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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11 Jun 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In Germany, Sunday’s European elections saw the far-right AfD party win the most votes in five eastern German states, the highest vote share for the European anti-immigrant movement, meanwhile in Canada, police in London, Ontario are searching for a man in connection with a theft and arson of a home over the weekend that they are treating as a hate crime as the assailant left a threatening note related to the homeowner’s pro-Palestine signs, and in India, for the first time ever, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has formed a cabinet “without a single Muslim minister.” Our recommended read of the day is by Hanan Zaffar and Jyoti Thakur for The New Arab on how researchers speculate that a reduced BJP majority in India for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third term could provide checks on his Hindu nationalist and anti-Muslim agenda. This and more below:


What Modi's third term means for India's Muslims | Recommended Read

Narendra Modi has been sworn in as India's prime minister for a third consecutive term following a significant electoral outcome that gives his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a reduced majority to govern the country. Experts say his third term as prime minister raises significant concerns for the country's Muslims, who have faced increased marginalisation and hostility since he came to power in 2014. “Continuing in the same direction, what has happened since 2014, Muslims are set to face greater alienation, greater loss of security, [and] greater apprehension about their future,” Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a veteran journalist and expert on right-wing Hindu politics, told The New Arab. Modi's decade in power has been marked by a significant increase in marginalisation and discriminatory legislation targeting religious minorities, particularly Muslims. Instances of communal violence have intensified during his tenure with Muslim communities often bearing the brunt of Hindu nationalist aggression, subjected to brutal beatings and even lynching by Hindu mobs on suspicion of cow slaughter or beef consumption. These incidents, commonly referred to as "cow vigilantism," involve mobs attacking individuals suspected of harming cows, considered sacred by Hindus. Modi’s government has been accused of providing patronage to the mobs for their alignment with the political agenda of the BJP. “Since the BJP has come to power, minorities in general, and Muslims in particular, have been on the receiving end. They were never like very prosperous communities, but their marginalisation has only further deepened,” says Dr Mohammad Reyaz, an academic and an expert on minority issues based in India’s West Bengal. “Muslims have literally been outcasted,” he added. read the complete article

No Muslim representation in Modi 3.0 cabinet, a first in Indian history

For the first time in India, a Union Cabinet has been formed without a single Muslim minister in it. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led cabinet that came into being on Sunday saw representation from across states, classes and castes but not for the 200 million Muslim population in the country. Interestingly, the outgoing council of ministers of the Narendra Modi-led government did not have a Muslim minister either after BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi failed to be re-elected to Rajya Sabha in 2022, three years after he took oath as Minorities Affairs Minister. Mukhtar was the only Muslim minister in the BJP government's cabinet. In 2014, when PM Narendra Modi came into power for the first time, then Rajya Sabha MP Najma Heptulla was made the Minority Affairs Minister, again the only Muslim representation in the cabinet. read the complete article

How Minorities Voted in the Indian General Election

On June 4, after the results of the Indian parliamentary elections were clear, Mayawati, who heads the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that once ruled Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, blamed Muslims for her party’s poor electoral performance. The “Muslim community has not been able to understand the BSP despite the party giving them adequate representation in the past several elections,” she said in a statement after her party failed to win a single seat in the general elections. She was especially hurt by the voter response her party received in Uttar Pradesh, which is home to India’s largest Muslim population. Drawing lessons from this experience, Mayawati said her party would henceforth think twice before fielding Muslims in elections to avoid the repetition of such “a terrible loss.” It is evident from the results in Uttar Pradesh that Muslims consolidated behind the Congress-Samajwadi Party (SP) alliance, picking them as the strongest contender to defeat candidates of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). read the complete article

United Kingdom

Election 2024: Labour’s Gaza stance has driven many Muslim candidates to stand as independents

The 2024 election will see a lengthy list of independent candidates standing against Labour politicians in protest against its position on Gaza. A newly organised group called The Muslim Vote is attempting specifically to mobilise Muslims to vote against Labour in areas where Muslims make up over 10% of the electorate and where the MP voted against a ceasefire in the House of Commons last November. There are 3.9 million Muslims in the UK, according to the 2021 census. Together they make up 6.5% of the population – 1.2 million more than the previous census in 2011. Traditionally, Muslims have been electorally loyal to Labour. They have long viewed Labour as being sympathetic to the rights of ethnic minorities and the working class – groups that most Muslims, though not all, fall into. But this relationship is fraying as the 2024 election approaches. Labour leader Keir Starmer’s now infamous radio interview in which he appeared to suggest that Israel had the right to cut off power and water in Gaza has stuck in minds. From interviews I have conducted with Muslim voters as part of ongoing research, it is certainly the case that many are disillusioned with the Labour party. read the complete article


London police investigate arson at a home that Muslim group calls Islamophobic attack

Police in London, Ont., are searching for a man in connection with a theft and arson at a North London residence over the weekend that they are treating as a hate-motivated attack. Investigators say a man showed up on foot at a home in the area of Wateroak Drive around 9:30 p.m. on June 8 and left a short time later carrying some items he took from the front yard of the residence. Police say the same man then returned to the home around 10:30 p.m. and allegedly started a fire on the front porch before leaving. “We are aware of several other incidents that occurred at the same residence since the first week of May regarding property damage, theft of signs, a threatening note that was left,” he said. “The signs were signs that expressed support for Palestine.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) called out the attack as Islamophobic. read the complete article


Far-right AfD becomes strongest party in eastern German states

The far-right AfD party won the most votes in five eastern German states in Sunday’s European elections, reflecting a growing political division in the country. The anti-immigrant party won 31.8% of the vote in Saxony, 30.7% in Thuringia, 30.5% in Saxony-Anhalt, 28.3% in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and 27.5% in Brandenburg, according to preliminary official results. Support for the AfD in the ex-communist East German states was significantly higher than its nationwide polling result of 15.9%. It was the anti-immigrant party’s best-ever result in a European Parliament election, making it the second party in Germany. Exit polls showed that the majority of AfD voters were concerned about their economic welfare and were demanding stronger measures to stop irregular migration. Some 95% of AfD voters said “so many foreigners were coming to Germany,” and 78% expressed their fear of “not being able to maintain their standard of living” in the future. As many as 94% voiced concern that “the influence of Islam in Germany is becoming too strong.” read the complete article

South Africa

Saffron In The Rainbow Nation: Hindu Nationalism’s Presence In South Africa

How did religious tensions from India get mixed up with an event focused on South Africa’s recently-concluded elections? Although it may seem surprising, these incidents are on the rise in South Africa’s Indian community. Over the last decade, under the Modi government (which has retained power following the recent Indian elections), Hindu nationalism has become the dominant political ideology in India. Proponents of Hindu nationalism argue that being Indian should be synonymous with being Hindu, which has led to increased religious and political tensions in the Indian diaspora — including in South Africa. During apartheid, direct contact between India and South Africa was limited. For Selvan Naidoo, director of the 1860 Heritage Centre in Durban, this distance served as a way of “shielding” South African Indians from religious tensions in India. These dynamics began changing in post-apartheid South Africa. In 1994 and 1995, overseas affiliates of India’s largest Hindu nationalist organizations were established in South Africa, namely the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) (neither organization responded to requests for interviews). However, these groups failed to gain significant traction. Overall, interfaith relations in the South African Indian community remained largely stable. Over the last decade, this situation has begun to change. The primary reason? The meteoric rise of Hindu nationalism in India under the Modi government. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Jun 2024 Edition


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