Category Archives: Religion + Belief

Denmark News | Immigrants, Muslims & People of Color

Government of Denmark proposes bill further limiting residential concentration of “non-Western” people

  • Reducing the allowable concentration of residents of “non-Western” descent in neighborhoods to 30% and the availability of public housing in designated neighborhoods to 40%, Interior Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek claims the measure is intended to avoid the emergence of “religious and cultural parallel societies.”
  • The current version of the bill removes the controversial term “ghetto,” the legal classification for a neighborhood of more than 1,000 residents in which more than half were of “non-Western” origin and exhibiting other indicators of disadvantage (such as high unemployment or crime rates).
  • Fifteen neighborhoods currently fall into that classification, where crimes carry stiffer punishments and parents are required to enroll children over the age of one in day care or face loss of public financial support.

Read

Denmark plans to limit ‘non-western’ residents in disadvantaged areas” (The Guardian | March 2021)

Denmark’s ‘Ghetto List’ down drastically from last year” (The Copenhagen Post | December 2020)

Facing Eviction, Residents Of Denmark’s ‘Ghettos’ Are Suing The Government” (NPR | August 2020)

Canada News | Far-Right, Immigrants & People of Color

Canadian government assigns terrorist designation to far-right groups

  • The Proud Boys and the Atomwaffen Group join a list of dozens of organizations—primarily Islamist groups—that the Canadian government has classified as “terrorist entities” in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
  • The designation enables seizure of the assets of the group and its members, movement restrictions, and the criminalization of material support, which civil liberties groups criticize as governmental overreach and, ironically, facilitating harm against religious and racial minorities.
  • In the wake of the January 6th events, Canadian Proud Boys chapters have seen their online presence evaporate, with webpages and social media platforms where they were active—such as Parler—shuttered.

Read

Canada declares the Proud Boys a terrorist group” (The Washington Post | February 2021)

Terror list a ‘problematic’ way to fight white supremacists, civil society groups say” (The Canadian Press via CTV News | February 2021)

Canadian Proud Boys in ‘panic’ as platforms go offline and government talks of terror listing” (Global News | January 2021)

View

Listed terrorist entities (Government of Canada)

Australia News | Immigrants, Muslims & People of Color

Demands for government to deal with far-right extremism grow in Australia

  • Groups such as the now-defunct United Patriot Front and the Lads Society and the current National Socialist Network have created space for White nationalists in Australia to organize both online and offline.
  • All 27 currently listed terrorist organizations are extremist Islamist groups, despite the fact that the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (AISO) reported that far-right terror accounted for 40% of its caseload; in the two decades since membership in a terrorist organization was criminalized in response to the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., no far-right group in Australia has been classified as a proscribed organization.
  • The increasingly transnational dimensions of far-right organizing have posed a particularly difficult challenge, including the influence of the mainstreaming of far-right politics in the U.S. and fallout from the 2019 Christchurch massacre in which an Australian national killed 51 in an attack on the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.

Read

How Australia’s anti-terror regime has failed to rein in far-right extremists” (The Guardian | January 2021)

‘Peddlers of hate’: Australia’s growing legion of far-right extremists hail US Capitol invaders” (The New Daily | January 2021)

Neo-Nazis go bush: Grampians gathering highlights rise of Australia’s far right” (The Sydney Morning Herald | January 2021)

Study

Listed terrorist organizations (Government of Australia)

Australian Security Environment and Outlook (Australian Security Intelligence Organization)

China News | Uyghur

Revelations of surveillance regimes in China detail wide range of repressive projects

  • An investigation of a database used by the Ürümqi City Public Security Bureau and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau reveals elements of the internment regime, the use of informants, and the monitoring of phone, financial, medical, and online records of Uyghur residents.
  • The investigation follows recent revelations of the development of facial recognition technologies designed to identify ethnicity and flag individuals for authorities.
  • Officials routinely detain Uyghur individuals as “preventative” security measures, often using trumped up accusations of religious extremism that effectively criminalize religious activities and other cultural practices.

Read

Revealed: Massive Chinese Police Database” (The Intercept | January 2021)

Patenting Uyghur Tracking – Huawei, Megvii, More (IPVM | January 2021)

Huawei tested AI software that could recognize Uighur minorities and alert police, report says” (The Washington Post | December 2020)

India News | Farmers

Internet blockages and hunger strike mark continuing conflict between Indian farmers and government

  • Tensions between farmers and the government have continued as encampments of tens of thousands, tractor parades, clashes with police, and a recently organized hunger strike have unfolded across the country, from New Delhi to Ghazipur.
  • The interior ministry announced that internet services on the outskirts of New Delhi had been temporarily suspended as protesting farmers continued to flock to the capital from around the country.
  • After a Sikh protester unfurled a religious flag during Republic Day clashes, pro-government media seized on the spectacle to deride the protests, and anti-Sikh sentiment has begun to disrupt—at least in part—popular support for the protesters.
  • Since November, the farmers’ movement has been protesting economic reforms that they argue benefit large agribusiness firms and private buyers over smaller producers, endangering their already precarious livelihoods.

