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
02 Aug 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, civil-rights advocates are expressing concern about the government’s new CP3 program, citing previous counter-extremism programming’s surveillance of primarily Black and Muslim communities, meanwhile Amnesty International has released a new report, “Like We Were Enemies in a War”: China’s Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang, which is the “most comprehensive account to date of the crushing repression faced by Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang,” and around the world, “Uighur schools have sprung up among diaspora communities to ensure their culture survives, while providing support to children whose family members have disappeared in Xinjiang.” Our recommended read of the day is by Kavitha Iyer for TIME on how in Modi’s India, “independent journalism is being made a de facto crime in what is supposed to be the world’s biggest democracy.” This and more below:


02 Aug 2022

‘They Can Target Anybody’: India’s War on Free Press Is in High Gear | Recommended Read

Arrested for an innocuous meme he tweeted four years ago, more than a hundred policemen surrounded Mohammed Zubair when he was brought before a magistrate. “It was a message, making an example of me, that they could treat you as a criminal,” he tells TIME. Independent journalism is being made a de facto crime in what is supposed to be the world’s biggest democracy, with Zubair the latest offender. The 40-year-old co-founder and editor of fact-checking website Alt News was arrested on June 27, summoned to New Delhi from Bangalore, handed a police report on a supposed complaint by an anonymous Twitter account that Zubair had “hurt Hindu sentiments”, and told within minutes that he was being arrested for not cooperating with the investigation. Zubair’s three-week incarceration, before he was released following a bail order by the Supreme Court, comes amid increasing restrictions on civil liberties and media censorship by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, especially against Muslims. A strongly worded order from the country’s top court may have secured Zubair’s freedom for now, but not since the 1975 Emergency — a 21-month suspension of democratic processes and fundamental rights — have Indian journalists felt this threatened, as the regime punishes critical voices. With Zubair, India’s most influential fact-checker at the helm, Alt News has established a track record of successfully calling out the hate and disinformation campaigns of Hindu supremacists. His inputs forced police to move against the people behind an app that “auctioned” Muslim women journalists and activists. Zubair also successfully highlighted shocking videos of Hindu priests calling for war against Indian Muslims, and it was his tweet of the clip of a spokeswoman of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), mouthing obscenities against Prophet Muhammad at a TV show, that triggered a diplomatic row, with 20 Islamic nations condemning the comments. Such work has infuriated the well-funded social media network of Hindu-right trolls and pro-BJP news outlets that broadcast and amplify Hindu supremacism to 700 million Indian mobile phone users, who happen to enjoy the world’s lowest data costs. read the complete article

02 Aug 2022

Aligarh Muslim University to remove Pakistani authors' books from syllabus

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) managing committee has decided to remove the books of Pakistani authors Maulana Abul Ala Maududi and Syed Qutub from the syllabus. These books were included in the syllabus of the Department of Islamic Studies. These books were taught in AMU’s BA and MA classes. A senior AMU staff told India Today that "This decision has been taken in response to a recent letter that was written by social activist and academician Madhu Kishwar, along with some other academicians, to PM Modi, in which the books of these authors were demanded not to be taught to the students. The academicians had not just named the AMU, but also the Jamia Milia Islamia and Hamdard Universities, claiming that all these universities had books written by Pakistani authors in their curriculum." Some academicians have also alleged that Maulana Maududi, an Islamic scholar, was known for his anti-Hindu statements and to have books written by such a disputed character in the curriculum was in itself courting controversy. AMU's Islamic Studies Department Head Professor Muhammad Ismail said that the "board has decided to remove all books written by Pakistani authors from all curriculums, even though these books do not promote anything controversial and have been on the curriculum of AMU for a long time." read the complete article

02 Aug 2022

‘The colonisers never really left’: how the UK is enabling India’s violence against Muslims

On 9 May 2022, the community of Shaheen Bhagh, one of Delhi’s Muslim neighbourhoods, woke up to 200 policemen and a battalion of armed militants lined up outside their doors. The women began to come out of their homes, assembling in Dharnā (a peaceful sit-in demonstration). They knew what was about to come. At 11.30am, a bulldozer arrived. Slogans grew louder into a mass uproar as protesters surrounded it. The demolition drive paused when several women, including Congress leader Arfa Khanum, despite having a fractured leg, leaped past the police and onto the bulldozer. For years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been trying to transform India into a Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) regime. Hindutva extremists are openly calling for the genocide of India’s 200 million Muslims to form a new Hindu state. The BJP has doggedly pursued a regime to deprive Muslims of their rights, from criminalising Hindu-Muslim marriages and erasing the chapters on democracy and secularism from school textbooks, to endorsing a propaganda film that depicts Muslims as bloodthirsty traitors – not far from Nazi films like Jew Süss. This persecution of Muslims that started with lynchings and incarcerations has expanded to include what has become the ‘bulldozer politics’ – the rumble of state-sponsored bulldozers in Muslim-majority areas razing mosques, homes and shops. Groups in saffron show up to cheer the demolitions and wave Hindutva flags as hundreds of Muslim families watch from behind the barricades as their livelihoods disappear into clouds of dust and debris. Imperial Britain has always been in the driving seat of the bulldozer, revealing the UK’s role in both setting and enabling violence against Muslims in the country. The scapegoating and punishment of Indian Muslims were tactics first employed in the 19th century by the British colonisers to ease conquest. After fabricating a monolithic fantasy called ‘the Indian culture’, the British homogenised ‘India’ as ‘Hindu’. “They [the Empire] appeased the majority Hindus by promising to ‘save’ them from Muslims,” explains Nabiya Khan, an activist and poet from Delhi. read the complete article

