed to be held by authorities. "My own sister, a retired medical doctor has been detained since 2018. This week is the two-year anniversary of her disappearance. We have no news of her all these times. When I see the news about Disney's Mulan, I cannot help but wonder if Disney crews passed by the concentration camp where she is being held," she said. read the complete article

10 Sep 2020

Danish far-right set to stoke tensions in Sweden with new anti-Islam protests

Danish right-wing party Stram Kurs is set to stir up tensions by holding fresh anti-Islam protests in neighbouring Sweden this weekend. The party has announced plans for new demonstrations in five suburbs of the Swedish capital Stockholm on September 12. It comes after a group linked to Stram Kurs burned copies of the Islamic holy book the Quran in Malmo in late August, according to AFP. Several police officers were injured in clashes with the protesters in a suburb of the city, which is near the Danish border. "We want the Swedish people to wake up," Rasmus Paludan, leader of Stram Kurs, told Euronews. read the complete article

10 Sep 2020

Activists Are Demanding Facebook Suspend An Indian Executive Who Shielded Anti-Muslim Hate Speech

More than 40 human rights groups and internet watchdog organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center and Muslim Advocates are calling on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to suspend Ankhi Das, the company’s public policy director for India, South, and Central Asia, after the Wall Street Journal revealed that she decided not to apply the social network's hate speech policies to politicians from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party who posted anti-Muslim hate speech. In an open letter, the US- UK-, and New Zealand–based groups demanded that Das be put on leave pending an audit of Facebook India, and “should be removed from her role” if the audit substantiated the Journal’s reporting. They also asked for Facebook to work with civil society groups and human rights activists in India. “It’s high time Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook take anti-Muslim hatred seriously and change how its policies are applied in Asia and across the world,” Heidi Beirich, executive vice president for strategy at the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, one of the signatories of the letter, said in a statement. “The scandal in the Indian office, where anti-Muslim and other forms of hatred were allowed to stay online due to religious and political bias, is appalling and the leadership in that office complicit.” read the complete article

10 Sep 2020

The international controversy over Disney’s Mulan, explained

Some viewers who paid to stream the movie on Disney+ last weekend found something troubling in the credits: Disney thanked eight government bodies in Xinjiang, a western province in China where around 2 million Uighur Muslims have been forced into concentration camps by the Chinese government. It turns out parts of Mulan were filmed in Xinjiang two years ago, well after the world knew about Beijing’s plan to “reeducate” Uighurs with Communist Party doctrine. That’s simply shocking, as there’s no excuse for Disney executives to have been unaware of the human rights abuses taking place just miles from the filming sites. Plus, the film had courted controversy for some time, as its lead actress last year supported Hong Kong’s law enforcement over pro-democracy protesters, launching the #BoycottMulan social media movement. For several years now, China has been systematically repressing its Uighur Muslim minority in that region — subjecting men, women, and children to torture, sexual abuse, forced sterilization, family separation, and brainwashing, among other horrors. They add to the Chinese government’s other abuses, such as banning expressions of Islamic faith. Even worse, the film credits specifically praise the police security bureau in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang with a large Uighur population. That bureau is tasked with running some of the internment camps, experts say, and was blacklisted last year along with other Chinese law enforcement agencies by the US Commerce Department, prohibiting US companies from selling or supplying products to them. It’s unclear if Disney and Turpan’s police bureau or other similar agencies interacted much or at all during filming, but it’s still not a good look. read the complete article


10 Sep 2020

'Mental torture': Muslim immigration detainees say they haven't been given halal food for more than a year

Muslim immigration detainees in Brisbane have filed a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission saying they have not been given certified halal food for more than 12 months. They are among more than 100 men detained in a Kangaroo Point hotel after they were evacuated from Nauru and Papua New Guinea for medical reasons. Many of the Kangaroo Point refugees and asylum seekers are Muslims who eat halal food. Serco subsequently confirmed to the detainees the current and previous caterers were “not halal certified” but “purchase meat from halal-certified suppliers”. Serco’s contract with Home Affairs - obtained under Freedom of Information laws - said it “must prepare food for detainees of Islamic faith which meets the requirements of halal meals by sourcing produce certified as halal by a recognised halal food certification organisation”. Assisted by lawyers from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, detainees have filed a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission. “They feel this is a huge violation and a huge betrayal of their rights, they feel this needs redress. The substance of the complaint is that it has breached their rights to practise their religion,” said ASRC case worker Nina Field. "Many of the men have significant physical and mental health conditions, they were transferred to Australia because the couldn’t get treatment in Nauru or PNG. Adding this to that mix is not going to lead to good outcomes for their health and wellbeing." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Sep 2020 Edition


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