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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04 Jul 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that Nupur Sharma, the former spokesperson of the ruling BJP, should apologize for her Islamophobic comments that sparked huge protests and triggered a diplomatic row, meanwhile in the New Zealand, the government has added the Proud Boys and The Base to its list of terrorist groups, and lastly, a group of “Rohingya women and girls is expected to travel to Argentina to testify against the Myanmar military in a genocide trial being heard by a court in Buenos Aires.” Our recommended read of the day is by Dr. Maha Hilal for Middle East Eye on how President “Biden, like other presidents before him, perpetuates the false narrative that the practice of torture is antithetical to US values, despite its long and well-documented history.” This and more below:

United States

04 Jul 2022

Torture is an American value. US leaders from Bush to Biden are in denial | Recommended Read

Commemorating the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June, both US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken released statements condemning torture and pledging to eliminate its use. Noticeably absent, however, was any commitment to hold US government officials accountable for sanctioning, authorising, funding, and committing acts of torture. What this silence obscures is that, from Rikers Island and Communication Management Units to Chicago police torture to Guantanamo Bay to the School of the Americas and CIA black sites around the world, the critical fact is that US torture is a systemic and enduring practice. It is an intentional tactic to break down those detained and incarcerated within and outside of the country. Biden did, however, call for other states to be held accountable. “When a government commits torture, it surrenders its moral authority and undermines its own legitimacy. And, critically, when torture is committed in the name of national security, it only emboldens and multiplies enemies, fuels unrest, and leaves governments isolated internationally,” he stated. By ignoring the ongoing legacy of US torture while pointing the finger at other governments for the same practice, Biden, like other presidents before him, perpetuates the false narrative that the practice of torture is antithetical to US values, despite its long and well-documented history. read the complete article

United Kingdom

04 Jul 2022

They’ve lost it: Imam’s sacking ‘cuts government’s relationship with British Muslims’

The sacking of Imam Qari Asim as a government adviser on Islamophobia has brought it to a point where it has virtually no formal relationship with any Muslim organisation, according to an academic. Dr Stephen Jones, of Birmingham University, says relations between the government and Muslims had “thinned down” since the days of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative Coalition, as ministers sought to distance themselves from organisations over particular issues or those it defined as “on a pathway to extremism”. He told a Religion Media Centre briefing: “Nearly all of the Muslim representative and lobbying organisations are pretty much completely disengaged from government at this point. And that’s partly the frustration around any kind of Muslim community engagement issues, whether it’s to do with hate crime, social mobility, or anything really, there’s no real conduit to represent to government at all at the moment”. Qari Asim’s departure as a government independent adviser on the definition of Islamophobia and deputy chairman of the Anti-Muslim Hatred working group was announced in an open letter posted this month on the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities website. It said it was because he had posted on Facebook that he supported a campaign against The Lady of Heaven film, which was banned at the beginning of June by Cineworld after loud protests. Speaking exclusively on the Religion Media Centre’s podcast, he said he had still not received a letter or had any communication with the department. In the RMC interview (full report here), he accused the department of using “an excuse to remove me”. He has demanded that the government retract its damning statements against him and said ministers should reconsider their decision to disengage with him. Since Mr Asim’s dismissal, 120 Muslim leaders accused the government of undermining its relationship with the Muslim community and taking a step backwards in community cohesion. read the complete article

04 Jul 2022

Mosques Were Promised Protection Against Islamophobia – Where Is It?

