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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08 Jul 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, Islamophobic comments made by the next chief of Alberta’s human rights commission have been uncovered, with Collin May writing “Islam is not a peaceful religion misused by radicals. Rather, it is one of the most militaristic religions known to man,” meanwhile in the United Kingdom, Nusrat Ghani, a Conservative MP called out top Tory Mark Spencer to his face over her claim to have lost her job because of her Muslim faith, and in the United States, the Plain View Project has uncovered hundreds of racist and Islamophobic social media posts made by Phoenix police officers. Our recommended read of the day is by The New Arab on the origins and roots of Hindu nationalism, a majoritarian project that seeks to make India a Hindu-only nation. This and more below:


08 Jul 2022

Explainer: The dangers of India's Hindu nationalism | Recommended Read

Violence against Muslims and other non-Hindu groups has become an almost daily occurrence in India. Radical Hindus have harassed, beaten, or killed hundreds of non-Hindus, especially Muslims, with few consequences. They have been shielded by a government that has consistently made life difficult for India's Muslims, which make up around 15 percent of the country's 1.3 billion people. These acts are perpetrated by followers of a Hindu nationalist ideology born in the mid-1900s and heavily influenced by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, claiming everyone who lives in India other than Hindus - especially Muslims and Christians - to be outsiders. Hindu nationalism is the dominant worldview of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and his government has presided over waves of violence against minorities in India since it was elected in 2014. “The sustenance of the Hindu nationalist project rests largely on 'othering' Muslims and other minorities in terms of their origins, dress, food habits, language, [and] patriotism,” said Niranjan Sahoo, a governance and public policy expert at the Observer Research Foundation. Here's everything you need to know about this dangerous ideology. read the complete article

08 Jul 2022

No ban on animal slaughter in Haridwar on Bakr Eid: Uttarakhand HC

The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday stayed a government order that banned slaughter anywhere in Haridwar district, although only for July 10 when members of the Muslim community will be sacrificing animals to celebrate Bakr Eid. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice RC Khulbe, however, directed that the animals be slaughtered only at a “legally compliant” slaughterhouse and not on roads. In March last year, while declaring Haridwar “slaughter-free”, the state government had cancelled clearances issued to all the slaughterhouses operating in the district’s two municipal corporations, two nagar palika parishads and five Nagar Panchayats. The order had come ahead of the Kumbh Mela, after BJP MLAs from the district wrote to the then chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat demanding a ban on slaughterhouses in a “religious city like Haridwar”. read the complete article

08 Jul 2022

Opinion: Indian democracy is marching towards authoritarianism, under the garb of pluralism

Almost every other day now, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs seems to issue a statement condemning some international body or the other that criticises the unjust actions of the Indian state. The latest of these are the arrests of activist Teesta Setalvad and journalist Mohammed Zubair. Back home, though, Indian authorities routinely violate the basic constitutional rights of citizens, arresting journalists, activists, opposition leaders, and ordinary citizens on ludicrous charges and then conjuring up absurd reasons to keep them incarcerated. Whether it is the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate or the police in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, there is now not even a half-hearted attempt by these institutions to pretend to be autonomous any more. In effect, they serve to put into action the orders of the BJP, at hand to quash anyone who is considered a threat – or just a mere annoyance. The arrests of Setalvad and Zubair are another move in the long endgame of settling scores that Modi and Shah set in motion a while ago. Their goal was not hard to discern: it was to get even with every individual that they considered to have been responsible for Modi’s political exile in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots of 2002 and Shah’s incarceration in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. Having grabbed the Indian mainstream media by the scruff of its neck soon after 2014, Modi and Shah, through various proxies, quite quickly rendered ineffectual a whole host of Indian celebrity television journalists, all of whom figure prominently in the Hindutva imagination as Congress sympathisers given their apparent support for liberal and secular values. The next target has been the whistleblowers and human rights activists who sought to hold Modi and Shah accountable for the Gujarat model of communalisation-conflict-and carnage. Former Gujarat police officers Sanjiv Bhatt and RB Sreekumar, and Setalvad are now all in jail, while journalist Rana Ayyub has been relentlessly harassed and on occasion prevented from leaving the country. read the complete article

United States

08 Jul 2022

Is Ms. Marvel Enough to Make Up for the MCU’s Past?

