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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16 Apr 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Bangladesh rescues hundreds of Rohingya refugees adrift at sea. In the U.S, Muslims pitch in to help frontline health workers. Our recommended read today is on an Indian hospital in Ahmedabad, accused of segregating patients based on faith. This, and more, below:


16 Apr 2020

Indian hospital accused of segregating Hindu and Muslim coronavirus patients | Recommended Read

A hospital in the Indian state of Gujarat has reportedly begun segregating suspected coronavirus patients on the basis of religion, as anxieties over the disease merge with longstanding Islamophobia. The Indian Express reported on Wednesday that the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, which has 1,200 beds, created separate wards for Hindus and Muslims after reportedly receiving an order from the state government to enact the measure. "Generally, there are separate wards for male and female patients. But here, we have made separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients," Medical Superintendent Dr. Gunvant Rathod said. "It is a decision of the government and you can ask them," he added. Since the virus emerged, attacks and boycotts have spiked amid false claims that Muslims are to blame for the epidemic. Right-wing media have accused Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary group, of conducting a malevolent campaign to spread Covid-19 to the Hindu majority. As a result, India's minority Muslim community - which has been subject to violence by Hindu mobs and discrimination from the government - has faced heightened scrutiny. read the complete article

Recommended Read
16 Apr 2020

India Charges Muslim Leader With Culpable Homicide for Coronavirus Surge

India has brought charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the chief of a Muslim seminary for holding a gathering last month that authorities say led to a big jump in coronavirus infections, police said on Thursday. The headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat group in a cramped corner of Delhi were sealed and thousands of followers, including some from Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, were taken into quarantine after it emerged they had attended meetings there in mid-March. Police initially filed a case against Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi, the chief of the centre, for violating a ban on big gatherings but had now invoked the law against culpable homicide, a police spokesman said. “Delhi police had filed a first information report earlier against the Tablighi chief, now section 304 has been added," the officer said, referring to culpable homicide in the penal code, which carries a maximum punishment of a 10-year prison term The Tablighi administrators earlier said many of the followers who had visited its offices in a narrow, winding lane in Delhi's historic Nizamuddin quarter were stranded after the government declared a three-week lockdown, and the centre had to offer them shelter. Critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government have cautioned against fanning communal tension by laying the blame for the spread of the coronavirus on the Muslim group. read the complete article

16 Apr 2020

Anti-Muslim prejudice doesn’t just endanger our ability to fight Covid-19 – it’s morally wrong

“The crisis seems to have thrown the dominant characteristics of each country’s politics into sharper relief,” wrote economist Dani Rodrik. “Countries have in effect become exaggerated versions of themselves. This suggests that the crisis may turn out to be less of a watershed in global politics and economics than many have argued. Rather than putting the world on a significantly different trajectory, it is likely to intensify and entrench already-existing trends.” This explains why India has managed to turn even a global, devastating public health emergency into an opportunity to vilify Muslims. Over the last few years, India’s Hindu nationalist government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to weaponise prejudice against Muslims in an effort to build a majoritarian Hindu votebank that shuns older Indian ideas of secularism and tolerance. The coronavirus crisis has turned into yet another opportunity to build on this project. The inciting incident this time was undoubtedly newsworthy – a large gathering of Muslims in Delhi in mid-March who went on to travel around the country. But around that same time temples and Parliament were still open and the government was insisting that Covid-19 was not a health emergency. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and India’s mainstream media have used it as an opportunity to blame Muslims for the spread of the virus in the country, giving yet another excuse for people around the country to demonstrate their Islamophobia. As one headline put it, “Indians are fighting against coronavirus and BJP IT cell is fighting against Indians.” read the complete article

16 Apr 2020

Delhi victims: profiles of those killed in violence around India's CAA protests

In February, at least 53 people were killed in the worst religious violence the Indian capital witnessed in decades. The violence erupted after a mob led by a governing party leader targeted sit-ins in New Delhi against a new citizenship law, which critics say goes against the secular ethos of the country. Muslims in northeast Delhi were attacked by Hindu mobs, who went on a rampage for five days, killing dozens, burning houses, shops, and mosques. About a dozen Hindus were killed in the violence. The police were accused of either supporting Hindu mobs or looking the other way as the capital burned, while PM Narendra Modi held talks with US President Donald Trump barely 20km from the site of the violence. Aljazeera visited at least 50 families who lost their loved ones in the violence to record their ordeal as they come to terms with their losses. read the complete article


16 Apr 2020

Bangladesh rescues hundreds of Rohingya drifting at sea for nearly two months

Bangladesh’s coastguard says it has rescued at least 382 “starving” Rohingya refugees floating in a large boat in the country’s territorial waters after nearly two months at sea. Acting on a tip-off, a patrol launched a three-day search for the boat, locating it on Wednesday night off its south-eastern coast, spokesman Lieutenant Shah Zia Rahman said. “We have rescued at least 382 Rohingya from a big overcrowded fishing trawler and brought them to a beach near [the coastal town of] Teknaf. They were starving,” Rahman said, adding that more than 30 had died on board. “They were floating for 58 days. And over the last seven days it was moving in our territorial waters,” he said. The Dhaka Tribune local newspaper reported that they were thought to be from refugee camps on Bangladesh’s south-east coast, and were headed to Malaysia but turned back when that country implemented a strict coastal patrol due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rahman said authorities would investigate the possibility that the refugees could also have come from the Rohingya homeland in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state, where they are a persecuted Muslim minority. read the complete article

United States

16 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: US Muslims pitch in to help frontline health workers

When Dr Mounira Habli, an ob-gyn specialist in Cincinnati, Ohio, made a plea for face masks earlier this month, the local Islamic center was quick to answer her call. Maram Khabbaz, the community service director at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, assembled a team of volunteers to begin stitching face masks from the confines of their homes. Coordinating the effort virtually, one of the volunteers went to work on creating an instructional video, another obtained materials and the group even created a system for deliveries to local hospitals. Within days, the volunteers distributed about 1,000 masks to hospitals across the city. "Medicine is a noble profession," he said. "I think our religion emphasises the responsibility of helping others. So it makes it all the more satisfying to be involved in caring for others." read the complete article

16 Apr 2020

Coronavirus Latest: Muslim Health Care Worker Tasered By L.A. Mart Guard For Not Removing Face Covering, CAIR Says

CAIR is asking the Howard County Police to investigate the circumstances that led to a store security guard at L.A. Mart to Taser a man who wore a face covering while shopping for groceries earlier this month. According to The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the man of Tunisian heritage is a healthcare worker who worked with COVID-19 positive patients. When he entered the store on April 4, a security guard approached him and asked him to remove his face covering. The shopper removed the face covering to show the guard who he was, a regular customer that’s known to the store, then replaced the mask. He also asked the guard to move back so they could follow social distancing guidelines, CAIR says. The guard then insisted the man remove the face covering or he’d be denied the right to shop. The shopper declined saying he had the right to protect himself and other shoppers and proceeding to continue to get groceries. When the man got to the checkout counter to pay for his items, the security guard again allegedly confronted him and Tasered him as the man stepped away to leave. When the shopper fell down in shock and pain, the guard allegedly pinned him down and restrained him and then escorted him to an enclosed office space. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 16 Apr 2020 Edition


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