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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01 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: Israeli Director Nadav Lapid, who yesterday described the The Kashmir Files as “propaganda” and “inappropriate,” stands by his comments despite criticism from the Indian government, meanwhile from Iran to India, the issues surrounding the hijab are really about women’s agency and their right to choose and self expression, and in France, a court fines a restaurant owner for prohibiting the entry of a Muslim women because she was wearing a hijab after footage was captured of the restaurant owner using racist language towards the patron. Our recommended read of the day is by Afzal Khan and Benedict Rogers for Byline Times who in a reflection on the end of Islamophobia Awareness Month in Britain, raise a concern on the prevalence of religious hate crimes in the UK and how the Conservative government should commit to protecting Muslims in the UK. This and more below:

United Kingdom

30 Nov 2022

‘Where There is Hate, Freedom Dies’ | Recommended Read

We can only effectively tackle violations of religious freedom abroad if we tackle religious hatred here at home. Both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are on the rise, and the latter is especially pervasive, resulting in violent hate crimes and targeted discrimination. Together they make up 65% of all hate crimes. According to the Home Office’s own figures, hate crimes against Muslims accounted for 42% of all recorded hate crimes in 2021/22, year after year the highest proportion of religiously motivated hate crimes. In the past year, the overall number rose by 28%. Equally alarmingly, according to Muslim Census, a 2021 survey of 1,000 British Muslims found that 92% of them believe the Government itself is Islamophobic and only 29% feel their freedom of speech is protected in the UK. The fact that so many have that perception is dangerous. Neither of our parties, Labour and Conservative, has a clean record. Labour had its own challenges with anti-Semitism, and more recently with Islamophobia, as shown by the 2020 Labour Muslim Network report. However, there are reasons to be deeply concerned about Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. The 2021 inquiry into alleged discrimination in the Conservative Party by Professor Swaran Singh revealed institutional failings in the party’s handling of Islamophobic complaints. However, it also failed to consult a single Conservative Muslim member and was accused of “whitewashing” the issue. In the 2019 leadership election, all candidates promised to conduct an inquiry into Islamophobia in the party, but until now, no such investigation has materialised. read the complete article

30 Nov 2022

UK: Growing Muslim population hailed as 'strategic national asset'

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has said that the growth of the UK's Muslim population is a "strategic national asset" for the country but raised concerns about the levels of poverty the community continues to live in. Results from the 2021 Office for National Statistics (ONS) census have shown that the Muslim community of England and Wales stood at 3.87 million, or 6.5 percent of the total population - a rise of 1.7 percent since 2011. In a statement on Tuesday, the MCB said that the addition of so many young Muslims to the British workforce would provide a boost to the economy. "While our nation has an increasingly ageing population, the contribution to the workforce of a youthful Muslim population remains a strategic national asset," said MCB secretary general Zara Mohammed. "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." They also noted, however, that Muslim communities in the UK were "disproportionately impacted by deprivation", according to the census. The ONS data showed that around 40 percent of the Muslim population of England resided in the most deprived fifth of local authority districts. "Policymakers now need to address these concerns, communities cannot continue to be left in cycles of poor social mobility," said Mohammed. "Young people cannot have a bright future if they do not have the best opportunities available to them." read the complete article


01 Dec 2022

Both Iran’s hijab law and Karnataka ban oppress Muslim women

Hijab means barrier or partition in Arabic. However, the word is increasingly being associated with women not having agency over their bodies. A myopic perspective of the situation might see women in Iran and Karnataka fighting for different rights but a feminist point of view would perceive it as a fight against oppression and for religious and bodily autonomy. Women have embraced hijab for a variety of reasons, including expressing their identity in France or resisting neo-imperialism in Iran. By limiting the hijab to only being an instrument of oppression and failing to consider its true contextual meaning, we ignore the reasons why women choose to wear it. Hijab-wearing women are reduced to being victims of patriarchy regardless of why they wear it. The hijab is seen as a battle between the oppressor (men) and the oppressed (women). This narrow dichotomy denies women their agency and forces them to see the world through a lens where they are at the losing end. Therefore, while the claim that the hijab is a symbol of patriarchy may have some merit, it is not always true. Not all women who wear the hijab are oppressed—and making such broad generalisations is wrong. In light of the Karnataka HC ruling, there has been a general tendency to ‘protect’ all hijab-wearing women without first determining whether they need such protection. read the complete article

30 Nov 2022

The secret history of political Islam

The ongoing focus of both media and academia on the Muslim Brotherhood as the origin of “political Islam” belies the movement’s roots in the fierce debate over secularism and religion in the Ottoman empire’s final days. It’s become fairly typical to consider the Ottoman-Turkish sphere as a category apart when it comes to political, religious and other affairs in the Middle East, as if only the Arabic element counts as authentic, and crossovers don’t count. But this approach - which reflects the world view of modern nationalism - has obscured the process through which Islamist political ideology emerged from the premodern Islamic tradition in all its complexity. European secular nationalism - especially Auguste Comte’s anti-religion positivism - spread throughout various elite groups of Ottoman society in the late 19th century, not least the military, setting the scene for a showdown with clerics and devout intellectuals after the Young Turk revolution of 1908. The debate quickly degenerated into extreme positions. The religious lobby - sensing that not only religious institutions but faith itself was under attack - described their opponents as essentially atheist, though most professed that they remained believers. In this context, in 1913 nationalist intellectual Ziya Gokalp coined the terms Islamism (İslamcılık) and Islamist (İslamcı) in an effort to undercut the claim of these traditionalist clerics and their allies among devout intellectuals that one side was Muslim and the other was not - introducing this terminology decades before it became commonplace in regional political discourse. read the complete article

