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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16 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is open to pursuing an independent investigation into whether the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency are paying informants within the Muslim Association of Canada to build a terrorism case against the charity, meanwhile a lawsuit initiated on behalf of the Rohingya people against Meta for its alleged role in inciting violence that led to a genocide was dismissed in a California court, and in Europe, Turkey’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic, said that the fight against xenophobia and hate speech regarding ethnic origins and religions should be the main agenda item of international meetings. Our recommended read of the day is by Hayes Brown for MSNBC on the legacy of former President Donald Trump’s war on legal immigration and how the policies passed by his administration have created a monumental humanitarian dilemma for the country. This and more below:

United States

15 Dec 2022

Trump's war on legal immigration is his most enduring legacy | Recommended Read

The centerpiece of former President Donald Trump’s immigration plan — the infamous wall on the border with Mexico — never came to pass. But the physical wall was never the only component of his war on immigrants. He and his staff still managed to erect an intangible dam of sorts at the border, constructed out of a slew of policies meant to hinder, discourage and otherwise bottleneck the progress of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking to legally settle in the United States. Since Joe Biden took office, his administration has been faced with a choice: Dismantle the blockages Trump erected in favor of either a new system or the pre-Trump status quo; or maintain the dam out of fear of what would happen if it came down. That this has even been a question for Biden and other Democrats shows that Trump’s most lasting policy legacy was his assault on legal immigration. Trump and his main immigration policy adviser, Stephen Miller, spent four years crafting as many ways as possible to limit immigration, from the so-called “Muslim travel ban” to the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Under the latter, applicants for asylum in the U.S. — which is protected under domestic and international law — were forced to await their immigration court hearings in Mexico rather than the United States. Those policies have created an ethereal barricade that has caused an immense buildup of pressure at the border, pressure that the Biden administration is now left trying to relieve. Given the strain that the U.S. immigration system was already under, after years of neglect in favor of a militarized hardening of the border, it’s easy to presume that a sudden massive uptick of applicants would overwhelm it. read the complete article


15 Dec 2022

RCMP probes elaborate scam targeting Canada’s largest Muslim organization

Canada’s largest Muslim community organization has been rocked by meticulous forgeries of RCMP and Canada Revenue Agency records, which weave an elaborate fiction about federal investigators using paid informants to build a terrorist-funding case against the charity. For more than a year, the Muslim Association of Canada has been receiving documents from an anonymous sender that suggest authorities are attempting to entrap the organization, sowing turmoil within the grassroots group. It operates 22 mosques and community centres and 30 schools in 13 cities. A Globe and Mail investigation has found that the records mailed to MAC are fake. The trove of documents, amounting to hundreds of pages, includes printouts designed to look like internal government e-mails between criminal investigators, fake RCMP search warrants and phony records of money transfers through the SWIFT interbank system to offshore accounts supposedly associated with informants within the charity. The Canada Revenue Agency referred the matter to the RCMP after The Globe shared some of the documents with the tax collection agency. The RCMP said in a statement that they are reviewing the documents. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, MAC is not convinced the documents are fake. The organization is calling on the federal government to launch an independent investigation aimed at determining whether someone in a government department or agency is engaging in “Islamophobic tactics against the Muslim community,” Sharaf Sharafeldin, MAC’s president responsible for strategy, said in a statement. “The documents are quite intricate, detailed and troubling,” Mr. Sharafeldin added. “The documents or their contents must have come from a source within the federal government or its agencies as no one outside of the federal government or its agencies would have had access to such information.” read the complete article

15 Dec 2022

Inquiry possible into forged papers sent to Muslim charity, Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is open to pursuing an independent investigation into forged government documents that falsely suggest the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency are paying informants within the Muslim Association of Canada to build a terrorist-funding case against the grassroots charity. Although the evidence that the documents are fake is overwhelming, MAC remains skeptical that they didn’t originate inside the government, and is calling for an independent inquiry. Mr. Trudeau was asked by reporters whether he would heed that call. “We are obviously very concerned about these reports of Islamophobic forged documents,” Mr. Trudeau said. “We are following up right now in understanding the situation. We will pursue an investigation if that is necessary.” MAC operates mosques and community centres across the country. The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that, for more than year, the organization has been receiving documents from an anonymous sender that allege law enforcement and tax collection authorities are trying to entrap it by creating the appearance that it is funnelling money to extremist groups. A Globe investigation found that the trove of documents – hundreds of pages sent in 11 packages from April, 2021, to late November of this year – are not authentic. read the complete article

15 Dec 2022

Toronto’s Most Inspirational Women of 2022 – Ausma Malik

I’ve known Ausma Malik for a very long time. From her early days as a student association leader at the University of Toronto to her time as a Toronto District School Board trustee, at all times I’ve known her to be a principled, effective and empathetic leader. However, what truly amazes me about Ausma is her bravery. As the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to hold elected office in Toronto (first as a school trustee and now as a city councillor), I’ve seen first-hand how Ausma has had to deal with hateful rhetoric. In our joint 2014 municipal election campaign, I witnessed an anonymous hate campaign — complete with leaflets, posters and even protests — targeting Ausma and her faith. Her bravery in the face of such brutal behaviour is a testament to her remarkable character. Ausma knows what she believes — she is deeply committed to building a more fair and just society, and she won’t back down. She is truly a remarkable woman. Toronto is the most diverse city in the world. It’s even our city’s motto: Diversity Our Strength. Nevertheless, diversity is simply a fact. Inclusion, that’s a choice. In electing Ausma Malik, residents of Toronto chose a vision for — and a leader committed to — inclusion. Toronto will be better off for Ausma Malik’s emerging presence at city hall. read the complete article