02 Aug 2022

Watch: Muslim Youth Trapped in the Name of 'Love Jihad' in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj, a Hindu woman accused a Muslim businessman of rape after which more than 200 activists from Hindutva organisations approached the Ganjdundwara Police on the matter. Protests took place at the station. Two people named Aman Chauhan and Akash Solanki played a leading role in this protest. Days after, the woman reversed her statement. read the complete article

02 Aug 2022

India’s ‘bulldozer justice’ hits financial independence of Muslim women

Muslim women in the Jahangirpuri area of Delhi, the capital of India, lost their livelihood when their shops were demolished by the administration without providing legal notice. The demolition was a part of an “anti-encroachment drive” carried out by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party ruled administration on 20 April, 2022. Several shops, homes, front gate of a mosque and other structures, mostly owned by Muslims, were demolished as part of the drive.The Supreme Court of India ordered a stay on the demolition but despite this, the administration continued the demolition drive for hours. In this video, Muslim women of Jahangirpuri share how the demolition drive was not just an attack on their Muslim identity but also their financial independence. read the complete article


02 Aug 2022

The Turkish school preserving culture of young Uighurs in exile

Abdullah Abduzayir has not heard from his family for nearly seven years. The 14-year-old is one of the hundreds of Uighur children in Istanbul whose parents are caught up in the growing repression of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region, in the far northwest of China. Many Uighurs refer to this area as East Turkestan. “My parents are back in the homeland,” Abduzayir says, sitting on the edge of a bunk bed in the dormitory of what is known colloquially as the Uighur School. The slender boy nervously twiddles his thumbs as he stares at the floor. He wears comfortable sports clothes – and a grave expression. “I hear that my father is in prison and my mother is in the [internment] camps,” he says. Abduzayir lost all contact with his parents since 2015. “I wish they were still here with me.” The school, officially named the Uighur Science and Enlightenment Foundation, opened in 2015 to teach the students – aged four to 16 – their mother tongue and preserve their cultural identity. Of the 160 students, about 10 live in the school’s dormitories. All their family members were either imprisoned or forced into internment camps in Xinjiang. China calls the camps “vocational education and training centres”. Abdulrahman Abbas, 14, sits beside Abduzayir on the bottom bunk, leaning forward with his hands clasped together. “I miss my mom’s cooking, staying together, and so much more,” he says in a quiet voice. His brown hair falls over the side of his wistful face. Abbas also lives at the school. His mother was sentenced to prison and he has not had contact with his father in Xinjiang for six years. Fearing the repressive climate in Xinjiang, both Abbas and Abduzayir’s families sent them to live with friends in Istanbul around 2015. But a few months later, they lost all contact with their parents and their parents’ friends could no longer take care of them. Over the years, Uighur schools have sprung up among diaspora communities to ensure their culture survives, while providing support to children whose family members have disappeared in Xinjiang. Along with this one, several similar schools have been established in Istanbul over the years. Abbas and Abduzayir form part of a new generation of Uighurs in exile who are preserving the Uighur identity amid fears of cultural extermination back home. read the complete article

02 Aug 2022

Introducing: Farah Girach on challenging Islamophobia, celebrating the hijab, and making an impact with design

As part of our series focusing on new creative graduates, we celebrate Farah Girach from Birmingham City University. Here she chats to us about the influences behind her pattern work, the importance of positivity, and how she thrived throughout the pandemic. I also took on a mini passion project to tie in with my impactful design, a creative campaign called 'Hijab is my Identity'. The hijab has become a controversial topic worldwide over the years, leading Muslim women to stand up and fight for their equal rights to choose how they dress. To some, the hijab may be just a piece of clothing, but to Muslims, it's part of our identity, and we should not have to seek permission from the state over what we can or cannot wear. The campaign aimed to spread a positive and meaningful message surrounding the hijab, achieved through vibrant colours and playful patterns to express the freedom and choice of one's identity. read the complete article

02 Aug 2022

Women behind the lens: ‘I find solace in the sea. I feel awash with relief’

This image is of a woman called Ifaf in the shallow waters of the Mediterranean. She can’t swim and fears deep water, but the sea is where she wants to be when feeling overwhelmed. It’s her refuge from life’s pressures. “The second I see the sea I feel awash with a great sense of relief. Submerging myself washes away anything that bothers me. Almost instantly. The sea is where I find solace. I feel at one with it.” Learning about her life and how important the sea is for her peace of mind, I couldn’t help but think of the Muslim woman in France being fined for wearing long-sleeved top on a beach, the controversy around the burkini ban and the debate it evokes around secularism, individual freedoms, Islamophobia and exclusion. Ifaf made me question our ability to live with difference. Whether we have the right to judge anyone on the basis of what they wear. And how rewarding and calming the sea is for her. read the complete article


