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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13 Mar 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Delhi Police remains tight lipped about detention allegations, as Muslim businesses struggle to cope in the aftermath of the pogroms. Jamil Smith argues that unable to “deport the coronavirus”, the Trump administration has resorted to an old tactic: a ban on travel. Our recommended read today is on Christchurch, where almost a year after two terror attacks on mosques, Muslims are finding solace in each other and in community. This, and more, below:

New Zealand

13 Mar 2020

One year after Christchurch we seek solace in community and being unapologetically Muslim | Recommended Read

The scars of the Christchurch massacre linger. Time has carpeted the pain. Slowly but surely, the shock recedes until all we feel is the echo of the tragedy. One year on after Haji Daoud Nabi walked out of the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch and uttered the words “Welcome, brother” only to be met with bullets in response. “Al Noor” is an Arabic term which means “the light”. In the Qur’an, the term is used to describe the divine light of God. A light that a man filled with hatred tried to extinguish when he opened fire on dozens of innocent people in their place of worship on their holiest day of the week. The hurt that was expressed both on a community and global level wasn’t a pain that was uniquely or selectively Muslim. It was a universal and fundamentally human pain. It was the visceral pain of knowing that innocent people had been murdered. It was the outrage at the media outlets that humanised the terrorist by referring to him as an “angelic boy” and an “ordinary white man”. What has followed is vicarious trauma. What this concept has meant for us, as individual Muslims, and for our Muslim identities after the Christchurch massacre varies from individual to individual. For some Muslims it meant de-veiling. It meant standing with our backs to the wall on the train platform. It meant not setting foot in a mosque. It meant feeling a certain anxiety in public spaces – and for some it still does. However, it has also presented opportunities for us to lean on our communities for support, to express ourselves through art and poetry and to be unapologetically Muslim. read the complete article

Recommended Read
13 Mar 2020

Ardern: New Zealand has 'fundamentally changed' since Christchurch shootings

The prime minister is in Christchurch attending events to mark the anniversary of last year’s massacre on 15 March, which she has described as one of New Zealand’s darkest days. On Friday she was attending a special joint prayer with members of both mosques that were attacked and on Sunday she will attend a national memorial. “A year on, I believe New Zealand and its people have fundamentally changed. I can’t see how you could have an event like this and not,” Ardern said. “But the challenge for us will be ensuring that in our everyday actions – and in every opportunity where we see bullying, harassment, racism, discrimination – calling it out as a nation.” Ardern also talked about her work on trying to eliminate terror attacks from being shown online. Ardern brought some nations and tech companies together to work on the issue in what she named the Christchurch Call, which she had helped start a new crisis response protocol. “As a result of the protocol and that coordination in those events where social media platforms have been used to broadcast attacks, the circulation of those videos had been far, far diminished,” she said. read the complete article

United States

13 Mar 2020

Confronting Internalized Islamophobia

Being Muslim American today means dealing with a president who recently expanded his travel ban to six new countries, all of which have sizable Muslim populations. Being Muslim American today means worrying if your own house of worship will be attacked by a white supremacist, as happened in New Zealand, and in states across America. Being Muslim American means belonging to a faith community that, according to the research, endures the highest levels of religious discrimination in the country today. In other words, being Muslim means confronting an Islamophobia that is real, that is part of American government policy, and that can even be deadly. With this sober reality, you might assume that American Muslims would be unified in collective opposition to the dangerous bigotry that is Islamophobia. Over the last two years, the ISPU and Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative have used a measure tracking anti-Muslim sentiment that they developed. Called the “Islamophobia Index,” the measure is based on answers to specific survey questions regarding Muslims and their assumed behaviors. In the 2019 study, only Muslims were less Islamophobic than Jews, but some Muslims still endorsed Islamophobic sentiments. Through crunching the numbers, the ISPU determined who’s more at risk in holding Islamophobic attitudes and what could protect someone from believing Islamophobic ideas. The least likely Muslims to hold Islamophobic views tend to be Democrats, thirty years-of-age or older, and self-identifying as Arab or Asian. Risk factors, meanwhile, include being between 18 and 29 years old, having experienced gender discrimination, either from within the Muslim community or from outside the Muslim community, and having experienced sectarian discrimination from within the Muslim community. read the complete article

