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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04 Sep 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Myanmar apprehends and returns dozens of fleeing Rohingya to camps in conflict-wracked Rakhine state. Joy Reid addresses anti-Muslim bias in media, but offers no apology for alleged anti-Muslim comments earlier in the week. Our recommended read today is by  Sylvia Hui on the UK public tribunal, and its move to probe China’s Uighur genocide allegations. This, and more, below:


04 Sep 2020

UK public tribunal to probe Uighur genocide allegations | Recommended Read

A prominent British human rights lawyer is convening an independent tribunal in London to investigate whether the Chinese government’s alleged rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the far western Xinjiang region constitute genocide or crimes against humanity. The tribunal is expected to reveal new evidence and testimony over several days’ hearings next year. While the tribunal does not have government backing, it is the latest attempt to hold China accountable for its treatment of the Uighurs and ethnic Turkic minorities, who have been subject to an unprecedented crackdown since 2017. Barrister Geoffrey Nice, who previously led the prosecution of ex-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic over the Balkans war and worked with the International Criminal Court, was asked by the World Uighur Congress to investigate “ongoing atrocities and possible genocide” against the Uighur people. Organizers are in the initial stages of gathering evidence, and expect to receive a substantial number of submissions from Uighurs exiled abroad over the next few months. New evidence that may emerge includes testimony from several former security guards who were involved in the Xinjiang detention camps. “At the moment, the strongest evidence would appear to be evidence of incarceration and possibly evidence of enforced sterilization,” Nice said. read the complete article

Recommended Read
04 Sep 2020

Why Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Love Affair with the Ottoman Empire Should Worry The World

All of these moves project Erdogan’s vision of Islamist strength into the world. Standing up for Islam at home goes hand in hand with securing natural resources and imposing Turkey’s power abroad. It also goes hand in hand with domestic repression. The Islamic New Year saw Erdogan further tighten his grip on social media freedom and consider pulling Turkey out of what is known, now farcically, as the 2011 Istanbul Convention, a treaty of the Council of Europe that commits countries to protecting women from domestic violence. Democratic peoples in Turkey, the Middle East, and around the world should worry. Much has been written about Erdogan’s attempts to “resurrect” the Ottoman Empire or to style himself a sultan. There is truth here. But to understand Erdogan’s political agenda and horizon we must be specific about which Ottoman sultan Erdogan strives to be. It is the empire’s ninth sultan, Selim I. Selim died 500 years ago in 1520. It was during his lifetime that the Ottoman Empire grew from a strong regional power to a gargantuan global empire. For Erdogan, this sultan from half a millennium ago serves his contemporary needs. Selim in many ways functions as Erdogan’s Andrew Jackson, a figure from the past of symbolic use in the present. Selim offers a template for Turkey to become a global political and economic power, with influence from Washington to Beijing, crushing foreign and domestic challengers alike. He helps Erdogan too to make his case for Islam as a cultural and political reservoir of strength, a vital component of the glories of the Ottoman past, which he seeks to emulate in contemporary Turkey against the dominant elite secularism that has reigned since its founding. We should be wary of Erdogan’s embrace of Selim’s exclusionary vision of Turkish political power. It represents a historical example of strongman politics that led to regional wars, the attempted annihilation of religious minorities, and the monopolization of global economic resources. In addition to his attempts to monopolize natural gas reserves around Turkey, today this takes the form of Erdogan’s foreign military ventures in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. At home, he has gone after Turkey’s Shiite community, Kurds, intellectuals, Christians, journalists, women, and leftists. Erdogan cultivates his own Sunni religiosity to position Islam at the center of Turkey’s domestic agenda, with the church conversions the most potent recent symbols of this. Erdogan’s represents a political logic of zero-sum competition that pits Turkey against Saudi Arabia and Iran for control of the region and over claims of global Islamic leadership. read the complete article

04 Sep 2020

Canada, Netherlands join Gambia's genocide case against Myanmar

Canada and the Netherlands will formally join The Gambia's legal bid to hold Myanmar accountable over allegations of genocide against its mostly-Muslim Rohingya minority in a move described by observers as historic. In a joint statement on Wednesday, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok said the two nations were intervening in the case before the International Court of Justice in order "to prevent the crime of genocide and hold those responsible to account". Calling the lawsuit "of concern to all of humanity," Champagne and Blok said Canada and the Netherlands would "assist with the complex legal issues that are expected to arise and will pay special attention to crimes related to sexual and gender-based violence, including rape". read the complete article

