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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
14 Apr 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, police are investigating a Worcestershire Conservative councillor and former mayor for Stourport following complaints over Islamophobic messages that were posted on his social media account, meanwhile in Poland, the country’s media has portrayed the country’s reception of Ukrainian refugees positively, while failing to acknowledge “Poland’s history of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies and the violence and racism faced by refugees of colour at the Belarusian border,” and in India, authorities have finally arrested Mahant Bajrang Muni, a religious leader who had allegedly threatened to kidnap and rape Muslim women. Our recommended read of the day is by John Feng for Newsweek on a new State Department report that finds China is continuing its genocide of Uyghur Muslims, noting that in 2021 Chinese authorities “intensified the use of state-sponsored forced labor in detention camps, prisons, and factories in and outside Xinjiang.” This and more below:


14 Apr 2022

China's Uyghur 'Genocide' Ongoing in Xinjiang—U.S. Human Rights Report | Recommended Read

Its country report for China said more than a million Uyghurs and members of mainly Muslim ethnic minority groups had been arbitrarily imprisoned, deprived of their physical liberty, and subjected to forced sterilization, coerced abortions and rape. Beijing's repressive policies in northwest China also included "draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement," said the report covering 2021. An additional two million Muslims were forcibly enrolled in daytime "re-education" classes, the document said. China justifies the practice—now in its sixth year—as part of a region-wide campaign to root out terrorism and religious extremism. Xinjiang's more than 1,000 internment camps, Beijing says, are "vocational training centers," from which learners "graduate" and are assigned work, either locally or in other provinces, in a move the U.S. considers forced labor. "Since 2017 the government used this broad definition of extremism to detain more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims in re-education or detention centers, designed to instill patriotism and erase their religious and ethnic identities," the report said. Last year, China "intensified the use of state-sponsored forced labor in detention camps, prisons, and factories in and outside Xinjiang." read the complete article

14 Apr 2022

Just hours remain before Saudi Arabia 'deports four Uyghurs, including child' to China: Amnesty

Four Uyghurs, including a child, may be scheduled for deportation from Saudi Arabia to China on Thursday evening, according to Amnesty International. The rights group said it had "received credible information" a 13-year-old girl and her mother, Buheliqiemu Abula, were tested for coronavirus on Thursday in preparation for their forced departure to China. They will be taken from the deportation centre at 9pm Saudi time and are headed for Guangzhou in China, police reportedly informed them. Amnesty International deputy Middle East director Lynn Maalouf said: "Saudi authorities must immediately halt all plans to deport the four Uyghurs – including a 13-year-old girl and her mother – who are at grave risk of being taken to repressive internment camps if sent back to China. "Forcibly returning these four Uyghur people would be an unconscionable violation of Saudi Arabia’s obligations under international law. "The Saudi authorities must not even think about sending them to China, where they will be subjected to arbitrary detention, persecution and possibly to torture." read the complete article

14 Apr 2022

‘My hijab, my right’ campaign raises awareness of violations of Muslim rights in India, and eyebrows in Chicago at its mixed message

Driving north on Interstate 294 you might notice a billboard that reads “My hijab, my right” featuring an illustration of a Muslim woman with her arm raised to make a fist. The ad is part of a campaign organized by local Islamic organizations to raise awareness of the violation of the freedom of religion right of Muslims in India that has arisen in the last three months. The second goal of this campaign is to “clear negative stereotypes about the hijab and oppression.” In the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka, young women were denied entry to school and colleges because the state put a strict policy that prohibits uniforms to be worn with hijabs, said Aamer Adbul-Jaleel, a Chicagoan and organizer of the “My hijab, my right” campaign with the local chapter of the Muslim organization GainPeace Chicago. “The reason this billboard is relevant now is because the right to wear the hijab for the Muslim women and the rights that we take for granted in this country — freedom of expression and freedom to wear what we want — they are being taken away in many parts of India,” said Sabeel Ahmed, director of GainPeace Chicago, a group that wants to raise awareness and popularity on this issue in the U.S., via its campaign with the Council of Social Justice and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. Some leaders in the community, however, think the message should have a clearer focus on the situation in India. “I understand the sentiment and I agree that the Islamophobia and the attacks against particularly Muslim women students in India are very heinous, and we should all speak out against it, and we should be aware of it,” said Hind Makki, an interfaith and anti-racism educator based in Chicago. “But I felt like the billboard was not very clear about it.” Although there is a portion of it that does talk about standing “in solidarity with the oppressed in India and worldwide,” Makki said that most Americans are still not aware of the situation in India. “A person driving on 294 seeing the billboard for like two seconds might be a little confused about the situation in India. Especially because the main point is about a woman defending her right to wear a headscarf, but that is a protected right in the United States.” read the complete article

