Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

Today in Islamophobia Newsletter

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23 Apr 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, several Muslim organizations lodged complaints with Leicestershire police seeking action against a Hindutva mob that chanted Islamophobic slogans during this year’s Ram Navami procession, meanwhile in the U.S., a man was charged on Monday with a federal hate crime in connection to the vandalism and burglary of an Islamic student center at Rutgers University earlier this month, and in Canada, a former Northern B.C. massage school has been ordered to pay $12,500 for discriminating against a Muslim man when he attempted to register for a therapy appointment with the school. Our recommended read of the day is by Armani Sayed for TIME on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s and his recent anti-Muslim comments on the campaign trails as he seeks a third term in the current general election. This and more below:


Indian Prime Minister Modi Accused of ‘Hate Speech’ Towards Muslims in Campaign Rally | Recommended Read

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under fire for invoking anti-Muslim tropes in a speech on Sunday as he campaigns in the nation’s ongoing general election. Speaking to a large crowd at a rally in the western state of Rajasthan, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader made controversial remarks describing Muslims as “infiltrators.” Modi said that if the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, is voted into power at the end of the weeks’ long election, they would unfairly distribute wealth. “When they were in power, they said Muslims have first right over resources. They will gather all your wealth and distribute it among those who have more children,” Modi told a crowd of supporters. “Do you think your hard-earned money should be given to infiltrators? Would you accept this?” he said of India’s Muslim population, which consists of around 230 million people. The remarks appeared to be a reference to harmful tropes that accuse Muslims of displacing Hindus by building large families. The comments have been widely criticized by opposition leaders and prominent Muslim figures and triggered anger worldwide. Local polls officials confirmed to Al Jazeera that they had received two complaints calling for Modi’s campaign suspension and arrest. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Across Britain, there is licence for bigotry against Muslims

Denying her the right to pray helped to promote a team ethos of inclusivity and social cohesion, the judge said. Go figure. Muslims who favour an approach of less-conspicuous religiosity or public displays of piety might well agree with the outcome. At Michaela, during school hours, headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh is in charge - and if obeying her rules means coming out with grades and discipline that significantly enhance your life chances, then give unto Caesar, at least for now. But it shouldn’t be ignored that Caesar here, or Katharine the Great as she has essentially been anointed, has her own watchers - and they have been transparently Islamophobic. The former home secretary, who was on the board of governors at her school, just weeks ago made the absurd, conspiratorial claim that Islamists were in control of Britain. What seems on the surface to have been a reasonable request to accommodate an act of spiritual significance required by the Muslim faith, has once more been cast as an issue of security. The “dangerous Muslim” card, a disingenuous trope, is now a weapon for anyone who wants to shut down any request that a Muslim citizen might make - or in the case of the Tory party, it is used by those who want to boost their leadership credentials. In the context of schools, it sometimes covers for anti-religious, more accurately anti-Muslim, zealots who are determined to force their “civilising” dogma on Muslim children. read the complete article

Leicester Ram Navami procession: Muslim groups seek police action against Hindutva mob for Islamophobic chants

Multiple Muslim organisations lodged complaints with Leicestershire police seeking action against a Hindutva mob for their Islamophobic chants raised during Ram Navami procession. The incident took place at the Cossington Park area in the UK city of Leicester on Wednesday 17 April 2024. They submitted complaint along with the video of the Hindutva mob, chanting anti-Muslim slogans as an evidence to the police.In the video, which Maktoob has accessed earlier, the mob chanted “Ayodhya is just a glimpse, Kashi and Mathura mosques remain to be conquered.” Hindutva acolytes targeted centuries old Gyanvapi mosque in Kashi, and Shahi-Idgah mosque in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh taking inspiration from the Ram temple construction on the ruins of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. The Muslim organisations raised their concerns of repeated Hindutva provocations in the English city as it had also witnessed Hindutva-inspired violence in September 2022. “Reeling from the fallout of the 2022 riots, the latest Islamophobic chants have not only raised further tensions but also caused considerable distress within thecommunity.” Mohammed Owaise, Director of UK-Indian Muslim Council said in the complaint addressed at Rob Nixon, Chief Constable at Leicestershire police. read the complete article

Channel 4 takes action after demands to sack Rachel Riley for 'Islamophobic' remark

Rachel Riley has been ‘reminded of her obligations’ by Channel 4 after she was accused of perpetuating Islamophobia in a now-deleted tweet about the Sydney mall stabbing, can reveal. The Countdown presenter said she was sorry her message was ‘misunderstood’ after there were calls for Channel 4 to sack the 38-year-old when she falsely claimed the horror attack was linked to a Palestinian uprising. Riley was accused of racism by people on X who demanded Channel 4 take action after she said the shopping mall knifing was the result of a ‘globalised Intifada’. When approached for comment about Riley’s remarks, a spokesperson for Channel 4 said: ‘We have reminded Rachel of her obligations as a contributor to Channel 4 programming.’ read the complete article

Man arrested after a video of him showed his racist tirade against muslim Women

Police have arrested a man on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences after footage was shown of him threatening and verbally abusing Muslim women as they walked down the street in an 'unacceptable' racist tirade.On a post shared by @RedbridgeAction is said: Here's another angle to help identify this racist.Astonishingly, NO ONE hasn't come forward with his details. WE URGE @metpolice to publicise this video and ensure he is swiftly brought to justice. read the complete article

