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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30 Jun 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, the government released Assadullah Haroon Gul, an Afghan man who was held without charge at Guantanamo Bay prison for 15 years, meanwhile in the United Kingdom, the Met Police has been accused of Islamophobia and racism in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire as lawyers alleged police were worried there could be outbreaks of “crime and disorder” because victims were Muslim, and lastly, an investigation reveals that “much of the vinyl flooring sold in the U.S. is made with PVC or plastic produced with forced Uyghur labor.” Our recommended read of the day is by Muqtedar Khan for The Diplomat on how “the BJP is systematically targeting India’s civil society in an attempt to ensure that there is neither a record of nor any dissent against its undemocratic policies.” This and more below:


30 Jun 2022

India’s Struggle Between Democracy and Authoritarianism | Recommended Read

The struggle between rule of law and authoritarianism is heating up in India as protests break out across the nation. The protests have been triggered by the arrests of prominent journalists and democracy activists, Teesta Setalvad and Mohammed Zubair, and of whistleblower police officers S.B. Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt. Secular civil society is in outrage. It sees Setalvad’s arrest as vengeance by the government for criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and for seeking justice for the victims of government-enabled violence in Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister of the state. Zubair’s arrest is seen as state vendetta for exposing the insult to Prophet Muhammad made by the national spokesperson of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The news of the insult spread like wildfire and led to nationwide protests and international condemnations of India by Muslim nations. Setalvad is an internationally renowned human rights activist and journalist who played a major role in recording and reporting the violence and atrocities committed against Muslim minorities in Gujarat in 2002. She played a significant role in helping the victims of the violence seek justice. For human rights activists everywhere and especially in India, where human rights organizations are harassed and shutdown (Amnesty International is no longer able to operate in India), she is iconic and inspirational. Arresting her and holding her in police custody is a direct attack on the role of the media and civil society. These arrests and similar actions are chipping away at what little democracy is left in India. read the complete article

30 Jun 2022

Brutal killing caught on camera stokes religious tensions in India

Religious tensions are flaring in India following the killing of a Hindu man allegedly by two Muslim assailants as authorities attempt to stop video of the brutal attack from circulating online. Officials in the western city of Udaipur, Rajasthan state, announced a curfew and blocked internet access after videos of the incident went viral on social media, triggering mass outrage across the country. In one video, two men can be seen beginning to attack the victim. In another, two Muslim men appear to confess to the crime and claim to have "decapitated" the Hindu man. However, police in the state told CNN Wednesday the victim had deep cuts all over his body, including slashes on his neck, but that he had not been beheaded. The two suspects allegedly killed the victim, a tailor, after a post appeared on his social media account in favor of the now suspended national spokesperson for India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nupur Sharma, who made derogatory comments about Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Rajasthan police official Hawa Singh Ghumaria told CNN Wednesday. The victim was arrested on June 12 for allegedly "inflaming religious sentiments" and had since been released on bail, Ghumaria said. The killing has reignited the flames of an already volatile situation between India's Hindu majority and its minority Muslim community, that make up about 14% of the country's 1.3 billion population. Asaduddin Owaisi, a lawmaker and president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen political party, condemned the killing and demanded the "strictest possible action" against the suspects. read the complete article

30 Jun 2022

Indian police arrest Muslim journalist accused of insulting Hindus

Delhi police have arrested a prominent Muslim journalist, accusing him of insulting religious beliefs on social media, in a move condemned by free speech advocates. Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, which debunks misinformation in the Indian media, was arrested Monday and remanded overnight in police custody, said KPS Malhotra, a deputy commissioner in Delhi's Cyber Crime Unit. Malhotra said Zubair was arrested under two sections of the Indian Penal Code related to maintaining religious harmony. Zubair often tweets criticism of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for what he and other critics claim is a crackdown on the rights of the country's roughly 200 million Muslims. His arrest comes amid repeated accusations by critics that the BJP is using colonial-era laws to quash any form of criticism and encourage self-censorship. Zubair's lawyer, Kawalpreet Kaur, said the journalist had been summoned for questioning in relation to a 2020 criminal investigation into his social media posts — from which he had previously been granted protection from arrest by the Delhi High Court. But when he responded to the summons, police arrested him over a separate case, she said. read the complete article

30 Jun 2022

Killing of Hindu tailor prompts internet shutdown in Indian state over unrest fears

