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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06 Apr 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In France, authorities are using an array of powers that rights activists, international organizations – including the United Nations – and members of the Muslim community say give them carte blanche to close down places of worship without proper scrutiny and with procedures so opaque the case can’t be overturned, meanwhile in India, Hindu nationalist groups in Karnataka are now seeking a ban on loudspeakers in mosques, after banning Muslim traders from temple premises and an anti-halal meat campaign, and in Canada, a new report in Manitoba finds that Islamophobia is prevalent in the province as sixty-two percent of a survey’s participants indicated they have been subjected to anti-Muslim racism. Our recommended read of the day is by Anmol Irfan for The New Arab on the dangerous levels of Islamophobia in India and how “amid all the political conversations, Muslim women who are being impacted the most have been left silenced.” This and more below:


06 Apr 2022

'A target on every hijabi's back': Why Muslim women in India are looking over their shoulder wherever they go | Recommended Read

Days after Karnataka imposed the hijab ban on schoolgirls, Dr Parvez Mandviwala, a Muslim dentist in Mumbai shared how his wife was denied a seat on a local train – all because she wore a hijab. Legally, Dr Rukhsar – who was denied the seat – is far removed from the new law, which claims to only affect schoolgirls wearing uniforms in Karnataka, a state in southwest India. But despite what the media has said, the effects of this ban are far-reaching and Dr Rukhsar isn’t the only one being impacted. The ban itself comes at a time when Islamophobia is on the rise in India. Linguistic graduate Afreen Fatima, who is also involved in student politics, shares how difficult it has been to live under a government that has openly endorsed Islamophobic narratives. “It is a harrowing situation to know there is a government that capitalizes on this emotion. This is how they win elections,” Afreen says. The increase in religious discourse and the need to define religious choices have allowed state legislature to make the issue of hijab in schools an Essential Religious Practice (ERP) judgment. Amid all the political conversations, Muslim women who are being impacted the most have been left silenced. Despite media attention around the ban, there’s a certain language being used that has turned the local media into a lynch mob, Afreen claims. “The kind of language being used is only to alienate marginalized communities. As a linguist, I'm conscious that these tactics are being used to stoke tension" she adds. “ We’ve seen videos of journalists running after young girls in Karnataka, hounding them. The media is only pushing Muslims away.” Despite voices like those of Maryam and Afreen using their platforms as much as possible, the media is focused on pushing a specific narrative around Muslim communities and Afreen shares that between right-wing conservatives and supposed leftist liberal allies, the narrative of the meek helpless Muslim woman who needs to be saved has continued to be solidified. The truth is that amplifying the perspective of the everyday Muslim woman – and of all minority groups – is crucial in understanding just how far-reaching the impacts of such bans can be. Maryam points out that this ban might be restricted in its wording but it impacts hijabi women far beyond the school gates of Karnataka. read the complete article

06 Apr 2022

Polarisation Politics In Karnataka Before Polls, After Hijab & Halal, Clamour Grows For Azaan Ban

Days after a drive against allowing Muslim traders to set up stalls on temple premises followed by the anti-halal meat campaign in Karnataka, right-wing organisations led by Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sena are now seeking a ban on loudspeakers in mosques. Some Hindu groups are planning to broadcast ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ recitals and other devotional prayers during azaan. The state government has directed police to boost security arrangements keeping the sensitivity of the issue. read the complete article

06 Apr 2022

Delhi: ‘Hindu mahapanchayat’ speakers made hate speeches against one religion, says FIR

“Hate speeches against a specific religion meant to create differences between two communities” — this is a key charge against Dasna Devi temple head priest Yati Narsinghanand and Sudarshan News chief editor Suresh Chavhanke in the FIR filed by Delhi Police. The FIR also names Save India Foundation founder Preet Singh and states that he “organised the event without (police) permission and provided a stage to such speakers for promoting enmity and differences between two religions, which will create hatred between them… legal action should be taken against them”. Preet Singh is also the organiser of an event held at Jantar Mantar last year where anti-Muslim slogans were raised. “From the stage, some of the speakers delivered hate speeches against a specific religion… One of the speakers was Yati Narsinghanand, who used objectionable language against a particular religion and said: ‘If a Muslim is made prime minister, 50% of you (Hindus) will change your faith in the next 20 years, 40% Hindus will be killed… This is the future of Hindus. If you want to change this, be a man. What is it to be a man? Someone who is armed’. Another speaker, Suresh Chavhanke, Sudarshan News, also delivered hate speech,” Chand states in the FIR. read the complete article


