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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13 Jul 2022

Today in Islamophobia: Human Rights Watch’s directors write that Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, had the opportunity to bring global attention to the Chinese government’s human rights violations during her recent visit, but instead, “she failed to condemn the government’s mass repression of the Uyghur ethnic community,” meanwhile in India, the Supreme Court agreed to hear next week a batch of pleas challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state, and lastly, hijab bans around the world are resulting in serious disadvantages for the women targeted and impacted by these discriminatory measures. Our recommended read of the day is by Faima Bakar and Habiba Katsha for The Huffington Post on the UK public’s response to the record number of Tory leadership contenders from minority ethnic backgrounds vying to be the next Prime Minister. This and more below:

United Kingdom

13 Jul 2022

A Record Number Of MPs Of Colour Have Stood For Prime Minister. This Is How People Feel About It | Recommended Read

Your new prime minister? Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Kemi Badenoch, Nadhim Zahawi, Suella Braverman, Rehman Chishti. All Conservative MPs, all running in the leadership contest for prime minister. All people of colour. The record number of leadership contenders from minority ethnic backgrounds have been celebrated by some – particularly as 6.9% of the UK population are from Asian descent while 3% are Black. But under a Tory government which has been accused of racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and creating a hostile environment for immigrants, others say this achievement is dulled. Kemi Badenoch, for example, has never been far from controversy in her role as Minister for Equalities. Writing in The Times, she claimed the UK is “falsely criticised as oppressive to minorities”. And last year, during Black History Month, she rebuffed calls for more teaching of black history and white privilege in schools. Sajid Javid, a Muslim MP who has spoken of being the son of a Pakistani bus driver, has also been accused of forgetting those who he claims to represent. His own career in international banking again has received less screen time. These MPs have also supported now disgraced prime minister Boris Johnson, who once spoke of Black people having watermelon smiles, used ‘piccaninnies’ (a racist term to describe Black children), and likened Muslim women to letterboxes, after which there was a 357% increase in Islamophobia. So, how do people of colour really feel about the six leadership contenders? Finn*, an 18-year-old from Hertfordshire, believes the candidates of colour are upholding a system that perpetuates racism, rather than working to dismantle it. The student, of West-Indian heritage, says: “I can’t really respect any Tory MPs of colour, when the party they represent and support has directly harmed British people of colour for years, with examples such as the Windrush scandal or their general attitudes towards immigrants of colour. read the complete article

13 Jul 2022

Mark Rowley’s Met Police will offer ‘more of the same’ on race, campaigners fear

The new Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley is unlikely to take a tough stance on tackling racism in policing, a former superintendent fears. Mr Rowley, the former National Police Chiefs Council’s counterterrorism lead, retired from policing in 2018 but was confirmed to be returning as the Met Police’s chief on Friday. “Mark Rowley has never shown himself out to understand equality, diversity and inclusion - in particular racism, systemic or otherwise. He’s a chip off the old block, the same block that Cressida Dick was honed from,” Mr Logan, one of the first Black officers in the Met, said. The former policeman’s comments come as the Met faces sustained criticism for failing to properly tackle discrimination within its ranks after a series of scandals hit the service. They include Operation Hotton, which revealed a culture of racism within the Met evidenced through WhatsApp messages, to a string of concerning stop-and-searches and officers taking selfies with the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. During a 2019 interview with the BBC, the new Met chief partly blamed the rise of the far-right in UK on the “lack of integration” of ethnic minorities which caused offence. He also claimed that it was “clumsy” to suggest that Islamophobia and racism are the same thing. Michael Morgan, who hosts a Twitter Spaces forum dedicated to issues around policing, told The Independent: “Mark Rowley does not come to the table with a good track record where Black and minority issues are concerned.” “Has he admitted the Met Police are institutionally racist? Not to my knowledge. This gaslighting is set to continue under his watch if his previous comments are anything to go by. This warped victim-blaming does not fill me with confidence.” read the complete article


13 Jul 2022

ICJ to Rule on Myanmar’s Objections in Rohingya Genocide Case

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced that it will next week deliver its judgement on Myanmar’s objections to a case accusing it of genocide against the country’s Rohingya minority group. In a statement issued on Monday, the ICJ said that a public sitting of the court will take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague at 3 p.m. on July 22. Judge Joan E. Donoghue, president of the ICJ, will read out the court’s decision. The genocide case was brought by the government of The Gambia following the Myanmar military’s fierce assaults on the Rohingya communities of Rakhine State in late 2017, which drove more than 700,000 terrified civilians across the border into Bangladesh. United Nations researchers later asserted that the military’s assaults, which included the killing of civilians and the torching of their villages, were potentially “genocidal” in nature. A similar determination has since been made by the United States government. The preliminary objections were filed by Myanmar’s civilian government just before it was overthrown in a military coup in February 2021, and argue that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case. Among other things, Myanmar is attempting to have the case thrown out on the grounds that that The Gambia was acting as a proxy for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and that the court can only hear cases between nations. read the complete article

