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 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In India, police in the state of Bihar have arrested three men in connection with the death of a Muslim man who was attacked because he was suspected of carrying beef products, while at the UN General Assembly, Turkish Ambassador Sedat Onal gave a statement on Friday sharing his country’s concerns about the rising level of anti-Muslim hatred worldwide saying that,  “Islamophobia is a real and a rising threat,”, and in Canada, students at a high-school in Ontario are taking their concerns to the school board after a video surfaces showing a student tearing up pages from a Qur’an. Our recommended read of the day is by Jennifer Rankin for The Guardian on how far-right figures such as Éric Zemmour are praising British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for the passage of a new law that would deny the claim of asylum to anyone coming to the UK illegally, regardless of the situation. This and more below:


Europe’s far right praise UK’s illegal migration bill | Recommended Read

European far-right leaders have praised Rishi Sunak’s illegal immigration bill, after a senior EU official repeated her doubts about the legality of the plans. “Bravo,” wrote the Alternative für Deutschland party on social media. “Way to go! The current [British] government plans now to deny asylum to illegal immigrants and fly them out to Rwanda,” the party wrote on Facebook, saying Germany should follow this approach. “When will we finally have it?” Éric Zemmour, the French far-right commentator, who came fourth in the race to succeed President Emmanuel Macron last year, also praised Sunak’s new policy. “The message is clear,” he wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations to the British prime minister who, unlike Macron’s government, has chosen to protect his people against submersion by migrants,” said Zemmour, a proponent of the “great replacement theory” that Muslim immigrants are replacing native Europeans. Italian far-right leader Matteo Salvini retweeted a tweet by Sunak that had been translated into Italian and set out the government’s messaging on the bill, including the line, “if you arrive illegally in the UK, you can’t claim asylum”. Salvini, who is Italy’s deputy prime minister and heads the far-right League party, described the policy as “harsh, but fair”. read the complete article

Hatred against Muslims 'major threat to democracy’: Türkiye's UN envoy

The Turkish Ambassador to the UN has said that hatred against Muslims has become a "major threat to democracy" and desecration of the copies holy Quran and mosques is "on the rise." Addressing a special event to commemorate International Day to Combat Islamophobia, organised by Pakistan and the UN General Assembly on Friday, Sedat Onal said "Islamophobia is a real and a rising threat." Noting that Muslims increasingly face "systemic practices of denial of freedom of religion, hate crimes and various manifestations of Islamophobia," he said: "It goes hand-in-hand with the rising tide of populism and polarisation that tend to dominate political discourse in many countries." "Islamophobia has now become a major threat to democracy as it feeds racist and xenophobic tendencies," said Onal. read the complete article

Uyghur: Reclaiming Our Story – exhibition looks beyond the oppression

Photographer Sam Biddle engages with members of the Uyghur diaspora who are reclaiming their identity and broadening the public’s perception, from the singular narrative of persecution to include the thousands of years of rich Uyghur history and culture. The exhibition starts on 11 March in Coburg, Victoria. read the complete article

United States

For all of us detained at Guantánamo, making art was a lifeline. Why won’t Joe Biden let us keep our work?

Last month, the Pentagon partially lifted the Trump administration’s ban on the release of artwork made by prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. Prisoners will be able to take “a practicable quantity of their art” if they are transferred out of the prison. It’s unclear what “practicable” means, and whether this ambiguous term means prisoners will only be allowed to take a small portion of the artwork they have created during years of captivity. In Guantánamo, from the very beginning, we made art. We had nothing, so we made art out of nothing. We drew with tea powder on toilet paper. We painted our walls with soap, and carved Styrofoam cups and food containers. We sang, danced, recited poetry and composed songs. We were always punished for making art or singing. Art was our way to heal ourselves, to escape the feeling of being imprisoned and free ourselves, just for a little while. We made the sea, trees, the beautiful blue sky and ships. Our art helped us survive, freed us from years of solitary confinement that corroded our memories and distanced us from who we are, where all we could see was cages, tarps and chains. read the complete article

