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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09 Aug 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., according to the Sacramento police department, a registered sex offender was caught attempting to strike a Muslim family with a vehicle on Sunday evening in a park in the city of Rancho Cordova, meanwhile, Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer of New Jersey has decided against seeking re-election, claiming that anti-Muslim racism and bigotry has put her family at risk, and in India, a high court has halted state bulldozing of Muslim businesses and homes in Haryana asking whether such actions amounted to “an exercise of ethnic cleansing.” Our recommended read of the day is by Kubra Solmaz for TRT World on how the recent Quran burnings across Europe should be considered a warning sign of potential future anti-Muslim violence, noting how burning of books was the beginning of 20th century genocides in Europe targeting Jews and Bosnian Muslims. This and more below:


Quran burning: A prelude to Muslim Holocaust? | Recommended Read

We are no strangers to the desecration of the Quran in Sweden and other parts of Europe. The history of book burnings in Europe dates back to the Middle Ages, when these acts held significant symbolism, extending far beyond mere written words. According to Dr Farid Hafez, a senior research fellow at the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, book burnings take on a role of symbolic persecution when the targeted people are absent or deceased, with their representations destroyed. “For me, book burning is a symbolic murder or symbolic destruction if the people these books symbolise cannot be eliminated,” he says. Dr Hafez also cites German Jewish author Heinrich Heine's famous words, 'Those who burn books will ultimately burn people,' in reference to the historical context of the Spanish Inquisition. Experts say the recent incidents of Quran burning should be viewed in a historical context since such actions in the past have led to large-scale violence against minorities and weaker sections in society. read the complete article

Sinead O’Connor was a rock star and a Muslim. Why did obituaries miss this?

The rites for Sinead O’Connor's burial Tuesday were not Catholic but Muslim, and Sheikh Umar Al-Qadri, an Islamic scholar and the chief imam at the Islamic Center of Ireland, eulogized her as Shuhada Sadaqat, the name she took after converting to Islam. It’s not something the news media have reported much about, part of a seemingly willful ignorance that was more interested in her reputation as a rebellious and even sacrilegious celebrity. O’Connor’s seeking phase ended when in 2018 she embraced Islam. What she told of that process was evocative of a statement I heard dozens of times from converts to Islam I interviewed for my book, “Wearing the Niqab: Muslim Women in the UK and the US.” In her interview on “The Late Late Show,” she said: “I had been a Muslim all my life and didn’t realize it. … I am home.” This fact, that it was Islam that finally brought her peace, has been neglected entirely or treated as a footnote. Her obituary in Vogue does not mention her Muslim faith at the time of her death but makes an obligatory note of the photo-tearing incident. The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Chicago Sun-Times all made only brief asides saying that she had converted and changed her name. The obscuring of O’Connor’s Muslim faith by the mainstream media suggests that the Islamic faith is still seen as somehow incompatible with show business. Few Muslim female singers reach global fame on this scale, so it is disappointing that so few in the media saw O’Connor’s brilliant life as a chance to challenge Islamophobia. But more disappointing is that in remembering her, something so important as her religious agency — her religious choice, belief, practice and identity — was seen as an afterthought. read the complete article

United States

Sex offender tried to run over Muslim parkgoers, threatened to ‘shoot and bomb them’: cops

A California sex offender was arrested after allegedly trying to run down Muslim parkgoers and threatening to “shoot and bomb them,” police said. Families gathered at the Heron Landing Park, in Rancho Cordova, reported that 33-year-old Robert Avery tried to run them over on Sunday evening while hurling racial slurs at them, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. Video footage shared by the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) shows Avery driving his vehicle near a seating area in the park where the families appeared to be enjoying a picnic. A silver car with a broken side view mirror drives close to the area as an adult quickly lifts a kid out of the way. Avery is then seen forcing his car over curbs and foliage as he races down a walking path and out of the park. Sgt. Amar Gandhi commended the families’ quick thinking and recording of the incident, which police said led to Avery’s quick arrest. “They were very brave. Instead of just folding and giving up… They got their phones out,” Gandhi said. “They were out there taking pictures. “They got video and helped us ID that vehicle really quickly which led us back to that suspect.” read the complete article

She broke barriers as a woman in politics. Here's why she is leaving office

She was the first female Muslim mayor in the United States. Then she was the first of two Muslims — both women — elected to the New Jersey State legislature. Now, Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer, D-Montgomery, has decided that she will not seek reelection after just one term. In an interview with The Record and, Jaffer said she had face sustained harassment both online and in opponents' attack ads because of her religious background. She will not seek re-election because she doesn't want her family to put her family, including her young daughter, through another ugly election cycle. Jaffer's experience underscores a larger problem of harassment and bigotry that Muslim women in the public eye often face. The Assemblywoman, in her interview, talks about ways to make the journey easier for other women as they run for and serve in office. read the complete article

