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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08 Aug 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, there’s a growing trend of anti-Muslim music with abusive and threatening lyrics on YouTube and other social media platforms, where “supporters of the Hindu right-wing spew venom at Muslims,” meanwhile Bangladesh has sought cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, and in Canada, the country has witnessed a 72 percent jump in its hate crime rate between 2019 and 2021, with a 71 percent surge in hate crimes against Muslims. Our recommended read of the day is by Neelam Bohra and  for the New York Times on the killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, NM— three in the past two weeks — that authorities believe are all connected and meant to target the Muslim community. This and more below:

United States

08 Aug 2022

Killings of 4 Men in Albuquerque Leave Muslim Community in Fear | Recommended Read

Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain is afraid to step outside his home in Albuquerque to water his plants. Or retrieve books from his car. Or even venture out onto his balcony. “My kids won’t let me go outside of my apartment,” said Mr. Hussain, 41, whose younger brother Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, was fatally shot a week ago Monday just a few blocks away. He was one of four Muslim men who were killed recently in the city — three in the past two weeks — and authorities believe the deaths are connected and meant to target the Muslim community. As the Albuquerque Police, the F.B.I. and the State Police appealed to the public for help in finding the killer or killers — on Sunday authorities described a vehicle of interest, a dark-colored, four-door Volkswagen sedan — the attacks have left Muslims in a state of terror. One member who attended the Islamic Center of New Mexico, the same mosque as all four of the victims, said that he may never return, citing a fear of becoming “bait.” Other members have temporarily left the state to stay with family members in other parts of the country to wait out the investigation. One man, who immigrated from Iraq, said that he felt safer back when he first came to the country in the 1980s. Another member, Salem Ansari, said that some who attend the mosque and work night shifts have quit their jobs. “This situation is getting so much worse,” Mr. Ansari said. Ahmad Assed, president of the mosque, said that he grew up in Albuquerque attending the Islamic Center but never felt isolated as a Muslim in the city. But now, he said, the community is going through a “sort of managed panic.” read the complete article

08 Aug 2022

‘No place in America’: Biden denounces killing of four Muslims

President Joe Biden denounced the killings of four Muslim men in New Mexico state that police say may be linked and could be a hate crime. “I am angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” Biden said on Twitter on Sunday. “While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ families, and my administration stands strongly with the Muslim community. These hateful attacks have no place in America.” Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city, said on Saturday that they are investigating the murders of three Muslim men that they now suspect are related to a fourth homicide from last year. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham expressed outrage at the killings, calling them “wholly intolerable”, and said she was sending additional state police officers to Albuquerque to aid in the investigation. “We will continue to do everything we can to support the Muslim community of Albuquerque and greater New Mexico,” she said. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil rights group in the United States, has offered a $10,000 reward to whoever provides information leading to the killer or killers’ arrest. read the complete article

08 Aug 2022

An actor’s campaign against anti-Arab and Muslim stereotypes in Hollywood

Growing up as an Egyptian immigrant in East Lansing, Mich., encountering racial slurs, such as the “N Word,” the “Sand N Word” and “Camel Jockey,” and being taunted with the phrase “Hassan Chop!” from the vulgar depiction of Arabs in Bugs Bunny cartoons, the last thing I want to do as an actor is to perpetuate demeaning depictions of Arabs and Muslims — or any other group of people for that matter. Nevertheless, I have encountered these stereotypes and distorted narratives regularly as an actor. To name just a few of the precursors to today’s hateful Arab and Muslim stereotypes, toxic and pervasive images of the bloodthirsty Native American, the Jewish Shylock, the Irish drunk, the African American pimp, the incoherent Asian and the lazy Mexican bandito often served (and continue to serve) as a rationale for oppression of “others” (i.e., anyone other than a white, Protestant male). After years of first-hand experience, I have encountered the following types of projects that include ugly stereotypes and/or distorted narratives related to Arabs and Muslims, which I will have no part of, and which I am describing in hopes that they are more readily identifiable, and, therefore, more readily objected to. Perhaps it is a perspective that will lead to a better understanding of how hateful dehumanization has been (and will continue to be) utilized to “rationalize” military invasions to “liberate” Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya or Afghanistan or the recent Muslim ban. The blatant, one-dimensional negative stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims as terrorists remains prominent in today’s mainstream productions, whether it’s the bloodthirsty, suicide bombing, child-murdering caliph in a major television series, or a lead in a major studio film described as an Arabic man who was raised by the Taliban, a vicious and calculating extremist, who is devising a plot to bomb key locations using kidnapped child suicide bombers. In an effort to “soften” this stereotype, a technique is used to maintain the one-dimensional character and “balance” it with a “good” Arab or Muslim. Nevertheless, the narrative is still about Arabs or Muslims inextricably linked to terrorism and violence, and very rarely associated with thousands of other potential storylines. read the complete article


