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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05 Apr 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, Hindu nationalist groups in Karnataka are now calling on authorities to ban the loudspeakers on mosques after they successfully managed to ban the hijab at schools and colleges, meanwhile in the United States, New York’s attorney general has called on the US Justice Department to investigate whether the Investigative Project on Terrorism, an anti-Muslim group, violated federal, criminal, and civil rights laws by spying on American Muslim groups, and in France, Muslim-bashing has “risen to the worst levels seen in any major democracy outside of the US.” Our recommended read of the day is by Afroze Fatima Zaidi for The New Arab on how following the Trojan Horse Affair podcast, “there’s a palpable sense of momentum in relation to the Islamophobia that’s endemic in Britain. However, unfortunately, there also seems to be a lack of clarity in terms of what to do with that momentum.” This and more below:

United Kingdom

05 Apr 2022

Moving on from the Trojan Horse Affair: momentum, solidarity, resistance | Recommended Read

Thanks to a podcast series by journalists Hamza Syed and Brian Reed, we now know more than ever before about the hoax, the letter that started it, and how its influence carried all the way to parliament. In the wake of its release, British Muslims in particular have been left asking: what now? Ever since the podcast’s release, I’ve been poring through articles and Twitter threads, and attending virtual discussions to get a sense of the response from the Muslim community. Then, last week, I attended an in-person event at the University of Birmingham, hosted by the University’s Islamic Society, where a discussion was held on the impacts of the Trojan Hoax on British Muslims. I’m from Birmingham, and while some of these discussions are close to home, it’s also apparent that the ‘Trojan Horse effect’ has been pervasive and widespread. In all of these discussions, there’s a palpable sense of momentum in relation to the Islamophobia that’s endemic in Britain. However, unfortunately, there also seems to be a lack of clarity in terms of what to do with that momentum. The discussions can largely be summarised as follows. There’s anger at the way Muslims have been treated, as part of Trojan Horse and beyond. There’s an appreciation of the podcast and the journalists who produced it for their in-depth investigation. And there’s an assortment of suggestions for where we go from here, broadly: fostering greater intra-community solidarity, calling for a public inquiry, and being more vocal, which includes more Muslims going into media and journalism. Underlying these suggestions is a deep sense of unfairness. I believe that if we are to utilise this momentum effectively, this sense of unfairness is what we need to unpick. As Asim Qureshi noted: “politicians from Prime Minister David Cameron, his Home Secretary Theresa May, through to the Education Minister Michael Gove, deployed the full extent of the machinery of the state against Birmingham’s Muslims, sending the message that their belonging is forever conditional – that no amount of success and achievement will ever be enough to assuage the fear and loathing that is the foundational block of contemporary British racism”. In some ways, I see this momentum as an awakening for many British Muslims to the reality of Islamophobia in the UK. read the complete article


05 Apr 2022

Hijab, Halal And Loudspeakers In Mosques, Everything Karnataka Right-Wing Groups Want Banned

Days after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray demanded that loudspeakers of mosques in Maharashtra be shut down, right-wing groups in Karnataka have also made a similar demand. Bajrang Dal and Sriram Sena have now called for a ban on loudspeakers in mosques in Karnataka. In a video message, Sriram Sena convener Pramod Muthalik said the Hindu outfits have been demanding that the loudspeakers on mosques should be banned and the Supreme Court's order on noise pollution implemented. In this regard, the Sriram Sena had petitioned the authorities concerned but no one paid heed, he alleged. Though the Karnataka government has not officially commented on the issue, state Minister KS Eshwarappa said any solution to the issue can be found by taking the Muslim community into confidence. It will be good if Muslim community leaders to think about it and use speakers within the mosques, in a way it doesn't disturb others, he said. This comes days after some right-wing groups had given a call to boycott halal meat, on the occasion of Varshadodaku, the day after Ugadi, when many communities have a non-vegetarian feast. Since the last week of March, there has been a growing demand for denial of permission for non-Hindu traders and vendors to carry out business during annual temple fairs and religious events in Karnataka. Initially, banners were placed during the annual Kaup Marigudi festival in Udupi district, stating that non-Hindu vendors and traders should not be allowed entry. Thereafter similar banners were also displayed at Padubidri temple festival, and also at a couple of temples in Dakshina Kannada district. All the recent demands for bans in Karnataka seem to have originated from how some fringe groups managed to get hijab banned in schools and colleges across the state. read the complete article

