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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10 Jan 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., ahead of the 21st anniversary of the opening of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Amnesty International releases a public statement condemning the U.S. government for ongoing humanitarian violations at the prison, meanwhile in Myanmar, a court in Bogale sentences 112 Rohingya Muslims to five years in prison for attempting to flee the country, where they have long faced persecution, and in the UK, The Guardian newspaper issued a correction last week by removing the stock image of a Muslim woman in an article about fraudulent covid-related grants for businesses. Our recommended read of the day is by Zenaira Bakhsh for Coda Story on the growing Hindu nationalist propaganda alleging the dangers of “Love Jihad,” an anti-Muslim conspiracy theory that is “putting the lives of Muslim-Hindu couples at risk.” This and more below:


09 Jan 2023

When India’s right wing comes for interfaith marriage | Recommended Read

In India, the last two months of 2022 were dominated by lurid media coverage of the deaths of two women. One of the women, Shraddha Walkar, was murdered by her boyfriend in Delhi. Her body had allegedly been cut up into 35 pieces, stored in a refrigerator and gradually disposed of in a forest. Her boyfriend was arrested in November and is currently in judicial custody. The second woman, Tunisha Sharma, a 20-year-old actor, allegedly hung herself on December 24 on the set of a TV show that she was working on with her boyfriend. They had apparently broken up shortly before her death. After Sharma’s death, her boyfriend was arrested for “abetment to suicide.” What links the otherwise unconnected deaths of these two young women is that they were Hindu and their boyfriends were Muslim. Predictably, both cases were reported in the mainstream Indian media, particularly on television, as examples of “love jihad” — a right-wing conspiracy theory alleging that vulnerable Hindu women are being groomed by Muslim men and converted to Islam. According to Charu Gupta, a history professor at Delhi University, love jihad “produces a master narrative of Muslim male aggression and Hindu woman’s seizure.” This, she wrote, is “critically linked to the fictive demographic fear of Hindus being outnumbered by others, which is central to Hindutva politics,” and makes it possible for a still overwhelming majority that controls all the levers of power to “portray itself as an ‘endangered’ minority.” read the complete article

09 Jan 2023

India’s Hindu Right Is Cherry-picking a Gory Murder Incident to Surveil Interfaith Couples

In November 2022, several incidents of a lover or spouse killing their partner and chopping the body into pieces came to light. Most of these cases involved Hindu couples, except for one. Yet, leaders and supporters of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chose to highlight that one incident, not only to amplify their campaign cautioning against interfaith marriages but also to bring in a surveillance mechanism. In the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a 46-year-old Hindu man, Pankaj Maurya, was arrested for allegedly strangling his Hindu wife, cutting her body into pieces and disposing of the body parts in a field. In the same state, a Hindu youth, Prince Yadav, was arrested for killing his ex-girlfriend Anuradha, a Hindu, cutting the body into six pieces and dumping them in a well. However, the incident that hogged all the limelight, including in the international media, was that of Muslim man Aftab Amin Poonawala killing his Hindu live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, storing the body parts in a refrigerator, and dumping them in different parts of Delhi’s Mehrauli forest over the next couple of weeks. Just a day after the police unearthed the crime, Union Minister for Rural Development Giriraj Singh labeled the incident as one of “love jihad,” a term that the Hindu right uses to accuse Muslim men of waging a jihad or religious war by luring Hindu women to fall in love with them. read the complete article

United States

09 Jan 2023

Dr. Dre Sends Cease and Desist to Marjorie Taylor Greene Over “Still D.R.E.”

Dr. Dre has condemned Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s use of his 2001 song “Still D.R.E.” in a promotional video, TMZ reports. In a statement to the media outlet, the rapper and producer said, “I don’t license my music to politicians, especially someone as divisive and hateful as this one.” Dr. Dre’s attorney, Howard E. King, has also sent a letter to Taylor Greene demanding that she cease the unauthorized use of Dre’s music. “You are wrongfully exploiting this work through the various social media outlets to promote your divisive and hateful political agenda,” King wrote. “Demand is hereby made that you cease and desist from any further unauthorized use of [Dr. Dre’s] music.” Marjorie Taylor Greene is a Trump supporter who has repeated false claims of election fraud. She has also shown support for the conspiracy theory movement QAnon, made Islamophobic and antisemitic remarks, and had her Twitter account suspended for months after spreading misinformation about COVID-19. read the complete article

