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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23 Dec 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Europe, Hungarian President Viktor Orban’s remarks suggesting the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European Union will be challenging because of its large Muslim population draws condemnation from Bosnian officials and religious leaders, meanwhile in the United States, new data released from the NYPD shows that hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in New York City increased this year, with anti-Muslim crimes more than tripling compared to 2020, and in Canada, the country’s largest medical journal is under fire for allowing an article to be published by a doctor in which he calls the hijab “an instrument of oppression.” Our recommended read of the day is by The Wire on a recent three-day event in India attended by a “large collection of major religious leaders, right-wing activists, hardline fundamentalist militants and Hindutva organisations,” where a number of speakers called for open violence against Muslims. This and more below:


23 Dec 2021

Hindutva Leaders at Haridwar Event Call for Muslim Genocide | Recommended Read

Between December 17 and 19, a large collection of major religious leaders, right-wing activists, hardline fundamentalist militants and Hindutva organisations came together at Haridwar for an event called the ‘Dharma Sansad’ or ‘Religious Parliament’. Over the course of three days, this event witnessed an extraordinary quantity of hate speech, mobilisations to violence and anti-Muslim sentiment. The event was also attended by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who has previously been arrested for an event he helped organise where slogans were raised calling for violence against Muslims, and BJP Mahila Morcha leader Udita Tyagi, giving the event a level of political encouragement from the ruling party. At the just-concluded Dharam Sansad in Hardwar, Sadhvi Annapurna aka Pooja Shakun Pandey, a mahamandleshwar of the Niranjani Akhara and general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha also gave a call to arms and incitement to genocide. Without any ambiguity, she gave a direct call for the mass murder of Muslims. “Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population then kill them. Be ready to kill and be ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs of them (Muslims), then we will be victorious, and go to jail… Like [Nathuram] Godse, I am ready to be maligned, but I will pick up arms to defend my Hindutva from every demon who is a threat to my religion,” she said. read the complete article

United States

23 Dec 2021

Hate crimes against Muslims and Jews in New York City double since last year

Hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in New York City increased this year, with anti-Muslim crimes more than tripling compared to 2020, new data from the New York Police Department (NYPD) showed. The total number of hate crimes in NYC doubled since last year. As of 5 December, there were 503 reported hate crimes in NYC that were investigated by the NYPD. In 2020, there were 252. According to the police department, the driving force for these numbers was anti-Asian hate crimes, which went from 28 incidents in 2020 to 129 this year. Antisemitic crimes went from 121 to 183, and anti-Muslim crimes increased from four last year to 14 this year, tripling in size. The increase in Islamophobic-based crimes comes as no surprise. In July, a man named Naved Durrni was charged with multiple hate crimes, as well as aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon in the physical and verbal attacks on Muslims in Queens, New York. The alleged hate crimes took place in a span of five weeks. In one incident, he allegedly pulled on a woman's hijab, told her to take it off, and then punched her in the arm when she refused. In another incident, Durrni allegedly told a woman: "Mohammad was a liar." He then allegedly proceeded to punch her in the face and head, the district attorney's office said in a statement. "This year, we have seen a rise in Islamophobic hate crimes, especially toward mosques. In the past year alone, attacks on mosques have risen 500 percent, including New York City," Raja Abdulhaq, the executive director at Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York, told Middle East Eye. read the complete article

23 Dec 2021

US: Second 'spy' confessed to working with anti-Muslim group, rights group says

A second individual has confessed to spying in the US on behalf of an anti-Muslim group, whose alleged goal was to "protect the Israeli government" by undermining Muslim activists, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair). The person, whose identity has yet to be revealed, has created further links demonstrating a pro-Israel campaign to spy on Muslim communities and organisations throughout the United States, Cair said on Tuesday. The advocacy and civil rights group said the founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), Steven Emerson, paid the "spy" $3,000 a month, a total of more than $100,000 over more than four years, in order to spy on a mosque in the US and "record prominent Muslim leaders". "One of Emerson's goals, we were told, was protecting the Israeli government by undermining Muslims engaged in political and human rights activism," Cair said. During a news conference last week, the Muslim civil rights group revealed a series of emails between Israeli officials and the IPT. In one, an official asked the IPT whether it had information related to Students for Justice in Palestine, a student advocacy group with chapters in universities across the country. The rights group said that the individual came forward, confessed to his actions, and agreed to cooperate with mosque leaders. Cair added that it will provide further information, and publicly identify the person after it obtains further information. read the complete article

23 Dec 2021

U.S. Drone Strikes Are Even Worse Than We Knew

For more than a decade I’ve opposed U.S. drone-war policies. Calling drone strikes “surgical” was Orwellian propaganda, I argued. I later urged a drone-strike moratorium due to repeated massacres of innocents, among other reasons. Still, accurate information on many strikes was hard to find––and as it turns out, what the American public didn’t know was additionally damning. That’s the main takeaway from Pentagon documents that The New York Times reported on last week. Azmat Khan, who broke the story, characterized her informed impressions in a follow-up analysis. “What I saw after studying them was not a series of tragic errors but a pattern of impunity: of a failure to detect civilians, to investigate on the ground, to identify causes and lessons learned, to discipline anyone or find wrongdoing that would prevent these recurring problems from happening again,” she wrote. “It was a system that seemed to function almost by design to not only mask the true toll of American airstrikes but also legitimize their expanded use.” At Reason, Scott Shackford contrasted the U.S. government’s failures to hold itself accountable with its treatment of insiders who attempt to expose the truth about the drone war: The military has regularly failed even to analyze fully what happened in most of its mistaken strikes. Pentagon's records calculate that in only 4 percent of cases of civilian deaths did misidentification of targets play a role. But when the Times went to the locations of these strikes and investigated, the paper found that misidentification of targets accounted for nearly a third of civilian deaths and injuries … Right now, whistleblower Daniel Hale is in federal prison in Illinois, sentenced to 45 months for leaking some documentation to journalists that shows these very problems with how U.S. drone strikes operate. To judge from this Times report, Hale’s leaks were just the tip of the iceberg. The Times shows that time and time again, these drone strikes not only kill innocents but fail to take out the insurgents being targeted. Even under the cruel calculus that innocents may end up as collateral damage, this is a failure: Sometimes those innocents were the only people killed or injured. read the complete article


