When I was becoming a British citizen, the one thing everyone knew was that the Life in the UK citizenship test was full of weird, arbitrary questions that most Britons couldn't answer, but next to Switzerland, the British process seems downright sane. Read the rest
In her new series The FREQ Show, Anita Sarkeesian digs into insidious, pervasive Hollywood stereotypes about Muslims and Arabs, and how those stereotypes fuel real-world Islamophobia. As Sarkeesian puts it:
To so many Americans, people in the Middle East have never been established as human beings with real lives, hopes, dreams, and struggles. When almost every story you’ve ever seen about a particular part of the world paints the people who live there as monolithic, evil, and scary, you’re a lot more likely to believe that it’s actually true.
And it’s not just fictional representation that’s a problem. According to a study by University of Illinois professor Travis Dixon that analyzed 146 episodes of TV news programing between 2008 and 2012, 81 percent of the terrorist suspects discussed on TV news were Muslim. In real life, however, Muslims accounted for just 6 percent of actual FBI terrorist suspects during that time period.
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Toronto high-school students have been visiting the USA since their inception; I remember my own high-school trips to Buffalo's Albright Knox gallery warmly. But they are a relic of the past, because the Toronto District School Board will not risk harassment and worse of its students at the US border, where people born to Arab or Muslim families, or in majority-Muslim families, report widespread discrimination. Read the rest
FBI agents have described the 83% white Bureau as "Trumpland," where conspiracy theories about Sharia law takeovers of America are taken seriously; the far-right, racist nature of so many agents has resulted in the loss, firing, and purging of many of the Bureau's tiny, dwindling minority of Arab and Muslim agents, who have been identified as crucial to the Bureau's counterterrorism mission. Read the rest
Virtually every cent raised by Geert Wilders, a notorious Islamophobic candidate in the upcoming Dutch elections, has come from a clutch of secretive American millionaires, led by David Horowitz, who calls Wilders "the Paul Revere of Europe." Read the rest
Ever since I read Laurie Penny's scathing, insider account of Milo Yiannopoulos and his schtick, I knew that she had his number like no one else -- and now that Yiannopoulos has been disbarred from his position as the useful idiot of the hard-right, I've been wondering what Penny made of the fall from grace. Read the rest
Update, 330pm PT: Aaaaand it looks like the White House just issued statements that reverse everything they said a half hour ago.
Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump lost his #MuslimBan appeal in court and subsequently tweeted 'SEE YOU IN COURT!' to the courts, he flip-flopped. Like he does. Read the rest
A trio of "scientists against a fascist government" set out a program for resisting trumpism with science, delving into the moral duty of scientists to resist the perversion of their work to attain cruel and evil ends. Read the rest
US District Judge Andre Birotte Jr (Central District of California) heard a plea from 28 Yemeni-born US citizens, and ruled that: Read the rest
Jen Wang, the incredible comics creator who adapted my award-winning story Anda's Game for the bestselling graphic novel In Real Life is selling original, 9" x 12" art from the book, and the painting above these words, for $250 each -- all proceeds divided equally between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American Islamic Relations. Read the rest
Donald J Trump's executive order banning Muslims from entering the US threw the world into chaos yesterday, as US citizens, lawful permanent residents and visa holders found themselves stranded abroad, detained at airports on arrival to the USA, or helplessly waiting outside immigration checkpoint for news of sick and vulnerable family members who were held incommunicado by US immigration officials who refused to obey a US federal court order. Read the rest
Obama's policy of allowing border agents to demand foreigners' social media accounts at border crossing has been expanded under Trump; now, people are being illegally profiled based on their religious affiliation and made to hand over their social media logins for data-mining and algorithmic suspicion-generation when they return home to the USA. Read the rest
The Russian Bank Deposit Insurance Agency has demanded repayment by French National Front leader Marine Le Pen -- daughter of open neo-Nazi and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen -- of €9m borrowed from the First Czech-Russian Bank, which is now defunct. Read the rest
Three posts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation dispassionately recount the on-the-record policies of Trump and his advisors on issues that matter to a free, fair and open internet: net neutrality; surveillance, encryption and cybersecurity; free speech and freedom of the press. Read the rest
Myanmar has been a technologically backwards authoritarian state for much of the past 50 years, with less than 1% of the country connected to the net, until 2015, when the country held its first elections in decades, a moment that was swiftly followed by a relaxation in telcoms controls and widespread access to the internet via mobile devices. Read the rest
Execs representing the biggest tech companies in America are gathering for a meeting with Donald Trump tomorrow in New York; these companies have it in their power to spy on us, locate us, censor us, and terminally compromise the free and open internet. Read the rest
Trump's Muslim database promise was extreme, even by Trump's standards; worse news, the US tech industry has built out a surveillance capability that would let him do it. Read the rest