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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06 Jun 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Australia, an Indian politician on a speaking tour in the country called the Muslim conquest of India “the bloodiest chapter in the history of the world” and appeared to equate it with the Holocaust, meanwhile in Canada, communities across Ontario marched and held vigils to commemorate the lives of a Muslim family killed in what police and prosecutors are calling a hate-motivated attack nearly a year ago in London, Ontario, and lastly, Qatar demanded that India apologize for Islamophobic comments made by a top ruling BJP official as India’s vice president started a visit to bolster trade with the wealthy Gulf state. Our recommended read of the day is by Jim Rankin for the Toronto Star on the one year anniversary of the deadly anti-Muslim attack in London, Ontario that killed four members of a Canadian Muslim family, and how “friends, neighbors, and Londoners tell the Star the Azfaal family’s legacy must be more than vigils, marches and memorials.” This and more below:


06 Jun 2022

‘You are dead because you were you’: How anti-Muslim hate has changed their London, Ont. | Recommended Read

Of Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, daughter Yumna, 15, Salman’s mother Talat, 74, and son Fayez Afzaal, only Fayez, now 10, would survive what police have described as an intentional “hate-motivated” attack by a young man driving a speeding pickup truck. Three generations of a much-loved Muslim Canadian family, with roots in Pakistan, wiped out in what police have characterized as an act of terror. In the past year, hate did not abate. A proposed Ontario law aimed at combating Islamophobia, named the Our London Family Act in honour of the Afzaal family, died before the election. There’s been a national summit, and the government listened. Meanwhile, a bill in Quebec making religious head coverings unwearable by public servants remains in place. This weekend and Monday, Londoners and visitors to the southwestern Ontario city are marking the anniversary of the Afzaal family’s deaths with a march, a vigil and the unveiling of a memorial at the southwest corner of Hyde Park and South Carriage Roads, where they were struck down while waiting to cross. When 15-year-old Yumna didn’t come to class at Oakridge Secondary School the morning of the attack, Maryam El-Sabawi texted her friend, schoolmate and potential business partner — talented Yumna would make art and Maryam take care of the sales — there was no response. Since then, El-Sabawi, 15, has changed to another high school, the thought of Yumna not being alongside her there too much to bare, and has plunged herself alongside dozens of others into what became the Youth Coalition Combating Islamophobia. That group is behind most of the events marking the anniversary this weekend, an educational package that will be taught in London schools on Monday, and a short documentary. “It’s real that you’re not coming back to school. It’s real that the world will never see your smile again. It’s real that we can’t stay up all night talking anymore. It’s real that you’re dead because you were a Muslim. It’s real that you are dead because you were you.” read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

Young. White. Male. And full of hate

The same day hundreds of mourners gathered outside a London, Ont., mosque for the funeral of a Muslim family targeted for their faith, police descended into the downtown apartment of the accused murderer, armed with a warrant. Once inside, they took a cellphone and laptop from a bedside table, seized two USB keys and grabbed a hard drive from a bookshelf — devices needed to forensically examine the young man’s online life in the days before police say he committed a “premeditated act, motivated by hate.” What they allegedly found came as no surprise, fitting a by-now predictable narrative about far-right, white supremacist killings. Police allege the man — charged with four counts of terrorism motivated first-degree murder for killing four members of the Afzaal family with his black pickup truck one year ago this week — had “hate-related material” on his devices. According to search warrant documents partially unsealed by a judge in March, police allege Nathaniel Veltman, a 20-year-old who is the eldest son of six from small-town Strathroy, Ont., may have been using a “dark web” tool used by people seeking illegal or extremist content. A growing list of convicted or accused killers have been steeped in an online ecosystem of hate that is transcending national borders, eluding law enforcement and inciting a brand of terrorism experts say is spreading and mutating. In anonymous chat rooms, through memes and connected via social media algorithms, they’re finding and promoting each others’ hate and violence, in livestreamed attacks or crude manifestos meant to inspire further carnage. It’s a “Wikipedia version of attacks,” said Amarnath Amarasingam, assistant professor of political studies at Queen’s University and an expert in radicalization and extremism, referring to how any one person can edit and refine the online encyclopedia. The killers “are kind of building on each other, fixing the gaps in previous attacks.” read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

Hundreds attend anti-Islamophobia march in London, Ont., in memory of Afzaal family Social Sharing