14 Apr 2022

#PolandFirstToHelp: How Poland is using humanitarianism to boost its propaganda

The Polish media has portrayed the country’s reception of 2.5 million refugees from Ukraine positively. This pro-messaging fails to acknowledge Poland’s history of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies, the violence and racism faced by refugees of colour at the Belarusian border and the cries for help from cities overwhelmed by refugees. While many governments use humanitarianism to shore up national identity and attract external resources — like how Hungary inflated their refugee numbers to seek funds from the European Union — the Polish government’s #PolandFirstToHelp campaign is both visible and effective. In accepting the largest number of refugees from Ukraine with an open-door policy, Poland is no doubt helping many victims of forced displacement. But the country’s double standards and propaganda campaigns are holding it back from making real political and social changes. Propaganda is “the spreading of ideas, information or rumour for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause or a person.” Poland’s social media campaign #PolandFirstToHelp is a clear example of card-stacking propaganda, which focuses only on only good news, while problems are left out or lied about. The social media campaign highlights the positive ways Poland has been helping Ukrainian refugees, while burying the negative stories. The campaign was a response to reports that refugees of colour were experiencing racism at the Ukrainian-Polish border. Instead of taking accountability for the discrimination faced by racialized refugees, the Polish government condemned any accusations of racism as “fake news.” read the complete article


14 Apr 2022

Deportation of Rohingya woman from India sparks fear of renewed crackdown

The deportation of a Rohingya women back to Myanmar has sparked fears that India is preparing to expel many more refugees from the country. Hasina Begum, 37, was deported from Indian-administered Kashmir two weeks ago, despite holding a UN verification of her refugee status, intended to protect holders from arbitrary detention. Begum was among 170 refugees arrested and detained in Jammu in March last year. Her husband and three children, who also have UN refugee status, remain in Kashmir. Days after her deportation, the authorities detained another 25 Rohingya refugees. They are being held in Hiranagar jail, which police described as a “holding centre” for Rohingya “illegally living” in India. “There are around 275 Rohingya detained in the holding centre, and documentation for deportation of all of them is complete,” said Prem Kumar Modi, the centre’s superintendent. “We are waiting for the government orders to send them back [to Myanmar].” The authorities gave no reason why Begum was selected for deportation. The move has heightened the insecurity of Rohingya living in India. In early 2019, hundreds left for Bangladesh, fearing detention and deportation when India began a campaign to record their biometric data. Action against the 40,000 Muslim Rohingya people has intensified since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) came to power in 2014. BJP leaders have launched campaigns demanding the expulsion of all Rohingya. Ali Johar, Begum’s husband, said their children, aged nine to 15, did not understand why their mother has been separated from them. “They are crying,” he said. “I don’t know what to do and who to ask for help.” read the complete article

14 Apr 2022

UP religious leader Bajrang Muni arrested for threatening Muslim women with rape

A religious leader, Mahant Bajrang Muni, who had allegedly threatened to kidnap and rape women of a particular community has been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police. He was nabbed from UP’s Sitapur 11 days after he addressed a religious procession and made threats. The National Commission for Women had issued a strong statement and sought his arrest after the video of his speech went viral on social media, following which the police registered an FIR against Muni. The religious leader was charged for delivering hate speeches under the Indian Penal Code. On April 2, a video showed Bajrang Muni addressing a gathering from inside a vehicle. “If a man from your community harasses any girl in the area, I will pick up your daughters from your homes and rape them,” he was heard saying in Hindi, as the crowd cheered him on. Since the video surfaced online, women from the Muslim community have been protesting in the state, calling for his immediate arrest. read the complete article


14 Apr 2022

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen ridiculed for remarks on hijab

