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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28 Apr 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, critics argue that the graphic violence in The Kashmir Files, a movie praised by BJP politicians including PM Narendra Modi, vilifies Muslims and reinforces negative stereotypes, meanwhile in the United States, it was believed that the Biden administration would reverse (or at least narrow) a Trump-era policy requiring visa applicants to submit their social media handles, yet the reality is that the administration is doing the exact opposite, and in the United Kingdom, a school teacher warns that in a Times piece, former PM David Cameron “perpetuated the false logic that the only reason there is to denounce counter-terror policy is if you sympathize with terrorists.” Our recommended read of the day is by Adam Smith for The Independent on a new report that finds Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have failed to act on nearly 90 per cent of anti-Muslim and Islamophobic content on their platforms. This and more below:

United States

28 Apr 2022

Facebook and Twitter failed to remove nearly 90% of Islamophobic posts flagged to them - report | Recommended Read

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have failed to act on nearly 90 per cent of anti-Muslim and Islamophobic content on their platforms, a new report alleges. Research from the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, published on Thursday, reported 530 posts, viewed 25 million times, that contained dehumanising content of Muslims via racist caricatures, conspiracies, and false claims. This included Instagram posts that depicted Muslims as pigs and called for their expulsion from Europe, comparisons between Islam and cancer that should be “treated with radiation” on a photo of an atomic blast, tweets on Twitter that claimed Muslim migration was part of a plot to change the politics of other countries, and many more. Many of these had offensive hashtags such as #deathtoislam, #islamiscancer and #raghead, which the CCDH used to identify posts to report. The CCDH reported 125 posts to Facebook, with only seven acted on; 227 to Instagram, with only 32 acted on; 50 to TikTok with 18 acted on; 105 to Twitter with only three acted on; and 23 videos submitted to YouTube, none of which were reported on. Facebook also hosted numerous groups dedicated to Islamophobia, with names such as “ISLAM means Terrorism”, “Stop Islamization of America”, and “Boycott Halal Certification in Australia”. Many of these groups have thousands of people in them, with 361,922 members counted in total, predominantly in the UK, US, and Australia. At time of writing, all these groups remained online despite being reported to Facebook. read the complete article

28 Apr 2022

Why is the U.S. still probing foreign visitors’ social media accounts?

The day he took office, President Biden revoked President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from primarily Muslim countries, calling it “a stain on our national conscience.” In the same proclamation, Biden ordered a policy review encompassing a related component of Trump’s “extreme vetting” program: a State Department policy requiring nearly 15 million visa applicants per year to submit their social media handles to the U.S. government. This review signaled that the Biden administration would eventually reverse (or at least narrow) this unjustified and unconstitutional policy. But now the administration is doing the exact opposite. Rather than rescind or restrict this surveillance policy, the administration is seeking to expand it to another 15 million people per year — adding visitors to the United States who do not need visas (including many from European countries). The existing State Department policy casts a wide net. It requires nearly all visa applicants to disclose all social media handles they’ve used during the previous five years on any of 20 different platforms — including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security can retain this information indefinitely, share it with other federal agencies, and disclose it, in some circumstances, to foreign governments. read the complete article

28 Apr 2022

Art behind bars: ‘Tea, Torture & Reparations’ at DePaul makes connections between police violence in Chicago and torture in Guantanamo