Hundreds of people joined a march to commemorate the Afzaal family and to fight against Islamophobia in London, Ont., on Sunday afternoon, including the prime minister. More than 1,000 people met at Oakridge Secondary School to listen to speeches before walking to the London Muslim Mosque. It's part of ongoing commemorative events this week to mark the one-year anniversary of the murder of the Afzaal family, who were killed in a hate-motivated attack while out for a walk on June 6, 2021. "They were our friends," said Aisha Rashid, who marched with her family. "The events planned today and tomorrow are helping with the healing process, because it has been a really, really difficult year for the Muslim community across the globe, but particularly in London, Ont." Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife, Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter, Yumnah, and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, died when a driver hit them as they waited to cross a road. The couple's nine-year-old son was seriously hurt but survived. The man accused has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, as well as associated terrorism charges. read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

'We don't want people to forget': How communities are remembering Muslim family killed 1 year ago

Communities across Ontario will be marching and holding vigils to commemorate the lives of a Muslim family killed in what police and prosecutors are calling a hate-motivated attack nearly a year ago in London, Ont. On June 6, 2021, Yumna Afzaal, 15, her mom and dad, Madiha Salman, 44, and Salman Afzaal, 46, and her grandmother, Talat Afzaal, 74 were killed when a vehicle jumped a curb while they were out for a Sunday walk. Police believe the driver deliberately targeted the family because of their Muslim faith. Their youngest son was injured, but survived. Family members have asked that the boy not be named so he can have as normal a life as possible. In a statement released on behalf of the family, Umar Afzaal, Salman's brother, says they continue to struggle with what happened but are looking to the future with help from the community. "To lose three generations of our family was a catastrophe, but our community came together and has provided us with hope and strength. It is with this strength we have been able to continue forward," the statement reads. The accused in the attack faces murder and related terrorism charges. Twelve weeks have been set aside for his trial, which is scheduled to start in September of 2023. read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

McMaster discusses anti-Muslim sentiments in health care

In an online symposium by McMaster University’s faculty of health sciences Wednesday, a panel of speakers and doctors discussed why “Islamophobia is a public health crisis,” and offered solutions to tackle the gap in the Canadian health-care system caused by systemic racism. The two-hour-long event kicked off with presentations from Tabassum Wyne, founder of the Muslim Advisory Council of Canada, and Fatimah Jackson-Best, assistant professor at the Department of Health, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University, talking about negative views on Islam in Canada, religion-based discrimination and how that impacts health care in the country. The symposium closely followed the controversy surrounding a Montreal doctor’s letter condemning wearing hijabs last December, which appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). The letter was later retracted following a heavy backlash and an official apology was issued by Dr. Kirsten Patrick, the editor-in-chief of CMAJ. Stating Islamophobia as a public health crisis, Wyne said the problem is affecting a growing population of Muslim communities in Canada and would have long-term threatening effects if large-scale solutions are not put in place. She added that incidences of “Islamophobia go unreported because human rights and harassment policies within the health-care system do not specifically address this.” Wyne said “health-care leaders are not equipped with how to handle such a situation,” resorting to general anti-racism guidelines. “This is not enough,” she said. read the complete article


06 Jun 2022

Qatar protests over 'Islamophobia' as India VP seeks trade

Qatar on Sunday demanded that India apologise for "Islamophobic" comments made by a top ruling party official as India's vice president started a visit to bolster trade with the wealthy Gulf state. Comments about the Prophet Mohammed made by a spokesperson for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party during a televised debate last week sparked anger in several Gulf states. Kuwait also said it had summoned India's ambassador, amid widespread calls on social media for a boycott of Indian goods in Gulf countries. The Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation also condemned the remarks, without specifying the insult, saying they came in a "context of intensifying hatred and abuse towards Islam in India and systematic practices against Muslims". India's ambassador in Doha, Deepak Mittal, was ordered to the foreign ministry on the second day of a high profile visit by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Indian business leaders. Indians make up about one million of Qatar's total population of 2.8 million. The envoy was handed an official protest letter which said "Qatar is expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the government of India," according to a foreign ministry statement. "Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights" and "will create a cycle of violence and hate", it added. read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

