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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30 May 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, a group of citizens and parents are alleging that the Peel school board is neglecting to address an alleged rise in Islamophobia, meanwhile in the UK, a consultant for the Burnley Football Club has been warned by the FA over liking multiple Islamophobic posts on X, and in the US, Rutgers University is facing a new federal civil rights investigation one month after advocacy groups filed a complaint alleging “ongoing, patterned” bias against Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students. Our recommended read of the day is by Ayse Isin Kirenci for TRT World on how the recent targeting of pro-Palestine demonstrations by German authorities is a “reminder that all-pervasive anti-Muslim discrimination and racism in Germany dates back years.” This and more below:


Discrimination in Germany dates way before pro-Palestine protests | Recommended Read

Since the launch of Israel’s onslaught in Gaza, which has already killed tens of thousands, mostly women and children, the authorities in Germany and in particular Berlin, have been oppressing pro-Palestine demonstrations using strong-arm tactics. These include forcibly taking off the hijab of Muslim women demonstrators, raids on demonstrators’ homes and tailing the leaders of the demonstrations in plain clothes, the activists claim. All these are part of the expansive legal rights given by the German State to the police, and are a reminder that all-pervasive anti-Muslim discrimination and racism in Germany dates back years, says Yasemin Acar, an activist of Turkish origin. “If the police brutality and racial profiling of Muslim, black and brown people hadn’t been there before, they wouldn't have been able to get away with what they're doing now,” Acar says. read the complete article

United States

Feds investigate anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bias complaint against Rutgers

Rutgers University faces a new federal civil rights investigation one month after advocacy groups filed a complaint alleging "ongoing, patterned" bias against Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students. The Education Department Office of Civil Rights opened the investigation into "national origin discrimination involving religion" on May 22, a spokesperson said, adding that the department does not comment on pending investigations. An attorney for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee confirmed the investigation was spurred by a 57-page complaint they along with New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed with the Education Department citing allegations of doxxing and harassment at the Newark law school and New Brunswick undergraduate campus since October 2023. The complaint alleges that the Rutgers administration did not do enough to protect students' safety or well-being. "The allegations in this complaint reflect an ongoing pattern and practice of direct and indirect discrimination by Rutgers, as well as Rutgers' deliberate indifference to a hostile learning environment on its campuses for students who hold, are perceived to hold or are affiliated or associated with Palestinian identity," the complaint states. read the complete article

Between Two Moons: Life, love and faith in a post-9/11 landscape

In our current times, when state surveillance mechanisms are directed at students, professors, and people of conscience protesting genocide, Between Two Moons by Egyptian American writer Aisha Abdel Gawad is a novel that transports readers to a critical turning point in the US for Arabs and Muslims. The novel is a nuanced and necessary narrative written as a coming-of-age story set in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, against the backdrop of anti-Arab prejudice and New York City Police Department (NYPD) surveillance of one of the largest Muslim communities in America. In a story that unveils state surveillance, Gawad centers the female, Arab, and Muslim experience in post-9/11 America, while also depicting the plight of young Arab and Muslim boys and men often boxed into stereotypical representations, where they have no choice but to be the antagonist. The novel is an engaging and layered story focused on the experiences of one immigrant family determined to love each other and save each other from the sharp edges of the world. read the complete article

Comrades in Ethnonationalism: Why the Israel lobby is supporting U.S. politicians friendly to India’s far-right

Since September 2023, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has poured over $96,000 into the campaign coffers of U.S. Representative Shri Thanedar (D-MI). It’s an odd choice considering that Thanedar, as a state legislator in 2021, co-sponsored a Michigan House resolution describing Israel as an “apartheid state.” After launching his congressional campaign, Thanedar quickly retracted his support as an AIPAC-affiliated super PAC poured millions into backing his primary opponent. By August 2023, the newly-elected Congress member was on an AIPAC-funded trip to Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Immediately after, Thanedar jetted to India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had just escorted Modi, in June 2023, to address a joint session of Congress in Washington, DC. That Modi was previously banned from America for his role in a 2002 pogrom against Indian Muslims apparently gave the Michigan representative no pause. In just his first seven months in office, Thanedar circled the globe to meet both the leader of “the world’s largest democracy” as well as the leader of “the only democracy in the Middle East.” While his flip-flop on Israel may reflect how politicians — especially those, like him, who are accused by Huffington Post of holding “malleable political beliefs” — react to the power of the Zionist lobby in America, his dual embrace of Netanyahu and Modi reveals another aspect of the current geopolitical landscape: the Hindutva lobby. Over the past year, Shri Thanedar has been repeatedly criticized by Indian diaspora coalitions for his support for the Hindutva lobby’s agenda as he pockets donations from Hindutva-aligned PACS, launches a controversial “Dharma Caucus,” and even introduces a Hinduphobia resolution reminiscent of the recent “Antisemitism Awareness Act,” which defines anti-Zionism as antisemitism. read the complete article


Is India's election watchdog toothless against Modi?

When the prime minister of your country calls your community "infiltrators" you are left wondering if you really belong, said Sadaf Tasneem, a Muslim student from Lucknow in northern India. "I have unintentionally become defensive of my identity in the face of continuous systematic and institutional attacks," she said. Last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a highly controversial campaign speech in western Rajasthan state. "When they [the opposition Congress party] were in power earlier, they said that Muslims have the first right to the country's resources. So, who will they redistribute resources to? Those who have more children. Those who are infiltrators," said Modi. "Will your hard-earned money be given to infiltrators? Will you accept that?" "Infiltrators" and "those with more children" are dog-whistle terms for Muslims often used by the Hindu right-wing. Modi's speech might very well go against the guidelines included in the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during elections, which is enforced by the Election Commission of India (ECI). For some, like journalist and political commentator Prem Panicker, Modi's discourse is "flat-out hate speech," and "as blatant a violation of the Model Code as there has ever been." "The shift to unbridled hate, to gaslighting, was inevitable," Panicker told DW, commenting on the issues facing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its campaign in India's mammoth multi-stage election. read the complete article

India’s Opposition Could Thwart Narendra Modi’s Ambitions

It is widely acknowledged that a third electoral mandate for Narendra Modi would precipitate India’s practical transition toward a neoliberal, authoritarian, illiberal, populist, ethno-religious, and Islamophobic regime where minorities and opponents are terrorized by state agencies and vigilante groups. More and more, Indian scholars and activists agree to describe this regime and its Hindutva ideology as the Indian variant of fascism. With the over-confident slogan of “400 par” — which would mean claiming victory in 400 seats on a total of 543 in the lower house of India’s parliament, the Lok Sabha — Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has clearly advertised its aim to achieve full hegemony within the parliamentary system. According to the Indian opposition, as well as some declarations by BJP leaders themselves, this would represent a first step toward groundbreaking constitutional reforms that will allow the passage from a secular republic toward a Hindu state. To remain within the bounds of legality, such a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority votes in both houses of the parliament. If it achieves this goal through electoral means, this transitory regime will not hesitate to continue calling itself a “democracy” for the sake of international legitimacy. Formally maintaining India’s democratic status will comfort foreign policymakers in the United States and Europe who are interested in the promotion of India’s leadership on the Asian stage to the detriment of China. read the complete article


Parents allege rising Islamophobia in Peel schools

A group of citizens and parents is alleging the Peel school board is neglecting to address an alleged rise in Islamophobia. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 May 2024 Edition


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