Mamdouh poses alone in a refuse-filled square of his Egyptian hometown; Murat in a cluster of mint-green containers that serve as a refugee housing complex in Germany; Rustam in the central hall of a jail-turned-museum in Ireland. Unusual for portrait subjects, their backs are to the camera. But portraits, at least profound ones, are never just about likeness, and these men, released from Guantanamo after having been held for years without charge, appear still marked by the U.S. military’s rule against photographing the faces of imprisoned people. These pictures belong to “Beyond Gitmo,” a haunting series by Debi Cornwall that’s part of “Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture & Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo,” an ambitious group exhibition at the DePaul Art Museum that is at once enraging, heartbreaking and replete with humanity. It’s no coincidence that the show opened this year: 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of the extralegal military prison established by the U.S. government at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as part of the global war on terror. Meanwhile, Chicago’s police department is the other institution being examined for repeated abuse of human rights. In both places, it has been mostly Black and minority bodies at stake and white bodies in charge. The show opens with a navigational chart of sorts: a print of undulating water overlaid with a constellation of eight interlinked names. Four survived torture at the hands of Chicago police; four in Guantanamo. What might they have to say to one another, across the oceans that separate them and that also have long symbolized freedom? A podcast created for the exhibition collages together their individual interviews into an imagined conversation about the carceral state and the possibilities of reparation, much as the show itself facilitates such rapport between artworks. read the complete article

28 Apr 2022

Meet Rana Abdelhamid, The Progressive Who Wants To Pull Off The Next AOC-Style Victory In NYC

On a spring Monday morning in Washington Square Park, 28-year-old congressional hopeful Rana Abdelhamid spoke about the future she wants for New York. “This is a historic race,” Abdelhamid told supporters. “Not just because if I win, I will be the first Muslim woman representing New York, but because we’re building a coalition that we’re going to take with us once elected.” Abdelhamid, who was campaigning in a black puffer jacket, hoop earrings, a teal headscarf and white sneakers, has never before held an elected political office. “Seeing the neglect, lack of investment, and lack of representation for my community, working people across the city, immigrant communities and people of color, lead me to realize that we need representatives that are going to fight for us the way we fight for each other,” Abdelhamid said in an interview with Abdelhamid faces an uphill fight for New York’s 12th District nomination, challenging incumbent Democrat Carolyn Maloney, who was first elected to Congress in 1992 and has held her current seat since 2013. “I was nine years old when I watched my congresswoman wear a burqa to justify the invasion of Afghanistan,” Abdelhamid said in a tweet. “For the rest of my life, I knew that as a Muslim woman my identity would be weaponized to justify American wars.” Growing up in post-9/11 New York was difficult for Abdelhamid. “My community was super stigmatized,” she explained in an interview with, “I internalized so much of that. It was difficult for me to cope as a young person.” Abdelhamid began engaging in different forms of activism and social justice in her early teenage years. “Politics has always been a part of my existence,” she added. When she announced her bid for congress, it didn’t shock any of her friends, “They all were like, ‘it’s about time.’” “Her campaign is grounded in what it means to be a working-class New Yorker, a woman of color, a young person growing up in the United States,” Nnaemeka said in a phone call. read the complete article

United Kingdom

28 Apr 2022

David Cameron is wrong to dismiss criticism of Prevent, I’ve seen the damage it does in classrooms

When I read David Cameron’s article in The Times in which he states that opposition to the Government’s counter extremism strategy, Prevent, amounts to “enabling” terrorism, I was outraged – but I can’t say I was surprised. For this implication to come from a Conservative ex-Prime Minister who presided over a raft of Islamophobic legislation and discourse is anything but shocking. What else would I expect from a man who allegedly blamed us “traditionally submissive” Muslim women for our children’s radicalisation – pledging funding to help us escape our “patriarchal societies” and learn how to speak English? Muslim or not, we should all find Cameron’s assertion alarming because it rocks the very core of the supposed liberal values of British democracy. In his comments, he has perpetuated the false logic that the only reason there is to denounce counter-terror policy is if you sympathise with terrorists. This stifles debate, allows the Government to shirk accountability and is a threat to British Muslims that if we dare to reject Prevent then we will be labelled supporters of terrorism. His argument conveniently erases the non-Muslim opponents of Prevent who recognise the deeply racist nature of the policy – the campaign groups and academics, public sector workers and policy experts who warn of its impact on Muslim communities. It obscures the legitimate concerns of British Muslims that the strategy disproportionately targets us, entrenches Islamophobia in law, and views Islamic belief and Muslim identity itself as a precursor for radicalisation. read the complete article