05 Apr 2022

Activists alarmed after India deports Rohingya woman and detains 25 others in Kashmir

The deportation of a Rohingya Muslim woman and the detention of 25 other people in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir has drawn condemnation from activists and rights organisations. Hasina Begum, 36, who was detained on 6 March 2021 as a part of the verification process, was deported to Myanmar a year later on Friday. Ms Begum, her husband and their three children are registered as refugees with the United Nations rights body. At least 25 Rohingya men, who were part of the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary movement, were detained from Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, and sent to a detention centre in Hiranagar, where several others are being held. Indian authorities have reportedly deported 12 Rohingyas to Myanmar since 2018, stating they left voluntarily for the Buddhist-dominated nation. Last March, 169 Rohingya migrants were sent to “holding centres”, in a process that would pave the way for their deportation. The police claimed that around 5,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in Jammu in the past few years. Rights group Amnesty International called the detention an “abject dereliction of India’s human rights obligations and an egregious violation of international law”. read the complete article


05 Apr 2022

Podcast: Crossroads France

As France heads into the 2022 presidential election, the fabric of a country that has at times been the envy of Europe is looking tattered. The sands of society are shifting on an almost daily basis, the ‘traditional’ French way of life appears to be on the way out. Things that used to define France appear to have gone: the welfare state is losing steam, industry and agriculture are both suffering. The far-right claims that the country isn’t French enough and has become too multicultural - and that even debating the place of Islam has become a dangerous no-go zone. France, it seems, is going through “a crise d’identité”. Our new podcast series Crossroads France, created by Antoine Boyer, Sarah-Lou Lepers and Camille Kauffmann and hosted by Barney Spender, explores five different regions of France and five areas of French life to find out more about the country in the 21st century. read the complete article

05 Apr 2022

Anti-Muslim sentiment rampant as French elections approach

What once seemed set to be a second successive walkover for President Emmanuel Macron is now far from guaranteed, with the possibility of a victory for the far-right, anti-Muslim candidate Marine Le Pen not out of the question. Blue-collar workers, once the bedrock of socialist and communist parties, have transferred their support to the far right in the form of Le Pen. This support from the left lies behind her surge in recent polls, to the point where she is a serious threat to the favorite, Macron. This is a world away from 2017, when Macron thrashed Le Pen by 66 percent to 34 in the runoff vote. Le Pen’s improving poll numbers have encouraged Macron to ease further to the right as the left fractures. In doing so, he has also clothed himself in some of the anti-Islam garb of his more extreme opponents. All of this is of huge concern to French Muslims, who number about 6 million, about 8 percent of the total population, and the largest number in the “Western” world. Macron had proclaimed he would be president for all the people in France. Many French Muslims do not feel this has been the case. Muslim-bashing in France has risen to the worst levels seen in any major democracy outside of the US. As across the Atlantic — this is a major vote-winner. Chems-Eddine Hafiz, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, last month expressed these fears, saying: “We’re in a society that is fractured and searching for itself, a society that is weakened and fearful after the pandemic. The fact of looking for a scapegoat — there have been precedents to that: In 1930, when the finger began to be pointed at Jews who became ‘the problem of a whole society’… Today it’s no longer Jews, it’s Muslims.” Macron has ridden this beast. Most infamously, in 2020 he proclaimed that “Islam is in crisis all over the world.” Macron has also banned the hijab in certain settings, even if he did not support outlawing the hijab in sports, which gained the support of the French Senate. Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally party — the erstwhile National Front — wants to ban the hijab everywhere, describing it as an “Islamist” piece of clothing. It was a sign of the times when, last year, Macron’s interior minister slammed Le Pen for being too soft on Islam. Le Pen even had to go to court after comparing Muslims at prayer with the Nazi occupation. The former television personality and fellow candidate Eric Zemmour has made Le Pen look less extreme than she is. He went even further down the Muslim-hating path, saying that he wants to “save France from Islam.” He called on French Muslims to denounce their faith and assimilate. He is also an ardent believer in the great replacement conspiracy theory, which holds that the indigenous French population will be replaced by incoming Muslims, who would ultimately become the majority. read the complete article

