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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24 Apr 2020

Today in Islamophobia: India’s Muslims feel targeted by rumors they are spreading COVID-19. An op-ed argues Trump’s new immigration ban feeds his base with a steady dose of xenophobia. Our recommended read today is by Abid Faheem titled on the discrimination of Muslims by the Indian healthcare system. This, and more, below:


24 Apr 2020

Ignored and Discriminated Against, Muslims Have Lost Their Faith in the Healthcare System | Recommended Read

Discrimination – even in the health sector – against Muslims is not new, but the recent communalisation of the COVID-19 outbreak after the sudden glare on the Markaz at Nizamuddin, the global headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat, have altered the social fabric of the country. The media added fuel to the communal hatred by blaming Muslims for the spread of the virus across the country. They called Muslims ‘corona bombs’ and enemies of the nation, on TV channels. One channel even ran a banner with the Islamophobic catchphrase “Corona aaya, maulana laaya.” The Islamophobic news channels also coined a term, ‘corona Jihad,’ as if to imply that this infectious disease is almost a Talibani crime, a Muslim conspiracy against Hindus, and so on. This media trial against Muslims and hate speeches of right-wing politicians has made the life of Muslims miserable across the country. Muslims have continuously witnessing humiliation, harassment, social boycott, and even lynching. They are stigmatised as “carriers of the virus.” Therefore, trust-building in the Muslim community is inevitable if we want to strengthen the fight against coronavirus. This trust-building among Muslims can be done only if they are treated equally in every public place. But how can this trust can be built, when a pregnant woman is refused space in a hospital for being a Muslim in Rajasthan? The child was later delivered in the ambulance and died. In another recent case, a Muslim pregnant and bleeding woman who came to a hospital in Jamshedpur, was allegedly asked to clean up her blood, accused of spreading coronavirus. Later, this turned into loss of the child. In a letter to the chief minister, she said “I was abused on the lines of my religion, and was asked to wipe the blood. I could not because I was shivering. I was beaten up with slippers. I was shocked and rushed to a nursing home, there I came to know that my child had died.” These incidents reiterate that the Hindus and the Muslims are not the same even in matters of health care. Due to the refusal of space and treatment, both the pregnant women lost not only their baby but also their faith in the system. read the complete article

Recommended Read
24 Apr 2020

A New Wave of Anti-Muslim Anger Threatens India’s Virus Fight

The newspaper advertisement placed last week by a cancer hospital in India’s most populous state didn’t mince words: any Muslim patients seeking treatment must prove they didn’t have Covid-19. The privately owned Valentis Cancer Hospital in Uttar Pradesh state apologized a day later “for hurting religious sentiments.” But the message written in black and white crystallized for many the increased hostility against India’s Muslim minority as coronavirus infections surge across the country. Attacks on Muslims, including farmers driven out of villages and others beaten by angry mobs, have been reported across the country -- from rural hamlets to the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, prompted by a lethal mix of WhatsApp messages accusing them of deliberately spreading the virus. Hashtags like ““corona jihad” and “corona terror” have been trending on social media, prompting a backlash from Gulf states where millions of Indians work. In India’s business capital Mumbai, where the sprawling Dharavi slum has become the country’s worst-hit virus hotspot, authorities say Muslims are afraid to self-report. “There is a lot fear in the Muslim community and they are not telling us facts,” said Kiran Dighavkar, an assistant commissioner at the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, the main civic authority for the city. “The hate towards the community seems to have increased because other people feel they are spreading the virus. Because of this it has become unsafe for our staff to visit some areas and we have to take police with us.” read the complete article

