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 Feb 2020

Today in Islamophobia: In India, as Trump praises Modi, a mosque is set on fire and a Muslim cemetery desecrated. Reports allege hundreds have been injured and at least 11 have been killed in the ensuing riots. As the primary season continues in the U.S, an op-ed argues for candidates to push Michael Bloomberg on his policies of Muslim surveillance. Our recommended read today is by Jason Stanley who argues that for Modi and Trump, “ethnic purity is the purpose of power.” This, and more, below:


26 Feb 2020

For Trump and Modi, ethnic purity is the purpose of power | Recommended Read

It might seem a discordant note from a president whose rule has been marked by a single-minded obsession with halting foreign immigration. But it’s an obsession he shares with his Indian counterpart, prime minister Narendra Modi, who stood on the stage alongside him. The president has previously complained about immigration from “shithole countries” and suggested a policy that prefers migrants from “countries such as Norway”. And his administration has assiduously prioritised changes in immigration laws. Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, called for a return to something like the 1924 Immigration Act, which banned immigration from Asia and severely restricted the entry of other people considered racially undesirable. US immigration policy was a source for Hitler’s “national state” vision. In September 1935, the German government realised this vision with the Nuremberg Laws, which prohibited non-Aryans from marrying those of “German blood” and created a category of second-class citizenship for Jews. Here too, Hitler was influenced by American ideology, in particular the Jim Crow anti-miscegenation laws. The European-American concept of a national state had influence outside Europe. VD Savarkar, the Indian political theorist who ushered in Hindu nationalist ideology, was influenced by European ethno-nationalism. He took the Nazi treatment of German Jews to be a model for eventual Hindutva policy towards India’s Muslim residents. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a Hindu nationalist movement dating back to the mid-1920s, many of whose members venerated Savarkar. Senior leaders, such as MS Golwalkar, were influenced by Mussolini and Hitler. The Bharatiya Janata party, the political wing of RSS and now India’s ruling party, has begun to implement changes in citizenship laws that echo the Nuremberg Laws. read the complete article

Recommended Read


26 Feb 2020

'We Burnt the Mazar Down': Hindutva Men Talk About the Violence They Unleashed

Since Monday, North East Delhi has been on the boil. Hindutva mobs have unleashed large-scale violence against anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protestors, and there has also been violence and stone-pelting from the other side. The Wire met with a pro-government Hindutva mob and spoke to them about the violence and their modus operandi. Why are you opposed to those opposing the CAA? Our opposition is to the opposition of those against the CAA. How dare they (read Muslims) protest like this in our country? Is it (their) country? It is our country. Are they bigger goons than us? We are the bigger goons. We will show them their place, not allow them to remain (even) in their homes. Houses have been burnt, a hospital too. The protesters are saying that the Muslim community is not among (the six communities) mentioned in the CAA. They (meaning the Muslims) have entered (India) only through the barbed wires (essentially infiltrators or ghuspetiya). Just make a count of them. You know about Census; they should not be so many here. At least half of those who have been sitting (at the protest sites) have entered (India) through the barbed wires (meaning illegally). read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

Muslim cemetery desecrated and shops set on fire, but police missing in action in Delhi

A group of at least 200 people were gathered around a Muslim cemetery armed with hammers, sickles and axes. This was just 100 metres from the Gokulpuri police station in Northeast Delhi. On one call, all of them raised their tools and struck the building’s boundary wall. “Jai Shri Ram,” they said, and struck again. There was not a single policeman in the vicinity to stop them. A part of the mob then ran across the road and set two shops that had ‘Khan’ written on them on fire. And still no policemen, who were clearly outnumbered, tried to stop them. When this reporter tried to ask questions, another man said, “Let us do our work. Just go away. And I am warning you, no one will report from this. No video will be shot, else we will bury you in these very graves.” A policeman on bike, doing rounds of the area, crossed at that very moment. He saw the mob, but did not care to stop.“Do not think the police will help you. They are with us. The entire Hindu community is with us. Go away, else you will meet the fate of the men who have been killed. Till when will we sit and see our men getting killed? It is our chance now,” the second man said. The mob chased this reporter and at that moment they saw a few people videographing the episode from the opposite carriageway. A group of men then ran to that side to stop the men and the same mob then set a shop on fire. read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

Delhi Riots: Mosque Set on Fire in Ashok Nagar, Hanuman Flag Placed on Minaret

A mosque in Ashok Nagar was set on fire late on Tuesday afternoon. A mob shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Hinduon ka Hindustan” paraded around the burning mosque, and a Hanuman flag was placed on the minaret of the masjid. Since Sunday evening, Delhi has seen riots and targeted violence, triggered by BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s ‘ultimatum’ to the Delhi Police that the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protesters and Jaffrabad and Chandbagh should be removed within three days. read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

Hindu Nationalist Mobs in India Are Hunting and Beating Muslims

As President Donald Trump praised India’s Hindu nationalist leaders for their work on religious freedom in New Delhi Tuesday, hardline supporters of the government were rampaging through the city hunting Muslims. Mobs tore through Muslim-majority neighbourhoods in north-east New Delhi, attacking individuals, burning homes, businesses, and places of worship, and targeting victims on religious lines. Officials reported that the death toll since Monday had reached 11 — the deadliest violence in the Indian capital in decades. More than 150 people were injured, including a journalist for the JK24 news channel who was in a serious condition after being shot, according to reports. Khan said much of the violence was coming from pro-government hardliners, targeting Muslims, journalists, civil society activists and anyone else viewed as an opponent of their brand of far-right Hindu nationalism, although there were also reports of violence from Muslim groups. read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

Are India's Muslim Women Being Driven out of Politics?

