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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
11 Jan 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In Denmark, the far-right populist ‘New Right party’ is being officially dissolved by its founder Pernille Vermund, a party whose legacy was marred in xenophobia and anti-EU platforms, meanwhile in the Netherlands, anti-Muslim politician and potential future Prime Minister, Geert Wilders has withdrawn his 2018 bill which aimed to ban mosques and the Quran from the country in a move many say is a concession as he seeks to form a new Dutch government, and in India, Muslims in the town of Ayodhya are vowing to remain committed to their faith and community in the shadow of the soon to be dedicated Ram temple built on top of what was once their mosque, which was demolished in 1992 by the government. Our recommended read of the day is by Guantanamo Bay detainee lawyer Pardiss Kebriaei on the 22-year legacy of the prison and the current state of the 30 men still held in the facility. This and more below:

United States

It’s been 22 years since the Guantánamo prison opened. Men are still held there | Recommended Read

Sharqawi Al Hajj is a man detained at the US military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. I have been his lawyer for many years. This week marks 22 years since the prison was opened, and Sharqawi’s 20th year inside. He is one of 30 men still detained there, down from nearly 800 ever held. This trajectory is because Guantánamo, though not singular among prisons in its harsh treatment and arbitrary detention, was at least for a time very overt in its extremeness, and what could be seen more plainly than usual caused a reaction. By the time of Barack Obama’s presidency, seven years after Guantánamo opened and 15 years ago looking back, the United States’ position was that the prison should be closed – within one year. The commander who set up the prison wrote an op-ed saying it should never have been opened. There was an international outcry, with the UN and the European parliament and countries around the world issuing condemnations. So there are reasons for the emptying of this prison from hundreds to a few remaining, and for the long-standing position of the United States and the international community that it should be closed for good. The 30 men left are in a degraded, vacant complex. Guantánamo is a horrible relic of the past, with the 30 inside still bearing its legacy. The steps needed for true closure are obvious, yet stuck. Like the majority of those still there, Sharqawi is cleared for release from Guantanamo. read the complete article

Cardona Praises Dartmouth Culture in Allowing Freedom of Expression, Keeping Students Safe

President Joe Biden’s education chief praised Dartmouth College's culture Wednesday for encouraging diverse perspectives and giving students a voice as a way to navigate difficult topics like the the Israel-Hamas war. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona came to Dartmouth for a conversation billed as a chance to discuss with students the rise of antisemitism and Islamophobia on college campuses with students. But the small group, which included Muslim and Jewish students, rarely spoke about that, and instead, many highlighted examples of campus life where differences were mostly aired in a civil way without conflict. Yasmine Abouali, a Palestinian-Tunisian student, praised Dartmouth's close-knit student body but she also challenged the administration to do better. As the only student who brought up antisemitism and Islamophobia, she said more should be done to ensure Palestinian voices are represented on panels. She also criticized the college for arresting two students in October at a campus protest and suggesting it was done over threats of violence - which she said were baseless. “Statements like these especially coming from the president of the college is really harmful and would only add to any fire of possible Islamophobia and antisemitism," she said. “There was no threat violence. It was just students camping out." read the complete article

After 22 Years of Human Rights Abuses, the U.S. Government Must Close the Military Detention Camp at Guantanamo Bay

January 11, 2024, marks the 22nd anniversary of the opening of the U.S. military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. Thirty men remain detained indefinitely without trial; most have never even been charged with a crime. In urging the U.S. Government to close the detention camp Guantanamo Bay, Daphne Eviatar, director of the Security with Human Rights program at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement: “It is outrageous that 22 years after the U.S. government opened the Guantanamo detention camp to detain Muslim men beyond the reach of U.S. law, that this abuse of human rights continues today. “Even after the U.S. withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, the government continues to claim that indefinite detention without charge or trial is justified as part of its problematic ‘global war on terror.’ “Sixteen of the men imprisoned at Guantanamo without charge have been cleared by U.S. security agencies for transfer out of Guantanamo, some for more than a decade. Yet they unjustly remain there today. “Meanwhile, the men accused of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks still have not had a trial. This has not only deprived them of their rights but has also deprived the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their survivors their right to justice. The military commissions created to try those crimes have proven wholly ineffectual and unfair, and do not meet international standards of due process. read the complete article

Guantánamo Bay is still open. This week, pressure ramped up to close it

It was 22 years ago this week that the U.S. opened a military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to hold suspected terrorists after the 9/11 attacks. That prison remains open today. It still holds 30 men, many of whom have never been criminally charged, and there has still been no 9/11 trial. So this week, a group of nearly 100 advocacy organizations sent a letter to President Biden urging him to finally close the facility. One of them is the Center for Victims of Torture. Its director of global policy and advocacy, Scott Roehm, talks to NPR's Sacha Pfeiffer about why the prison is still open, and what is happening with the long-awaited 9/11 trial. read the complete article


