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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22 Feb 2023

Today in Islamophobia: According to an open letter written by prominent charities and equalities organizations across the UK, the Tory led government has systematically failed in to address the rise of the far-right attacks in the country, meanwhile in France, an appeals court judge makes an error when overturning an anti-Muslim hate conviction against former French far-right presidential challenger Eric Zemmour which forces judges to rule for a re-trial, and in the U.S., a law is under works in the state of California which would allow for there to be a new standard for safeguarding religious attire worn by incarcerated in state facilities and create a new policy for handling security search for those wearing religious garments. Our recommended read of the day is by Pallavi Pundir for VICE on the car burning of two Muslim men in India last week and how the suspect at large, a YouTuber who runs a runs a “cow protection” group, is still yet to be found by police. This and more below:


21 Feb 2023

YouTuber on the Run After 2 Muslim Men Were Found Burnt to Death | Recommended Read

Police in India are on a manhunt for a YouTuber who went missing after being accused of burning two men to death. Monu Manesar, whose real name is Mohit Yadav, is a prominent vigilante from the north Indian state of Haryana, who runs a “cow protection” group that claims to rescue the animals from alleged illegal smugglers. Manesar is among six named in a police complaint filed by the family of two Muslim men, identified by the police as only Nasir and Junaid, whose charred remains were discovered in a car on February 16. Meo said that the vigilantes first abducted Junaid and Nasir, assaulted them and turned them in to a local police station alleging they’re cow smugglers. The cops refused to take them so the gang put Junaid and Nasir – who were already in “half-dead” condition after the assault–in the car and set it on fire. “By the time they were found, there were only skeletons there,” said Meo. VICE World News could not independently verify this. The 2019 Human Rights Watch report counted 44 killings—36 of whom were Muslims—by cow vigilantes. The same report says senior members of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) support this vigilante campaign, while authorities either fail to stop it or are complicit. read the complete article

21 Feb 2023

Indian politician offers jobs, security for Hindu men who 'trap Muslim girls'

A right-wing politician has opened a new chapter of hate politics in India, offering employment and security to young Hindu men as reward for 'luring' Muslim girls. Speaking at a public event in Karnataka, Sri Ram Sena chief alleged that thousands of Hindu girls were being exploited in the name of “love jihad”. "I would like to invite the youth here. If we lose one Hindu girl, we should trap 10 Muslim girls. If you do so, the Sri Ram Sena will take responsibility for you and provide every kind of security and employment,” Indian media quoted the Hindutva leader as saying. Speaking to a local daily, Muthalik said he had made similar statements more than 10 times and would continue to do so to “protect” Hindu women. The Hindutva leader is set to contest the upcoming elections in Udupi’s Karkala constituency of Karnataka with the reported support from some leaders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Indian media reports that some BJP leader have offered Muthalik financial support to contest the elections. Muslims are a persecuted minorty in Hindu majority-India, with leaders of the ruling nationalist BJP fanning further anti-Muslim hatred. read the complete article

22 Feb 2023

Hijab row | SC to consider listing students’ plea

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday agreed to consider listing an application by Muslim students claiming they are not being allowed to wear hijab and take exams scheduled on March 9 in government colleges across Karnataka. Advocate Shadan Farasat, for the students, urged the court to list and hear the case urgently as their academic future was at stake. A Supreme Court Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta (now retired) and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia had delivered a split verdict in October last year on whether or not students had a fundamental right to wear hijab in government institutions. On Wednesday, it was argued that the State authorities are counting with their prohibition of hijab in classrooms. read the complete article

