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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10 Jun 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Denmark, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance has called on the country’s government “to urgently address anti-Muslim discrimination and racism against minorities,” meanwhile in the United States, a new documentary, “An Act of Worship,” chronicles three decades of discrimination and hatred towards Muslim Americans, and in India, the Uppinangady Government First Grade College has suspended 23 girl students, who staged a protest against the hijab ban in the state of Karnataka. Our recommended read of the day is by Debashish Roy Chowdhury for TIME on how protests from GCC countries against the BJP’s Islamophobic comments will not protect Indian Muslims, as “commerce with India will take precedence…once the dust settles,” and “the vigilantes and state machinery held back for the moment will be unleashed once more on Muslims.” This and more below:


10 Jun 2022

The Islamic World's Outrage Against India Won't Protect the Country's Muslims | Recommended Read

The BJP is a party with open grievances against India’s inclusive democracy and has a stated goal of recasting the country as a Hindu state. Its rise has been powered by a strategy of mobilizing Hindu voters using the country’s minorities as the bogeyman. India’s 200 million Muslims are the main targets of its supremacist politics. It weaponizes sensitive social issues to polarize voters and its top leadership routinely dehumanizes and demonizes Muslims, deploys Islamophobic political messaging and encourages mob violence against the Muslim community. The state machinery is increasingly geared to tormenting and brutalizing Muslims. On Monday, a government college suspended 24 Muslim students after they came to class wearing the hijab. The day before, five policemen were found to have tortured to death a 22-year-old Muslim man. “They shoved a stick inside my son’s rectum and gave him repeated electric shock,” alleged his mother. “Attacks on members of religious minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation, occurred throughout the year” in India, observes the U.S. State Department in its latest annual International Religious Freedom report to Congress. Releasing the report last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns about “rising attacks on people and places of worship.” With Modi’s back-to-back election victories, the party has doubled down on its majoritarian project. From open calls for genocide and anti-Muslim pop to dog-whistling by television anchors and name-calling by BJP leaders, hate speech is everywhere. The party incentivizes hate and those with the talent of spreading it, which is how Sharma and Jindal rose in the organization. It takes considerable talent to be called “fanatics” by Afghanistan’s Taliban government. Commerce with India will take precedence over the dangers facing Indian Muslims once the dust settles. The Modi government will return to its old ways, most likely throwing a few Muslims into jail to establish an imagined conspiracy to malign India as the reason for this sordid saga. The vigilantes and state machinery held back for the moment will be unleashed once more on Muslims. Modi will return to hugging Muslim monarchs on his foreign tours. read the complete article

10 Jun 2022

Karnataka: 23 Students Suspended for Staging Protest For Wearing Hijab Inside Classrooms

The Uppinangady Government First Grade College management has suspended 23 girl students, who staged a protest demanding permission to wear hijab inside classrooms last week. The Puttur MLA from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the College Development Committee (CDC) chairman Sanjeeva Matandoor told PTI on Tuesday, June 7, “The students staged a demonstration. So they were suspended on Monday [June 6]. According to sources, last week the girls came to the college in Puttur Taluk of Dakshina Kannada district wearing hijab and protested demanding permission to wear the headscarf.” The CDC met on June 6 and decided to suspend them. read the complete article

10 Jun 2022

Undertones: How India’s far-right spreads Islamophobia

Muslims in India are seeing their homes, history, and mosques being dismantled. Muslim schools are becoming secular, Muslim rulers are disappearing from history books, mosques are being converted into Hindu temples, and state forces have physically demolished Muslim-owned homes and businesses. Indian Muslims are under threat. Even India’s iconic Taj Mahal monument, a world-renowned Muslim mausoleum built by a Mughal emperor to honor his late wife in the 17th century, is now under question. More and more hyper-nationalist Hindus – within media ecosystems rife with Islamophobia – are convinced that the Taj Mahal was, in fact, built over a Hindu temple and so must be repurposed that way, even though the case was settled by Indian courts in 2017. Ever since Narendra Modi, who is from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), came to power in 2014, extreme pro-Hindu narratives entered the mainstream. Islamophobia is rampant in political discourses, which is then amplified by mainstream media and pro-Hindu groups online, creating feedback loops. The basis of the BJP party’s philosophy is Hindutva – a political ideology that seeks Hindu supremacy in all avenues, including the nation-state. read the complete article

10 Jun 2022

Why is Muslim hate on the rise in India?