16 Dec 2022

Muslims in Europe subject to Islamophobia, racism: Envoy

Muslims in Europe are facing Islamophobia and racism, Türkiye’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Egemen Bağış said on Thursday, underlining the rise of such trends across the globe. Speaking at a conference hosted by the Czech Foreign Ministry in Prague, Bağış said that the fight against xenophobia and hate speech regarding ethnic origins and religions should be the main agenda item of international meetings in order to eliminate multidimensional problems. “Muslims, who make up the majority of immigrant communities in most European countries, are currently the main target of this approach,” Bağış said, indicating that the real number of racist attacks is higher than stated in official documents as many do not report the mistreatment they face in everyday life. “Racist and discriminatory practices in education and social life clearly trigger the tendency of immigrant communities to withdraw into themselves and hinder integration efforts." Noting that immigrants are seen as a security problem in Europe, Bağış underlined that multidimensional international platforms must increase efforts to raise awareness about the difficulties they face. Bağış said that new platforms should be established where victims can directly report negative acts such as hate speech, xenophobia and anti-Muslim attacks. read the complete article

15 Dec 2022

How to be a bad Muslim: Politics, poetry and finding love beyond the labels

Where are you from? No, where are you really from? It’s a question that’s come to light recently in the British media and it’s a question asked to almost every person of colour. Anyone with a slightly different accent or hairstyle or threads that bear an undefined culture. It’s a question that’s been asked to Mohamed Hassan, a 31-year-old blue-eyed writer with an unplaceable face and an undetermined accent. And it’s an answer he gives through his poem When They Ask You. For the unacquainted, Hassan is an Egyptian-New Zealander now living in London after a spell in Istanbul. He is both a poet, and the head of video at Middle East Eye's London office. Born in Cairo, to parents who were both electrical engineers, Hassan grew up surrounded by the love of his grandmother, slow Friday lunches of fried shrimp and molokhia, and afternoon naps - "a sign of true living" - he writes in his new book How to be a Bad Muslim. At age eight, Hassan migrated with his parents and two younger siblings to Auckland’s North Shore in New Zealand, escaping the economic woes of Egypt in the 1990s. It's this poetic force, blended with the directness of a journalist, that Hassan now drips and drizzles throughout his new book, written as a collection of 19 deeply introspective personal essays. He tells Middle East Eye: "Even through the process of writing this book, my editor had to keep pulling me back gently from getting too abstract in my writing, and keeping my ideas and imagery grounded and easy to understand. This is my Achilles heel as a poet. "But as a journalist, there were a lot of tools that felt instinctive, especially when documenting some of the facts around Islamophobia and immigration policy as it exists in New Zealand, Australia, and other places." Each chapter can be read as stand-alone snapshots of life, or consecutively as a refreshingly honest take on the world’s current state of affairs, through Hassan's eyes. read the complete article

15 Dec 2022

The Hindutva Threat Outside India

India is the world’s largest democracy, and its constitution enshrines secularism, but leaders in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party espouse an ideology called “Hindutva” — loosely translated “Hinduness” but often called “Hindu nationalism.” The party is linked to groups such as the paramilitary Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad — often collectively referred to as the Sangh Parivar. The RSS can be among the first groups to offer help after natural disasters, but its militants can also show extreme intolerance, including violence against religious minorities and maligning writers and artists. Many senior officials in the Indian government, including current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are or have been RSS associates. Hindutva ideology can be distinguished from Hinduism itself. It demands neither a theocratic state nor Hinduism as a state religion. It is a national-cultural project — rather than religious in the strictly doctrinal sense used in the West — and self-identifies as the soul of India itself. Sangh Parivar militants maintain that religious minorities, including Muslims and secularists, could support Hindutva — and therefore if they do not, they are betraying the nation. The mainstreaming of Hindutva politics, especially since the BJP returned to power in 2014 under Prime Minister Modi, has led to a widespread narrative that Hindus in India are in danger from Muslims as a result of population changes, interfaith marriage and illegal Muslim immigration. This has led to discriminatory laws on citizenship and marriage. The potential impact of Hindutva does not necessarily end at India’s borders. Some Hindu nationalists believe that an accurate map of India should include Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh and have campaigned to rewrite Indian textbooks to reflect this. If this sentiment grows and results in a future expansionist foreign policy, India will be more likely to clash again with Pakistan and other neighbors, including China. read the complete article

15 Dec 2022

The Rohingya’s Genocide Suit Against Meta is Dismissed—For Now

The lawsuit against Meta in response to the Rohingya genocide was dismissed in a California court Dec. 14, although the plaintiff will be allowed amend and refile her suit. In December 2021, Jane Doe, an individual on behalf of the Rohingya people, a minority group in Myanmar, filed a lawsuit against Meta for its alleged role in inciting violence that led to a genocide. The suit accuses Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, of financially benefitting from clickbait and fake news that pushed anti-Rohingya narratives and ignored the risks of doing so. The plaintiff sued for negligence and strict product liability, or the responsibility for injuries due to a defective product. The result of the lawsuit could set a precedent for social media companies’ responsibility to moderate content on an international level. Meta admitted it didn’t do enough to prevent violence against the Rohingya prior to 2018. The company did not respond to a request for comment. In the court order, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rejected the plaintiff’s negligence and strict product liability claims. The lawsuit fails to connect Facebook’s platform to the alleged injury the plaintiff experienced due to an attack on her village by the Myanmar military, she ruled. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 16 Dec 2022 Edition


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