United States

21 Feb 2023

California mulls statewide standards for religious garb in jails

Sajad Shakoor faced a painful choice while incarcerated at California’s Pleasant Valley State Prison in 2002: remove his chitrali cap — a core part of his identity as a Muslim of Pakistani heritage — or end up in a solitary confinement cell known informally as “the hole”. In order to comply with prison regulations, Shakoor had already made the difficult decision to shave his beard. Other Muslims, many of whom consider growing long beards to be a religious obligation, had refused to do so and been sent to solitary. For Shakoor, being forced to remove the religious headwear was one step too far. “It was dehumanising and demeaning shaving my beard,” he told Al Jazeera. “Now they were telling me I couldn’t wear my cap? That’s where I drew the line.” More than 20 years after the traumatic incident, Shakoor — who spent seven days in a solitary cell about the size of a parking space for refusing to remove his cap — says he hopes a recently introduced bill in the California State Senate will help others avoid similar experiences. The proposed legislation, formally known as SB 309, would create uniform standards to govern religious grooming and headwear throughout California’s detention facilities, including those run by private contractors. The bill would also create guidelines for conducting security searches of individuals wearing religious garments, allowing the search to be conducted in a private area, with individuals offered a garment provided by the facility. read the complete article

21 Feb 2023

Guantánamo detainees deserve due process and habeas corpus

Most of the prisoners at Guantánamo are being detained in violation of law. Two-thirds have not been accused of involvement in terrorism. They were allegedly foot soldiers in combat against U.S. troops in Afghanistan more than two decades ago. The law permits the detention of soldiers captured in combat only as long as combat operations continue. Combat operations ended more than a year ago. These men should now be sent home. There is no legal authority for their continued detention, and the courts should order their immediate release. The Supreme Court ruled that these men are constitutionally entitled to challenge the allegations against them through habeas corpus hearings in U.S. court. But judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit then quickly ruled that the prisoners have no right to due process. That ruling gutted the habeas process and, frankly, is absurd. Habeas corpus grants the right to a hearing. Due process ensures that the hearing will be fair. Without due process, habeas corpus is a sham; the detainee is deprived of the ability to know, let alone challenge, the allegations against him. read the complete article

United Kingdom

22 Feb 2023

The Suspect: Counterterrorism, Islam and the Security State, by Rizwaan Sabir (Review)

In May 2008, a post-graduate student of International Relations was arrested for six days after downloading a 140-page document on Al-Qaeda from the US Justice Department website. A copy of the document could also be bought online from different retailers. In a moment of rare candidness soon after the arrest, a police officer told Rod Thornton, a terrorism and counterinsurgency expert as well as a lecturer of the detained student, that none of this would have happened “if the student had been blonde, Swedish, and at Oxford University.” But the name of the student was Rizwaan Sabir, he was a Muslim of Pakistani origin and studied at the University of Nottingham. Alongside Sabir, his friend and academic Hicham Yezza was also arrested. Sabir had shared the document on Al-Qaeda with Yezza, as he had done with so many other documents in the past because Yezza was advising him on a proposal for a PhD that would discuss political Islam and Al-Qaeda. In The Suspect: Counterterrorism, Islam, and The Security State, Rizwaan Sabir discusses his ordeal after being wrongfully suspected of being a terrorist in 2008. At the same time, Sabir’s book goes beyond his particular case. Drawing on his academic research about the effects of the so-called ‘War on Terror’ on British Muslims – a research topic he adopted after being imprisoned –, the author convincingly details how his six-day imprisonment was not an occasional mistake but the result of deep-rooted policing practices against Muslim communities in the UK. read the complete article

21 Feb 2023

Government has failed to address UK’s far-right threat, says open letter

The government has failed to address the threat of the far right in the UK while tacitly endorsing the violence asylum seekers are facing, according to an open letter written by prominent charities and equalities organisations. The open letter, addressed to the prime minister, home secretary and other cabinet and shadow cabinet ministers, and signed by groups including the Community Policy Forum, Refugee Council, and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, claims that the government has continually failed to “adequately address the dangers posed by Islamophobia and racism against vulnerable people seeking protection and racialised communities in the UK”. The letter added: “With government ministers continuing to promote incendiary language labelling asylum seekers with harmful stereotypes and painting them as unworthy of sanctuary, there must be accountability for their role in normalising and tacitly endorsing the threats that asylum seekers now face. “As such, the government must immediately disown such language and pledge to tackle far-right rhetoric inciting hatred against minority groups.” read the complete article