24 Apr 2020

India’s Jewish ‘Microscopic Minority’ Feels Safe From the Coronavirus — for Now

The Indian government laid blame on the Tablighis for spreading the coronavirus. As the Health Ministry tracked down and tested those who had attended the convention, it estimated that more than a third of the country’s cases were linked to the congregation — but testing overall remained low. Hindu nationalist leaders called the Muslim gathering an act of terrorism, and some even endorsed the killing of attendees, calling them “human bombs” who a far-right leader said “should be shot” for defying the lockdown. Indian Jews are hesitant to discuss politics openly. They have always maintained that “India is our motherland, Israel is our fatherland.” But in these times of extreme polarization, their views — which are also commonly held views of most Indians, based on fake news and propaganda — are overwhelmingly pro-government, especially because of Modi’s closeness with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, members of the community say. The Tablighi Jamaat incident jolted the Jewish communities as well. The Tablighi Jamaat conference “doesn’t seem like it’s an innocent act,” Aviv Divekar, secretary of Magen Abraham Synagogue in Ahmedabad, tells Haaretz. He thinks it’s not just the Tablighis, that other Muslims have also “been influenced” by the event, which he thinks “seems like more of a jihad.” “Because of these people from Nizamuddin, see how much it has spread?” he adds. “They have acted very irresponsibly. And there are other people who have supported them, who have helped them stay unnoticed, who have helped them travel, who have helped them hide. So even if I was very liberal, as a logical thought, I’d think it was an act of terror, it was not innocent. My personal view is that it was not carelessness. It was jihad, nothing but jihad.” In Mumbai, Leya Elias is battling Islamophobia on social media. “They have called me ‘anti-national,’ they have asked me to leave the country if I don’t like the PM, which is kind of ridiculous,” she says. (These labels — “anti-national,” “sickular,” a pun implying that secularism is a sickness, and “traitor” — are thrown at any critic of Modi or his government by his social media army and supporters.) “I can’t take the back seat,” she says, “that just because they support Israel, I should support them.” read the complete article


24 Apr 2020

We Are Witnessing the Revolt of the Elites

These revolting elites are those who support, surround, promote and flatter the new autocracies of Narendra Modi, Donald Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Jair Bolsonaro, Boris Johnson, Viktor Orban and many others who have created what could be called ‘populism from above’ – where the people are electoral tools for a mass exit from democracy. Why call this behaviour of the new autocratic elites a “revolt” rather than simply predatory capitalism, cronyism, neoliberalism in its latest guise, disaster capitalism, all of which are available terms? Who are these new elites and what are they revolting against? First, they are revolting against all the other elites whom they despise, hate and fear: liberal elites, media elites, secular elites, cosmopolitan elites, “Harvard” elites, WASP elites, older economic elites, intellectuals, artists and academics (these categories are a pool, from which different national populists choose the appropriate national and cultural terms). So, this is an elite which disguises its own elitism in a discourse of anti-elitism. Second, this revolt is against all those who are believed to have betrayed the real elites and captured power illegitimately: blacks in the US, Muslims and secularists in India, leftists and LGBT people in Brazil, dissenters, NGOs and journalists in Russia, religious, cultural and economic minorities in Turkey, immigrants, workers and trade unionists in the United Kingdom. This is a revolt by those who think they are true elites against those they consider usurpers or false elites. Third, the revolt of these new elites is against the chains that have bound them in the epoch of liberal democracy. They hate liberty, equality and fraternity, except for themselves. They hate checks and balances, which they view as illegitimate restrictions on their freedom to act without restraint. They hate regulations of any type, especially of corporate privileges, which they see as a conspiracy against capitalism which they view as their private jurisdiction. And above all, they hate deliberation and procedural rationality, since they involve listening, patience and adherence to collective rationalities. They also do not believe in the separation of powers, except when their friends control the legislature and the judiciary. read the complete article

United States

24 Apr 2020

Trump's new immigration ban feeds his base with a steady dose of xenophobia

On Monday, President Donald Trump continued his divisive attacks by taking to his favourite platform to announce yet another iteration of his go-to policy move: an immigration ban. On the evening of 20 April, when over 42,000 Americans have lost their lives to the coronavirus, POTUS decided it was the perfect time to refocus the country's attention on the supposed real problem: immigrants. Given 2020 is an election year, Monday's call for a blanket immigration ban is straight out of Trump's campaign playbook as he feeds his base what they crave. His latest action isn't aimed at protecting the health, safety, and welfare of Americans, rather it seeks to inflame xenophobia by scapegoating black and brown people for the failures of his administration. The Executive Order, which President Trump formally signed into effect on Wednesday evening, serves to divert attention away from the administration's complete failure in light of the pandemic. Covid-19 has ravaged America and brought the government's incompetence to the forefront. read the complete article

