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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27 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In South Korea, rights activists and Muslim students have “condemned the Islamophobic act of displaying pig heads at a construction site for a mosque that has attracted vehement opposition from locals,” meanwhile the New Yorker did a review of its eighty-plus short films this year, including one about a former marine filled with Islamophobia who planned to bomb a mosque, and in Morocco, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation has “categorically rejected false accusations pinned against one of its international players during his participation in the Qatar World Cup 2022 that have been described as Islamophobic.” Our recommended read of the day is by Sravasti Dasgupta for The Independent on how Pragya Thakur, a parliamentarian from the BJP, spoke at a convention earlier this week and promoted the far-right “love jihad” conspiracy theory and stated that India’s Hindus should keep “weapons” and “knives” at home to protect themselves. This and more below:


27 Dec 2022

Right-wing Indian MP says Hindus should keep knives at home for ‘self protection’ | Recommended Read

A parliamentarian from prime minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said India’s Hindus should keep “weapons” and “knives” at home to protect themselves. Pragya Thakur, the parliamentarian from central Madhya Pradesh state’s Bhopal city made the comments while speaking at the Hindu Jagarana Vedike’s South Region annual convention in Karnataka state’s Shivamogga on Sunday. “Sanyasi (hermit) says in this world created by god, end all the oppressors and sinful, if not the true definition of love will not survive here,” she was quoted as saying by news agencyPress Trust of India. “So answer those involved in Love Jihad the same way. Protect your girls, teach them the right values.” The baseless Islamophobic conspiracy theory of “Love Jihad” is becoming increasingly mainstream in India, with several right-wing leaders, including members of the BJP, using it as a common refrain warning against Hindu women converting by marriage to Muslim men. In February 2020, the federal home ministry informed the country’s parliament that the term “love jihad” was not defined under existing laws and no case has been reported by any federal government agency. read the complete article

27 Dec 2022

What the hounding of Shah Rukh Khan and Indian Muslims says about the deep rot in our society

It has been a year since the Dharam Sansad in Haridwar, where dozens of Hindu supremacist priests clad in saffron robes called for the genocide of Indian Muslims. This gathering was a culmination of a series of anti-Muslim hate assemblies across the country, including in the capital city Delhi, at which prominent Hindu clerics made equally vitriolic statements. Bajrang Muni, one of these “respected religious leaders” – as he was described by the Indian government’s lawyer in the Supreme Court – had publicly advocated Hindu men to commit mass rapes against Muslim women. Yet, the police did not find a problem with such corrosive speech, just as it did not find anything wrong in the open calls for arming Hindus that were made at the gathering in Delhi. It said this was merely a defence of “community ethics”. We are told that there is a silent majority that is upset by this vulgarity. One wonders why ordinary Hindus or the state apparatus, which identifies itself with them, does not feel offended by this rhetoric. Of course, there is a limit to our tolerance. This level was breached in December when actor Shah Rukh Khan purportedly insulted the sacred hue of saffron by getting co-star Deepika Padukone to wear a saffron bikini in a sequence for the song Besharam Rang – shameless colour – in his film Pathaan. A film critic of long standing even wondered about the wisdom of choosing this outfit because saffron, this person claimed, is India’s national colour. To identify only this particular colour as being shameless is a display of obvious bigotry: Padukone changes costumes at least six times during the song. However, this one short shot has forced parliamentarians and Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra to react. A prominent priest in Ayodhya burnt an effigy of Khan and casually threatened to burn him alive as well. read the complete article

