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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11 Sep 2020

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.K., right-wing blogger David Vance is suspended from Twitter amid repeated accusations of racism. Danish far-right group travel to Sweden to hold illegal Quran burning in Muslim-populated Stockholm neighbourhood. Our recommended read today is by Sahar Aziz and Braxton Haake titled “No justice for post 9/11 discrimination.” This, and more, below:

United States

11 Sep 2020

No justice for post-9/11 discrimination | Recommended Read

A seismic shift befell American politics after the September 11 attacks, and 19 years later, Muslim Americans are still dealing with the aftershocks. Most people are familiar with the so-called war on terror's targeting of Muslims as well as anti-Muslim discrimination in the public sphere in the United States. But few know of Muslims' difficulty in attaining justice in American courts in either of these cases. As part of an ongoing study by the Rutgers Center for Security, Race and Rights, we reviewed 175 Muslim civil rights cases filed across the US since 2001 and found that only 17 percent of claims made it to trial, with most cases dismissed by judges in the pre-trial phase. Our preliminary findings point to a troubling trend: not only have Muslims experienced more discrimination since 2001, but they have also not been able to find meaningful relief in the courts. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion or ethnic origin, which are the most common cases filed by Muslims. Discrimination cases are already hard to win because judges consistently read anti-discrimination law with high deference towards employers, supervisors and law enforcement. In cases filed by Muslims, the judges' exercise of discretion pre-trial demonstrates an ignorance at best, or callousness at worst, of discrimination experienced by Muslim communities. In post-9/11 America, thus, Muslim plaintiffs face a nearly insurmountable battle to try their case before a jury of their peers, despite rising Islamophobia in society. read the complete article

Recommended Read
11 Sep 2020

Terrorcraft and the Legacy of 9/11 with Deepa Kumar

As we approach the nineteenth anniversary of 9/11, today we turn our attention to the five-trillion-dollar "war on terror" and the construction the racialized terrorist in the American imagination with professor Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire. Deepa Kumar is a professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University, where she researchers Islamophobia, empire, culture, gender, race, class in the media, neoliberalism, labor, and social class. She is the author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire (Haymarket, 2012). Her latest article, "Terrorcraft: Empire and the Making of the Racialized Terrorist Threat," is available here:…06396820930523 read the complete article

11 Sep 2020

55 years later, 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' still inspires

Since it was published in 1965, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” has sold millions of copies around the world and served as a guidebook into the life and philosophy of a civil rights leader who was as contentious as he was revered. Released eight months after his assassination and based on more than 50 interviews with the writer Alex Haley, the book was integral to shaping Malcolm X’s legacy. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” will soon reach a new audience on Thursday, when Audible releases an unabridged audio version of the text for the first time. Performed by the Oscar-nominated actor Laurence Fishburne, Shabazz said she hopes the audiobook “will inspire today’s activists and create a shared understanding with the civil rights leaders of the 1960s.” A convert to Islam in his 20s, Malcolm X forged a relationship with the Nation of Islam through the 1950s, and he became a leading public voice of the controversial group. His speeches and writings focusing on Black empowerment and the need for Black independence were largely considered more radical than that of the nonviolent approach of the civil rights movement. Malcolm X eventually left the Nation of Islam and converted to Sunni Islam in 1964 after performing the Hajj that same year. Still, his uncompromising rhetoric led to deep suspicions within white America, which could be summed up by a New York Times editorial in 1964 describing him as an “embittered racist” and an “irresponsible demagogue.” This distrust persisted after his death. Immediately following his assassination at 39 in February 1965, “there was widespread derision in terms of Malcolm and his life” in the mainstream, white-owned press, noted Zaheer Ali, a historian and senior fellow at the Pillars Fund, a Muslim American philanthropic organization. An example of this is another New York Times editorial that ran the day after he was killed that described Malcolm X as “an extraordinary and twisted man” who used his “many true gifts to evil purpose.” In contrast to those narratives, reading his extensive autobiography allowed readers to explore Malcolm X’s life story on their own terms, Ali said. read the complete article

11 Sep 2020

Trump says he didn't want to 'create panic' over the pandemic, but stoking fear has been his trademark: ANALYSIS

While President Donald Trump said he downplayed the threat of the novel coronavirus earlier this year because he did not "want to create panic," there's a glaring contradiction: He has run a reelection campaign -- and based much of his presidency -- on promoting fear. From dire warnings about undocumented immigrants during his run in 2016, and issuing a Muslim ban shortly after taking office, to now warning the suburbs would be "destroyed" under a Biden administration, Trump has used fear -- often laced with racist undertones -- to fire up his base and turn out voters. And while some might view panic as an extreme manifestation of fear, the president has at times used the words interchangeably. read the complete article

