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.

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10 Aug 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, police in the town of Harlow have arrested two boys for allegedly setting fire to the Northbrooks Mosque on Tuesday, meanwhile in India, village councils in three districts of Haryana have passed a resolution prohibiting “anyone from the Muslim community” from entering their villages, and in the U.S., the American Bar Association (ABA) passed a resolution condemning Islamophobia and called on Congress to implement similar resolutions combatting anti-Muslim racism. Our recommended read of the day is by Debasish Roy Chowdhury for The New York Times on how the increasing violence targeting Indian Muslims is fueled in a large part by Hindu supremacy, xenophobia and religious polarization championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This and more below:


India Is on the Brink | Recommended Read

India is a diverse nation, crisscrossed by religious, ethnic, caste, regional and political fault lines. Since Mr. Modi took office in 2014, his ruling party has torn those asunder with dangerous exclusionary politics intended to charge up the party’s base and advance its goal of remaking India’s secular republic into a majoritarian Hindu state. The repugnant nature of this brand of politics has been clear for some time, but the situation in Manipur shows what’s ahead for India: The world’s most populous country is slowly degenerating into a conflict zone of sectarian violence. The targeting of minorities — particularly Muslims — by right-wing Hindu extremists is now a way of life in many states. Vigilante mobs, which often assemble provocatively in front of mosques, regularly assault Muslims as understaffed and underequipped police forces fail to intervene. Lynchings and open calls for genocide are common. India now ranks among the 10 countries at the highest risk of mass killings, according to Early Warning Project, which assesses such risks around the world. In tandem with the B.J.P.’s demonizing of India’s nearly 200 million Muslims, television, cinema and social media are deployed to radicalize the Hindu majority, pumping out a steady stream of Islamophobia and vile dog whistles. Extremist groups, at least one of which appears to have received the public support of the prime minister, run amok. Muslims have been arrested for praying, had their livelihoods and businesses destroyed and their homes razed. Bulldozers, used to demolish homes, have become an anti-Muslim symbol, proudly paraded by B.J.P. supporters at political rallies. read the complete article

Nuh Clashes: Several Panchayats Call For Ban on Muslims, 2 Revoke It Soon After

In light of the recent communal violence which broke out in Haryana's Nuh last week, several panchayats in three districts-- Mahendergarh, Rewari and Jhajjar-- have passed resolutions prohibiting any person from the Muslim community from entering their villages. Haryana Minister of State Social Justice & Empowerment Om Prakash Yadav told the media on Wednesday that strict action will be taken those who have issued the resolution. A letter written by the gram panchayat of Mahendergarh's Saidpur, dated 3 August said, "In view of the communal violence in Nuh, the panchayat as well as villagers have taken a decision that 'mischievous elements' or 'anyone from the Muslim community' will not be allowed to conduct any trade or other activities in Saidpur". Another letter accessed by The Quint, penned by sections of the Hindu community of these villages, carried an appeal to deny houses, shops and establishments to the Muslim community on rent. read the complete article

Nuh violence: Is bulldozer punishment trampling justice in India?

"They destroyed everything within seconds," said a tearful Mohammad Saud, standing before a towering mound of debris. He and his younger brother Nawab Sheikh were looking at the broken remains of shops they ran in a neighbourhood in Nuh district in the northern Indian state of Haryana. As he spoke to the BBC on Saturday, a yellow bulldozer rumbled noisily behind him. "We owned 15 shops which were built on our family's land. We had all the documents but they [the police] insisted the buildings were illegal," Mr Saud said. The brothers' buildings were among hundreds of shops and houses demolished by district authorities in the aftermath of communal violence which broke out last week in Nuh, a Muslim-majority district that is among the poorest in India's national capital region (which includes Delhi and its suburbs). Days later, in what has become a pattern in many states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), bulldozers descended on shell-shocked residents of Nuh and tore down hundreds of structures, alleging they were built illegally. The action only stopped after four days, on Monday, when the state's high court on its own accord issued a notice to the government. "Apparently, without any demolition orders and notices, the law and order problem is being used as a ruse to bring down buildings without following the procedure established by law," the court said. It also asked if the state was conducting "an exercise of ethnic cleansing" by targeting buildings mostly owned by Muslims. read the complete article

United States

Largest US body of lawyers adopts resolution combating Islamophobia

The largest body of lawyers in the United States has passed a resolution condemning Islamophobia and calling on Congress and the United Nations to implement similar resolutions combating anti-Muslim sentiment. The American Bar Association (ABA)'s House of Delegates passed the resolution on Tuesday during a two-day session looking at a host of new policies and resolutions. “RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments in the United States to condemn Islamophobia and to develop and implement comprehensive strategies to combat Islamophobia," the resolution stated. The recommended strategies mentioned in the resolution include creating awareness campaigns to educate Americans about Islam and Muslims and also new mechanisms for reporting incidents of Islamophobia and hate crimes. The resolution also urges US Congress to adopt a bill introduced by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to establish an office in the State Department that monitors Islamophobia - similar to the one that exists for monitoring antisemitism. read the complete article