'We Need to Talk' Series Returns Sept. 6 for Discussion with Muslims of Southern Nevada

The panel series, “We Need To Talk: Conversations on Racism for a More Resilient Las Vegas,” returns Sept. 6 for a discussion with Muslims of Southern Nevada. The event is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. inside the Greenspun Hall Auditorium on UNLV’s campus. It will also be livestreamed. “We Need to Talk” is an educational series sponsored by the UNLV Libraries and the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs that examines systemic racism in our community and steps communities and individuals can take to affect positive change. The post-9/11 generation has grown up familiar with anti-Muslim political rhetoric, federal immigration restrictions referred to as “Muslim travel bans,” and other forms of discrimination. While this fear, prejudice, and hatred of Muslims can lead to hostility and intolerance, there are individuals and groups working to break down these barriers and build community in Southern Nevada. As the Muslim population in America has increased, Muslims have reported encountering more discrimination. In 2017 about 48 percent of Muslim American adults said they had experienced some form of discrimination because of their religion in the previous year. This We Need To Talk discussion will examine this history of Islamophobia and share the experiences of several Muslim-Americans who are working to dismantle stereotypes, advocate for justice, and build mutual understanding. read the complete article

The Lawfare Podcast: Can Torture Evidence Be Used at Guantanamo Bay?

Just weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the life sentence of a Yemeni national serving out his time at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. He had appealed this life sentence, in part on the grounds that his conviction was based on evidence obtained by torture. Meanwhile, at the Guantanamo military commissions, another detainee tried to appeal charges against him on the basis that torture-obtained evidence was used in his referral for trial by the military commissions—but in June, the body that reviews referrals for trials at Guantanamo denied this appeal. He and his co-defendants are currently set to have pre-trial hearings in October. All of this is happening despite the fact that in 2022, in a case about a different Guantanamo detainee, the Biden administration’s Justice Department committed to a reinterpretation of a key statute that blocks the use of torture-obtained evidence in Guantanamo litigation and reaffirmed that it would not try to admit statements that the detainee gave while in CIA custody. So how and why is it that torture-obtained evidence still seems to be being used in certain GTMO cases? To understand the issues, Lawfare Associate Editor Hyemin Han spoke to Scott Roehm, Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Center for Victims of Torture, and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law School. They talked about the history of torture evidence at GTMO, dove into a few cases in context of the Justice Department’s 2022 re-interpretation, and discussed what this all might mean for other GTMO detainees moving forward. read the complete article


In Both Slums and Residential Societies, Gurgaon's Muslims Feel Afraid, Unwelcome

Gloomy faces are scattered under Gurgaon’s grey skies. They reflect the ordeal people – particularly Muslims – have been facing in the area since the Nuh communal violence on July 31. Since then, shops, homes and places of worship belonging to Muslims have been vandalised, set ablaze and looted. The state has responded by demolishing properties and filing a spate of FIRs. Tensions are high and the hate feels palpable. Seeing all of this, the region’s Muslims have either locked themselves inside their homes or fled to Delhi or other locations. In the Badshahpur area, The Wire visited a cluster of slums inhabited by migrant workers from West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. While these workers belong to both Hindu and Muslim communities, Muslim migrant workers have been fleeing these slums ever since the violence began. The Wire also spoke to Gurgaon’s Muslim residents living in high-rise societies, which have often been touted as signs of ‘development’ in the city. After the violence that unfolded on July 31, Alam says, the slum cluster in 70A has seen men dressed in ‘white kurtas’, who cover their faces in ‘white’ arriving and threatening the mixed-community population ‘not to speak to the media’ and ‘remain quiet’. These men, Alam and other remaining Muslims claim, have threatened to burn Muslims alive in case they decide to stay back. “We have to leave anyhow, this is not the same place anymore, we came here to earn, but we can’t even live here now,” she says. read the complete article

India court asks if Nuh demolitions were ‘an exercise of ethnic cleansing’

An Indian court has asked whether days of demolitions of homes and businesses of mainly Muslim residents in the northern state of Haryana were “an exercise of ethnic cleansing”. Ordering a halt to four days of bulldozing of properties in the state’s Nuh district, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday said: “The issue also arises whether the buildings belonging to a particular community are being brought down under the guise of law and order problem and an exercise of ethnic cleansing is being conducted by the state.” The bench of Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan also observed that the state authorities had conducted the demolition drive “without following the procedure established by law” or issuing any prior notices to the people owning the properties, legal news website LiveLaw reported. Al Jazeera on Monday reported that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana demolished hundreds of homes, shops and shanties in Nuh, the state’s only Muslim-majority district. In recent years, several rights groups have condemned the BJP for making the bulldozing of properties owned by mainly Muslim suspects in cases of violence – and even political dissenters – a common practice in the states governed by the right-wing party. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Aug 2023 Edition


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