Indian Muslims vow to stay put in shadow of new Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh

Siraj Ahmad, 55, still gets goosebumps when he recalls the chilling winter of 1992, which permanently altered the skyline of his small town and the course of India’s political history. Hindu fanatics, called kar sevaks, sporting yellow headbands and tilak on their forehead, had begun to descend in large numbers onto the dusty town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. Hindu organisations had given a call to launch the construction of the Ram temple at the disputed site of the 16th-century Babri mosque, which Hindus claimed was the birthplace of lord Ram. The air was filled with loud cries of Jai Shri Ram (hail lord Ram), as the crowd pledged to demolish the mosque. A group of frenzied kar sevaks, sheltering close to Ahmad's house in Begampura, ambushed him with swords in hand, as he headed in the direction of the local mosque for prayer. “They looked me in the eye and threatened to cut me into pieces (‘kaat ke rakh denge’),” he recalled. Days later on Dec. 6, when the Babri mosque was razed to the ground, the mob came to Ahmad's residence for revenge. “They plundered everything in our house. We ran away and somehow managed to save ourselves,” he told TRT World. Three decades later, as that long-winding agitation finally culminates in the form of a grand Ram temple, Ahmad is once again filled with anxiety at the thought of millions of visitors gathering in Ayodhya. “There is fear in our hearts. Those of us who have been deceived in 1992, who have suffered the loss of our homes and families, are scared. We hope the past does not get repeated. Peace must triumph at all cost," he said. On Jan. 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the highly anticipated Ram temple, at the very spot where the Babri mosque once stood. Around 7,000 Hindu religious leaders, priests, politicians and eminent dignitaries have been invited to celebrate the opening of the temple, which is widely hailed as a victory for the Hindu majority. The temple is the crowning glory in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s electoral strategy for the 2024 elections, where it intends to secure an undeniable thumping victory for the third time. read the complete article

Indian state cuts pay for some teachers in Muslim religious schools

Authorities in India's most populous state halted some payments this week to teachers of subjects such as mathematics and science in Muslim religious schools, known as madrasas, after the end of a federal government scheme. The funding halt, affecting more than 21,000 teachers in Uttar Pradesh, comes as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which took office in 2014, sets its sights on winning a third straight term in general elections due by May. According to a document seen by Reuters, India stopped funding the scheme in March 2022, having halted approvals of new proposals four years earlier. But it was not immediately clear why the state government has only now stopped paying its share. "The decision to stop this scheme will take us back to where we started," Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, the chief of the state's madrasa education board, told Reuters. "Muslim students and teachers will go back by 30 years." The incident comes as authorities in the northeastern state of Assam, also ruled by the BJP, are converting hundreds of such Muslim religious schools into conventional schools, despite protests from the opposition and Muslim groups. Many madrasas are funded by donations from members of the Muslim community. Muslims and rights groups such as Human Rights Watch say nationalist groups have threatened and harassed religious minorities with impunity under the BJP, accusations the party denies. read the complete article


Danish anti-Islam, anti-immigration, anti-tax party dissolves

Denmark’s far-right, populist The New Right party is being dissolved. “If we are to rebuild center-right Denmark, we need to gather all the good forces — but in slightly fewer center-right parties,” party founder Pernille Vermund said Wednesday as she announced the dissolution. Vermund pursued a libertarian economic agenda and stood for strict controls on migrants in Denmark, which already has some of the most stringent immigration laws in Western Europe. Her party also demanded Denmark’s withdrawal from the EU, or “Dexit.” read the complete article


Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders has withdrawn a 2018 proposal to ban mosques and the Quran

Far-right Dutch election winner Geert Wilders made a key concession to potential coalition partners on Monday, announcing that he’s withdrawing legislation that he proposed in 2018 that calls for a ban on mosques and the Quran. The move came a day before talks to form the next government were set to resume following the November election. The abandonment of the bill could be critical in gaining the trust and support of three more mainstream parties that Wilders wants to co-opt into a coalition along with his Party for Freedom, known by its Dutch acronym PVV. During a parliamentary debate last year after the PVV won 37 seats in the 150-seat lower house of the Dutch parliament in the Nov. 22 general election, Wilders flagged a softening of his party’s strident anti-Islam stance. “Sometimes I will have to withdraw proposals and I will do that,” Wilders said in the debate. “I will show the Netherlands, the legislature, Mr. Omtzigt’s party — anybody who wants to hear it — that we will adapt our rules to the constitution and bring our proposals in line with it.” Among three pieces of legislation axed by by Wilders Party for Freedom was one dating back to 2018 that proposes banning “Islamic expressions.” The text of the bill labels Islam a “violent, totalitarian ideology” and proposes bans on mosques, the Quran, Islamic schools and the wearing of burqas and niqabs. The three laws were proposed to parliament by Wilders in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but never garnered a majority in the lower house. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Jan 2024 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results