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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28 Jun 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, Delhi police have arrested the Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of a fact-checking website, “accusing him of insulting religious beliefs on Twitter, a network of digital media organisations said, condemning it as an attempt to harass him for his journalism,” meanwhile protesters in Mumbai demanded the release of Teesta Setalvad, a critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of faking documents about anti-Muslim riots in 2002, and in Australia, “newly elected Labor Senator Fatima Payman says she wants ‘to get to know’ One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson to better understand her views on Islam and Muslims.” Our recommended read of the day is by Yasmine Kherfi for The New Arab on gendered Islamophobia in France and how “hijab-wearing women have been particularly stigmatized and increasingly barred from safe and equal participation in public life.” This and more below:


28 Jun 2022

An existence at odds with the republic: The fight against gendered islamophobia and racism in France | Recommended Read

Though the media frenzy has subsided, and some greeted Macron’s slim victory against Le Pen with a sigh of relief, France’s ‘liberal democracy’ was not salvaged, nor did it manage to survive or ‘win’ the presidential elections, as some news headlines put it. For many, an idyllic France in which ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’ is respected, never existed. Such a system, if ever revered for its respect of rights and freedoms of all under a democratic republic, remains a national myth that is far removed from the reality of long-standing Muslim communities and other marginalised groups. Like many Muslims of the ‘francophonie’ and beyond, I felt drained listening to the strong wave of Islamophobic rhetoric, which circulates with free reign and on a loop each French election season. Many friends avoid tuning into electoral interviews and debate segments, to protect their mental health. But the racist climate is hard to escape. In France, it is especially vile towards Muslim women, migrants, and people of colour, for whom ‘business as usual’ means enduring online hate speech, everyday racism, physical abuse and even death threats. For many, it is to feel ‘othered’ and dehumanised in the only country they have ever known as home. This climate was not born in a vacuum. In fact, the far-right’s historic win and continued rise to power in mainstream politics was made possible on Macron’s watch, through a political trajectory he helped set in motion during his time in office. This includes a curtailment of civil liberties through draconian laws, like the 2021 ‘anti-separatism law’, which stifles the freedom of expression and association, and grants public authorities extended executive powers to surveil, administrate, or forcibly dissolve civil society organisations that serve Muslim communities. read the complete article


28 Jun 2022

Delhi police arrest Muslim journalist Mohammed Zubair over tweet from 2018

Delhi police have arrested the Muslim co-founder of a fact-checking website, accusing him of insulting religious beliefs on Twitter, a network of digital media organisations said, condemning it as an attempt to harass him for his journalism. Mohammed Zubair, who co-founded Alt News and regularly tweets on rising marginalisation of the Muslim minority in the country, was arrested under two sections of a law related to maintaining religious harmony, said the DIGIPUB association. Alt News’s other co-founder, Pratik Sinha, said on Twitter no notice was given to Zubair before his arrest. Reuters partner ANI reported, citing Delhi police sources, that Zubair was arrested based on a complaint from a Twitter account that said he insulted Hindus in a 2018 post commenting on the renaming of a hotel after the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. Journalists demanded his immediate release. “Journalist Zubair who routinely busted fake news, exposed the hate machinery in India has just been arrested,” said Rana Ayyub, another Muslim journalist who often invites the wrath of Hindu hardliners. “The country is punishing those who reported, documented the decline.” read the complete article

28 Jun 2022

Does Twitter Want to be Complicit in Indian Muslim Genocide?

