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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23 Mar 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In India, “memories of Akbar’s rule recall a period of relative intercommunal calm in India, and for some Indians a model of religious pluralism and tolerance,” meanwhile in Australia, Islamophobia Register Australia’s flagship research report finds that 78% of victims of Islamophobia were women, while the majority of perpetrators were men (70%), and in Canada, Muslims are welcoming the holy month of Ramadan in an environment where they face increasing discrimination, hate crimes, and harassment. Our recommended read of the day is by Rowaida Abdelaziz for Huffington Post on a new bill introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar, which condemns the rise of Islamophobia around the world.

United States

On The First Day Of Ramadan, Ilhan Omar Introduces Bill To Condemn Anti-Muslim Hate | Recommended Read

Rep. Ilhan Omar is introducing a resolution on Thursday commemorating the anniversary of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 51 Muslims were killed in 2019, and condemning the rise of Islamophobia around the world. The bill, first seen by HuffPost, will be introduced on the first day of Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims across the globe fast from dawn to sundown. “As we begin the holy month of Ramadan, we must reaffirm that all people of faith should have the right to worship without fear,” Omar told HuffPost in an emailed statement, noting that anti-Muslim hate crimes are at an all-time high. “The attack in Christchurch, motivated by an extremist ideology of white supremacy, anti-Muslim hate, and the so-called replacement theory resonates deeply for Muslims in nearly every corner of the globe,” Omar’s statement read. In 2021, Omar and fellow Rep. Jan Schakowsky introduced a resolution calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia. The bill, titled the Combating International Islamophobia Act, passed the House that following December but stalled in the Senate. Last week, the United Nations celebrated its first International Day To Combat Islamophobia. “We also know that this increase in hate is not isolated to only Muslims. Church bombings, synagogue attacks, and racial hate crimes are also on the rise. In order to confront the evils of religious bigotry and hatred, we must come to understand that all our destinies are linked,” said Omar. read the complete article

U.S. House panel on China to highlight abuse of Uyghurs in second hearing

A new U.S. congressional committee on China will hold its second hearing on Thursday, seeking to highlight what Washington says is an ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China's Xinjiang region. Rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses, including forced labor, mass surveillance and the placement of 1 million or more Uyghurs - a mainly Muslim ethnic group - in a network of internment camps in Xinjiang. The hearing, set for 7 p.m. EDT on Thursday, is the latest in a series of events planned for the next two years while Republicans control the House to convince Americans that they should care about competing with China, and to "selectively decouple" the countries' economies. The House panel will hear from Gulbahar Haitiwaji, a Uyghur woman who survived what she has described as years in "re-education" camps and under house arrest, as well as Qelbinur Sidik, an ethnic Uzbek assigned by Chinese authorities as a teacher in one such camp. Both women managed to get to Europe where they now reside. read the complete article

Bush, 9/11, and the Roots of the Iraq War

Twenty years ago this month, President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, the most important foreign policy decision of his eight years in office and, arguably, the most significant since the end of the Cold War. The U.S.-led invasion—and the insurgency, counterinsurgency, and sectarian strife that followed—led to the deaths of over 200,000 Iraqis and the displacement of at least nine million. More than 9,000 U.S. soldiers and contractors sacrificed their lives in the war and it cost U.S. taxpayers over $2 trillion. The invasion besmirched the United States’ reputation, fueled a sense of grievance among Muslims, complicated the "global war on terror,” divided the American people, and sundered trust in government. A newly declassified 31-page memorandum—released in November 2022 by the National Archives after years of administrative hurdles and legal adjudication—helps explain why the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq and why it went so badly. On April 29, 2004, members of the 9/11 Commission met with Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in the Oval Office for almost three hours. Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the commission, took notes, which constitute the nonverbatim record of the conversation. The purpose of the interview, like those with many other high-level officials, was to gather information about the attack on September 11, 2001, and to extrapolate lessons to prevent another such tragedy in the future. read the complete article


Ukraine war exposed negative attitude of Europeans towards Muslim refugees: Report

The year 2022, overshadowed by Russia's war on Ukraine, overlooked domestic issues including Islamophobia in some countries. It also exposed the "stereotypical perspective" of Europeans with regards to refugees, said a new report on Islamophobia in Europe. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has uncovered the stereotypical perspective of many Europeans vis-à-vis different kinds of refugees, welcoming white, Christian (female) Ukrainians as opposed to the often-violent resistance and rejection of Muslim refugees,” said the European Islamophobia Report 2022, released Tuesday on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Enes Bayrakli, a co-editor of the report, who is also a professor at the Turkish-German University, said anti-Muslim statements in national media, racism in laws and policies were discussed in the publication, which covers 23 countries. Speaker Kawtar Najib said 2022 in France was particularly Islamophobic in the political and media sphere, notably during the presidential election. “Islamophobia is very present in politics and even embedded in laws. So, instead of having laws that protect religious and ethnic minorities, we have many discriminatory laws,” he said. read the complete article


