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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08 May 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the US, Arizona State University (ASU) has placed a professor on leave and said it was investigating him after a video showed him harassing a Muslim woman at a pro-Palestine protest, elsewhere in the US, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) offered a resolution Tuesday condemning antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry on college campuses across the country, and in the UK, a Muslim campaign group has issued Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer with 18 demands in order to win back support lost due to his stance on Israel’s war in Gaza. Our recommended read for the day is by Politico on how Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has made several anti-Muslim comments on the campaign trail, including referring to Indian Muslims as “infiltrators” and saying they “have too many children”. This and more below:


Prime minister escalates his rhetoric against Muslims as India votes again | Recommended Read

Millions of Indian voters across 93 constituencies were casting ballots on Tuesday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi mounted an increasingly shrill election campaign, ramping up polarizing rhetoric in incendiary speeches that have targeted the Muslim minority. In recent campaign rallies, Modi has called Muslims “infiltrators” and said they “have too many children,” referring to a Hindu nationalist trope that Muslims produce more children with the aim of outnumbering Hindus in India. He has also accused the rival Indian National Congress party of scheming to “loot” wealth from the country’s Hindus and redistribute it among Muslims, who make up 14% of India’s more than 1.4 billion people. Modi, who voted in western Ahmedabad city on Tuesday, had kicked off his campaign with a focus on economic progress, promising he would make India a developed nation by 2047. But in recent weeks, he and the ruling BJP have doubled down heavily on their Hindu nationalism platform, with Modi employing some of his most divisive rhetoric in his decade in power. Analysts say the change in tone comes as the BJP aims to clinch a supermajority or two-thirds of the 543 seats up for grabs in India’s lower Parliament by consolidating votes among the majority Hindu population, who make up 80%. They say Modi’s party is also ratcheting up polarizing speeches to distract voters from larger issues, like unemployment and economic distress, that the opposition has focused on. read the complete article

Indian PM Modi says he does not oppose Islam, Muslims as election campaign heats up

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he does not oppose Islam or Muslims and wants the community to think about their future growth as they vote in an ongoing general election that completes its third phase on Tuesday. Modi's critics accuse him and his party of targeting minority Muslims for electoral gains and the allegations grew after Modi referred to Muslims in a recent speech as "infiltrators" who have "more children". He denied discriminating against Muslims and has linked his recent comment to what he described as the opposition Congress party's election plan to redistribute the wealth of majority Hindus among Muslims. The Congress denies making any such promise. "We are not opposed to Islam and Muslims," Modi told broadcaster Times Now in an interview aired on Monday. "The opposition is looking after its own benefit. Muslim community is intelligent... the opposition is worried that their lies have been caught." read the complete article

India election: Narendra Modi casts vote as fears grow among the country's Muslims

The prime minister voted at a school in Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat, calling on "countrymen" to "vote in large numbers" as the third phase of the 44-day election gets under way. Almost a billion people are registered to vote, with Mr Modi running for a third term in office and expecting to win. But the likely prospect of his victory may concern the country's Muslims, who make up 14% of the population and feel they have been targeted by right-wing mobs tacitly supported by the government. Mr Modi stirred the debate in his campaign rally in Rajasthan last month, accusing opposition party Congress of appeasement politics over its suggestion to levy inheritance tax to redistribute wealth. The leader went on the offensive, changing tact in his campaign to attack the opposition for having a pro-Muslim bias. For a decade, the leader has dominated India's political space - with a mix of muscular religious identity and nationalism, he has crafted his image as a leader of the majority Hindu nation that has taken its rightful place. Mr Modi's silence on the many instances of lynching of Muslim men for alleged trading in cow meat and bulldozing of homes belonging to Muslims has been deafening. read the complete article

India election: Modi's party accused of demonising Muslims in video

Police in India have opened a case against senior leaders of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over a social media post that opposition leaders say "demonises Muslims". The animated video depicts senior Congress party leaders granting benefits to Muslims at the expense of marginalised castes and tribespeople. Hours after the police case opened, the Election Commission asked X (formerly Twitter) to remove the video. It said the post violated Indian law. In its order, the Election Commission says its chief electoral officer in Karnataka (the video was posted by the BJP's Karnataka state unit) had "already directed" X to take down the post on Sunday, but that this hadn't been done yet. Voting in Karnataka was held on Tuesday and ended in the early evening local time. This is the second such video the BJP has posted online in the past two weeks. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also made similar claims about the opposition favouring the Muslim minority over other social groups at election rallies. read the complete article

United States

US senator introduces resolution condemning all forms of bigotry on college campuses