Fearing outbreaks of religious violence, police in the Indian state of Rajasthan banned public gatherings and suspended internet services a day after two Muslims posted a video claiming responsibility for killing a Hindu tailor in the city of Udaipur. Two suspects were being interrogated by federal investigators on Wednesday, while state police were on guard against any unrest in the north-western state. Brandishing a meat cleaver, two bearded men said in the video that they were avenging an insult to the prophet Mohammed caused by the victim. They also alluded to Nupur Sharma, a former spokesperson for the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose remarks about the prophet earlier this month triggered domestic and international outrage. Politicians and prominent Islamic preachers condemned the killing. “The incident has shocked followers of Islam, the heinous act committed by two men is absolutely un-Islamic,” said Maulana Ahmed Siddiqui, a Muslim cleric based in Udaipur. Authorities said they had suspended internet services in several parts of Rajasthan to prevent circulation of the video. “The mood is tense and almost all shops are closed today,” Thoda said. Modi has not commented on the incident in Udaipur. But former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who belongs to the BJP, blamed the Congress Party, now running the state, for the “communal frenzy and violence” that has arisen there. While Congress has championed secular values in India since independence, the BJP has cast it as a pro-Muslim party in order to draw Hindus away from its main opposition. read the complete article

United States

30 Jun 2022

‘Dangerous times’: US Muslims mull implications after fall of Roe

“This ruling empowers the religious right to continue to pursue policies that basically establish their religious positions into law,” Waheed told Al Jazeera. “That is a complete violation of anyone who doesn’t feel that way, particularly religious minorities.” While Christian nationalists, right-wing politicians and anti-abortion rights groups celebrated the top US court’s June 24 decision to overturn its landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, many communities across the US have been overcome by uncertainty and fear. Abortion clinics have been forced to cancel appointments and in some cases shut down, as “trigger” abortion curbs swiftly came into effect in some states, while civil rights groups have mounted emergency petitions to try to stop – or at least delay – the end of abortion services. Black and low-income women are expected to bear the brunt of the rollback, with millions unable to get what often is a life-saving medical procedure. Religious minorities also say the Supreme Court has trampled on their rights. According to Waheed, many Muslim Americans are having pressing conversations about the wider implications of the Supreme Court’s decision, including how it relates to state surveillance – something, she pointed out, many Muslims in the US experienced after 9/11. In recent weeks, women have raised alarm over whether government and law enforcement agencies will be able to use tech tools, such as period tracking apps, to criminalise people in a post-Roe US. “The fear is definitely there. Community leaders have certainly spoken to it, and just [among] my friends, [we are] talking about which period trackers we should use, or should we just delete them and go paper altogether, just to be safe?” Waheed said. “It’s much bigger than abortion – and everyone needs to realise that,” she added. “This is the first time [the Supreme Court has] taken away a fundamental right, and what does that mean for us? What does that mean along with the rise of Christian nationalism? What does that mean with the rise in white supremacist violence? These are dangerous times.” read the complete article

30 Jun 2022

A Muslim woman’s thoughts on the overturning of Roe v. Wade

The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court, effectively ending access to abortion, has sent shockwaves across the globe. While the decision immediately affects those who are able to conceive and give birth within the US, its true impact spreads far wider. The news has been described as dystopian. Comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale abound. There’s little doubt that we’re at the edge of a slippery slope – one leading to a pit into which we can see the rights and autonomy not just of women but of all people hurtling towards certain death. It’s therefore alarming to hear some Muslim voices express support for the decision. While they claim that it is in keeping with Islamic views on abortion (it isn’t), their reasons for supporting the end of reproductive rights in an ostensibly democratic Western nation show how much they have in common with far-right pro-lifers. The main reason being a deep-seated hatred of women’s autonomy, evidenced by an obsessive need to control women, and women’s bodies in particular. But the irony is that Muslims who describe far-right talking points as ‘Islamic’ don’t realise they’re on the side of people who would support the genocide of Muslims, including pregnant women and babies, while claiming to be pro-life. In reality, the pro-life lobby is a white supremacist endeavour. Anti-racism advocate Jane Elliott has pointed out that it exists not to protect life, but rather to protect white people from the threat of being outnumbered in what they perceive to be their home nations. Therefore, any claim that this victory for the pro-life movement is also a victory for Muslims is repulsive to say the least. read the complete article

30 Jun 2022

Who is one of the two Afghans released from Guantánamo Bay?

