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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25 Feb 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Trump validates Modi’s anti-Muslim agenda during his visit, as New Delhi’s streets turn into a “battleground for Hindus and Muslims.” Writing for Al Jazeera, Mansur Mirovalev asks why Central Asian countries are so quiet on Uighur persecution. Our recommended read today is by Asad Dandia titled “When ‘Jewish Security’ Means Muslim surveillance.” This, and more, below:

United States

25 Feb 2020

When “Jewish Security” Means Muslim Surveillance | Recommended Read

At the end of 2019, the UJA-Federation of New York (UJA) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) announced that Mitchell D. Silber would take on a role as executive director of their Community Security Initiative, “a new position created as part of UJA and JCRC-NY’s $4 million plan to help secure local Jewish institutions in the New York region.” Silber is best known for his work with the New York Police Department (NYPD), where he was the Director of Intelligence Analysis, tasked with working on counterterrorism investigations. Silber, however, has a troubling history that has so far gone unnoticed: in 2007, he was a major architect of an NYPD report entitled “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” which claimed to identify behavioral patterns that could lead Muslims to commit acts of homegrown terror. The report’s methods and conclusions have long been debunked, and there has been significant pushback against the findings in policy circles as well, and yet it has become a springboard for further reports that have sought to link increased religiosity of Muslims to a propensity toward violent radicalization. These reports identified habits like growing beards, wearing “Islamic” clothing, frequenting mosques, and abstaining from alcohol and drugs as signs of radicalization. These are all very common things which alone would classify thousands of Muslims as potential terror suspects. read the complete article

Recommended Read
25 Feb 2020

“A 700-year phenomenon”: Before Malcolm X lecture series bridges Black, Islamic, and American history

“When did Islam arrive in the Americas?” On February 10, UK-based Arabic and international relations scholar Mustafa Briggs asked this question to the Victoria College Chapel audience in framing his new lecture series, Before Malcolm X: The History of Islam in the Americas. This month, Briggs is touring Canada and the United States with the series, in addition to his previous series, Beyond Bilal: Black History in Islam. Briggs’ presentation dove into the undertold history of Islam in the Western hemisphere. He sought to challenge the popular narrative that Islam began in the Americas in the 1950s and 1960s, during the era of the Nation of Islam and the civil rights movement, with popular figureheads like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. read the complete article

United Kingdom

25 Feb 2020

UK to ban neo-Nazi Sonnenkrieg Division as a terrorist group

A neo-Nazi group is to become the second extreme rightwing outfit to be banned as a terrorist organisation in the UK, the home secretary has announced. Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD), members of which have been jailed for serious offences, is to be proscribed, making membership of the group illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison, Priti Patel said. Another order will recognise the extreme right wing group System Resistance Network as an alias of the already proscribed neo-Nazi organisation National Action. read the complete article

25 Feb 2020

Katie Hopkins: the viral power of an anti-Muslim falsehood on Twitter

A viral tweet from the far-right commentator Katie Hopkins further demonstrates the need for Twitter to allow users to report content designed to deceive and pass as news. The tweet, posted at 9:31 pm on February 23, begins, “Beautiful Indian lady punched in the face by Muslim man in racist attack in Birmingham. Hopkins then offers a partial unattributed quote from Meera Solanki (the woman assaulted), who described how the man, described as Asian in police reports, approached them during dinner, as he “seemed to have a problem with me being an Indian girl with a multi-racial group of friends”. Ms Solanki was punched and briefly knocked unconscious after attempting to stop the same man from directing his anti-Chinese racism towards her friend Mandy Huang. read the complete article

25 Feb 2020

An exodus of British Muslims is happening right under our noses – and still we're asking whether Islamophobia exists

British Muslims – many who have lived here for generations – are packing up their belongings, parting ways with their loved ones, established careers and the country they were born in to move to somewhere safer. In recent years, the rates of hate crimes against religious minorities in the UK has rocketed, and for some, it has just become too dangerous to stay. There is an exodus happening in Britain, and no one has even blinked an eye. Contrary to the mainstream narrative that veiled and bearded people are flooding through our borders, a significant number of Muslims are leaving their homeland because of rising rates of targeted religious hate crimes. Despite this reality, harmful discourse in the media, politics and places of power continues to contribute to an increasingly hostile environment that is driving British Muslims away. read the complete article


25 Feb 2020

Remembering Auschwitz, Deploying Islamophobia?

