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
22 Apr 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Coronavirus closes in on Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, as Muslims across the world prepare for Ramadan in a pandemic. An op-ed argues how the virus is exposing Britain’s racial inequity. Our recommended read today is by Sivamohan Sumathy on Sri Lanka, and how gruesome Easter bombings a year ago set in motion a different kind of crisis. This, and more, below:

Sri Lanka

22 Apr 2020

A Year After Easter Bombings, Sri Lanka Is Facing A Different Kind of Crisis | Recommended Read

After the Easter Bombings, life seemed to stand still; the country was in a state of shock, we were in near lockdown for more than weeks; we left our homes gingerly, looking over our shoulders; worse, we faced a rapid spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric, culminating in riots, looting and murder. Families of those who died in the terrible bombings will remember this day last year with renewed grief and horror. As a country, we have offered nothing to them, no solace, no answers, nothing of a sense of justice. To the Muslim community, which was targeted mercilessly in the ensuing days, we have only renewed anti-Muslim hate speech and an uncritical media. We have had two different governments overseeing the accelerating trends of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism and see no halt to this rising trend. We see majoritarian tendencies riding high at every turn. Barely 10 years after the conclusion to the civil war, we as a country have not learnt any lessons. Despite the cataclysmic changes brought on by tragedies like the Easter bombings, or COVID-19, there are underlying continuities, like elections for one. We also see greater empowerment of the military establishment, following the institutionalising of the calamities and responses to it. We have other accompanying continuities, counting one’s friends and foes, “us” and the Muslim. This has persisted unrelentingly and blatantly into COVID-19 days, leaving us with a greater apprehension of what awaits us in the coming days, post COVID-19, when we all may be compelled to face an economic lockdown and social and political uncertainty. read the complete article

Recommended Read

United Kingdom

22 Apr 2020

Coronavirus exposes how riddled Britain is with racial inequality

The pandemic is bringing the harsh realities of these longstanding inequalities into sharp focus, making it clear why race should be viewed as a “social determinant of health”. In this context, it is very welcome that the government has agreed to a review into why ethnic minorities are at greater risk of Covid-19, though they have yet to confirm the terms or membership of that review. The patterns we’re seeing – a disproportionately high number of BAME deaths from coronavirus – are not random, but instead track existing social determinants of health. In employment terms, ethnic minorities in Britain are already more likely to work in insecure, low-paid work, and more likely to be unemployed. In housing, they represent more than half of all overcrowded households, are less likely to own their home, and have up to 11 times less green space to access. In other words, their employment and housing circumstances mean they are more likely to be in contact with more people, and so are more at risk of getting Covid-19. Recent statistics suggesting that a third of people critically ill with coronavirus were from ethnic minorities have highlighted this greater risk. Some reports have picked up on the fact that ethnic minorities are more likely to live in London and Birmingham, where there have been more cases, and so perhaps the disproportionality is not so severe. Yet while it’s true that more people of colour live in the capital and more densely populated cities, they are also a much younger population, with relatively few older people due to the history of migration patterns to Britain. Age is the strongest predictor for risk of critical Covid-19 cases, yet only 2-3% of the over-85 population is BAME, while 35% of critical cases are BAME. And while 18% of the white population is over 65, only 5% of the BAME population falls into the same category. read the complete article

United States

22 Apr 2020

False claim: Minnesota’s government allowing mosques to remain open while churches must close amidst COVID-19 outbreak

Posts on social media make the claim that the government of Minnesota is allowing mosques to remain open amidst the novel coronavirus outbreak, while Christian churches are closed. Examples of this post can be seen here , here and here . This claim follows President Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that mosques might receive special treatment ( ). This claim is false. The Minnesota state government confirmed to Reuters via email that there is “absolutely no distinction between churches and mosques in any order issued by the Governor.” It is true that in-person gatherings of congregants, without distinction of religion, are not allowed by the Governor’s Executive Order to contain the spread of COVID-19. read the complete article

22 Apr 2020

Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast in Minneapolis neighborhood

The Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast the traditional five times a day in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, beginning with the start of Ramadan this week and continuing through the end of the religious holiday in May. It will be the first time the call to prayer, commonly broadcast from mosques in Muslim nations, will be heard in Minnesota. Designed to encourage Muslims to maintain safe distancing during a holiday typically marked by community prayer, the arrangement was approved Tuesday by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, working in collaboration with Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque. “At a time when physical distancing requires we pray apart, it’s incumbent on leaders to create a sense of togetherness where we can,” said Frey in a news release. “Adhan [the call to prayer] provides solidarity and comfort, both of which are essential during a time of crisis.” read the complete article

