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 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In Germany, a new report finds that at least one third of Muslims in the country have experienced hostility due to their religious beliefs, meanwhile in India, a new video produced by France 24 investigative reporters shows the rising tensions and hostilities directed at Indian Muslims during celebrations such as Eid al-Adha, and lastly, in a blow to activists and advocacy organizations across France, the country’s top administrative court upheld a ban on women football players wearing hijab, after the issue was seized on by politicians claiming secularism was at risk. Our recommended read of the day is by Francesca Chubb-Confer and Andrew Kunze for The University of Chicago’s Divinity School on how American multicultural approaches to religious diversity, popular among liberals, can sometimes platform Hindu nationalist voices. This and more below:


Modi, Biden, and the Surprising Links Between Multiculturalism and Islamophobia | Recommended Read

The globalized religious politics swirling around the Modi state visit in particular and US-India relations more generally have generated troubling connections between two strains of right-wing extremists: white Christian nationalism and Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, of which Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is the leading proponent. A fundamental stance that both defines these groups and brings them together is their virulent Islamophobia. In the post-9/11 era, the specter of terrorism has been leveraged by Republicans and Democrats alike to pass damaging policies like Trump’s infamous “Muslim Ban,” “Countering Violent Extremism” or CVE programs, and continued violence overseas towards Muslim communities caught at the wrong end of American empire. In India, similar approaches have seriously escalated in the past few years, from an amendment essentially creating a religious test for Indian citizenship, to vigilante violence in the name of “cow protection” or preventing “love jihad,” to bulldozing Muslim homes and businesses, to literally erasing India’s Muslim history from school textbooks. In neither the US nor India is Islamophobic rhetoric purely rhetorical—it results in very real, and in India often quite public, violence. The threat of anti-Muslim genocide in India has been identified as increasingly likely. This kind of dangerous rhetoric is hardly limited to India, either—last year, anti-Muslim symbols appeared at a community parade in Edison, New Jersey, and violence broke out between Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester, England. Around the global Hindu diaspora, there is widespread support for Hindutva (lit. “Hindu-ness”), the political ideology of India as essentially and eternally a Hindu nation, to the exclusion of other religions, mostly (but not exclusively) Islam. This should not surprise scholars of religion and globalization. Religious diasporas—Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist—very often become strong supporters of religious nationalism back in the homeland, usually nostalgically romanticized as a place where traditions are dominant and pure. In the last decade, the South Asian population in the US has grown to about three million, or one percent of the country’s population. At the same time, Hindu Americans (not to be conflated with South Asian Americans) have become key economic, political, and religious supporters for Hindutva in India. read the complete article

Countries condemn desecration of Quran in Sweden

Officials from a number of countries, including many in the Middle East, have condemned the desecration of the Quran by a man in Sweden’s capital during a protest authorised by police. Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi who fled to Sweden several years ago, tore up and lit pages of the Islamic holy book on fire on Thursday as Muslims celebrated the Eid al-Adha holiday. The act outside the Stockholm Central Mosque prompted international condemnation. read the complete article

United States

Minnesota Muslims vow to continue call to prayer despite rise in mosque attacks

Muslims in Minnesota have vowed not to stop answering the call to prayer, despite a series of attacks on mosques some believe to be a backlash to a new rule that permits the Adhan to be broadcast at any time of the day or night. In April, Minneapolis made history when it became the first major city in the US to allow mosques to broadcast the call to prayer using loudspeakers at any time. Members of the Muslim community and their supporters celebrated the move, which was passed unanimously by the city council. Yet since the city started talking about the measure earlier this year, there have been up to six attacks on mosques and community centers in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul. While Muslims in the city have long had to battle Islamophobia, some believe the change in the law was, in part, responsible. read the complete article

The US government must provide care to its torture victims

On June 26, to commemorate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, President Joe Biden issued a statement emphasising the United States government’s commitment to “eliminating torture” and “supporting its victims”. While he named various countries and entities that have engaged in torture, he failed to name his own country. He did not acknowledge the use of torture against hundreds of people US forces had taken to black sites around the world, dozens of whom remain imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. On the same day that Biden released his statement, UN Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ni Aolain released a new report on the Guantanamo detainees. The document calls on the US government not only to apologise for its use of torture and provide redress for the victims but also to make sure they have proper access to healthcare and rehabilitation, which at the moment they do not. These men, including my client, Ammar al Baluchi, are still suffering from serious physical and mental health problems as a result of torture. There can be no doubt about the brutality of US torture techniques and the grave harm they cause. read the complete article


