At a campaign rally in New Hampshire Wednesday night, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump declined to correct a supporter who declared that “Muslims” are “a problem in this country” and urged the candidate to “get rid of ‘em.” Voicing the beliefs of nearly half of U.S. Republicans, the speaker also asserted that President Obama is a Muslim — another point Trump allowed to stand as he promised to “look at” the issue.
Now, civil rights groups in the area say they’re concerned that such a high profile figure like Trump condoning hate speech against Muslims will lead to something worse.
“Anti-Muslim rhetoric isn’t just ugly, it’s dangerous. It is almost always followed by an uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes and violence,” said Farhana Khera with the organization Muslim Advocates. The group is demanding Trump clarify his comments and publicly answer whether he believes the country needs to “get rid of” Muslims.
Khera also compared Trump’s actions — unfavorably — to how Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) faced a similar situation on the campaign trail in 2008, when a supporter called then-Senator Barack Obama an “Arab.”
McCain and other “people of good conscience stood up” to such hate speech then, said Khera. “So we urge all candidates for public office, including those running for president in both parties, to reject anti-Muslim bigotry — or any rhetoric that seeks to divide Americans based on how we look or how we pray.”
This change has come with an increase in incidents of Islamophobia. A local gun shop, Granite State Guns & Survival Gear, declared themselves a “Muslim-free zone.” Earlier this summer, Trump and many other Republicans running for president attended a New Hampshire conference sponsored by a group that believes American Muslims are infiltrating the U.S. government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group’s staffers have also advocated outlawing the practice of Islam in America.
Just a few years ago in nearby Boston, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was violently attacked by a stranger who accused her of a connection to the Boston marathon bombing.
Civil rights groups are concerned that Trump’s tacit support for anti-Muslim speech will echo what has happened with his rhetoric against Latin American immigrants: that it will evolve into violence.
Since Trump infamously characterized Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” supporters of his have verbally and physically attacked Latino protesters and openly advocated for white supremacy. Two brothers who beat and urinated on a homeless Latino man in Boston in August cited Trump as the inspiration for their crime.
“In failing to challenge the questioner’s anti-Muslim bigotry and his apparent call for the ethnic cleansing of American Muslims, Donald Trump sent the message that Islamophobia is acceptable,” said Robert McCaw with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Mr. Trump needs to follow the example of Senator McCain by rejecting bigotry and by speaking out against the growing Islamophobia in American society.”
Another civil rights group, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, released a statement slamming Trump for “promoting Islamophobia by validating anti-Muslim comments.”
“These bigoted comments incite violence and hate crimes against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, including Arab-Americans,” the group warned.
Following Wednesday night’s incident, some of Trump’s rivals for the White House across the political spectrum are also denouncing his actions. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who held a competing town hall in Concord, New Hampshire, tweeted: “Donald Trump not denouncing false statements about POTUS & hateful rhetoric about Muslims is disturbing, & just plain wrong. Cut it out.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is famous for his rowdy town halls, told NBC’s Matt Lauerthat he “wouldn’t have permitted” such remarks to stand.
“If someone brought that up at a town hall meeting of mine, I would’ve said, ‘No, listen. Before we answer, let’s clear some things up for the rest of the audience.’ And I think you have an obligation as a leader to do that,” he said.
Read more: Think Progress
Islamic State militants in Syria committed an “intolerable crime against civilization” by destroying the Temple of Bel, one of the ancient world’s most iconic monuments, the head of the U.N. cultural agency said Tuesday.
The militants used explosives to destroy the two-millennia-old temple in the ancient city of Palmyra on Sunday. Witnesses described a huge blast and the destruction was later confirmed by U.N. satellite images.
The militants claim ancient relics and sites of worship promote idolatry. They have blown up several ancient treasures in Iraq and destroyed a smaller Palmyra temple, Baalshamin, in late August.
Dr. Nedal Haj Darwish at the Department of Archaeology at Iraq’s University of Sulaimani told VOA’s Kurdish service that militants of the self-claimed Islamic State group use religion as a pretext to destroy statues. “But in reality, they want to eliminate the cultural heritage of the area.”
UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said Tuesday 4,500 years of history will never be erased. “The power of culture is greater than that of all forms of extremism and nothing can stop it,” she added.
She said her agency will try to protect “all that can be saved” from destruction by IS.
The Temple of Bel, dating back to 32 AD, displayed a unique merging of ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman architecture. Dedicated to the Semitic god Bel, it was considered one of the most important religious buildings of the first century. The temple consisted of a central shrine inside a colonnaded courtyard, with a large gateway within a complex that has other ruins, including an amphitheater and some tombs.
