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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23 Jun 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, an exhibition currently on display at the DePaul Art Museum examines the similarities between survivors of torture at the Guantanamo Bay military prison with survivors of police torture in Chicago, meanwhile Twitter has “withheld the account of journalist and activist CJ Werleman following a complaint by the Indian government over his coverage of anti-Muslim violence in the country,” and lastly, Ms. Marvel has been praised for standout media representation and that’s partly due to the series’ team of writers, directors, as well as visual and musical artists who come from Muslim communities and cultures. Our recommended read of the day is by Hannah Ritchie, Rishabh Pratap, Rhea Mogul and Hilary Whiteman for CNN on the killing of a Muslim teenager by the Indian authorities during protests against the BJP’s Islamophobic comments. This and more below:


23 Jun 2022

A Muslim teenager was killed at a protest in India. His family wants answers | Recommended Read

"They're firing bullets, they're firing bullets!" a voice yells on video over the sound of gunfire during clashes between police and Muslim protesters in the eastern Indian city of Ranchi. Footage posted to social media of the June 10 protest shows 15-year-old Mudassir Alam raising his fist in the air as the crowd chants, "Long live Islam." More shots ring out, and Mudassir falls to the ground. "He's dead!" a bystander shouts, as people try to stop blood flowing from a wound to the teenager's head. Mudassir died later in hospital, one of two young men killed in the Ranchi clash -- the latest victims of a deepening religious divide between India's majority Hindu population and the minority Muslim community. The June 10 protest was one of several demonstrations that erupted around the country after two former spokespeople for India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made derogatory comments about Islam's Prophet Mohammed. Mudassir's grieving father, Parvez Alam, doesn't know who killed his teenage son, but in a police complaint he accused officers of "indiscriminately firing using AK-47s and pistols targeting the Muslim mob." He claimed at least three other men were firing bullets at protesters from the rooftop of the Hindu Shree Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple near where Mudassir was standing in the street. CNN has examined footage from the protest, which at times shows police firing indiscriminately at the demonstrators, none of whom -- including Mudassir -- appear to be carrying firearms. The boy's father says he wants answers. "I lost my only child to this violence," Alam said. "He was just 15, not even an adult." read the complete article

23 Jun 2022

‘Hindutva pop’: The singers producing anti-Muslim music in India

“India is for Hindus, Muslims go to Pakistan.” These lyrics are typical of a growing pop music movement in India: far-right anti-Muslim songs. read the complete article

23 Jun 2022

Twitter censors writer CJ Werleman for highlighting anti-Muslim violence in India

Twitter has withheld the account of journalist and activist CJ Werleman following a complaint by the Indian government over his coverage of anti-Muslim violence in the country. The move came just three days after Werleman was notified by Twitter that it had received a request from the Government of India to censor six of his tweets posted over a period of two years. Werleman's tweets are now blocked in the South Asian country. Werleman told The New Arab that he believes this move is a bid to censor criticism of the Indian government's actions and downplay Islamophobia in the country. "This is the Indian Government's latest effort to silence its critics on social media, particularly those who report anti-Muslim hate crimes," he said. "No doubt - the Modi regime has been stung into action by the US Government's unprecedented move to condemn Delhi for its mistreatment of religious minorities." read the complete article

23 Jun 2022

With Modi's support, BJP governments waging bulldozer campaign of state lawlessness and terror targeting Muslims

Using blatantly unconstitutional and outright thuggish methods akin to those the Israeli Zionist regime routinely employs against Palestinians, BJP-ruled states and municipalities across India are illegally bulldozing the homes and shops of Muslims they have targeted for retribution. This campaign of state lawlessness and terror is being spearheaded by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’s most populous state, and its chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Adityanath—who was under criminal indictment for inciting violent attacks on Muslims when India’s prime minister and BJP supremo, Narenda Modi, made him UP chief minister—revels in his new nickname of “Bulldozer Baba.” On the orders of BJP led-governments, homes and shops owned by Muslims are being demolished without due process, and invariably with little to no warning. The authorities suddenly paste a notice that this or that portion of a building was constructed illegally and will be demolished forthwith, despite it being in existence for decades. Then a day later, bulldozers, accompanied by a huge contingent of police, arrive and in a few hours there is only a pile of rubble. The homes and shops of prominent Muslims who have spoken out against the Modi government and the BJP’s continual anti-Muslim incitement and provocations are being targeted. So too are those of Muslim protesters, frequently under the pretext that they threw stones at police. The BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation mounted a so-called “anti-encroachment” drive in April, supposedly targeting illegally built houses and shops—all Muslim-owned—just days after a communal clash during a religious procession provoked by Hindu far-right activists. read the complete article