21 Feb 2023

Top French court annuls presidential challenger Zemmour's hate acquittal

French appeal court judges made errors when overturning an anti-Muslim hate conviction against former French far-right presidential challenger Eric Zemmour and the trial should be held again, the country's highest court ruled on Tuesday. Zemmour, who won 7% in the first round of France's 2022 election, was convicted in 2020 for public remarks in which he called Muslim women and men wearing traditional religious clothing part of an "invasion" and a "colonization". Civil rights activists turned to the Cour de Cassation after a 2021 ruling by an appeal court in Paris overturned the 10,000 euros ($10,665) fine penalty against Zemmour for public insult and inciting hatred against Muslims. An appeals court would have to decide again on the case, the Cour de Cassation added. read the complete article


21 Feb 2023

She Was Right, Quebec is Islamophobic

Politicians criticized Elghawaby for her comments in a 2019 opinion piece in which she legitimately criticized Bill 21. The bill is a racist law that bans public employees in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols; this intentionally targets Muslim women. "Unfortunately, the majority of Quebecers appear to be swayed not by the rule of law, but by anti-Muslim sentiment," she wrote in her piece for the Ottawa Citizen. Elghawaby has since apologized for these comments, yet, they still ring true. From François Legault finding excuses to avoid solidarity with Muslim communities, to requesting her removal only a day after the Quebec City mosque shooting anniversary, Elghawaby’s case is an attestation to the province’s utter neglect, miscare, and outright resentment towards Muslims. In a 2018 study conducted by the Canadian Review of Sociology, asking Canadians to rate their agreeability with various social groups, it was found that Muslims are the least liked social group in Canada, and the most hated in Quebec. According to the CBC, “the study found 70 per cent of respondents in the province expressed ‘significant’ anti-Muslim sentiment.” Almost 60 per cent of Quebecois respondents had much stronger negative attitudes toward Muslims than any other groups mentioned. Muslims in Quebec, especially Muslim women, face systemic violence, racism, oppression and discrimination, in every sphere of life. read the complete article


21 Feb 2023

Families still await justice over racist Hanau attack

A brutal shooting took place in the German town of Hanau three years ago but the families of the victims are still waiting for justice and calling on the federal government to keep its promises to shed light on the terrorist attack. Hayrettin Saraçoğlu, the brother of Fatih Saraçoğlu, who was among the killed during the racist attack in Hanau, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the case has yet to be brought to light as all questions related to the shooting remain unanswered. On Feb. 19, 2020, far-right extremist Tobias Rathjen attacked two cafes in the city of Hanau, killing nine young people and injuring five others. All the victims had migrant backgrounds, four of whom were Turks. Before the attack, the far-right extremist posted videos on the internet, detailing his xenophobic views. He later killed his mother and himself. On Sunday, a commemoration ceremony was held in Germany and Türkiye to mark the third anniversary of the attack. read the complete article


22 Feb 2023

BBC India: MPs call Delhi and Mumbai searches 'intimidation'

British MPs have described searches of the BBC's offices in India by tax authorities as "intimidation". Some staff were subjected to overnight questioning when premises in Delhi and Mumbai were targeted last week. The BBC, which is cooperating with the investigation, recently aired a documentary critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the UK. Foreign Office minister David Rutley said the government is following the matter closely. Labour shadow minister Fabian Hamilton said "criticism cannot be shut down unnecessarily" in a democracy during a Commons debate on Tuesday. The Labour MP expressed concern about the motive behind the India searches "regardless of the official narrative as to why they took place". He continued: "The BBC is a globally respected broadcaster rightly renowned for its high-quality, trustworthy reporting, it should be free to report and operate without intimidation." The DUP's Jim Shannon described the searches as "a deliberate act of intimidation following the release of an unflattering documentary about the country's leader". read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Feb 2023 Edition


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