06 Apr 2022

Special Report: French mosque closures based on ‘secretive evidence,’ critics say

It’s one of a growing number of mosques closed by authorities using an array of powers that rights activists, international organisations - including the United Nations - and members of the Muslim community say give authorities carte blanche to close down places of worship without proper scrutiny and with procedures so opaque the case can’t be overturned. “It’s Kafkaesque," said Fionnuala Ni Aolain, a UN special rapporteur on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism, of the legal procedures used in such cases, which can include evidence where the source isn’t identified. “The flirtation with secretive evidence is in itself worrying, but it also breaches provisions in international treaties” relating to the right to a fair trial and equality before the law, she said. French President Emmanuel Macron, who came to power five years ago on a centrist platform, has toughened his stance on law and order – a hot-button issue in a country that has seen a series of deadly extremist attacks in recent years. Macron is running for re-election this week in a contest where he faces stiff competition from the right. The 44-year old president has implemented a raft of laws and measures aimed, he says, at tackling violent extremism and Islamist radicals who challenge France’s secular values. But critics say Macron has given outsize powers to security forces and chipped away at democratic protections, leaving Muslims vulnerable to abuse. Many Muslims now feel France - home to one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe - has become a more hostile place. Interior ministry data shows a sharp increase in anti-Muslim discriminatory and other acts in 2021, even as other faiths saw a decline. Macron’s government has touted the Allonnes mosque closure as a prime example of its crackdown on what it calls Islamism. French authorities have closed 22 mosques over the past 18 months, according to the interior ministry - which, according to a ministry official, was a marked increase from the combined total over the previous three years. It added authorities have investigated some 90 out France’s total of roughly 2,500 Muslim places of worship on suspicions of spreading “separatist” ideology, which the government says challenges France’s secularism. read the complete article

06 Apr 2022

French Presidential Election Update: A Two-Horse Race?

The first round of the French presidential election will take place this Sunday, April 10th. It is shaping up as a rematch between the current president, Emmanuel Macron, and far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen. France votes for president in two rounds. In the first, there are about a dozen candidates. This is followed two weeks later by a runoff between the top two vote-getters. Just a few weeks ago, polls indicated that there were four leading candidates for the second spot—Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Rally Party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the leftist France Unbowed Party, Valerie Pécresse of the conservative Républicain Party, and Eric Zemmour of the far-right Reconquest Party. But with her recent surge in the polls, Le Pen is now the strong favorite to make it into the second round. Until recently, Le Pen and Zemmour were neck-and-neck in the polls. But far-right support seems to have consolidated around Le Pen, with her rise in the polls almost exactly mirroring the drop by Zemmour. Le Pen has wisely focused on pocketbook issues, which resonate at a time of rising costs of food and fuel due to inflation, supply chain problems and, now, the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Zemmour has continued to hammer on the dangers of immigration. His man-crush on Vladimir Putin has also helped to sink him. France’s far right is powered by a strong anti-Muslim sentiment. This shows up in its opposition to immigration from former French colonies in North Africa, support for tough-on-crime policies (with an anti-Muslim slant), and an embrace of “traditional values.” read the complete article


06 Apr 2022

Why Is CPAC Traveling to Illiberal Hungary?

