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 2020

Today in Islamophobia: MSNBC’s Joy Reid comes under fire for ‘casual Islamophobia.’ A Uighur doctor details disturbing testimonies of ‘forced abortions and removal of wombs’ in China. Our recommended read today is on Joe Biden, and where the Presidential candidate can start in his promise of a “moral renewal” of America. This, and more, below:

United States

03 Sep 2020

Joe Biden Promises a Moral Renewal for the U.S. Here’s Where He Can Start | Recommended Read

A major legacy of the governing establishment of which Biden is a champion are the post-9/11 wars that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the Greater Middle East, wrecked entire societies, and caused great trauma to the minority of Americans who have sacrificed their lives, family members, or mental and physical well-being in combat. There is not much to gain by dwelling forever on the wounds of the past. But in order to take seriously Biden’s claim to moral leadership in foreign policy, there is a minimum debt that he — and other U.S. political leaders responsible for the post-9/11 wars — owes to those who have paid the price for their destructive fantasies: an apology. After all the death and destruction wrought by the 2003 U.S. invasion, Iraq today is an even worse place to live than it was under Saddam Hussein: a chaotic mafia state where ordinary people live in fear of a hundred petty tyrants rather than one great one. In Afghanistan, after two decades of war, the United States is preparing to make peace with the Afghan Taliban — something that it could have spared Afghans much suffering by doing on far more favorable terms as far back as 2002. Rarely in history has so much toil been expended to make people worse off than when they began, including Americans. U.S. governing elites have coped with these incredible failures by generally either ignoring or denying them. Insulting the American public by refusing to honestly acknowledge the reality staring them in the face, that the wars begun with grand promises had ended in total calamity, helped open the way for Trump’s presidency. However disingenuously, Trump was able to call out something that was glaringly obvious to average Americans but that political leaders refused to acknowledge. This is no defense of Trump, who has continued the worst traditions of the same elite establishment that he once harried — including by pardoning a war criminal. But returning to the exact status quo that made his rise possible in the first place hardly makes sense. It took a toxic brew of selfishness, greed, decadence, and sectarianism to elevate someone like him to the White House. But it also took a lot of killing and dehumanization of innocent people around the world. If Biden were to issue a national apology for the past two decades of failed and misguided wars — directed at the wars’ foreign victims, as well as Americans who have directly borne the cost — that would help rebuild America’s reputation around the world. It might also help rebuild the trust of Americans in their own elected leaders, who have spent many bitter years disastrously failing to live up their promises and then refusing any responsibility for their failures. read the complete article

Recommended Read
03 Sep 2020

Lara Trump Campaigns With One Of America’s Most Vile Anti-Muslim Extremists

Lara Trump, an adviser to the presidential campaign of father-in-law Donald Trump, campaigned with one of America’s worst anti-Muslim bigots on Tuesday. In a photo posted by a campaign official to Twitter on Wednesday, Lara Trump can be seen standing beside Laura Loomer, the Republican nominee for Congress in Florida’s 21st District, at a GOP event in Boca Raton. Another photo shows Lara Trump bumping elbows with Loomer, one of the country’s most infamous anti-Muslim extremists, whose bigotry has earned her the dubious distinction of being banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, PayPal, GoFundMe, Venmo, Uber, Lyft and Uber Eats. Loomer has called Islam a “cancer,” Muslims “savages,” and herself a “#ProudIslamophobe.” “I DON’T CARE ABOUT CHRISTCHURCH,” Loomer wrote in a Telegram post after a white nationalist massacred 51 Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. According to Right Wing Watch, she has close ties to a Florida-based organization called The United West, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated an anti-Muslim hate group. Loomer also has deep ties to white supremacists, and once posed for a photo with well-known fascist Richard Spencer. read the complete article

03 Sep 2020

Is Trump radicalizing Americans?