An international backlash has been growing against India’s governing Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), after the party’s national spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and Delhi media operation head Naveen Kumar Jindal made disparaging remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. Meanwhile, Muslims in India have been going through uneasy times – from violence, persecution, to repeated calls to literally wipe them out. So why is this happening in the world’s biggest democracy and who is behind it? read the complete article

10 Jun 2022

Prophet remarks row: India police book BJP’s Nupur Sharma, others

Police in New Delhi say they have filed a complaint against a suspended spokeswoman for India’s governing party for “inciting people on divisive lines”, days after her disparaging remarks on Prophet Muhammad led to a diplomatic backlash. Many Muslim-majority countries have condemned India after Nupur Sharma, who belongs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), commented on the Prophet during a recent TV debate last week. The Delhi Police on Thursday said they had registered two preliminary complaints – known as first information reports or FIRs – on the basis “of social media analysis against those trying to disrupt public tranquility and inciting people on divisive lines”. “One pertains to Ms Nupur Sharma and the other against multiple social media entities,” the police said on Twitter, without specifying what posts triggered the complaint and what were the entities. Indian media reports said Naveen Kumar Jindal, who headed the BJP’s media cell in New Delhi before he was expelled by the party for his anti-Islam tweets, has also been booked by the police. The others against whom FIRs have been filed include journalist Saba Naqvi and hardline Hindu priest Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati in cases related to “spreading hate” on social media, reports said. read the complete article

United States

10 Jun 2022

"An Act of Worship" is one Muslim American's "counternarrative of our last 30 years"

The compelling documentary, "An Act of Worship," chronicles three decades of discrimination and hatred towards Muslim Americans. Juxtaposing recollections of abuse and bullying with home movies of families celebrating life in America, Pakistani-American filmmaker Nausheen Dadabhoy underscores the cultural and mental health issues that many Muslims — especially youths — have absorbed living in a country that has loudly and repeatedly expressed racism and Islamophobia. Several interviewees movingly describe how their efforts to assimilate forced them to "lose their cultural truth," rejecting their religion, headscarves, and identity in order to blend in and be less feared. Other segments examine how families have been separated or were under surveillance. Dadabhoy chronicles the shift in how Muslims in America have been treated from the time of the Iran Hostage Crisis, through the 1991 Gulf War, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, the 2001 Patriot Act, the 2013 Boston Marathon, and the Muslim Ban enacted under twice-impeached, one-term President Donald Trump. In addition to these stories, "An Act of Worship" profiles three young female activists – Aber, Khadega, and Ameena – who advocate for rights and social justice while trying to maintain a sense of dignity in a country that continues to dehumanize this segment of the population. read the complete article

10 Jun 2022

Guantánamo Prisoner Who Completed War Crimes Sentence Sues for Release

A Pakistani man who was tortured by the C.I.A. and then pleaded guilty to serving as a courier for Al Qaeda has filed suit against the Biden administration for continuing to hold him prisoner after he completed his war crimes sentence. Lawyers for Majid Khan, 42, asked a federal judge in a 30-page petition filed in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to release him to anywhere but his native Pakistan where, they argue, he would risk persecution. They suggested that he should be granted parole on the Navy base here, which has about 6,000 residents, until a country is found to receive him. The Justice Department declined to comment on the case. Mr. Khan has a unique status at Guantánamo Bay as the only former prisoner of a C.I.A. black site who has been convicted of a crime. He pleaded guilty and became a cooperating witness for the United States government, starting in 2012, when he admitted to delivering $50,000 from Pakistan to a Qaeda affiliate that was used in the deadly 2003 bombing of a Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. At his sentencing hearing in October, he was permitted to describe his torture during three years of clandestine C.I.A. custody. A military jury sentenced him to 26 years in prison and urged clemency in a letter that condemned Mr. Khan’s torture as “a stain on the moral fiber of America.” With credit for time served and other accommodations, Mr. Khan’s sentence ended on March 1. Yet he is still at Guantánamo Bay, “held by himself, away from other detainees, and without direct access to his family or the outside world,” his lawyers wrote. read the complete article

10 Jun 2022

'Bloody Gina' and her team of torturers represent government without limits

Last week, at a pretrial hearing at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi who is charged with being the mastermind of an attack on the USS Cole in 2000 in which 17 American sailors were killed, the psychologist in charge of interrogating Nashiri described in vivid detail both the modern and the medieval techniques of torture used upon him. The psychologist was called as a defense witness in order to demonstrate to the court that a good deal of the evidence that prosecutors plan to introduce against Nashiri was obtained directly or indirectly through, or was tainted by, his torture and thus cannot lawfully be used at his trial. Torture committed by government officials and their collaborators upon a person restrained by the government is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in a federal prison, and its fruits are inadmissible in all courts. For many years, the CIA documented torture through video tapes of its disguised agents and contractors torturing its captives so it would have a record of the events without the need for revealing a participant's identity. But the tapes of Nashiri's torture were destroyed by either the chief CIA official in the United States in charge of all torture or his then-chief of staff. Hence the live testimony last week. That chief of staff would go on to become the director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, nicknamed by her colleagues "Bloody Gina." read the complete article


10 Jun 2022

Will India’s Domestic Politics Dent Its Diplomacy?

