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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03 Sep 2019

Today in Islamophobia: Report alleges China’s use of iPhone malware to target Uyghurs, as videos emerge of  Myanmar Army’s atrocities against the Rohingya. A Sikh politician is lauded for his calm handling of an anti-Muslim disruptor, while a woman’s niqab is ripped off in London in front of her children. Our recommended read of the day is by Nesrine Malik titled “The Myth of the Free Speech Crisis.” This, and more, below:


03 Sep 2019

The myth of the free speech crisis | Recommended Read

Anyone with internet access can create a profile and write, tweet, blog or comment, with little vetting and no hurdle of technological skill. But the targets of this growth in the means of expression have been primarily women, minorities and LGBTQ+ people. The vast majority of this abuse goes unpunished. And yet it is somehow conventional wisdom that free speech is under assault, that university campuses have succumbed to an epidemic of no-platforming, that social media mobs are ready to raise their pitchforks at the most innocent slip of the tongue or joke, and that Enlightenment values that protected the right to free expression and individual liberty are under threat. This is the myth of the free speech crisis. It is an extension of the political-correctness myth, but is a recent mutation more specifically linked to efforts or impulses to normalise hate speech or shut down legitimate responses to it. The purpose of the myth is not to secure freedom of speech – that is, the right to express one’s opinions without censorship, restraint or legal penalty. The purpose is to secure the licence to speak with impunity; not freedom of expression, but rather freedom from the consequences of that expression. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


03 Sep 2019

India: why a new law criminalising Muslim ‘instant divorce’ has divided feminists

The law is highly controversial because it criminalises the practice of talaq-i-biddat, rather than merely confirming that a divorce pronounced in this way is invalid. It means that any husband pronouncing triple-talaq – whether spoken, written or electronic – can be punished with a fine and three-year jail term. Arrests can be made without a warrant, and bail is given only at the discretion of a magistrate. And the law applies retrospectively back to September 2018, meaning that earlier transgressions can now be filed with the police. The new law, say its critics, has consciously set punishments for merely uttering words that, ever since the Supreme Court’s judgment, have no legal meaning. Opponents see political foul play at work, arguing that the government’s enthusiasm to impose criminal penalties smacks of an anti-Muslim agenda. Rather than protecting women, they argue, the government’s main intention has been to make Muslim men vulnerable to arrest. But some of the most striking divisions are those among India’s many Muslim women’s rights organisations. While there have always been mild differences in approach between them, the law has sown real cleavages. read the complete article

03 Sep 2019

‘Collective punishment and imprisonment’: What is life really like inside the Kashmir state lockdown?

Srinagar, and indeed the entire Kashmir valley of seven million people, is under lockdown and saturated with security forces who have blocked off traffic in large parts of the city. There is also a general strike, called by no one, but observed by everyone, so that virtually all schools, colleges, and shops are closed. The internet and mobile phone networks are dead. In Kashmir valley, which is over 95 per cent Muslim, Indian rule is manifestly resented, and there is widespread support for azaadi (independence), often erupting into street protests, stone-pelting, and strikes that last for days. There are armed paramilitary cops strung out in thick numbers everywhere, in virtually every street, intersection, bridge and flyover. I’ve travelled to many conflict zones over the years, including Jaffna during the civil war, and I’ve never seen anything quite as oppressive and claustrophobic. It is day 18 of groundhog day. Every day is just like yesterday: there’s nothing to do, nowhere to go, no phones, no internet, no idea when it’ll end, and the security forces are watching suspiciously from every corner. For weeks now, people haven’t been able to speak to relatives abroad or even the rest of India. read the complete article

03 Sep 2019

Why Millions in India Risk Losing Their Citizenship

Officials in Assam -- a lush, tea-growing state in northeastern India -- have published an updated citizenship registry for the first time in decades. About 1.9 million people’s names have been left off the list. Anyone who can’t prove they are living in the state legally risks being stripped of his or her citizenship and potentially deported. The state government, run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, says the move is needed to identify illegal migrants. Critics accuse it of pushing a Hindu nationalist agenda that seeks to clear out Muslims. read the complete article

