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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23 Sep 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a federal judge has ordered Facebook to release records of now-closed accounts connected to anti-Rohingya violence in Myanmar, meanwhile in India, a Catholic Bishop in the state of Kerala claims there are rising cases of “narcotic jihad” (as well as “love jihad”) in the state with an explicit attempt to destroy the lives of non-Muslims, and in the United Kingdom, an English soldier, who made a number of racist comments and mocked the Islamic faith, punched his Muslim colleague. Our recommended read of the day is by Robert P. Jones for the Washington Post on how following 9/11, the attitudes of Republicans, including white evangelicals who comprise its base, have increasingly aligned with a worldview rooted in centuries of white supremacist theology. This and more below:

United States

23 Sep 2021

White Christian nationalism found fertile soil in post-9/11 America | Recommended Read

Since the Bush era, the attitudes of Republicans, including white evangelicals who comprise its base, have increasingly aligned with a worldview rooted in centuries of white supremacist theology that conjures visions of light-skinned Christians engaged in a holy war against brown-skinned Muslims both at home and abroad. They have succumbed to the temptation Bush named: the conflation of acts of terrorism by a few with a faith followed by about 2 billion people worldwide. Twenty years on from 9/11, we are seeing Islamophobia flower into full-throated support for a white Christian nationalist vision of America. Two decades ago, out of the pain and grief and anger that flowed from 9/11, we had an opportunity to reaffirm our shared commitment to a religiously and racially pluralistic democracy. Instead, the data show Republicans and white evangelicals have embraced anti-Islamic views that provided sustenance for an exclusivist vision of a white Christian America. This was the stage that was set even before Donald Trump walked onto it. read the complete article

23 Sep 2021

DHS seeks contractor to run migrant detention facility at Gitmo, guards who speak Haitian Creole

The Biden administration is advertising for a new contract to operate a migrant detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a requirement that some of the guards speak Spanish and Haitian Creole, according to government records. A little-known immigrant holding facility on the base has a capacity of 120 people, the records say, and it "will have an estimated daily population of 20 people," according to a solicitation for bids issued Friday by the Department of Homeland Security. According to the solicitation, formal bidding is expected to take place later this fall. "The service provider shall be responsible to maintain on site the necessary equipment to erect temporary housing facilities for populations that exceed 120 and up to 400 migrants in a surge event," the contract solicitation says. The records provided no indication that the Biden administration is planning to transfer migrants from the southern border to Guantánamo Bay. In the recent past, migrants picked up at sea have been housed there for short periods. read the complete article

23 Sep 2021

9/11 from the perspective of a Muslim

Sept. 11, 2001, marked the start of a new era for Muslims in the United States. “Please don’t be a Muslim!” is the prayer that Muslim have become accustomed to reciting when watching the news about a bomb or mass shooting following the terrorism that took place on 9/11. Shortly after al-Qaida terrorists attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, many Muslims were hit with a tidal wave of hatred that still lingers today. The myth that 9/11 “brought people together” operates a clear intention: to obscure the fact that 9/11 had the opposite outcome. The United States responded to the attacks by waging a two decades-long campaign of collective punishment against Muslim communities worldwide. For Muslims who grew up after the tragedy of 9/11, the last 20 years have been a time of many ambiguities — dignity and panic, harassment and apprehension, unity and endurance. They grieved the violence on their country but also suffered Islamophobia, no-fly lists, the “Muslim ban” and stereotyping. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mosques were burned or destroyed. Severe death threats and harassment followed many Muslims with some victims even being held at gunpoint. Even as the United States moves further from the attacks and the Muslim American population in the country grows, prejudice against my community has not diminished. read the complete article

23 Sep 2021

Fashion's First Muslim Supermodel, Halima Aden, On Why She Suddenly Quit The Industry

