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.

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04 Mar 2020

Today in Islamophobia: India’s Muslims accuse the police of targetep killings, as gruesome stories emerge of riots that left at least 46 dead in Delhi. The BJP government defends its anti-Muslim policies as an “internal matter” as the UN Chief seeks to challenge the legislation in the country’s highest court. Our recommended read today is on Police complicity in anti-Muslim violence on Delhi by Hartosh Singh. This, and more, below:


04 Mar 2020

Why Delhi Police Did Nothing to Stop Attacks on Muslims | Recommended Read

The violence, which lasted over three days and nights and was mostly directed at Muslims in northeastern areas of Delhi, was not surprising. Over the past six years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his colleagues in the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, their armies of social media trolls and a vast majority of India’s television networks have consistently been building an atmosphere of hatred, suspicion and violence toward India’s Muslim minority. On Feb. 23, Kapil Mishra, a leader of the B.J.P., incited mobs in northeast Delhi to remove a group of Muslim women who were holding a sit-in and blocking a road to protest the citizenship law. Violence erupted soon after. When Mr. Mishra gave the speech that lit the fire, Ved Prakash, the deputy commissioner of police for northeast Delhi, stood beside him and did not intervene. The next day, as the mobs swung into action, Mr. Prakash and other police officers were shaking hands with a Hindu mob, which shouted slogans celebrating the Delhi police and its support. Top police officers casually expressed their support of the Hindu mobs and their fear of Muslims. “Jai Shree Ram,” the old devotional chant praising the Hindu deity Ram, has been adopted as a war cry by the Hindu nationalist mobs in the past three decades. This partisan behavior of the Delhi police is not simply a question of the police reflecting the biases of the population they are recruited from. It is an active compliance with the kind of conduct they believe will be rewarded by Mr. Modi’s government and the ruling party. read the complete article

Recommended Read
04 Mar 2020

The Delhi pogroms and the case of the disposable Indian Muslim

Hemani Bhandari, a journalist from The Hindu who covered the violence at the beginning of the week, said on Friday that one man belonging to a Hindu mob told her: “If they [Muslims] want to stay in Delhi, then they have to go live the way we do,” in reference to the sentiment that first the protests need to end, and second, Muslims will need to submit if they didn’t want to perish. Though the madness of the past week has all the hallmarks of a state-sponsored pogrom against Muslims, the audacity to pull it off didn’t come without the consent of the larger Indian public. This is not a country that has ever allowed critical Muslims to show open dissent to their condition. The only voices that have ever been allowed are those who are insufferably loyal, nationalistic toward the state. If any Muslim has succeeded in politics, sports, arts and culture, it is only after he has proven his credentials as a loyal, jingoistic supporter of the state. Indian Muslims carry the eternal burden of distinguishing themselves from "bad Muslims", "traitors" and "invaders" that the state has projected on to the community. This has meant endless discrimination when it comes to accessing housing, jobs or opportunities. After the September 11 attacks, India borrowed the terrorism lexicon to quell any semblance of Muslim critical thought. read the complete article

04 Mar 2020

Delhi riots: How Muslims' homes were targeted and burnt

Barely three years ago, Mr Munazir and his brother, a local driver, pooled 2.4m rupees from their savings and bought a house - an unremarkable two-storey building in a narrow lane. Each floor had two small, windowless rooms and a tiny kitchen and bathroom. It was cramped for two families but it was home. They even installed an air-conditioner to keep the families comfortable in Delhi's sultry summers. "It was a nest I finally built for my wife and six children after a lifetime of struggle," says Mr Munazir. "It was the only thing I wanted in life, it was my only dream come true." The dream ended in flames on a bright, sunny Tuesday morning last week. Mr Munazir's house was looted and torched by a mob of masked and helmeted young men, who swept into the mixed neighbourhood. They were armed with staves, hockey sticks, stones and bottles filled with petrol, and were chanting "Jai Shri Ram", or "Victory to Lord Ram", a greeting which has been turned into a murder cry by Hindu lynch mobs in recent years. There are some 200 homes and shops in riot-hit lanes of Khajuri Khas, a fifth of them owned by Muslims. However, it is virtually impossible to tell exactly which of the slim, serried structures that dot the untidy skyline are owned by Muslims, and which by their Hindu neighbours. The buildings even share common walls and continuous rooflines. Yet last week, the mob targeted the Muslim houses and shops with chilling ease. read the complete article