11 Sep 2020

I'm a Muslim US Marine and I served on 9/11

Although the Marine Corps is a unique breed of brotherhood which prides itself on certain core values like honor, courage and commitment, I started to experience a level of discrimination I could never have imagined. I remember certain Marines giving me weird looks while some others, half jokingly and openly, even called me things like Taliban, terrorist and Osama bin Laden. In the beginning, I'd either try to ignore it or just laugh it off -- but as time went on, I could feel things starting to get to me. I made complaints to my leadership, but they did little to intervene. Sadly, sometimes they were part of the problem. I even remember the time when my warrant officer denied my request to hold off on a physical fitness test (which included a three mile timed run, pull ups and maximum crunches in two minutes) until the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunup to sundown every day for a month. The armed forces does make reasonable accommodations as needed, so I felt that the denial was part of the discrimination I was facing. Luckily, I passed my physical fitness test successfully without passing out. Adjusting to the Marine Corps way of life up until that point had been hard enough. Now, I was dealing with a new environment that was more intimidating. Months later, I was moved to a different unit on base and able to start over, earning a Marine of the Quarter award and later a meritorious promotion to Corporal. To be absolutely clear, I'm not saying the Marine Corps is full of racist and bigots. I'm just saying, unfortunately, racism and bigotry also exists within the armed forces. Nineteen years have passed since 9/11 and yet every time we commemorate the victims of 9/11 through various programs, there are certain groups, organizations, people (including politicians) who intently and cleverly work to make 9/11 about the Muslim faith. As hashtags like #NeverForget trend, it not only serves as a reminder to keep the memory of those 3,000 lives that were so viciously taken, but I've seen how for some it's also a way to remind Americans the terrorists were Muslim. Just go through your social media and read some of the comments. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about. read the complete article


11 Sep 2020

Facebook bias spurs violence in India, US rights groups say

Civil rights groups on Wednesday said Facebook has failed to address hateful content in India as they demanded that the company's head of public policy there be removed. A letter addressed to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and his second-in-command Sheryl Sandberg wanted the social network's India policy chief Ankhi Das sidelined pending the results of a civil rights audit. "Facebook should not be complicit in more offline violence, much less another genocide, but the pattern of inaction displayed by the company is reckless to the point of complicity," said the letter signed by more than 40 groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Witness, Muslim Advocates, and Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. "It is no secret, given the acknowledged and harsh realities of Facebook's role in the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, that online violence and hate easily spill into violence in real life." "The full extent of the harm done by Facebook India is yet to be determined, but even what we know now highlights the urgent and serious nature of these demands," the letter read. read the complete article

11 Sep 2020

My mother may be a victim of China’s concentration camps. Disney’s ‘Mulan’ is a whitewash.

My mother, Gulshan Abbas, a Uighur retired medical doctor, was abducted from her home in Urumqi on Sept. 11, 2018. Urumqi is just 119 miles from Turpan — a city that is credited in the recently released live-action Disney interpretation of “Mulan.” (The credit sequence of the film thanks Turpan’s public safety bureau, which is responsible for the camps in the area, and other government entities in Xinjiang.) For the past two years, I have struggled to get any information on my mother’s whereabouts, and I can’t help but wonder if my mother is being held in one of the concentration camps in Turpan. Our homeland is beautiful and picturesque in many ways, boasting ideal scenery for shooting a movie. But it is also a place where journalists do not have access, information is censored and criticism is silenced. I myself have been denied any information about my mother’s condition or location. My mother believed that living a simple, peaceful life in service to others was the only protection from trouble she needed. But trouble came to find her all the same. This trouble was aided and funded by corporations that valued Chinese blood money more than integrity and human lives. The most crushing reality of all is that Liu Yifei, the actress who plays Mulan, has used her platform to speak against freedom and support the totalitarianism of the Chinese Communist Party. As an immigrant to the United States, I wish I could rejoice in her success story, but I don’t relate to her and her decision to use the platform she has in the United States to defend a system that oppresses so many. The idea that she may have filmed the story of Mulan in the land where my mother could be imprisoned in a concentration camp is devastating. read the complete article