Brands believed that she was their gateway to a vast untapped market of Muslim women who want style without compromising their faith, just as mainstream fashion was also having a modest moment. In many ways she was able to forge an untrodden path for Muslim women in the fashion industry; clauses in her contract ensured her a private space to change outfits backstage, and she turned up to shoots with a suitcase full of hijabs and other modest accessories. She was branded the first Muslim supermodel, and touted as a sign that the industry was changing for the better. Looking back through Halima’s archive, the transition is clear. In the pageant and her early modelling days, when she was wearing her own hijab and styling herself, her head coverings are stylish but simple. In later images, they have been replaced by jeans, tulle or intricate jewellery – symbols of fashion, not faith. On set, she was the only Muslim, always bearing the burden of explaining to stylists and photographers what is and isn’t compatible with her faith. Ten months on, Halima says she has no regrets about quitting. And now she is coming back to fashion – ‘coming home’, as she puts it – with a string of collaborations with modest fashion houses that she has hand-picked. read the complete article

23 Sep 2021

Ms. Marvel Star Confirms Her Character Wears a Hijab

One of the characters in the Ms. Marvel Disney+ series will wear a hijab, just like in the comics. Yasmeen Fletcher, who portrays Nakia Bahadir on Ms. Marvel, was asked if her character would wear a religious veil on the show as she does in the comics. "Yes, I will be," Fletcher answered. "This character means so much to me so I look forward to seeing the impact she makes on the younger generation." Nakia won't be the only character to maintain her look from the comics. Set photos from Ms. Marvel show lead actor Iman Vellani in an accurate recreation of Kamala's superhero costume. The outfit was originally designed by artist Jamie McKelvie, whose goal was to reflect both Kamala's inspiration -- Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel -- and her background in Islam, with the costume partially modeled after the traditional shalwar kameez dress. read the complete article


23 Sep 2021

Afghanistan and Beyond: End U.S. War-Making Everywhere

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, after 20 years of brutal occupation, should just be the beginning. The United States must also end the disastrous “War on Terror,” including the bombing campaigns targeting Somalia and Yemen. And it must also put a stop to the brutal sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and other countries in the Global South. But it’s not enough to merely stop the harm: The United States must also make amends. This means paying reparations to the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries it has invaded and exploited, and providing refuge to any citizens of those countries who are fleeing because of the destruction and destabilization wrought by the United States. The stakes could not be higher. The full cost of U.S. war-making during the past 20 years is tremendous. The Costs of War, a Brown University Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs project, recently estimated that post‑9/11 U.S. wars have killed between 897,000 and 929,000 people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries since 2001. The true number may be even higher: One study conducted by Opinion Research Group estimates that more than 1 million Iraqis have died as a result of the Iraq War since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. read the complete article

23 Sep 2021

The evidence is clear: The US must recognize genocide in Myanmar

There is no shortage of evidence. We documented Myanmar Army-led offensives in 2016 and 2017 (and since). Soldiers killed, raped, and otherwise destroyed Rohingya people in well-planned, coordinated attacks in three townships of northern Rakhine State. Those attacks forced hundreds of thousands to southern Bangladesh. Many organizations and experts apart from Fortify Rights, including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Refugees International, and an independent U.N. fact-finding mission, found that the situation amounts to genocide. The U.S. State Department itself already has up to 15,000 pages of evidence of atrocities against Rohingya. If the U.S. issued a Rohingya-genocide determination now, it would fertilize those roots of contrition and foster the inter-ethnic and inter-religious unity already forming in Myanmar. It would serve the domestic political awakening that now sees the Myanmar military for what it is: A corrosive, authoritarian, genocidal regime that must be held accountable for its crimes in all possible ways — including through genocide determinations. Lastly, a genocide determination would be truthful, and that matters. read the complete article

