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
02 Apr 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Kashmiris equate the BJP’s new domicile law in the region to Israel’s settler colonial project in Palestine, as Muslims across India fear backlash over information that Muslim congregations might have fueled the coronavirus crisis. In the U.K, a man incites fear by coughing on a Muslim woman and telling her he has COVID-19. Our recommended read today is by Ayush Tiwari on Indian media outlets titled “Bigotry Returns with a Bang.” This, and more, below:


02 Apr 2020

Coronavirus and Nizamuddin: TV news returns to bigotry with a bang | Recommended Read

Tablighi Jamaat is a transnational Muslim missionary movement headquartered in Delhi’s Nizamuddin West, which is now one of 10 “hotspots” of coronavirus in India. A religious congregation organised by the Jamaat in Delhi between March 13 and 15 became the talk of the town. Eighteen of the 25 cases of coronavirus reported in Delhi on Monday came from South Delhi’s Nizamuddin West, the headquarters of the Jamaat and the site of the congregation. India TV broadcast a “complete inside story” on the Nizamuddin cluster case. One of the banners it ran during the show was “Corona aaya...Maulana laya”, meaning maulana brings coronavirus. The show also talked about a “superspreader maulana” who transmitted the virus to Kashmir, Jammu, Delhi, Telangana, Saharanpur, Deoband, Meerut, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. They were referring to a 65-year-old businessman from Srinagar who tested positive for the virus and died on March 26. India TV’s claims are doubtful since only four people are known to have been infected by the businessman – all in Kashmir’s Bandipora. There are currently no reports of this patient infecting others in Uttar Pradesh or the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This information can be sourced to the same Press Trust of India report that first used the term “super spreader” for the businessman. On News18 India, Amish Devgan invited filmmaker Ashoke Pandit to offer his prized opinion on the matter. Pandit, whose ability to craft fictions extends to the domain of news, said “those responsible” for the spread were “anti-national” and “enemies of the nation”. When another panelist told Pandit that he was stretching it by claiming that Muslims were deliberately spreading the virus across the world, he asked: “What is wrong with that?” The channel switched off his mike. In another segment, when a Muslim panelist told Devgan that he should not introduce a Hindu-Muslim angle to the issue, the anchor feigned rage and asked him to “shut up and sit down”. This panelist was also muted. Earlier in the day, the channel showed snippets of a man claiming that “some Muslim extremists” were flouting the lockdown because of their enmity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. read the complete article

Recommended Read
02 Apr 2020

Kashmiris equate India's new domicile law with Israel's 'settler-colonial' project

Kashmiris lashed out at a new piece of legislation rolled out by India on Wednesday, saying it's a page straight out of the Israeli playbook and will alter demographics in the Muslim-majority region. The new set of laws allows Indian citizens to permanently reside and buy land in Indian-administered Kashmir if they have worked in the region for 15 years or studied there for seven years. Children of federal government employees will also get domicile certificates if their parents have lived in Kashmir for 10 years, according to a notification released by Indian Home Ministry. "India is behaving like a Mafia cartel in Kashmir. It decides the fate of eight million people with a stroke of a pen. This is nothing but a broad daylight robbery," said a top businessman in main Srinagar city who declined to be identified, citing reprisals. "What adds salt to the wound is the timing. Instead of providing facilities to the people to face the challenge, New Delhi gave priority to its nefarious plans of demographic change in Kashmir, knowing the world's attention is on the pandemic," he said. read the complete article

02 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: Indian mosque event becomes infection hotspot