30 Nov 2022

Israeli Film Director Who Caused Diplomatic Flap Over Criticism of an Indian Film Stands by His Remarks

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid has now doubled down on his criticism of an Indian film that he had publicly condemned earlier this week. Speaking at the closing event of the International Film Festival of India in Goa on Monday about "The Kashmir Files," which was shown at the festival, he said it "felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.” Lapid headed the jury at the festival. "Making bad films is not a crime, but this is a very crude and very manipulative and very violent propaganda film,” Lapid told Haaretz following the flap over his comments on the film, a wildly popular movie touted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It depicts the 1990 flight of Hindus from the Muslim-majority Kashmir region – an Indian-administered territory that critics of India's control have described as brutal occupation. The film, which centers around a university student who discovers that his Kashmiri parents had been killed by armed Muslims, has sparked anti-Muslim sentiment. Since the film debuted in India this year, there have been calls in the country to boycott Muslim businesses and even to attack Indian Muslims. Lapid's comments in Goa were met by widespread condemnation in India, with many invoking the Holocaust in their criticism. “Nadav Lapid is a Hindu-hating bigot who whitewashes ethnic cleansing. Not less than a Nazi enabler,” tweeted Abhinav Prakash, the national vice president of a youth movement affiliated with President Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. But Lapid told Haaretz that he stands behind his remarks and "definitely knows how to recognize a piece of propaganda masquerading as a film.” "We learned that the film was pushed into the official competition of the festival, which is the largest in India, due to political pressure," the Israeli film director said. "So I feel that precisely as a foreigner who goes there, you have an obligation to say the things that the people who live there may have a harder time saying." read the complete article


30 Nov 2022

Boycott Muslim Traders Campaign By Hindu Outfits Hits Several Parts Of Karnataka

Hindu outfits in Karnataka calling for the boycott of Muslim traders near the vicinity of temples continued their protest across several parts of the state. They tried to stop non-Hindu traders from conducting business in Anjanadri Hill in the Koppal district. The district administration, however, intervened and removed the banners that were put up by the groups and warned legal action against those who put it up, the Indian Express reported. Muslims traders had also installed shops on the occasion of ‘Hanuman Mala Vrit Visarjana’ event on Tuesday, despite posters demanding not to allow non-Hindus to conduct business on display, according to the daily. HJV leader Shrikanth told the Indian Express that they are demanding a ban against non-Hindu traders from doing business at all Hindu shrines in the state. “You saw the recent arrests in terror accused cases and Hindu temples are under the radar of anti-national elements,” he said. read the complete article

01 Dec 2022

When video exposed bigotry, why Manipal Institute of Technology reacted differently from Udupi college

A video of a student from MIT (Manipal Institute of Technology), an engineering college in Karnataka, confronting his teacher over an Islamophobic remark has gone viral and captured national headlines. The incident had reportedly taken place on November 25. On November 28, the video of the exchange between the teacher and the student started circulating on social media. Following this, the institution tendered a public response to the incident, in the form of a letter which was circulated online. The letter stated that the concerned teacher had been debarred from classes, that an inquiry against him had been initiated, that the institution prided itself on the diversity of its student population and was committed to upholding the constitutional values of “treating everyone alike, irrespective of their caste, religion, region, gender etc.” read the complete article


French court fines restaurant owner for banning Muslim woman

A French court fined a restaurant owner in southwest France for prohibiting the entry of a Muslim woman for wearing the Islamic headscarf (also known as the hijab). The court in the city of Bayonne in the Basque region ruled that the 64-year-old female restaurant owner was guilty of discrimination based on religion for asking the customer to remove her headscarf. The incident took place on Mother’s Day in July, when the Muslim woman went to the restaurant to have dinner with her son. Footage obtained during the incident shows the mother and son arriving at the restaurant door, and the woman who owns the business said she will not let the two customers into the restaurant because her mother is wearing a "headscarf from the Dark Ages." The restaurant owner, who is believed to be a Christian because she was wearing a religious symbol – a cross around her neck – claimed that "the headscarf is a tool to subdue women" to her Muslim client, whom she then refused to let in. The customer, who stated that he was shocked by the words directed at him, went to the police station and filed a complaint on the grounds that they were discriminated against. read the complete article

United States

01 Dec 2022

Anti-Muslim imagery displayed during incident at Muslim Center of Middlesex County

An anti-Muslim incident occurred at a mosque in Piscataway on Saturday afternoon, according to an article from During the incident, which occurred at the Muslim Center of Middlesex County, someone drove a truck around the mosque’s parking lot several times displaying graphic images from the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. In the terror attacks in November 2008, members of a Pakistan Islamic terrorist group began a series of bombing and shooting attacks that lasted for four days in Mumbai, according to the article. Dina Sayedahmed, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), said that a religious service had just concluded at the time of the incident. Piscataway police were notified and a police report was filed, she said. CAIR-NJ director Selaedin Maksut said that similar incidents have occurred in the past, according to the article. He cited one from earlier this summer, when a bulldozer, which has been known to symbolize anti-Muslim attitudes in India, was included in Edison and Woodbridge’s India Independence Day parade. "The intent behind this incident is clear. 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," Maksut said. "Anti-Muslim intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Dec 2022 Edition


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