11 Sep 2020

The Long Shadow of Xinjiang

For years, evidence has accumulated of Chinese atrocities against minority groups in Xinjiang, the northwestern province that is home to the mostly Muslim Uighur people. Investigative journalists, researchers, and refugees paint a grim picture of mass surveillance, arbitrary arrest, forced labor, sprawling detention camps, torture, and murder. The Chinese government has not only engaged in political and cultural repression but taken specific aim at the Muslim faith: it has destroyed mosques, confiscated Korans, forbidden halal diets, and banned fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. And yet the countries and entities that regularly criticize Israel, Myanmar, the United States, and other nations for their actions against Muslims have kept quiet about China’s treatment of the Uighurs. The governments of Muslim-majority states, Muslim religious leaders, and international institutions such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have avoided calling out the litany of abuses in Xinjiang. Some have accepted Chinese funds in support of infrastructure projects and even signed on to letters supporting China’s behavior in Xinjiang. Civil society groups in Muslim-majority countries, however, are increasingly uncomfortable with their governments’ reticence. Activists are organizing boycotts, protests, and media campaigns in a bid to bring the plight of the Uighurs to broader attention. Their efforts are slowly shifting the behavior of their governments: Chinese investment and political influence may prevent many leaders from openly criticizing China, but opposition figures and officials at lower levels of government have begun to speak out in response to pressure from below. Arabic-language news media, such as the New Arab and Al Jazeera, have reported on Xinjiang, and such coverage has since spread throughout the Middle East and become a hot topic of discussion on social media. Public outrage has grown as a result. According to the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, China’s repression of the Uighurs was mostly unknown in the Islamic world just two years ago. Now UHRP and other Uighur diaspora organizations, such as the World Uyghur Congress, say they are receiving a rising number of inquiries from across the Muslim world from people who want to know what they can do to help the Uighur cause. read the complete article

11 Sep 2020

Mulan is nothing more than a nationalist drama that whitewashes the Uighur Muslim crisis in China

Upon the release of the film on streaming service Disney+, it was found that the studio offers “special thanks” in the credits to eight government entities in Xinjiang - where about one million people, mostly Uighur Muslims, are thought to be detained. One agency credited at the end of the movie is the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security, which has links to the notorious re-education camps in the province. Numerous detainees have alleged torture and abuse at the hands of the authorities there. Disney claims to entertain, inform and inspire people around the world through unparalleled storytelling, so it is worrying that it is cooperating with those who allegedly systematically violate human rights to achieve its goal, especially when its target market is children worldwide. The plot and the casting of the movie itself have also been criticised for distorting and denigrating the history of the Turks by preaching that the Huns are bad people and the Han-Chinese are peace lovers. The original Chinese folk story which the movie is based on, in which Mulan is the servant of a khan (emperor) of the Northern Wei dynasty, seems to have been repackaged into a Chinese nationalist drama. The plot also somehow echoes the communist party’s claim that Uighur Muslim minorities in camps are extremists who pose a threat to the peace and stability in China and thus require “re-education”. The party has used these claims to justify its detaining millions of ethnic minorities, casting a Orwellian dragnet over the region. read the complete article

11 Sep 2020

Danish far-right group travel to Sweden to hold illegal Quran burning in Muslim-populated Stockholm neighbourhood

A Danish far-right group on Thursday held an illegal Quran burning demonstration in an area of Sweden with a significant Muslim population. The provocative gesture was carried out by members of the Danish far-right group Hard Line (Stram Kurs) in the Rinkeby neighborhood of Sweden's capital, Stockholm. Stram Kurs members arrived in the neighbourhood early in the morning on Thursday to carry out the Quran burning, according to the group's social media platform. They had applied for permission to carry out the burning prior to the demonstration, but their request denied. In a social media video broadcast, the group showed one of its members dousing the book in gasoline before setting it alight. The group quickly dispersed after the copy of the Quran was set alight. A similar event was held last month in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, where a group linked to Stram Kurs also burned a copy of the Muslim holy book. Stram Kurs plans to hold further anti-Islam demonstrations in Sweden this weekend. read the complete article


11 Sep 2020

What To Do About the 2022 Beijing Olympics?

In 2022, China is due to host the Winter Olympics. Yet increasingly, people are asking: Does a regime accused of atrocity crimes and grave breaches of an international treaty deserve to host this prestigious sporting event? Earlier this week, a coalition of human rights groups delivered a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urging it to revoke Beijing’s hosting privileges. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime has always been repressive. But over the past eight years since Xi Jinping took power, that repression within China’s borders has taken on an entirely new level of intensity, just as the regime has become more aggressive abroad. Last month the World Uyghur Congress, through barrister Michael Polak, submitted an official complaint to the IOC’s Ethics Commission requiring a ruling on their allegations that refusing to reconsider holding the Games in Beijing was in breach of the Olympics ethical code. As more evidence emerges of the regime’s crackdown on the Uyghurs and other Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) – which the Uyghurs call “East Turkestan” – a picture of crimes potentially tantamount to genocide is coming to light. That ought to matter for the IOC’s ethics code. read the complete article


11 Sep 2020

Three years after exodus, Myanmar erases names of Rohingya villages, U.N. map makers follow suit

