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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06 Jul 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, the “Arab community is demanding an end to racial profiling after it was revealed that over 50 percent of “suspects” reported to the police, primarily for doing mundane things like texting or taking photos, were described as people of Arab descent in Chicago,” meanwhile Twitter has filed a lawsuit against the Indian government, pushing back against orders to censor content on its platform, and in the United Kingdom, Sadiq Khan has said he was “shocked” to hear about Muslims being bullied and harrassed at work due to their religion. Our recommended read of the day is by Afreen Fatima for TIME on being Muslim in Modi’s India, where the community is constantly “humiliated, demeaned, and brutalized” by the authorities. This and more below


06 Jul 2022

Bulldozers Have Razed My Home, and Broken the Back of India’s Muslims. Does the World Care? | Recommended Read

Ever wondered what is it like to be a Muslim in the undeclared Hindu state that is India? To be constantly humiliated, demeaned, and brutalized? To have your soul destroyed by the state? And sometimes, your home, too? From our faith and history to our eating habits and clothes, the Hindu supremacists ruling India today have spared nothing in their campaign against our community. During the eight years of Narendra Modi’s government, they have taken a sledgehammer to our country’s secular foundations by routinely finding ever newer ways of targeting us. Last month they brought a bulldozer to my home. Our home thus became part of the now-familiar pattern of what has come to be known as “bulldozer justice” in India. This is how it works: the government links Muslims to grievous “crimes” such as participating in protests, then blames them for violence, and destroy their homes. Earlier this year, during a Hindu festival, sword-wielding Hindu militants marched into Muslim neighborhoods in many cities, sometimes belting out obscenities over loudspeakers in front of mosques during the Ramadan, before launching targeted attacks on Muslim homes and businesses. Then too, police blamed Muslims for the unrest, arrested hundreds of innocent Muslims, including minors, and razed their houses with bulldozers. There’s, of course, no legal provision for such demolition of private property, even if individuals are indeed found to have been involved in violent acts. But it doesn’t matter; the whole idea is to demonstrate that Muslims have no legal protection in a Hindu state. We are not equal citizens. Days have passed by in a blur since – not knowing what’s happening to Abbu in police custody, preparing for the legal battle facing us despite knowing how compromised the state institutions are, and not knowing if I’ll ever have a good night’s sleep again. It has been punishing. This state of being—of having to prove innocence, of anxiety, of vulnerability, of pain—itself is the punishment. For being a Muslim in Modi’s India. Does the world know how we live? Does it care? read the complete article

06 Jul 2022

Twitter sues Indian government, challenging orders to remove content

Twitter on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Indian government, pushing back against orders to censor content on its platform. The lawsuit, filed in the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore against the Union Government of India, is part of a broadening battle between tech giants and governments around the world, including in the Middle East, where activists and journalists have raised serious concerns over the issue of censorship. Tuesday's filing comes after India's information and technology ministry had asked Twitter to take down multiple accounts and tweets that were non-compliant with its new IT laws that allow the government to block access to content in the interest of national security, among other reasons. The government recently demanded the US company to take down tweets from Indian journalist Rana Ayyub, a critic of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu-nationalist government; and Indian journalist Mohammed Zubair, who was recently arrested over his tweets. Zubair is a prominent journalist known for debunking fake news, monitoring hate speech and exposing Islamophobia. Opponents of Modi's government have meanwhile accused his government of using the country's laws to clamp down on dissent and criticism. read the complete article

06 Jul 2022

Islamophobia Exists in India’s Private Sector

“It has been two years since I heard from any employer,” said Madina Ashfaq, a post graduate in Clinical Psychology. “I have been a straight ‘A’ student since middle school. While others in my batch have gotten placed in reputed hospitals, I struggle to even get a call for an interview.” Ashfaq is well-qualified, with glowing recommendation letters. She believes that there is a ceiling in the job market that she is not able to break, and recent research confirms her suspicions. Recent research by LedBy Foundation, a non-profit professional leadership incubator for Indian Muslim women, reveals serious obstacles in the way of Muslim women in the job market. It found that for every two call-backs that a Hindu woman receives from job applications, a Muslim woman gets only one. “The net discrimination rate of 47.1% for Indian Muslim women relative to Hindu women, represents a massive discrepancy between call-backs for Muslim and Hindu women, proving that a significant hiring bias against Muslim women” exists in Indian society, the study says. The LedBy Foundation explains that several diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have focused on improving women participation. But these efforts remain oblivious to the intersectionality of religious and ethnic identities and how they affect a woman’s wellbeing in society as an individual with multiple identities at the same time. A deep dive into the report shows how the Muslim community, especially its women, continue to be underrepresented in the formal work market. Hindutva foot-soldiers and their facilitators in India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government call for the economic boycott of Muslim vendors, daily-wagers, craftsmen, and other service providers. The LedBy Foundation’s research only confirms that this brutal anti-Muslim sentiment has reached the private sector as well, with recruiters thinking of Muslim women as less capable for jobs that they are fully qualified for. read the complete article