04 Sep 2020

Rohingya arrested at sea shunted back to Myanmar camps

Myanmar has returned dozens of Rohingya to camps in conflict-wracked Rakhine state, officials said Thursday, after arresting them at sea as they tried to flee what rights groups brand as "apartheid" conditions. A group of 42 Rohingya Muslims -- including two children -- was detained last Thursday offshore of Bogale in Ayeyarwady region, local police told AFP. The long-persecuted Rohingya are widely regarded as illegal immigrants in Myanmar, refused citizenship and unable to travel freely. One of the group tested positive for coronavirus, but the rest arrived Wednesday night in Kyaukphyu in central Rakhine state, local MP Ba Shein told AFP. His constituents were "very worried" by the coronavirus risk, he said. Local officials said the group was due to be sent by boat to camps further north on Friday. read the complete article


04 Sep 2020

Scorched Hearths: A photographer-nurse recalls the Delhi violence

I first visited the neighbourhoods of northeastern Delhi, a city I have known for the past two decades and lived in for the last four years, in February, immediately after the area had witnessed a spate of anti-Muslim violence. I had been photographing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act across the city in the months prior, and so my visit to this area was a natural progression of the work I had been doing. I had become interested in the protests particularly because they were women-driven forms of resistance, with participants cutting across ages and backgrounds. As I spent time sitting among them, and listening to the speeches, I was moved by their solidarity towards each other and their vision for India. Despite having worked for 15 years on health and humanitarian issues, and with an education in nursing, psychology and sociology, when I first arrived in Khajuri Khas, I felt numb and overwhelmed. It was unlike anything I had experienced before, and I felt myself wandering in a kind of daze, in an effort to make sense of what I was witnessing. Many police and military forces were visible. Homes, vehicles, businesses and mosques had been burned and looted. The area was filled with the smell of smoke and covered with ash, and though there were few people in the streets, they looked fearful and upset. As I made my way around the neighbourhood, finding it intrusive to walk into people’s homes amid the remains of their destroyed lives, I witnessed an argument. A Muslim woman, who had returned home to check her belongings, became upset upon seeing her burnt house. She was shouting in the street that she felt betrayed by her Hindu neighbours, whom she had trusted her whole life, that they had not helped her but instead had helped the attackers. “Bahar walon se kya umeed lagaye jab gali ke logo ne hi hamare ghar jalwaye ho?”—how can we hope others to help when our people from our own lane have burnt our house, she shouted. Her Hindu neighbours yelled back that she should watch her mouth. They had not burnt her house, they said, and if they had, her people would not have survived. The tension, horror and sadness of what had transpired was palpable, as was the almost overnight erosion of trust between communities. read the complete article

04 Sep 2020

Facebook bans India ruling party politician over anti-Muslim hate speech

Facebook has banned an outspoken right-wing Indian politician for spreading hate speech about Muslims as the social media giant battles accusations of bias over its handling of rival parties in the key market. T. Raja Singh, a regional lawmaker for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party, was blocked "for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform", a Facebook spokesman said. An "extensive" process was followed in making the decision to block Raja Singh, the spokesman added. Raja, who made headlines for reportedly saying that Muslim read the complete article


04 Sep 2020

Being Uighur in China: 'After Nazi Germany the world said never again, but it is'

In 2017 Nursiman Abdureshid was living in Turkey with her three year old daughter Zahra. She would regularly call home to China so her parents knew all about their granddaughter’s latest developments. They were conversations of love and excitement. And then they stopped. The phone wasn’t answered. Desperate to know what had happened she asked a friend to go to their home. Her friend’s response confirmed her deepest fears. “The house is empty, there’s no one left, they have all gone.” Her non-political family had all been taken to a Chinese camp. She doesn’t know why, she wonders if it is because they were hoping to travel to Turkey to see her. The reality is neither she nor the hundreds of thousands of other families will ever know. Their misfortune is to be Uighur in China at a time the state sees their very being as a threat. “The world become a place like hell,” she told me. “When you listen to camp survivors, when they describe the torture in the camps and the prison I just can't stand it because I cannot imagine my fathers and my brothers and my mother also facing such a torture". read the complete article

United Kingdom

04 Sep 2020

Can a British Fox News work?

