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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13 Apr 2022

Today in Islamophobia: A new report from a human rights group finds that Arab states are ‘major culprits’ in illegal Uyghur rendition back to China, meanwhile in India, Muslims in several Indian states are on edge after mobs came out in processions, making hate speeches and attacking their properties during the Hindu festival of Ram Navmi, and in Canada, the Muslim Association of Canada, a national charity that describes itself as Canada’s largest grassroots Muslim organization, is launching a Charter of Rights challenge against the Canada Revenue Agency, claiming that a years-long audit of the charity has been tainted by bias and Islamophobia. Our recommended read of the day is an interview between Leila Fadel and Rokhaya Diallo for NPR on race, identity and extremism in France. This and more below:


13 Apr 2022

'Woke culture' has made its way into the French presidential election | Recommended Read

LEILA FADEL, HOST: French President Emmanuel Macron is set to face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a runoff later this month. That's the result of a vote over the weekend. The presidential campaign has been dominated in part by a battle against woke culture that's seen as an import from the United States. Candidates of all stripes have shared a rare consensus in denouncing le wokism. And I asked French journalist, commentator and filmmaker Rokhaya Diallo what that says about race, identity and extremism in France. ROKHAYA DIALLO: You can have an open discussion on race in the U.S., on gender in the academy, which is still very, very difficult in France. I remember last year, the minister of higher education started a war against the academics who would work on race and gender and labelled them Islamo-leftists. FADEL: As we're speaking, the one thing these politicians seem to agree on across the political spectrum is their rejection of, quote, "woke culture," describing it as an American import, a foreign concept. Why such outrage over wokism? DIALLO: I think that France has billed itself as a colorblind country, which is, of course, not true. The politicians in France really love to oppose themselves to the so-called American idea of race. And you have a new generation of people in France who claim that it's important to address race, to address gender equality in the French context. And the fight against wokeness, which is called wokisme in France, is meant to just dismiss people who are involved and committed to social justice. And to me, it's outrageous because they are importing, like, the same debate that the Republicans are having in the states against critical race theory. DIALLO: I really feel threatened. And the fact that the government is focusing on wokeness rather than fighting racism or sexism means that the far right has won; they have made their idea mainstream. And whatever the result of the election is, those ideas will remain in the public space, and we will have to deal with them for the upcoming five years. read the complete article

13 Apr 2022

Four lessons from France on how to defend democracy

While French President Emmanuel Macron came out ahead in the first round of voting on Sunday, gaining roughly 4 percentage points more than he received in the first round in 2017, right-wing firebrand Marine Le Pen also picked up a couple of points over her results in 2017. Le Pen’s showing, combined with the votes for far-right candidate Éric Zemmour (7 percent), indicates that more than 30 percent of French voters supported the far right in the first-round vote. Meanwhile, the center right — led by Valérie Pécresse of the Republican party — lost 15 points since 2017. Many Western democracies have felt the threat from extreme right-wing nationalist parties and the widening divide between rural and religious voters (favoring reactionary, nationalistic politics) and more secular voters in urban areas (favoring globalism and secular progressivism). The Brexit vote and Eastern Europe’s drift toward authoritarianism turned out to be precursors of the MAGA movement in the United States. Second, right-wing demagogues don’t go away when they lose. Sometimes, they get more clever. Le Pen toned down her strident anti-immigrant rhetoric to focus on economic issues, such as inflation. France 24 reports, “She wore her easy-to-grasp pitches for getting money into voters’ pockets on her sleeve — slashing [taxes] on fuel and excusing anyone under 30 of income tax, sharpening her appeal to a working-class electorate frustrated with the left.” Meanwhile, “those interested in making sure she was still just as hardline on immigrants and Muslims could consult the brochure.” Voters have short memories and can become accustomed to right-wing candidates — even extreme ones. read the complete article

13 Apr 2022

France’s Voters Are Choosing Between Fear and Anger

From afar, France’s presidential elections this month might look like merely a repeat of our last elections in 2017, with the centrist leader Emmanuel Macron once again facing Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Rally party. But there are major differences that are revealing about France and about Western pluralism, having to do with the return of war in Europe; the uncertainty created by the two candidates running so closely in Sunday’s first-round election; and the widespread disaffection for both candidates. Where the 2017 election was about the hope of reforming France and remaining a liberal democracy, 2022 is a tight contest between two emotions: anger against Mr. Macron, who is perceived as a technocrat out of touch with the people, and fear of Ms. Le Pen, who is still seen by many as a dangerous far-right candidate. In both cases most voters will vote against, rather than for, a candidate. The question of the day remains: Do you hate Mr. Macron more than you fear Ms. Le Pen, or vice versa? Behind her reassuring rhetoric, her more extreme policies remain intact. She has promised to ban the hijab in all public places, a nod toward her longstanding public antipathy to Islam; she has long spoken of curbing immigration and has said she will prioritize the native-born French for welfare benefits over immigrants. To be sure, by appealing to the extreme right, Ms. Le Pen also runs the risk of failing to win over middle-of-the-road French voters who are more likely to vote for Mr. Macron or abstain rather than vote for her. read the complete article