It’s often after a terrorist attack – such as the Finsbury Park van attack in 2017, or the devastating mass shooting in Christchurch in 2019 – that we begin to talk about Islamophobic hate crimes. But this insidious form of hate against Muslims has a very ubiquitous presence in the lives of British Muslims and abroad. And sadly, it is once again on the rise. According to a new study of 100 UK mosques, over a third (35%) said they have experienced attacks in the last three years, with theft and vandalism the most common crimes. The research, carried about by the Muslim Engagement and Development group (MEND), found that mosques are always expecting an attack ‘at any time’. Yet despite the high figures, mosques and Muslim faith leaders say they’ve been left in the lurch, without adequate support to prevent and deal with this targeting. The survey from MEND and Muslim Census found that nearly one in five mosques has experienced a physical attack, including in one case the stabbing of an Imam. Muslims are particularly ostracised and research from 2021 shows that nearly half of all hate crimes in England and Wales were directed at this group. Overall hate crimes rose by 9% as police recorded 124,091 incidents between March 2020 and March 2021, the Home Office data shows. Racially motivated hate crimes made up the majority of the overall figures, increasing by 12% to 85,668 offences. In 2016 the government set up a Places of Worship Security Funding Scheme and in May, the Home Office said Mosques and Muslim faith schools had been given access to £24.5 million for security measures. The government told religious leaders they could bid for funding be put into place to tackle any threats. This could include the installation of CCTV cameras and perimeter fencing to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect worshippers. But the MEND research found that only a third of the mosques that applied for funding actually received it. read the complete article

04 Jul 2022

Grenfell Tower Inquiry diary week 81: ‘This is Islamophobia, it is racism, the elephant staring back at us in the room’

Monday saw lawyers for the various parties involved in proceedings give closing statements relating to the evidence covering the immediate aftermath of the fire. The first of these came from Allison Munroe QC (pictured above), representing one of the groups of bereaved and survivors. Not for the first time in this inquiry, her comments raised the issues of racism and discrimination. Describing it as “the elephant in the room”, she said: “Racism and discrimination, we say, played a very real part in the response to this tragedy. The playing field was not level. It never has been.” Expanding this point, she read from a previously unseen risk assessment produced by the Kensington and Chelsea branch of the Metropolitan Police four days after the fire. Warning of a risk of “outbreaks of crime and/or disorder within hours”, it said: “There is an expectation that the final death toll from the fire could rise substantially and with the cause still unknown, any subsequent disclosure could have an impact on community tensions. “Especially when the majority of those affected are believed to come from a Muslim cultural background, combined with the incident occurring during the [holy] month of Ramadan.” “Members of the panel, this is Islamophobia, it is racism, the elephant staring back at us in the room,” said Ms Munroe. The response to this document from bereaved and survivors has been furious. read the complete article


04 Jul 2022

At Haryana Panchayat, Hindutva Leaders Call for 'Economic Boycott' of Muslims

A Haryana panchayat which saw presence of members of Hindutva groups like Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, on Sunday, June 3, called for an “economic boycott of Muslim businesspersons,” Indian Express has reported. The panchayat was held at a temple in Manesar and was attended by nearly 200 people from not just Manesar but also Kasan, Dharuhera and Gurgaon. The panchayat also gave a call to take up arms if incidents like the murders of a tailor in Udaipur and a chemist in Amravati occur again. This is not the first call for the economic boycott of Muslims by Hindutva groups and supporters. The Wire has earlier reported on attacks on Muslim-owned shops by Hindutva groups across India, who have accused Muslim people attempting to earn a livelihood of ‘mehendi jihad’, ‘bangle jihad’, ‘narcotics jihad’, ‘economic jihad’ and even ‘juice jihad’. Earlier this year, following the Karnataka government’s declaration in the state assembly that non-Hindus are not allowed to do business in and around temple premises, Muslim traders were widely reported as having being evicted from temple fares by Hindutva groups. In many situations, Hindutva activists destroyed Muslims’ shops and their wares too. read the complete article

04 Jul 2022

India top court: Nupur Sharma must apologise for prophet remarks

Nupur Sharma, a former spokeswoman of India’s ruling party whose remarks on the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha sparked huge protests and triggered a diplomatic row, should apologise, the nation’s top court has said. “She and her loose tongue have set the country on fire,” the Supreme Court said on Friday during a procedural hearing on several criminal complaints filed against Sharma. “This lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country,” it added. “She should apologise to the whole nation.” Anger engulfed India and the Muslim world last month after Sharma made the incendiary comments on the prophet during a TV debate, with nearly 20 countries calling in their Indian ambassadors for an explanation. In India, at least two demonstrators – one a teenager – were killed in police fire while a number of homes belonging to Muslims were bulldozed in what critics called “collective punishment” by the authorities for holding the protests. read the complete article