As the opening credits of Ms. Marvel flashes through an array of vibrant title cards in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, and more, it’s clear that this TV show isn’t like other Marvel shows. What sets the series apart is the rich, intricate portrayal of the life of its Pakistani Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan. It’s replete with details that scream lived experience: steaming biryani in bags, stolen shoes at the mosque, and an expertly chosen soundtrack featuring Swet Shop Boys and A.R. Rahman. But for many brown and Muslim viewers, seeing ourselves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t always been such a joyous experience. For years, the MCU worked overtime to vilify Muslim-coded characters. In Ms. Marvel’s third episode, federal agents from the Department of Damage Control stride into Kamala’s mosque, investigating reports of an “enhanced individual.” They speak to the mosque’s imam with visible disdain, and respond to the request to come back with a warrant with surprise and scorn. In an earlier scene, one of the agents remarked that to approve the mosque trip, they need only ask a friend at the FBI, since they’ve probably had the mosque under surveillance for years. Episode by episode, it’s clear that the series is using Kamala’s culture and faith as tools rather than passing references. There is a determined effort here to chip away at negative perceptions of both desi and Muslim communities—perceptions that Marvel had a grim and undeniable hand in shaping. Remember the bearded, Urdu- and Arabic-speaking terrorist group that kidnapped Tony Stark and trapped him in a cave in Iron Man? While Stark may have emerged relatively unscathed, going on to spearhead our favorite superhero team, it came at the expense of the continued dehumanization of already marginalized communities. From the cartoonishly violent criminals of Iron Man to the shrouded, helpless women in Iron Man 3’s brief trip to a sweatshop in Pakistan, Ms. Marvel has a lot to make up for. And yet, within the confines of a six-episode superhero show, it does a surprisingly meaningful job. Previous iterations of Muslims in the MCU strongly tended towards derision and suspicion. Ms. Marvel tries to do the opposite, telling FBI agents to leave the mosque and take their carpet-dirtying wingtips with them. read the complete article

08 Jul 2022

Phoenix Cops Bash Muslims, Call Black People Thugs in Shocking Facebook Posts

"CONGRATULATIONS GEORGE ZIMMERMAN!!! Thank you for cleaning up our community one thug at a time," wrote Phoenix police officer Joshua Ankert on July 14, 2013, the day after Zimmerman was acquitted of murder for shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Salary data available on the city's open data portal shows Ankert made $72,425 for his work with the Phoenix Police Department last year. Ankert's post is one of hundreds of shocking social media posts made by Phoenix police officers dug up by the Plain View Project, a database launched over the weekend and created by a team of Philadelphia attorneys in an effort to catalog bigotry and racism among police officers nationwide. The database includes 282 posts from current and former Phoenix police officers. Taken together, the posts reveal a chilling culture of intolerance and prejudice among Phoenix police officers, who frequently referred to black people as "thugs," called for violence against protesters, denounced Muslims as rapists, and joked about refusing to help citizens who criticized the police. Phoenix police officer David Pallas showed a total intolerance towards Muslims in his Facebook posts. In one, shared on June 12, 2016, a photo of Michelle Obama captioned, "Every day I wake up in a house that was built by slaves," was juxtaposed with another photo captioned, "Then get out!! And take your gay muslim husband with you." Pallas also shared a photo of a goat captioned: "I don't want to grow up to be abused as a Muslim sex slave. Please ban Islam" and a photo of the Quran captioned, "How about banning this, it offends me!!" read the complete article

