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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10 May 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used “divisive rhetoric” and social media tactics which “demonized Muslims” during his re-election campaign according to his opposition in Parliament, meanwhile in the US, the Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) have announced a joint civil rights complaint against the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) for “anti-Palestinian” and “anti-Arab” racism, and a scholar at ASU will not return to teach at the university after a video surfaced showing him harassing and cursing at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab during a pro-Israel rally on campus. Our recommended read for the day is by Omer Faruk Madanoglu for Anadolu Agency on how newly released research by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that nine out of 10 Muslims subjected to Islamophobic attacks in Germany did not complain to the police, believing that authorities would not pay attention. This and more below:


'9 out of 10 Muslims subjected to Islamophobic attacks did not complain to police in Germany' | Recommended Read

Nine out of 10 Muslims subjected to Islamophobic attacks in Germany did not complain to the police, believing that the competent authorities would not pay attention, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher. “Research on anti-Muslim discrimination shows that nine out 10 survey respondents have not reported the most recent anti-Muslim racism. Why is that? How can you trust authorities that don't understand or acknowledge anti-Muslim racism to help you in a situation where you have been attacked based on your identity?,” Almaz Teffera told Anadolu. Teffera added the authorities, including the police or the judiciary, need to be first equipped with the knowledge and tools to understand, recognize, and respond to anti-Muslim incidents of hate. Pointing out that anti-Muslim sentiment, which has existed for many years in Germany, has increased in recent years, she said comprehensive research was conducted over three years by a group of independent experts appointed by the German government. The research has shown that hostility towards Muslims and people perceived as Muslims is widespread throughout German society, she added. read the complete article


India election: Modi's divisive campaign rhetoric raises questions

In the lead-up to India's general election, Narendra Modi was expected to frame it as a referendum on his decade as prime minister. He was expected to boast about achievements like generous welfare programmes and spaceflights. He was to reaffirm that the new Ram temple in Ayodhya represented a cultural assertion for India's majority Hindus. Even foreign policy was anticipated to influence the ballot, with the publicity boost afforded by Mr Modi's hosting of the G20 summit last September. Opinion polls have predicted a third, record-equalling landslide win for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But early in the gruelling six-week election, Mr Modi's campaign shifted gears, using divisive rhetoric that has raised questions about his tactics. He's been accusing the opposition, led by the Congress party, of appeasing the Muslim minority community. Muslims make up 14% of India's more than 1.4 billion people. Taking a cue from Mr Modi's campaign, social media posts by the BJP have, according to the opposition, "demonised" Muslims. He told a rally on 21 April that the opposition Congress wanted to distribute wealth to "infiltrators" and to "those who have many children". His remarks were widely seen as referring to Muslims. At another rally, he warned women that the opposition would confiscate their gold and redistribute it to Muslims. He accused the Congress of orchestrating a "vote jihad", urging a "certain community" to unite against him. Mr Modi even said the Congress would select the Indian cricket team "on the basis of religion". read the complete article

India election: how Narendra Modi’s BJP uses and abuses religious minorities for political purposes

Modi’s seemingly impenetrable popularity stems from a mix of his populist rhetoric, his affinity with India’s business elite, and his propagation of a Hindutva – Hindu nationalist – ideology. He is benefiting from India’s positive economic outlook – but there is also strong support in the country for Modi’s brand of populist autocracy. Hindutva is an important part of this. This is a cultural nationalist ideology which portrays India as the “land of Hindus”, emphasising the need for unity among all Hindus across caste, linguistic, regional and class divides. Some adherents promote Hindutva as a way of countering what they see as the demographic, political and cultural threat posed by Muslims and Christians. Under Modi’s premiership, Hindutva has been increasingly embedded into India’s social-legal-political system. On a national level, this has included the removal of statehood for Kashmir – previously India’s only Muslim-majority state. At the state level, in BJP-run states, a slew of anti-conversion laws have been passed which seek to limit “conversion” to Christianity and Islam. Hindutva-aligned vigilante groups provide extrajudicial and often violent enforcement of these laws. This has prompted a sharp rise in the number of everyday instances of anti-minority violence. The UN Special Rapporteur for Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes, recently described this situation as “massive, systematic and dangerous”. read the complete article

India election: Hindutva pop fills the airwaves as PM Modi's party seeks another victory