Indian Muslim women don’t need male ‘saviours’ – Hindu or Muslim

In India, Islamophobic propaganda from the right often capitalises on unfounded fears of a Muslim population expansion. This deep-seated belief has given birth to a conspiracy theory known as “love jihad“, which alleges that Muslim men are actively seeking to entice Hindu women and convert them to Islam. Exploiting this theory, vigilante groups have been involved in the harassment of interfaith couples, particularly when the woman involved is Hindu. Prominent Hindu nationalist figures regularly deliver speeches encouraging Hindu men to marry Muslim women and convert them to Hinduism. Recently, a femo-nationalist narrative has also gained traction, where influential women linked with Hindu nationalist organisations have urged Muslim women to marry a Hindu man to find “freedom” from alleged oppression. “Saving” the Muslim woman has been an indispensable component of India’s Hindu nationalist narrative, as it helps portray Islam as a religion that oppresses women followers who need intervention from Hindu men for their emancipation. The ruling government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for instance, has claimed credit for getting the country’s Supreme Court to ban the practice of triple talaq or instant divorce. The Muslim woman is paradoxically the most hyper-present and invisible figure in the political discourse in India. Her life is constantly a subject of public discussion, while her own opinion on it is nowhere to be seen. In recent months, however, an equally worrying and conspiratorial trend has taken birth, again purportedly centred on “saving Muslim women” – this time led by Muslim men. What initially started as a Twitter campaign called Bhagwa Love Trap, warning Muslim women about Hindu men supposedly trying to lure them, soon transformed into a full-blown mirror-image theory of love jihad. read the complete article

India islamophobia: Muslims fear rise of religious hatred during Eid celebrations

Eid al-Adha is one of the most important celebrations for Muslims around the world. In India, it will be celebrated on June 29. In a country where being a Muslim means exposing yourself to the constant threat of Hindu extremists and religious nationalism promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, celebrating Eid has become anxiety-provoking. In some states, animal sacrifices are highly monitored, and prayers in public spaces strictly prohibited, as our team on the ground reports. read the complete article


Germany's 5.5 million Muslims are often exposed to everyday, structural racism, report finds

Racism, hatred and sometimes violence against Muslims in Germany are widespread and often part of their everyday experience, according to a new report presented at the interior ministry in Berlin on Thursday. The Independent Group of Experts on Muslim Hostility worked for three years on the comprehensive report about racism and hostility toward the country's 5.5 million Muslims. The group analyzed scientific studies, police crime statistics and documentation of anti-Muslim incidents by anti-discrimination agencies, counseling centers and nongovernmental organizations. The report concludes that at least one third of Muslims in Germany have experienced hostility due to their religion. However, the experts pointed out that the real numbers are likely vastly higher since only 10% of Muslims appear to report hostility and hate crimes against them. German Muslims are not only exposed to blunt racism but also to daily stereotyping from kindergarten to old age, the experts said. The group found that negative prejudice toward the community included “the attribution of widespread, largely unchangeable, backward-thinking and threatening characteristics to Muslims and people perceived as Muslim.” These stereotypes lead to exclusion and discrimination by Germany's mainstream society which often perceives Muslims as “the others,” even though 50% of Muslims in the country have German passports. read the complete article


Top French court upholds hijab ban in women's football

"Sporting federations whose task is to ensure the good functioning of public services... can impose a neutrality requirement on their players in competitions and sporting events, to guarantee the smooth running of matches and any clashes or confrontation," the Constitutional Council said in a statement. It found a French Football Federation (FFF) rule against "any sign or clothing clearly showing political, philosophical, religious or union affiliation" during play to be "appropriate and proportionate". A group of Muslim women footballers called the "Hijabeuses" had launched the action against the FFF regulation. Marion Ogier, a lawyer for the "Hijabeuses", said the decision "upsets secularism and freedom of expression" as well as "abusing 30 years of legal precedent" on the question. "This decision goes against social cohesion in a country founded on diversity and pluralism," she told AFP. Judges had found themselves under political pressure ahead of the ruling as mainstream parties look to fend off the far right riding high in the polls. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Jun 2023 Edition


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