Since taking office, Vanoni is rightly blaming the recent rise in anti-Semitism on right-wingers, especially with the rise of the far-right political party Alternative for Germany, which has not only entered the German Bundestag (federal parliament) in 2017, but has become the third-largest party represented in parliament, winning 94 seats. In some states, it has even become the second strongest political party. While anti-Semitic terror is perpetrated by far-right people, as the terrorist attack on the synagogue in Halle demonstrated in 2019, there is also a discourse trying to focus on an alleged ‘new anti-Semitism,’ which is a so-called ‘Muslim anti-Semitism.’ This term suggests that the greatest threat for Jewish life in Europe is emanating from a totalitarian vision of Islam that is deeply embedded in many Muslims’ minds. Even some Jewish organizations argue that anti-Semitism among Muslims is an ever-greater problem in Germany. But statistically, there is no evidence to support this claim. In 2018, 90 percent of the 1,800 anti-Semitic documented hate crime cases were perpetrated by right-wing extremists. But this claim is used by racist politicians to create a divide between the Germany’s Jews and Muslims. Even far-right politicians try to frame themselves as the ‘new Jews’, seeking the support of Jews against an alleged ‘Islamization’ of Germany. read the complete article


25 Feb 2020

Fresh violence erupts in Indian capital during anti-CAA protests

Nearly 50 people, including 37 police officials, have been injured after supporters and opponents of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) clashed on Sunday and Monday in the northeastern part of Delhi after alleged provocation by a local leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kapil Mishra, who led a rally in support of the new citizenship law. In a video posted by Mishra on Twitter, he was heard issuing an ultimatum to police to remove anti-CAA sit-ins in the area where hundreds of protesters, mostly women, blocked a road and demanded the revocation of the law, which critics say goes against India's secular constitution. "Hundreds of women have been peacefully protesting against the CAA since Saturday night near the Jaffrabad Metro station. But on Sunday, after Mishra led the rally, his supporters pelted us with stones leading to clashes," Zohran, a Jaffrabad resident, told Al Jazeera. He said his uncle was also beaten up by an angry mob as he was returning home from a religious gathering which had nothing to do with the protests. "What we saw today is the result of Mishra's comments," Zohran added. read the complete article

25 Feb 2020

In India, Trump validates Modi’s divisive agenda

A young student from Gujarat University who wore a Modi mask told me that Trump understood the menace Muslims were to the world, just like Modi did, and that made them a strong combination. Comments like that placed Trump’s stop in Gujarat in the context of the state’s tormented history. In 2002, about 1,000 Muslims were slaughtered there under the watch of Modi, who was then state chief. Today, Trump’s visit is playing right into the hands of Modi’s divisive Hindu nationalist rhetoric and policies. Since December, the country has seen a wave of protests against a discriminatory law that gives undocumented immigrants path to citizenship but excludes Muslims. When Trump landed in New Delhi, protesters had taken to the streets but were largely ignored by the mainstream media. But Trump has made no mention of religious freedom or the controversial citizenship bill at the heart of the protests. When he and the first lady landed in Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, they were received by a group of dignitaries, including the Islamophobic monk Yogi Adityanath. read the complete article

25 Feb 2020

New Delhi Streets Turn Into Battleground for Hindus and Muslims

Mobs of Hindu men, many of their foreheads marked by a saffron stripe, angrily patrolled the streets carrying sticks, iron bars and baseball bats, threatening to beat up journalists or any outsiders. At least seven people were killed in the Maujpur area of northern Delhi on Monday, including a police officer bashed in the head with a rock. And on Tuesday, the whole area felt like it was about to ignite. Truckloads of police officers wearing helmets and masks rumbled through the crowds. The streets were littered with scraps of brick. “The situation is volatile and tense,” said Alok Kumar, a senior police officer. “It’s a mixed neighborhood, and in seconds you can have crowds of tens of thousands. Even a small thing can lead to violence.” The main spark for the protests was the enshrining of a citizenship law that granted expedited naturalization to India for migrants of every significant South Asian religion except Islam. Indian Muslims who had looked on in despair at win after win for Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist base were galvanized to demonstrate, joined by human rights activists, academics and those worried about the country’s direction. read the complete article