Joy Reid addresses the controversy over comparing Trump's incitement of followers to the so-called 'radicalization' of Muslims. Joy talks to Dalia Mogahed of the ISPU and Naveed Jamali. Dalia Mogahed says, "What we want though is simply objective fair coverage of all communities, of all acts of violence ... and what we often see, however, is that term 'terrorist' is only used against Muslims. No matter what their motivation might be." read the complete article

03 Sep 2020

MSNBC’s Joy Reid Doubles Down on ‘Way Muslims Act’ Remarks That Sparked Outrage

MSNBC host Joy Reid on Wednesday night said she should have been more “sensitive” two days earlier when she seemingly compared radicalized Trump supporters to “the way Muslims act,” remarks that sparked outrage among Muslim activists and organizations. More specifically, it was a non-apology. Reid did not address the firestorm on her Tuesday night program, instead waiting until after her show aired to note on Twitter that there’s been “some thoughtful commentary but also some willful distortion of the points I tried to make,” adding that she would “discuss more in depth” on her Wednesday night show. Muslim Advocates, a civil rights group that initially said Reid needed to apologize on air Tuesday night, stated in a Wednesday op-ed that they hoped the liberal host would take a “page out of her own playbook”—referring to her on-air apology over homophobic blog posts—and “apologize for demonizing our community.” CAIR, meanwhile, said in a public statement that the organization had met with NBC to discuss Reid’s “inaccurate, offensive remarks” and discussed with the network that she “must clearly apologize.” The group expressed dissatisfaction with Reid's non-apology on Wednesday night, tweeting that her refusal to apologize “was telling & disappointing.” CAIR also noted that while the in-depth discussion on Islamophobia with help from Mogahed "was welcome," Reid must “first own” her own mistakes. read the complete article

03 Sep 2020

Calls for apology grow over Joy Reid's 'Islamophobic' remarks

"Reid must apologize on air tonight for spreading the false, dangerous myth that Muslims are inherently radical and violent. MSNBC also needs to take action to ensure anti-Muslim bigotry has no place on its network," Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights organisation, said in a statement. "Words have great power. Joy Reid has an important platform and an essential voice in addressing civil rights, race relations, and other important national issues," Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit legal advocacy organisation, said in a statement emailed to Al Jazeera. "But, especially because we admire Reid, we call on her to recognize the impact of her comments and make an on-air apology for her words, which repeated painful anti-Muslim stereotypes. SPLC would be pleased to join other civil rights and Muslim leaders in a meeting with Reid and her producers to discuss how the impact of her words perpetuates harmful stereotypes." Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, two of the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress, both called for an apology. read the complete article

03 Sep 2020

MSNBC's Joy Reid concedes 'framing' of Muslim comments 'didn't work'

MSNBC’s Joy Reid conceded Wednesday that “the way that [she] framed” a comparison of President Trump’s supporters to radicalized Muslims “didn’t work.” Reid drew widespread criticism after saying Monday that the president and his allies were “radicalizing supporters” in a way comparable to “the way Muslims act.” Critics included the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who said “[w]e deserve better and an apology for the painful moment for so many Muslims around our country should be forthcoming.” During her show Wednesday evening, Reid did not explicitly apologize and accused some critics of bad faith. “I asked that question on Monday, and there was a lot of conversation, particularly online after the segment aired, some of which was frankly not in good faith,” Reid said. “But some of the conversation reflected the genuine feelings of people who have been subjected to the kind of stereotyping that I just described, and who take matters like this to heart because of it,” she added. “And we should all be sensitive to that, and I certainly should have been sensitive to that.” read the complete article

03 Sep 2020

MSNBC’s Joy Reid under fire for ‘casual Islamophobia’

To hear Reid tell the story, Muslim “leaders” exhort their “supporters” to commit acts of violence, and “radicalization” is the upshot. But radicalization of all sorts has received a mountain of scholarly attention over the years, and it tells a story at odds with Reid’s clumsy abridgment. In a paper titled “Rethinking Radicalization,” Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at the Brennan Center for Justice, notes that radicalization is a complex and idiosyncratic process that resists generalizations of any sort. “Despite the impetus to find a terrorist profile or hallmarks of radicalization to hone in on incipient terrorists, empirical research has emphatically and repeatedly concluded that there is no such profile and no such easily identifiable hallmarks,” writes Patel. In an email to the Erik Wemple Blog, Patel cites the tendency of U.S. media to seek an explanation for the “radicalization” of those who commit acts of terrorism. “This is hardly surprising because our counterterrorism policy is built around the notion that there is a traceable trajectory of violence that leads individuals to violence and that there are signs along the way that law enforcement can spot,” she writes, even though this is all “junk science.” As to the activities of Muslim “leaders,” as Reid put it, such a formulation advances the bigotry that often follows acts of Islamic terrorism. Following the Charlie Hebdo attack of January 2015, for example, commentators on Fox News charged that prominent Muslims had failed to condemn the atrocity. In fact, they had. Here’s a corrective from Patel: “In fact, the heads of Muslim countries and major religious institutions have uniformly condemned terrorism and have taken severe, often draconian, counterterrorism measures. The leaders of terrorist groups like ISIS have sought to incite violence, but calling them leaders of the Muslim world is factually incorrect and amplifies the stereotype of violent Muslims.” read the complete article


