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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26 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that “Rohingya refugees — who are fleeing ethnic cleansing and other severe state repression in their native Myanmar — have been packed aboard the unseaworthy boat for as long as a month without adequate food or water,” meanwhile in India, thousands of Christians in Chhattisgarh fled their villages due to continuous attacks by Hindu extremists, which is another example of religious intolerance in the country against Christians and Muslims, and in the United States, the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is working alongside law enforcement to seek answers after a mosque was vandalized this week. Our recommended read of the day is by the BBC on how a Muslim hiking group is spending Christmas day hiking in the Peak District, an annual event which has previously been met with racist abuse. This and more below:

United Kingdom

26 Dec 2022

Racist abuse will not deter Muslim Hikers' Christmas walk Published | Recommended Read

A Muslim hiking group founder says past racist abuse will not deter a festive trek up one of the UK's most popular peaks. About 200 walkers are to tackle a 7-mile (11.3km) loop around Mam Tor in the Peak District on Christmas Day. Pictures of last year's 25 December event attracted online hate, but group founder Haroon Mota, of Coventry, remains unperturbed. "Essentially we have the whole mountain to ourselves," he said. "If it worried me we wouldn't be organising a hike on Christmas Day in the first place," he added. The walking group became the target of further racial slurs following a November appearance on BBC One's Countryfile. "That type of abuse... it's unsurprising, it's problematic and we need to address it, but it's something we're very much used to dealing with now," said Mr Mota. "We just need to carry on with what we set up for in the first place, and that's to create an inclusive place in the outdoors." read the complete article


26 Dec 2022

Indian activist Umar Khalid gets a week’s bail — and a gag order

Indian activist Umar Khalid has been released from New Delhi’s Tihar Jail for a week to attend his sister’s wedding, more than two years after he was arrested for alleged involvement in the 2020 riots in the country’s capital. Khalid was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA— which human rights organisations such as Amnesty International have described as draconian — and provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being a mastermind of the February 2020 riots, which had left 53 people dead and more than 700 injured. The violence had erupted during nationwide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), initiatives of the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that critics said discriminated against Muslims. Khalid’s case contrasts sharply with the manner in which the Indian justice system has dealt with allegations of hate speech by members of the far-right aligned with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, activists said. Kavita Krishnan, a feminist activist based in New Delhi, told Al Jazeera that “the Indian government uses tough laws to discriminate between accused people”. She cited the example of Yati Narsinghanand, a far-right priest who has openly called for genocide against Muslims, yet secured bail after his arrest has been out of jail for months, even as he stands accused of hate speech. “Yati Narsinghanad, who called for Muslim genocide, is charged under a law that is not meant for serious crimes,” Krishnan said. It is easier for him to get bail. But if you charge someone under UAPA or law of that kind the bail is extremely difficult to get.” read the complete article

26 Dec 2022


This week, thousands of Christians in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh fled their villages as a result of continuous attacks by Hindu extremists. The victims have accused people belonging to the Hindu-right wing - specifically those affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the ruling BJP - of targeting their community. The incident, however, is not an isolated event in the context of the current Indian political environment. In the last few years, the country has witnessed increased religious intolerance, especially towards minorities. Incidents of violence and hate crimes have risen and the state on its part is accused of blatantly perpetrating and facilitating such incidents in pursuit of fanning majoritarian and anti-minority sentiments. Critics of the government accuse the ruling Hindu-nationalist BJP of aiming to convert the country into a Hindu state as many of its leaders have been actively engaging in the anti-minority rhetoric, particularly against Muslims and Christians. This year particularly saw numerous blatant attacks on minorities by the governments at the state and central levels. In the aftermath of communal clashes between Muslims and Hindus in different regions, which were allegedly started by right-wing Hindus, authorities razed houses of Muslims in these areas. In the same vein, in the southern state of Karnataka, Muslim girls wearing hijabs were prohibited from entering educational institutes. Ruled by the BJP, the state government fully backed the move which was an attack on the freedom of religion and the choice of hundreds of Muslim girls. Anti-terror laws have also been used to target journalists and activists critical of the government, particularly those belonging to minority communities. Prominent fact-checker Muhammad Zubair, who is a leading voice against the ruling party, remained in jail for several months for his public criticisms. read the complete article

26 Dec 2022

Hatewatch: VHP leader Suresh Sharma allegedly threatens, Burn Muslims down!

In a shocking instance of provocation to violence, Suresh Sharma, reportedly a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), can be seen making threats instigating “burning and killing Muslims”. Uniformed policemen can be seen in the video. This incident has been reported from the Aaron district of Madhya Pradesh. There is no information readily available on the “clash” that had taken place as context for this video, nor have any photos of the alleged injured individuals been presented. In the video (links below), a group of people can be seen standing around Suresh Sharma while he is speaking to the police. In this video, which is available easily on social media, Suresh Sharma can be heard saying “Miya ki itni aukaan kese ho gayi saalo ki who hinduyon ki maar peet kar rahe hai” [how dare these Miyas (a derogatory term used for Muslims) beat up Hindus} “inko hosh mei hai ya nahi hai yeh” (are they not in their senses?). Suresh Sharma then goes on to openly threaten that he will take action against the Muslims and burn everything down, and says“Ek din nahi lagega, do ghanta sirf aur purreAaron mei aag laga dunga” (it will not take me even one day, I’ll burn the whole Aaron within two hours). In a blatant instance of impunity, Suresh Sharma then says that “FIR meri ho jae mai jail chala jauga” (Let there be an FIR against me, I will go to jail). He then says, “Purre Miyas meiaag laga dunga” (I will set ablaze all the Miyas). He then goes on to say that “Jo log support kar rahe hai unke bhi yahi haal kar denge” (I will also screw those who support them). read the complete article