Read

Farmers protest: Here are the top developments of the day” (The Indian Express | January 2021)

Indian farmers begin hunger strike amid fury against Modi” (The Associated Press | January 2021)

In Delhi, public support for protesting farmers is giving way to anti-Sikh prejudice” (Scroll.in | January 2021)

Farm bills: Are India’s new reforms a ‘death warrant’ for farmers?” (BBC News | September 2020)

Study

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 (PRS Legislative Research)

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 (PRS Legislative Research)

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (PRS Legislative Research)

China NEWS | Uyghurs

Uyghur graveyards demolished in China

  • Recent investigations have uncovered more than 100 burial grounds that have been destroyed by the Chinese government.
  • The Chinese government claimed that the graves had been “relocated” due to urban development demands, but other official justifications included “standardization” and the government’s desire to “promote cultural and ideological progress.”
  • Cemeteries occupy a significant role in Uyghur cultural life, serving as both resting places and social spaces, and their demolition coupled with the destruction of Uyghur coffins, shrines, and mosques has further substantiated ongoing cultural genocide in Xinjiang.

Read

More than 100 Uyghur graveyards demolished by Chinese authorities, satellite images show” (CNN | January 2020)

‘No space to mourn’: the destruction of Uygur graveyards in Xinjiang” (Agence France-Presse, via The South China Morning Post | October 2019)

China ‘building cark parks and playgrounds’ over Uighur Muslim graveyards ‘to eradicate ethnic group’s identity’” (The Independent | October 2019)

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Then and now: China’s destruction of Uighur burial grounds” (The Guardian | October 2019)

Study

Demolishing Faith: The Destruction and Desecration of Uyghur Mosques and Shrines” (B.K. Sintash and the Uyghur Human Rights Project | October 2019)

Malaysia News | UyghurS

Malaysian PM announces asylum provisions for refugee Uyghurs

  • Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamed indicated that the country would not honor extradition requests from China for Uyghurs fleeing persecution.
  • The announcement follows a statement from the foreign minister indicating that an inquiry into human rights violations in the Xinjiang region of China.
  • Hundreds took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest the ongoing incarceration of more than a million Uyghur Muslims in “political re-education” camps in northwest China.

Read

Malaysia not to extradite Uighurs seeking asylum” (Andalou Agency | December 2019)

Malaysia to probe rights violations against Uighurs” (Andalou Agency | December 2019)

In KL, hundreds of Muslims protest against China’s treatment of Uighurs” (Malay Mail | December 2019)

Global News | Ethnic & Religious Minorities

Facebook announces ban on white-nationalist content

  • The world’s most widely used social media company announced a ban on “praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and separatism,” to be enforced beginning next week.
  • Users who search for terms related to white supremacy, nationalism, and separatism will be redirected to Life After Hate, an organization that supports the de-radicalization of members of far-right hate groups.
  • Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have come under fire for enabling the spread of hate content and the development of extremist networks.

Read

Standing Against Hate (Facebook Newsroom | March 2019)

Facebook bans white nationalism, white separatism on its platforms” (Reuters | March 2019)

Facebook bans white nationalism from platform after pressure from civil rights groups” (NBC News | March 2019)

Connect

Life After Hate

New Zealand News | Muslim

New Zealanders rally in support of Muslim community as government takes action

  • Some 15,000 people attended a rally in Christchurch to honor the memory of the 50 who died in the recent terror attacks.
  • The country’s chief censor issued a ban on the attacker’s manifesto, classifying the document in the same way as other terroristic propaganda such as Islamic State materials.
  • More than 1,000 voluntarily turned in their weapons as the government moved to ban military-style semiautomatic weapons, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing she expects legislation to be in place by mid-April.

Read

Thousands attend New Zealand vigil, rally to fight racism, remember Christchurch victims” (Reuters | March 2019)

Censor bans ‘manifesto’ of Christchurch mosque shooter” (The Guardian | March 2019)

Christchurch shootings: New Zealand to ban military style weapons” (BBC News | March 2019)

UK News | Muslims

Anti-Muslim incidents in the U.K. explode in the wake of New Zealand attacks

  • Tell MAMA, a U.K.-based organization that monitors anti-Muslim incidents, revealed that it received reports of 95 incidents of hate crimes against Muslims in the week following the Christchurch attacks, an increase of 593% over the previous week.
  • The incidents included verbal harassment, threats, online abuse, vandalism, and violent assaults across Great Britain.
  • Counter-terrorism police launched an investigation after receiving reports of attacks on five mosques over the course of a single day.

Read

Anti-Muslim hate crimes soar in UK after Christchurch shootings” (The Guardian | March 2019)

Birmingham mosque attacks probed by counter-terrorism officers” (CNN | March 2019)

How do UK Muslims feel after series of Islamophobic attacks?” (Al Jazeera | March 2019)

Connect

Tell MAMA

New Zealand NEWS | Muslims

Terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques leaves more than four dozen dead

  • A gunman opened fire in the Masjid Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, killing at least 49 and injuring 48 in the worst mass shooting in New Zealand history.
  • In addition to livestreaming one of the attacks on Facebook, the attacker posted a manifesto online in which he declared far-right, anti-immigrant, white-supremacist views.
  • The gunman was arrested along with three other suspects, and officials advised community members to avoid visiting mosques in the aftermath of the attack.