10 Jan 2023

USA: Amnesty International condemns 21 years of ongoing violations at Guantánamo Bay

Ahead of the 21st anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention center, where the United States has detained nearly 780 Muslim men without charge or trial over the years, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas director, said: “It’s tragic that 21 years after the opening of an offshore detention facility specifically designed to evade the rule of law, the US government continues to detain 35 men at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. Most have never even been charged with a crime. None has had a fair trial. Many of the detainees were tortured. “The military commissions created to try some of the detainees have proven ineffectual and unfair, denying defendants an impartial arbiter and access to critical evidence. This has also denied victims of the 9/11 attacks their right to justice. “President Biden must finally right this wrong. His administration must transfer all remaining detainees who have not been charged with crimes to countries where they will be safe and their human rights will be respected. In those cases where there is sufficient admissible evidence under international law to prosecute internationally recognizable criminal offences, this must be done through fair judicial resolution, without recourse to the death penalty. “Guantánamo remains an indelible stain on the United States’ history. More than two decades after its opening, President Biden must finally close this chapter and ensure it is never repeated.” read the complete article


10 Jan 2023

Myanmar jails 112 Rohingya who tried to leave country

Myanmar has jailed 112 people, including 12 children, from the minority Rohingya after they were caught attempting to leave the country. The court in Bogale in the southern Ayeyarwady region of Myanmar sentenced the group on January 6. The group was arrested in December after they were discovered on a motorboat “without any official documents”, the report said. Of the 12 children, five were under the age of 13 and sentenced to two years, and the older children to three years. They were transferred to a “youth training school” on Monday, according to the paper. The adults were all jailed for five years, it added. The mostly Muslim Rohingya are denied citizenship and other basic rights in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which claims they are “illegal migrants” from South Asia. Hundreds of thousands fled the country for neighbouring Bangladesh in 2017 after a brutal crackdown by the military that is now the subject of an international genocide trial. Many of those that remain in Myanmar are confined to camps where they are subject to severe restrictions on their movement, hindering their ability to work, study or get medical assistance. read the complete article

United Kingdom

09 Jan 2023

The Guardian removes image of Muslim woman from Covid-19 fraud story

The Guardian newspaper issued a correction last week by removing the stock image of a Muslim woman in an article about fraudulent covid-related grants for businesses. Tell MAMA was alerted to the issue on January 5, challenging the image choice in several tweets, including quoting the initial tweet, “How is a stock image of a Muslim woman in a headscarf relevant to this story?”. We followed up this tweet by locating the origins of the stock image, detailing how it was taken in Newcastle in 2021, captioned, “A lady walk past a closed down empty shop on May 12, 2021 in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, England”. Tell MAMA tweeted, “Here’s the origins of the photo which has nothing to do with the story. Please consider changing.” On January 6, the change occurred with the clarification making clear, “This article was amended on 6 January 2022 to replace the main image with a more suitable picture.” read the complete article


09 Jan 2023

Can democracies cooperate with China on AI research?

Over more than two decades, China has become deeply enmeshed in the international network of AI research and development (R&D): co-authoring papers with peers abroad, hosting American corporate AI labs, and helping expand the frontiers of global AI research. During most of that period, these links and their implications went largely unexamined in the policy world. Instead, the nature of these connections was dictated by the researchers, universities, and corporations who were forging them. But in the past five years, these ties between China and global networks for R&D have come under increasing scrutiny by governments as well as universities, companies, and civil society. Four factors worked together to drive this reassessment: (1) the growing capabilities of AI itself and its impacts on both economic competitiveness and national security; (2) China’s unethical use of AI, including its deployment of AI tools for mass surveillance of its citizens, most notably the Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang but increasingly more widespread; (3) the rise in Chinese capabilities and ambitions in AI, making it a genuine competitor with the U.S. in the field; and (4) the policies by which the Chinese state bolstered those capabilities, including state directed investments and illicit knowledge transfers from abroad. Taken together, these concerns led to intense scrutiny and new questions about these long-standing ties. Is cooperation helping China overtake democratic nations in AI? To what extent are technologists and companies in democratic nations contributing to China’s deployment of repressive AI tools? read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Jan 2023 Edition


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