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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02 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., the New Jersey Muslim community is outraged after a pickup truck displaying images from a Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008 drove around a Middlesex County Islamic Center’s parking lot in what locals are calling an act of intimidation and harassment, meanwhile at the World Cup in Qatar, two soccer fans are asked leave the stadium by FIFA authorities after showing up to cheer on the English National Team dressed as Crusaders, and in India, NDTV’s Ravish Kumar, a popular journalist who worked at the company for over 27 years, is resigning after a right-leaning investor with close ties to the BJP buys the network. Our recommended read of the day is by Jo Smith Finley for The Conversation about the zero-COVID protests happening across China and how many Uyghur Muslims, themselves often the most impacted by such measures, are too terrified to join fellow activists in the protests. This and more below:


01 Dec 2022

China protests: Uyghur people have suffered most from draconian zero-COVID policies but are too terrorised to join in | Recommended Read

The latest wave of protests sweeping through China were sparked by the deaths of at least ten people in a fire in a high-rise apartment block in Ürümchi, Xinjiang. Residents were apparently prevented from leaving the building due to the enforcement of ethnically targeted zero-COVID regulations. The region is home to 12 million ethnic Uyghurs, a minority group in China. Yet, when Uyghur activist Abduweli Ayup tweeted about the protests, he noted that there had been no signs of Uyghurs’ participation, and Uyghur-dominant cities remained silent. The impact of years of systematic strategies of Chinese state terror against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims means that those communities have remained deathly quiet in the aftermath of the fire. Meanwhile, Han residents of Xinjiang – the regional stronghold for the Communist party – have confidently come out in force to protest against the hated policy. Every Uyghur knows that criticism of party policy by a Turkic Muslim will result in being detained and abused in the state’s internment camps or prisons or else coerced into forced labour. In the context of street demonstration, they face a “shoot-to-kill” policy. read the complete article

01 Dec 2022

‘I hold China accountable’: Uyghur families demand answers over fire that triggered protests

For more than five years, Sharapat Mohamad Ali and her brother Mohamad had been unable to contact their family in far western China, where the government has been accused of incarcerating up to 2 million Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in internment camps. They believe their father and brother are among those detained in the Xinjiang region, so have long been primed for bad news. But when they finally received word about their family on Friday, it was even worse than they might have imagined. Friends alerted them to social media images that showed the bodies of their mother, Kamarnisahan Abdulrahman, and their 13-year-old sister Shehide, who had died along with three of their other siblings when a fire ripped through an apartment block in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, on November 24. “I learned the awful news about my family from social media,” Sharapat, 25, told CNN through tears on a video call from Turkey, where she and her brother moved to study in early 2017. “My mom was such a wonderful woman, she loved to help people,” her brother added. The deaths in Urumqi have not only fueled protests in mainland Chinese cities, they have also given rise to a surge of anger from Uyghur families who say they have been suffering under China’s policies for years. The United States and other nations have described the Chinese government’s actions and camps in Xinjiang as constituting a genocide. China denies genocide, or any human rights abuses, in Xinjiang. It insists the camps are vocational and designed to fight religious extremism. But CNN has spoken to dozens of Uyghurs and other minorities over the past five years, along with a former Chinese police officer turned whistleblower. Their reports of the camps in Xinjiang included torture, sexual violence, and indoctrination. read the complete article

United States

30 Nov 2022

NJ Muslim community outraged over apparent harassment incident'

Members of a Muslim community in New Jersey are speaking out after an incident they say was intended to harass and intimidate them. It happened Saturday at the Muslim Center of Middlesex County in Piscataway. Organizers say more than 200 members were attending an event when a truck drove into the parking lot. The truck, equipped with a digital billboard showing images from the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, circled around the lot twice, stopping several times before finally leaving. The incident was captured by a surveillance camera and by one person who followed the truck off the property and onto Route 18 North. Members of the community say the incident was clearly intended to harass them. "By targeting a Muslim center and deliberately circling its premises repeatedly, the perpetrators expect New Jersey's Muslim community to answer to, or even feel shame for, an event that occurred entirely independent of them," said Selaedin Maksut, executive director of the NJ chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a statement. "Anti-Muslim intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable," Maksut continued. "They mirror the tactics used against American Muslims in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks and could lead to an uptick in anti-Muslim incidents as we've seen over the past two decades." read the complete article

