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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24 Sep 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, a landmark forum of international academics, activists and politicians gathered to highlight China’s abuses against Uighurs and to assess evidence of genocide on the Turkic peoples of North-West China, meanwhile a piece by CJ Werleman notes the hypocrisy of white feminist arguments obsessing over what Muslim women are “forced” to wear under the rule of hyper-conservative Islamic theocracy abroad, while turning a blind eye to items of clothing Muslim women are forced to remove under the rule of secular democracy at home. In the United States, as Biden meets with Indian PM Modi, protesters gathered outside the White House to urge the American president to send a stern message to India regarding the growing human rights violations in the country. Our recommended read of the day is by Dr. Maha Hilal for Inkstick on how 9/11 allowed the US to normalize torture, dehumanize Muslims, and justify empire. This and more below:

United States

24 Sep 2021

WHEN THE WORLD BECOMES YOUR BATTLEFIELD: How 9/11 allowed the US to normalize torture, dehumanize Muslims, and justify empire | Recommended Read

The sweeping mandate of the 2001 AUMF did much more than authorize the invasion of Afghanistan though; it essentially gave the president carte blanche to treat the world as a battlefield. Even before the passage of the AUMF and public announcement of a GWOT, on Sept. 17, 2001, Bush signed a covert Memorandum of Notification giving the CIA director the authority to capture and detain any “persons who pose a continuing, serious threat of violence or death to US persons and interests or who are planning terrorist activities.” Taken together, these early actions — and Bush’s Sept. 20, 2001 speech to Congress — laid out a roadmap for the years to come. They sent a clear signal that the United States was fully prepared to exploit the 9/11 attacks, leveraging its hegemonic posture of victimhood as cover for unleashing horrific state violence on a global scale. The infrastructure of the GWOT that the Bush administration developed, and that has since endured and grown, was indeed as vast and as punitive as he warned — and it has almost exclusively targeted Muslims. read the complete article

24 Sep 2021

Years after 9/11 and Pulse, Arab Americans in Metro Detroit continue to challenge stereotypes

Dave Serio, a third-generation Sicilian Lebanese American, came to better understand his Arab heritage in the aftermath of September 11. “I always used to tell people I’m Sicilian,” Serio said. “Because anytime I would say I’m Lebanese or Arab, I would either get really weird looks or people would have no idea what I was talking about.” Serio cleared his throat. “Then 9/11 happened and even then, I maybe tried to divorce myself from my Arab identity,” he said. “The world was so focused on that area and I decided to then also understand why these labels were being put on me and the negative things being said.” Serio has spent the last 12 years working at the Arab American National Museum on dispelling myths about Arab Americans. Since 2005, the museum has advanced progressive narratives that challenge the assumption that Arab Americans are a monolith with a universal singular identity that share “conservative” values. One of the museum’s most sobering exhibits is located within the “Living in America” section, a wall-to-wall visual montage of hundreds of stereotypical depictions of Arabs and Muslims in film, media and pop culture. read the complete article


24 Sep 2021

Indian Americans protest outside White House over Modi’s visit

Chanting slogans and holding placards that read “Save India from fascism”, the protesters on Thursday castigated Modi over human rights violations, persecution of Muslims and other minorities, new farm laws, and the crackdown in Indian-administered Kashmir. Since his election as India’s prime minister in 2014, Modi has been accused of presiding over an unprecedented religious polarisation in his country, with several laws discriminating against minority groups, mainly its 200 million Muslims. Before the scheduled Biden-Modi meeting, the protesters outside the White House called on the US president to keep to his campaign promise of making human rights a central feature of the American foreign policy. “Right now, we are witnessing a slow genocide of minorities. The lives of India’s 200 million Muslims are at stake, and the Biden administration can no longer afford to stay silent. This meeting is the right time to send a stern message to India,” Syed Ali, the president of an advocacy group, the Indian American Muslim Council, told Al Jazeera. read the complete article

24 Sep 2021

Afghan Uyghurs Fear Deportation as Taliban Cozy Up to China

For years, Chinese officials have issued calls for leaders in Afghanistan to crack down on and deport Uyghur militants they claimed were sheltering in Afghanistan. The United States removed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement from its list of terrorist groups during the Trump administration, angering Beijing. But the Taliban, in their new role as diplomats, have been eager to establish warm relations with China, meeting most recently on Thursday with Chinese officials. Many Uyghurs in Afghanistan fear they will be branded terrorists and sent to China as pawns in the Taliban’s effort to win favor and economic aid from the country. read the complete article

24 Sep 2021

Muslim groups boycott Hilton over bulldozed Xinjiang mosque

A coalition of more than 40 American Muslim groups is leading a global boycott of Hilton Hotels over its involvement in a hotel project in Xinjiang, China, where a Uyghur mosque was recently bulldozed to make way for the building. At a Sept. 16 news conference outside the Capital Hilton in Washington, representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the World Uyghur Congress, the Uyghur Human Rights Project and other organizations said Hilton had ignored a one-week deadline that CAIR had given the company to pull out of the project in Xinjiang before initiating the boycott. “They decided to put profit over values, they decided to put their own bottom line over human rights and values,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. read the complete article