Majority-Muslim countries in South Asia and beyond reacted angrily this week to offensive remarks about the Prophet Muhammad by two senior leaders from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Nupur Sharma, the BJP’s main spokesperson, made derogatory comments during a television debate last month, prompting protests in India. Naveen Jindal, the party’s top media staffer in New Delhi, followed up with a since-deleted tweet about the prophet. Both BJP leaders were punished, with Sharma suspended from the party and Jindal expelled. However, for New Delhi, the diplomatic damage is already done. Twenty governments and multilateral organizations, including the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, have already issued formal condemnations. The Al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, one of the world’s foremost institutions of Muslim scholarship, also lambasted the comments. In the Persian Gulf region, where India has deep economic ties, governments have denounced the remarks and summoned Indian ambassadors. Anti-Muslim rhetoric, discrimination, and violence have intensified in India in recent years, but many majority-Muslim governments—with India’s rival Pakistan as a major exception—have voiced little public criticism. Governments haven’t wanted to risk jeopardizing important trade ties with India, the world’s sixth-largest economy. But BJP leaders insulting the Prophet Mohammed have prompted an uncharacteristically loud response, especially in the Gulf. By pursuing deeper ties with the Muslim world while failing to address the plight of its own Muslim citizens, India has played with fire. As it strengthens its diplomatic and economic partnerships abroad, New Delhi now has more at stake when its domestic politics trigger outrage overseas. At the same time, its rising global clout shields it from further fallout: Muslim states are angry, but they’re not likely to truly imperil their commercial ties with India. read the complete article

10 Jun 2022

India is facing a firestorm over ruling party officials' comments about Islam. Here's what you need to know

India is trying to contain the diplomatic fallout as outrage grows in the Muslim world following derogatory comments made by ruling party officials about the Prophet Mohammed. The United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Oman, and Iraq are among at least 15 Muslim-majority nations to have condemned the remarks, which were described as "Islamophobic," with several countries summoning India's ambassadors. The incident sparked protests in neighboring Pakistan and prompted calls from around the region to boycott Indian goods. India's Hindu nationalist ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) disciplined the two officials involved, but the firestorm involving India's major Arab trade partners is yet to die down. The BJP's move to suspend its spokesperson failed to stop the controversy escalating beyond India's borders. Qatar, Kuwait and Iran summoned India's ambassadors, and the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued statements of condemnation. Malaysia was the latest country to condemn the remarks. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the High Commissioner of India to Malaysia on Tuesday to convey their "total repudiation over this incident." Protesters in the Pakistani city of Lahore called on Indian Prime Minister Modi to issue an apology. And some stores in Kuwait have removed Indian products from their shelves following similar calls for a boycott. read the complete article


10 Jun 2022

Xinjiang Police Files: Inside China's brutal crackdown on Uyghur Muslims

On 24 May, a trove of documents from 2018 was downloaded from hacked police servers in Xinjiang, western China. The Xinjiang Police Files, as they are being called, were published by a consortium of media houses, including the BBC. They reveal the details behind China’s use of incarceration camps and prisons at two separate but linked detention centres for Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. The cache contains more than 2,800 images of detainees, more than 300,000 personal records, 23,000 records of detainees and over 10 sets of instructions to police forces. It includes speeches by high-level officials, spreadsheets, and presentations that give us a first-hand account of police operations inside these camps. The files were released at around the same time as a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to China. The documents add to the mounting evidence that Chinese authorities are committing human rights abuses against the Uyghurs and detail the horrific tactics used by authorities to oppress, imprison, torture, and dehumanise the Muslim minority in what Beijing calls ‘re-education’ camps. An analysis of data revealed that 23,000 residents in one region, or 12 percent of the adult population, were incarcerated by China between 2017 and 2018. If extended to the entire population of Xinjiang, it would mean more than 1.2 million Uyghurs and other people belonging to the Turkic minorities have been incarcerated. read the complete article


10 Jun 2022

Denmark urged to address anti-Muslim discrimination, racism

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance has called on Denmark to urgently address anti-Muslim discrimination and racism against minorities. In a monitoring report, the commission on Thursday urged Danish authorities to introduce a national action plan against racism on a priority basis to address the discrimination against Muslims and minorities. The plan, it stated, should include actions in the areas of education, public awareness, promotion of counter-speech, training of law enforcement officials and teachers, and recruitment of staff from Muslim and other minority groups in these professions. The commission raised concerns about several shortcomings, including hate speech by Danish political parties that actively portray Muslims, including legal foreign workers and migrants, “as a threat to Danish values and culture” and the government’s “ghetto” to segregate migrants into “Westerners” and “non-Westerners.” It also noted that the policies of “parallel society” causing forced evictions of migrant families and the Act on Social Housing requiring mandatory daycare for 25 hours per week for small children are problematic. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Jun 2022 Edition


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