60 Rohingya found abandoned on Thai island: police

The group -- among them five children -- were found on Koh Dong island in the southern Satun province on Saturday, said lieutenant general Surachet Hakpan. Each year, thousands of the mostly Muslim minority Rohingya people, heavily persecuted in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, risk their lives in months-long expensive journeys to reach Malaysia over Thailand's seas. Police said they had been charged with illegal entry and could face deportation to Myanmar following a court case. "We are providing humanitarian assistance and will investigate whether they are victims of human trafficking or if they entered illegally," Surachet said. The group appeared "starving and was likely to have had no food for three to five days", a police statement said. The boat's crew then decided to abandon those onboard on Koh Dong island -- telling them that they had reached Malaysia, the group told officers. The incident comes after the bodies of 14 Rohingya people, including children, were discovered washed up on a beach last month after they attempted to flee Myanmar. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people fled a military crackdown in the nation in 2017, bringing with them harrowing stories of murder, rape and arson. read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

Failed UN mission to China reveals faulty human rights assumptions

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet’s mission to China ended as most feared it would: with failure to investigate Uyghur concentration camps in Xinjiang and global media flooded with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda about how the UN respects the country’s human rights practices. What lessons should governments that value fundamental liberties, and the civil society human rights community, take from this incident? Bachelet has been subjected to criticism uncommon for a top UN human rights official, from human rights groups and from the U.S. government. She deserves it, for willfully walking into a public relations fiasco that has been years in the making. In China, Bachelet spoke almost as if she herself had been brainwashed in an indoctrination camp, all but endorsing China’s rationalizations for widespread murder, gang rape, torture and other human rights crimes that have been documented in Xinjiang’s mass detention centers. She called the camps “vocational educational training centers,” the term used by the CCP in its defiant pushbacks against international, fact-based criticism. She also discussed the camps as “counterterrorism” facilities, as the CCP does. And, like the CCP narrative, she spoke of China’s “tremendous achievements” in advancing human rights, speaking about a society where almost no fundamental political and civil rights are respected — where huge numbers of people are executed each year after unfair trials; where citizens’ behavior is electronically monitored and disciplined; where dissidents are murdered to harvest their organs for sale. Yet Bachelet’s performance is, ultimately, symptomatic of something greater than the actions of a top international bureaucrat seeking expedient accommodation with a bad and powerful actor. We must examine closely the box that she found herself in. The UN walked its mandate back from an investigation to an anodyne exchange of views, rather than taking a principled position and canceling the exercise. They did that, it must be assumed, under pressure from China. read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

Indian MP visiting Australia appears to equate Muslim conquest of India with Holocaust

An Indian politician visiting Australia called the Muslim conquest of India “the bloodiest chapter in the history of the world” and appeared to equate it with the Holocaust amid a controversial speaking tour. Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) MP Tejasvi Surya, in Australia to take part in a series of events, including the Australia India Youth Dialogue (AIYD), told an audience in Parramatta on Monday that the history of Islam is “writ large with bloodshed and violence.” “I want to put one specific thought in all of your minds, we know the history of this particular community from the time of its existence, and its history has been writ large with bloodshed and violence.” A video of his comments surfaced on Twitter, where he also encouraged attendees to support an initiative calling for a ban on halal food, adding that the Hindu community must vote for parties that “exclusively protect Hindus”. The comments came at a private event organised after a public “interaction with students” was supposed to be held at the ECA College in Parramatta, in the same building as the Swinburne University of Technology. That event was cancelled, after the Swinburne Islamic Society sent a letter demanding the university intervene. Junaid Ahmed, from the University of New South Wales, and a representative of the coalition of 25 Muslim Student associations from around Australia protesting Surya’s visit, told the Guardian that platforming Surya at various universities “normalises” his views. He also considers that the comments constituted hate speech and promoted Islamophobia. Surya, who is a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a far-right Hindutva organisation, has a history of strong statements regarding the connection between Islam and terrorism. He tweeted in 2015 that “terror has no religion. But the terrorist definitely has a religion and in most cases it is Islam.” read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

China ‘one of the worst abusers of religious freedom in the world’, says US

The US State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom has accused China of continued genocide and repression of predominantly Muslim Uyghurs. The report released by secretary of state Antony Blinken on Thursday blames the Xi Jinping government for using state policy and technology to repress Uyghur Muslims as well as other minorities. He said that more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and others minority groups have been detained in internment camps in Xinjiang since April 2017. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to harass adherents of other religions that it deems out of line with Chinese Communist Party doctrine, including by destroying Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Taoist houses of worship and by erecting barriers to employment and housing for Christians, Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners,” Mr Blinken said. Rashad Hussain, Washington’s envoy for international religious freedom, said China has been designated a “country of particular concern” regarding religious rights every year since 1999, and continues to be “one of the worst abusers of religious freedom in the world”. read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