Dr. Darwish says the world should act more aggressively to stop IS from destroying cultural treasures as the group will try to destroy all historical sites that it deems represent non-Islamic icons or values.
Palmyra was an important caravan city of the Roman Empire, linking it to India, China, and Persia. Before the outbreak of Syria’s conflict in March 2011, the UNESCO site was one of the top tourist attractions in the Middle East.
Kokab Farshori , Voanews
China: Religious Repression of Uighur Muslims
(New York) – The Chinese government is directing a crushing campaign of religious repression against China’s Muslim Uighurs in the name of anti-separatism and counter-terrorism, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China said in a new report today.
The 114-page report, Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, is based on previously undisclosed Communist Party and government documents, as well as local regulations, official newspaper accounts, and interviews conducted in Xinjiang. It unveils for the first time the complex architecture of law, regulation, and policy in Xinjiang that denies Uighurs religious freedom, and by extension freedom of association, assembly, and expression. Chinese policy and law enforcement stifle religious activity and thought even in school and at home. One official document goes so far as to say that “parents and legal guardians may not allow minors to participate in religious activities.”
“The worldwide campaign against terrorism has given Beijing the perfect excuse to crack down harder than ever in Xinjiang,” said Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “Other Chinese enjoy a growing freedom to worship, but the Uighurs, like the Tibetans, find that their religion is being used as a tool of control.”
The Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking minority of some 8 million people, whose traditional homeland lies in the oil-rich Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in northwest China, have become increasingly fearful for their cultural survival and traditional way of life in the face of an intensive internal migration drive that has witnessed the arrival of more than 1.2 million ethnic Chinese settlers over the past decade. Many Uighurs desire greater autonomy than is currently allowed; some wish for a separate state, although there is little recent evidence of violent rebellion.
Highly intrusive religious control extends to organized religious activities, religious practitioners, schools, cultural institutions, publishing houses, and even to the personal appearance and behavior of Uighur individuals. State authorities politically vet all imams on a regular basis and require “self-criticism” sessions; impose surveillance on mosques; purge schools of religious teachers and students; screen literature and poetry for political allusions; and equate any expression of dissatisfaction with Beijing’s policies with “separatism” – a state security crime under Chinese law that can draw the death penalty.
At its most extreme, peaceful activists practicing their religion in ways that the Party and government deem unacceptable are arrested, tortured, and at times executed. The harshest punishments are saved for those accused of involvement in so-called separatist activity, which officials increasingly term “terrorism” for domestic and external consumption.
At a more mundane level, Uighurs face harassment in their daily lives. Celebrating religious holidays, studying religious texts, or showing one’s religion through personal appearance are strictly forbidden at state institutions, including schools. The Chinese government vets who can be a cleric, what version of the Koran is acceptable, where religious gatherings may be held, and what may be said.
“Uighurs are seen by Beijing as an ethno-nationalist threat to the Chinese state,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. “As Islam is perceived as underpinning Uighur ethnic identity, China has taken draconian steps to smother Islam as a means of subordinating Uighur nationalist sentiment.”
Documents obtained and interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China reveal a multi-tiered system of surveillance, control, and suppression of Uighur religious activity. As Xinjiang Party Secretary Wang Lequan has stressed, the “major task” facing the authorities in Xinjiang is to “manage religion and guide it in being subordinate to the central task of economic construction, the unification of the motherland, and the objective of national unity.”
Torture of Uighur Muslim Children by Chinese
The Chinese people and the Chinese government together are directing a crushing campaign of religious repression against China’s Muslim Uighurs in the name of anti-separatism and counter-terrorism. This has led ordinary people to beat and torture any Uighur Muslims they could find anywhere in China. The Chinese government has been systematically through media and local officials encouraging its population to beat and torture Chinese Uighur Muslims. In this video clip we see Chinese teenagers beating and tottering an Uighur Muslim with several burning cigarettes.
Ku Klux Klan Clash With Black and Anti-Racism Protesters in South Carolina Over the Confederate Flag
On Saturday, the Ku Klux Klan, supported by neo-Nazi and Christian fundamentalist groups, held a rally in Columbia, S.C. to protest the removal of the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds. If there was any question as to whether the Confederate flag represents domestic terrorism and white supremacy, all doubts have been put to rest.
