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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

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz became on Sunday the first Team USA Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver .86 seconds later.

California's largest wildfire razes homes as 88 huge blazes burn in U.S.

Firefighters on the scene as dozens of homes burn during the Dixie Fire in the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on July 24. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Flames from California's biggest wildfire were engulfing homes in the state's north overnight — one of 88 large blazes raging in the U.S.

Driving the news: The Dixie Fire, which erupted July 14 near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, was tearing through the community of Indian Falls in the neighboring Plumas County, per AP.

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States on the 18th tee during Day Two of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 16 in Sandwich, England. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Tokyo Olympic Games, USA Golf announced late Saturday.

What he's saying: "I am deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA," DeChambeau said in a statement.