04 Mar 2020

India’s Muslims Accuse Police of Targeted Killings

Around 10 p.m. that night, someone forwarded Asif’s parents a photo of their son that had been circulating on WhatsApp—dead, face upturned, and mouth still open, a gaping red hole in his chest. He had been shot and died on the spot. “The man who brought him to the hospital said he saw a policeman shoot my son,” Asif’s father told Foreign Policy. Aleem Ansari was Asif’s neighbor. When he wasn’t taking care of his elderly parents, Ansari worked in a restaurant baking chapatis in a tandoori oven. As the protests were picking up that day, the restaurant’s owner shut down early and sent Ansari home. On his way there, he was shot in the head. “The bullet pierced his skull and came out the other side,” said his brother, Sallauddin. In a video he showed Foreign Policy, a bystander in a black leather jacket holds up Ansari’s hand and says, “The police killed this man, he has just died.” In another clip seen by Foreign Policy, Ansari’s brain is spilled on the pavement. He was just 21 and had recently gotten married. Asif and Ansari were among more than 20 Muslims whose families say were killed by mainly Hindu police officers that day in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where Meerut is located. If the accounts of witnesses and civil rights activists are true, then the police in Meerut and other cities of Uttar Pradesh played a crucial role in instigating and escalating the violence, drawing increasing numbers of Indians onto the streets, and setting Muslims and Hindus against each other. Since then, civil rights activists say, police elsewhere have often stood by during violence—or actively sided with Hindus. read the complete article

04 Mar 2020

India defends CAA after UN rights chief approaches Supreme Court

India has defended its controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as an internal issue after the United Nations rights body approached the country's top court challenging the legislation. On Monday, UN Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHRC) Michelle Bachelet informed India that her office has filed an application urging the Supreme Court to make the UN body a third party in a petition filed by a former civil servant against the law. "The CAA is an internal matter of India and concerns the sovereign right of the Indian Parliament to make laws. We strongly believe that no foreign party has any locus standi [rights] on issues pertaining to India's sovereignty," said India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar. read the complete article

04 Mar 2020

‘Delhi riots anti-Muslim, BJP’s Kapil Mishra to blame’ — academics from IITs, JNU, SOAS, UCLA

More than 400 academicians from across the world have condemned in an open letter Tuesday, the rioting and violence that took place last week in Northeast Delhi killing at least 47 people. Calling the communal riots in Delhi an “anti-Muslim pogrom”, the academicians have held BJP leader Kapil Mishra responsible for the violence after he warned people of dire consequences if the protest sites were not cleared. They note that that Mishra issued this ultimatum in the presence of a senior police officer. The signatories of the letter include academicians from universities in India such as JNU, Ambedkar University, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kharagpur and foreign universities such as University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, University College Dublin, SOAS University of London, among others, refer to the rioters as “fanatical right-wing mobs” and “extremist Hindutva rioters”. read the complete article

04 Mar 2020

“You don’t even slaughter animals like that”

It was around 3 pm, and large crowds had gathered on both sides of the street. As Zubair was descending the stairs of the subway, he heard someone at the top of the stairs say it was risky to cross there. “I thought maybe there were some attackers lying in wait there, so I climbed back to the street,” he said. “The person who told me not to cross the subway was wearing a tilak. They pointed me towards another way, but I could see stone pelting was happening there. Before I realised what was happening, they started chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and a cry went out, ‘Kill this mullah.’”—the term is often used as a slur for Muslims. “I started arguing with one of them, asking, ‘What is my fault? What have I done?’” “Meanwhile, someone else smashed my skull with an iron rod, and a river of blood began to flow from my head,” he told me. “After that, they beat me so badly that I thought I’m not going to survive. I was absolutely sure I was going to die.” Zubair had lost consciousness by this point, and his attackers, perhaps giving him up for dead, moved on. “After a while, I had a vague sense that four people are carrying me to the other side of the road,” he said. “I have a slight memory of them depositing me at the back of an ambulance, and urging someone to take me to the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital.” Bystanders to the attack later told the family that some Muslim boys across the cement divider had noticed him lying prostrate on the street. The boys, who remain unknown to the family, had been resourceful and alert enough to get a local doctor to perform stitches on Zubair’s head to stanch the bleeding, before dropping him at the ambulance. On Friday, Siddiqui gave a talk on his picture at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in New Delhi. Siddiqui told the audience that the attack on Zubair lasted less than ninety seconds. “It would have kept on happening,” he said. “If the Muslims across the street hadn’t pelted stones, Zubair would have died.” According to Siddiqui, even the local resident Hindus tried to stop the attack. From all accounts, it appeared that the perpetrators were most likely outsiders to the area. read the complete article

