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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30 Aug 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, the Moradabad Police in Uttar Pradesh have registered a case against the owners of two homes after a large group of Muslims gathered there to pray, meanwhile a BBC Arabic investigation finds that Muslim women who wear hijab are being discriminated against in Egypt, with several high-end establishments across Cairo refusing entry to women wearing headscarves, and August marks five years since the Burmese military ravaged the Rohingya community, and rights activists are calling for more permanent solutions to protect the persecuted community. Our recommended read of the day is by Sophia A. Mcclennen for Salon on how Islamophobia is still both on the rise and increasing its spread across American society as it’s only become “more entrenched, more normalized and more widespread.” This and more below:

United States

30 Aug 2022

American Muslims are successful, optimistic and patriotic: But Islamophobia is worse than ever | Recommended Read

The fall of Kabul was harrowing to watch and those were some of its most disturbing images, but they paled in comparison to what came next. T-shirts. Not just any T-shirts. The slogan type, that get printed on-demand when you order them. These T-shirts, which showed up, for example, on Etsy, featured silhouettes of two people falling from a military-style aircraft with a header that read "Kabul Skydiving Club" and below, "Est. 2021." The product description read: "Featuring the scene of the plane flying in the sky and suddenly, there are two people falling from it, the Kabul Skydiving Club Shirt is officially becoming a phenomenon and goes viral on the Internet!" Imagine a similar type of shirt being sold with silhouetted images of people jumping out of the burning Twin Towers with the slogan "WTC Skydiving Club, Est. 2001." Would you buy that? the really disturbing part of the story is the fact that they existed at all, and what it reveals about the toxic nature of Islamophobia. If you can imagine the "Kabul Skydiving Club'' shirts, but can't imagine a Twin Towers equivalent, then you already see my point. The reason for this stark disparity in compassion lies not just in the stereotyping of Muslims; it is because the stereotyping is completely dehumanizing. Recall that in the 20-year war in Afghanistan there were numerous stories of U.S. and allied military personnel committing outrageous human rights violations. In addition to the state-sanctioned torture and murder of Afghans in places like the Bagram airbase, in 2010 five U.S. Army soldiers were charged with murdering three Afghans and collecting body parts as trophies, in 2012, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales massacred 16 civilians in Kandahar, and in 2012 a video surfaced of four Marines urinating on dead Afghans. Back on U.S. soil, Islamophobia mirrored these acts, even if the generalized level of hate was less violent. Political scientist Costas Panagopoulos conducted a study released in 2006 showing that public sentiment toward Muslims in the United States combined low levels of awareness of basic elements of Islam with growing anxiety and antipathy towards the community. But here's the thing: As horrible as it has been to document the rampant Islamophobia in the United States since the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, one would have expected that, with the distance of time, some of the aggressive stereotyping of the Muslim community might wane. That hasn't happened. Instead, it is both on the rise and increasing its spread across American society. read the complete article

30 Aug 2022

New ASU center aims to showcase Muslim contributions, accomplishments in US

The recent launch of the Center of Muslim Experience in the United States (CME-US) at Arizona State Univerity reflects a pioneering endeavor to advance research and deepen public knowledge on the understudied history of Muslims in the United States and their many contributions to American society and culture. With a student-centered approach, CME-US will facilitate belonging for Muslim students at ASU and work to build mutually beneficial partnerships between Muslim communities across the country and university. The center will be housed in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and is part of the humanities division in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In the first three years, Haines and co-director Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and professor of history in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, will work to develop a faculty- and student-led academic project and write a report on “Global Phoenix and Muslim Lives and Contributions.” The study will document the long history of Muslims in the Valley and their richly diverse cultures, along with their many contributions to making Phoenix a uniquely global city. In addition, they plan to conduct a “Connections” seminar bringing together faculty, graduate students and journalists to work on writing about Muslims from a new perspective for wider public dissemination. All of this work will lead to the creation of a digital virtual museum on Muslim experiences in the United States. read the complete article


30 Aug 2022

Outgoing UN Human Rights boss defends her legacy amid direct criticism

Michelle Bachelet, the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile, told DW News the attacks against her office for delaying the publication of a report into the Uighurs in China are "unfair." read the complete article

30 Aug 2022

It’s Been Five Years Since The Burmese Military Carried Out Genocide Against The Rohingya: Why Not Extend Permanent Safe Haven?

