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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01 Mar 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., two brothers detained at Guantanamo Bay prison have been released to Pakistan after twenty years of being imprisoned without charge, meanwhile in India, the key suspect in the car burning of two Muslim men in Rajasthan last month who is still at large has a large following on Youtube, and regularly posted videos of attacks on Muslims to his channel, and Al Jazeera interviews journalist and author Kaamil Ahmed, whose new book highlights the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh. Our recommended read of the day is by Tooba Towfiq for Middle East Eye on how the Indian Parliament has cut several budgetary allocations for minorities and women, including funding to help students from minority communities pass preliminary exams. This and more below:


28 Feb 2023

India expands its war against Muslim women | Recommended Read

Amid the desk-thumping cheers of the lower house of the Indian parliament, detrimental decisions were rattled off as part of the 2023 budget process this month, marking yet another step towards disempowering Muslims in the country. This is the same house where the ruling right-wing government often fashions itself as the messiah of Muslim women, even as they endure a potentially devastating assault on their social, economic and political rights. Amongst myriad cuts to budgets affecting minorities and women, the government has cut funding to help students from minority communities pass preliminary exams, while slashing the budget for madrassas. From the right to choose what to wear, to the right to education and work, Indian Muslim women are at risk of losing it all. Yet, despite this urgency, the public outcry is not nearly as pronounced as it should be. Ongoing global debates around the right to education (in the context of Afghanistan) and the freedom to choose how to dress (in the context of Iran) have comfortably ignored Indian Muslim women - and this is hardly a new phenomenon. Backlash against the Taliban, one would like to believe, stems from their clear negation of women’s rights. Yet, much of the international outcry actually stems from the legacy of US military intervention in Afghanistan and the Orientalist inclination to “save” Muslim women. Along the same lines, the leader of India’s right-wing government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, insists that he has “freed” Muslim women. But Muslim women - fearless and with their fists raised - would disagree. read the complete article

28 Feb 2023

News18 India found guilty of targeting Muslims on prime time shows, broadcast regulator imposes fine

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority on Monday passed orders against four shows hosted by right wing news anchor Aman Chopra of the Hindi news channel News18 India for hate speeches he had made about Muslims. “By starting the debate on the premise that 20% people were ganging up against Hindus constituting 80%, the anchor had given the debate a thrust, which is communal in nature and not appropriate,” read the order by the news regulatory body. The controversial debate was hosted by Chopra on January 18 last year during UP poll campaign. The programme had violated the fundamental principles of impartiality, objectivity and neutrality that are necessary during reporting, said NBDSA chairperson Justice (retired) AK Sikri said. Anuj Dubey who submitted that Chopra deliberately made statements that maligned the Muslim community, was the complainant. Chopra while debating about the public flogging of Muslim men by Gujarat Police in Gujarat’s Kheda district on October 4, celebrated the flogging of the men by describing it as “police ki dandiya” – a reference to a traditional Gujarati dance form in which sticks are used as a prop. The police action was widely condemned rights groups across world. The complainant, Indrajeet Ghorpade, stated that the broadcaster had repeatedly shown visuals glorifying the “police violence”. The NBDSA said in its order that the channel had “targeted, vilified and castigated the entire Muslim community for the actions of a few miscreants.” read the complete article

28 Feb 2023

India’s YouTube Vigilante Is Wanted for Murder

ON THE AFTERNOON of February 14, Junaid Khan, 32, and his nephew Nasir Khan, 25, left their small village of Ghatmeeka in India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan to attend a family function. They didn’t come back. Two days later, the men’s bodies were found inside a burned-out vehicle in the village of Loharu, around 240 kilometers away in the neighboring state of Haryana. On their way home after midnight, members of a far-right extremist group had allegedly abducted, tortured, and killed the men, who are Muslims, on suspicion of smuggling cows—animals that are considered sacred by Hindus. Consuming beef and transporting cattle is not illegal, but several states have passed restrictive laws over the past few years, essentially criminalizing a profession that is dominated by Muslims. Among the group suspected by police of murdering Junaid and Nasir is 28-year-old Monu Manesar, a high-profile YouTuber who has built a huge following online with his videos of cow vigilantism. Manesar, who is reportedly now on the run, is one of a large ecosystem of sectarian influencers on Indian social media who have benefited from the country’s nationalistic turn under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Human rights advocates say that their content—which is prevalent across Western-owned platforms—is exacerbating social division, and even leading to vigilante attacks on religious minorities. For the past five years, Manesar—a leading member of the Bajrang Dal, a far-right Hindu group—has been part of a team of cow vigilantes along the Rajasthan-Haryana border, and has uploaded videos of their attacks, predominantly on Muslims, to YouTube. His posts often begin with a car chase in the dark and end with group members posing with a cow they have “rescued.” read the complete article


28 Feb 2023

‘Everywhere they go, the Rohingya are exploited’