Born in 1981 in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, Assadullah Haroon Gul, was held without charge in the United States’ notorious Guantanamo Bay prison for 15 years. The US alleged that Gul, also known as Haroon al-Afghani, “served as a link between senior Al Qaeda members and other anti-Coalition fighters”. He was also accused of working as a courier for Al Qaeda. Arrested by Afghan security forces on 4 February 2007 and transferred to Bagram on 5 May 2007, Gul was never charged with any war crimes during his years in prison where he languished without a lawyer. Last October, a US court ruled that Gul was being held unlawfully, paving the way for his transfer out of Guantanamo. On Thursday, a US Air Force plane departed from Guantanamo Bay and handed Gul to Qatar, a key player in the Afghan peace accord between the Taliban and the US. He was then handed over to Taliban representatives in Doha on Friday. In an interview with the Afghan local news station TOLONews, Gul said he was tortured several times during his 15 years at the prison and that his health has suffered severely during his imprisonment. “I had no legal rights, and I did not have a lawyer for ten years,” he said. Gul, an economics graduate from Hayatabad Science University in Peshawar, Pakistan, is married and has a daughter, born after he was captured. His brother and mother live in neighbouring Pakistan, which hosts around 3 million Afghan refugees. “Asad [Asadullah Haroon Gul] missed his daughter's entire childhood. He will never get back what has been taken from him,” Reprieve, an independent group that provided legal representation to Gul in the federal court, said in a Tweet. During his imprisonment, Gul has suffered severe physical and psychological torture, including being beaten, hung by his wrists, deprived of food and water, and prevented from praying, the advocacy group said. read the complete article

United Kingdom

30 Jun 2022

Grenfell Tower: Met Police blasted over 'Islamophobic' warning four days after tragic fire

The Met Police has been accused of Islamophobia and racism in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. Alison Munroe QC, a lawyer acting on behalf of some of the bereaved and survivors of the tragic fire, alleged police were worried there could be outbreaks of "crime and disorder" because victims were Muslim. A police note written four days after the blaze killed 72 people said community tensions could be made worse because victims were from a "Muslim background" and the fire had taken place during Ramadan. While making closing statements to the latest stage of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on Monday, the QC said: "Questions of race are inextricably linked to Grenfell. We need to look no further than the MPS's categorising of risk and threats in the aftermath. [A police risk assessment] attributed imminent threats of an outbreak of crime and disorder to the Muslim background of the victims." read the complete article

30 Jun 2022

Finsbury Park mosque attack: '5 years on people still send us hate mail - Islamophobia just keeps getting worse'

In June 2017, Finsbury Park mosque was attacked by terrorist Darren Osborne - five years on, Muslims are still scared as almost half of mosques have been the victim of attacks in the last three years. The community is reportedly worried since a new report came out which highlighted that not much has changed. On the day of the tragic attack, Osborne drove a van into Muslim worshippers leaving Finsbury Park mosque, killing one man, Makram Ali, and injuring at least nine others outside the place of worship. Mohammed Kozbar, who has been the chairman of the mosque for 11 years, told MyLondon that "nothing has been done" since to stamp out hate. He said: "We just commemorated the 5th anniversary of the attack. The memorial event was last Sunday on June 19, it was a painful memory and this report shows that unfortunately the situation is getting worse and worse since five years ago and nothing has been done about it." Speaking to MyLondon, Mr Kozbar says more needs to be done to protect the Muslim community against Islamophobia. MEND, a charity which seeks to tackle Islamophobia, released the report earlier this week partnered with Muslim Census, which also found that 35 per cent of mosques in the UK experience a religiously motivated attack at least once a year. The most common form of attack is vandalism, the report found. read the complete article


30 Jun 2022

Leaked documents show China’s plan of Uyghur repression

The leaked document, known as Xinjiang Police Files, from the internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), shows the Chinese government’s plan of genocide and crimes against Uyghurs. The files contain information about over 20,000 detained Uyghurs, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported. Among the documents is a May 2017 speech by the Chinese Communist Party secretary of the XUAR (August 2016 – December 2021), Chen Quanguo. He said that the Chinese government’s crackdown in Xinjiang was not an act of stamping out criminals but rather an “extinction war” aimed at the Uyghur population. He called the Uyghurs an “enemy class.” The former official said Uyghurs deemed untrustworthy or harmful by the Chinese government had to be educated to the extent that they were committed to “completely freeing themselves from such ideas once they return to society.” In his speech, Chen Quanguo mentioned Uyghurs as ‘harmful’ people. The Chinese government considers being “poisoned by terrorism, violence and extremism” or during contact with foreigners. Chen said such people needed to be “treated” in what he called a “people’s war.” Information in the Xinjiang Police Files and other research reports and leaked documents suggest that what Chen referred to as poison included Uyghur traditions and Islamic activities. read the complete article


30 Jun 2022


When people shifted to working from home in 2020, many renovated their homes to add offices. Influencers showed viewers how to easily install vinyl flooring from stores around the U.S., and sales of such flooring surged. But what these influencers didn’t know is that much of the vinyl flooring sold in the U.S. is made with PVC or plastic produced with forced Uyghur labor. This week on Intercepted, Mara Hvistendahl, a senior reporter for The Intercept, breaks down the supply chain from the Chinese factories to U.S. stores. She is joined by researchers Laura Murphy and Nyrola Elimä, who recently wrote a report highlighting the working conditions in the factories, their grave environmental impact, and the human consequences for Uyghur people forced to work in the facilities. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Jun 2022 Edition


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