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
19 Aug 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Europe, a new book talks about a “Muslim Europe,” as it notes that Muslims have been in Europe since the 7th century, meanwhile lawyers for two Uyghur human rights groups have filed a criminal complaint in Argentina accusing Chinese officials of the genocide of Uyghurs and other minority groups, and in Bangladesh, the country’s PM has told the UN rights chief that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh must return home to Myanmar. Our recommended read of the day is by Al Jazeera on how the Indian home ministry, headed by the BJP, has denied media reports that the government would be providing homes to Rohingya refugees, instead saying the “refugees would be held at a detention centre and eventually deported.” This and more below:


19 Aug 2022

India denies it will provide homes to Rohingya in capital | Recommended Read

Hours after a federal minister said Rohingya will be given apartments in the capital, India’s home ministry has denied giving such instructions, saying the refugees would be held at a detention centre and eventually deported. Earlier on Wednesday, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, tweeted that the mainly Muslim refugees from Myanmar living in New Delhi will be given apartments and provided with police protection. “India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge,” Puri posted. “India respects and follows UN Refugee Convention 1951 and provides refuge to all, regardless of their race, religion or creed.” But shortly after Puri’s tweet, the federal home ministry, headed by Amit Shah – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s closest aide – denied the media reports. “With respect to news reports in certain sections of media regarding Rohingya illegal foreigners, it is clarified that Ministry of Home Affairs has not given any directions to provide EWS (economically weaker section) flats to Rohingya illegal migrants at Bakkarwala in New Delhi,” the home ministry said in a statement, referring to a neighbourhood in the Indian capital’s south. The ministry said “illegal foreigners” will be kept in a detention centre till they are deported to Myanmar. “The (state) government of Delhi has not declared the present location as a detention centre. They have been directed to do the same immediately,” it said. Modi’s government has previously tried to send Rohingya back to predominately Buddhist Myanmar, after hundreds of thousands of them fled from persecution and waves of violence in their homeland over the years. read the complete article

19 Aug 2022

Rohingya a threat to security, says BJP

The BJP on Wednesday asserted that illegal migrants are a threat to national security and that the Modi government would never compromise on the issue, after the party faced flak over plans to resettle Rohingya refugees in flats designated for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday had put out a tweet saying that India had always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country and announced that all Rohingya refugees would be shifted to EWS flats in the east Delhi's Bakkarwala area. Following this tweet, the Union Home Ministry issued a clarification denying any move to shift Rohingya Muslims in Delhi to EWS flats and directed the Delhi government to ensure the "illegal foreigners" remain in detention centres pending their extradition. BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia, addressing a presser at the party's national headquarters in New Delhi described Rohingyas as a "threat to national security" adding that "(Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal is doing the politics of appeasement keeping national security at bay". He further asked why, in the meeting held on July 29 chaired by the Chief Secretary of Delhi, "a hasty decision was taken that all these infiltrators would be shifted to the houses being built for EWS". read the complete article

19 Aug 2022

Muslim woman raped by Hindu mob shocked by release of 11 jailed men

A Muslim woman who was gang-raped by a Hindu mob, which also murdered her three-year-old daughter and 13 other members of her family, has spoken of her incredulity at the release of the 11 men jailed for the crimes. The men were released on Monday by the Gujarat government after serving 14 years of their life sentences. Under Indian law, after 14 years some prisoners can be released on remission provided they fulfil certain criteria relating to their age and conduct. Bilkis Bano, and her husband were not told that the men were going to be released. She said the news came as a thunderbolt and left them “numb” with disbelief. “Today, I can only say this: how can justice for any woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system and I was slowly learning to live with my trauma. The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice,” Bano said in a statement issued through her lawyer on Wednesday. The attack took place during the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat. For Indian Muslims, the release has stirred up the horrors of the anti-Muslim riots. In three days more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died and hundreds of Islamic monuments were destroyed or vandalised. read the complete article


19 Aug 2022

Don’t let Islam be written out of our European history – it birthed fairytale-like towns and mystical lodges

Just over a year ago I published my first book, Minarets in the Mountains; a Journey into Muslim Europe. I didn’t know it at the time, but in doing so I would begin a year of convincing people that there is a “Muslim Europe”. Not a Europe where Muslims now happen to live, but a Europe where Muslims have always lived. Nominated for both the UK’s most prestigious non-fiction and travel book awards, clearly those that read the book agreed. And yet I find myself still regularly having to explain what I mean by “Muslim Europe”. One of the great ironies of this is that the very cause of this modern Muslim Europe – the Ottoman Empire – which ruled over the area I cover in my book, the Western Balkans, for almost six centuries, came to an end exactly a century ago. And what makes this all the more frustrating is that Muslims were in Europe long before that – since the 7th century actually – the same century Islam was announced as a faith. That’s almost 14 centuries that Muslims have been Europeans –longer than white people have been Americans, and still if I mention “Muslim Europe”, people remain sceptical. Even those European Muslim monuments that do – such as Granada’s Alhambra palace-city or the continent’s very first mosque, now the Mezquita-Catedral in Cordoba, both in southern Spain, a country that was largely Muslim from the 8th to the 15th centuries – are often misrepresented or de-Islamised. One of the ways this is done is by using words like “Moorish”, “Saracenic” or even “Turkish” instead of “Muslim” and “Islam” when discussing the culture that created these marvels – terms that were historically interchangeable with Muslim or Islam, but now only serve to distance a place or its culture from its Muslim roots. The effect of this is that not only are we denied an entire mesmeric facet of European culture and heritage, but we are also denied our continent’s story in its entirety. This is why even a Muslim visitor to Malta does not question why every other road name begins with “Tariq” (“road” in Arabic) or realise that when the locals speak, what they can hear is the continent’s only “Arabic” language. read the complete article