03 Sep 2020

French reporter who joined police exposes racism and violence

A French journalist who infiltrated the country’s police force has described a culture of racism and violence in which officers act with impunity. Valentin Gendrot claims the violence was so frequent it became almost banal and describes one incident where he was forced to help falsify evidence against an adolescent who had been beaten by an officer. “It really shocked me to hear police officers, who are representatives of the state, calling people who were black, Arab or migrants ‘bastards’, but everyone did it,” he says. “It was only a minority of officers who were violent … but they were always violent.” Gendrot also says he was shocked to discover how badly trained and paid police recruits are and how the constant stress and daily hostility and violence they face drives officers to depression and suicide. In his book, Flic (Cop) published on Wednesday, Gendrot reveals that he was given a uniform and a gun after just three months’ training, and later sent out on patrol. He says he witnessed officers assaulting youngsters – many of them minors – on an almost daily basis. Gendrot describes a “clannish” system that ensures officers close ranks to protect their own, leading to a sense of impunity. “They don’t see a youngster, but a delinquent … once this dehumanisation is established everything becomes justifiable, like beating up an adolescent or a migrant,” he writes, adding: “What astonishes me … is at what point they feel untouchable, as if there’s no superior, no surveillance by the hierarchy, as if a police officer can choose – according to his free will or how he is feeling at that particular moment – to be violent or not. “In my commissariat there were racist, homophobic and macho comments every day. They came from certain colleagues and were tolerated or ignored by others.” read the complete article

03 Sep 2020

Charlie Hebdo Republishes Cartoons That Prompted Deadly 2015 Attack

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has republished the same cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad and Islam that prompted a deadly attack on the magazine in 2015, an act that will be seen by some as a commitment to free speech and by others as reckless provocation. The publication coincides with the start on Wednesday of the long-awaited terrorism trial of people accused as accomplices in the attack — potentially cathartic for a nation that was deeply scarred by that act of brutality. The magazine posted the cartoons online on Tuesday and they will appear in print on Wednesday. The trial and the reappearance of cartoons that are seen by many as offensive come as France is seeing protests against racism and calls for reflection on the treatment of minorities in its society, past and present. The growing sensitivity to race, ethnicity and religion has clashed with France’s traditionally forceful commitment to freedom of expression and secularism. Many traditionalists have expressed concern that the country is yielding to American-style identity politics, long widely rejected in France. read the complete article


03 Sep 2020

Framed and hanged: How the Indian state persecutes dissent

It all started in late April when a civil rights activist called me regarding some information appearing in the press that the police is investigating a "professor" for his role in plotting the communal violence that shook Delhi in late February. She thought that person could be me. She felt that the actions of the authorities after the Delhi violence might be following a similar pattern - throwing false accusations of conspiracy at public figures. I did not think much of what she said until May 22, when in the middle of the night, I was awakened by a friend frantically calling me. She had just heard about a report aired by news channel The Times Now that evening, which had claimed that a certain Delhi University professor, part of a "leftist, Islamist, radical coterie", had plotted to incite violence during the visit of US President Donald Trump to India to portray the government as intolerant to minorities. These allegations were aired on prime-time TV and were watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers. My friend, too, was sure that the unnamed professor was none other than me and wanted to warn me. Me, a professor of Hindi and a writer, planning violence? I did write a number of articles about the Delhi violence, which may have upset certain quarters, but I never imagined that they would go as far as concocting such a fantastic allegation and drag me into the ongoing "conspiracy" investigation by the police. I, along with members of civil society, went to the areas where violence had taken place, observed it first-hand, and talked to Hindus and Muslims. My understanding was that it was preplanned violence. I talked to members of the security forces and could see a distinct hostility among them regarding Muslims. I saw the apathy of the Delhi government in arranging relief for the victims, again mostly Muslims. It took a lot of noise from civil society to move the state government to set up a relief camp for displaced victims. Targeting of writers and intellectuals, who were active in these protests, is a clear design of this government to set an example and give a warning that the act of dissent would be treated as a crime and that non-Muslims should not dare to come out in the support of Muslims. read the complete article