24 Apr 2020

Ramadan in Isolation

President Donald Trump wants you to keep your eyes on me. Specifically, with Ramadan set to begin tonight, he wants your eyes on me and other Muslims who will be fasting for the holy month. Holed up in the White House, Trump has taken to retweeting conspiratorial posts by famed Islamophobes, questioning whether or not Muslims will get “special treatment” in the coming weeks, compared with Christians whose churches were ordered to close for Easter. Asked about the tweet at one of his incoherent press conferences, Trump said, “The Christian faith is treated much differently than it was, and I think it is treated very unfairly.” He then started rambling about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. His latest call to be suspicious of what the Muslims are up to isn’t even a dog whistle; he’s just saying it out loud. From his past campaigns of Islamophobia, we know comments like these can lead to a spike in anti-Muslim violence. But what makes this one especially idiotic and lazy is that he’s the one who has been encouraging people to defy stay-at-home orders. Muslim American leaders have been united in closing masjid doors since mid-March, and nobody seems to be in any rush to open them back up. The more tech-savvy imams have migrated their Friday sermons to Zoom meetings and are collecting money for various COVID-related charities. The holiest site in Islam, the Kaaba, has been entirely sealed off, and it will stay that way for Ramadan. The Grand Mufti in Saudi Arabia, whom a whole lot of Muslims listen to, decreed that Ramadan prayers will happen at home as long as the virus persists. Other Muslim religious leaders have made similar fatwas. read the complete article

24 Apr 2020

Trump, Biden issue Ramadan blessings, but what are their records regarding Muslims?

In their political careers the two politicians have had sometimes lamentable records with Muslims, from engaging in unwarranted targeting to hateful rhetoric and hurtful policies against the faith community. While Trump has been notably worse, leading the charge in discriminating against Muslims, Biden was complicit in many Obama-era policies, even if he was not in charge of the administration. Now, with Muslims becoming a voting bloc in some key swing states, politicians have tried to reach out to gain their support. Middle East Eye takes a look at both Trump's and Biden's statements, and how they illustrate their history of engaging with the Muslim community in the US. read the complete article

24 Apr 2020

How Islamophobia changed politics for Muslim America

Nazita Lajevardi grew up in Southern California’s Iranian American community, where her encounters with bigotry shaped her interest in the myriad ways in which Islamophobia manifests itself and how it affects those touched by it. Now a professor of political science at Michigan State University, Lajevardi examines these two issues in a new book, “Outsiders at Home: The Politics of American Islamophobia.” Part of the book’s force derives from its insider perspective,as Lajevardi shares her own experiences of a world unfamiliar and foreign to most Americans. But the takeaways stem from her sharp analysis of political and legal histories that places a troubling phenomenon into the American context. read the complete article

24 Apr 2020

'It's Going to Be a Lot More Lonely.' A Dramatically Different Ramadan for U.S. Muslims Amid Coronavirus Lockdowns

Rania Awaad, an associate professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Muslim Mental Health Lab, says that for many Muslims, not having the support of community this year during what is otherwise “a very community-oriented month” could cause some Muslims to doubt whether they’re doing Ramadan “right.” “This feeling of ‘I’m going to fail at Ramadan because I’m so restless, I’m so scared, I have so many anxieties that I can’t sit on a prayer mat and surrender (to God.) Is there something wrong with me because I can’t pray and feel better?'” are the thoughts that can come up for some people, says Rabhi Fateh, an international trauma expert and therapist who works with many Muslim clients. While health care workers’ long hours often get in the way of breaking fast and praying in the company of a community, this year will be particularly challenging for Malim given his work taking care of patients in the Bronx. “It’s going to be a lot more lonely,” he says, noting that it will just be him and his wife this Ramadan. Still, he takes comfort in knowing he is caring for people in an underserved community at this important time of year for his faith. “Though I no longer carry the beard, I do still consider the act of removing people from harm, and maintaining health and life a form of worship,” Malim says. He has taken care of dozens of critical COVID-19 patients and witnessed roughly nine deaths related to the disease in the course of his work. read the complete article

United Kingdom

24 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: British Muslims prepare to celebrate Ramadan under lockdown

Actor and singer Riz Ahmed, journalist Mehdi Hasan and London Mayor Sadiq Khan were some of the well-known personalities featured in the #RamadanAtHome clip shared on social media, along with frontline staff from the NHS, London Metropolitan Police and the London Ambulance Service. The first 11 doctors to die of the virus in the UK were all black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), prompting calls to better highlight the essential services provided by those from minority backgrounds, who often suffer discrimination and negative portrayal in the country. Last week, the hashtag #YouClapForMeNow went viral online thanks to a video featuring diverse UK residents reciting an anti-racism poem highlighting the key role immigrant workers have been playing in the Covid-19 outbreak. As of March 2019, 20 percent of the over 1.2 million staff employed by the British health service were recorded as BAME, including 44 percent of medical staff, 43 percent of senior NHS doctors and 47 percent of junior doctors. A report from the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre found that 30 percent of Covid-19 patients were from BAME backgrounds despite making up only 13 percent of the UK's population. Britain’s Muslims are amongst the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with reasons cited including living with larger families and being more exposed to carriers, particularly if they come into contact with workers in certain sectors. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 24 Apr 2020 Edition


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