23 Jun 2022

Anti-Muslim misinformation, fear mongering and trishuls: Inside Kranti Sena’s first convention in Muzaffarnagar

Kranti Sena, a staunch Hindutva organisation that describes itself as “Hindu friendly,” held its first activist convention on 1 June 2022 in Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh. Close to five hundred people—around a fourth of whom were women—participated in this convention. The conclave’s speeches were filled with misinformation and hate speech targeting Muslims. Kranti Sena leaders demanded a “sterilisation system … to curb the explosively growing Muslim population in the country” and that the “crores of Bangladeshi Rohingya infiltrators who have entered the country illegally … be driven out.” They also asked for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits who had been driven out of Jammu and Kashmir in the nineties, and that “the country should be declared Hindu Rashtra immediately.” Seemingly acknowledging the widespread crisis of unemployment in India, Kranti Sena leaders also demanded also that the “educated unemployed” of the country be given jobs, or that they be given Rs 5,000 as a monthly allowance, and that the fees for applying to government jobs be abolished. Religious leaders who were addressing the convention openly encouraged young Hindus to be armed with tridents in order to protect their religion from Muslims. The Kranti Sena had first come into the limelight in Muzaffarnagar in 2021, when its activists began roaming the markets around Hindu festivals such as Teej and Karva Chauth, campaigning against hiring Muslim mehendi artists. Their demand was that no Muslim man should apply mehendi to any Hindu women. Manoj Saini, the general secretary of the Sena, claimed to the media that Muslim men were using mehendi to entrap Hindu women as a form of “love jihad.” Saini was the organiser of the 1 June convention as well. Regarding the Sena’s demands, he said, “Pehle hum nivedan karte hain, phir aavedan karte hain, agar in dono se baat nahi banti toh hum de-dana-dan karte hain”—First we make a request, then a plea, and if both fail, we let our actions do the talking. read the complete article


23 Jun 2022

Why Myanmar Military Should Repatriate Rohingyas From Bangladesh As Soon As Possible

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims rallied in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh’s southeast coast, on Sunday, pleading with the international community to make arrangements for their safe return to Myanmar. Rohingyas organized demonstrations under the slogan “Let’s go home” just a day before World Refugee Day, with 19 demands, including their prompt and dignified repatriation to Myanmar and the involvement of international organizations in the repatriation. According to reports, their demands include immediate repatriation to Myanmar as full citizens, amendment of the Citizenship Act-1982, participation of the US, UK, UN, ASEAN, and other international communities in the repatriation process, repatriation to their respective villages in Myanmar, protection of their rights, dignity, and safety in Myanmar, and an end to the persecution of Myanmar’s innocent people. Bangladesh wants to find a peaceful solution to the Rohingya situation, and it expects Myanmar and the international community to do the same. Our administration began diplomatic attempts to return them and negotiated agreements with Myanmar. But, five years later, not a single Rohingya has returned to their homeland, fearful of being persecuted if they do. To make voluntary repatriations possible, Myanmar must ensure that Rohingya Muslims are not persecuted. Returning refugees will not be persecuted. We’ve done everything we can to ensure Rohingya return through peaceful means, but nothing has worked out so far. read the complete article

23 Jun 2022

A wolf in sheep's clothing: How China is exploiting fast fashion to dress up its Uyghur genocide

Chinese-based e-commerce group Shein is winning the heart of young audiences thanks to its ultra-cheap prices, easy shipping terms, and daily renewal in trendy clothes, accessories, and beauty products. Founded in 2008 by Chinese American CEO Chris Xu, the company reached its peak during the Covid times, with 24.6 million followers on its main Instagram account, and 4.5 million followers on its Arabic-speaking one. In 2021, the fast-fashion retailer reached $15 billion in turnover according to Forbes and delivered to 150 countries. Since its implementation in the Middle East in the last seven years, the brand has developed particularly well in two Arab countries; the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The brand keeps riding the wave of consciousness and tolerance, by promoting a “Muslim friendly” facade, despite the 2020 scandal where it was accused of religious appropriation by selling prayer rugs printed with the Kaaba and Mihrab motives in its “home decor” section. For the author of the Black Book of Fashion, Dr Audrey Millet, Shein lacks transparency regarding its activities as the production chain is impossible to trace down due to a dense network of small factories all over China. Yet, it is evident that human exploitation is at the centre of the system for the company to deliver items at such a low price and at such a pace. The situation took an even more tragic turn starting in 2014 when the Chinese government decided to target the Uyghurs, a native Muslim community based in autonomous Eastern Turkistan, “Xin Jiang” in Chinese, meaning “new colony”. According to sociologist Dilnur Reyhan, director of the European Uyghur Institute, the widespread abuses characterising the colonial approach of Chinese president Xi Jinping towards her people is way worse than China’s policies of “cultural eradication” in Tibet. The ASPI report Uyghur for sale describes the mass transfer of Uyghur workers to factories all over China, under conditions “strongly suggesting forced labour”. read the complete article

