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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26 Feb 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In India, a report released by India Hate Lab (IHL) found that India averaged nearly two anti-Muslim hate speech events per day in 2023 and three in every four of those events took place in states ruled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile in China, despite continued denial, allegations continue to mount from the international community on China’s systemic targeting of Uyghur and Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang region, and in Turkey, The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) operatives and police raided several locations in Istanbul on Feb. 20, detaining six people for reportedly monitoring Turkey-based activists who oppose Beijing’s clampdown on Uyghur Muslims. Our recommended read of the week is by Eleni Courea for The Guardian on how U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is being urged to break his silence over a mounting concern of a growing Islamophobia in the party as senior Conservatives criticise the “dangerous” rhetoric of the party’s former deputy chair. This and more below:

United Kingdom

Rishi Sunak urged to speak out by Tory peer as Islamophobia row deepens | Recommended Read

Rishi Sunak has been urged to break his silence over a mounting Islamophobia row as senior Conservatives criticised the “dangerous” rhetoric of the party’s former deputy chair. Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield, lost the Conservative party whip on Saturday after refusing to apologise for saying Islamists had “got control of” Sadiq Khan. Anderson claimed on GB News that the London mayor had “given our capital city away to his mates”. The remarks have led to calls for the prime minister to explicitly denounce anti-Muslim bigotry and act to tackle it internally. Sayeeda Warsi, the Tory peer who was a cabinet minister in David Cameron’s government, said Sunak needed to “find the language” to “call Islamophobia Islamophobia”. read the complete article

The Lee Anderson Islamophobia controversy, explained

Lee Anderson has refused to apologise after Rishi Sunak finally spoke out against inflammatory remarks by the Tory MP that have sparked an Islamophobia row – though the PM stopped short of branding them Islamophobic. As calls mounted for the prime minister to say something about Anderson's false claim on Friday that Islamists had "got control" of London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, Sunak on Monday branded them "unacceptable" and "wrong". He said this was why he'd had the whip suspended and denied that the Conservative Party had Islamophobic tendencies. Khan said Sunak and other senior ministers' handling of the row were "examples of enabling anti-Muslim hatred in the Conservative party". There has been widespread criticism of Anderson from all corners of the political spectrum. read the complete article

UK Conservatives suspend MP who said ‘Islamists’ control London’s mayor

The UK’s Conservative Party has suspended one of its lawmakers, Lee Anderson, after he said the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was under the control of “Islamists”. Khan, the first Muslim to be mayor of London and a member of the opposition Labour Party, is a frequent target of Conservative criticism for his handling of policing in the UK’s capital, including regular pro-Palestinian marches. On Wednesday hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside parliament, during a chaotic vote over whether to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and the exact language to use. The speaker of the lower house of parliament, Lindsay Hoyle, said he broke with the usual parliamentary procedure for the vote because of previous threats of violence some lawmakers had received due to their views on the conflict. Pro-Israeli voices in the UK, such as Anderson, have attempted to portray the pro-Palestinian movement as dangerous, despite the majority of British respondents in several polls supporting an end to Israel’s attack on Gaza. Speaking on Friday to the television channel GB News, Anderson said, “I don’t actually believe these Islamists have got control of our country. But what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London. He’s actually given our capital city to his mates.” read the complete article

‘I’m too scared to leave my house’: Muslim fears as Islamophobic incidents skyrocket by 365%

Muslims in Britain say they are too scared to leave their homes after dark, as new figures show the number of Islamophobic incidents has skyrocketed since the 7 October attack on Israel by Hamas. London charity Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU) says many of the incidents have involved people being targeted over their support for Palestine, as the Israel-Hamas war continues to rage. Muslims who have spoken to The Independent said they have had bricks thrown through their windows for displaying the Palestinian flag, while one teenager said he was questioned by his teachers after he displayed a Palestinian badge at school. IRU says it saw a 365 per cent increase in reports of Islamophobia in October, following Hamas’s deadly attacks in Israel that left more than 1,200 people dead. Britain’s Jewish community suffered a surge in antisemitic incidents, with the Community Security Trust charity revealing earlier this month it had seen a record number in 2023, including 2,699 since 7 October. read the complete article


China’s Uyghur forced labour practice dents global industries invested in Xinjiang

Uyghurs, an ethnic minority in China comprising a predominantly Muslim population, are concentrated in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region (XUAR), established in 1955. Following a series of sporadic violent attacks witnessed in Xinjiang by separatist groups since 2014, Beijing launched its ‘Strike Hard’ Campaign against violent extremism in Xinjiang, targeting Uyghurs and other ethnic minority populations, like the Turkic Muslims. In 2017, unprecedented attacks and crackdowns on Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims ensued and became more systemic when China announced its intention of smashing all ‘separatist activities and terrorists’ in XUAR. The Communist state-sponsored terror soon caught global attention when reports more than one million Uyghurs were reported to have been killed, arrested, and forced into detention camps/ prisons, in what Beijing calls its efforts of an effective way of ‘tracking extremism.’ read the complete article

What message is Turkey signaling to China over Uyghurs' espionage arrests?

Turkey sent a series of messages to Beijing when it publicized a bust against a network suspected of spying for China against Uyghur targets in the country earlier this week. The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) operatives and police raided several locations in Istanbul on Feb. 20, detaining six people for reportedly monitoring Turkey-based activists who oppose Beijing’s clampdown on the Uyghur people, a Turkic and predominantly Muslim minority living in China’s northwest Xinjiang region. Most Uyghurs around the world refer to Xinjiang as “East Turkestan” and the Uyghur people as “Uyghur Turks.” The bust highlights Turkey’s international standing as a NATO member with strong independent streak, whose foreign policy choices don’t always align with the Western camp. Ali Burak Daricili, a former intelligence officer with MIT and an associate professor of international relations at Bursa Technical University, stresses that counterespionage operations “do not take place independently” of foreign affairs. “For a counterespionage sting to end in an arrest is actually a foreign policy message,” he told Al-Monitor. “By exposing this Chinese intelligence gathering against the Uyghurs and informing the media about it, the Republic of Turkey is sending this message to China: ‘I do not want you to pursue the Uyghur minority in my country. I do not want you to conduct any unauthorized intelligence operations in my country.’” Recalling the recent joint MIT and police operations against Israel’s Mossad in Turkey, Daricili added, “The same message was also sent to Mossad. An intelligence organization that is not accredited to the Turkish government cannot operate within the borders of the Republic of Turkey. This violates national sovereignty and international law and it will not be allowed.” read the complete article


Hamas to halal: How anti-Muslim hate speech is spreading in India

New Delhi, India – India averaged nearly two anti-Muslim hate speech events per day in 2023 and three in every four of those events – or 75 percent – took place in states ruled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, revealed a report released Monday. In 2023, the hate speech events peaked between August and November, the period of political campaigning and polling in four major states, according to a report released by India Hate Lab (IHL), a Washington, DC-based research group. As India heads for a national vote in the upcoming months, a first-of-its-kind report by the IHL maps the spread of anti-Muslim hate speech across the country. The group documented a total of 668 hate speech events. Last month, the website of India Hate Lab was rendered inaccessible in India after the government blocked it under the controversial Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000. The government also blocked the website of Hindutva Watch, an independent hate-crime tracker also run by the IHL’s founder. The new report – the first time a research group has tracked hate speech events in India over a year – tracks how these events spread geographically across India, the triggers behind these events, and when they occur. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 Feb 2024 Edition


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