In March, a Sunni Muslim event called the Tablighi Jamat was held in New Delhi's Nizamuddin area. At least 7,600 Indians, and 1,300 foreigners from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia attended a series of prayer meetings and lectures in a narrow winding lane in India's densely populated capital. Now, authorities are trying to track down attendees and people with whom they may have come into contact, after the meeting emerged as an infection hotspot. At least 128 cases have been tracked down to this event, with seven reported deaths. The news gave rise to anti-Muslim sentiment. Earlier this week, 'Coronojihad' became a trending topic in India and a major source of debate on many major broadcast news channels. The lead anchor of the 24/7 news broadcaster Republic TV opened his show with the lines: "They made fun of our national effort. They have compromised us all, we were just winning when they did everything to defeat us." Lawmakers from the ruling BJP Party took to Twitter to condemn the gathering. Delhi's Chief Minister called for a police complaint to be lodged against the organizers of the event. read the complete article

02 Apr 2020

Muslims fear backlash of India’s coronavirus fury

The discovery that a Muslim gathering has fuelled India’s coronavirus crisis has sparked outrage among the country’s Hindu majority. Communal tensions are once again on the rise just weeks after the deadliest sectarian riots in decades claimed more than 50 lives in the Indian capital. “It feels very scary and will add to the demonisation of Muslims. It is as if the entire responsibility of this will be put on every Muslim,” said Nazia Erum, author of Mothering a Muslim, a book about religious prejudice at elite Delhi schools. As India’s economy has slowed in recent years, Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has adopted more strident sectarian rhetoric, repeatedly depicting India’s Muslim minority as an insidious internal threat. The fallout from the Tablighi Jamaat gathering, which was held despite a local government order banning religious gatherings of more than 200 people, has reinforced that narrative. “It does seem like the fodder that people were seeking to continue making Muslims somehow accountable, even for something like the coronavirus,” said Ali Khan Mahmudabad, a political science professor at Ashoka University. “BJP supporters are still thinking of consolidating their support base around the idea of the Muslim as the threatening other.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

02 Apr 2020

The Toxic Confluence Online of Anti-Muslim Literature and Jihadist Messaging

An unusual and concerning detail emerged in a counterterrorism trial in the United Kingdom last month. A British Muslim, Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, was convicted in February of planning terror attacks. The contours of his case are not surprising: An isolated and angry young man, Chowdhury was befriended by undercover agents posing as fellow jihadists, to whom he divulged, over several months, various plans to attack tourist spots around London. He was eventually arrested and, on the strength of the agents’ recordings of his statements and online communications, convicted. Chowdhury had been consuming jihadist sources and propaganda since his release from prison in late 2018, including speeches by ideologues Anwar al-Awlaki and Sheikh Abdallah al-Faisal; manuals for jihad; and ISIS videos, publications and social media posts. However, as reported by Lizzie Dearden in the Independent, Chowdhury was also consuming a considerable degree of right-wing literature presenting Islam as inherently violent, from anti-immigrant activist Tommy Robinson, Robert Spencer’s website Jihad Watch, and the American anti-Islam preacher David Wood. Chowdhury relied on these sources, it was revealed during the trial, to reinforce in his mind the religious necessity of jihad. Spencer has pushed back on the characterization that his writings helped inspire Chowdhury, arguing that a Muslim doesn’t need non-Muslim voices to justify jihadism. Fair enough — and questions of inspiration can be complicated. But evidence shows how seriously Chowdhury took these figures’ views. He saved numerous articles from Jihad Watch, including a list of Quranic passages extolling violence, and he shared Woods’ videos on jihadist attacks with the undercover agents, describing them as potential options. Chowdhury, however, represents a unique example of a Muslim whose understanding of Islam has been substantively shaped by anti-Islam sources. He seems to have internalized the notion, supported by the authors he was reading, that violence is the true message of Islam and killing non-Muslims is necessary to be a good Muslim. In fact, Robinson and McLoughlin’s book makes this equation explicit on the very first page, where it states: “If you are a Muslim, please put this book down. We do not wish you to become a killer because this book leads you to understand the doctrines and history of Islam more thoroughly.” Chowdhury bragged about purchasing a signed collector’s edition. read the complete article

02 Apr 2020

The majority of sexual offenders are white men – there is no Muslim problem with sexual grooming