13 Mar 2020

Unable to Deport the Coronavirus, Trump Tries a Ban

Rather than using his network time Wednesday night to present the American public with a sober plan for mitigation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) or to account for shortcomings in the response thus far, Trump and his advisors defaulted to their xenophobic instincts and added to a discriminatory national legacy. “To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” he said, without indicating whether or not that period could be extended. “The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight,” he added before discussing measures aimed at financial relief. For this familiar bit of xenophobia he turned to his white-nationalist-in-residence: Steven Miller, the anti-immigration absolutist who helped create Trump’s efforts to ban visiting Muslims and collaborated with Jared Kushner to shape the president’s address. It was then unsurprising to see Trump refer suddenly to the United States having “the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” (emphasis mine), and to speak with denigration about China and the European Union, sectors of the world that have been suffering even worse than the United States. Perhaps we should stop saying that we have an incumbent president, because the job appears vacant. Instead what we have are a bunch of fearmongers, desperate to use their brand of nationalism to hold onto power. read the complete article


13 Mar 2020

Delhi Police Remains Tight-Lipped About Anti-Muslim Bias, Detention Allegations

The Delhi police has so far arrested over 170 people in connection with the 700-odd First Information Reports it has registered for the communal violence which rocked the city over three days beginning February 24. Allegations however have been made that young men have been randomly picked up, most of them Muslim. A senior officer told The Wire there was “no discrimination” and cited the fact that among the arrested are “82 Hindus.” Now that the police has registered more 700 FIRs and has started detaining and arresting people, locals have begun alleging that innocent youth are being picked up. In many cases, family members have said that they do not know where their sons are being taken. Talking to The Wire, Mohammad Shakir, a resident of Chaman Park in Mustafabad, who was part of a delegation to meet police officers, said, “From our area, around 25-30 youth have been picked up and we do not know where they are.” read the complete article

13 Mar 2020

Break in India: How Muslims’ Businesses Built Over Years Were Destroyed in a Day

After Hindu-Muslim violence spread in north-east Delhi on February 24, a group of young men from this village launched an unprovoked attack of a kind not witnessed here in living memory. Benaqab, or without masks – in more ways than one – they entered the modest Mubarak Masjid just as the evening prayer was to start and beat up the elderly muezzin, Mehboob Hasan, and others with wooden sticks and rods. After calling the police to no avail, the village’s vastly outnumbered Muslims had no choice but to scoop up their families and flee, leaving their homes and businesses unprotected. The few who stayed on the next day had to make an even more terrified exit, with gangs of youth banging on their doors and threatening them. More than two weeks later, most of these people, included the muezzin who is recovering from a head injury, do not spend the night in the village. Forty-year-old Younus, who has no surname, was at his fabrication unit, which makes stalls for exhibitions, on the evening of February 24. It was abuzz with activity because a fleet of trucks was shortly to leave with stalls for a medical fair in Mumbai. But when he heard the mosque had been attacked, the father of three, who lives in the properly urban Vijay Park, locked up and left. He did not want to risk his own life or those of his workers. The next night, his unit was set on fire. The flames burnt so intensely that an adjoining Hindu owned unit seems to have been singed by them. On February 29, when it became safer to return, it was all over. As we walk, he itemises: 600 8×4 boards, 300 partitions, 1,000 concealed lights…an estimated Rs 30-32 lakh of stock and investment reduced to cinders. “Hamein sadak par khara kar diya hai (They have left us on the road),” says the Class 12-educated man who apprenticed at Rs 10,000 a month to learn his skills and managed, over 15 years, to build a business with a Rs 2-crore turnover. Tragically, he did not get around to insuring it. read the complete article


