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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30 Apr 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the US, The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is investigating reports of an alteration to a Ramadan mural on Duke University’s Free Expression Bridge which those in the community believe are “explicitly targeting Muslims and the Islamic faith,” meanwhile in Arizona, the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has released a statement condemning an incident involving police forcibly removing a woman’s hijab, and in India, at a recent campaign rally in Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed in a speech that his predecessor, Manmohan Singh, had declared that Muslims had “the first claim” to the nation’s resources. Our recommended read for the day is by Human Rights Watch on how a lack of independent monitoring by the German government of hate crimes targeting Muslim citizens is “falling short in protecting Muslims and people perceived to be Muslims from racism amid rising incidents of hate and discrimination”. This and more below:


Germany Falling Short in Curbing Anti-Muslim Racism | Recommended Read

The German government is falling short in protecting Muslims and people perceived to be Muslims from racism amid rising incidents of hate and discrimination, Human Rights Watch said today. The absence of a working definition of anti-Muslim racism and a lack of official data on incidents and of investment in institutional support for victims are among the impediments to an effective response. “The German government’s failings in protecting Muslims from hatred and discrimination start with a lack of understanding that Muslims experience racism and not simply faith-based hostility,” said Almaz Teffera, researcher on racism in Europe at Human Rights Watch. “Without a clear understanding of anti-Muslim hate and discrimination in Germany and strong data on incidents and community outreach, a response by the German authorities will be ineffective.” By end of September 2023, the government’s preliminary hate crime statistics for the year had counted 686 “anti-Islamic” crimes, surpassing the 610 recorded for all of 2022. In mid-January 2024, the Interior Ministry told Human Rights Watch that it could not yet provide any data for the period between October and December. But German civil society groups have warned of a rise in anti-Muslim incidents since October, following the outbreak of hostilities in Israel-Palestine. read the complete article

United States

Speaking at Brown, Amer Ahmed shares strategies to confront discrimination, Islamophobia

In the course of his visits to college campuses across the nation for more than 15 years, Amer F. Ahmed’s greatest challenges to confronting Islamophobia have been a fundamental misunderstanding of Islam and pervasive stereotypes. The solution to addressing Islamophobia — and all forms of discrimination, for that matter — is to engage in learning and dialogue with people who have differing beliefs, he asserted. “No matter the way you show up in an issue, there’s a lot of context out there to gain…” Ahmed said. “I would strongly encourage you to encourage not just yourself, but others, to engage in learning more context, even if you believe you’re on the right side of the issue.” The imperative to advance knowledge of the social, cultural, political and historical context of Islam was among Ahmed’s key calls-to-action during a Monday, April 29, address at Brown University titled “Addressing Islamophobia: Dispelling Myths to Break Down Barriers.” read the complete article

Antisemitism and Islamophobia have increased in Oklahoma. A look at the numbers

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” Islamophobia refers to the fear of and hostility toward Muslims and Islam that is driven by racism and that leads to exclusionary, discriminatory, and violent actions targeting Muslims and those perceived as Muslim. read the complete article

University announces OSCCS investigation into defacement of Ramadan mural for possible Islamophobia

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is investigating reports of an alteration to a Ramadan mural on the Free Expression Bridge off of East Campus that “was understood by many in [the Duke] community to explicitly target Muslims and the Islamic faith,” according to a Sunday email from Duke Student Affairs. The email — sent by Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president of Students Affairs, and Kimberly Hewitt, vice president for institutional equity and chief diversity officer — listed two alterations to the Free Expression Bridge that are under investigation. First, a Quranic verse — “Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful” — was edited to include the word “not” before “Merciful.” McMahon and Hewitt noted that changing the meaning of the verse “can be particularly affronting and impactful to Muslims” and that such incidents “feed existing stereotypes that can lead to violent acts against Muslims.” The second alteration included posters of red cows that covered paintings of flags of several Muslim-majority nations. According to the email, red cow imagery is connected to “calls to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque, the holy Muslim site in Jerusalem.” read the complete article

Countering Anti-Muslim Hate: A Conversation with Farah Pandith

In the United States and around the world, anti-Muslim hatred and bigotry have surged in the months since war broke out between Israel and Hamas. “Anti-Muslim hate is rising, and I believe it will continue to rise unless we see some guardrails put both on society and in the online space,” said Farah Pandith, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former diplomat, at an April 17 event at SIPA on countering anti-Muslim hate. Pandith delved into a wide range of topics — from the roots and history of anti-Muslim sentiment, to challenges of identity and belonging for Muslims today, to policies to prevent discrimination and violence — during the discussion, which was moderated by Professor Kian Tajbakhsh. The Council on American-Islamic Relations received 3,578 reports of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate and discrimination during the final three months of 2023, marking a 178 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. read the complete article

Muslim leaders denounce officers for removing woman's hijab during ASU protest arrests

The Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement condemning an incident the group believes involved Arizona State University’s Police Department after video surfaced of a woman’s hijab being forcibly removed. In video published to X by ABC 15 reporter Dave Biscobing, a woman can be seen sitting near a bus, appearing to be handcuffed. In the video, which is censored, her headscarf is removed with four officers surrounding her as her hair is exposed. According to the group's statement, three other women alleged similar treatment during campus protests as well. The statement called for ASU Police to investigate the situation. Abuseif said the Council on American-Islamic Relations has been in contact with the woman in the video, her attorney, and the attorneys of the other women. The group is investigating what took place and will decide whether or not to take action, Abuseif said. read the complete article


With India’s election in full swing, Narendra Modi is getting desperate – and dangerous

When Narendra Modi ran for prime minister for the first time in 2014, his overriding aim was to convince voters that he was a different man – no longer the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, where, under his watch, more than 1,000 people were massacred in a communal pogrom in 2002. His record as prime minister in the past decade belies that. Now the mask has fallen completely. In a recent campaign rally in Rajasthan, Modi made an exceptionally incendiary speech in which he claimed that his predecessor, Manmohan Singh, had declared that Muslims had “the first claim” to the nation’s resources. This was distortion and exaggeration. Driven primarily by cynical electoral calculations, Modi’s speech aimed to scare voters into thinking that a Congress government would be after their wealth. Modi added that he would protect India’s “mothers and sisters” whose wealth was in danger, singling out the coveted mangalsutra (sacred necklace) that married women wear to indicate their marital status. Modi’s implication was that Congress would take it away and redistribute it to “infiltrators” and those who have more children – veiled references to Muslims. This is not dog-whistle politics, its meaning is audible to all Indians. It feeds into Hindu fears and is intended to arouse Hindus: it was dangerous and blatantly divisive. After thousands of voters complained that Modi’s speech violated the code of conduct for elections, the Election Commission of India sought a response from JP Nadda, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). The vehemence of Modi’s speech suggests that after 10 years in power, his government is running out of tricks and wants to ensure that the BJP’s core voters – angry, fundamentalist Hindus – won’t desert him. read the complete article

Rana Ayyub: Modi’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, India’s upcoming elections, and Israel-India relations

‘The solidarity with Israel has never been stronger’ Voting has begun in the world’s biggest election in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third five-year term. Indian journalist and author Rana Ayyub joined us on Real Talk to speak on Modi’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, India’s elections, and its current relationship with Israel. read the complete article

Agra: Indian Muslims talk about 'changing times'

Ever since Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in 2014, India's 200 million-odd Muslims have had a turbulent journey. In the historic city of Agra in northern India, Muslims worry about about how “society has changed”. read the complete article

United Kingdom

‘The hot topic is the war’: West Yorkshire’s Muslim voters feel politically homeless

Of all the issues being discussed and debated among voters in the lead-up to local elections, there is one that has taken precedence for some residents of the West Yorkshire borough of Kirklees: the conflict in Gaza. This week’s votes are predicted to bring damaging results for Rishi Sunak – whose personal ratings have reached a record low. But despite Labour’s anticipated gains, there are concerns that the controversy surrounding Keir Starmer’s stance on the conflict, particularly his initial refusal to call for a ceasefire in the region, could cost the party support in the polling booth. Some residents in the market town of Huddersfield expressed how important issues for the local community, such as the state of the local high street and roads, will be overshadowed by events in the Middle East. Speaking to the Guardian, Anwar said voters are prioritising the conflict in the Middle East in this year’s elections. “I do think the Labour party has always been a home for the Muslim community but I think the Muslim community now feel politically homeless,” he said. “I think, come Friday when the results are announced, not just here in Kirklees but in the majority of the Muslim areas around Britain, I think Keir Starmer is in for a shock.” read the complete article

Perry’s Facebook page part of Tory ‘vile cesspit’ of racism

More than six months since this website exposed the Tory policing minister, Chris Philp, and Croydon’s Conservative Mayor, Jason Perry, as being involved with a secret Facebook group that appeared to encourage criminal damage and vandalism, an investigation conducted by Greenpeace has found what it calls “a coordinated network” of similar social media groups, all effectively being run by Conservative Party officials. The social media pages share a common opposition to the expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone to outer London. And just as with “Croydon Say No To ULEZ expansion”, Greenpeace’s investigative journalism unit has found another 35 groups which provide “a platform for widespread racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic posts, as well as conspiracy theorist content and posts inciting criminal damage." Greenpeace’s Ami McCarthy said: “These groups are an absolute cesspit of vile racism and hate speech, as well as a breeding ground for dangerous conspiracy theories. “That they’re being managed by Conservative operatives speaks volumes about the direction in which the party has gone, and just how toxic these anti-ULEZ campaigns have become.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Apr 2024 Edition


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