Fifty Klan members and supporters gathered on the steps of the state Capitol. As NPR reported, the protesters were waving Confederate battle flags, and at least one held a flag bearing a Nazi swastika. Hundreds of jeering counter protesters were on hand, including anti-racism and Black Nationalist activists who called out the names of Black people who were killed by police, and told the KKK to go home. Dozens of law enforcement officers used metal barricades to separate the crowds from the Klan.
The pro-Confederate flag rally was organized by the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, believed to be among the largest KKK chapters or factions. Black Educators for Justice, based in Jacksonville, Fla., also held a rally on the north side of the Statehouse, where the Confederate flag was removed earlier this month, as the Associated Press reported. According to the S.C. Department of Public Safety, the crowd was estimated at approximately 2,000. Five people were arrested, and up to 23 were treated for heat exposure.
China Bans Many Uighur Muslims From Ramadan Fast.
Some local governments and institutes have posted notices in China’s restive Xinjiang province banning students and civil servants from taking part in traditional fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Experts on the region say although the orders are not new, they run the risk of reinforcing recent tensions.
Muslims around the world, including Uighurs in Xinjiang, China, are observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which includes fasting from sunrise until sunset. But many in the restive region are banned from observing the fast – chiefly civil servants, teachers and students.
June Teufel Dreyer, a professor of political science at Miami University, said authorities usually couch the ban as a health issue.
“I am aware that it is actually nothing new. They have prohibited this before during Ramadan. And it is always presented as a health issue. That you shouldn’t deprive yourself of food. Students need to keep their energy up to study. And civil servants need to keep their energy up to do their jobs properly,” said Dreyer.
But, Dreyer said, given the recent violent attacks in Xinjiang, the ban has become more sensitive and has attracted more attention.
Oxford University’s Reza Hasmath, who has published several books on China’s ethnic minorities, said the ban does not help the current situation.
“There is heightened tensions in Xinjiang among the Uighurs. Particularly given the ethnic violence that has been occurring over the last year. So this only reinforces more antagonism if anything,” said Hasmath.
Alim Seytoff, president of the Uyghur-American Association and born in Xinjiang, also thinks the ban will cause Uighurs to become more dissatisfied. And, he said, it violates Beijing’s statements that it grants ethnic and religious minorities preferential treatment.
“In fact, it means China does not have any preferential policy. It actually opposes Uighurs’ religious belief, it is an anti-religion policy. So many Uighurs, including me, dislike this policy very much,” said Seytoff.
The conflict between Uighurs and the country’s dominant Han Chinese has lasted for years, but has recently escalated. In May, two cars – widely believed to have been driven by Uighurs – plowed through a crowded market in Urumqi, with those in the car tossing explosives as they went. At least 39 died and over 100 were injured in the attack.
Read more: Voanews
It looks like someone has used a racist slur to label US President Barack Obama on Google Maps.
According to Mirror UK, if you search for n***** house or variations of the term in Google Maps it will zoom into a pin on the White House.
Despite Google having had around a day to fix the glitch, the result still appears when you search for that term this morning (20 May).
“Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologise for any offence this may have caused,” Google said. “Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly.”
It’s not the first time inappropriate content has appeared on Google Maps.
In April a large-scale picture of an Android robot urinating on an Apple logo was spotted in an are of rural Pakistan – created by someone using the company’s map-making tool.
Another image was discovered a few miles east which said “Google review policy is crap” accompanied by an unsmiling face.
Google chose to suspend Map Maker – which lets users draw in features such as businesses, roads and rivers to the online charts.
“We have been experiencing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months. The most recent incident was particularly troubling and unfortunate – a strong user in our community chose to go and create a large scale prank on the Map,” said Google’s Pavithra Kanakarajan at the time.
Google had been manually approving edits to maps in the wake of the prank, but there is now such a backlog that the company has decided to suspend changes altogether. “We have to take a pause,” she added.
It’s not clear at this stage whether the racist slur was generated through the Map Maker tool or via some other means.
There are moments when I come thisclose to quitting Twitter. The amount of hatred squeezed into 140 characters or less by lunatics usually cloaked in anonymity is enough to make you question your support for the First Amendment and your faith in the decency of other people.
To the uninitiated, the torrent of bigotry can leave you feeling violated. Even the most seasoned, battle-scarred, seen-it-all, can’t-nuthin’-shock-me individual will be left O-o by the filth in his or her Twitter feed.
Badash gives a hat-tip to ifyouonlynews.com for its original story. But he notes that it took just 10 minutes to start baptizing the leader of the free world in Twitter’s racist sewer. Obama’s tweet at 11:38 a.m. on Monday was simple.
Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.