United Kingdom

08 Jul 2022

Boris Johnson resignation – time for a re-set in British politics

Following the resignation speech of Boris Johnson as prime minister of this country, the Muslim Council of Britain’s Secretary-General Zara Mohammed said: “The resignation of the prime minister comes at a delicate moment for our country: a cost-of-living crisis, international turmoil and deep divisions here in the UK. It is now time to reset our politics and restore trust and integrity in our democracy. The many crises we faced under the tenure of Boris Johnson were only a symptom of toxic British politics which marginalises minorities and punishes the most vulnerable in society. Over the years the Muslim Council of Britain has shown how Muslims in particular, have been demonised and viewed through the prism of security, distrust, and ridicule. Before becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson mocked Muslim women, causing an upsurge in Islamophobic attacks, and yet, the Tories chose him as a leader without censure; underlining how Islamophobia is rife in the Conservative Party and in politics in general. As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson presided over broken promises of action after the Singh report. He made no progress in adopting a definition of Islamophobia. He ignored calls for a genuinely independent inquiry into prevent. He remained silent as a Muslim MP alleged, that she was denied promotion on account of her Muslimness. Parties were taking place at Number 10 as COVID-19 ripped through families and communities whilst multi-million-pound PPI contracts were awarded to friends and donors. Yet, there is no apology, not even a hint of contrition from the outgoing Prime Minister in his resignation speech. This just scratches the surface of why there was a crisis of confidence in Boris Johnson’s leadership, and more widely, in politics today. read the complete article

08 Jul 2022

Muslim MP calls out top Tory Mark Spencer to his face over Islamophobia probe

A Conservative MP called out top Tory Mark Spencer to his face over her claim to have lost her job because of her Muslim faith. Nusrat Ghani, a former Transport minister spoke out in January, claiming she spoke to a whip who informed her that her “Muslimness was raised as an issue” and that her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable”. Mr Spencer later outed himself as the minister she spoke to, but said the claims were "completely false" and "defamatory." But he was placed under investigation by Lord Geidt, then the Prime Minister's ethics advisor. The probe was still open when Lord Geidt quit last month, but it's understood it was nearing its conclusion. He has since been promoted from Chief Whip to Commons Leader, and was giving the weekly business statement in the chamber when Ms Ghani intervened with a pointed question. read the complete article


08 Jul 2022

The Chinese Communist Party’s overseas influence operations seek to alter the Xinjiang narrative

Over the last decade the free world has watched the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with growing alarm. Its use of mass extrajudicial interment, intrusive surveillance and coercive brainwashing has fundamentally altered the human and physical geography of the region and its indigenous Uyghur population. Yet the complex ways in which the Chinese Communist Party is exporting this repression abroad have received less attention. Our new report, Cultivating friendly forces: The Chinese Communist Party’s influence operations in the Xinjiang diaspora, exposes how the CCP is actively monitoring Uyghurs living abroad, creating databases of actionable intelligence and mobilising community organisations in the diaspora to counter international criticism of its policies in Xinjiang while promoting its own interests abroad. More than a million people with connections to Xinjiang now live in countries such as Kazakhstan, Turkey and Australia. This diasporic community is dominated by Uyghurs and other indigenous peoples but also includes a small group from the Han ethnic majority who formerly lived in or have links to Xinjiang. Many of these Han are part of the Xinjiang Construction and Production Corps, or Bingtuan for short, which settled millions of Han in Xinjiang and colonised the region in the name of the CCP. Collectively, the Xinjiang diaspora is referred to as ‘overseas Chinese from Xinjiang’ by the Chinese government, regardless of their distinct identities as the colonised Uyghurs and the Han colonisers, or their cultural connections to the Uyghur homeland. By claiming to speak on behalf of ‘Xinjiang’ and its people, these CCP-aligned community organisations can neutralise—even silence—genuine criticisms of CCP policies in the region, while sowing fear, confusion and division not only in the Xinjiang diaspora but throughout the wider community. They actively foster a climate of plausible deniability that can cause foreign governments, politicians, corporate entities and civil society groups to ignore or discount the crimes against humanity being committed by the CCP in Xinjiang. read the complete article