01 Dec 2022

Muslim Candidates in the 2022 Midterms Won a Record Number of Seats

Nabeela Syed was in high school when Donald Trump, who called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” was elected to office. “As a visibly Muslim, Indian American young woman, it was heartbreaking to see someone with such divisive rhetoric, such hateful language, get elected to public office,” she tells Teen Vogue. It lit a fire in her belly. Today, the 23-year-old is a state representative-elect to the 51st House District in Illinois. In the 2022 midterm elections, Syed managed to flip a Republican seat and make history; in January, when she assumes office, she will be the youngest elected member of Illinois’s General Assembly. “This is my home; this is the only home I’ve ever known,” she says. “I was not going to let the new wave of far-right extremism make it feel like me or other folks don’t belong in a country that is ours as well.” Syed joins a record number of Muslim Americans elected to local, state, and federal offices in the midterm elections. The Council of American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights advocacy group, and Jetpac, a nonprofit focused on Muslim political representation, stated in a November report that Muslims won 83 seats, compared to 71 in 2020. Many of the candidates, like Syed, are in their 20s. “They are a generation that has been completely shaped — their lives have been completely shaped and formed by the War on Terror,” says Sylvia Chan-Malik, an associate professor at Rutgers University, about why young Muslims are increasingly running for office. “They’ve never known another America, except one in which these anti-Muslim, very racist anti-Muslim types of logic are in the air and circumscribe every aspect of their lives.” read the complete article

01 Dec 2022

Civil rights groups question Biden’s counterterrorism strategy

The nation’s largest civil rights organization is criticizing the Biden administration’s strategy to combat rising domestic extremism and white supremacy, saying the effort relies too heavily on methods that risk unnecessarily targeting and profiling Black and Brown communities. In a report Thursday, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 groups, calls on the administration to stop broad surveillance of social media accounts, rein in the use of federal government terrorist watch lists, oppose new domestic terrorism laws and adopt greater safeguards on information gathering. Leadership Conference officials said a focus on combating domestic extremism is important at a time of rising white nationalism and a spike in hate crimes. But they reiterated concerns that the administration is too readily importing strategies from two decades of trying to combat foreign-based terrorism that, they said, have disproportionately targeted minority communities. “One of things we’re trying to highlight, without necessarily saying it, is that we do not need a new war on terror,” said Nadia Aziz, the senior director of the Leadership Conference’s Fighting Hate & Bias initiative. “We should not use the same framework, the same rules, that were used in post-9/11 framework, in which we saw tremendous harm in some communities.” read the complete article


01 Dec 2022

Why were English football fans dressed as crusaders banned from stadiums in Qatar?

Qatari security stopped two British football fans and asked them not to enter Al Bayt Stadium to watch the game between Team USA and their country's national team because they were dressed like crusaders, telling them that such gear is offensive. The Times of London reported the football governing body, FIFA, telling the English football fans to ditch the gear of the medieval knights, shields and swords or miss the game and lose the opportunity to support the British national team. A FIFA official said that it was exerting much effort "to create a discrimination-free environment, to promote diversity across the organisation and in all of its activities and events." Quoted by the Times of London, the FIFA official argued: "Crusader costumes in the Arab context can be offensive against Muslims. That is why anti-discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out or change dress." The British Foreign Office advised its football fans to pay attention to their actions when they travel to Qatar, telling them: "Qatari laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. Be aware of your actions to ensure that they don't offend." However, the two Britons showed up in crusaders costumes. While Qatar wanted to make the FIFA World Cup 2022 an event of co-existence and tolerance, the crusader costumes worn by the British football fans retrieved bad historic memories to Arabs and Muslims, who have been enthusiastically following up all around the world. read the complete article