The Dispute Over Forced Labor Is Redefining the Entire US-China Relationship

To much of the world, the name “Xinjiang” has become synonymous with human-rights abuses after China’s push to assimilate mostly Muslim ethnic minority Uyghurs sparked an international outcry. But as the US prepares to ban all goods from the remote western region later this month, President Xi Jinping is now moving to rebrand Xinjiang and better integrate it with the rest of China — and the globe. The appointment of new Xinjiang chief Ma Xingrui — a rising star in the Communist Party who previously ran the tech hub Shenzhen — is emblematic of the shift. In January, the sharply dressed technocrat outlined his vision for Xinjiang, saying it was crucial to “accelerate the integration of urban and rural development” and “vigorously develop labor-intensive industries.” Farmers and herdsmen, he said, must be able to “achieve stable employment and sustained income growth.” His remarks described the Xinjiang that China wants the world to see: A place where the Communist Party is striving to boost living standards for Uyghurs, in part by finding them jobs. A key component is investing more in a longstanding rural labor transfer program in which villagers spread across an area the size of Alaska are moved to cities, both in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China. To the US and others, however, Ma’s comments point to a darker reality: The expansion of a state-sponsored forced labor program under the guise of anti-poverty efforts that contributes to genocide. In their view, although some Uyghurs may want to leave their homes to work elsewhere, many others are too afraid to say no to a government that has separately been accused of incarcerating more than a million of them in recent years. Last month, the BBC published thousands of mugshots of detainees obtained from a hack of Xinjiang police files. read the complete article

United States

06 Jun 2022

Gina Haspel Observed Waterboarding at C.I.A. Black Site, Psychologist Testifies

During Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing to become director of the C.I.A. in 2018, Senator Dianne Feinstein asked her if she had overseen the interrogations of a Saudi prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, which included the use of a waterboard. Ms. Haspel declined to answer, saying it was part of her classified career. While there has been reporting about her oversight of a C.I.A. black site in Thailand where Mr. Nashiri was waterboarded, and where Ms. Haspel wrote or authorized memos about his torture, the precise details of her work as the chief of base, the C.I.A. officer who oversaw the prison, have been shrouded in official secrecy. But testimony at a hearing last month in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, included a revelation about the former C.I.A. director’s long and secretive career. James E. Mitchell, a psychologist who helped develop the agency’s interrogation program, testified that the chief of base at the time, whom he referred to as Z9A in accordance with court rules, watched while he and a teammate subjected Mr. Nashiri to “enhanced interrogation” that included waterboarding at the black site. Z9A is the code name used in court for Ms. Haspel. The C.I.A. has never acknowledged Ms. Haspel’s work at the black site, and the use of the code name represented the court’s acceptance of an agency policy of not acknowledging state secrets — even those that have already been spilled. Former officials long ago revealed that she ran the black site in Thailand from October 2002 until December 2002, during the time Mr. Nashiri was being tortured, which Dr. Mitchell described in his testimony. read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

‘This show is so monumental!’ Iman Vellani on playing Marvel’s first Muslim superhero

The more I hear about fictional Kamala Khan – a New Jersey nerd of Pakistani heritage who is obsessed with comics and one day becomes a superhero – and real-world Vellani, a Pakistani-Canadian teenager and self-proclaimed “geek” who is obsessed with comics and plays a superhero, the harder it becomes to know where one ends and the other begins. It is not helped by the fact that the role is Vellani’s first and that she seems to be the only teenager in the world who doesn’t use social media, so that researching Vellani brings up only Kamala Khan. Talking to her is all just a bit meta. But then again, so is the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and that is precisely what fans love. Kamala Khan first appeared in the comics in 2013. She is one of the newer Marvel characters and part of a superhero generation led by women and ethnically diverse characters. She is Muslim American – like her creators G Willow Wilson, a comics writer who converted to Islam as an adult, and Sana Amanat, Marvel’s director of character development – and her religion and culture is embraced. Kamala Khan’s conflicts are not just with supervillains, but with her spirituality, family duties and traditions: “This is not evangelism,” Wilson told the New York Times. “It was really important for me to portray Kamala as someone who is struggling with her faith.” Khan’s introduction was not without controversy: at one point, a senior Marvel executive blamed diverse characters for the overall slump in print sales, while Amanat has described having to brace for negativity from “people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light”. But Ms Marvel quickly found its fanbase. And one of those fans was Vellani. “We’re the first show that showcases religion, school-life balance – and it’s done so seamlessly, I feel. It’s very much like how it is in my real life: I go to school at this time, I have dinner at this time, I go to mosque at this time, I sleep at this time. It’s just a part of my schedule. And it feels like that when you watch the show, too." read the complete article