American conservatives announced plans to rally behind Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán through the high-profile network Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a sign that their movement has increasingly embraced a hard-right, authoritarian worldview following Donald Trump’s presidency. Critics of Orbán note his antisemitism, racism and efforts to derail Hungary’s democracy by using state funds to aid his re-election. He has packed courts and choked out critical media by nationalizing journalistic outlets. Pro-government businessmen control much of Hungary’s private media, including Index, which accounted for about half of Hungary’s total page views of independent media until 2020, when Orbán-sympathetic businessman Miklós Vaszily purchased a controlling stake. Hungarian analysts warn the reality in their country does not line up with views traditionally associated with U.S. conservatism, including a defense of the free market. Still, prominent figures with big audiences in the conservative movement, including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, have either ignored or embraced these scandals and depicted him as a model leader. CPAC’s choice to collaborate with Hungary further cements the relationship between the America’s right wing and the authoritarian ruler. Orbán’s rhetoric aligns with “current narratives and messages practically coincide with those of the European new right movement and the American alt-right,” the researcher continued, referring to an internet-focused rebrand of white supremacist ideology that emerged during Trump’s rise as a political figure. Orbán’s party Fidesz began a campaign against Soros that mirrored the white nationalist narrative that Jewish people work to replace white people through migration, or the “great replacement.” Orbán said at a 2019 international summit on family policy that if Europe will not “be populated by Europeans” would be a “population exchange, and there “are political forces in Europe who want a replacement of population for ideological or other reasons.” Hungary started building a barrier on the Serbian border in 2015. Orbán depicted this and subsequent upgrades to the border barrier as defending “Christian” Europe. read the complete article

06 Apr 2022

Uyghur teenage girl in Saudi Arabia could be deported to China internment camp, Amnesty warns

Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to release four members of China’s Uyghur minority, including a teenage girl, at risk of being sent back to China where they could be held in repressive detention camps. Buheliqiemu Abula and her 13-year-old daughter were arrested near the holy city of Mecca on Thursday and told that they faced deportation along with two other Uyghur men, according to a statement released by the human rights group on Thursday. Aimidoula Waili and Nuermaimaiti Ruze, two Uyghur religious scholars held in the kingdom since November 2020, are also set to be deported. "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." This is not the first time rights groups have urged Riyadh to halt Uyghur deportations to China. Earlier this year, both Amnesty International and Human Rights called on Saudi Arabia to end the detention and potential deportations of Waili and Ruze. China is notorious for its repression of the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority, where up to a million are being detained. There they face forced labour, political indoctrination, forced sterilisation, and other horrific abuses, human rights groups have said. read the complete article


06 Apr 2022

'Islamophobia in Manitoba is real': New report outlines experiences of Muslim community

How friendly is Manitoba to the Muslim community? A report being released Tuesday has some discouraging numbers when it comes to Islamophobia. "In a nutshell, Islamophobia in Manitoba is real," said Idris Elbakri, a director with the Manitoba Islamic Association and co-author of the report. "Many community members are encountering it on a daily basis at work and school, out in public, and its harms are real — both physical and emotional." The report was sparked by the deadly vehicle attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., last June. Four people were killed, including a 15-year-old girl. It was the deadliest attack against Canadian Muslims since six people were killed in a Quebec City mosque in 2017. Elbakri said the local Islamic association wanted to know more about the experiences of Muslims in this province, but there was no data documenting it. There were responses from about 190 people, and Elbakri and co-author Eve Sotiriadou also interviewed nine community leaders. The report isn't a representative sample and so only reveals the experiences of those who responded. Sixty-two per cent of the survey's participants indicated they have been subjected to Islamophobia, with the experiences disproportionately weighted toward women and youth, Elbakri said. He was particularly shaken by the fact 43 per cent of respondents said they experienced Islamophobia in schools. "[That] struck me as extremely high, as a father of four kids who attend public school. I think that to me is a clear call for action." read the complete article

United States

06 Apr 2022

‘Absolutely shameful’: Tom Cotton condemned for suggesting Ketanji Brown Jackson would defend Nazis at Nuremberg

In remarks to the US Senate opposing Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the US Supreme Court, Senator Tom Cotton said the judge “might have” defended Nazis during the Nuremberg trials. “The last Judge Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis,” the Arkansas senator said on 5 April, referring to former Justice Robert H Jackson, who was appointed chief counsel in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. “This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them,” Senator Cotton added. Republican officials have scrutinised Judge Jackson’s record as a federal public defender representing detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, despite the right of counsel enshrined in the US Constitution. She also did not choose her clients. During confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she repeatedly defended the nation’s “core constitutional value” that provides even those who have been accused of the most heinous crimes with legal representation. Senator Cotton’s remarks were widely condemned across social media. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 06 Apr 2022 Edition


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