Kaamil Ahmed, a British journalist, has covered the Rohingya crisis for eight years. Currently a reporter at The Guardian, he has made multiple trips to Bangladesh, where an overwhelming majority of the Rohingya reside in exile, to investigate and document the livelihoods of a people considered one of the world’s most persecuted. Rendered stateless by Myanmar in 1982, the decades-long plight of the Rohingya came to the world’s attention in 2012, when deadly violence against the group broke out in Rakhine state of this Southeast Asian country – leading to a mass exodus. The largest flight of the Rohingya took place five years later, when the Myanmar army killed more than 6,000 people and forced some 700,000 to cross into Bangladesh. According to witnesses and rights groups, the military burned and razed dozens of Rohingya villages and fired indiscriminately, killing women and children – events that saw the Myanmar government accused of carrying out genocide. Ahmed’s book, I Feel No Peace: Rohingya Fleeing Over Seas and Rivers, is an in-depth exploration of the Rohingya in exile, their exploitation, quests for justice, and the apparent failures of world bodies such as the United Nations to protect them. read the complete article

28 Feb 2023

Rohingya refugees, who've been in camps for years, say they've been forgotten

More than a million Rohingya refugees languish in camps in Bangladesh. A coup in Myanmar makes it harder to go home. LEILA FADEL, HOST: More than a million Rohingya people have fled targeted violence in their native Myanmar. Most of them remain in refugee camps across the border in Bangladesh, and most have been there for more than five years. As NPR's Lauren Frayer learned, some say they feel the world has forgotten them. A warning that this report talks about rape and other forms of violence. read the complete article

28 Feb 2023

Three Conservative MPs who saw no evil until after lunch

If you’re not familiar with the policies of the Alternative for Germany, the party represented by MEP Christine Anderson, you’re not alone. But the three Conservative MPs who met her for a long lunch last week didn’t get there by accident. That is not to say the three MPs are racist. Leslyn Lewis, Colin Carrie, and Dean Allison aren’t known as that at all. They are the Conservative Party’s unofficial conspiracy caucus. So when the Conservative Party issued a statement that said the three didn’t know Ms. Anderson’s views, and later two organizers of the three-hour lunch said the MPs knew a lot about who they were meeting, well, both of those things might be sort of true. It’s easy to find out the AfD stands for anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and xenophobic views, because it can be quickly discovered on the internet, in newspapers or videos, or from many sources. But it also seems very possible that these three read about it and didn’t believe it. Ms. Anderson shares a lot of their views about vaccine mandates and globalists. They saw her as an ally, and apparently chose not to see the rest. She tells people she is not xenophobic or anti-Muslim, although she doesn’t really eschew those sentiments. “I do not have problems with Muslims. I have a problem with Islam. I do not consider Islam to be a religion,” she told the right-wing website Rebel News. Prominent AfD figures have played down the Holocaust and Nazi era, and spoken of immigrants as invaders. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs raised concerns about the three MPs meeting with Ms. Anderson. The AfD tends to target Muslims with its policies, but they include banning kosher meat and “non-medical” circumcision. Its politicians aren’t the advocates of freedom they claim to be. read the complete article

United Kingdom

28 Feb 2023

Muslim women in sport: 'Slow progress' on removing barriers

There has been "slow progress" in breaking down the "barriers and challenges" for Muslim women taking part in sport, says a new report. The report published by England's largest Muslim women's sports charity, Muslimah Sports Association (MSA), found 97% of British Muslim women surveyed wanted to increase their current participation in sports - yet 37% are not involved in any sports or activities. The research was carried out to identify the demand across the country for Muslim female participation in sport, and to explore the under-representation of Muslim women in sports and to what barriers they are facing. The report says sport participation can help to break down stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslim women. read the complete article

United States

28 Feb 2023

Pakistani brothers return home after being held almost 20 years at Guantanamo Bay without charges

Two Pakistani brothers held by the United States government at the Guantanamo Bay military prison for nearly 20 years have been repatriated back to Pakistan, the U.S. Defense Department announced last week. Accused of operating safe houses for Al-Qaida, Abdul, 55, and Mohammed Ahmed Rabbani, 53, were apprehended by Pakistani officers in Karachi in 2002 and handed over to U.S. authorities. While the siblings were never charged with any crime, they were sent to the controversial detention camp on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba in 2004. The brothers claimed that before being transferred to Guantanamo, they were tortured in CIA custody. Based on military records, the siblings provided little intelligence of value and recanted statements made during interrogations. Both men were approved for release in 2011, but for reasons unclear remained in detention. read the complete article

28 Feb 2023

Biden could close Guantánamo for good

The Feb. 17 editorial “How to end the enduring stain that is Guantánamo Bay prison” about the malevolent senselessness of opening Guantánamo, the harm it’s still causing and why it must close, got a lot right. But it was wrong in two key aspects. Second, President Biden does not need Congress’s help to close Guantánamo. The administration can transfer not only the 18 men cleared for release, but also the three men still in the review board process, all three of whom the CIA tortured. Plea deals in some cases could include serving sentences abroad, as several have previously. If a few men must remain, as long as they are serving criminal sentences (versus indefinite detention), in lawful and humane conditions of confinement, the president could legitimately declare Guantánamo closed. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Mar 2023 Edition


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