United Kingdom

03 Sep 2019

White supremacist behind ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ responsible for 11 years of malicious letter campaigns

David Parnham, 36, is facing prison after admitting offences including soliciting murder, encouraging crime, bomb and noxious substance hoaxes, and sending letters with intent to cause distress. A sentencing hearing heard that he sent letters to mosques and Islamic centres around Britain in February 2007. “You are going to be slaughtered very soon,” the author wrote, before signing off as “Muslim slayer”. The Old Bailey was told that in June 2016, Parnham sent a hoax letter containing white powder to the then prime minister David Cameron saying “Allah is great”. Only 11 letters were delivered, while seven were intercepted at a postal depot in Sheffield and sparked a police investigation. read the complete article

03 Sep 2019

Muslim woman’s niqab is ripped off as she’s ‘beaten in London street in front of her horrified children’

A Muslim woman had her niqab ripped off and was repeatedly punched in the face by a female thug in front of her children on Sunday. Worshippers at the Masjid-E-Umer mosque in Walthamstow, London, called the assault a "racist and Islamaphobic". The incident happened on Sunday on Edison Close as the woman walked with her young children, who witnessed the brutal attack. Outraged, the north east London mosque wrote on their Facebook page: "This is a racist and Islamaphobic attack as the woman was shouting: 'go back to your country', 'Why are you wearing this'. read the complete article


03 Sep 2019

Sophisticated iPhone malware specifically targeted China’s Uyghur Muslims

Late last week, security researchers from Google’s Project Zero team provided us with fascinating details regarding a sophisticated exploit targeting iPhone users. The exploit itself relied upon a number of 0-day vulnerabilities and, somewhat curiously, indiscriminately installed malware on any device that happened to visit an infected website. Once installed, the malware would collect a user’s photos, private messages, passwords, and even send GPS location data in real-time. Initially, the Project Zero team didn’t mention who was behind the malware or who it targeted, save for a cryptic message that it may have been designed to target a specific ethnic group. Citing sources familiar with the matter, TechCrunchis reporting that the malware was likely a state-sponsored attack from China targeting the country’s Uyghur Muslim community. “It’s part of the latest effort by the Chinese government to crack down on the minority Muslim community in recent history,” TechCrunch notes. “In the past year, Beijing has detained more than a million Uyghurs in internment camps, according to a United Nations human rights committee.” read the complete article


03 Sep 2019

Sikh Politician Goes Viral For Calm And Powerful Response To Anti-Muslim Attack

Gurratan Singh, who represents the Ontario district of Brampton East, went viral for declining to correct a man’s ignorant string of Islamophobic comments directed at him ― despite the fact he is not Muslim. “I will never respond to an Islamophobe by stating, ‘I am not a Muslim,’” the Sikh politician tweeted. “Instead, I will always stand with my Muslim brothers and sisters and say hate is wrong.” In the video of the incident, which has been viewed more than 1.2 million times since it was posted on Sunday, Singh condemns the man’s Islamophobic comments and tells him it has “no place in Canada.” read the complete article

United States

03 Sep 2019

Chicago History Museum Explores Muslim Culture in New Exhibition

Journey through the experiences of Chicago’s Muslim communities in the new exhibition, “American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago” opening on Monday, October 21 at the Chicago History Museum. The exhibition is the third in a series of religious-themed projects. “American Medina breaks new ground for the Museum. This interactive, multi-media exhibition weaves together oral history interviews of Muslim Chicagoans with a broad array of artifacts loaned to the Museum by community members from across the region,” said Peter Alter, Chief Historian at the Chicago History Museum and Director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History. “In a collaborative and community focused way, American Medina explores the lives and histories of Muslim Chicagoans, offering visitors new perspectives on the city’s and the country’s history.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 03 Sep 2019 Edition


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