02 Dec 2022

India’s Hindutva Proponents and Zionist Israel: Strange Bedfellows

When Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid recently described “The Kashmir Files,” a film about the expulsion of Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Hindus) from Kashmir in 1990, as “vulgar” and state “propaganda,” all hell broke loose in India. Hindutva supporters unleashed strong criticism against his remarks. It is no secret that the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had publicly backed the film with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing the film for “showing the truth” about the Pandit exodus from Kashmir, which he said “had been suppressed for years.” It has persistently attempted to portray the expulsion of Kashmiri Pandits from the country’s only Muslim-majority state of Kashmir in 1990, as a Hindu “genocide.” In an earlier article in The Diplomat, I detailed how “The Kashmir Files” was being used as a tool by the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, a “family” of Hindu right-wing organizations of which the BJP is a part, to fuel hatred and Islamophobia in the country. The BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) have long admired the Jewish supremacist policy of Israel where majoritarianism (of the Jews) is enshrined in the constitution. In his book “Hindutva” (1923), RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who is revered by the BJP, called for the creation of a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu state) and looked forward to the fulfillment of the “Zionist dream” of Palestine becoming a Jewish state. Hindutva proponents have long championed Israel’s exclusionist policies toward Palestinian Muslims, which validate their own anti-Muslim biases. The Israeli model of a military state and a muscular state policy have also appealed to Hindu nationalists. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has often praised Israel. He has held up Israel’s “strong policies” to illustrate how the small nation won six wars. Israel’s controversial policies vis-à-vis Palestinians in the Occupied Territories do not evoke criticism from the votaries of Hindutva. read the complete article

United Kingdom

01 Dec 2022

Census shows 39 per cent of Muslims live in most deprived areas in England and Wales

Nearly 40 per cent of the Muslim population live in the most deprived areas of England and Wales, according to analysis of census data. It found nearly half a million more Muslims reside in the poorest fifth areas than a decade ago. The Muslim Council of Britain, who ran the analysis, urged policymakers to take action to avoid communities being “left in cycles of poor social mobility”. Zara Mohammed, the council’s general secretary, said: “The last decade has seen more second and third generation Muslims, confident of our faith and place in society, contributing immensely to the economic recovery and vitality of our nation.” ”There are, of course, areas of concern, particularly where many Muslim communities disproportionately impacted by deprivation. There is especially worrying given the concern on access to opportunity and inclusion. “Policy-makers now need to address these concerns, communities cannot continue to be left in cycles of poor social mobility. Young people cannot have a bright future if they do not have the best opportunities available to them.” read the complete article

02 Dec 2022

Hamza Yousaf abuse is second time in as many days Scotland has been embarrassed by racists

The vile racial slurs directed at Health Secretary Humza Yousaf are shameful. The online abuse he has suffered means he no longer engages with his Twitter followers or even looks at his account. Yousaf says the insults leave their mark, especially when his family are involved. He is being targeted simply because of his skin colour and Asian heritage. The abuse has nothing to do with the daily stick politicians have to put up with. It is Islamophobia, plain and simple, and it is beyond contempt. This is the second time in a few days that Scotland has been embarrassed by racists. read the complete article

01 Dec 2022

Forty potential ministerial code breaches never investigated, report reveals

Forty potential breaches of the ministerial code have never been referred for investigation by the ethics adviser, data shows. It comes as a parliamentary committee warned historical breaches of the code may never be investigated or resolved, including the conduct of the home secretary or Islamophobia claims against a former chief whip. Rishi Sunak has launched a hunt for a new adviser on ministerial interests but the Guardian reported last week several candidates have turned down the role. Sunak is not offering any enhanced powers – which means advisers would not be able to launch their own investigations. The ethics adviser, when appointed, would probably face calls to renew or open at least two complex investigations – including concluding one into alleged Islamophobic comments made by the then chief whip, Mark Spencer, to the Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani. In a new report, the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, said it would be concerning if the prime minister’s new adviser was not allowed to examine historical cases. It suggests the inquiry into allegations of racism towards Ghani will not be concluded, which the committee says is “unsatisfactory.” read the complete article


01 Dec 2022

Concerns over free press in India after NDTV’s Ravish Kumar quits

The resignation of one of India’s most popular TV journalists from a network recently acquired by a billionaire tycoon close to the ruling party has sparked concerns over press freedom in the country. Ravish Kumar, 47, announced his exit from New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) on Wednesday, a day after the network’s founders Prannoy and Radhika Roy stepped down from its board. Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy (RRPR) Private Ltd held a 29.18 percent stake in the broadcaster which was taken over by Gautam Adani, Asia’s richest man who has close ties with India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Kumar worked at NDTV’s Hindi network for 27 years and made his reputation as a diligent and articulate presenter who did not mince words when addressing burning issues. The popular evening show he hosted was viewed by millions in a country that has seen a spike in anti-Muslim sentiment and policies pushed by the BJP and its allies in recent years. Kumar frequently called out his competitors during his shows, accusing them of defending the government and peddling Hindu-Muslim hatred. He even coined a name for them: “godi media” (godi in Hindi means a lap). read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Dec 2022 Edition


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