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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05 Mar 2020

Today in Islamophobia: A suspect is arrested for making a threat against Christchurch mosque on the eve of its terror attack anniversary, even as churches come under attack in India. A new UN report says countering extremism programs are violating human rights and breaking the “fragile trust between communities and public services.” Our recommended read today is by Bridge Senior Research Fellow Mobashra Tazamal on 9/11, and how it spawned an “anti-Muslim playbook” currently being weaponized in India and China. This, and more, below:


05 Mar 2020

How 9/11 spawned an anti-Muslim playbook being weaponised in India and China | Recommended Read

Today, the language of defining Muslims as "extremists," with an ideological predisposition to terrorism is used by the authorities of the two most populous countries in the world: India and China. The dangers of this cannot be underscored enough. Words such as "radical," "extremist," "terrorist," "jihadi" are all part of the counter-terror lexicon, a branch of politicised security that was brought to the forefront following 9/11. The discourse has almost exclusively been applied to Islam and Muslims, leading to the publically held belief that Islam and Muslims are uniquely tied to terrorism. This rhetoric is often employed by state authorities to delegitimise politically active Muslims, in turn, marking them as a threat. In China's case, the authorities aim to depict the Uighur Muslims' struggle against a colonising power and decades of disenfranchisement as an "extremist" activity. In India, Modi passed discriminatory legislation in the quest to create a Hindu nation. In condemning - as it should - the actions of Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi, the United States and its western counterparts will have to do some serious self-reflection. It would mean the West facing up to the fact that it provided the ammunition - in the form of words and narratives - to leaders around the world who use it to justify state violence against Muslims worldwide. read the complete article

Recommended Read
05 Mar 2020

Bombardier investigating reported links to Uyghur forced labour in China

Bombardier Inc. says it is concerned about a new report that links it and other companies to the evident forced labour of Muslim minorities in China. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute says factories that claim to supply products to at least 83 global brands – from Apple to Zara, Nike and Samsung – exploited more than 80,000 Uyghur Muslims who were transferred out of their home province “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour” between 2017 and 2019. Bombardier says it contacted KTK after the report came out this week to confirm the manufacturer is adhering to the Bombardier code of ethics it signed, and is awaiting confirmation. read the complete article

05 Mar 2020

Albany becomes third city to condemn India’s citizenship laws

As anti-Muslim violence continues unabated in India, the city of Albany, New York, has become the third U.S. city to pass a resolution denouncing the far-right Indian government’s changes to citizenship laws that have drawn international condemnations alleging anti-Muslim bias. Introduced by Councilman Alfredo Balarin, the resolution passed unanimously Monday (March 2) in the City of Albany Common Council and was signed by Mayor Kathy Sheehan the following day. “A good friend tells a friend when they’re acting badly,” Balarin said. “India has been a longtime friend to the United States, but it’s important that we tell them publicly when they’re acting against the values we stand for as a nation. What’s happening in India is not acceptable, and we can’t turn a blind eye.” read the complete article

05 Mar 2020

A new report shows freedom is declining in established democracies — including ours

The “Freedom in the World 2020” survey, released Wednesday by Freedom House, reports that 2019 saw the 14th year in a row of political deterioration, with 64 countries experiencing a loss of liberties, while only 37 experienced improvements. Some of the worst repression is occurring in China as a result of what the report rightly describes as “the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing campaign of cultural annihilation in Xinjiang.” But you expect repression from a communist regime. What is truly disheartening is to read that during the past year, “25 of the world’s 41 established democracies experienced net losses” of freedom. The worst offender is the world’s largest democracy, India. The recent anti-Muslim pogroms in New Delhi — which killed 46 people and were carried out with the connivance of senior police officers — are sadly indicative of the country’s illiberal direction under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). There is a real danger that countries such as India, the United States and Israel may now be going down the same road that Hungary and Poland have already traveled. read the complete article

United Kingdom

05 Mar 2020

Counter-terrorism programmes are violating human rights, UN expert says

A report submitted to the Human Rights Council on Wednesday said religious groups, minorities and civil society actors in particular have been victims of rights violations and targeting under the guise of countering "extremism." Special rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aolain said any programme that relies on teachers, social workers and health-care staff to report signs of radicalisation should be scrapped. "The negative impact cannot be overstated," her report read. Such measures break the "fragile trust" between communities and public services. The report also found that many counter-extremism practices result in "overselection and overreporting" on discriminatory grounds. read the complete article

New Zealand

05 Mar 2020

New Zealand Suspect Arrested After 'Abhorrent' Threat made against Christchurch Mosque of Terror attack Anniversary

A 19-year-old man in New Zealand has been arrested in connection with an online threat made against a mosque in Christchurch which was the scene of a terror attack last March. Canterbury Police said the suspect was arrested after they conducted a search warrant at an address in Christchurch in connection with the threat made against the Al-Noor mosque on March 1. The threat, which was posted on encrypted messaging service Telegram, showed a man wearing a balaclava with a human skull printed on it, sitting in a car outside the mosque. The image was accompanied by a message written in Russian and English warning that a group of worshipers seen going into the mosque will be greeting each other for "the last time," along with a gun emoji. read the complete article