08 Jul 2022

Twenty Years Later, It Is Still Time to Dismantle the War on Terror

Three days after the twin towers fell, then-President George W. Bush called for Americans to “unite.” What followed was the decades-long United States military-led campaign — the “war on terror” — which has resulted in the death of over 2 million Muslims; the expansion of a network of over 800 global U.S. military bases; and the creation of codified Islamophobia, the violence of which knows no bounds. The rhetoric framing and otherizing of Muslims as people inherently prone to terrorism has been embedded in the design of post-9/11 policies “overtly and covertly, domestic and external,” Maha Hilal recounts in her new book, Innocent Until Proven Muslim. From the get-go, the Bush administration swiftly deployed a version of public morality upholding dichotomous ideological values between the West and Islam — painting any response by the U.S. as “acceptable and even necessary.” As reported in the book, the five dimensions of the war on terror are: militarism and warfare, draconian immigration policy, surveillance, federal terrorism prosecutions, and detention and torture. The root of the war on terror — institutionalized Islamophobia laced with white supremacy — has allowed the U.S. government to carry out state-sanctioned violence without an ounce of accountability. Two decades later, Muslims abroad and in the U.S. are facing the repercussions of a plethora of xenophobic programs like the National Security Entry-Exit Registration system, the use of Guantánamo Bay prison to house and torture Muslim men, and surveillance initiatives like Countering Violent Extremism. Muslims in the U.S. are forced to reconcile with their identities, whether they’re making a trip to the mosque for Jummah prayer or calling out the U.S. government for the destruction of their homelands. read the complete article


08 Jul 2022

French Court Upholds Burkini Ban, Prohibiting The Swimwear From Being Worn In Public Pools

The highest administrative court in France has rejected an appeal made by the eastern city of Grenoble, upholding the prohibition of the burkini at public swimming pools. The modest swim attire, which covers most of the body, is typically worn by Muslim women who wish to adhere to Islamic principles regarding modesty. According to CNN, last month, following numerous protests, Grenoble passed an edict allowing the swimwear to be worn, launching it into a legal battle with the national government. The decision was soon overruled at the local level, and the ban has now been upheld at the national level. The French Council of State cited “religious neutrality,” stating that allowing burkinis to be worn at public pools undermines “the equal treatment of users, so that the neutrality of the public service is compromised.” The court said that in allowing the burkini, Grenoble sought “only to satisfy a demand of a religious nature” and that wearing it places individuals in violation of “hygiene and security rules,” though no evidence has ever been furnished suggesting the full- body swimsuit is unhygienic. Last year, the government passed a “separatism law,” augmenting administrative principles centered around the concept of “religious neutrality.” Many have spoken out against the law, stating that it aims to single out the country’s Muslim population. In a 2020 speech, President Emmanuel Macron announced his plan to create a “French Islam” regulated by the government. Since 2004, the government has banned “conspicuous” religious symbols, such as “large” crosses, yarmulkes, and hijabs from being worn in schools. Niqabs (face veils) are banned in all public places. Because of this, many Muslim women in France face difficulty attaining public services. Thus, the laws have earned France much criticism from human rights groups such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee and Human Rights Watch. read the complete article


08 Jul 2022

Chief of Alberta’s Human Rights Commission called Islam ‘not a peaceful religion’ and ‘one of the most militaristic religions known to man’ in 2009

The next chief of Alberta’s human rights commission, Collin May, wrote “Islam is not a peaceful religion misused by radicals. Rather, it is one of the most militaristic religions known to man,” among several other questionable remarks in his glowing 2009 review of Islamic Imperialism: A History by British-Israeli historian Efraim Karsh in C2C Journal. May was appointed to his five-year term as the leader of the commission in May by Justice Minister Tyler Shandro and officially takes over on July 14. The commission’s mandate is to foster equality and reduce discrimination in Alberta. May also wrote that, "Islam seems unable to make peace with its neighbours," and, "Of all the world’s major religions, none is at the center of as much controversy today as Islam. Wherever it comes in contact with other religions, a political storm arises." Throughout his review, May emphasizes his agreement with Karsh that Islam is “an imperialistic religion seeking universal dominion over the whole earth” and that this Muslim lust for world domination “tends to be the prominent driving force in politics and one accompanied by a great degree of wilful violence.” “My major concern is that it projects a very negative and stereotypical view of an entire community based on an understanding of Islam that is not correct,” said Sadique Pathan, an Imam at Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton. “The Muslim world is not monolithic. But this article makes it us versus them. It’s binary thinking that is very convenient for people who engage in Islamophobia or outright racist views towards Muslims,” said Pathan. “The whole thing is laced in tone and word with falsehoods, stereotypes and the kind of stuff that actually contributes to Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims,” said Faisal Bhabha, an associate professor of law at York University who served on the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario between 2008 and 2011. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 08 Jul 2022 Edition


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