06 Jul 2022

India's 'bulldozer justice' flattens Muslim dissent

After two nights in police custody, Indian teenager Somaiya Fatima was released in time to watch live footage of an excavator claw smashing into the walls of her childhood home. The residence is among scores of dwellings and businesses flattened by wrecking crews this year, in a campaign authorities have promoted by turns as a battle against illegal construction and a firm response to criminal activity. But rights groups have condemned "bulldozer justice" as an unlawful exercise in collective punishment by India's Hindu nationalist government, and many of the campaign's victims have one thing in common. "We are Muslims and that's why we are being targeted," Fatima told AFP. The 19-year-old was arrested along with her family after her father was accused of masterminding a large public protest in the northern city of Allahabad last month. It was one of several rallies across India last month condemning a ruling party spokeswoman whose provocative comments about the Prophet Mohammed during a televised debate sparked anger across the Muslim world. The day Fatima was released, she was sitting in a relative's living room when she came across footage of her home's destruction on her phone. She said the demolition was a lesson for Muslims tempted to "speak up" against the government. "They've instilled fear in an entire community," she said. "Everyone now looks at their home and thinks that if it happened to us, it can happen to them also." read the complete article

United States

06 Jul 2022

More than half of 'suspicious activity reports' targeted Arabs and Muslims in Chicago

The Arab community is demanding an end to racial profiling after it was revealed that over 50 percent of "suspects" reported to the police, primarily for doing mundane things like texting or taking photos, were described as people of Arab descent in Chicago. A few years ago, members of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) started talking with members of the Chicago community about their experiences with law enforcement in the suburbs and in the city of Chicago. They began to collect stories and found that everyone had one to share: the mother of Muhammad Sankari, the lead organizer at AAAN, had been harassed. Sankari’s father's store was visited by law enforcement. And the stories went on. So, AAAN obtained 235 “Suspicious Activity Reports” (SARs) through the Freedom of Information Act. The reports were made between 2016 and 2020 by the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police. SARs are the documents produced by, “If You See Something, Say Something” - a campaign by the Department of Homeland Security that encourages people to report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement. In the reports obtained by AAAN, 50 percent of SARs from the Chicago Police Department and 67 perecnt of SARs from the Statewide Terrorism Intelligence Center (STIC) with the Illinois State Police, included racial, ethnic or religious descriptions of the suspects. Of the reports from the Chicago Police Department, 76.8 percent of the suspects were described as people of colour, including 53.6 percent who were described as “Arab”, “Muslim”, “Middle Eastern”, or “olive-skinned”. “It's not very surprising at all. We know just based on the reality of policing in this country, the role that police play in targeting communities of colour. It wasn't surprising to us that they were targeting Arabs and Middle Eastern people, people perceived to be Muslim,” Sankari told MEE. read the complete article

06 Jul 2022

Muslim mothers on screen are either villains or victims, but not in Ms Marvel

No representation can ever be perfectly accurate, but Ms Marvel centres a narrative that feels like home for many from Muslim and Pakistani backgrounds. Perhaps it’s that my own teen years are fast disappearing in the rearview mirror, or maybe it’s the recent birth of my first child, but I was surprised to find myself relating less to Kamala’s teenage angst and unquenchable desire to go to parties, and more to her mother, Muneeba. Witty and warm, stern and cautious, queen of poignant one-liners and harbouring a tantilising backstory cloaked in secrecy and shame, Muneeba’s character does what so many portrayals of Muslim mothers on screen fail to do. She is a multi-faceted, nuanced woman in her own right. Not defined by her faith, culture or traditions, she proudly upholds her heritage. And though Kamala yearns for more freedom than her mother allows, Muneeba’s reservations are rationalised as the reasonable fears of all parents. They have created a happy, healthy home, and for once Muslimness is not a signifier of something strange or sinister. Muslim women are usually shown in the news as an oppressed and anonymous mass. Our faceless depiction as burka-clad and voiceless is used to justify aggressive military force or enact policies that deepen our subjugation. We are a symbol of a lack of integration, a red flag to the bulls of nationalism and racism. On TV we are either achingly desperate to whip off our hijabs and experience the ultimate freedom of drunken one-night-stands in club toilets, à la Shabnam in Eastenders, or the meek and coerced wives of terrorists. In the opening scenes of BBC’s 2018 series Bodyguard, a Muslim woman suicide-bomber requires saving from her evil husband by a random white man – that is, until we realise she’s the terrorist mastermind after all. She may not be oppressed by her husband, but that twist hardly constitutes a feminist win, and certainly doesn’t dispel the negative reputation of Muslim women in the media (in fact the actor who played that part, Anjli Mohindra, has said she probably wouldn’t play that character now). We are rarely ever afforded the subtle, layered humanity of Ms Marvel’s Muneeba. As writer Jack Shaheen puts it, we are either “billionaires, bombers or belly dancers”. read the complete article

