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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Muslim minorities from China to India and beyond are facing discrimination, mass internment, and even extermination at the hands of their own governments.

Why it matters: The global trend is rooted in the U.S. war on terror, inflated fears of Islamic terrorism, and the rise of authoritarian populism around the world.

Things have never been worse for Muslims who live as minorities in their home countries.

  • China has built concentration camps for over a million Muslim ethnic minorities.
  • Myanmar committed a "textbook" campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee.
  • India just passed a citizenship law that excludes Muslims.
  • The United States continues to implement a travel ban that is separating American Muslims (and others) from family members abroad.

And, increasingly, there's nowhere for them to run. Many countries around the world, not just the United States, have put up immigration barriers specifically targeting Muslims.

The backstory: These situations have arisen partly for localized reasons, but also because of sweeping global trends.

  • The U.S. war on terror has led to other state violence against Muslim populations. In fact, Chinese President Xi Jinping explicitly cited the U.S. war on terror as justification for policies that resulted in the ongoing detention of over a million Chinese Muslims.
  • Muslims, always the top victims of Islamic terrorism, now face demonization in countries like Sri Lanka due to popular fears of Islam due to its association with extremist groups.
  • The rise of far-right populist leaders such as India's Narendra Modi and Hungary's Viktor Orban — as well as the election of President Trump — has seen these leaders whip up anti-Muslim sentiment in order to bolster their own popularity.

The Trump administration has at times supported seemingly contradictory policies regarding religious freedom for Muslims — implementing the travel ban while also condemning China's crackdown.

  • One of Trump's campaign promises was a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." He partially fulfilled that campaign promise through his travel ban, implemented through executive order, that prohibits entry to the United States to almost all citizens of five Muslim-majority countries.
  • Trump has hired and promoted numerous once-fringe Islamophobes, including Frank Gaffney, Sebastian Gorka, and Pamela Gellar.
  • But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has referred to China's internment camps as the "stain of the century," and Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback has condemned China's actions as well.

The bottom line: It's a very bad time to be a Muslim in a country that isn't predominantly Muslim. And overall, the international community seems relatively unwilling to do much about it.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”