27 Dec 2022

Big Chief, Little Country

The Bharatiya Janata Party foregrounded the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the recent Gujarat assembly election and swept aside the opposition. It fought the Delhi municipal election in his name and came close to winning. The oversized image of Modi has become a political free pass for the party, so much so that its campaigns often succeed in glossing over failures of governance. This image is not, however, permanently established in the public mind. It needs to be constantly nourished. Modi’s political genius lies in his ability to find ever new ways to do so. Even in a state where elections are not due anytime soon, the first image any visitor is likely to encounter is of Modi beaming down from posters celebrating India’s leadership of the G20 summit, an intergovernmental forum. India heading the G20 is not a real achievement—it is a routine opportunity that falls to each country by turn. But that fact is irrelevant when the only political reality that exists in the country is the one that reaches the people. This control of reality has been decades in the making. It began in 2002, with the anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat. Till that point, Modi was a pracharak—full-time worker—of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, seconded to the BJP, who was willing to run from television studio to studio in the hope that someone would have him on. In the tumult of hate and violence, he constructed himself as a leader who would stand up for Hindus. read the complete article


27 Dec 2022

Morocco’s football body hits back after Islamophobic reporting by local media

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation has categorically rejected false accusations pinned against one of its international players during his participation in the Qatar World Cup 2022 that have been described as Islamophobic. Zakaria Aboukhlal faced fresh hostility by a Morocco-based daily that accused him of religious extremism for showcasing his faith while on the pitch in Qatar. The local media outlet caused havoc after publishing a controversial report titled “Aboukhlal, a ‘Salafi’ infiltrating the National Football team”. In a response on Sunday, the football federation denied “the accuracy of the information included in the news report,” adding that Aboukhlal’s “behaviour, much like all his teammates, had been exemplary, all towards achieving honorary results.” The article went on to pry on the player’s personal life, citing his religious background and private life practices, pointing towards his memorisation of the Holy Quran. It also showed videos of the player praying at a mosque and reciting the holy scripture. The use of such elements as an example of extremism proved to be controversial to readers who said such practices are common for Muslims worldwide. The article went on to brazenly charge the 22-year-old with “pushing” German media to resorting to publishing Islamophobic sentiments about the Atlas Lions, pointing to a segment on a news show that compared the Moroccan national team with the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) after three national team players raised their index fingers. This is a common gesture for billions of Muslims around the world who praise God by professing the concept of Tawhid, or ‘Oneness’. read the complete article

27 Dec 2022

An Emmy-Winning Year in New Yorker Video

This year, The New Yorker presented more than eighty short films, received two Oscar nominations, and won its first Emmy, for “Reeducated,” a virtual-reality documentary about prison camps in Xinjiang. The films included investigations, personal stories, and fantastical animations, with filmmakers from around the globe working with The New Yorker’s video department to produce short works shot from underreported angles. “Stranger at the Gate”: When Richard McKinney returned to the U.S. from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was angry, isolated, and filled with Islamophobia. He devised a plan to attack the local mosque in Muncie, Indiana, but, when he visited the facility to do reconnaissance, he found, instead of enemies, a community that embraced and transformed him. Joshua Seftel’s polyphonic documentary explores that relationship from all sides, featuring interviews with McKinney, his family, and many members of the religious community at the center of his plot. read the complete article

South Korea

27 Dec 2022

Pig heads at South Korea mosque site condemned as ‘pure Islamophobia’

Rights activists and Muslim students in South Korea have condemned the Islamophobic act of displaying pig heads at a construction site for a mosque that has attracted vehement opposition from locals. Residents in the southeastern city of Daegu have for the past year been trying to block the mosque near Kyungpook National University from being built, including physically blocking access to the site, putting up banners, and throwing a pork barbecue party. In the latest incident, three pig heads were placed on stools at an alley outside the site. The first one was put there on October 27, followed by another on November 14 and the third on December 6, according to Mian Muaz Razaq, a representative of Muslim students at the university. Students who go to the site to pray pass through the alley every day. “We’ll fight against the mosque construction till our last breath,” read one banner that decorates the wall of a home next to the construction site, as pigs’ feet and tails are seen strung along the wall. Razaq denounced the residents actions as “pure Islamophobia”. “They held rallies against Islam, they called us terrorists, they hung banners against our religion, they distributed hate pamphlets against Muslims in our area, what can these acts be called? This is pure Islamophobia,” he said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 27 Dec 2022 Edition


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