Far-right French presidential candidate and leader of the National Rally Party, Marine Le Pen, has sparked a wave of criticism after she said the late Tunisian leader Habib Bourguiba banned the head scarf worn by Muslim women in Algeria. Le Pen was a guest on France Inter radio yesterday when she vowed to completely abolish the hijab in France, noting that she would not be the first president to do so, "as Bourguiba had done so in Algeria". Le Pen's statement sparked a wave of controversy on the social media platforms, since Bourguiba was president of Tunisia and not Algeria. Social media user Najib said: "Bourguiba did not ban the hijab, but rather prevented imported sectarian dress that is alien to our culture." Adding that Tunisians have their traditional dresses like Safseri and Bakhnoug and dozens of clothes that preserve their culture and identity. Another social media user said the problem with Le Pen's remarks is that no one in the studio realised that the information was wrong. read the complete article

14 Apr 2022

Macron says Le Pen showing authoritarian streak after journalist ban

French President Emmanuel Macron launched a scathing attack on far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Wednesday saying her true “authoritarian” intentions were showing after she banned a team of reporters and did not rule out a return to the death penalty. Macron, a pro-European centrist, became president in 2017 after easily beating Le Pen when voters rallied behind him to keep the far-right out of power. This time, he is facing a much tougher challenge. He is slightly ahead in polls, but prior to Sunday’s first round Le Pen successfully tapped into anger over the cost of living and a perception that Macron is disconnected from everyday hardships, and she has continued to press on those points. Criticized for not properly campaigning in the run-up to the first round, Macron has changed tack ahead of the April 24 run-off. He has headed to areas where people voted against him to engage and adopted a more aggressive rhetoric toward his rival. He has categorized Le Pen’s manifesto as full of lies and false promises that conceal far-right agenda that ultimately would lead to France’s exit from the European Union. read the complete article

United Kingdom

14 Apr 2022

Muslim woman hopes to become first British politician to wear a niqab

Fajila Patel, 36, says she wants to ‘inspire’ more women to get into politics — including those who adopt the full veil — by seeking election in Blackburn. If successful, she will be the first Conservative councillor to wear the Muslim modesty garment, which covers the whole face except for the area around the eyes. And she believes she would also be the first of any party in the UK to hold such a position. She is being supported by her husband, Tory councillor Tiger Patel, whose viral video helped him secure an unlikely victory in the Labour heartland last year. Fajila said she had ‘no concerns’ about Islamophobia in the Tory party, despite a May 2021 report stating that anti-Muslim sentiment ‘remains a problem’ among members. But she branded comments made by PM Boris Johnson in comparing women wearing the full veil to ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’ as ‘indefensible’. She said: ‘I do not agree with everything a Conservative Party politician says or does. read the complete article

14 Apr 2022

Police investigating Conservative Stourport Councillor over Islamophobic tweets

Police are investigating a Worcestershire Conservative councillor and former mayor for Stourport following complaints over Islamophobic messages that were posted on his social media account. Gary Talbot has been suspended from Wyre Forest Conservatives, who said procedures were under way to expel him from Boris Johnson's party. West Mercia Police said it was investigating comments allegedly by the retired postman, who was first elected on to Stourport Town Council in 2003. The 60-year-old's account posted various messages focusing on Islam including one that said: "Islam is the enemy within England, and it will have to be defeated from within by England, by the English." In another, written in 2019, a post said: "Now that we've seen off Europe, it's time to see off Islam and re-establish Great Britain's laws, religions, customs and history." Mr Talbot has now deleted his social media accounts. A West Mercia Police spokesperson said: "We can confirm that we are aware of racist comments made on social media by a local councillor. Screenshots have been passed to officers who are currently investigating the incident." read the complete article


14 Apr 2022

Muslim charity seeks court shutdown of federal audit, alleging systemic Islamophobia

Canada's largest grassroots Muslim organization is asking a court to halt a federal audit of its activities as a registered charity, alleging the probe is discriminatory and violates its charter rights. The Muslim Association of Canada is filing a notice of application in Ontario Superior Court in a bid to shut down the Canada Revenue Agency process initiated seven years ago. The association, which promotes community service, education and youth empowerment, says over 150,000 Canadians use its mosques, schools and community centres each year. The association claims in the court filing that since the revenue agency audit began in 2015, it has been “tainted throughout by systemic bias and Islamophobia.” The association says in a news release that although no decision has been made, the resulting audit report, which has not been made public, threatens the charity “with extreme sanctions that are completely unjustified by the findings” of the revenue agency. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 Apr 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results