24 Sep 2021

Saving Afghan Women

No doubt Afghan women face injustice under Taliban rule, from being denied access to education and movement to the imposition of clothing restrictions, but it takes little moral courage to cloak yourself in Western superiority while condemning the actions of our “civilizational” enemy. The West’s obsession with saving Afghan women from the Taliban started almost immediately after the 11 September 2001 attacks and it has continued weeks after the United States evacuation from Afghanistan. It’s unlikely to ever go away because the “War on Terror” has artificially ordered the world into two separate spheres – Western modernity, and with-it white feminism, versus Islamic fundamentalism, and with-it theocratic patriarchy. Strangely, almost paradoxically, white feminism has become obsessed with what Muslim women are “forced” to wear under the rule of hyper-conservative Islamic theocracy abroad, while it turns a blind eye to items of clothing Muslim women are forced to remove under the rule of secular democracy at home. Show me a Hollywood A-list celebrity who has made a public stand against the banning of women’s Islamic clothing, including the burqa, veil and hijab, in France, Austria or Switzerland. But among those who supported the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan under the pretext of saving Afghan women from the burqa, were actors Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Eleanor Smeal. More recently, Charlize Theron, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and others co-signed a letter calling on US President Joe Biden to save women in Afghanistan from “imminent threat”. But none of the above has bothered to ask why the US failed to rebuild even a single road in Afghanistan during its 20-year occupation. “By refocusing the debate on women’s clothing yet again, broader questions around the problems facing Afghanistan become elided – and the discussion returns to a simplistic dichotomy between Islam and secular modernity,” observes Alex Shams, editor at Ajam Media Collective. read the complete article

United Kingdom

24 Sep 2021

Cabinet reshuffle: Boris Johnson and the scourge of Islamophobia

Like Johnson, the new culture secretary has a habit of making offensive and discriminatory remarks about the hijab, niqab and burqa. In August 2018, in response to a Twitter user saying that it was a Muslim woman's right to choose what she wears, Dorries used her verified Twitter account to call the burqa a “medieval costume” that should not be “tolerated” in “progressive countries”. Worse, in August 2018 she boldly claimed that Muslim women choose to dress modestly to “hide… [their] bruises”. As a Muslim woman, I felt that Dorries was making a sweeping and baseless insinuation about Muslim men in the families of those who wear the hijab as being likely to engage in domestic abuse. Dorries is not the only cabinet member to whose behaviour Johnson is blind. Long-standing cabinet minister Michael Gove is another Tory politician who hasn't been investigated for his Islamophobic comments, despite him holding “crazy" and "deeply, deeply worrying” views about Muslims, according to former co-chair of the Conservative Party, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi in March 2017. Instead, Gove has been continuously pushed up the greasy pole, and now leads the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This is the department, then called the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, that was tasked in May 2019 with establishing a working definition of Islamophobia. read the complete article

24 Sep 2021

'Sabina Nessa was slaughtered - so why are Muslim women like Shamima Begum in spotlight?'

On the one hand we have Sabina Nessa, slaughtered on her way to meet a friend, whose tragic death barely scratched the headlines. On the other, Shamima Begum, a former ISIS bride who is so feted by the media thatshe practically has her own show on breakfast television. Yesterday the only place I heard the name Sabina Nessa was when I was scrolling through social media. Is she one of the contestants on Great British Bake Off, I pondered. I turned to the major news websites for information but instead had to scroll through a lot of seemingly unimportant stories before finally finding her name. The two might be from similar Bangladeshi backgrounds but were very different, with Sabina working as a teacher, educating and shaping the minds of a whole new generation. She was making such a positive contribution to society but still, nothing. We all know the only reason that Shamima is in the news is because it reflects badly on the Muslim community as a whole; that there 'must be' something inherently incompatible with Islam and the West which prompts young people to join terrorist organisations. Whereas a young Muslim woman who gets murdered while innocently going about her business isn’t deemed newsworthy at all. read the complete article


24 Sep 2021

Muslim Australian writers have a lot to say. Our books ought to be as common as Vegemite

Michael Mohammed Ahmad, the author of The Other Half of You, characterises Muslim writing in Australia as a beautiful paradox. “On one hand it is the voice of many people; eclectic, diverse and cross-cultural. On the other hand, it is the voice of a single people; bound together by faith, love and language,” he says. Now is the time for a greater focus on what Muslim writers have to say. Our voices matter. Our stories have universal themes, and our numbers are growing. But there’s another characteristic of Muslim writing that most Australians aren’t privy to. Many of us, especially the ones who write for children, are self-published after getting countless knockbacks from the mainstream publishing industry. Huda Hayek appears to stand alone in the middle grade space with her delightful book, Huda and Me. In the picture books, we are aware of only Inda Ahmad Zahri’s Salih and Radiah Chowdhury’s The Khatha Chest. We don’t consider picture books authored by non-Muslims with a smiling-girl-wearing-hijab illustration thrown in for diversity’s sake; we need more diverse children’s books by Australian Muslim authors published. read the complete article


24 Sep 2021

The invisible demolition: China's reshaping of the cultural landscape in Uighur heartlands

The Chinese government's relentless advance on the Uighur heartland is set to engulf not only its language but radically reshape every cultural and social marker of its indigenous people. In four short years since Xi Jinping tightened his grip on the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, (XUAR) hundreds of academics, poets and musicians have been interned or simply disappeared, the Uighur language has been sidelined, and the cultural and religious landscape systematically re-written, dismantled or repurposed. A landmark forum of international academics, activists and politicians gathered recently at the UK's Newcastle University, home of recently CCP-sanctioned Xinjiang academic Professor Jo Smith Finlay, to highlight the abuses meted out on the Uighurs and to assess evidence of genocide on the Turkic peoples of North-West China. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 24 Sep 2021 Edition


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