13 Mar 2020

Australian lawyers call on Facebook to crackdown on anti-Muslim comments

A team of Australian lawyers are calling on Facebook to urgently fix their moderation policy after they found dozens of violent anti-Muslim comments were not removed. The findings of the investigation by lawyers from the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network and Sydney-based firm Birchgrove Legal were detailed in a letter sent to Facebook on Wednesday, days before the world marks one year since the Christchurch mosque attacks. Rita Jabri-Markwell, a lawyer with the advocacy network, told SBS News that the group reported 71 comments posted on pages of known alt-right groups containing broad anti-Muslim statements but only 14 were removed. Of the remaining comments, 45 were deemed to comply with Facebook’s community standards and another 14 received no response, she said. One comment described Muslims as “parasites” and called for them to be “culled” received no response from Facebook when reported. Other comments using similar language had been removed. Another comment that invoked the need for a second “final solution”, a term referring to the mass murder of Jewish people during the Holocaust, was found not to contravene Facebook’s community standards. “We feel that there’s a gap and we want to work with them [Facebook], because this stuff can’t be in the mainstream, it can’t be normal,” Ms Jabri-Markwell said. read the complete article

13 Mar 2020

Mosque Security in the Age of the Rising Far-Right

A year on from the Christchurch massacre at Al Noor and Linwood mosques in New Zealand, concerns surrounding mosque security have heightened. In Australia, government grants have been issued to secure religious places of worship and security measures are beginning to be applied. The council initially approved plans for the mosque in 2014, and soon after appeals were lodged against the construction. The far-right United Patriots Front were among those protesting, while others were arrested in a series of clashes. The protests quickly turned what Neelam thought would be a small local government bureaucratic process into what she describes as a scene of “ugliness”. “There were some fringe elements that will always be present who won't be happy with change. I think that's the case here that people didn't react well to their perceived change, and a lot of them fear the unknown,” Neelam told The Feed. “They didn't know what they were dealing with, and what would happen. There was a lot of media hype at the time surrounding world events, and what ISIS had been up to. I think it kind of created the perfect storm. “So, fear of the unknown, there was a bad Islamic vibe and all of that combined with now Muslims are building a mosque in Bendigo -- it was almost too much.” After last year's terror attack on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, the Federal government announced new security grants for religious places of worship and schools. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the time, "This must be the first freedom we secure, to practice their faith in safety, other (freedoms) should follow." This year, ASIO signalled in its annual threat assessment report that “the extreme right wing threat is real and it is growing.” read the complete article

United Kingdom

13 Mar 2020

Teenager charged with encouraging far-right terror attacks and making indecent images of children

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with a total of 14 terror offences and two counts of making an indecent photograph of a child. He was arrested in south-west London in June and charged on Wednesday following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s counter terrorism command. The boy was charged with the indirect encouragement to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, disseminating a terrorist publication and 12 counts of possessing a document containing information useful for terror attacks. The charge was announced days after official statistics showed the number of white terror suspects being arrested in Britain has outstripped those of Asian appearance for the second year in a row. Official figures showed that that 117 white people were arrested on suspicion of terror offences in 2019, compared with 111 Asian suspects and 21 black suspects. read the complete article


13 Mar 2020

Analysis: France’s never-ending battle with Islam

With his declaration of war against so-called ‘Islamist separatism’ in February, French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to usher in a new phase in his country’s relationship with its Muslim communities. Since the September 11th attacks, invocations by Western politicians against extremist groups claiming to act in the name of Islam have been commonplace but many policies introduced by European states seem instead to target normative Islamic practices. France, in this example, is among several countries in Europe that have banned face veils worn by some Muslim women. It has also prohibited the wearing of the more common headscarf in public institutions. Such policies targeting symbols revered by Muslims were justified by the claim that officials were integrating Muslim communities into wider society by forcing them to drop visible symbols of their difference or the claim they were ensuring the equal treatment of women. Despite the implementation of these measures, French politicians of past and present, have gone to great lengths to assure the communities they were targeting that it was not their religion or ‘Muslimness’ itself that was problematic. It is both contemporary examples and the history of French interaction with Muslim populations during the colonial era that belie this claim and leave it subject to debate. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Mar 2020 Edition


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