02 Aug 2022


Xinjiang is one of the most ethnically diverse regions in China. More than half of the region’s population of 22 million people belong to mostly Turkic and predominantly Muslim ethnic groups, including Uyghurs (around 11.3 million), Kazakhs (around 1.6 million) and other populations whose languages, cultures and ways of life vary distinctly from those of the Han who are the majority in “interior” China. Since 2017, under the guise of a campaign against “terrorism” and “religious extremism”, the government of China has carried out massive and systematic abuses against Muslims living in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in internment camps throughout Xinjiang since 2017. The report “Like We Were Enemies in a War”: China’s Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang is the most comprehensive account to date of the crushing repression faced by Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The evidence Amnesty International has gathered provides a factual basis for the conclusion that the Chinese government has committed at least the crimes against humanity of imprisonment, torture, and persecution. read the complete article

02 Aug 2022

China’s Heavy-Handed Push to Prevent a UN Report on Xinjiang

What does the Xinjiang Roller Skating Association care about? Roller skating, you might guess, maybe even rollerblading. But you might be surprised to learn that Xinjiang’s roller skating enthusiasts apparently care about a long-delayed human rights report on the Xinjiang region that should finally come out soon from the United Nation’s Human Rights Office. It might seem silly. But understanding why the Chinese government has enlisted Xinjiang’s roller skaters to be part of an effort to shape opinion at the U.N. actually reveals a lot about how the Chinese government under Xi Jinping views its ideal form of international order. Xi Jinping, China’s CEO of Everything, has repeatedly said that he wants an international system with “the United Nations at its core.” This system, according to Xi, would underpin “international law and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter.” But be careful: For Chinese officials, the “U.N. Charter” is often a euphemistic shorthand for prioritizing state sovereignty above all else. In other words, adhering to “the purposes of the U.N. Charter” is often code for preventing other countries and loudmouth critics from commenting on China’s gross human rights abuses, which China categorizes as an “internal affair.” At the same time, China can use its massive influence at the U.N. and cozy relations with many nation states in the Global South to largely get its way. read the complete article

United States

02 Aug 2022

Counter-terrorism programs to fight white supremacy will only bolster it, instead

After the Jan. 6 insurrection, a CBS News analysis found that at least 81 of the more than 700 individuals charged in relation to the attack were current and former members of the armed services. In response, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin committed to addressing extremism within military ranks. But the Biden administration’s approach, which draws on a long and fraught U.S. history of targeted surveillance in the name of protecting national security, only risks traumatizing the same communities it claims to be keeping safe. Upon taking office, President Biden backtracked on campaign promises to end the Trump administration’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Program. Instead, the program became the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), part of federal efforts to “comprehensively combat domestic violent extremism, including white supremacy.” Civil-rights advocates were immediately wary of CP3, citing previous counter-extremism programming’s surveillance of primarily Black and Muslim communities. The federal government has already tried to rebrand counter-extremism as the antidote to white-supremacist activity. Its efforts largely focused on funding the nonprofit Life After Hate, which claims to help people leave white-supremacist groups. However, the program was created to combat so-called domestic violent extremism. Historically, this nebulous category has been used to clamp down on social movements. Federal agencies such as DHS and the FBI have a long history of targeting racial justice and pro-choice activists, referring to them, for example, as “Black Identity Extremists” or “Abortion-Related Violent Extremists.” In a recent report and toolkit, University of Illinois researcher Nicole Nguyen and community-based researcher Yazan Zahzah noted that relying on counter-extremism to address white supremacy would “strengthen institutions that harm people of color [and] obscure structural inequality.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

02 Aug 2022

Watch: Tommy Robinson fined for contempt of court as video of him asking for money emerges

Tommy Robinson has been fined £900 for failing to turn up at a High Court hearing to be questioned about his finances. Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had been expected at a hearing in March over an unpaid legal bill after he lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian teenager last year. Jamal Hijazi successfully sued Robinson after the then-schoolboy was assaulted at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in October 2018. After the incident went viral, Robinson made false claims, including about Mr Hijazi attacking girls in his school, leading to the libel case. Following a pre-trial hearing in November 2020, the English Defence League founder was ordered to pay more than £43,000 in legal costs. Earlier this year, Mr Hijazi’s lawyers successfully applied for an order requiring Robinson to return to court to answer questions about his finances on March 22, but the 39-year-old failed to attend. He was summonsed to court to face contempt proceedings in April and, at hearing on Monday, was handed a £900 penalty after admitting being in contempt of court. Mr Justice Nicklin said: “I’ve decided to punish Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s contempt by imposing a fine.” He added that Robinson now has 14 days to pay and could be liable to serve 28 days in prison if he fails to do so. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Aug 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results