At the same time human rights experts are warning that 200 million Muslims are being pushed to the brink of genocide by the Indian Government’s discriminatory policies, Twitter appears to be making itself complicit in this looming human rights catastrophe. The social media giant has banned accounts critical of the Government at its request, particularly those that report anti-Muslim hate crimes. This includes my own account. Others include, Washington Post columnist Rana Ayyub, London-based Kashmiri human rights activist Muzzammil Ayyub Thakur, and prominent Indian journalist Mohammed Zubair. On 19 June, I received an email from Twitter saying that it had received a request from the Indian Government, claiming that six of my 70,000 tweets had violated India’s Information Technology Act of 2000. Three days later, I received another email, saying that my account was now being withheld in India, meaning that Indian residents are unable to view any of my past or future posts. The offending tweets? One linked to an article, saying how “frightening Modi’s India is becoming for 200 million Indian and Kashmiri Muslims”. Another included a video of a Muslim man being beaten and called a “terrorist” while he gave an interview to a local television news reporter. The third condemned the Indian Government for releasing from prison early one of the main culprits responsible for the killing of 2,000 Muslims during the 2002 Gujarat Riots. Another warned that a large-scale Muslim genocide “would make Rwanda, Bosnia and even the Holocaust pale in comparison”. Two days later, Hindu IT Cell, an affiliate of BJP IT Cell – an online propaganda outfit employed by India’s ruling party – boasted: “Finally, after a lot of mass emailing and mass cyber complaints, @cjwerleman’s account has been withheld in India.” In other words, Twitter, a US-based company, is withholding the account of a US-based journalist because of a campaign waged by the same India-based groups and individuals that human rights experts hold responsible for the year-on-year surge in anti-Muslim violence. This should send a chill down the spine of every journalist and activist. read the complete article

28 Jun 2022

From hijab to halal, BJP divides to continue its rule in Karnataka

With Karnataka due for Assembly elections next year, the political scene at ground zero is beginning to heat up. While development is usually part of the discourse in electoral politics, in Karnataka the focus has lately been on the growing religious divide. From Hijab to halal and text book revisions, the state has witnessed a series of flashpoints over the last few months. The moves are being seen as a calculated strategy by the BJP to retain power here. But for party supporters, Hindutva is synonymous with nationalism. M.P. Renukacharya, BJP MLA from Honnali in Davanagere district says that “those who oppose BJP including litterateurs should understand that they are living in a Hindu country. This is not Pakistan. Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh are not given so much of freedom. Here everyone is respected.” For the ruling BJP, the stakes are particularly high. For starters, Karnataka is the only state down south where BJP has a strong presence. Secondly, as a major economic player due to the presence of IT majors and startups, retaining power in Karnataka would add heft to BJP in the corporate sector and internationally as well. read the complete article

28 Jun 2022

Study Shows Evidence of Bias Against Hiring Muslim Women

The latest study by LedBy Foundation has shed light on the intrinsic biases against Muslim women in terms of employment opportunities. It notes that for every two callbacks a Hindu applicant gets from companies that are hiring, a Muslim with an equivalent resume gets just one. The bias against Muslim women in urban spaces and corporate India is palpable. This systemic denial of employment opportunities to them is widespread and affects various industries. In this short video, Sumedha Pal of The Wire speaks to those who authored the study to understand how the study was carried out and its various findings in-depth. read the complete article

28 Jun 2022

Protesters call for release of anti-Modi activist

Protesters in India's financial capital Mumbai on Monday demanded the release of a critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of faking documents about anti-Muslim riots in 2002. Teesta Setalvad is accused of tutoring witnesses, forging the documents and fabricating evidence in cases pertaining to the riots in Gujarat when Modi was state chief minister, according to police documents seen by Reuters. Modi was accused of failing to stop the rioting when at least 1,000 people died under his watch. He denied the accusations and was exonerated in an Indian Supreme Court inquiry in 2012. Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed another petition questioning his exoneration. Setalvad, a leading rights activist, was detained from her residence in Mumbai on Saturday by police from Gujarat, taken to the neighbouring state, placed under formal arrest and sent to police custody until July 2. Her arrest was condemned internationally as well, and Mary Lawlor, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, said she was "deeply concerned" over Setalvad's detention. read the complete article


28 Jun 2022

'I'd like to get to know her more': Fatima Payman open to Pauline Hanson meeting over Muslim views

Newly elected Labor Senator Fatima Payman says she wants "to get to know" One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson to better understand her views on Islam and Muslims in Australia. Senator Payman - a 27-year-old former refugee from Afghanistan - is the first Afghan-Australian and the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman in parliament. Speaking with ABC radio, she was asked about Senator Hanson’s provocative stunt to wear a burqa in Australia’s Senate as part of her calls to ban the garment worn by some Muslims. Senator Payman said she believed Australia had come “very far” since the 2017 incident. "In terms of Senator Hanson’s stunt, I think I’d like to get to know her more so I’m really looking forward to that," the Western Australian senator said. Asked if she intended to approach her to discuss these issues, Senator Payman replied: "For sure, I’m a big believer [that] everyone has their own story." "I want to know what are some experiences she may have had - that shaped her viewpoint of Islam and Muslims in Australia," she said. In August 2017, Senator Hanson was widely condemned for entering the Senate chamber wearing a burqa as part of her attempts to ban the burqa. In her maiden speech to the Senate, she said Australia was at risk of being “swamped by Muslims” telling who “bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own”. She has also previously called for a ban on Muslim immigration and told those unwilling to “become Australian” to “go back to where you came from”. In other controversial comments made in March 2017, she described the Islamic faith as a "disease" that “we need to vaccinate ourselves against”. read the complete article