23 Dec 2021

Hungary’s leader denounced in Bosnia for anti-Muslim rhetoric

Bosnian officials and religious leaders have denounced suggestions voiced by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his spokesman that the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European Union will be challenging because of its large Muslim population. Orban’s spokesman Zoltan Kovacs has tweeted that “the challenge with Bosnia is how to integrate a country with 2 million Muslims.” During his long speech on Tuesday in Budapest, right-wing populist Orban said Hungary supports Bosnia’s EU bid, adding that as an EU member, Hungary had to mobilise a lot of energy to overcome “the enlargement fatigue that has taken hold of the European Union.” “I am doing my best to convince Europe’s great leaders that the Balkans may be further away from them than from Hungary, but how we manage the security of a state in which 2 million Muslims live is a key issue for their security too.” Reaction in Bosnia on Wednesday was sharp, with some Bosniak parties asking for a ban on Orban’s planned official visit to Sarajevo and the head of the Islamic community, Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic, calling his statement “xenophobic and racist.” “If such ideologies become the basis on which the policies of a united Europe are based, then it takes us back to the times when the European unity was to be build on similar fascist, Nazi, violent and genocidal ideologies that led to the Holocaust and other horrific crimes,” he said in a statement. The Bosniak member of the country’s tripartite presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, called Orban’s statement “shameful and rude.” “It is not a challenge for the EU to integrate 2 million (Bosnian) Muslims, because we are an Indigenous European people who have always lived here and we are Europeans,” he said. read the complete article

23 Dec 2021

Uyghur, Tibet and Hong Kong activists call for athletes to boycott Beijing Olympics

Uyghur, Tibet and Hong Kong activists are calling on international athletes to boycott the 2022 winter Olympics set to be held in Beijing, citing “the severity of worsening” human rights abuses being carried out by the Chinese Communist Party. In an open letter published Wednesday, activists representing these groups appeal to athletes to reject going to the games, in support of communities that are documented to be under severe repression by the Chinese government. “We know it is an extremely difficult ask for Olympic athletes who have dedicated so much time and energy to becoming champions in their sport. But it is not an exaggeration to say that life under Chinese government rule is literally death for our people,” the letter reads. The letter further calls out the International Olympic Committee for complicity in China’s human rights abuses and implicating athletes pursuing the highest competition for their sport. “We appeal to you to use your position, to stand on the rights side of history, and say no to the Genocide Games. Your support will bring so much hope to us, our family members, and our communities. It will set a precedent for other athletes to speak up.” read the complete article


23 Dec 2021

Doctor calls hijab 'instrument of oppression' in medical journal article

Canada’s largest medical journal is under fire for allowing an article to be published by a doctor in which he calls the hijab “an instrument of oppression.” Dr. Sherif Emil, a pediatric surgeon and professor at McGill University, was reacting to a photo published on the cover of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) in which a young girl was wearing a a hijab. In Dr. Emil’s article, also published in CMAJ, titled “Don’t use an instrument of oppression as a symbol of diversity and inclusion,” he explains he was only drawn to the article due to the image that accompanied it. “It has become “liberal” to see the hijab as a symbol of equity, diversity and inclusion,” wrote Dr. Emil. “The hijab, the niqab and the burka are … instruments of oppression for millions of girls and women around the world who are not allowed to make a choice,” he said. Dr. Emil’s article immediately sparked criticism online with the National Council of Canadian Muslims calling for an immediate retraction of the article. CMAJ has since apologized for the publication on Twitter and is “listening carefully to the critical feedback we’ve received.” The Quebec Advocacy Officer for the NCCM, Lina El Bakir, said this type of article being published in a reputable journal is “infuriating.” “[The article] contributes to dangerously harmful stereotypes about a demographic that has been targeted by some of the most violent forms of Islamophobia in this country,” said El Bakir. read the complete article


23 Dec 2021

French outcry over academic in Grenoble Islamophobia row

Dozens of French academics have warned that freedom of expression is at risk after a German professor was suspended over a row with politics students. Klaus Kinzler has been locked in dispute for months over accusations of Islamophobia at Sciences Po Grenoble. In a case that has provoked allegations of left-wing cancel culture, the political studies institute has suspended him for "defamatory remarks". The institute is now set to lose local funding because of the row. But the politics institute said the removal of funding was politically motivated and jeopardised students who struggled to access higher education. Forty people, mostly academics, have now signed an open letter to Higher Education Minister Frédérique Vidal, warning that pluralism in teaching and research is under threat, with teachers and students alike resorting to self-censorship. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Dec 2021 Edition


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