Every time I have written about Muslims, I have received one recurring comment, on my Facebook, Twitter, emails and in the article comments – ‘what about the grooming gangs?’. Why is this bought up every time I mention an obstacle faced by Muslims? Do the crimes of a few speak for all Muslims? Obviously not, but it seems this constant bleating about ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ is specifically being used to shut down important discussions about islamophobia. And while it’s difficult to measure the ethnicity of sexual offenders, there is clear evidence in many reports that the majority have been white men, not Asian Muslims. Almost 85 per cent of offenders found guilty of sexual activity with a minor in England and Wales in 2011 were white while four per cent were Asian. Some have reported even higher figures, claiming that the number for white male offenders is 90 per cent. To say it’s an intrinsically Muslim problem is a lazy, transparent tactic – and the inaccuracies behind these claims need to be dismantled in order to move the conversation on. Grooming gangs are only depicted to be an Asian or ‘Muslim’ problem because of a few high-profile cases and the media’s penchant to overreport certain types of stories. The reasons people seem to be so consistently hung up on this issue is twofold; first because it reinforces already-held racist stereotypes of Muslim men as threatening and regressive. And secondly, because the most oft-cited cases of sexual grooming involve white, working-class girls and women. read the complete article

02 Apr 2020

Racist coughed in Muslim woman’s face and told her he had Covid-19

A racist man coughed in the face of a Muslim woman and told her he had the coronavirus (Covid-19) before calling her a ‘raghead’ after she challenged him. The Metropolitan Police are investigating the assault which occurred on March 18 in South London. Speaking to Tell MAMA, the white Muslim woman, who wears the hijab, agreed to have her story told anonymously. She described how she did her best to avoid him when walking in the high street, but the man turned towards her and got in her face. Following the assault, she informed him, that after already experiencing Covid-19 and that she could not catch it again, he swore at her and used the racial slur ‘raghead’ before leaving. This assault demonstrates how the racialisation of Muslims and their religious clothing, harms all Muslims, irrespective of their ethnicity. read the complete article

02 Apr 2020

Muslim minority doctors first to die on front line of UK pandemic

The United Kingdom is paying tribute to the first doctors on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic who have died after contracting COVID-19. All four men - Alfa Sa'adu; Amged el-Hawrani; Adil El Tayar and Habib Zaidi - were Muslim and had ancestry in regions including Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The NHS is the largest employer of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff in the UK with 40.1 percent of medical workers from BME backgrounds. Priti Patel, the home secretary, announced on Tuesday that about 2,800 medical staff whose visas expire before October 1, will have their visas extended for a year "free of charge". read the complete article

02 Apr 2020

A deliberate campaign of anti-Muslim smears and misinformation is gathering pace.

In the last few days, three UK police forces have taken to social media to refute fake news being spread about Muslims supposedly flouting the law on social distancing. Police in the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and Shropshire have all faced criticism on social media for apparently allowing mosques to stay open on their patch. But in each case, the information was false. Unfortunately, the nature of social media is that even with detailed refutations from knowledgeable sources, the tide of misinformation continues to gather pace – especially amongst people who would like these rumours to be true because of their anti-Muslim prejudice. These allegations represent a concerted effort to incite anger against a minority at a time of crisis. read the complete article