04 Mar 2020

Delhi violence aftermath: Muslims change their names, avoid Islamic greetings, do away with hijab to stay safe

When the man got out of the train at the Jasola Vihar-Shaheen Bagh station, he took out a skull cap from the pocket of his jeans, which had been neatly folded up, and wore it on his head. Recalling the interaction with the man in the metro train, Rizwi said, "I felt pained to see that. Here was this old man, a practicing Muslim in all probability, who had to remove a part of himself to avoid any trouble. The environment in Delhi has become so hostile towards Muslims, and the recent Delhi riots have scared the community very much.” He also said that the reason for the fear among the Muslim community is also owing to the communalisation of the Shaheen Bagh protests and the threats it has been receiving from radical Hindu organisations. "It has scared not just our elders, but also the youth," he added. But not all Muslims have the privilege of putting away a noticeable part of their religious identity into their pockets. Khansa Fahad, a Jamia student, is a hijab-wearing practicing Muslim. She said, "People like me, who are visibly Muslim, have to either stay home or accept the risk that we face while stepping out." She has been avoiding getting out of her house since the riots broke out in Delhi. Khansa has felt the fear of facing prejudice due to her identity earlier as well. She recalled, "While applying for internships, I was worried that I will get rejected if I put my photo in my resume. Although I had worked with Rohingya refugees, I only mentioned social work with ‘underprivileged people’ in the CV. I'm always afraid of being labelled as an extremist, not just by those from the right wing, but also by the people of my own community." read the complete article


04 Mar 2020

Companies still can’t stop labor abuses at Chinese factories

Members of China’s Uyghur ethnic minority are being used as forced labor in factories far from the so-called reeducation camps that have held them for years in Xinjiang, according to an extensive new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a think-tank founded by Australia’s government. Between 2017 and 2019, ASPI estimates the Chinese government relocated at least 80,000 Uyghurs from Xinjiang in western China to factories across the country where they work “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour.” What’s more, it says the manufacturers using these transported Uyghurs supply at least 83 international companies making everything from footwear to electronics. The list of well-recognized names includes Apple, Nike, Amazon, Samsung, Zara, H&M, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, Uniqlo, and more. read the complete article

04 Mar 2020

Rights Group: Lacoste Gloves Made in Chinese Internment Camp

Gloves made in China for the popular French brand Lacoste appear to have been sewn inside a factory where ethnic minorities face forced ideological and behavioral re-education, according to a U.S.-based labor rights group. Lacoste, known for its iconic little green crocodile logo, says it halted shipments after learning of labor abuse in its supply chain from Washington, D.C.-based labor rights group Worker Rights Consortium. The group alleges that Uigher Muslims and other ethnic minorities are being forced to sew the Lacoste-branded gloves. A Lacoste spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the Chinese factory had been visited by auditors who interviewed workers and didn’t report any concerns. read the complete article

United States

04 Mar 2020

Muslim Voters Are Ready to Flex Their Muscle in Virginia Primary—and Mike Bloomberg Will Be Sorry

Come Tuesday, we may see Muslims tip the balance in Virginia’s tight Democratic primary given the tremendous spike in Muslim Americans becoming active in politics there since 2016. What caused that surge in Muslim activism? Simple. Donald J. Trump. His open demonization of Muslims during the 2016 election didn’t drive Muslims to the shadows. Instead, it drove them to the ballot box—and even on to the ballot. Hebah Kassem, a millennial who is an organizing associate at the Progressive Caucus Action Fund, noted that the increased activism by Muslims has made the community keenly aware that collectively they “have the potential to make a real difference in this election.” That realization has fueled even more Muslim political activism. The numbers back that up. Wa'el Alzayat, the chief executive officer at Emgage, an organization focused on increasing Muslim political engagement, explained in Virginia there are now a record 214,000-plus Muslims registered to vote, with approximately 80 percent living in the densely populated Northern Virginia area near Washington, D.C. Estimates are that Muslims, who have in recent years voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, constitute 11 percent of the total voters in that area. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Mar 2020 Edition


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