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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11 Jan 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, a mosque in Sheffield has been a target of a hate crime after Muslim worshippers found Qurans thrown on the floor, the kitchen and rest facilities vandalized, and various technological devices stolen, meanwhile in Myanmar, authorities arrested 112 Rohingya Muslims for attempting to escape refugee camps without the proper paperwork, which is a result of the military government’s own refusal to recognize Rohingya as citizens, and in India, Muslim women from the state of Karnataka recount how a court order upholding the hijab ban in schools and universities legitimized anti-Muslim discrimination and locked them out of their education. Our recommended read of the day is by Carol Rosenberg for The New York Times on the three men who were held as detainees at Guantánamo Bay whose Supreme Court cases came to shape the military’s authority to detain men at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. This and more below:

United States

11 Jan 2023

They Won Guantánamo’s Supreme Court Cases. Where Are They Now? | Recommended Read

In the frantic aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, hundreds of men captured abroad were sent to the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where they were held without access to lawyers and denied all other rights. In time, the cases of three of the prisoners reached the Supreme Court and made history. Their challenges changed the legal landscape at Guantánamo and stripped the military and the White House of unchecked authority to detain people here. We caught up with two of the men, one in a gray industrial town in central England where he grew up, the other a thousand miles away in the sun-splashed Riviera in France. The third is struggling in war-torn Yemen. All three of the former prisoners were reunited with their families years ago and managed to build new lives despite the abuse they endured and the stigma of having been held at Guantánamo. ‌‌“It’s hard,” said Lakhdar Boumediene, who lost more than seven years in U.S. detention, where he was found to be unlawfully held. “They took my time, my family.” Their stories still matter today. About 780 men and boys were taken to Guantánamo, all by the George W. Bush administration, beginning 21 years ago, on Jan. 11, 2002. Of them, 35 prisoners remain. Some still have court cases that challenge the legal limits of the war against terrorism and continue to shape its legacy. read the complete article

10 Jan 2023

Petition Supporting Professor Fired for Islamophobia Signed by Thousands

Erika López Prater was dismissed by Hamline University in November for including in her class discussion a medieval Islamic painting of the prophet receiving Quranic revelations, which features in the manuscript copy of Rashid al-Din's Compendium of Chronicles dating back to 14th century Iran. The private liberal arts college is based in Minnesota. An international group of scholars and students—both Muslim and non-Muslim—specializing in Islamic history, studies and arts wrote a letter on December 24 that formed the basis of the petition calling for López Prater to be reinstated to her position at the university. ­As of Tuesday morning, the petition had garnered 10,400 signatures. In the letter, the academics "express our outrage" that López Prater was dismissed. "It is our understanding that Dr. López Prater noted in her syllabus that such images would be included in the course, that the visual exercise and discussion were optional, and that she gave verbal cues both before and after the image was shown in their online class," it said. "The student who complained about its inclusion in the course was thus given not one but several opportunities to not engage with the image (and it should be noted that a number of faculty do not include such warnings or options to disengage from historical evidence in their courses)." read the complete article

10 Jan 2023

SZA Says Bullying, Islamophobia at Columbia High School Galvanized Her to Succeed

Columbia High School alumna and superstar SZA — born Solána Rowe — says that the bullying and Islamophobia she experienced in high school shaped her into to the person she is today. In a recent People magazine interview, the Grammy-winning singer said, “I was bullied because I wasn’t quiet and I was awkward at the same time. I wasn’t this tiny sad victim, but I was more so attacked just because it was giving ‘What is wrong with you?’ energy.” SZA, who also said she stopped wearing the hijab after 9/11, gave words of encouragement to students, especially girls: “Everyone who experiences bullying, that just sucks [but] if you could hold on and just wait until high school is over because 10 years from now, I promise you, none of those people will matter.” read the complete article

10 Jan 2023

I fled to U.S. for education, not indoctrination

Hamline University dismissed an art historian adjunct last fall for ‎showing a caricature of Prophet Muhammad receiving Islamic ‎instructions from the angel Gabriel. The dismissal was a ‎response to Muslim students who were offended by the image, proclaiming that the professor committed the unforgivable sin of ‎Islamophobia. The story has garnered attention and spurred a debate on the ‎conundrum between academic freedom and religious rights. As a Muslim who studied Islam ‎traditionally in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and academically at the University of Miami and University of Pennsylvania, I am ‎not offended by caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, or any holy figure for that matter. The prophet of Islam said that "deeds are judged by ‎their intention," a classical principle in the reasoning of Islamic law. ‎Prof. Erika Lopez Prater, who showed the image to her ‎class, took precautions to ensure that her intention was ‎educational and not comical. For example, in the course's syllabus, she warned students that prophetic images would be displayed in class, and no ‎student raised any objections. From an Islamic perspective, her actions ‎should be judged according to her educational intention. There is a debate within the Islamic tradition itself about whether prophetic images are permitted or prohibited. ‎Regardless of that debate, however, classroom discussions should not be regulated according to a particular strand in the religion. It behooves students to have a full discussion of Islam in the classroom. On many topics ‎in Islamic law, Muslim scholars have argued for competing ‎positions, ranging from liberal to the conservative, the ‎beautiful to the ugly, the tolerant to the intolerant. read the complete article