Read

Christchurch mosque shootings: What you need to know” (The New Zealand Herald | March 2019)

New Zealand PM: Dozens killed in ‘terrorist’ attack on mosques” (Al Jazeera | March 2019)

49 shot dead in attack on two Christchurch mosques” (The Guardian | March 2019)

Support

United for Christchurch Mosque Shootings (crowdfunding campaign)

Connect

The Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand (FIAZ)

Israel News | Ethnic & Religious Minorities

Israeli parliament passes law formally establishing country as Jewish nation-state
  • The new basic law codifies a number of ultranationalist principles, including Hebrew as the sole national language, the expansion of Jewish settlement as a national priority, Jewish symbols as national symbols, and a unified Jerusalem as the nation’s capital.
  • Previously, Israel existed formally as a multiethnic democratic state, with Arabic as the second national language and the concerns of Arab Israelis—who comprise a fifth of the population—at least nominally afforded equal weight in matters of national identity and self-determination.
  • While some observers have dismissed the law as largely symbolic, Arab lawmakers and progressive advocates argue it provides the legal ground for segregation and discrimination and reduces ethnic and religious minorities to a second-class citizenship.
Read

Israel Passes Controversial Jewish Nation-state Bill After Stormy Debate” (Haaretz | July 2018)

Israeli Law Declares the Country the ‘Nation-State of the Jewish People’” (The New York Times | July 2018)

Israel passes controversial ‘Jewish nation-state’ law” (Al Jazeera | July 2018)

China Feature | Uyghur

The Transnational Oppression of Uyghur Chinese

Growing paranoia over terrorism by and radicalization of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority has led to the dramatic expansion of state surveillance activities in Xinjiang—where Uyghurs account for nearly half of the population—and abroad. Digital surveillance, travel restrictions, indefinite detention, “reeducation” camps, and the exploitation of intra-community and transnational relationships have dramatically expanded the crackdown on ethnic minorities perceived as threats to the integrity of the state. After fleeing China, Uyghur emigrants find themselves and their families (some of whom remain in China) subject to harassment by Chinese security forces in places as far flung as Istanbul and Washington, D.C. BuzzFeed News and The Globe and Mail have profiled a number of Uyghur Chinese in exile and the oppressive conditions they and their families face, including high levels of distrust and fear of advocacy.

Read

Spy For Us — Or Never Speak To Your Family Again” (BuzzFeed News | July 2018)

How China is targeting its Uyghur ethnic minority abroad” (The Globe and Mail | October 2017)

Additional

‘It is about Xi as the leader of the world’: Former detainees recount abuse in Chinese re-education centres” (The Globe and Mail | July 2018)

One in 10 Uyghur Residents of Xinjiang Township Jailed or Detained in ‘Re-Education Camp’” (Radio Free Asia | June 2018)

Connect

Uyghur Human Rights Project

Denmark News | Low-income Muslim Immigrants

Denmark approves new classification and requirements for low-income immigrant neighborhoods
  • The Danish government plans to classify low-income, predominantly Muslim immigrant neighborhoods as “ghettos,” triggering a set of household requirements for the receipt of welfare benefits.
  • Starting at one year of age, children will be separated from their families for 25 hours a week for education in “Danish values” (including Christian religious traditions), while other Danish children typically do not begin school until age six.
  • The policy comes as anti-immigrant sentiment has increased in the country, with political figures (including the Prime Minister) denigrating immigrant enclaves and demanding assimilation.
Read

Denmark to school ‘ghetto’ kids in democracy and Christmas” (Reuters | May 2018)

In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos’” (The New York Times | July 2018)

‘No ghettos in 2030’: Denmark’s controversial plan to get rid of immigrant neighborhoods” (Vox | July 2018)

Afghanistan News | Sikh

Suicide bombing targets Sikhs in Jalalabad, leaving more than a dozen dead and 20 wounded
  • The attack targeted a vehicle traveling through the Mukhaberat district, with at least 10 of the dead members of the Sikh community.
  • The vehicle’s occupants had been traveling to meet with President Ashraf Ghani, who was on tour in Jalalabad and had recently attended the inauguration a new hospital.
  • Sikhs account for less than 1% of the Afghan population, their numbers having been drastically reduced in the last few decades as a result of death and displacement from war and institutionalized oppression and neglect.
Read

Suicide Attack Targets Sikhs in Jalalabad, 19 Killed” (TOLOnews | July 2018)

Deadly blast hits eastern Afghan city, targeting Sikh minority” (Reuters | July 2018)

Additional

The decline of Afghanistan’s Hindu and Sikh communities” (Al Jazeera | January 2017)