08 Aug 2022

The rise and rise of anti-Muslim hate music in India

Sandeep Chaturvedi, 26, is readying to record his new song in a makeshift studio in the city of Ayodhya in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The song is about a mosque that has became a subject of controversy after Hindus claimed the right to worship there. It is riddled with innuendos against Muslims. But Chaturvedi says the song could get him back in business. Chaturvedi's songs are part of a growing trend of music on YouTube and other social media platforms where supporters of the Hindu right-wing spew venom at Muslims. The lyrics are abusive or threatening. They are usually based on the premise that Hindus have suffered for centuries at the hands of Muslims - and now it's payback time. Writer and political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay says that in addition to being a source of income, such music fetches their singers some attention. But for him, this is not music. "This is a war-cry. It's as if music is being used to win a war. This is a misuse of music and this has been happening for years." Often accused of targeting Muslims through his music, Chaturvedi is unapologetic. "If I plead with folded hands to get what is mine, will you agree? You won't. So we have to be provocative, don't we?" Upendra Rana is another creator making similar music in Dadri near Delhi. His mission is to "correct" history and his songs are paeans to Hindu warriors where Muslim rulers are portrayed as villains. "Many things that are true have been hidden while falsehoods have been imposed on us," he claims while talking about the history taught in schools. Compositions proclaiming "if you want to live in India, learn to say Vande Mataram ("I praise you, Mother")… and learn to live within your limits", or "thinking of Hindus as weak is the enemy's mistake" make no effort to hide who they are targeting. These songs have also helped right-wing organisations "mobilise" their cadres. read the complete article

08 Aug 2022

Study Finds Muslim Woman In India Face Discrimination When It Comes To Hiring

In 2017, when Lubna Aamir first started to look for jobs in the medical field, she struggled to understand the constant rejections. Then she noticed a pattern. “When I applied for jobs that were advertised on platforms like LinkedIn, as soon as I went for the interview I was told that the position had been filled, but for months I would notice the same job still being advertised,” she said. “I gave endless interviews, but as soon as the recruiters found out that I was wearing the headscarf they turned me down.” Once in an interview at a private dental clinic, the recuiter asked Aamir if she would be willing to take off her hijab if the need arose. LedBy Foundation and Maulana Azad National Urdu University of India published research recently that found bias against Muslim women in India exists across all industries. For the study, two similar fake resumes were created, one of a Hindu woman named Priyanka Sharma and the other of a Muslim woman named Habiba Ali. For more than 10 months, they applied to 1,000 real, entry-level jobs. It was found that the net discrimination faced by Habiba Ali was about 50 percent. Of the 1,000 jobs applied to, Priyanka received 208 positive responses, while Ali received only 103. In India, female workforce participation is among the lowest in the world. For Muslim women who are economically and educationally marginalized, the rates for labor market participation remain the lowest, at about 15 percent. read the complete article

08 Aug 2022

Are Muslims The Reason For Population Explosion? 'Hum Do Hamare Baarah' Accused Of Islamophobia

The movie has already been accused of Islamophobia and is being slammed online for apparently showing Muslims as the reason for the population explosion. The poster of the film has a tagline that reads, "Jaldi Hi Cheen Ko Picche Chhod Denge (We will soon leave China behind)" Trade analyst Komal Nahta shared the poster and wrote, "The film touches upon the hot topic of population explosion in India." People have accused the film of Islamophobia and slammed it for depicting Muslims as the reason of the population explosion. read the complete article

08 Aug 2022

Verification Drive or Raid? Rohingya in Haryana Accuse Cops of Harassment and Brutality