United States

05 Apr 2022

New York attorney general urges Justice Department to probe anti-Muslim group

New York's attorney general has called on the US Justice Department to investigate whether an anti-Muslim group violated federal, criminal, and civil rights laws by spying on American Muslim groups. In a letter to the Justice Department on Friday, attorney General Letitia James requested a probe into possible discriminatory surveillance by Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) on Muslim communities in New York. "As we enter the holy month of Ramadan, it's more important than ever that we show our support for our Muslim communities and stand up to Islamophobia and hate of any and every kind," James said. "Let me be clear: we will not bow to hate, we will not enable bias, and we will not empower Islamophobia." The IPT has been labelled an anti-Muslim group by the Islamophobia Network, a project by the Center for American Progress that tracks anti-Muslim groups and donors. According to Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative, IPT's Emerson has a "history of promoting falsified information and conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims". In her letter, James added that the surveillance of Muslims had "raised the legitimate fear that Muslims can no longer practice their faith in peace". "IPT's private espionage campaign reportedly targeted high-profile Muslim religious leaders, a Muslim member of Congress, and nearly every prominent Muslim advocacy group in the United States." The letters come just a few months after more than 80 Muslim organisations, including rights groups, mosques and charities, called on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the IPT. read the complete article

05 Apr 2022

Group alleges adjunct professor made anti-Muslim comments during virtual class

A local college district has launched a formal investigation of a faculty member after some controversial comments about Muslims surfaced. "My reaction was one of disbelief that this was happening on a college campus in Southern California," said Dina Chehata, a civil rights attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Los Angeles. An anonymous source sent the CAIR video of the virtual class last spring at Santa Ana Community College that they said shows Adjunct Professor Jamie McDonough pushing anti-Muslim generalizations and stereotypes as she talks about social norms in Muslim countries. "You have a complete patriarchal society that you live in. That is where men dominate women," the adjunct professor said on the video. In their view, McDonough repeatedly used Islamophobic tropes to diminish Muslim women and men. "...husbands can cheat and have mistresses, but the wife must never step out on the husband. Do you know they still stone women to death? ...I can't imagine. I mean, I'm assuming that's going to take quite some time for this person to die from all the brain trauma and head trauma, right?" McDonough can be seen saying during the virtual class. CAIR contacted the school and the district to share their outrage and concerns about what they call blanket negative generalizations of a population of 2 billion people. The Rancho Santiago Community College District confirmed that they have launched a formal investigation into the matter. read the complete article


05 Apr 2022

Is Anyone Really Surprised That Morrison Used Racism for Political Gain?

Accounts emerged in the press over the weekend that current PM Scott Morrison used the ethnicity of his opponent in the 2007 Cook preselection, as well as citing the rumour that he was a Muslim, as fuel to tip the balance in his favour to see him ultimately join federal parliament. The prime minister is currently doing his best to deny the accusations. But, let’s face it, most constituents wouldn’t be surprised that this is how Morrison played his cards in his attempt to gain a seat in the federal lower house, as it’s basically in line with the politicking he’s been up to ever since. As the Herald tells it, the July 2007 Liberal vote for Cook resulted in candidate Michael Towke garnering 82 votes compared to the 8 that Morrison turned up. However, following this, Morrison advocated for the result to be changed due to Towke being Lebanese and the rumour he was actually a Muslim, and not a Catholic as he claimed. Towke and a delegate for the preselection, Scott Chapman, both signed 2016 statutory declarations outlining that this was the series of events that led the party to endorse Morrison for Cook in the end. Chapman said Morrison told him Towke’s Lebanese heritage, along with the rumours he might be a “Moslem”, would hurt the party, especially as it was just two years after the anti-Muslim Cronulla Riots. read the complete article


05 Apr 2022

Saudi Arabia: Uyghur girl, 13, among four ‘facing deportation’ and torture in China

Saudi authorities must immediately release four Uyghurs – including a 13-year-old girl and her mother – who are at grave risk of being taken to repressive internment camps if sent back to China, Amnesty International said today amid fears that deportation plans for the group may already be under way. Buheliqiemu Abula and her teenage daughter were detained near Mecca on Thursday and told by police they faced deportation to China along with two Uyghur men already held, according to a message received by Abula’s friends. Abula is the former wife of Nuermeiti Ruze, who with Aimidoula Waili has been detained without charge in Saudi Arabia since November 2020. “Deporting these four people – including a child – to China, where Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are facing a horrific campaign of mass internment, persecution and torture, would be an outrageous violation of international law,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “With time seemingly running out to save the four Uyghurs from this catastrophic extradition, it is crucial that other governments with diplomatic ties to Saudi Arabia step in now to urge the Riyadh authorities to uphold their obligations and stop the deportations.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 05 Apr 2022 Edition


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