06 Jul 2022

Islamic call to prayer shows Muslims ‘belong’ in Minneapolis

While public broadcasting of the adhan is common in Muslim-majority countries, Minneapolis recently became the first major city in the United States to allow it year-round after city council passed a resolution in March. Now, the city’s thousands of Muslim residents, many of whom are Somali immigrants, can hear the same familiar calls in the streets of their new hometown – and not just during the holy month of Ramadan. Jamal Osman, a member of city council’s three-person Muslim caucus who proposed the resolution, said it was “a wonderful honour, the first recognition of Ramadan by the city, and acknowledging that the call to prayer can be broadcasted in Minneapolis”. Because the five daily calls to prayer are based on the rise and fall of the sun, the earliest and latest calls will likely remain internal for most of the year, Farah said. The volume would be roughly the same as church bells – audible but not disruptive to the neighbourhood. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to reach our neighbours and the wider community, but first and foremost it’s an opportunity for us as Muslims. It reminds us of back home,” Imam Mowlid Ali told Al Jazeera. “It reminds us that we belong here. It reminds us that we’re not hiding our faith. In a way, it increases our confidence and also our sense of belonging to this community.” Among the broader community, the regular broadcasting of the adhan will allow residents of various faiths and backgrounds “to get to know this beautiful song and what it means”, Ali said. “It’s a way of inviting people to come to the mosque, because there is a passage in the Quran that says ‘come to prayer, come to success,’” he added. “So it’s an invitation to the neighbours and to the public to really come to the mosque and get to know the Muslim community.” read the complete article

06 Jul 2022

Flyers from alleged white nationalist group found in quiet Berlin neighborhood

Hundreds of flyers seeking members for a “pro-white” neo-Nazi nationalist group were found in a quiet Berlin neighborhood over the weekend, residents said. The flyers claiming to be from “The Nationalist Social Club,” asks men of “European” descent to contact the group if they have concerns or want to join the organization. The missives said the group is a “pro-white street-oriented fraternity dedicated to raising authentic resistance to the enemies of our people in the New England area.” “This takes the form of networking, training, activism, outreach and above all, action,” the fliers said. Several residents posted the flyers on Facebook early Monday decrying the message and the fact their neighborhood was targeted. A Berlin officer said on a local Facebook group that the police department was investigating. Police are looking for any videos from residents that may show the culprits, Deputy Chief Christopher Ciuci said. According to the Anti-Defamation League, The Nationalist Social Club is a neo-Nazi group with small chapters throughout New England. “As we unfortunately witness on almost a daily basis, racist hate inevitably leads to acts of intimidation and violence,” said Farhan Memon, the chair of the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in a statement issued Tuesday. “We condemn the bigotry espoused by this neo-Nazi group and urge law enforcement authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

06 Jul 2022

Sadiq Khan ‘shocked’ to hear Muslims being bullied at work due to religion

Sadiq Khan has said he was “shocked” to hear about Muslims being bullied and harrassed at work due to their religion. The Mayor of London spoke out on Monday after London-based charity Islamophobia Response Unit told the BBC that Muslims have had prayer mats stolen and have been harrassed at work because of their religion. The Met told the Standard it recorded a 12 per cent increase in the past year of hate crime offences towards Muslims, from 895 in 2020-21 to 1,000 for 2021-22. Mr Khan pledged to work with the Met Police against Islamophobia and said hate crimes will “not be tolerated” in the capital. A study by Savanta ComRes found 69 per cent of UK Muslims currently in work said they had experienced some form of Islamophobia. Met Police data shows Islamophobia hate crime has been most prevalent in the boroughs of Westminster, Tower Hamlets and Hackney. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 06 Jul 2022 Edition


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