19 Aug 2022

Contemporary slavery exists around the world, is prevalent in China: UN investigator

A UN investigator says contemporary forms of slavery are widely practiced around the world, including forced labour for China’s Uyghur minority, bonded labour for the lowest caste Dalits in South Asia, and domestic servitude in Gulf countries, Brazil and Colombia. Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Tomoya Obokata adds that traditional enslavement, especially of minorities, is found in Mauritania, Mali and Niger in Africa’s Sahel region. His conclusion about Uyghurs in China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang follows a US ban imposed last December on imports from the region unless businesses can prove items are made without forced labor. There have been many claims China engages in systemic and widespread abuse of ethnic and religious minorities in its western region. In the report, Obokata said that based on an independent assessment of available information from many sources, including victims and government accounts, he “regards it as reasonable to conclude that forced labor among Uyghur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing has been occurring in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.” He cited two systems used by China - the detention of minorities for vocational skills education and training followed by work placement, and a poverty alleviation through labour program in which surplus rural labourers are transferred to other work. read the complete article

19 Aug 2022

Bangladesh tells UN that Rohingya refugees must return to Myanmar

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has told the UN rights chief that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh must return home to Myanmar, from where they had fled waves of violent persecution. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet arrived to Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Sunday and visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar district near the border with Myanmar. “The Rohingya are nationals of Myanmar and they have to be taken back,” Hasina was quoted as saying by her press secretary, Ihsanul Karim, on Wednesday. The mostly Muslim Rohingya community has faced widespread discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship and many other rights. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August 2017, crossing the border to Bangladesh when the Myanmar military launched a “clearance operation” against them following attacks by a rebel group. The security situation in Myanmar has worsened following a military takeover last year. read the complete article


19 Aug 2022

Why our first hijab-wearing Muslim senator wants a cuppa with Pauline Hanson

You were born in Kabul, the eldest of four children. Your family fled the Taliban for Pakistan when you were two and you settled in Perth when you were eight. What was money like during your childhood? My grandfather was an MP in Afghanistan and the family was super wealthy; they were the top dogs. Dad was studying medicine while participating in political activities alongside his father. When we migrated to Pakistan at the end of 1997, we were at our lowest point. What did your parents do for work in Perth? Dad was working at a recycling pit for a bit; he was a kitchenhand at one point; he helped out at his friend’s construction company; he was a taxi driver. I’d always be like, “Dad, can we go on a holiday?” He’d say, “We’re going to go on a world tour – but in five years’ time.” It’s unfortunate. When we lost him, we weren’t able to go on the world tour that he’d long been saving up for. [Abdul Wakil Payman died of leukaemia in 2018, aged 47.] Mum raised four children at home, then established her own business: a driving school. So I definitely empathise with people who are having to build their lives from scratch. Did seeing your parents work so hard politicise you? It was more their treatment at work – because they looked different and their English wasn’t fluent. It made me realise that something’s got to change. “My dad is working hard, he’s paying his taxes: why can’t he be accepted?” If you want to make change, you’ve got to do it from within. You can’t just sit on the sidelines and pray and expect change to happen. You grew up here in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001 and the Islamophobia that followed. Where do you think Australia is now with that? I was very fortunate to go to an Islamic school. It allows you to continue with your daily routines, practising the faith. The disturbances happen when you go into a public space. When I started wearing the hijab in 2007 when I was in year 6, I felt like I belonged to a community, but it was also the point at which someone made a comment in a shopping centre – “Go back to where you came from” – then came Pauline Hanson’s stunt [of wearing a burqa in the Senate in 2017]. But when the Christchurch shooting happened [in March 2019], that’s when I think it really shook Australia, and made everyone realise that Muslim Australians also need recognition and respect. read the complete article

19 Aug 2022

Greater diversity in media and politics gives me hope — but it benefits all of us