US Sen. Bernie Sanders offered a resolution Tuesday condemning antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry on college campuses across the country. "No to antisemitism. No to Islamophobia. No to all forms of racism and bigotry," Sanders said on the Senate floor, introducing the resolution in response to one offered by Sen. Tim Scott that did not go far enough in protecting students from bigotry, violence and the violation of their First Amendment right to protest and free speech. His remarks came amid pro-Palestine college campus protests that have been persistent since last month, when students at New York’s Columbia University launched an encampment in solidarity with the Gaza Strip and demanded that their school divest from Israel. Nearly 2,500 protesters were arrested during the demonstrations. Sanders said he believes that protesting injustice is part of the American tradition and has played a fundamental role in recent decades. "But I certainly do not believe, nor do a strong majority of the American people believe, that the right-wing extremist Netanyahu government has the right to wage an unprecedented all-out war against the Palestinian people. read the complete article

What do anti-Jewish hate, anti-Muslim hate have in common?

Anti-Jewish hate is often connected to anti-Muslim hate, said political scientist Nazita Lajevardi, and she has the data to prove it. “Our research … finds that there is a group of people who not only agree that Muslims contribute to all problems in American society, but who also agree that Jews contribute to all problems in American society,” she said. Lajevardi laid out the evidence during the “Pernicious Prejudice: Scholarly Approaches to Antisemitism and Islamophobia” panel last week at Tsai Auditorium. Lajevardi, an associate professor at Michigan State University and author of “Outsiders at Home: The Politics of American Islamophobia” (2020), drew from her 2023 paper concerning the shifting patterns of hate speech and hate crimes following the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where antisemitic rhetoric was prominently featured. Kassra A.R. Oskooii, an associate professor of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware, spoke to the particularities of Islamophobia. “Our research … finds that attitudes toward Muslims are distinct insofar as they’re closely associated with tropes of terrorism, violence, and existential threat on the one hand — and perceived cultural incompatibility with the American way of life on the other,” he said. As a result, social scientists have failed to predict political outcomes that curb civil liberties and religious freedoms specifically for Muslim Americans, Oskooii argued. read the complete article

Arizona State University investigates professor over attack on Muslim woman at pro-Gaza protest

Arizona State University (ASU) has placed a professor on leave and said it was investigating him on Monday after a video showed the academic harassing a Muslim woman at a pro-Palestine march. The investigation came after a video shared online showed Yudelman shouting aggressively at a woman wearing the hijab, prompting widespread condemnation and calls for him to be punished. In the video, Yudelman could be seen surrounded by a pro-Israel mob standing near the woman and following her. "You don’t like it go back to Jihad, I’m literally in your face," Yudelman can be heard saying in the video while aggressively extending his arms around the woman. "You’re disrespecting my religious boundaries," the woman responded in the video. Yudelman, joined by Sammy Ben, a reserve soldier in the Israeli army, then corners the woman by a tree, blocking her from escaping. "You disrespect my sense of humanity, b*tch, get the f*ck out of here" he replied in the video. read the complete article


Elon Musk Slammed For Promoting Falsehood-Riddled, Islamophobic Post

Elon Musk faced criticism for promoting falsehood-riddled anti-Islam post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday evening to his tens of millions of followers. British actor Laurence Fox wrote a post on Saturday, claiming that the mayors of some of the largest towns and cities in the United Kingdom are Muslim. Fox then claimed that Muslim families receive state support, free housing, and free accommodation, and cited a stratospherically false and unrealistic unemployment rate. He then complained, “Now every school in the UK is required to teach lessons about Islam. Has anyone ever been given an opportunity to vote for this?” The Islamophobic tweet was later community noted with the following corrections: “Chaman Lal is Sikh and the mayor of West Midlands- Birmingham. Al Garthwaite is a white German-born Brit- mayor of Leeds. Colin Ross is a white Brit and the mayor of South Yorkshire is a white Brit – Sheffield. Mike Holly is a white Brit- mayor of Rochdale.” Regardless that did not stop the Tesla CEO and one of the world’s richest men from endorsing the post by claiming to be shocked by Fox’s statement. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Muslim group issues 18 demands for Keir Starmer to win back voters lost over Gaza

A Muslim campaign group has issued Sir Keir Starmer with 18 demands in order to win back support lost due to his stance on Israel’s war in Gaza. The Muslim Vote, which aims to organise voters against MPs who did not back a ceasefire in the conflict, has called for the Labour leader to apologise for his early stance on Israel’s campaign against Hamas. And it has urged Sir Keir to promise to cut military ties with Israel and let Muslims pray in schools and for Labour figures to return “zionist money”. Days after the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) hailed the local election results as a wake-up call over politicians’ response to the atrocities in Gaza, The Muslim Vote reissued its list of demands. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 08 May 2024 Edition


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