Before the break of dawn on July 26, 10 police jeeps and six police buses encircled the 10 Rohingya refugee camps in the Nuh district of Haryana. More than 600 policemen walked into the camps and allegedly barged into each jhuggi, pushing people out of their makeshift homes to carry out a ‘verification drive’. “‘Darwaza kholo warna darwaza tod dunga (Open the door or we will break it down)’. That’s what the policemen shouted at 4.30 am,” recalled a woman in her thirties, cradling her crying baby. Sofika, who stays at the Chandeni-1 Rohingya camp, clutched my hand and said, “Madam, hisaab laga lo (if you count), then for every family, there were around 10-15 policemen.” Sofika and her brother Hasan, both of whom are vocal about atrocities visited on the Rohingya refugees, guided me to the Ward-07 camp in Nangeli, where cases of violence by the police had been reported. There, according to Nurbahar, a woman in her 60s, the police had hit her, her son, her daughter-in-law and her daughter-in-law’s sister with lathis. This was because 17-year-old Sabakun Nahar, a resident of a camp in the suburbs of Bangalore and a patient of acute tuberculosis, had come to stay with her sister in Nangeli in the hope of getting treatment. Apparently, Rohingya refugees are not allowed to leave even the area of their biometric registration, let alone the state. So the police decided to punish this sick girl by thrashing her with their lathis, and also thrashed the other inhabitants of the jhuggi for providing Sabakun with shelter. Islam, a resident of the Nangeli camp, said, “We Rohingya have no home of our own. The earth below our feet is our land and the sky above our heads is our roof. We are illiterate people. We do odd jobs like scrap collection, daily-wage construction work (beldari), and domestic work. And when we try to leave the area to find better-paying work, we are not allowed.” read the complete article

08 Aug 2022

India: Narratives of division and hate

A documentary edition of the show looks at rising intolerance and xenophobia in India as toxic narratives flood the airwaves and the internet. India is at a dangerous moment. The voices of Hindutva – Hindu supremacy – are ascending, spreading division and hate speech. It has worked its way through the body politic like a slow-acting poison. And the effect on the secular fabric of the Indian republic and the lives of minorities – especially Muslims – has proven toxic, at times deadly. read the complete article

United Kingdom

08 Aug 2022

Murdered women: Sabina Nessa, ‘a kind and generous soul’

Something else haunts her. The disparity in media coverage between her sister’s murder, and that of Sarah Everard. Although the Muslim community expressed outrage over Sabina’s murder, holding vigils at a mosque, and a candle was lit outside the prime minister’s residence on Downing Street, her death did not attract the same media attention as Sarah’s. Sarah was a 33-year-old white marketing director who was murdered in March 2021 by a policeman, Wayne Couzens. The off-duty officer had falsely arrested her for breaching COVID-19 regulations. He then drove her to Dover, 129km (80 miles) away, where he raped and strangled her to death. He later burned her body and disposed of her remains in a nearby pond in Ashford, Kent. A casual search in the database Lexis Nexus revealed 1,346 British news reports on Sarah in the three days following her death. That compares with just 104 for Sabina, despite a number of similarities between their murders. Both women were conventionally beautiful, young, and had careers. They were from loving families and had a wide circle of friends. Both were walking close to their homes when they were attacked. But while Sarah’s murder was, and still is, to a degree a much discussed and written about case, not just in Britain but worldwide, Sabina’s family feels hers has been much less so. “All we’ve had from the government since Sabina was killed is a condolence letter, but nothing else,” says Jebina, when asked if the family feels that the government has paid enough attention to Sabina’s death. “A lot of people have highlighted the disproportionate coverage between Sarah Everard’s case and my sister’s,” she adds. “You can clearly see in the [news]papers. I’ve noticed she’ll have a little picture at the front and then she’ll make page nine or page seven. This has to be because my sister was not white.” Soon after Sabina’s death, a number of women of colour questioned, in the media and at public meetings, why her death was not met with the same level of media outrage as cases involving white women. They wondered if it was due to her ethnicity and skin colour, her being a Muslim woman of Bangladeshi origin. read the complete article

08 Aug 2022

Brown Boys Swim review – friends stay afloat against a tide of racism

Like lots of South Asian teenagers, Kash and Mohsen can’t swim. But with the biggest social event of their lives, Jess’s pool party, round the corner, there is only one thing to do – learn. At the poolside of their local leisure centre, the best friends bicker, banter and try their best to blend in. But Karim Khan’s play is more astute than your standard coming-of-age story. Based on real-life cases of drownings, it subtly explores the reasons why so many young Asians never learn to swim. Set in Oxford, at a time when Islamophobia is rife, it is a fight for the Muslim boys to stay afloat. The fear from others of seeing brown bodies stings the air of the swimming pool changing rooms. At school, they’re labelled drug dealers. A trip to the shops to buy swimming trunks turns sour with the police watching their every turn. They might be split on whether to fight or ignore it, but the everyday racism they’re wading through is chronic. Still, at the centre is a beautiful, boyish alliance – magically realised by actors Varun Raj and Anish Roy. Roy’s thoughtful and Oxford University-dreaming Mohsen is balanced by Raj’s Kash, a gloriously boastful ball of energy, even if his adolescent doubts are hidden just below. Intertwined by their shared community, culture and history, by the end they seem more like brothers than friends. read the complete article