06 Jun 2022

India's ruling party suspends official over comments about Islam

India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Sunday it had suspended its spokeswoman Nupur Sharma in response to comments she made during a TV debate about the Prophet Mohammed. The BJP said in a statement on its website that the party respected all religions. "The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion." Sharma said on Twitter she had said some things in response to comments made about a Hindu god but it was never her intention to hurt anyone's religious feelings. Another BJP spokesman Naveen Jindal was expelled from the party over comments he made about Islam on social media, the BJP office said. Jindal said on Twitter he had questioned some comments made against Hindu gods. "I only questioned them but that does not mean I am against any religion." Sharma's comments prompted complaints from several Muslim countries, including Qatar and Kuwait. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar said it had summoned the Indian ambassador over the comments. The State of Kuwait also summoned the Indian ambassador and said it had handed the ambassador a protest note in which Kuwait rejected and denounced the statements made by the BJP official. Qatar's foreign ministry statement also said it welcomed the BJP's decision to suspend the official but said Qatar was expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks by the Indian government. read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

UP police electrocute, insert rod in Muslim man’s rectum

The Uttar Pradesh police, Budaun district, is yet again on the receiving end of backlash after an outpost in charge, four of its constables and “two unidentified” persons have been booked for allegedly brutally torturing a young Muslim man. He was arrested under suspicion that he was involved in cow slaughtering. The victim, a 22-year-old vegetable vendor resides in the Kakrala area, under the Alapur police station. He was picked up by the police on May 2 under the suspicion of having ties with a gangster, allegedly involved in cow slaughter, reported the Times of India. The victim’s mother, who is inconsolable, named sub-inspector Satya Pal for her son’s condition. “The police shoved a stick inside my son’s rectum and gave him repeated electric shocks,” she alleged. Echoing her, the victim’s sister-in-law said, “Police thrashed my brother-in-law the whole night. After realising that they had picked the wrong person, they handed him Rs 100 and sent him back after torturing him for two straight days. Since then, he has been getting seizures almost every day. On Friday (June 3) his condition deteriorated and we had to rush him to the hospital.” read the complete article

New Zealand

06 Jun 2022

If the Christchurch terrorist wasn’t white, would he still have been able to plot in secret? Chapter 5: That Day

On January 8, 2019, there was another sound – the whir of a drone. But no-one really took much notice as the man who’d launched it from his spot in the park fiddled with the controls on a remote and manoeuvred it across the road, over the traffic on Deans Ave. The man aimed it towards the Masjid an-Nur (Al Noor Mosque), flying over its grounds and buildings. He watched through the drone’s camera as he hovered it near the mosque’s entries and exits, and an alleyway beside the property. After a flight of five minutes, the drone returned to the man in Hagley Park. He calmly packed it away, hopped in the car, and drove towards the Linwood Islamic Centre. And yet, when you look back, there were signs. Let’s be honest. There was his behaviour at Dunedin’s Bruce Rifle Club during his 26 visits there: the way he shot while standing up, going through a large amount of ammunition, firing at extremely fast rates and changing magazines quickly; the way he quizzed a fellow member of the club about his military background, so much so that it made the member feel uncomfortable; and the way he remarked to fellow shooters about his access to large capacity magazines. There was his online activity: his membership of far-right Facebook groups in Australia; his purchases of far-right books and memorabilia; his searches of YouTube for inspiration and education on how to effectively carry out his attacks. There was his extensive travel: international trips to more than 50 countries, sometimes visiting sites of historic conflict between Christians and Muslims, or cities in Europe with a large population of immigrants; entering and exiting Australia (and, later, New Zealand) but never being questioned about his travel history. Here’s something else to consider: What if the terrorist hadn’t been a polite and white Australian just going about his business? What if he’d been brown? What if he’d been Muslim? At any of those points – the reconnaissance of his target; when he was practising military-style tactics at the gun range; when he accidentally shot himself; when he went online and made extreme comments; when he visited odd places; when he started stockpiling assault rifles – if he was brown or Muslim, would someone have raised the alarm? Or even an eyebrow? It’s not just me wondering about that – Andrew Little, the Minister Responsible for the Security Intelligence Service, says he’s wondered that too. And he’s come to a conclusion: “Look,” he told Stuff. “If he was a person with brown skin who came from a foreign country, I suspect it is more likely than not that somebody would have been more suspicious of him and therefore more likely to have reported him to the authorities. I don't think you can rule that out. “I think in reality we still have racism in this country.” read the complete article