Sex offender arrested on charges of threatening to ‘shoot and bomb’ Muslims in a park

A sex offender was arrested Monday on two felonies and a hate crime charge after allegedly yelling racial slurs and threatening to "shoot and bomb" Muslim people of South Asian descent at a California park the night before, authorities said. According to 911 callers, Robert Avery, 33, who is white, allegedly yelled racial slurs at "parkgoers" and threatened to "shoot and bomb" them at Heron Landing Park in Rancho Cordova on Sunday night, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. Rancho Cordova is about 15 miles east of Sacramento. Avery also allegedly tried to run people over at the park with a 2012 Honda Insight, the sheriff's office said. Video obtained by NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento appears to show someone driving erratically through a park area as bystanders scream in the background. KCRA reported that the people Avery allegedly targeted were Muslim. No one was injured, according to the sheriff’s office, which added that “witness accounts, video footage, and other evidence” led them to identify Avery as the suspect in the case. read the complete article


Threats to mosques cause anxiety within Germany's Muslim community

Muslim community leaders have called on politicians to take a stronger stance against anti-Muslim hatred and right-wing extremism. Mosques across Germany are facing an increase in vandalism, harassment and threats, Muslim community leaders said on Wednesday. Kemal Ergun, president of the Turkish-Muslim group IGMG, said more mosques have received threatening letters in recent weeks, signed with the neo-Nazi alias “NSU 2.0.” “NSU 2.0” refers to the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi terror group uncovered in 2011 that murdered 10 people and carried out bomb attacks targeting Turkish and Muslim immigrants. According to official statistics, there were 124 attacks on Muslims in the first three months of 2023, including verbal and physical assaults, threatening letters, and arson attacks targeting mosques. Ergun has called on authorities to thoroughly investigate such crimes and bring perpetrators to justice. He also called for a stronger stance against anti-Muslim hatred and far-right extremism. read the complete article


World Cup: Benzina's hijab a symbol for inclusivity

She stood tall. She stood for her country and her culture. And up against a nation that excludes women footballers who wear Islamic hijab headscarves, Nouhaila Benzina stood for her religion. Adorned in her Moroccan red headscarf, Benzina may have been outclassed along with her teammates in a 4-0 loss against France. But the symbolism of her attire could have a greater impact than any on-field result. The 25-year-old is the first woman to ever adorn a hijab at a World Cup. Morocco are the first Arab nation to compete at a World Cup. And they faced up to their historical colonizer, France, to represent their people in the best possible way. More importantly, she's given awareness to inclusivity in sport and placed the onus on FIFA. World football's governing body had previously banned the hijab due to health and safety reasons but scrapped the ruling in 2013 after pressure from the United Nations, yet FIFA hasn't put any pressure on the French Football Federation (FFF) to change their own policy. read the complete article


French far-right politician makes Islamophobic remarks about Morocco women's team following France win

A French far-right politician has come under fire for making "Islamophobic" comments regarding the Moroccan women’s football team following their defeat to France on Tuesday. Julien Odoul, a member of the National Rally (RN) party, which is headed by Marine Le Pen, called France’s 4-0 victory over Morocco "a win for women’s rights and freedom against the Islamist ideology" in a tweet following the match. He also said that "the hijab is eliminated" in a comment seemingly targeting Moroccan defender Nouhaila Benzina, who became the first footballer to sport the Muslim headscarf at the Women's World Cup. In another tweet, Odoul remarked that Morocco’s loss was "humiliating for the Muslim Brotherhood" and that "Sharia [law] will never be the law in France", in an apparent response to a post by Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan. The far-right politician’s comments were lambasted by many social media users. Left-wing politician François Piquemal, said: "Despite the French team’s victory, you manage to exploit them to vent your hatred of others." read the complete article

United Kingdom

Essex town 'shocked and appalled' at racially-aggravated arson attack on Harlow mosque

Two teenage boys have been over a suspected racially-aggravated arson attack at a mosque. Emergency services were called to Northbrooks Mosque in Harlow in Essex shortly after 9.30pm on Tuesday to reports of a fire. Firefighters managed to contain the blaze in Harberts Road and there were no reports of any injuries. Harlow police have arrested two boys on suspicion of arson and were due to be questioned on Wednesday. They said they were treating the incident as racially-aggravated arson and would be stepping up their presence in the area. Dan Swords, the leader of Harlow Council, said: “I am shocked and appalled to hear about this incident. Whatever the motives are for this, we will not tolerate any attacks on our communities and as a town we stand united." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Aug 2023 Edition


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