26 Dec 2022

Nearly 200 Rohingya Refugees Adrift at Sea Desperately Seek Rescue

The refugees — who are fleeing ethnic cleansing and other severe state repression in their native Myanmar — have been packed aboard the unseaworthy boat for as long as a month without adequate food or water, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement. “It is devastating to learn that many people have already lost their lives, including children,” Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR’s Asia and Pacific director, said on Friday, lamenting that the refugees’ plight has been “continuously ignored” by countries in the region. While the Sri Lankan navy and local fishers acted rapidly to rescue over 100 Rohingya from a boat in distress in the Indian Ocean last weekend, no such assistance has been rendered to the vessel drifting in the Andaman Sea. On Thursday, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Tom Andrews said that nations in the region “should prevent any loss of life and urgently rescue and provide immediate relocation” to the stranded Rohingya. “Too many Rohingya lives have already been lost in maritime crossings,” asserted Andrews, a former Democratic U.S. congressman from Maine. “Increasing numbers of Rohingya have been using dangerous sea and land routes in recent weeks, which highlights the sense of desperation and hopelessness experienced by Rohingya in Myanmar and in the region.” read the complete article

26 Dec 2022

The Qatar World Cup and a typology of Europe’s anti-Arab racism

While the Arab world is rich in diversity, so too are the modern manifestations of anti-Arab racism on the European continent. Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first in an Arab or Middle Eastern state, provides a wealth of case studies that enable a detailed look at these manifestations and their drivers. In the analysis below, I attempt a typography of Europe’s different and intersecting racisms. For multiple European media outlets, the Moroccan team’s rise to victory provided an opportunity to question the humanity and ethics of the players themselves. On 17 December, a host in a Danish culture ministry-owned television transitioned from a story featuring images of Moroccan players hugging their mothers, to a news segment about animals. “In continuation of the talk about Morocco (players) and their families in Qatar, we also have an animal family gathering to keep warm,” the host noted, holding up a picture of a group of monkeys. Faced with a barrage of online criticism, the television station would later express regret over the incident. Two days earlier, a widely-read centrist Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published a cartoon showing two young men riding a motorbike and waving a Moroccan flag, speeding off after snatching the World Cup trophy from FIFA President Gianni Infantino, suggesting that the team had reached the semi-finals through “cheating and underhand tactics.” The caricature also rested on depictions of Moroccans as thugs, and street criminals, effectively mocking the working-class and immigrant status of many Europeans of North African origin. read the complete article

United States

26 Dec 2022

Hate crime fears fueled after mosque vandalized for third time

The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is working alongside law enforcement to seek answers after a mosque was vandalized this week in southeast Houston, causing thousands of dollars in damage. “Was this motivated by Islamophobia? Was this a hate crime? It’s too early to tell,” Wasiq Javed, outreach coordinator for CAIR Houston, said. Worshippers discovered broken TVs, unhinged and shattered glass doors and displaced chairs Wednesday morning inside the Quba Islamic Institute, a Houston mosque founded in 2013. Nearly $30,000 in property damages were calculated, according to Javed. The mosque was first damaged in 2015 when a man set it on fire, Javed said. Abdullah and other leadership at the mosque forgave the man after he turned himself in to Houston police for the arson attack. "At that time, it was a way for their community to show their Islamic morals and principles in treating these acts," Javed said. Seven years later, the mosque wants to support the person responsible for the most recent attack and establish a positive dialogue to prevent these actions from happening in the future, according to Javed. A robbery occurred at the same mosque three or four weeks ago when someone broke in and stole a DVR system, Javed said. The mosque is working with law enforcement on this crime as well to "get accountability and justice," he said. read the complete article


26 Dec 2022

RCMP will probe forged government documents aimed at discrediting Muslim charity

The RCMP has decided to launch an investigation to determine who sent forged government documents to the Muslim Association of Canada, days after the federal police force said the community organization should instead pursue the matter with local authorities. The Mounties came under criticism from Muslim groups and the office of Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino on Wednesday after they declined to investigate the fake documents, which falsely suggest the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency are using paid informants to build a terrorist-funding case against MAC, a charity that operates mosques, schools and community centres across the country. Late Thursday afternoon, the RCMP issued a statement to The Globe and Mail, saying it takes the concerns of the Muslim community seriously. “The RCMP recognizes that the members of the Muslim Association are the victims in this case and it is important that we support them. The RCMP takes this matter seriously. As we are currently investigating this matter, we cannot provide any further comments,” said Charlotte Hibbard, acting director of RCMP media relations. A day earlier, on Wednesday, Mr. Mendicino’s office had said the government has “zero tolerance for any form of Islamophobia” and that the minister expected the RCMP to “take this seriously and take appropriate action when necessary.” read the complete article


26 Dec 2022

Anti-Muslim racism often overlooked in Germany

Many Germans do not consider instances of racism against Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim as such, with experts cautioning that more public awareness is needed and yawning data gaps must be closed to tackle the problem. Muslims in Germany face discrimination in many areas including the job and housing markets, education, and healthcare, according to a range of studies. However, instances of racism against Muslims – and those perceived to be Muslim – often go unnoticed, research by the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM) shows. According to a report published by the centre this year, a given situation is less likely to be judged as racist if the affected person is Muslim: Presented with different hypothetical scenarios, respondents were more likely to detect racism if the text referred to black or Jewish people, rather than Muslims. “This could be due to the strong public condemnation of antisemitism and racism against black people, but first and foremost due to the historic awareness regarding the holocaust, colonialism, and slavery,” the report concludes. For Rima Hanano, head of CLAIM, an NGO working to fight anti-Muslim sentiments, such results show that there is still a lack of awareness of the racism and discrimination (perceived) Muslims are faced in German society. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 Dec 2022 Edition


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