04 Jul 2022

Rohingya Women, Girls to Testify in Genocide Trial of Myanmar Military

A group of Rohingya women and girls is expected to travel to Argentina within two months to testify against the Myanmar military in a genocide trial being heard by a court in Buenos Aires. The survivors have each given remote testimony of sexual assault to the court. The Argentine court has a history of taking up cases based on the premise of “universal justice.” This legal concept holds that some horrific acts, including genocide, can be tried anywhere. The case originates with the 2017 army crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, a Buddhist majority nation. More than 370 Rohingya villages were set on fire, killing hundreds of civilians during a military security clearance operation in northern Rakhine state to retaliate against the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, an armed Rohingya group. The United Nations has said the Myanmar army’s actions amount to genocide. More than 740,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after the crackdown. Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organization U.K., or BROUK, told VOA Burmese that “testimony is most likely to occur within a maximum of two months. That testimony is very important. Women will be taken to court in Buenos Aires for a hearing.” read the complete article


04 Jul 2022

New Zealand designates Proud Boys, The Base far-right terrorist groups

New Zealand has added the Proud Boys and The Base to its list of terrorist groups. The designation bars New Zealand residents from funding or supporting the two far-right extremist groups. It comes three years after the country's worst terrorist attack, which involved an Australian white supremacist. In documents outlining the decision, law enforcement wrote that the Proud Boys played a key role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. "Actions and statements by [American Proud Boys] members both before and during the attack demonstrate an intention to cause the death or serious bodily injury to people. The document also pointed to their "adherence to white nationalism, extreme racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia," citing examples of members signaling "white power." Officials said The Base holds similar beliefs and highlighted the group's neo-Nazi ideologies, including "bringing about a 'race war' in the US, the mass execution of people of colour in a coordinated event labelled 'the Day of the Rope', halting the 'great replacement, and the creation of 'white ethno-states' where people of colour are either absent or without democratic power." read the complete article

04 Jul 2022

Norwegian anti-Islam extremist’s car rammed after Qur’an burned

The leader of a Norwegian anti-Islamic group was in a spectacular car chase and collision on Saturday, minutes after burning a Qur’an on the outskirts of Oslo. Norwegian police said they arrested two people, including the driver of a car accused of deliberately ramming the SUV of Lars Thorsen, leader of the radical group “Stop the Islamization of Norway” (Sian). The five passengers in the SUV were slightly injured, with one requiring hospital treatment, police said. A video posted on Facebook showed Thorsen and other activists first drive to Mortensrud, a suburb of Oslo with a large Muslim community. The handful of activists then placed a burning Qur’an in the middle of a small intersection, initially managing to push back local people who tried to put out the flames. An angry crowd gathered, including one woman who grabbed the charred book before climbing into a grey Mercedes. The SUV of the anti-Islam activists, painted in camouflage livery, then left the scene. But seconds later, it was overtaken by the Mercedes, which first hit it lightly and eventually hit it at speed, overturning the vehicle. read the complete article


04 Jul 2022

NBA star urges Canadian PM Trudeau to not tolerate China’s ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang

NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom has called upon Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take stringent actions on China’s “genocide” of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang region adding that Canberra must signal that it will not tolerate Beijing’s abuses. Apparently, the NBA player and human rights campaigner in a June 15 letter to Trudeau, requested the Prime Minister for real action against China’s atrocities on the Uyghur population. However, he termed the reply from Trudeau a “lacklustre response”, reported Canada’s local media outlet CBC News. The basketball player wrote to Trudeau last month to encourage the Liberal government to take a harder line on China. This is at a time when China is allegedly committing genocide against a Turkic minority in the country’s Xinjiang province. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Jul 2022 Edition


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