13 Apr 2022

UK EXTREMISM TSAR Met Anti-Muslim Witch-Hunt Agency Advised by 'White Genocide' Believer

The Government’s chief advisor on extremism met last year with a notorious anti-Muslim government agency in Austria whose brutal crackdown on ordinary Muslims is based on the discredited claims of an advocate of the far-right Great Replacement conspiracy theory. Robin Simcox, whose term as Interim Lead Commissioner at the UK Government’s Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) was recently extended in late March for the third time, met with Austria’s notorious Observatory on Political Islam as part of his bid to develop the UK’s strategy on countering extremism. But the Austrian government agency is well-known for using the label of ‘political Islam’ to justify an indiscriminate crackdown on any Muslim who might be critical of the Austrian government and the challenges of Islamophobia. The Observatory on Political Islam was established by the Austrian Government in July 2020 to study what it calls political Islam’s “dangerous dimensions for European societies”. But in practice, it plays a lead role in advocating that normal Muslim civil society groups in Austria are a ‘trojan horse’ for a global Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to infiltrate Austrian society. Byline Times has previously revealed the surprising dependence of various materials commissioned and published by the CCE on Vidino’s conspiracy theories, which are overwhelmingly rejected by counter-extremism scholars and practitioners. Simcox’s meeting with an Austrian agency that is actively implementing Vidino’s ideas – with demonstrably counterproductive results – raises questions about how the CCE plans to replicate such approaches in the UK. Robin Simcox’s meeting with the Austrian government’s Observatory on Political Islam is documented in the CCE’s new End of Year Report, 2021-2022, published in March. The report provides no further details of the meeting. read the complete article

13 Apr 2022

'Why did our Muslim brothers do this to us?': How Arab states are 'major culprits' in illegal Uyghur rendition back to China

Children torn from parents, husbands from wives, and fractured families scattered to the four winds at China's bidding, are the fallout from Arab state complicity in forceable Uyghur rendition. Since 2001, according to new findings, 292 Uyghurs have been picked up, detained or deported from at least six Arab states, some whilst performing their Hajj pilgrimage. One hundred and ninety-one of these individuals, having been given bonafide visas to study at Al-Azhar Mosque and University – one of the jewels of the Islamic world – were summarily hunted down in 2017 with the agreement of the Egyptian authorities, interrogated jointly with Chinese intelligence officers who reportedly joined Egyptian security services in Cairo’s notorious Tora Prison, and many forcibly returned to China. Countless numbers of these vanished completely into the extra-judicial network of detention facilities built to intern "wayward" Uyghurs. They have never been seen or heard of again. Beyond Silence, a comprehensive analysis of the roundups, by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs, cites Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as the main culprits, all of which are involved in varying degrees of complicity with Beijing to pursue and return Uyghurs who have escaped Beijing's dragnet. Islamic brotherhood and loyalty are no longer guarantees of safe haven for fleeing Uyghurs that they might once have been, according to the report whose in-depth analysis of dozens of case studies shows Arab collusion with the PRC on many levels to hunt down fellow Muslims. read the complete article

13 Apr 2022

Former Xinjiang detainee arrives in US to testify over repeated torture he says he was subjected to

Ovalbek Turdakun still doesn’t know what was in the shot the doctors in the Xinjiang detention centre gave him in 2018. He and his 23 cell mates were told it was a vaccine to prevent colds but Turdakun said that after the injection he and his cellmates felt pain in their ears, hands and feet; yellow fluid came out of their ears; some had trouble walking. When he was released after 10 months’ detention, Turdakun still struggled to walk. Turdakun is among the nearly 2 million people who are estimated to have been imprisoned in China’s mass detention camps in the Xinjiang region. On Tuesday, Turdakun, his wife, Zhyldyz Uraalieva, and son Daniyel Ovalbek arrived in the US on a special immigration authorization called significant public benefit parole which grants entry to people who would provide “significant public benefit” such as testifying in a criminal or legal proceeding. Like many other survivors who have spoken publicly about their experience, Turdakun alleges he was detained without a fair trial and tortured repeatedly in “tiger chairs” – steel chairs with restraints to keep people in uncomfortable positions. Unlike many of those who’ve been detained – the majority of whom are Uyghur and Muslim – Turdakun is ethnically Kyrgyz and Christian, and his case has prompted further concern that China is targeting anyone who is of a different ethnicity and religion. China has repeatedly disputed all allegations of abuse of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, but the US has accused Beijing of carrying out genocide in Xinjiang. read the complete article

13 Apr 2022

US Secretary of State Blinken rebukes Indian ‘government, police’ in comments about ‘concerning’ rights abuses