A year after plea talks began, the 9/11 case is still in limbo, frustrating families

A year ago, there had seemed to be a breakthrough in the biggest unresolved terrorism case in the United States: Settlement talks began for the five men accused in the 9/11 attacks. The goal was for the defendants, including alleged ringleader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to plead guilty and spend up to life in prison. They would avoid a death penalty trial, but the problem-plagued case would finally end. The 9/11 judge backed the effort, canceling all public hearings for the past 12 months so lawyers could focus on negotiating. Yet the talks are in limbo. And that has family members of 9/11 victims — who have been waiting more than two decades for the case to go to trial — in a familiar state of frustration. "I would like this resolved in my lifetime," said Adele Welty, who was 65 years old when her son, a New York City firefighter, responded to a call on Sept. 11, 2001, that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center, and never came home again. Welty is now 86. "I don't see it as a need for revenge," Welty said, "but there needs to be accountability." Settlement negotiations at the U.S. military court in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are at an impasse until the Biden administration addresses several key issues, including where the prisoners would serve their sentences and what health care they would receive for injuries from torture. read the complete article


Indian police arrest three after Muslim man killed for possessing beef

Police in India have arrested three men in eastern Bihar state in connection with the death of a Muslim man who was attacked because he was suspected of carrying beef, a police official said on Saturday. The victim, Naseem Qureshi, 56, died earlier this week after being attacked by a mob on suspicion of carrying beef, the sale and consumption of which is restricted in some parts of the country by local governments. Bihar is currently ruled by a regional party, and Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party sits in the opposition. In the latest incident in the state, the victim was allegedly surrounded by over twenty people and attacked, according to a police statement in court. Police intervened but Qureshi died on the way to the hospital, according to the statement. read the complete article

Opinion: India expelled me for journalism 47 years ago. It's still cracking down

Nearly half a century after the government of India kicked me out of the country for writing a story that struck an exposed nerve, foreign journalists there are under the gun again. And for a similar reason. Last month, authorities from the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered 50 officials to raid the offices of the BBC in New Delhi and Mumbai. They seized documents and records, confiscated journalists' mobile phones and accused the company of tax irregularities. The real reason for the raid, though, was that in January, the British broadcaster had aired a TV documentary charging that in 2002, Modi, a Hindu nationalist who was chief minister at the time, had whipped up a communal riot in his home state of Gujarat. More than a thousand people, mainly Muslims, were slaughtered. "The Modi Question" revealed secret diplomatic cables in which the British government concluded that the Gujarat violence was likely preplanned by Hindu nationalist groups. It went on to say that Modi was "directly responsible" for the "climate of impunity" that enabled the assault. These words were hardly news to Indians. Suspicions and rumors of Modi's involvement in the rioting had circulated widely for years. But, originating in the halls of power of India's former colonial ruler and delivered by the respected BBC, the allegation rattled Modi supporters, many of whom are inordinately sensitive to coverage by the foreign press — British and American, particularly. read the complete article


Student seen ripping pages from Qur'an 'a concerning incident of Islamophobia,' says Ontario school board

Students at a high school east of Oshawa, Ont., are taking their concerns to the school board after a video appearing to show a student tearing up pages from a Qur'an and crumpling them up began to circulate last week. School board officials say they became aware of a "concerning incident of Islamophobia" on March 3 at Courtice Secondary School after a student damaged a Qur'an earlier that day. "While we cannot comment on individual disciplinary actions, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board takes all allegations of discrimination seriously and is taking immediate steps to address this very serious incident," said board chairperson Steve Russell and superintendent of education Jamila Maliha in a statement Thursday. "The [board] will not tolerate acts of hate towards persons or symbols of faith and are resolute in our commitment to the values of equity, diversity, inclusivity and the dignity and humanity of every individual," it added. CBC Toronto received video appearing to show the student's actions but was unable to independently confirm its authenticity. In the video, a boy appeared to open the Qur'an, tearing out pages and crumpling them, then pointing both middle fingers at it. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Mar 2023 Edition


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