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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17 Jun 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, the State department has condemned the “offensive comments made by two BJP officials” about Prophet Muhammad and his wife that have sparked an uproar in Muslim countries, meanwhile in India, “protests have been erupting in many Indian cities to condemn the demolition of homes and businesses belonging to Muslims, in what critics call a growing pattern of ‘bulldozer justice’ aimed at punishing activists from the minority group,” and lastly when it comes to Myanmar, “it appears the plight of the Rohingya and the crimes of the Burmese military have been forgotten” by the world. Our recommended read of the day is by Anika Steffen for NPR on the new Ms. Marvel and how the series upends many stereotypes about being Muslim or South Asian. This and more below:


17 Jun 2022

'Ms. Marvel' treats being Muslim as ordinary — and that makes it extraordinary | Recommended Read

There's a line in the show where the father quotes the Quran and tells the titular heroine Kamala, "If you save one life, you save the world." Hearing those words made me tear up. What a departure from seeing South Asians and Muslims portrayed as Apu or terrorists. That's just one example. Here are all the ways Ms. Marvel upends all the stereotypes about being Muslim or South Asian. In the opening minutes of the first episode, we meet Kamala's brother — sporting a beard and praying. I automatically cringed, waiting for him to emerge as a villain. But he's not. He was praying for his sister's driving exam — just as my siblings and cousins prayed for mine. Kamala, like every Muslim teen before her, utters bismillah before starting her driving exam. All the Muslim characters say Salaam when they greet each other. There's Islamic calligraphic art on the walls of her house. There's nothing nefarious about any of this. Watching such routine interaction, with my 11-year-old daughter sitting beside me, was a joy and a balm. It was beautiful and freeing. I didn't even know the weight I was carrying of Muslim depictions in TV and movies until I felt it lifted while watching Ms. Marvel. "For too long Hollywood and the media have relied on reductive, one-dimensional monolithic characters, as well as lazy sign-posting," said Rifat Malik, who runs American Muslim Today, a non-profit news outlet that challenges the media's negative stereotypes about Muslims. She too watched the show with her 11-year-old daughter. "There was no mistaking her delight that a young brown girl who looked like her and shared her religious/cultural heritage was the protagonist of a major Disney production series," Malik told NPR. "I'm so pleased that she is getting the kind of affirmation that I could only have dreamed of at her age." Muslims in film and television are always portrayed with such solemnity. Parents are closed-minded or controlling. Children rebel against stifling tradition. Not so with the Khans. The shows portrays the family in all its three-dimensional humanity. They speak in a mix of Urdu and English to each other and to friends (with nary a subtitle on the screen, a touch to further normalize the interaction), and every interaction is pitch-perfect. read the complete article

17 Jun 2022

The world doesn’t care about the Myanmar military’s crimes

It took until March of this year for the US to designate the mass killing and cleansing of Rohingya Muslims by the military junta in Myanmar a genocide. In just over three months, from October 2016 to January 2017, at least 700,000 Rohingya people were cleansed from their home in the West of the country, fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh, where half-a-million people live miserably precarious lives crammed into one of the largest refugee camp, something that ought to be thought of as a stain upon the earth. Instead, both the crime carried out by the military junta in Myanmar, which is infused with a virulently Islamophobic, sectarian and racist Buddhist nationalist ideology, and its consequences, have been absorbed into global normalcy. Among the liberal democratic West, despite a brief swell of care, including television charity appeals and celebrity interventions, the plight of the Rohingya and the crimes of the Burmese military have been forgotten. Other than a few weak sanctions, it has largely been business as usual between the world and Myanmar’s China-backed military junta, despite it carrying out genocide against a minority group, seizing absolute power in a coup d'état last year and crushing all dissent. It's not as if the crimes in Myanmar are confined to the past; in fact, the opposite is true. Not only do the Rohingya continue to suffer, but the military junta continues to carry out crimes with genocidal intent. read the complete article

17 Jun 2022

Marvel’s first Muslim female superhero is the culture shift I've waited a long time to see

By playing a totally relatable Muslim teenager, navigating the same confusing relationships most kids her age must, Iman is making it possible for lots of Muslim girls, and even older Muslim women like me, to be proud. Proud of who we are, where we came from and where we’ve made it to. Because Marvel’s first Muslim hero isn’t just a Muslim but a Muslim girl. And behind "Ms. Marvel" is a fantastic, diverse team, including other very talented Muslim women, whom we should all pay that much more attention to. It’s one thing to see such a public challenge to ubiquitous Islamophobia. It’s another to see such a public rebuke to rampant misogyny in the very same gesture. I’ve waited a long time to see this. A positive depiction of Muslims, aimed at younger audiences, will help change the hearts and minds of the world’s future leaders. That humanization is exactly what we need in an age of bitter and entrenched polarization. Though, if we’re honest, it’s going to take a lot of sustained effort to break through the barriers that have built up. read the complete article