United States

02 Apr 2020

How Foreign Policy Factors for American Muslims in 2020

Foreign policy is an important lens for understanding Muslim voters’ preferences in the primary. Despite their demographic and ideological diversity, American Muslims of immigrant backgrounds are for the most part unified in the importance they place on foreign policy. In its post-2016 election survey of Muslim voters, Emgage, a leading American Muslim civic engagement organization, found that while Muslim voters prioritize the economy above all, foreign policy and national security mattered at least as much as health care, immigration and education policies. Beyond grand strategy and policy papers, a candidate’s perceived foreign policy outlook seems to be a strong determinant of Muslims’ feelings toward the candidate. This matters because, though they are far from monolithic, Muslims are a critical community in the future of the Democratic Party, and Democrats seeking to get smarter and better on foreign policy can benefit from seeking the input of American Muslim experts and constituents. American Muslim politics are changing but are still biased toward “motherland” politics. Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims constitute the majority of the American Muslim population, and the most well-known national Muslim civic organizations have been founded and led by members of these communities, mostly first and second-generation professionals. These immigrant-led conversations too often push to the side the policy concerns of African American Muslims, who have been in the United States since before its founding, but both groups share some similar experiences in post-9/11 national security conversations. To many American Muslims, foreign policy is about basic national security but also an extension of identity politics. Two decades of “war on terror” policies targeting the Muslim world has securitized Muslims’ relationship with their own government and otherized Muslims by treating Islam as a foreign policy problem to be solved. read the complete article

02 Apr 2020

Getting An Accurate Census Count Is Vital. First, Muslim Americans Need To Trust It's Safe.

Like many Muslim Americans, Hidaya Assaf, a 27-year-old mother of two, was initially skeptical of the census. She’s Palestinian American, and many of her friends on Facebook were discussing whether it was worth filling out the 2020 survey. She could understand their reasons for concern. “We think, OK, why do they want to know so much about us? Do they just want to spy on us or do they just want to see if we’re terrorists?” Assaf told HuffPost. Many people are making the same calculations Assaf did. Populations that have historically been profiled or targeted by the government are understandably wary of turning over information to the government. That could be doubly true this year, given President Donald Trump’s failed push to get a citizenship question added to the census and his administration’s targeting of immigrant and Muslim communities. “There is a lot of mythology and confusion around what the census actually collects data-wise, and what the government does with that data,” said Basem Hassan, the strategy director focused on engaging people of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) heritage in the 2020 census campaign. “So, combine all of these together in a pot and mix it around and that was our challenge. To educate the community and then to motivate them to participate.” read the complete article


02 Apr 2020

Help us fight coronavirus, then go back to where you came from

This week, the US and UK began recruiting migrant and refugee medical workers to shore up their frontlines against the novel coronavirus. But unlike the Covid-19, there is nothing novel about this colonial policy. In both World Wars I and II, western powers conscripted men from colonised lands to fight against their enemies in Europe. The US and UK are now pulling a similar stunt, as coronavirus overwhelms their respective health care systems. This time, though immigrants are eager to battle the pandemic, even as US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pursue anti-migrant legislation. Trump has upheld his 'Muslim ban', while ripping families apart for trying to seek asylum. For his part, Johnson has dropped protection for child refugees and introduced a new immigration system that discriminates against low-wage labour. Now though, as the pandemic overwhelms these nations, both leaders are begging skilled immigrants to risk their lives, without promising them any security in return. read the complete article


02 Apr 2020

Muslims in Italy struggle to bury victims of the pandemic

When, 7 years ago, Tallal Khalid, an insurance broker, decided to open a Muslim funeral agency in Brescia, Northern Italy, he likely would not have seen this coming. In mid-March, Italy's coronavirus death toll (now standing at 12,.428) surpassed China’s, where the virus first emerged in December. Khalid lives in a small town in Brescia province, and the cities of Bergamo and Brescia, are at the heart of the outbreak. In Bergamo, the coffins are so abundant, the army has been called to take them from warehouses for cremation. But when it comes to the bodies of Muslims, there is almost no place for them to go. As there are only 58 Muslim cemeteries in the entire country, finding a place to bury their relatives is not a new problem for the Italian Muslim community. But before the coronavirus outbreak, most of them were opting for repatriation: “I used to cover all Italy, and I used to get on average 2 to 3 calls per week: 99.9 percent of the people were asking us to organise their dead relative’s repatriation,” says Khalid. Repatriation wasn’t ever much of a challenge, until a few weeks ago when cargo flight carrying a few bodies from Italy to Casablanca, via Istanbul, was blocked by Moroccan authorities, and the bodies returned. Now, the borders are closed, even for the dead. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Apr 2020 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results