United States

Man Charged With Federal Hate Crime In Rutgers Islamic Student Center Vandalism

A man was charged Monday with federal hate crimes following the vandalism and burglary of an Islamic student center at Rutgers University earlier this month. Jacob Beacher has been arrested and is in federal custody, according to an email to the Rutgers community from Kenneth Cop, the chief of the Rutgers University Police Department. The vandalism occurred in the early morning hours of April 10 on Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and included a break-in and smashed religious objects. According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, which was included in the federal complaint against Beacher, the defendant caused an estimated $40,000 of damage, including the destruction of Turbah prayer stones and items containing language from the Qur’an. The agent said surveillance footage showed Beacher walking toward the student center, which is known as CILRU, and alleged that he broke a window to unlock a deadbolt and get inside the building. Kaiser Aslam, the Muslim chaplain at Rutgers, welcomed the charges and applauded the university for its support. “This crime didn’t occur in a vacuum. It occurred at a time in which Muslims and Palestinians in particular are being dehumanized,” Aslam said. “It’s good to see that when a crime is motivated by something like this, that it is tried to the full extent as it should be and taken as seriously as it should be. read the complete article

Joe Biden criticised for 'double standards' after remarks on Columbia University protests, arrests

Pro-Palestinian activists and journalists have criticised US President Joe Biden’s recent remarks concerning Gaza solidarity protests at New York’s Columbia University, which intensified over the weekend. Student demonstrators on Sunday were protesting in support of Gaza and Palestinians have for a fifth day in a row, demanding that the prestigious university severs ties with Israel over its deadly and indiscriminate war on the Gaza Strip. Israel has killed at least 34,151 Palestinians – mostly women and children – since October 7. Imraan Siddiqui, the executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), pointed out the double standards in both Biden’s statement and US coverage of the hysteria surrounding the protests, saying that "no media" talks about "Muslim or Palestinian safety". Since the outbreak of Israel’s war on Gaza, several anti-Palestinian incidents have taken place in the US, including the stabbing of six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, who was stabbed to death in his family home by a 71-year-old man in Chicago. British-American journalist Mehdi Hasan, who parted ways from broadcaster MSNBC reportedly over the war in Gaza, also slammed Biden for failing to issue statements condemning racist and genocidal language aimed at Palestinians by multiple US politicians. read the complete article


Former B.C. massage school ordered to pay $12k for discrimination

A former Northern B.C. massage school has been ordered to pay $12,500 for Islamophobic claims against a Muslim man. In January 2019, Majid Shahadat, who identifies as Muslim and has lived in Canada for 25 years, booked a lymphatic massage treatment online with the Northern School of Spa Therapies in Fort St. John, said the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision issued on April 17. That night, the director of the school, Joyce Middleton, wrote him an email requesting “credentials” and asking him to “certify you are not of the Islamic faith, which as you know has earned a bad reputation for raping and killing of infidels in Canada and elsewhere.” Three days later, she sent a second email saying they are not accepting “new male clients that we do not know” because “we have to protect our students, who happen to be all girls at this time.” She referred him to another male massage therapist. “As a result of Ms. Middleton’s discriminatory views, Mr. Shahadat was denied access to a service ordinarily available to the public, based on his religion, place of origin, ancestry, and colour,” said tribunal member Devyn Cousineau in the decision. “This denial was a violation of his dignity and an affront to B.C.’s commitment to an equitable society.” read the complete article


Kashmir and Palestine: Two occupations bound by struggle

Israel's occupation of Palestine and India's occupation of Kashmir are two blots on the international record. Israel has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and displaced millions more in what is now the longest-continuous military occupation in modern history. Palestinians today suffer either a 17-year blockade, a brutal occupation, apartheid, or forced exile. As we speak, Israel carries out genocide in Gaza, with the population on the brink of famine. For their part, India has killed 60,000 Kashmiris since the 1980s. The people of Kashmir live through extrajudicial killings, cases of forced disappearance, and rife sexual violence at the hands of the Indian military. One an expression of Western settler colonialism in the Middle East, the other a violent hangover of Britain’s Partition of India, the two tales of occupation share similarities and differences. But both people today share a common goal: the struggle for self-determination in a global order tainted by anti-Arab prejudice and Islamophobia. read the complete article

Blinken says genocide in Xinjiang is ongoing in report ahead of China visit

Beijing is continuing to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in its western Xinjiang province, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a report published on Monday, ahead of his planned visit to China this week. The State Department's annual human rights report, which documents abuses recorded all over the world during the previous calendar year, repeated language from previous years on the treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, but the publication raises the issue ahead of delicate talks, including on the war in Ukraine and global trade, between the top U.S. diplomat and Chinese counterparts. In a preface, Blinken said the report "documents ongoing grave human rights abuses in the People's Republic of China (PRC)." "For example, in Xinjiang, the PRC continues to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, forced labor, and other human rights violations against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups," Blinken said in the preface. The section of Monday's report on China details the detention of more than one million people in camps and prisons and the use of re-education camps in Xinjiang, among other abuses committed against the broader Chinese population. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Apr 2024 Edition


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