I dread Monday mornings. They are a time to be endured, not anticipated. But last week I awoke to a pleasant surprise. On ABC News Breakfast, seated alongside the familiar figure of Michael Rowland was none other than political journalist Nour Haydar. I had always enjoyed her political analysis from the ABC’s Canberra bureau. I watched her with the same eagerness I felt when I saw other Muslim and minority reporters, like Mahnaz Angury, on screen. This kind of progress always inspires optimism in me, even if there is still a long way to go when it comes to diversity in cultural representation on Australian television. According to a Media Diversity Australia report “Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?”, only 6 per cent of media presenters, commentators and reporters have a non-Anglo Celtic background. This is in stark contrast to the almost 25 per cent of Australians who do not identify as Anglo-Celtic. What is more alarming, according to the same report, is the fact that every single national news director on free-to-air television is a white man (at least, that was the case when the report was published in 2020). The problem of underrepresentation doesn’t just affect the media, however — it’s still apparent in our federal Parliament, where only 7 per cent of politicians are from a non-white background. Still, progress cannot be denied. Just think of the recent addition of Senator Fatima Payman, a Hijabi Muslim woman, or of the promotion of the new Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth, Anne Aly, an Egyptian Muslim woman. As a young, Arab, Hijab-wearing Muslim, recognising something of myself in these politicians is incredibly empowering. I have long wanted to pursue a career related to journalism and politics; this aspiration is made so much easier when I have role models to look up to. But greater representation in politics and the media do not only lead to a greater sense of empowerment; it can also lead to tangibly better outcomes for marginalised communities. read the complete article

United States

19 Aug 2022

New Study Looks into Strengths, Needs of Muslims in Illinois

The first-of-its-kind study, “Illinois Muslims: Needs, Assets, And Opportunities” was a collaboration between the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Illinois Chicago, and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Researchers found that Muslims in Illinois were the youngest and most diverse faith community in the state and the country. The sample in the study were racially and ethnically diverse. About half of the sample was born outside of the U.S. and a sizable number speak languages other than English at home. “There are so many different types of leaders and stakeholders, both within and outside of the Illinois Muslim community, who can benefit from this report,” said Erum Ikramullah, research project manager at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Among the Muslim respondents in Illinois, about 12% of them said they are self-employed or run their own business. They create about 6% of all jobs in Illinois despite making up about 3% of the population. One of the challenges facing Muslims in Illinois is health care access, including therapy and mental health services. One of the biggest barriers to healthcare access is affordability, the study finds. Islamophobia is also a top issue facing Muslims in the state. More than half of the respondents reported facing religious discrimination. “We know from national data that this takes several forms both at the institutional level and at the interpersonal level,” Ikramullah said. “This can affect things from health care access, political participation access, bullying within classrooms to everyday microaggressions.” read the complete article

19 Aug 2022

Welcome to the Post-Post-9/11 Era

A year ago, I worried in a post at The Week that U.S. intervention in Afghanistan wouldn't meaningfully end when our troops left Afghan soil. Even without a residual force, "over the horizon" strikes—like the one that killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in July—could continue apace. But so far, it appears my worry was largely misplaced. Data from Airwars, which tracks U.S. strikes using independent reports as well as official acknowledgments, shows the Biden administration has dramatically wound down the drone war and other airstrikes, not only in Afghanistan but across the greater Middle East. And though the 2024 presidential race isn't underway quite yet, it's curious to note how absent counterterrorism and its associated wars are from the nascent contest. This is not simply the short shrift that foreign policy is habitually issued for these events; former President Donald Trump, for example, talked about wars and terrorism and murdering terrorists' innocent family members regularly during his 2016 campaign. But now, as a Washington Post analysis of his recent rally themes suggests, those topics are rarely on his radar. Biden, meanwhile, has been remarkably quiet about his own achievement in decimating the drone war. Taken together, this all feels like a significant shift. At the risk of jinxing things, it seems like we may have come to the end of the post-9/11 era of American foreign policy. My entire political life has taken place in the shadow of 9/11 and the excesses of Washington's response to the horrors of that day, so I make this suggestion with caution. Still, it seems as though we may be at the start of something new, with new challenges to address and, of course, new warnings against hubris, inhumanity, and imprudence to issue. But the old era, if indeed on its way out, is not quite gone yet. The authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs) which initiated the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—and were later stretched to provide implausible legal cover for a host of other military interventions Congress never directly approved—remain in force. These should be formally repealed so that Biden and future presidents alike must clear at least the hurdle of a vote in our usually feckless Congress if they want to expand the U.S. military presence in the Middle East again. read the complete article


19 Aug 2022

Criminal Case Filed Against China Alleging Genocide of Minorities

A criminal complaint has been filed accusing Chinese officials of the genocide of Uyghurs and other minority groups. Lawyers for the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) submitted the complaint in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on August 17. They allege that the Chinese government has committed crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in the Xinjiang province. Beijing's "re-education" policies in the northwestern province have been the subject of international scrutiny for several years. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act was signed by President Joe Biden last December. In April a State Department report said more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of mainly Muslim groups had been arbitrarily imprisoned and subjected to forced sterilization, coerced abortions and rape. Under Argentina's constitution, courts in the South American country have jurisdiction for international crimes, such as genocide, regardless of where they take place.The submission is the first stage of the process. Next, an appointed judge will consider the complaint and determine whether to open a case. If the judge opens a case against Chinese officials, the Uyghur groups' lawyers have said they will submit evidence of genocide, crimes against humanity and torture. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 19 Aug 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results