28 Jun 2022

When Nazem Kadri hoisted the Stanley Cup, he lifted a whole community along with it

As the Colorado Avalanche inched closer to clinching their Stanley Cup final win, my thoughts turned to the Av's Nazem Kadri. Kadri is a Muslim man of Lebanese descent. Last month, Kadri's wife, Ashley, posted the hateful messages the Kadris are getting on an Instagram account that she runs for Jazzy, the family pet. Yes, people were sending violently racist messages to the account of a tuxedo cat. The majority of the abusers were purported to be St. Louis Blues fans who were livid that Kadri was involved in a collision with goaltender Jordan Binnington. (Binnington later admitted he threw a water bottle at Kadri while in search of a recycling bin. "It is what it is," Binnington said at the time. "It's hockey. It's a competitive game.") But while the subpar environmentalist Binnington casually tossed a plastic bottle at Kadri for his transgression, along with it came a deluge of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate from fans. It got so bad that the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Arab Institute (CAI) called on the NHL for a lifetime ban on the abusers. In the following game, Kadri scored a hat trick. As pleased as I was for Kadri the player, my concern for Kadri and the wider Muslim and Arab community was that the narrative would be that Kadri "fought back against racism" by playing his best game possible. But was it that, or was he simply a hockey player trying to defeat an opponent? How Kadri and his family process and manage this kind of abuse and stress is not something we are entitled to know. Navigating through racist abuse and violent threats is deeply personal and upsetting. I am all too familiar with it. And the burden of eradicating racism should not fall only on the shoulders of those experiencing it. read the complete article

United States

28 Jun 2022

Mercer students in service-learning class produce resources to counter Islamophobia

Mercer University students in a service-learning course this spring created materials to help dismantle Islamophobia — the irrational fear and discrimination of people who practice Islam. The class, REL 384: Seminar on Selected Topics in Religion: Islamophobia, had several goals: contextualize and historicize Islamophobia in the United States, show what Muslims are doing about Islamophobia, and introduce students to local Muslims, said Dr. Shehnaz Haqqani, assistant professor of religion in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who taught the course. As part of their research, students took three workshops taught by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. They also spent time at the Islamic Center of Macon to learn about how Islamophobia impacted people on a local level. “I wanted my students to get a sense of what those Muslims are like, what they’re doing for Macon, what they say about their experiences with Islamophobia, and what they want their neighbors to know about them,” Dr. Haqqani said. Initially, the Mercer students met with middle and high school students at the mosque during their Sunday school lesson, said Imam Muhammad Abbasi, who has served as a full-time imam and principal of the weekend Sunday school at the Islamic Center of Macon since 2019. “We had a discussion in which we gave them a brief intro of what we do in our mosque, what are some of the activities that we do here,” he said. “And then students from our center shared some of their experiences related to Islamophobia. It was a very nice experience, and the kids also liked it, so it was great." read the complete article


28 Jun 2022

China: Uyghur student facing trial highlights government push to jail Muslims

A Uyghur student is set to go on trial for “separatism” in the city of Urumqi on Tuesday in what appears to be the latest example of the Chinese government’s strategy to unlawfully imprison Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang region, Amnesty International said today. Zulyar Yasin was detained at his home in December 2021 and his family were recently informed that he will be sentenced to up to five years in jail, Amnesty has learned. Yasin appears to have been targeted because he travelled to Turkey as a teenager. “This prosecution is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to human rights violations against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in Xinjiang, but it provides a snapshot of how the Chinese government’s machine of repression is operating,” said Gwen Lee, Amnesty International’s China Campaigner. “Zulyar Yasin appears to be the latest victim of the government’s campaign to arbitrarily detain Uyghurs and other Muslims in prisons on a mass scale. Yasin’s family say the authorities have provided zero evidence for the ‘separatism’ charges against him.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Jun 2022 Edition


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