The UK might be about to get its own Fox News – actually, two of them. Reports by The Guardian revealed that two ventures are in the process of setting up new TV channels with a more opinionated slant to rival the BBC. GB news, an effort linked to Liberty Global, and helmed by former BBC executive and erstwhile Theresa May’s communications chief Sir Robbie Gibbs, seems more overtly confrontational against the public service broadcaster: Gibbs has repeatedly attacked his former employer for its alleged lack of impartiality; Andrew Cole, one of the company’s co-founders once labelled the BBC “the most biased propaganda machine in the world.” The other channel, which might launch as an online, Netflix-like service, is a creature of the news media empire of Rupert Murdoch – currently Fox News’s executive chairman. Both ventures have hastened to deny that they are creating the British version of Fox News, the American hyper-partisan, right-wing cable news channel that makes up a thick slice of president Donald Trump’s media diet. In fact, there already was a Fox News in the UK, and that was Fox News. The US channel was broadcast in Britain, on Sky, until 2017 when it was taken off air due to poor viewership. It was happening just as Ofcom, the communications regulator, announced that the channel had breached impartiality rules when reporting on Trump’s Muslim ban, providing excessively pro-Trump coverage. Fox News’s unsuccessful UK ride raises two key questions on whether its supposed imitators can make it: does the British public crave for its own Fox News? And – can a Fox News-style channel thrive without having its licence revoked by Ofcom? read the complete article

United States

04 Sep 2020

Joy Reid addresses anti-Muslim bias in media, but offers no apology

Muslim-American advocates voiced disappointment at MSNBC host Joy Reid's failure to apologise for "Islamophobic" remarks she made earlier this week, when comparing President Donald Trump's rhetoric with how "Muslims act". After an outcry from Muslim groups, Reid produced a segment on Wednesday evening about anti-Muslim sentiment in which she acknowledged that she "certainly should have been sensitive" to the prevailing bigotry against the Muslim-American community. "In short, Joy Reid owned up to that a mistake was made but didn't apologise for it," said Robert McCaw, government affairs director at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). While Dalia Mogahed was in agreement with Reid that the analogy was a fair but badly worded one, other activists and groups objected to invoking Muslims when addressing American dynamics, the likes of which do not exist in the Muslim world. "We are familiar with 'radicalization' narratives of the world in a cultural war with Arabs and Muslims cast as the existential other," the Arab American Institute (AAI) said in a series of tweets on Wednesday. The Washington-based advocacy organisation accused Reid of resorting to "anti-Muslim tropes that fuel anti-Muslim bigotry" in order to make a point. Jinan Shbat, national organiser at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), said it doesn't matter what Reid meant by the analogy, the comparison itself was problematic. "It's feeding into the framework of the media vilifying Arabs and Muslims and framing our community in such a negative way," she said. read the complete article

04 Sep 2020

Comic Ramy Youssef On Being An 'Allah Carte' Muslim: 'You Sit In Contradictions'

Today and tomorrow, we're featuring interviews with some of the nominees. Next, we'll hear from Ramy Youssef. He's nominated for two Emmys for the second season of his semi-autobiographical Hulu comedy series "Ramy" for outstanding lead actor and for directing. Youssef is a stand-up comic who often surprises people when he tells them he believes in God - or as he puts it, God God, not yoga. His parents are immigrants from Egypt. His comedy is often about how he became an observant Muslim and how he also knowingly breaks some of the rules, like rules about dating and premarital sex. YOUSSEF: His nightmare would be to hand cash to another man and look him in the eye. And he started working as a busboy, and in 10 years, he became the manager of a hotel. And that hotel was in New York City. It was owned by Donald Trump. So I grew up with this photo in my living room of my dad and Donald Trump shaking hands. I saw it every day as a kid. And when you're a young Arab kid, anyone who's friends with your dad, like, that's your uncle. YOUSSEF: And the last couple of years, I'm watching TV, and I'm just like, Uncle Donald? Really? GROSS: So how do you make sense of your father's success at a Donald Trump hotel in New York and Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions? Because as you say, Trump builds his business off immigrants, people like your father. So how do you make sense of that? How do you reconcile that? YOUSSEF: You don't make sense of it. I don't think that there's a lot that adds up with a lot of the things that are going on, and I think that's part of the absurdity of it. I mean, I don't really find Trump to necessarily be something that's easy to joke about because it's pretty surreal to begin with. But I think laying out certain facts and kind of looking at something like, you know - and how it's tied not only to my family but many families, right? I think families like mine are in many ways the bedrock of most business in a lot of places in this country but, obviously, very specifically to his story and to where he's at. read the complete article

Bosnia and Herzegovina

04 Sep 2020

Bosnia Seeks Arrest of Fugitive War Crime Defendant in Serbia

The Bosnian state court told BIRN that it has issued a warrant for the arrest of Mirko Vrucinic, who was on trial for committing crimes against humanity in 1992 in Sanski Most, after it was found that he has left Bosnia and Herzegovina for Serbia. “Given the information that he is abroad, the order was also sent to Interpol for the purpose of issuing an international arrest warrant,” the court said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Sep 2020 Edition


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