03 Sep 2020

Indian MPs grill Facebook over hate speech, allegations of bias

After the hearing, which lasted three and a half hours, the 30-member committee "agreed to resume discussions later, including with representatives of Facebook," chairman Shashi Tharoor said in a tweet. Tharoor, an opposition Congress party lawmaker, did not give any details about the hearing. Facebook came under scrutiny after a series of reports by the US-based Wall Street Journal (WSJ) showed the company ignored anti-Muslim hate speech by BJP politicians while Facebook's public-policy chief in India, Ankhi Das, made decisions favouring Modi's party. On Tuesday, New Delhi-based English daily the Indian Express reported that following a request from the party, Facebook had removed pages critical of the BJP months before the 2019 general elections. In email exchanges reported by the Express, the BJP had told Facebook the pages were "in violation of expected standards", with posts that were "not in line with facts". India is Facebook's biggest market, with more than 300 million users, while the company's messaging app, WhatsApp, boasts 400 million users in the world's second-most populous nation. The BJP spends more than any political party in India on Facebook advertisements. Politicians within Modi's Hindu nationalist party have come under scrutiny for running online campaigns laced with false claims and attacks on the minority Muslim population. read the complete article

United Kingdom

03 Sep 2020

Somalinimo: a love letter to Somali culture, blackness and Islam at Cambridge University – video

As students return to universities around the world, four British-Somali students talk about navigating one of Britain’s most elite institutions: Cambridge University. Their identity is rooted in Somalinimo (‘the essence of being Somali’) and in this love letter to Somali culture, blackness and Islam, they reflect on both belonging and marginalisation. The women discuss conflicts with their parents, the sense of solidarity they have built at Cambridge, and the legacy they are creating for the next generation of British-Somalis. They give new meaning to an old Somali proverb: ‘Clothing that is not yours cannot shelter you from the cold’ read the complete article

New Zealand

03 Sep 2020

'Show up': How to build inclusive sports communities for NZ's Muslim women

In a cross-sector, cross-cultural collaboration, Waikato University's Professor Holly Thorpe and Dr Nida Ahmad undertook a research project examining cultural inclusion in New Zealand sport and how Muslim women do - or don't - take part. Their research grew out of discussions they had with each other after the March 15 attacks in Christchurch. "We were all asking ourselves what we could do to help in the situation or to improve New Zealand, recognising that we had a lot of work to do," Thorpe said. She had been working on a Marsden Fast-Start project looking at youth engagement with informal sports in sites of war, conflict and disaster, while Ahmad was nearing the end of her PhD. With support and funding from the university and Sport New Zealand, they embarked on a mission to capture Muslim women's experiences in New Zealand sport and how they participate. For Ahmad and Thorpe, one of the illuminating themes to come out of their research was how Muslim women were perceived by others in the sports sector. "The biggest thing was this one-dimensional understanding of Muslim women, which is often problematic, especially within the sports sector. I think it ends up fusing religion and culture together, which shouldn't be the case. Muslim women are diverse," Ahmad said. "Their culture varies, their identity varies, their race, ethnicity, education, all of that varies." read the complete article


03 Sep 2020

Uighur doctor tells ITV News of disturbing testimonies of 'forced abortions and removal of wombs' in China

At her request we are not naming the woman, a Uighur doctor, but we are broadcasting her disturbing testimony. She says that for much of her career she worked for the Chinese government as part of what she describes as its population control plan to curtail the growth of the Uighur population. She speaks of participating in at least 500 to 600 operations on Uighur women including forced contraception, forced abortion, forced sterilisation and forced removal of wombs. She told me that on at least one occasion a baby was still moving when it was discarded into the rubbish. read the complete article

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Today in Islamophobia, 03 Sep 2020 Edition


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