28 Apr 2022

‘Let’s talk about why Prevent is Islamophobic’ thread is must-read – especially for David Cameron

David Cameron and a right-leaning thinktank have warned the government to defend its flagship counter-extremism strategy from criticisms or risk enabling terrorism. The report claims that Prevent is being undermined by “Islamist campaigners and their allies.” However, a blistering thread has slammed the programme for blatant Islamophobia. In response to David Cameron’s defence of Prevent, the UK’s controversial and discriminatory counter-terrorism strategy, Ilyas Nagdee, Amnesty International UK’s Racial Justice Director, said: “David Cameron’s defence of Prevent is shockingly misplaced and only does more to demonise Muslim organisations. Cameron’s assertion that criticising the flawed counter-terrorism strategy increases terrorism is simply wrong. “Policy Exchange’s report should have instead focussed on the host of human rights violations committed by Prevent – and not just been another excuse to make scathing attacks on Muslim organisations. Dr Maria W. Norris, assistant professor at Coventry University wrote a thread that outlines why she believes Prevent was Islamophobic by design. It is a must-read. read the complete article


28 Apr 2022

'Kids Have Internalised Hate, Jahangirpuri's Name Ruined', Say Worried Residents

Dileep Kumar and Mohammad Mustaqeem have been friends since childhood. Now, in their early-30s, they continue to maintain and value this friendship—albeit they admit it hasn’t been that easy lately. “There is so much hatred spewed on news channels all the time. That really ruins the atmosphere here. People believe all the mirch-masala that the channels serve,” Kumar said, showing some footage of news channels he has saved on his phone. “On the day of the demolition here, some news anchors sat inside bulldozers and some others directed them to the shops. It was quite shameful,” Mustaqeem added to Kumar’s point. But the two, who live in Delhi's Jahangirpuri, try their best to rise above the hatred. "We have to keep the bonds alive, despite all efforts to break it," Kumar said. Unlike the two friends, not everyone is as optimistic about the effect of hate and polarisation on Hindu-Muslim ties in the area that has witnessed a major communal clash, followed by demolition of multiple shops, in just 10 days' time. read the complete article

28 Apr 2022

India's latest box office smash 'The Kashmir Files' exposes deepening religious divides

"If you don't leave from here, we will burn your houses," a bearded Muslim man in a traditional skullcap cries as he rallies against Kashmir's minority Hindus. The packed mosque erupts in rapturous support of his disturbing call. "Go away from here," continues the man. "Convert, leave or die." This is a scene from Indian filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri's controversial new movie, "The Kashmir Files," which is based on the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits -- members of Hinduism's highest caste, the Brahmin, or "priestly class" -- from the restive region as they fled violent Islamic militants in the 1990s. Produced on a relatively small budget of around $3 million, it has become the highest-grossing Hindi film released in India during the pandemic, raking in more than $30 million since it hit theaters last month. A large part of the film's success may be down to India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While India's government did not fund the production, the movie has been praised by several prominent politicians, with some BJP-ruled states waiving tax on tickets -- and others giving police officers and government workers time off to watch it. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- who has previously been criticized for failing to condemn violence against Muslims -- backed the movie. During a parliamentary meeting in New Delhi in March, he said there had been a "campaign to discredit" the movie before praising the filmmaker for "showing the truth." Not everyone in India agrees. While there is little doubt that many Kashmiri Pandits suffered at the hands of Islamic militants, critics have questioned the timing of the film's release and argued that its graphic violence vilifies Muslims and reinforces negative stereotypes. Some have also suggested such portrayals -- as well as the plot's alleged historical revisionism -- could exacerbate conflict between India's Hindus and Muslims at a time when religious tensions in the country are increasingly hostile. Several videos that went viral on social media appear to show audience members screaming Islamophobic hate speech outside movie theaters and calling for boycotts of Muslim-owned businesses. read the complete article