United Kingdom

10 Jan 2023

Prince Harry's Spare: Fighting for a 'Christian army', Muslim baby taunts and other takeaways

Prince Harry's revelation that he killed 25 people in Afghanistan drew headlines and condemnation ahead of the publication of his memoir Spare on Tuesday, with the newly released book offering more problematic insights into his time in the military. The disaffected royal details how he was fed the narrative of fighting for a "Christian army" during his training for deployment in Iraq, and many of his anecdotes and language are uncomfortable and jarring, particularly from a self-described anti-racist. Harry describes being emotionally volatile, bored and looking for a purpose in his life, with the army seemingly giving him a sense of direction. He draws a comparison between the paparazzi that plagued him and Iraqis in the chaotic period following the US-led invasion. The paparazzi had always been "grotesque people", and as he grew older, they had grown "more emboldened, more radicalized, just as young men in Iraq had been radicalized," Harry writes. "Their mullahs were editors." The chance to escape to the military and the discipline it offered was a pull factor that maybe could help him "snap me out of it", he recounts. One scenario that Harry recalls having to act out in a training exercise before his planned deployment to Iraq was fighting as part of a "Christian army". "We'd been given a meta-narrative, which we now recalled: We were a Christian army, fighting a militia sympathetic to Muslims," he writes. read the complete article

10 Jan 2023

Darnall mosque attacked in suspected hate crime

The Jamia Abdullah Bin Masood mosque in Darnall, Sheffield, has been attacked in an apparent hate crime. On January 2, local community members found the mosque damaged with Qurans thrown on the floor, the kitchen and toilets had units ripped out, and various technological devices had been stolen. A study from the Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) group in 2022 found that around half of mosques in the UK had been attacked in the last three years. The regional manager of MEND, Nayeen Haque, said: We believe the Islamophobic narrative being peddled in wider society is to blame for the rise in attacks we've seen in the Muslim community. Data aggregator Statista have found that the number of recorded hate crimes against Muslims in England and Wales have risen in recent years. read the complete article

10 Jan 2023

Mayor goes ahead with meeting for anti-immigrant group

Mayor Jason Perry is ignoring appeals from minority groups and a refugee support organisation and is going ahead with plans to attend a meeting tonight organised by a group which includes racists and Islamophobes. The Croydon Communities [sic] Consortium has in the past been ordered to repay thousands of pounds from a council grant, seen the Borough Commander ban police officers from attending its events, and it is now the subject of a formal complaint over anti-Muslim conduct. While the Mayor refuses to give an interview to Inside Croydon, he has agreed to attend a zoom meeting organised by fringe organisation CCC. CCC’s last annual meeting in 2022 was attended by just eight people. At that meeting, CCC re-elected to its committee Clive Locke, whose racist activity on social media saw him forced to resign from the same body in 2014. read the complete article


10 Jan 2023

One year of Karnataka’s war on Muslim women’s right to learn

In early January, protests broke out in parts of Karnataka, beginning in Udupi, against a long-accepted practice of allowing Muslim women students to wear their hijabs, or headscarves, to college. While most colleges prescribed uniforms, their administrations typically accepted that the headscarves were an integral part of Muslim students’ identity and religious practice, and did not object to them. In late December, the Government Pre-University College, in Udupi, prohibited Muslim students from wearing hijabs inside the classroom. Six students protested this move. The administration refused to change its new rule, leading to further protests from Muslim students. Subsequently, in January, hundreds of Hindu students arrived at their colleges with saffron scarves around their necks, demanding that students with hijabs be denied entry into campuses. They argued that hijabs violated their institutions’ rules on uniforms. On February 5, the Karnataka government issued an order stating that colleges should adhere strictly to uniform rules, and that no exceptions would be made for hijabs. Several Muslim organisations and students filed petitions against this order. On February 10, a little over a month after Sayed had started her course, the Karnataka High Court issued an interim order restraining students from wearing “saffron shawls, scarves, hijabs, religious flags or the like inside the classrooms”. The order left many in shock and disbelief. Muslims already enjoyed relatively low access to education – according to the All India Survey on Higher Education, 2017-’18, the enrollment of Muslims in higher education is the lowest among all disadvantages groups, including Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. read the complete article


11 Jan 2023

More than 100 Rohingya refugees jailed for trying to flee Myanmar camps

More than 110 Rohingya have been sentenced to prison by a military-backed court in Myanmar for attempting to escape refugee camps without the proper paperwork. The group, which include 12 children, was arrested last month on the shores of the Ayeyarwady region as they waited for two motorboats they hoped would facilitate the start of their journey to Malaysia. Sentences for the group ranged from two to five years, depending on whether they left camps in Bangladesh or Rakhine. The children were sent to “training schools”. Local media reports suggest that since December 2021, some 1,800 Rohingya, including children, have been arrested as they attempt to flee camps. “The charges against them for travelling without documentation stem from the junta’s own refusal to recognise Rohingya as citizens,” said Daniel Sullivan from Refugees International. The Muslim minority group is not legally recognised under Myanmar’s 1982 citizenship law. This limits their access to basic services and freedom of movement. “The Myanmar junta’s latest jailing of Rohingya is a reminder to the world that the architects of the Rohingya genocide remain in power in Myanmar,” Sullivan said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Jan 2023 Edition


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