08 Aug 2022

Police break up Muslim gathering in Kashmir, dozens detained

Police on Sunday detained dozens of people in Indian-controlled Kashmir as they dispersed Shiite Muslims who attempted to participate in processions marking the Muslim month of Muharram. Scores of Muslims defied severe security restrictions in parts of the main city of Srinagar and took to streets chanting religious slogans. The restrictions include a ban on the Shiite religious procession. Muharram is among the holiest months for Shiites across the world and and includes large processions of mourners beating their chests while reciting elegies and chanting slogans to mourn the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein and 72 companions in the battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq. Sunday’s procession marked the eighth day of Muharram, two days before its peak on the day of Ashura. Kashmiri Muslims have long complained that the government is curbing their religious freedom on the pretext of maintaining law and order while promoting an annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan Amarnath Shrine in Kashmir that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors. The ongoing Hindu pilgrimage has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors from across India amid massive security with tens of thousands of soldiers guarding the routes leading to the cave shrine. read the complete article

08 Aug 2022

Bangladesh seeks China's help to send Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar

Bangladesh has sought cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar during a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who promised better trade ties, investment and support for infrastructure development in the South Asian nation. The mainly Muslim Rohingya group faces widespread discrimination in Myanmar, where they are despised as interlopers despite having lived in the country for generations. A military-backed campaign that the United Nations labelled a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" saw hundreds of thousands of Rohingya driven across the border into Bangladesh in 2017, where they have since lived in sprawling refugee camps. China had used its influence in Myanmar to broker a November 2017 agreement to repatriate about 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar in August that year. Despite attempts to send them back, the refugees refused, fearing danger in Myanmar, which was exacerbated by the military takeover last year. read the complete article


08 Aug 2022

Canada sees surge in hate crimes during pandemic, new data shows

Canada has experienced a sharp rise in hate crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation and race since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released this week by Statistic Canada. Canada, which prides itself as a diverse and welcoming country for immigrants and refugees, has witnessed a 72 percent jump in its hate crime rate between 2019 and 2021, said Statistics Canada. In 2021, hate-motivated crimes targeting religion jumped 67 percent, those targeting sexual orientation climbed 64 percent and those targeting race or ethnicity rose 6 percent. The new statistics documented a 71 percent surge in hate crimes against Muslims in 2021 compared with 2020, during which there were 144 incidents. That has prompted minority groups to urge the government to pass an anti-racism law. read the complete article


08 Aug 2022

Xinjiang officials use Xi’s anti-crime campaign to target Uyghurs across region

The anti-crime campaign that China has been using to eradicate criminal forces and ensure political security and social control across the country is now also used by authorities in China’s far-western Xinjiang region to target Uyghurs, continuing the crackdown on the minority. The anti-crime campaign was rolled out by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s close ally Wang Xiaohong who was appointed public security minister on June 25 to eliminate criminal forces and ensure political stability and social control across the country. Authorities in China’s Xinjiang region used the Chinese government’s 100-day crackdown on criminals to target Uyghurs deemed “religious extremists” and “two-faced,” a police officer in a major city said, reported Radio Free Asia. The campaign affected the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang at various levels as the community have been subjected to the brunt of China’s oppressive policies for decades, Radio Free Asia reported, adding that the public security sweep in Xinjiang targeted mainly Uyghurs deemed religious extremists, separatists, terrorists and two-faced persons. The Chinese Communist Party uses the term “two-faced” to describe people usually officials or party members who are ideologically disloyal to the party, however,it is most often applied to Uyghurs in official positions who are interested in carrying on their cultural and religious traditions. The anti-crime campaign elsewhere in China focused on crimes like theft, while in Xinjiang officers sought to catch allegedly disloyal Uyghurs, local media reported citing Police officials. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 08 Aug 2022 Edition


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