06 Jun 2022

After the Christchurch attacks, money flowed and changes came. Was it too late? Chapter 6: Change is Coming

Remember the hoops the Islamic Women’s Council had to jump through to try to get about $250,000 of Government funding to help the Muslim community? Even after positive noises from senior civil servants in January 2018, 15 months later there were still hoops to be jumped if they wanted to get the money to launch the projects they believed would make a material difference. There was a business case to be written, albeit with the help of an official from the Ministry of Social Development who specialises in writing business cases, but every step they took, there seemed to be another one. Eventually, it got too much. “We were just burnt out,” says Anjum Rahman. “We couldn’t write the business case and we kind of just gave up.” To them, money to help their community was always just out of reach. For years, inside the Government, people had been pushing for more money for the Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC), an agency which sat inside the Department of Internal Affairs and had responsibility for marginalised populations. The OEC was widely recognised as being a mess. It was repeatedly criticised for being “underperforming”. One review noted that its strategy was poor, and it wasn’t doing its job properly. Another said it wasn’t effectively engaging with the community or other public sector agencies. There were restructures in 2014 and 2016. Yet problems persisted. When asked why the failings of OEC over a number of years hadn’t been resolved before the Christchurch terror attacks, the Department of Internal Affairs (which oversaw OEC) pointedly referred Stuff to a line in the Royal Commission of Inquiry report: “... successive budget bids over a number of years … were turned down by the government of the day.” They remember how they hadn’t been able to get $250,000 to support the Muslim community, and yet, immediately after the attack, money started flowing. Initially, it was shuffled around within DIA to get things moving and then, just weeks later, in April, Cabinet signed off on an extra $1.8 million for OEC. As Rahman put it: “Suddenly they found more than $1m to put into ethnic communities overnight. Suddenly the money is there after we’re all dead.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

06 Jun 2022

UK: Prevent strategy failing to engage Muslim communities, says government adviser

The British government’s counter-terrorism Prevent programme is failing to connect with Muslim communities, a government adviser has said. Dame Sara Khan, a human rights campaigner who advises the government on social cohesion and is a vocal supporter of Prevent, told BBC’s Political Thinking podcast that the government had failed to explain the strategy to Muslim communities. Khan said that the lack of explanation “in essence… left a vacuum” about Prevent’s purpose, leaving the scheme “dominated” by Islamists. She added that fears of being accused of racism made some local authorities uncomfortable with tackling extremism and claimed that some groups had used the accusation of Islamophobia as a cover for extremist practices. Critics of the Prevent Duty say that it has had a “chilling effect” on free speech in classrooms and universities, and that it has turned public-sector workers into informers expected to monitor pupils and patients for “signs of radicalisation”. Other critics have said that it may even be counter-productive. In March, a report by Rights and Security International, a human rights advocacy group, found that Muslim communities continued to be disproportionately affected by Prevent. Another report, by the Child Rights International Network, looking into the effect of the Prevent strategy on children, also found that the programme has "engendered a climate of mistrust". read the complete article


06 Jun 2022

1,061 Islamophobic attacks reported in Austria last year

According to the 2021 Report on Anti-Muslim Racism released by the Austrian Documentation and Counseling Center for Muslims (Dokustelle Osterreich), the majority of 1,061 attacks took place on digital platforms as more social interaction was on the internet due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The report said that 69% of those exposed to anti-Muslim racism, and verbal and physical attacks, were women and 26% were men. In many incidents, women wearing headscarves were verbally harassed, and in some cases, they were subjected to physical assaults. While 65.4% of the attacks against Muslims were carried out on online platforms, 34.6% of them happened in various areas of social life. The report also said that men carried out 77% of the racist attacks, while 22% were carried out by women. The report said hate speech and incitement toward Muslims contributed to 78.5% of the total incidents. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 06 Jun 2022 Edition


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