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said Washington was monitoring a spike in "human rights abuses" in India by the Modi administration, police and prison officials. Mr Blinken fired the salvo at New Delhi at a joint press briefing with US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and defence minister Rajnath Singh following the 2+2 meeting in Washington. "We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values [of human rights] and to that end, we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials," Mr Blinken said. The Indian ministers who spoke after him did not comment on the rights abuse issue. His rebuke came just days after congresswoman Ilhan Omar slammed the Biden administration’s reluctance to criticise the Indian government's violation of human rights. "What does Modi need to do to India’s Muslim population before we will stop considering them a partner in peace," Ms Omar asked. There has been a rise in cases of Islamophobia since Narendra Modi's victory as the country’s prime minister in 2014. In recent months, Muslims and their livelihoods, food, culture, and homes have been targeted by right-wing groups, many of whose members have openly called for violence against minorities. read the complete article


13 Apr 2022

India: Muslims see wave of attacks, hate speech on Hindu festival

Muslims in several Indian states are on edge after mobs came out in processions, making hate speeches and attacking their properties during the Hindu festival of Ram Navmi. Most of the violence was reported from the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and West Bengal on Sunday as the Hindu community celebrated the birthday of the god Ram, one of the religion’s chief deities. “Jai Shri Ram” (Hail Lord Ram) is a chant that has lately become a rallying cry by right-wing Hindu groups as they target Muslims and other minorities. Dozens of videos have been going viral on Indian social media since Sunday, showing processions of Hindu men wearing saffron scarves – and, in some cases, carrying sticks and swords – stopping their motorcycles in Muslim neighbourhoods, playing provocative songs laced with threats of genocide outside homes and mosques, and raising hate slogans. Some of the worst rioting was reported from the district of Khargone in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Fazluddin Shaikh, a resident of Khargone, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that a mosque in the Sarafa Bazar area was set on fire by a Hindu mob on Sunday night during the Ram Navmi procession. read the complete article

13 Apr 2022

Muslim vendors to be removed from temple premises in Karnataka

The ruling BJP government is all set to remove muslim vendors from temple premises in Karnataka . This is amidst the chaos in the state following ban on muslim traders as demanded by hindutva groups in the state. According to sources the government might implement the rule through the Muzrai department. Murazi department manages more than 30000 temples across the state. Sources in the epartment have confirmed that instructions to not allow Muslim vendors from participating in auction of shops have already been issued. To back this move the government might cite the law made during the S.M.Krishna’s congress government.Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act 2002 .The law states that shops which are taken in auction cannot be sub-leased to Muslims. Sources clarified that the department has prepared clear cut rules regarding the shop auction and su-lease. read the complete article

United States

13 Apr 2022

Two Illinois men get 14, 16 years in Minnesota mosque bombing

Two Illinois men who helped bomb a Minnesota mosque in 2017 were sentenced Tuesday to about 16 years and roughly 14 years in prison – far below the 35-year mandatory minimum that each man faced – after victims and prosecutors asked for leniency because the men cooperated and testified against the mastermind of the attack. Michael McWhorter, 33, was sentenced to just under 16 years in United States prison and Joe Morris, 26, was sentenced to about 14 years. Both testified in the 2020 trial against Emily Claire Hari, who was known as Michael Hari at the time of the attack, the leader of a small Illinois militia group called the “White Rabbits”. Hari was convicted in December, 2020 and sentenced last year to 53 years in prison for the attack on Dar Al-Farooq Center, a mosque in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington. US District Judge Donovan Frank said Tuesday that the men’s “substantial assistance” allowed him to issue penalties below the statutory minimums called for in the domestic terror case, the Star Tribune reported. No one was hurt in the August 5, 2017 explosion after a pipe bomb detonated in the imam’s office as worshippers gathered for early morning prayers, but community members were shaken by the incident and the mosque’s executive director testified at Hari’s trial that it has led to diminished attendance due to fear. McWhorter allegedly told an FBI agent the attack was aimed at Muslims in the US in an effort to “scare them out of the country”, according to notes taken by the FBI. read the complete article


13 Apr 2022

National Muslim charity launching legal challenge of CRA audit, calling it Islamophobic

A national charity that describes itself as Canada's largest grassroots Muslim organization is launching a Charter of Rights challenge against the Canada Revenue Agency, claiming that a years-long audit of the charity has been tainted by bias and Islamophobia. The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) plans to serve the government with its formal legal challenge today. MAC said the audit, which began in 2015, poses an "existential threat" to the organization because it threatens to revoke its charitable status and raises the possibility of damaging sanctions. "An unfair decision by the CRA will affect the lives of thousands of Canadians overnight," MAC chairperson Nabil Sultan told CBC News. Sultan said the revocation of MAC's charitable status would jeopardize services the organization provides to more than 150,000 Canadians who attend schools, mosques and community centres in its network. "We want to see an audit that is not discriminatory and we want to be treated like any other religious charity in this country," he added. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Apr 2022 Edition


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