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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25 Mar 2020

Today in Islamophobia: In India, the Saheen Bagh anti-CAA sit-ins are removed amidst a nationwide lockdown. In the U.S, hate groups push anti-China coronavirus rhetoric. Our recommended read today is by Bridge Senior Research Fellow Farid Hafez on anti-Muslim talk during the COVID-19 pandemic. This, and more, below:


25 Mar 2020

Anti-Muslim Talk in the Era of Coronavirus | Recommended Read

Given this global crisis, it is stunning to see on one side, how hegemonic forms of racism seem to unconsciously inform the narrative of the coronavirus and on the other side, how anti-Muslim authors are continuing to mobilize against Muslims with the help of the debate on the coronavirus. Already in the first few days, numerous media outlets around the world, from the New York Times to national newspapers in the Netherlands, the UK or Austria showed Muslims or mosques as the main image for covering the coronavirus pandemic. It was understandable that many Muslims around the world, especially those living in Europe, started mocking the media. Europe’s Muslims, who are often seen as the other, not-so-European or even anti-Western, are suddenly becoming the main symbol of a pandemic, once it hits Europe. The image of Islam is clearly connected with the worst imaginations of disease and threat. read the complete article

Recommended Read

United States

25 Mar 2020

Muslim Teens Love Surveillance Memes That Give Them a Subversive Way to Cope

Both inside and outside of the digital world, Muslim youth are under constant surveillance. The omnipresence of the government's eye can be literal federal agents posted on residential blocks or the quieter work of algorithm programs to surveil social media. Through task forces like Countering Violent Extremism, the Department of Homeland Security spent $10 million on watching Muslims in 2017. For many, the feeling of being watched takes a significant toll, and the lack of transparency inherent in government surveillance can leave people feeling powerless. To combat the everyday impacts of surveillance, Muslim youth have turned to one specific outlet: memes. It’s not hard to find these memes if you follow the right accounts on Muslim Twitter, especially Black Muslim Twitter. Or you can hit the jackpot by joining Facebook groups like Halal Memes for Jannah Minded Teens (HMJMT) – “Jannah” refers to paradise within Islam – which calls itself the home of the “dankest memes in the deen” and boasts over 161,000 members. Within this world, Muslim youth have cultivated a specific subsection that I call “surveillance memes,” using the internet’s favorite punchy, comedic format to rip on everything from specific programs (like Countering Violent Extremism, a popular target) to laughing at the apparent twist of a Black Muslim airport agent scanning a white woman. read the complete article

25 Mar 2020

Hate Group Leaders, Antigovernment Extremists Push Anti-China Coronavirus Rhetoric

A litany of conservative groups and figures, including members of hate and antigovernment extremist groups, have signed a March 17 letter to President Trump asking him to investigate China for its alleged role in spreading the novel coronavirus and hiding its origins. The letter also plays into the xenophobic narratives that have been swirling around the global public health crisis as countries try to cope with the spread of the virus. The letter urges the Trump administration to investigate the Chinese government’s supposed mishandling of the virus. It contains the signatures of members of anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ hate groups, as well as those involved in antigovernment groups. One of the signatories is anti-Muslim hate group leader Brigitte Gabriel, who heads ACT for America, the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the United States. ACT operates a network of chapters throughout the country. In 2019, the SPLC designated 39 chapters, including the national organization, as hate groups, as documented in the latest Year in Hate report. The anti-Chinese fearmongering has spanned multiple ideologies across the radical right, as evidenced by the Media Research Center’s letter. read the complete article


25 Mar 2020

The destruction of India’s judicial independence is almost complete

Teltumbde’s work against the caste system in India and his fight against majoritarian politics made him a target of right-wing leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Teltumbde has been on the forefront of condemning the communal politics unleashed by Modi and has compared him to Hitler. He also rightly accused Modi of being complicit in the anti-Muslim carnage of 2002 that left more than 1,000 people dead in the state of Gujarat, when Modi was chief minister. Teltumbde’s unfair treatment by our judiciary underscores the loss of independence by India’s institutions. The refusal by the Supreme Court to grant him bail came soon before a former chief justice, Ranjan Gogoi, joined Parliament after being nominated by Modi government. Gogoi delivered some of the most crucial rulings in recent times that helped enable the Modi administration’s majoritarian agenda. His appointment, just four months after his retirement (and after he was accused of sexual harassment), has raised big questions about justice in the era of hypernationalism that Modi has come to represent. In November, Gogoi delivered a big victory to Modi when he ruled on the Babri Masjid, an important mosque for Indian Muslims demolished in 1992 by right-wing Hindu nationalists. The court ended up awarding the land to a Hindu litigant. It was a judgment by Gogoi that also cleared the Modi government in allegations of corruption in a defense deal involving the purchase of Rafale fighter jets. The administration was accused of bypassing procedures and compromising national security to clear an arms deal that benefited an Indian billionaire. Now Gogoi has been rewarded with a place in the Indian Parliament, putting a spotlight on the unholy nexus between political power and the Indian judiciary. read the complete article

25 Mar 2020

Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA sit-in removed amid coronavirus lockdown

Police in India's capital has broken up the longest-running protest against a new citizenship law, citing a ban on public gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of police in riot gear surrounded the protesters early on Tuesday and told them to leave, said Delhi's joint police commissioner, DC Srivastava. "It is a dangerous environment, with this coronavirus, we urged them to leave," he told reporters. Some demonstrators resisted the police, and at least nine people had been detained, six of them women, Srivastava said, adding there was no violence. read the complete article


25 Mar 2020

Uyghur Singer Rashida Dawut Sentenced to Prison Term by Xinjiang Authorities

Rashida Dawut, a long-time member of the Xinjiang Muqam Troupe in the XUAR capital Urumqi who produced popular solo albums in the 1990s, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for “separatism” by the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court in late 2019, a source claiming to have close knowledge of the situation recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said that a number of people involved in the arts and literature in the XUAR had been informed of Dawut’s imprisonment, and several of them confirmed to RFA that she was sentenced, although they were unable to say for how long. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 25 Mar 2020 Edition


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