United States

23 Jun 2022

Ms. Marvel's creative team is what makes it special

The Ms. Marvel series on Disney+, which centres around Marvel’s first on-screen Muslim superhero Kamala Khan, is a standout for media representation. Muslim fans have been expressing their appreciation and excitement on social media for being acknowledged through the show’s main character. Despite some complaints about changes to characters and superpowers, the general consensus from fans and critics is that Ms. Marvel should mark a dramatic shift for the future of Muslims in popular media. The star of the show, Iman Vellani, believes the show “…is honestly gonna inspire a lot of people to tell their stories, because – you know, this is just the start of Muslim representation.” What makes this series feel so authentic is not just the on-screen representation but the folks behind the camera. Ms. Marvel put together a team of writers, directors, as well as visual and musical artists who come from Muslim communities and cultures. This constellation of creatives is what really enriches the programme because they draw from their own lived experiences within these communities in order to tell genuine and engaging Muslim stories. Part of the success of Ms. Marvel is due to its rich source material. The comic book series was co-created by Muslim American writer G. Willow Wilson and Marvel editor and Pakistani-American Sana Amanat in 2014. Kamala Khan’s life mirrors Sana’s own formative years growing up as a Muslim in New Jersey and Wilson narrated the diversity of Muslim Americans by highlighting the many social, theological, racial, and cultural differences across the community throughout the print series. read the complete article

23 Jun 2022

An invitation to listen to survivors

“It’s an invitation,” says Aaron Hughes, cocurator of “Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations,” an exhibition currently on display at the DePaul Art Museum. Marking the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, the exhibit examines the similarities between survivors of torture at the U.S. military prison with survivors of police torture here in Chicago. The installations, paintings, and sculptures are an invitation, as Hughes puts it, “To be with the work. To be with the research. To be with the questions. That invitation that we have been continuously invited into by survivors, by those most impacted. All our work is part of sharing that invitation.” And it’s strange: while one might expect a show about police torture, U.S. imperialism, and violence to be cold and hard to look at, the two-floor exhibition is indeed inviting. I have visited it three times so far, moving quietly through the rooms, looking at walls emblazoned with the names of police torture survivors, gazing up at pastel drawings of flowers pressed neatly into the corner of one room. It is not easy to sit here with the stories of brutality inflicted upon these survivors, but something continues to beckon me back. The work, the stories, even the quiet hum of survivor interviews piped through an installation on the first floor seems like an opening, a gesture to sit and stay awhile. Each time I exited the doors of the DePaul Art Museum, I found myself promising myself that I’d be back. read the complete article


23 Jun 2022

French court rules against burkini swimwear, allows topless women in Grenoble public pools

France’s top administrative court ruled Tuesday against allowing body-covering “burkini” swimwear in public pools for religious reasons, arguing that it violates the principle of government neutrality toward religion. While worn by only a small number of people in France, the head-to-ankle burkini draws intense political debate in the country. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin hailed the ruling by the Council of State as a “victory for secularism.” Some Muslim women decried it as unfairly targeting their faith and their bodies, and based on outdated misconceptions about Islam. The city of Grenoble, led by a mayor from the Greens party, voted last month to allow women to wear burkinis in public pools after campaigning by local activists. The city also voted to allow women to swim topless, as part of a broader relaxation of swimwear rules. The prefect, or top government official, for the Grenoble region blocked the burkini decision, arguing it ran counter to France’s secular principles. For Fatima Bent of Muslim feminist group Lallab, Tuesday’s ruling is “a clear step backwards” that will further isolate women who cover their heads and bodies in public. While some Muslim women are forced by male relatives to cover themselves, she said, “Muslim women are not homogenous. (French authorities) look at Muslim women through a single prism.” She blamed a leftover colonial-era “fixation with the body of Muslim women by politicians who want to control them.” Grenoble’s decision about swimming topless has not been threatened in the courts. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Jun 2022 Edition


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