Three years ago, Myanmar’s military burned the Rohingya village of Kan Kya to the ground and bulldozed over its remains. Last year, the government erased its name from official maps, according to the United Nations. About 3 miles (5 km) from the Naf River that marks the border between Myanmar’s Rakhine state and Bangladesh, Kan Kya was home to hundreds of people before the army chased 730,000 Rohingya out of the country in 2017 in what the United Nations described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” The Myanmar military, now facing charges of genocide, said it was conducting “clearance operations” targeting militants. Where Kan Kya once stood, there are now dozens of government and military buildings including a sprawling, fenced off police base, according to satellite images publicly available on Google Earth and historical images provided to Reuters by Planet Labs. The village, in a remote region in the northwest of the country closed off to foreigners, was too small to be named on Google Maps. On maps produced in 2020 by the United Nations mapping unit in Myanmar, which it says are based on Myanmar government maps, the site of the destroyed village is now nameless and reclassified as part of nearby town Maungdaw. The unit makes maps for the use of U.N. bodies, such as refugee agency UNHCR, and humanitarian groups that work with the United Nations in the field. read the complete article

Sri Lanka

11 Sep 2020

Why is Sri Lanka planning to ban cattle slaughter?

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has proposed a complete ban on the slaughter of cattle in the country after parliamentary deliberation on Tuesday. Rajapaksa made the proposition while addressing the party’s parliamentary group meeting, stating that cattle slaughter should be prevented since many opposed the practice. He received unanimous approval from the group. According to some observers, the timing of the proposal could be driven by political motivations. “Buddhist monks have indicated they are strongly in favour of the move as eating beef is discouraged within the Sinhala Buddhist community for cultural reasons,” Roel Raymond, Editor in Chief at Roar Media, told TRT World. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director of the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives, considers the ban as “part of the appeasement of the Sinhala Buddhist majority” that will come “at the expense of the Muslim community.” “It is another blow at the pluralism of the population,” he told TRT World. The impact of a ban might be felt disproportionately by marginalised sections of society. read the complete article

New Zealand

11 Sep 2020

Muslim shop owner told by woman his religion is 'evil' says he's disappointed, not surprised

When a woman walked into a Wellington shop and told the Muslim owner his religion is evil and that his people have the potential to “bring jihad and kill us all”, the shop owner was disappointed, but not surprised. Father-of-three and owner of Kilbirnie’s Near And Far Import Export Ltd, Nureddin Abdurahman, is used to discrimination in New Zealand, after the years of racism he experienced working as a taxi driver. Drunken verbal and physical abuse aimed at Abdurahman and his colleagues was normal, almost never reported and created the accepted notion among them: “we don’t belong here.” But on Tuesday, when a woman walked into his store and shared her beliefs that it is “a shame” to be Muslim, he felt compelled to speak up for his community. Abdurahman shared a 15-minute video of the interaction with the woman online, which created a significant response and prompted conversations about how to appropriately discuss religion. Throughout the interaction, the woman, a Christian who admits she doesn’t know what jihad means, tells Abdurahman she believes if more Muslims move to New Zealand, there will be more jihad, and more terrorist attacks. read the complete article

United Kingdom

11 Sep 2020

Exclusive: Muslim Medics Taunted About Bacon And Alcohol – By Their Own NHS Colleagues

Muslim NHS workers have told HuffPost UK how Islamophobia is rife in the organisation, with their own colleagues making disgraceful comments and denying them opportunities to progress or even socialise. We teamed up with the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) for a flagship, in-depth survey of more than 100 Muslim health workers – one of the most significant of its kind. A shocking 81% revealed they had experienced Islamophobia or racism within the NHS, 69% felt it had got worse during their time at the organisation and more than half – 57% – felt Islamophobia had held them back in their career progression within the NHS. Many Muslims voiced a culture of “swallow it up” in the NHS, leaving people fearful of reporting Islamophobia in case of repercussions for their job or career progression. One Muslim female consultant said she felt that “you may as well flush your medical degree down the toilet” rather than reporting Islamophobia from a colleague or manager. She described the NHS as a “family which will close ranks to protect their own against those perceived as outsiders”. read the complete article

11 Sep 2020

Right-Wing Blogger David Vance Suspended From Twitter

Right-wing blogger David Vance has been suspended from Twitter amid repeated accusations of racism. The social media platform was urged to act on Monday after Vance replied to a tweet by Marcus Rashford – who campaigned throughout the summer for free school meals for children – citing the stereotype that there is a “disproportionate problem within the (UK) Afro-Caribbean [sic] community of Black men abandoning their pregnant girlfriends.” He also asked the England footballer, who is Black, if he had ever met his own father. Vance, who has recently written for AltNewsMedia – a site which purports to provide “an alternative to the fake news mainstream media narrative” – has been repeatedly accused of racism and Islamophobia during his time on Twitter. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Sep 2020 Edition


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