22 Apr 2020

When The Holy Month Of Ramadan Comes At The Peak Of A Pandemic

This year, mosques and religious organizations have pivoted to online programming, and Muslims like Comstock have turned to the internet for communal support in order to make the most out of the holy month. To combat the loneliness this Ramadan, Comstock plans to host “Zoom iftars,” where she and friends line up their menus, cook and break the fast together through video chat. She hopes the digital get-togethers help her keep in the Ramadan spirit of celebrating with others. “I know as a revert, Ramadan was always, like, kind of lonely if I didn’t have the community around me,” Comstock said. “My first four years of being Muslim, I was the only person I knew who was a Muslim.” Many Muslim organizations have made efforts to ensure people don’t have to break fast alone during Ramadan, which is an important practice for sharing community and spirituality. Center D.C., a Washington-based Muslim organization, launched a D.C. Iftar League four years ago to ensure people could congregate even if they didn’t know many other Muslims in the area. Individuals who signed up were assigned an “iftar team” and then joined fellow Muslims for a weekly evening meal during Ramadan. With social distancing rules in place, the organization took its efforts online for this Ramadan. Iftar League members now can sign up to virtually participate and join other Muslims in the region for a communal break-fast meal or even have a predawn meal together before the next fast begins. “We hope that we can feed some of that social connection and that communal reflection that people might be missing from a lack of in-person gatherings,” said Lauren Schreiber, the co-founder and executive director of Center D.C. read the complete article


22 Apr 2020

Coronavirus closes in on Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s cramped, unprepared camps

Coronavirus is spreading quickly in densely populated Bangladesh, despite a nationwide shutdown put in place a month ago. This preventive measure has proven challenging to implement due to lack of awareness of the coronavirus and the absence of a social safety net. Extreme poverty also forces many Bangladeshis to keep working and looking for food despite the risks. Bangladesh had 2,948 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of April 20. The disease has not yet spread into the refugee camps that house the Rohingya Muslims who fled ethnic violence in Myanmar in 2017, according to a recent update from the humanitarian organizations that work in the camps. But an outbreak in the overcrowded camps is almost certain to come eventually – and when it does, experts say, the damage could be severe. read the complete article


22 Apr 2020

Communal Tweets: More Indian Missions in Gulf Tell Indians to Avoid 'Attempts to Sow Discord'

After the Indian envoy in UAE issued a statement, more Indian missions in the Gulf have joined in, urging the Indian community to remain vigilant against attempts to sow religious divisions, as ripples continue to be felt over the backlash against Islamophobic comments by some Indians on social media. The comments had come to the notice of and have been highlighted and criticised by prominent Arab intelligentsia. The Indian embassy in Qatar on Tuesday posted screenshots of two Twitter accounts, which had the same display picture, but had different names; one of them claimed to be based in the Gulf kingdom. Both of them had posted anti-Islam comments, linking the spread of coronavirus to the community. Asserting that the ‘fake’ Twitter accounts were being used to “create divisions within our community”, the Indian embassy in Doha posted, “Please understand the reality and do not get swayed by these malicious attempts to sow discord. Our focus right now needs to be on COVID-19”. The controversy had started over social media posts from a few Indian nationals based in UAE, who were posting against Muslims claiming that they had deliberately spread coronavirus in India, an operation which purportedly ‘began’ with the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi. Due to UAE’s strict laws, there are punishments and penalties for any use of internet to abuse any religion, promote sectarianism and harm public order. read the complete article


22 Apr 2020

Covid-19: How fake news and Modi government messaging fuelled India’s latest spiral of Islamophobia

On April 1, the government first claimed – with little evidence, since India is not, experts said, testing enough of its population – that the Tablighi meet was a major national Covid-19 source. The number of Tablighis who tested positive was high because around 9,000 who attended were tracked and quarantined. This did not happen with a series of other mass gatherings in the days after the lockdown. These include festivals at least eight temples nationwide between March 9 to March 19 where thousands gathered. The latest such lockdown-defying festival was held on April 16 in Karnataka’s Kalburgi district, which on March 10 reported India’s first Covid-19 death and is now an outbreak hotspot. In Madhya Pradesh, where on March 23 India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party engineered a split in the ruling Congress and returned to power, a celebratory meeting sparked a rash of infections: health officers, bureaucrats and politicians who attended were quarantined. Selective bias against India’s Muslims first emerged in after the Centre said the Tablighi meet held between March 13 and 15 at the Nizamuddin Markaz – the global headquarters of the sect, a missionary movement that encourages Muslims to return to the faith as originally conceived – was “not a national trend”. On March 31, India saw its biggest single-day spike in cases of Covid-19 until then, with a 17% rise in 12 hours, or 227 cases in 24 hours. Tamil Nadu and New Delhi recorded the highest jump with 17 and 24 new cases in a single day bringing the total to 1,251, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. That number has since been eclipsed, with as many as 14,759 active cases across the country on the morning of April 21, with the spike caused by the Tablighi tests apparently absorbed. On April 8, seven days after the government first made the link to the Tablighis explicit, Mike Ryan, the Emergency Program Director of the World health Organisation, expressed the organisation’s disapproval. “This does not help,” said Ryan. “Having Covid-19 is not anybody’s fault. Every case is a victim. It is important that we do not profile the cases on the basis of racial, religious and ethnic lines.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Apr 2020 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results