August marks five years since the Burmese military ravaged the Rohingya community. On August 25, 2017, the Burmese military killed at least 10,000 men, women, and children, raped and sexually abused countless Rohingya women and girls, and drove the Rohingya out of their homeland in Burma. Today, close to 1 million Rohingya remain displaced in refugee camps in Bangladesh. It wasn’t until this year that the U.S. government recognized the Burmese military’s actions against the Rohingya for what it is: genocide and crimes against humanity. It is easy to assume that atrocity crimes are a one-off event. But the Burmese military continues to perpetrate atrocity crimes against Rohingya, other minorities, and the general populace. As recently as 2021, the Burmese military carried out a coup, strengthening the military’s grip on power and solidifying Burma’s descent from once-hopeful democracy into what some say is a failed state. According to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), over 15,000 individuals have been taken as prisoners and more than 2,000 individuals have been killed by the junta. Given the Burmese military’s lengthy track record of atrocity crimes, it is difficult to argue that a Burmese person is fleeing a situation that only temporarily places them in danger. That the Burmese military has been incapable of refraining from atrocity crimes in the intervening five years’ time since it carried out crimes against Rohingya, makes clear that the problem demands a far more permanent solution. The U.S. should look to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program’s longer-term solutions rather than re-upping TPS for Burmese come November. The U.S. government should instead consider granting Priority 2 (P-2) refugee status to Rohingya refugees, as well as to persons who qualify as refugees in the midst of the coup. read the complete article

30 Aug 2022

'We are stronger together': Community is everything for young Rohingya refugee

A Rohingya refugee, Rahman has been living in New Zealand for the past four years after escaping violence in Myanmar. Having achieved some of his goals in Aotearoa, he now wants to help others. He was part of the exodus of refugees who fled Myanmar for Bangladesh. Since 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya people had left the country. Now at the age of 19 he was becoming a young leader in his community and he wanted to motivate young Rohingya people. He said there were about 40 Rohingya households in Palmerston North but many of the people could not speak English, so he acted as a translator. He could speak English, Hindi, Burmese and the Rohingya language. “My community is more important to me than my life ... If I can’t help my community, what’s the point of staying with them.” Recently when a community member was dealing with a police officer, Rahman helped as a translator and to support them. He said dealing with police for some of his people could be traumatic after the way police acted at home. read the complete article

30 Aug 2022

YouTube Went to War Against Terrorists, Just Not White Nationalists

Within YouTube’s upper ranks, the 2017 meeting was seen as the first step toward effectively wiping radical Islam from the commercial web and taking all forms of extremism more seriously. Advertisers returned, helping bring its business back from the brink. But people lower down YouTube’s corporate ladder didn’t see it as such a triumph. Shortly after the staff retreat, White nationalists staged a deadly riot in Charlottesville, Va., a watershed moment in an increase of far-right violence in the US and internationally. A progression of young White men carried out racist attacks, accompanying them with accounts of how they’d been radicalized online. Three summers after the retreat, Bardan and several colleagues put together a presentation showing the prevalence on YouTube of White supremacists, listing recent deadly attacks in New Zealand, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Texas. YouTube had spent years developing a formula for dealing with violent extremist content. It had worked. So why was it so reluctant to use it on this threat, too? Setting standards for bigotry is notoriously difficult. There were videos extolling the wisdom of phrenology or those espousing racist conspiracy theories that were so obscure they flew right past many moderators. Government officials sometimes called for deleting videos from people or groups they described as extremists. YouTube found most of these requests moralizing or naive, and the company’s lawyers believed they couldn’t make blanket decisions to block a subjectively defined group like “terrorists.” As YouTube honed its skill at undercutting Islamic State terrorists, some staff members grew concerned about how blind the platform was to other forms of political extremism. Matthew Mengerink joined YouTube as an engineering vice president in 2015, a rare Muslim in tech leadership. When he searched for the word “jihad” on the site, he found few Muslim extremists, but countless clips from angry Tea Party acolytes and stare-you-dead-in-the-eyes vloggers. A massive network of like-minded channels, many fueled by YouTube’s ad sales, latched on to the right-wing fixation with Europe’s growing Muslim migrant population. Not far from there were video discussions of the Great Replacement theory. read the complete article