Wearing an ornate turban and a saffron dress, vermilion powder smeared on her forehead, Laxmi Dubey prods her listeners on YouTube to press the “lotus” button on voting machines to re-elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom she calls the “Lion of India”. She then sings, “Every child in the country will sing Modi, Modi.” The song has garnered tens of thousands of views within just three weeks of its release on Dubey's YouTube channel, which has about half a million subscribers. “Because of Mr Modi, Lord Ram found his house,” she said, referring to a grand temple dedicated to Hindu deity Ram that is being built on the site of a 16th-century mosque razed by a Hindu mob in 1992. Dubey, 30, is one of the stars of a booming music genre known as “H-pop” – Hindutva pop – songs with hypnotic beats inspired by electronic dance music and incendiary lyrics that promote Hindu supremacy and anti-Muslim bias. Hindutva, which has been likened to white supremacy, is an ideology that claims primacy for Hinduism over other faiths in religiously diverse India, a constitutionally secular democracy of 1.4 billion people. Critics accuse the BJP of being in cahoots with Hindutva groups that have increasingly used pop culture to galvanise support for the Hindu nationalist ruling party while demonising the Muslim community, India's largest religious minority with about 200 million followers. Dubey's latest song, which lasts more than six minutes, is not the only tune that the 30-year-old journalist-turned-singer has produced in praise of Mr Modi and his brand of Hindu politics. read the complete article

United States

Civil rights groups allege anti-Palestinian racism at Berkeley public schools in federal complaint

Weeks after human rights groups alleged antisemitic harassment of Jewish students in Berkeley public schools in the wake of the war in Gaza, two other rights groups have alleged pervasive anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim racism against the school district. In a press statement Wednesday, the Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) announced a joint civil rights complaint against the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD). The federal complaint submitted to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) urged an immediate investigation into what it claimed were months of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation experienced by Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students within the district since the Hamas attack against Israel in October 2023 and subsequent war in the Gaza Strip. According to the complaint, the reported incidents include slurs and hate speech directed at Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students, as well as unequal use of BUSD resources to address the concerns of those students. The complaint also alleges harassment of teachers who speak about Palestinian freedom. read the complete article

Arizona State University dismisses scholar after video shows him verbally attacking a woman in a hijab

A scholar at ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership will not return to teach at the university after a video under investigation by university officials shows him confronting and cursing at a woman wearing a hijab during a pro-Israel rally on campus, ASU announced Thursday. “He is no longer permitted to be on campus and will never teach here again,” ASU President Michael Crow said in a statement to CNN regarding Jonathan Yudelman, who the university had placed on leave following the May 5 incident. The 58-second video shows a postdoctoral research scholar, Jonathan Yudelman, continually moving toward a woman in a hijab as she tries to move away from him. “You’re disrespecting my religious boundaries,” the woman can be heard saying. She has not been identified. Yudelman replies, “You disrespect my sense of humanity, b-tch.” read the complete article


A Former Guantánamo Prisoner’s New Life

On the 15th night of Ramadan in a suburb of Belize City, Majid Khan and his family of four sat down for a traditional iftar meal to break the daylight hours fast. There was a leg of a lamb that Majid, a former Guantánamo detainee, had slaughtered himself, sweets brought by a sister in Maryland, dates from Saudi Arabia. The mood was a bit boisterous, but not enough to disrupt the sleep of baby Hamza, who was born two weeks earlier at a hospital in the Central American city. The talk was small, about whether the biryani dish was too spicy and how the lamb was perfectly roasted. These are mundane matters, made more meaningful because Majid Khan, a former courier for Al Qaeda, was celebrating with his wife Rabia and daughter Manaal in their first home together, in Belize, their new adoptive homeland. For two decades, this family meal was not possible. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Khan joined Al Qaeda, agreed to become a suicide bomber and delivered $50,000 that would be used in a deadly hotel bombing in Indonesia. For his crimes, he was held prisoner by the United States, tortured by the C.I.A. and then imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay. He pleaded guilty and became a government cooperator — and, all that time, his wife waited for him in Pakistan. Majid still needs to find health care for the damage he suffered in the C.I.A.’s secret overseas prisons. He has yet to fit into the country that took in his family. He has been unable to open a bank account, because of his past. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 May 2024 Edition


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