The first racist tweet (from an account that has since been suspended)appears to have come in at 11:48 a.m. from a particularly nasty fellow who addresses the president as the N-word and advises him to “get cancer.” The racist affront is the equivalent of being called the N-word by a coward in a passing car as you’re walking down the street.
If you follow me on the beast that is Twitter, you have seen me do battle with racists, homophobes and the willfully uninformed and ignorant. I strongly believe those folks need to be exposed for sunlight is the best disinfectant, as the saying goes. And I strongly believe those folks need to endure the public censure and ridicule that comes with being revealed as a hate-filled bigot. It is then that whatever sliver of hope I have in humanity is restored.
No doubt, Obama was neither shocked nor surprised by the racist reception he received. After all, this is a man who has endured six years of gasp-worthy slights. But I wonder whether deep down on some level the president wasn’t disappointed. It wouldn’t make him naive. It would make him human.
Written By Jonathan Capehart.
Racism is real and still very much an issue in this country, one that pervades many aspects of life. But not everyone in America fully appreciates that fact. As many studies show, white Americans are often cut off from the realities of racism, living within homogeneous social networks and communities.
But if you have any doubts about whether racism still exists in America, this 3-minute video from Brave New Films, a California-based company that makes films to spur political activism, might clear them up. The video counts down eight reasons that racism is still very real in America, using research from Yale University, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New England Journal of Medicine, among others.
Compelling reasons why racism is real
1. Black sounding names are 50 percent less likely to be called back by those reviewing job applications. In a 2002 study, Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan of the University of Chicago mailed thousands of job applications to reviewers that were identical except for the names. They found that applications with white-sounding names like Emily and Brendan were much more likely to be answered than identical resumes from black-sounding names like Lakisha and Jamal.
2. Black people are charged roughly $700 more when buying cars. A study by Ian Ayres and Peter Siegelman of Yale Law School found that dealers quoted lower prices to white men than blacks and women, even though all buyers used an identical script for negotiating.
3. Black drivers are twice as likely to get pulled over. Numerous studies — including this 1999 study by the ACLU and an analysis of FBI records by USA Today last year — show a significant racial gap in police stops and arrests.
4. Black clients are shown 17.7 percent fewer houses for sale. A 2012 study of housing discrimination by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development found that black homebuyers who contacted agents about recently advertised homes for sale learned about 17 percent fewer available homes than equally qualified whites and were shown 17.7 percent fewer homes. Asian homebuyers learned about 15.5 percent fewer available homes and were shown 18.8 percent fewer homes.
5. Black people are much more likely to be arrested for marijuana use. A 2013 study by the ACLU showed that, while marijuana use rates are equal among blacks and whites, black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for it.
6. Black people are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white people. A 2007 study by Marc Mauer and Ryan King of the Sentencing Project document the incredible incarceration rates of young black men. “If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spent time in prison during his lifetime,” they wrote.
While racism is thought to be rife in the Southern US states, a new “racism map of America” reveals prejudice to be common elsewhere.
The racism map suggests that the coal region and rust belt in the American Northeast, along with the South, have now become the most racist areas of the US.
The rust belt straddles the upper northeastern US, the Great Lakes, and the Midwest states while the coal region is found in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.
The map based its results on Google search data – a technique previously used by data scientists to understand how racism may impact Barack Obama’s electoral chances, according to the Washington Post.
‘Google data, evidence suggests, are unlikely to suffer from major social censoring,’ Harvard University data scientist, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, wrote in an earlier paper.
He added that Google searchers are online and likely alone – both of which make it easier to express socially taboo thoughts.
Asking someone about racism in a traditional survey rarely works, says Stephens-Davidowitz, because people may lie, and often, racism can operate on a subconscious level.
As part of the study, researchers at the University of Maryland, Columbia University, Emory University and Harvard University looked at searches containing the slur n****r.
Racism map shows clusters in Gulf Coast, Michigan
They found that it was searched for frequently, as often as, for instance, ‘economist,’ ‘sweater,’ and ‘Daily Show’.
The map revealed that clusters of racism appeared in areas of the Gulf Coast, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and a large portion of Ohio.
Racism in the New England states, along with New York, were two surprising hotspots for racism.
Searches for n****r are less frequent in regions west of Texas.
The researchers on the Plos One paper found that racist searches were linked with higher death rates in black communities.
‘Results from our study indicate that living in an area characterised by a one standard deviation greater proportion of racist Google searches is associated with an 8.2 per cent increase in the all-cause mortality rate among Blacks,’ the authors wrote.
The racism map looks strikingly similar to a recent a map of racist Tweets made by researchers at Humboldt State University.
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