13 Jul 2022

U.S. lawmakers ask Biden administration why some China solar giants left off slave labor list

Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday asked U.S. customs officials to explain why three major Chinese solar energy companies were excluded from a list of importers whose products are banned under a new law aimed at cracking down on forced labor. Expanding the scope of barred products could threaten U.S. solar panel supplies at a time the import-dependent industry is already grappling with supply chain disruptions, transmission constraints and other obstacles. Those challenges are a major headwind to President Joe Biden's goal to decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) took effect last month to cut U.S. purchases of products from Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities are reported to have established forced labor camps for ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim groups. Beijing denies abuses in Xinjiang, but says it has set up "vocational training centers" to curb what it says was terrorism, separatism and religious radicalism in the region. The law gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discretion over which companies' imports should be banned, and its list currently includes several makers of solar-grade polysilicon, a raw material used to produce solar panels. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus, seven House Democrats led by Tim Ryan of Ohio requested information on how a federal task force compiled its list. read the complete article

13 Jul 2022

Bachelet should fix disastrous China visit by standing with victims

When Bachelet visited China in May, the first trip by a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the country in 17 years, she had an opportunity to bring global attention to the Chinese government’s egregious human rights violations. Instead, she failed to condemn the government’s mass repression of the Uyghur ethnic community, its longstanding oppression in Tibet, and the attack on fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong. Her visit provided the Chinese Communist Party with ammunition to deny its abuses and damaged recent efforts by activists and governments to push for justice. The trip badly damaged Bachelet’s credibility. Access to countries led by repressive leaders can be important. But it was harmful that she openly ignored her mandate and turned her back on victims. At the end of her visit, Bachelet said it “would be presumptuous” to “try to encapsulate the full complexity of this vast country’s human rights situation in one statement”. It isn’t so difficult. In 2014, the Chinese government initiated a “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Extremism” against Uyghurs and other Turkic populations in the Xinjiang region. This campaign involves mass arbitrary detention and surveillance, torture, cultural persecution including destruction of historic and religious sites, and other widespread and systematic abuses that amount to crimes against humanity. Yet, Bachelet publicly accepted the Chinese government’s official line that its actions in Xinjiang amounted to “counterterrorism”, describing arbitrary detention facilities as “vocational education training centres”. Perhaps most disturbing was Bachelet’s failure in China to set out any prospect of justice for victims and survivors. She agreed to an “annual senior strategic meeting” and a “working group” – doubtless what Beijing hoped for because they have proven useless for meaningful accountability. Shamefully, she proposed no consultations with victims’ groups. Unsurprisingly, some Uyghur groupsExternal link and othersExternal link affected called for her resignation. She can still salvage her legacy before ending her term. She should release the report on abuses in Xinjiang immediately, speak out clearly about the scope and widespread and systematic nature of the Chinese government’s abuses, and call for the release of all those wrongfully detained. She should also engage in regular dialogue with Uyghur and Tibetan groups and Chinese human rights defenders. read the complete article

13 Jul 2022


The headscarf that Muslim women choose to wear has always been a global fixation in the secular world of politics. Now after a series of international bans on religious garments in schools and government buildings, those attacks on religious expression are resulting in serious disadvantages for the women targeted. Advocates for equality such as Shefaly Gunjal, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager at a global PR agency, Citizen Relations, explains on behalf of millions of Muslim women the significance of her hijab. “The hijab to me is part of my relationship to God and Islam,” said Gunjal. “It is also freeing to wear the hijab because it removes the pressure of dressing to societal standards and allows you to dress how you are comfortable. It has very quickly become an integral part of me that I could not imagine going without, it is a strong part of my identity and how I want to show up in the world.” France is home to the largest population of Muslims in Europe, yet its government continues to ostracize Muslim women through legislation that limits religious freedoms. In 2004, the French government banned all religious garments from being worn in public schools. Researchers Vasiliki Fouka and Aala Abdelgadir conducted a study on the relationship between France’s hijab ban and the success of Muslim girls in school. “We find that Muslim girls who were in school during (or after) the law’s implementation experienced worse educational outcomes,” said Princeton University Postdoctoral Research Associate, Aala Abdelgadir. Their research found that Muslim girls were “less likely to complete secondary education, more likely to drop out of secondary school after the implementation of the 2004 law, and more likely to take longer to complete secondary education.” read the complete article