30 Aug 2022

SC Issues Notice on Hijab Ban Pleas, Rebukes Petitioners for Seeking Adjournment

The Supreme Court on Monday, 29 August, issued notice on a batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka government's ban on wearing hijabs in the state's educational institutions. The matter was heard by Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhansu Dhulia, who took a stern view of the petitioners’ request for adjournment of the matter, stating: "We will not permit forum shopping. You wanted urgent listing and now you want hearing adjourned. We will not allow this.” But the counsel for the petitioners pointed out that they had sought an urgent hearing during all those other times because exams in the state were starting then (and hijab-wearing girls in Karnataka were being expected to choose between wearing the hijab or writing exams). In March this year, the Karnataka High Court upheld the state government's ban on Muslim students wearing hijabs in schools and colleges. The ban was packaged as a general rule on following uniforms without wearing religious garb. The female students had protested the hijab ban, first imposed by individual institutions and then through a government order, and had said that it was a component of their essential religious practice. read the complete article

30 Aug 2022

MP: Mob Vandalises Mosque, Home of Muslim Man Who 'Eloped' With Dalit Woman

A right-wing mob on Saturday, 27 August, allegedly vandalised a mosque, raised anti-Muslim slogans and pelted stones at the home of a Muslim man who reportedly fled with a Dalit woman in Madhya Pradesh's Dewas district. Soon after the man and woman went missing, members of the right-wing groups vandalised the local mosque and damaged the residence of the man along with cars parked outside. They were caught on camera raising anti-Muslim slogans near the Udaynagar police station, and later met police officials to demand strict action. Meanwhile, the police said that while a case had been filed against the Muslim man for kidnapping, another had been lodged against unidentified right-wing members who vandalised the mosque. "Both the man and woman studied together till class 12 and were in a relationship since last year. On 26 August, they eloped. The family didn't file an FIR initially and sought help from the BJP leader Bharat Rathor. Bharat then assembled around 100-150 men and force-closed the market. Half of the assembled men reached the police station demanding registration of an FIR while the other half went to the accused's house and vandalised it and also attacked the mosque," Narendra Parihar, police station incharge Udaynagar, Dewas, told The Quint. read the complete article

30 Aug 2022

Uttar Pradesh: Moradabad Police file case for namaz conducted in two homes

The Moradabad Police in Uttar Pradesh have registered a case against the owners of two homes after a large group of Muslims gathered there to offer namaz, ANI reported on Sunday, citing the police. The incident took place on August 24 at the Dulhepur village under Chhajlet police station limits in Uttar Pradesh, said Superintendent of Police Sandeep Kumar Meena. “There was no mosque there, only two houses,” the official said. The accused persons did not take permission before offering namaz at their homes, the official added, according to The Quint. A man named Chandra Pal Singh filed a complaint in the matter, The Times of India reported. Meanwhile, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi questioned the police action in the case. “Muslims in India can no longer offer namaz even at home?” he asked on Twitter. “Will permission have to be taken from the government or the police to offer prayers now?” He asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi till when Muslims in the country would be treated as “second-class citizens”. read the complete article


30 Aug 2022

Hijab-wearing women 'face discrimination' in Egypt, investigation reveals

A BBC Arabic investigation revealed that women wearing the hijab are being discriminated against in Egypt. Several high-end establishments across Cairo, Egypt’s capital, refuse entry to women wearing headscarves, the investigation revealed. The hijab even prevented some women and families from purchasing property in luxury townships. This practice appears to violate Egypt’s constitution, which bars discrimination on the basis of social class, sex, race, or religion. "In most cases the main cause [for the discrimination] is classism," said Nada Nashat, a lawyer and women's rights activist quoted by the BBC. "So we find discrimination against hijabi women in venues that like to present themselves as upper-middle or upper class. But we also find discrimination against non-hijabi women in lower and middle classes," she said, referring to women who wear the headscarf. Out of fifteen high-end venues in Cairo, the BBC revealed that eleven said headscarves were not permitted on the premises. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Aug 2022 Edition


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