25 Feb 2020

Modi-Trump Meeting Highlights Anti-Muslim Sentiment in both Governments' Policies

Amnesty International India and Amnesty International USA issued the below joint statement: “Anti-Muslim sentiment permeates the policies of both U.S. and Indian leaders. For decades, the U.S.-India relationship was anchored by claims of shared values of human rights and human dignity. Now, those shared values are discrimination, bigotry, and hostility towards refugees and asylum seekers,” said Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA’s executive director. “The internet and political lockdown in Kashmir has lasted for months and the enactment of CAA and the crackdown on protests has shown a leadership that is lacking empathy and a willingness to engage. We call on President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to work with the international community and address our concerns in their bilateral conversations,” said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director, Amnesty International India. read the complete article

25 Feb 2020

John Oliver explains Trump's support of Modi, India's 'temporary symbol of hate

Given Donald Trump’s first visit to India this week, in which he praised the prime minister, Narendra Modi, as “the father of India”, John Oliver dug into Modi’s increasingly controversial reputation and widespread protests against his government’s citizenship measures. “Calling Modi the father of India is completely inappropriate for multiple reasons,” Oliver said on Last Week Tonight, “not the least of which is that there is a certain Gandhi who already holds that exact f*cking title.” Citizens in the world’s biggest democracy, with over a billion people, are either wearing masks of Modi’s face or protesting against him in the streets – it’s worth exploring why, said Oliver, and “why calling Modi the father of India is stupid at best, and dangerous at worst”. That belief would be Modi’s Hindu nationalism – the idea that India is a fundamentally Hindu state, despite the fact that India holds the second-largest Muslim population in the world and the country’s founders preached religious pluralism. Modi’s party, the BJP, has served as the political arm of the RSS, a Hindu paramilitary group formed in 1925 whose founders admired Hitler for his methods to ensure “the purity of the race” – “which is just not a chill thing to admire Hitler for”, said Oliver. “There is one and only one thing that it’s OK to admire Hitler for, and it’s the fact that he killed Hitler.” Modi doesn’t talk much on his religious-targeting policies, said Oliver, but those close to him do. His party-appointed head of Uttar Pradesh, for example, said at a recent rally: “If they kill one Hindu then we will also kill 100 of them.” “That is not even dog-whistle Islamophobia,” said Oliver. “That is basically just writing ‘We hate Muslims’ on a dog and then throwing that dog at the nearest Muslim.” read the complete article

25 Feb 2020

Uyghur mother of Australian son responds to Chinese diplomat's Q+A comments

Wang Xining — the deputy head of mission at Australia's Chinese embassy — told Q+A Nadila Wumaier and her son, Lutfy, had told the local government they did not want to leave the country. This was made in reply to a question from her husband, Sadam Abdusalam, who asked the diplomat about their fate and that of other Uyghurs in China. But in a tweet from Mr Abdusalam posted earlier today, Ms Wumaier is pictured holding a sign that reads "I want to leave and be with my husband", dated February 25, with Lutfy behind her, who holds an Australian passport. Chinese authorities have prevented her from leaving the country — despite the Australian Government formally requesting Beijing allow the Australian toddler and his mother. read the complete article

25 Feb 2020

Why are Central Asian countries so quiet on Uighur persecution?

To Arslan Hidayat, the reluctance of Central Asian governments to lambast or even address China's persecution of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities is all about Beijing's investments. "For [these governments], all of this is a matter of economics," the 32-year-old ethnic Uighur activist, whose parents fled China after Mao Zedong's death to settle in Australia, told Al Jazeera. Hidayat, whose father-in-law spent almost a year in a "reeducation camp" and whose closest friends are still there, said even though some Uighur rights groups operate in Central Asia, "the best that they could get is silence from the governments." "China's considerable investments and trade ties have chained the Central Asian states to [Beijing]," London-based expert Alisher Ilkhamov, programme manager with the Open Society Eurasia Program, told Al Jazeera. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 25 Feb 2020 Edition


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