13 Jul 2022

Indian authorities are using ‘bulldozer justice’ to take revenge, often targeting Muslims, say legal experts

A day after Indian Muslim political activist Javed Muhammad was arrested in connection with recent protests in Prayagraj city in Uttar Pradesh, a bulldozer arrived at his doorstep, along with police in riot gear. “The police was trying to get the rest of the family to vacate the house, saying our home was on a hit list and it wasn’t safe for us to stay here. When we refused to leave, a notice from civic authorities was pasted by the gate claiming the building was illegal and would be demolished the next morning,” said Mr. Muhammad’s daughter, 24-year-old Afreen Fatima. Since the demolition notice was addressed to her father, and the house was registered in her mother’s name, legal counsel believed it would be illegal for authorities to go through with it. But on the morning of June 12, she and her family were left with little choice but to watch as the two-storey home they had lived in for more than 20 years came tumbling down in minutes. “All we had time to gather were the important education and legal documents,” said Ms. Fatima, a scholar and researcher. Mr. Muhammad’s house is the latest casualty in a spate of demolitions in India that opposition parties and human-rights organizations are calling “bulldozer justice.” Excavators are being used as an extrajudicial tool, targeting the homes and businesses of Muslim activists blamed for inciting violence in protest of the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. read the complete article

13 Jul 2022

Is Taj Mahal next causality of Hindutva?

Recently, several hashtags with anti-Muslim hate-filled comments, outrageous images and scandalous connotations all directed at Mughals and the Turkic Muslim rulers have flooded Twitter over the Taj Mahal. One of the posts incorporated The Aryavarth Express’ front-page image with sensational headlines and a question: “Is the Taj Mahal a Hindu temple?” What did the Mughals do to India? Did they destroy and loot it? Or did the Mughals forcefully change the Hindu religion? I asked myself so many questions. Did powerful Muslim rulers in Delhi ever demolish Hindu homes? I watched the Bollywood film "Razia Sultan," which illustrates the Muslim justice system. But that was the pre-Narendra Modi (incumbent Indian prime minister) era and now the same people are changing the discourse of history. Despite Muslims making India the richest and most multicultural nation, today Hindu nationalists are eradicating Muslim history. The Hindutva’s new victim is the symbol of eternal love, a matchless piece of Mughal architecture, included in the Seven Wonders of the World. It is the Taj Mahal, which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to memorize his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. One after the other, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are trying to find a temple under Muslim monuments or mosques. Now, a BJP leader, Dr. Rajneesh Singh, filed a petition to “open rooms of Taj Mahal to find facts about Hindu idols.” In the recent past, Hindus destroyed the historic Babri Masjid to build “Ram Temple.” So, what will be the next? And how far can the BJP go to dismantle India’s past history? read the complete article

13 Jul 2022

SC to hear next week pleas against Karnataka HC order refusing to lift ban on hijab

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear next week a batch of pleas challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state. read the complete article

United States

13 Jul 2022

In 'Ms. Marvel', Muslim fans see a reflection of their lives

Jumana Zakir knows who she is going to be for Halloween this year. Hint: Her new favorite superhero is a lot like her – female, teen, Muslim, American and “totally awesome.” “Kamala Khan is me,” said the exuberant 13-year-old from Anaheim, California. “She is just like me.” Khan is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Muslim superhero to headline her own television show. “Ms. Marvel,” which launched on Disney+ June 8, has struck a chord with South Asian Muslims in the West because of its relatability and how it portrays Muslim families. Advocates for inclusion and representation hope the show will open the door to more nuanced on-screen portrayals of Muslims and their rich diversity. The diverse experiences of Muslim women in “Ms. Marvel” are among aspects that stand in contrast to findings of a report published last year examining Muslim representation across 200 top-grossing movies from the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand that were released between 2017 and 2019. The study found women were particularly underrepresented, with just 23.6% of Muslim characters in these movies being female. Conducted by the University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, with support from others, it also found that 90.5% of these films didn’t feature Muslim speaking characters and yet 39% of “primary and secondary” Muslim characters were perpetrators of violence. Making Ms. Marvel more relatable was intentional, said Sana Amanat, one of Kamala Khan’s creators and an executive producer on the show. She wanted to portray a Muslim character who “feels like someone you know." “She is not put on a pedestal,” she said. “She is awkward. She is funny. She is a sweet person who ultimately wants to do better.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Jul 2022 Edition


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