India’s 2019 elections saw a record number of women politicians in the lower house of parliament: 78 were elected, or 14 percent of the legislative body. But it wasn’t progress across the board. The lower house’s representation of Muslim women went way down, from four before the May contest to just one, Sadja Ahmed. One reason for that may be the staggering amount of harassment visited on female Muslim politicians. A new report from Amnesty International documented online trolling of India’s female politicians, and the news is grim for everyone. But not all female politicians are trolled equally. It was not just Muslim women who received significantly more abuse than their Hindu counterparts. Women from marginalized caste backgrounds and women from outside the ruling BJP saw far more abuse than the average. read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

New Delhi Streets Turn Into Battleground, Hindus vs. Muslims

A mob of Hindu men, their foreheads marked by a saffron stripe, angrily patrolled the streets carrying iron bars, clubs and a bright blue aluminum baseball bat. They were itching for a fight. The streets in the New Delhi neighborhood were littered with scraps of bricks. All shops were closed and almost no women or children were out — except for two Hindu women brandishing sticks and threatening journalists. Gangs of Hindus and Muslims have been clashing in the neighborhood, Maujpur, and surrounding areas since Sunday, killing at least 11 people, including a police officer bashed in the head with a rock. While President Trump and his host, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, discussed geopolitics and lunched together in another part of the capital, thousands of furious residents faced off again, hurling petrol bombs, attacking vehicles, hospitalizing several journalists and drawing more and more police officers and paramilitary troops. “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.” read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

Trump Praises Modi’s India, as Muslims Are Beaten on the Streets and a Mosque Is Defiled

Throughout his two-day visit to India, Donald Trump heaped praise on the nation’s leader, Narendra Modi, and ignored a spasm of violence against Muslims unfolding on the streets of the Indian capital, New Delhi, prompted by the Indian prime minister’s sectarian policies. At least a dozen people were killed in New Delhi during Trump’s visit, Reuters reported, as mobs of Hindu supremacists and the police confronted Muslim protesters demonstrating against a new law that threatens their status as equal citizens, based on their religion. Trump nevertheless hailed Modi as a champion of “religious freedom,” even as the nation was gripped by images of Muslims being attacked in the capital, with the apparent assent or cooperation of the police, and video circulated online of Hindu extremists climbing the minaret of a mosque to pull down its loudspeaker and hang a flag depicting the Hindu deity Hanuman. The Reuters correspondent Devjyot Ghoshal reported that the Delhi police even seemed to encourage mobs of Hindu supremacists to attack Muslims with rocks, and stood by as the mob lit vehicles on fire. Asked about the law introduced by Modi’s Hindu nationalist government that sparked the protests — and opens the door to treating India’s 200 million Muslims as second-class citizens — Trump refused to condemn it. “I don’t want to discuss that,” he told a reporter. “I want to leave that to India, and hopefully they’re going to make the right decision for the people.” read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

India, Modi and the rise of Hindu nationalism

Narendra Modi has been grappling with continuing domestic unrest since his Hindu nationalist BJP government passed the CAA in December, which grants citizenship for refugees of every major south Asian religion except Muslims. In conjunction with a planned national register of citizens, it is feared the law will make India’s Muslim community aliens in their own country and undermine the secular foundations of the country by making religion the basis of citizenship. The Guardian writer Samanth Subramanian talks to Anushka Asthana about the rise of Hindu nationalism and the impact it is having on India. read the complete article

United States

26 Feb 2020

Advocacy Groups Renew Calls For Bloomberg To Renounce NYPD's Muslim Surveillance

In the days after a New York Times report indicated Michael Bloomberg’s financial influence may have led a major think tank to remove his name from a report on Islamophobia, Muslim groups and advocates have renewed their calls for the presidential candidate to apologize for his treatment of American Muslims. “In perpetuating bigoted stereotypes, your actions as Mayor of New York City, and your rhetoric on this issue has put the lives of American Muslims at risk of prejudice and violence,” they wrote. “We call on you to apologize unequivocally for the harm you have done and condemn the implementation of any similar programs.” Senior-level members of the Center for American Progress removed eight mentions of Bloomberg’s name ― and more than 4,000 words about the New York City Police Department surveilling Muslim communities ― from a 2015 report because the organization was worried about blowback from the wealthy politician, according to the Times. Bloomberg, a billionaire, had given the organization nearly $1.5 million worth of grants by the time the report was published. read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

Facts Over Fear Campaign: Releasing 'Islam and Peace' and 'What is Shariah?'