23 Sep 2021

UN Anti-Racism Event, Rejected by Some, Recommits to Goals

At a meeting focused on reparations and racial justice for people with African heritage, the assembly pointed to the effects of slavery, colonialism and genocide and called for ensuring that people of African descent can seek “adequate reparation or satisfaction” through national institutions. He urged the U.N. to take up the question of reparations for “one of the darkest periods in the history of humankind and a crime of unparalleled barbarity.” President Felix Tshisekedi of Congo said reparations, however they might be provided, should reflect not only historic wrongs but also “the scars of racial inequality, subordination and discrimination, which were built under slavery, apartheid and colonialism." The assembly's resolution also noted ills caused by religious prejudices, specifically including anti-Muslim, antisemitic and anti-Christian bias. But Israel, the United States and some other countries boycotted the meeting because of continued grievances about the Durban meeting 20 years ago. There, the U.S. and Israel pulled out because participants drafted a conference declaration that denounced Israel's treatment of Palestinians. read the complete article

23 Sep 2021

US judge orders Facebook to release anti-Rohingya account records

A judge in the United States has ordered Facebook to release records of now-closed accounts connected to anti-Rohingya violence in Myanmar, according to the Wall Street Journal. The judge in Washington, DC, criticised Facebook for failing to hand over information to investigators seeking to prosecute the country for international crimes against the Muslim minority Rohingya, the newspaper said. Facebook had refused to release the data, saying it would violate a US law that bars electronic communication services from disclosing users’ communications. But the judge said the posts, which were deleted, would not be covered under the law, according to the Wall Street Journal. read the complete article


23 Sep 2021

'Narcotic Jihad' and the Delusions of the Catholic Church

In the last few days, the public sphere in Kerala has been convulsed by intense – and sometimes acrimonious – debates on the claim made during a sermon by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Bishop of Pala Mar, Joseph Kallarangatt, that there are rising cases of “narcotic jihad” (as well as “love jihad”) in the state with an explicit attempt to destroy the lives of non-Muslims.The unsubstantiated statement is potentially explosive, for in the famed secularism model of the most religiously diverse state in India, this is arguably the first hate speech by a high-ranking religious figure across religions. The claim and the underlying support for it among not-too-small sections of the Christian laity demonstrate two crucial aspects: the increasing ideological willingness to participate in the fascist discourses of Hindutva and the impact of global narratives of Islamophobia, fuelled also by developments like the rise of the Taliban. It stems from a narrative of victimhood, in turn stemming from demographic fears of declining fertility and population numbers of Christians vis-à-vis Muslims and the projection that the population of the Muslim community would be double that of Christians by 2051. The political implications of this, in terms of an increased number of seats in Muslim-majority areas and for the Indian Union Muslim League, is a major bone of contention. The other perceived fears are regarding the rise of a business elite from the Muslim community following Gulf migration-led mobility and entrepreneurship and the challenge to the economic power of the Christians. This also leads to concerns that the Muslim minority is cornering most of the resources allocated to minorities. As with all other kinds of imagined victimhood, these fears are unfounded. read the complete article

United Kingdom

23 Sep 2021

Muslim soldier ‘punched after telling colleague to stop mocking his religion’

A Muslim soldier says he was punched in the face after asking a ‘racist’ colleague in the Household Cavalry to stop mocking his religion. Maxwell Nicholls allegedly racially abused Azaan Aziz-Sheikh in a Wetherspoon’s pub on a boozy trainee night out, having told him earlier Islam was a ‘scam’. Nicholls and his friend Declan Coutts then mocked their colleague back at a Windsor base before ‘sucker punching’ him and kicking him in the face, a panel was told. Bulford Military Court already heard the pair subjected their Northern Irish roommate Scott Alexander to a ‘prolonged bullying’ campaign. read the complete article


23 Sep 2021

Suspect in London, Ont. attack on Muslim family returns to court Oct. 6

The man accused of murdering four members of a London, Ont., Muslim family and attempting to kill their young child returned to court for a brief appearance on Wednesday that saw the matter pushed back another two weeks. Nathaniel Veltman, 20, of London, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in a set of charges that are linked to June’s vehicle attack in the city’s northwest end. A representative for his lawyer, Christopher Hicks, who identified herself as S. Ahn, told the court that more time is needed to receive additional disclosure, including a “vehicle analysis.” Jennifer Moser, an assistant Crown attorney assigned to the case, added that two sets of disclosure have already been sent to the Crown and that a third will be coming shortly. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Sep 2021 Edition


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