India's top court to hear plea against release of 11 Hindu men who raped Muslim woman

India’s top court has agreed to set up a special bench to hear a plea against the remission and release of 11 men convicted of gang-raping a Muslim woman and killing her family during deadly sectarian riots in 2002. Bilkis Bano was sexually assaulted and 14 of her family members were killed by a Hindu mob in western Gujarat state in March 2002. The 11 men were released on remission by India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government in August last year, after one of them pleaded for early release following 15 years in prison from 2008. Ms Bano had unsuccessfully challenged the remission and release of the men, followed by another petition seeking a review of the court order over a plea by one of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah, who approached the Supreme Court in May last year for remission. Chief Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala assured Ms Bano’s lawyer Shibha Gupta that a new bench will be formed for an urgent hearing. read the complete article

Akbar the Great: How the Mughal emperor set an example for religious tolerance in India

In a famous anecdote, the Mughal Emperor Akbar holds court with representatives of the major religions, who each take turns to make the case for their faith being the correct one. With their arguments exhausted, the Indian ruler took time to consider what he has heard and make his judgement. But his announcement shocked those present. “The God of everyone is the same,” he said, repeating the chant of a fakir outside the palace gates instead of the men of religion present within the palace. While the story is likely exaggerated, it summarises the popular modern recollection of a ruler whose realm stretched from Afghanistan to the Deccan Plateau of the Indian subcontinent. While many Hindu nationalists will disagree, memories of Akbar's rule recall a period of relative intercommunal calm in India, and for some Indians a model of religious pluralism and tolerance. Formally named Abul Fath Jalal-ud-din Akbar, Akbar the Great was the third emperor of the Mughal Empire. read the complete article

United Kingdom

UK police question suspect after elderly Muslim set alight

A man suspected of attempted murder is being questioned in the English midlands after an elderly Muslim was attacked while walking home from his local mosque, just weeks after a similar assault in London. Video of the incident, which took place on Monday evening in the city of Birmingham, was shared widely on social media. In the clip, a younger man is seen arguing with the elderly victim, who is in his 70s, on Shenstone Road. Later, the victim’s jacket is set alight and he is heard screaming in pain. The assault near Dudley Road mosque has shaken Britain’s Muslim minority, which is preparing to observe the holy month of Ramadan. Zarah Sultana, an MP with the opposition Labour Party, said she was “horrified”. Amir Khan, a doctor and author, tweeted: “This makes me feel sick, an elderly man set on fire as he walked home from his place of worship … I’m lost for words.” Counterterrorism police are understood to be involved in investigations amid fears of a worrying pattern of crime. read the complete article


Reflecting on the rise of Islamophobia as Ramadan begins

As Ramadan begins, Muslims around the world prepare to fast from dawn to dusk for the next month. But for many Muslims, this time of spiritual reflection is scarred by the rising tide of Islamophobia. In recent years, Muslims have faced increasing discrimination, hate crimes, and harassment. The effects of Islamophobia can be damaging not just to the individual, but to entire communities. It can lead to feelings of isolation, fear, and even self-doubt among Muslims. Associate professor with McMaster University, Dr. Ameil Joseph, says Hamilton was one of the worst cities in the country when it comes to hate crimes. According to Statistics Canada, hate motivated crimes targeting religion jumped 67 per cent in 2021, with Jewish and Muslim populations being the most commonly targeted for religious based hate crimes. read the complete article


Women Bear The Brunt Of Islamophobia In Australia

Imagine feeling unsafe in your own neighbourhood as strangers film you walking down the street. Or being ridiculed for eating halal food, or being sent death threats because you wear a hijab. These are the daily realities for many Muslim women, as a new study unveils the gendered nature of Islamophobia in Australia. The Islamophobia Register Australia’s flagship research report released this week has revealed that 78% of victims of Islamophobia were women, while the majority of perpetrators were men (70%). During this period, verbal intimidation was the most common form of abuse (45%), followed by graffiti and vandalism (12%), and discrimination by authorities in official buildings, workplaces and schools (10%). The report indicated that women and children continue to bear the brunt of the abuse, with misogynist foul language and comments hurled towards hijabi women "for submitting to a so-called misogynist religious dogma". Two in ten children and three in ten vulnerable victims (other than children) were exposed to a physical attack, while half the female victims were alone and one in five women were with children. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Mar 2023 Edition


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