28 Apr 2022

Time to ‘Break Collective Silence and Speak Out Against Hate’, Say Hindu Orgs, Leaders

Various Hindu organisations and religious leaders have endorsed a statement that says the “time is long overdue” for Hindus around the world to break the “collective silence and speak out” against Hindutva-fuelled hate and violence against Muslims and other minorities in India. The statement, compiled by the US-based Hindus for Human Rights, was published in the Indian Express originally. Since then, several Hindu organisations and leaders have signed on to express solidarity. The statement says there is increasing violence against Muslims in India, carried out in the name of Hinduism. “As representatives of diverse Hindu traditions with deep histories, we are dismayed to see Hindu leaders in India and abroad openly embracing Hindutva—a century-old political ideology that sees citizens of other faiths as inherently foreign and not qualified to enjoy the full benefits of Indian citizenship,” it says. Visuals of saffron-clad sadhus, sadhvis and swamis “calling for genocidal violence against millions of Indian Muslims” at the Haridwar ‘Dharma Sansad’ are a “chilling sight that we cannot ignore”, the organisations said. read the complete article

28 Apr 2022

Author Padma Lakshmi, footballer Mesut Ozil condemn ‘sickening violence’ against Indian Muslims

Indian-American author Padma Lakshmi and German footballer Mesut Ozil tweeted on Wednesday condemning violence against Muslims in India and called upon citizens to speak out on the matter. “Sickening to see the violence against Muslims celebrated in India,” said Lakshmi in a series of tweets. “The widespread anti-Muslim rhetoric preys on fear and poisons people. This propaganda is dangerous and nefarious because when you consider someone less than it’s much easier to participate in their oppression.” In another tweet, Padma Lakshmi asked Indian Hindus to not succumb to fear-mongering, adding that there was no threat to the religion in the country. “True spirituality doesn’t include any room for sowing hatred of any kind, she wrote. “People of all faiths should be able to live peacefully together in this ancient, vast land.” In several parts of the country in the past few months, hate speech and calls for genocide against Muslims have been made. Hindutva supremacists have threatened to rape Muslim women and online abusers have created apps to put them on “auctions”. Accused persons in many of these cases have even been granted bail. Repeat offenders like seer Narsinghanand Saraswati have made inflammatory comments while being out on bail in hate speech cases. Meanwhile, Ozil on Wednesday asked his Twitter followers to speak up and create awareness about the treatment of Muslims in India. “Praying during the holy night of Lailat al-Qadr for the safety and well-being of our Muslim brothers and sisters in India,” he wrote. “Let’s spread awareness to this shameful situation! What is happening to the human rights in the so-called largest democracy in the world? #BreakTheSilence.” read the complete article


28 Apr 2022

Young French Muslims on the 2022 French presidential election

Although Macron eventually won with the popular vote of 58.5 per cent, Le Pen’s vote share of 41.5 per cent was an increase from her previous presidential run-off in 2017, proving how compelling her far-right views have become in France. The daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the Front National party, Le Pen envisioned policies that would bring back the “France of the forgotten,” by curbing immigration and prioritising French citizens for housing, jobs and social security. But although Macron’s victory may seem like a win in terms of curbing the rise of the far-right in France, ahead of the final results, many French Muslims begrudgingly supported him because, to them, the election was simply “a choice between Islamophobia and Islamophobia.” Macron’s presidency has undoubtedly contributed to rampant Islamophobia in the country, ironically leading to Le Pen’s rise. For instance, in 2020, Islamophobic attacks in France were said to have increased by 53%, as a result of his anti-Islamic policies: 22 mosques across France have been closed down over the past 18 months and, last year, a law was proposed to ban minors from wearing the hijab in public. This vilification of the Muslim community has been under the false banner of encouraging “secularism”. THE FACE caught up with three young Muslims from France post-election, to find out the impact it has had on them and what they foresee for the future with another Macron presidential term. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Apr 2022 Edition


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