17 Jun 2022

U.S. importers brace for chaos as Uyghur Act looms

American importers are fearing the worst as a law to tackle forced labor in China takes effect next week. After President JOE BIDEN signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in December, a clock started ticking. The U.S. government’s Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, in consultation with the director of National Intelligence and the Department of Commerce, had 180 days to publish a plan for the law’s enforcement. Trade groups warn that the task force has run out the clock and that key government agencies — Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security — have failed to provide timely and adequate guidance to ensure that importers follow the law. The lack of enforcement clarity — the law requires importers to prove that no element of their product was produced through forced labor — worsens the risk of supply chain disruptions from U.S. seizure of imports. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act aims to insulate U.S. companies and consumers from complicity in forced labor practices in Xinjiang. The U.S. government has concluded that forced labor is systemic in the western Chinese province — one of many state policies targeting Uyghurs that constitute genocide. A report released Tuesday by Sheffield Hallam University documented the use of forced labor in Xinjiang’s polyvinyl chloride production chain. read the complete article

17 Jun 2022

Muslim representation in Ms Marvel: The good and not so good

The release of Ms Marvel has been met with much fanfare and excitement. And it’s not without good cause. For a very long time, Muslim representation didn’t exist within the global medium of American film and TV beyond a handful of stereotypes. So given the history within which it’s situated, there are elements of Ms Marvel that are undoubtedly a refreshing change of pace. Kamala Khan aka Ms Marvel is a 16 -year-old Pakistani-American girl who, by all appearances, is meant to be ‘ordinary’. Except for the part where she becomes a superhero. It sends the message that Pakistani girls from Jersey City, too, can be protagonists, main characters, heroes. Representation is the word of the hour, and helping current and former Pakistani/Muslim diaspora teenagers feel seen is perhaps the show’s greatest contribution. But the cynic in me also realises that diverse representation isn’t just something sought by underrepresented minorities – it’s also a strategy that media brands such as Disney have actively adopted in recent years. Theres’s a danger then that this portrayal of the diaspora teenager, torn between two worlds and struggling to find themselves, has become formulaic. What’s more troubling is that the portrayal of the parents still remains stereotypical – seemingly submerged in the culture of their homeland and oblivious to their children’s needs. read the complete article

17 Jun 2022

US 'condemns' India's BJP officials' remarks on Prophet Muhammad

The United States has condemned remarks by Indian ruling party officials about Prophet Muhammad and his wife that have sparked an uproar in Muslim countries. "We condemn the offensive comments made by two BJP officials and we were glad to see that the party publicly condemns those comments," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Thursday. "We regularly engage with the Indian government at senior levels on human rights concerns including freedom of religion or belief and we encourage India to promote respect for human rights," he said. Nupur Sharma, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu ultra-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on May 26 made televised remarks about the youngest wife of the Prophet that have triggered demonstrations across the Islamic world. read the complete article


17 Jun 2022

Thousands Protest ‘Bulldozer Justice’ Against Indian Muslims

Protests have been erupting in many Indian cities to condemn the demolition of homes and businesses belonging to Muslims, in what critics call a growing pattern of “bulldozer justice” aimed at punishing activists from the minority group. On Sunday, authorities in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh rode on a bulldozer to raze the home of Javed Ahmad, who they said was connected to Muslim religious protests that turned violent last Friday. Police arrested Ahmad on Saturday. Bulldozers also crushed the properties of protesters in two other cities in Uttar Pradesh last week. In April, authorities in New Delhi used bulldozers to destroy Muslim-owned shops days after communal violence in which dozens were arrested. Similar incidents have been reported in other states. “The demolitions are a gross violation of constitutional norms and ethics,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a specialist on Hindu nationalist politics and biographer of Modi. On Tuesday, 12 prominent people, including former Supreme Court and High Court judges and lawyers, sent a letter to India’s chief justice urging him to hold a hearing on the demolitions, calling them illegal and “a form of collective extrajudicial punishment.” They accused the Uttar Pradesh government of suppressing dissent by using violence against protesters. Two people who were protesting the remarks by the governing party spokespeople died of gunshot injuries in clashes with police on Friday in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state. Muslims have been targeted for their food or clothing, or over inter-religious marriages. The rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Modi’s party of looking the other way and sometimes enabling hate speech against Muslims, who comprise 14% of India’s 1.4 billion people, but are the second-largest Muslim population of any nation. Modi’s party denies the accusations. Over the weekend, Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu monk-turned-governing party politician, told state authorities to demolish illegal buildings belonging to people linked to Friday’s protests, in which more than 300 people were arrested. read the complete article

17 Jun 2022

Arrest Threats and 'Police Activity' at Night: Ranchi's Muslims Now Live in Constant Fear

Since June 10, when the protests against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders’ comments against Prophet Mohammad in the streets of Ranchi, Muslim residents of the violence-affected areas have been living in fear of what they call ‘police activity’. On June 10, after the Jumma Namaz, the protestors had gathered near Iqra Masjid and marched toward Albert Ekka Chowk. However, near the local Hanuman Mandir, the protest allegedly turned violent and police opened fire, killing two and injuring more than 25 people. Curfew was imposed and internet was snapped immediately across the jurisdictions of 12 police stations of the city. Early in the morning of June 12, internet connections were restored and curfew was revoked. The situation of the city is still tense. There are 155 people being kept within four police stations (Daily Market, Kotwali, Doranda, Hindpidi) under prohibitory orders under Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Police have also filed 25 first information reports (FIRs) against 22 identified and 10,000 unidentified people, according to news agency PTI. Muslims of the city are now afraid of being apprehended under these FIRs that have ‘unnamed’ accused persons. S. Ali, a social activist and president of the All Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) told The Wire, “People are extremely afraid now. As there are 10,000 unidentified persons, anybody can be arrested at any time. In this way, the administration is trying to silence the people”. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 17 Jun 2022 Edition


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