A Lutheran Pastor, Terry Kyllo of Paths to Understanding and a Muslim, Aneelah Afzali of MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network) created the “Facts Over Fear” Campaign to set the record straight and prepare patriotic Americans to stand united as a nation against hate and misinformation as we prepare for the 2020 election. Working with Studio Capon, they developed five animated videos to counter the dehumanization of Muslims and provide a resource for allies to respond to false claims. These three-minute videos take on the four major misconceptions promoted by anti-Muslim hate groups. The videos cover Islam and Peace, Islam and other Religions, What is Shariah?, and Islam and Women’s Rights. In addition, the first video of the series gives an overview of the work of anti-Muslim hate groups, which divides the American people and undermines our Constitutional values. read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

The Absurd, Almost Comic Folly of Michael Bloomberg’s Muslim Surveillance

I grew up in Newark, New Jersey, just outside New York City. I turned 13 in 2002, the first year of Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor, and the year Muslim surveillance first ramped up in and around the city. To grow up as a young Muslim man in the area then was to feel the constant sense that someone was watching you, a paranoia that, years later, turned out to be warranted. I’m still not sure people realize the almost comic extent of the surveillance, the absurd resources that went into it, and how toxic its legacy really is. So I turned to Ramzi Kassem, a professor at CUNY School of Law and the founding director of CLEAR, a project to help Muslims and others fight law enforcement bias. He was also one of the architects of the legal fight against the surveillance program, and he previously helped me understand how it may have affected me in my own run-ins with the NYPD as a young man. Over the phone, Kassem explained how the program worked, how utterly ineffective it was, and how Bloomberg’s endorsement of it helped usher in Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity. read the complete article

26 Feb 2020

Bloomberg's Democratic debate rivals must push him on Islamophobia ahead of South Carolina

Democrats have thus far missed the opportunity on prime-time television to confront him on one of his most damning mistakes: Muslim surveillance. Bloomberg’s anti-Muslim activism provided a blueprint for Republican presidential candidates like Donald Trump, who said he wanted to establish a Muslim registry, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who pledged to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.” During Bloomberg's tenure as mayor, the NYPD’S covert Demographics Unit cataloged mosques, eavesdropped on conversations and spied on Muslim neighborhoods, in order, as he has said, “to keep the country safe.” Unlike stop-and-frisk, however, which Bloomberg has apologized for, the now-Democratic presidential candidate remains unapologetic for this violation of Muslim civil liberties. The silence from the current pool of Democratic presidential candidates is equally alarming. As Jamelle Bouie noted recently in The New York Times, liberals “should be appalled by a man who, when he was entrusted with the power of the state, used it to terrorize innocent people on the basis of race and religion.” read the complete article


26 Feb 2020

Vandals recently urinated on a Markham mosque. Muslim leaders responded by opening their doors to everyone

Four men are accused of urinating on the Islamic Society of Markham mosque at 2900 Denison St. on Jan. 2. Police alleged they also threw various objects at the mosque, breaking a window in the process. Const. Laura Nicolle told the Star the suspects were identified and arrested after police sent out a news release last week asking the public for help. They were charged with one count each of mischief relating to a religious property. “At least one of them is a youth and it also looks like to protect the identity of the youth, we may not be able to release names of the others,” she said, noting the investigation into the matter is still ongoing. The mosque leaders have been working with police on this issue and have vowed to continue welcoming everyone with love and open arms. “We have no interest in punitive punishment being meted out to the attackers. We have an interest in the attackers finding their way back to a better path,” they wrote in a news release this week. read the complete article


26 Feb 2020

Peter Dutton’s response to a far-right threat shows how little has changed since Christchurch

Peter Dutton’s response to the threat of far-right extremism this week confirmed for me that my hope was misplaced. After the head of Asio warned “the extreme right-wing threat is real and it is growing” and spoke of neo-Nazi cells gathering to train, inspect weapons and salute swastikas, Dutton seemed to dismiss that the motivating ideology was relevant to violence. If the minister responsible for our safety doesn’t get that racism and hatred drives violent attacks on Muslims around the world, we cannot hope to stop it. By consistently minimising the racism of the extreme right, Dutton’s dismissive attitude gives a free pass to those in the media and parliament who stoke the fires of hatred. So does the false equivalence he likes to draw between fascist and anti-racist politics. Last year he claimed I was “just as bad” as Fraser Anning for calling out white supremacy after the Christchurch massacre. We know all too well the intense scrutiny and immense resources dedicated to forms of extremism that suit the government’s narrative. Because rightwing threats against Muslims seem not to suit their agenda, many Australian Muslims, myself included, feel the sustained abuse and threats of violence we’ve received over the years aren’t taken seriously. It is this hatred that killed people in Christchurch. It happened again in Hanau, Germany last week when nine people were shot dead by a killer with deeply racist views. It will keep happening unless we make halting the spread of the extreme right and their manifestos of hate a priority. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 Feb 2020 Edition


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