05 Mar 2020

Togetherness Tour is teaching people about Islam one year on from Christchurch mosque attacks

Voice of Islam's Togetherness Tour Kotahitanga is a response to the Christchurch mosque attacks of March 15, 2019, when a lone gunman killed 51 people. Hosted at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki's Te Piere o Te Rangi Building, a mini exhibition titled What is Islam will run from 5pm to 9pm, as well as public guest lectures from 6pm to 8pm, which aim to create a better understanding of Islam in the community. The guest speakers are Fahad Tasleem, founder of spiritually empowering institute DC Seminary, One Ummah ambassador Tim Chambers, and Volunteer Sierra Leone worker John Fontain. The tour is traveling throughout the country before finishing in Christchurch on March 15. read the complete article


05 Mar 2020

Why Churches Are Now Under Attack in Modi's India

The country’s Hindu right — led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organization with several arms, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP — has for decades viewed Christianity and Islam as alien religions. But Modi’s tenure since 2014 has seen the Hindu right largely target Muslims, with the government keen to avoid alienating the West. Now, as the BJP prepares for a political test pivotal to expanding its base, mounting attacks on Christians are sparking worries that the RSS might be replacing the coyness of the past six years with a newfound aggression against the religion’s followers. The RSS now holds 2,650 daily and weekly meetups — called shakhas — across the state, up from 2,000 in 2017, according to the organization. That increased footprint has coincided with a sharp rise in attacks against the Christian community, from 17 in 2017 and 2018 combined, to 26 in 2019 alone, according to Persecution Relief, a Christian nonprofit. read the complete article

05 Mar 2020

‘I coloured my sword red’: Meet Delhi rioters who say they killed Muslims

On the morning of February 25, Kumar said he stepped out around 8 am. He was armed with an iron rod. He tied a kitchen knife to one end of the rod to make up for the absence of a gun. At around 10 am, Kumar said he got his first hit. “The Mohammadan was running,” he recalled. “The Hindu public was chasing him. I was leading the pack.” “I was the first to catch up with him, and hit him with my rod on his head,” he continued, his voice turning shriller and his hands mimicking the strike. “Then he fell down, and the public pounced on him after that…de dhana dhan dhan.” Kumar said he killed two more people in a similar fashion – striking Muslim men running away from Hindu mobs in the back with his improvised weapon. “I had to kill three. I did that.” When asked if there were policemen around when he was chasing down Muslim men and hacking them, Kumar said there were none. “There was no one,” he said. “No one came even after we killed them and threw their bodies.” Reassured by the fact that I was a Hindu – visible in religious markers like the thread around my wrist – they openly spoke of taking part in violent attacks against Muslims in tandem with security forces. After cutting off the electricity, the driver said the Hindu men went on a killing spree. “Saalon ki ginti kam kar di – humaare dil me tassalli hai humnein joh haath se karaa,” he said. “We reduced their numbers – there is great satisfaction about what we did with our hands.” The driver, however, refused to share how many people he killed that night. The bodies, he claimed, were dumped in a sewage canal that runs through the area. The willingness of Hindu men to talk in graphic detail about inflicting violence on Muslims, sociologist Sanjay Srivastava said, was the result of a “new context” in India “where you don’t have to keep these things to yourself and you can say it in public and be praised for it in your social circle”. read the complete article

05 Mar 2020

The Daily Fix: In Delhi, majoritarian bias extends to identifying victims and perpetrators of riots

The prejudice did not restrict itself to outright violence. Even after the riots, the messaging in the media as well as by the administrative machinery maintained a strong majoritarian bias. Although much of the violence occurred against Muslims, there is little focus on that facet of the riot. Instead, there is an inordinate emphasis on Muslims accused of violence. Much of the mass media focus on the tragedy of the violence has elided its Muslim victims. Here too there is a majoritarian bias with the media focusing on the murder of Ankit Sharma, an employee of the Union government’s internal intelligence agency, the Intelligence Bureau. Sharma’s family was awarded a compensation of Rs 1 crore by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi while every other mortality victim’s family would get only a tenth of that amount. Experts and observers have commented on the fact that India’s Muslims are in grave danger given the level of far-right radicalisation that exists in Indian society at the moment. That majoritarian bias played out not only in the actual rioting but also in the narratives of victim and perpetrator that followed the violence illustrates how dire the situation is right now. read the complete article

United States

05 Mar 2020

The legacy of Michael Bloomberg's Muslim surveillance programme

Bloomberg was mayor of New York City between 2002-2013, during which he presided over the much-maligned stop-and-frisk policy - which targeted African Americans and Latinos - and the surveillance of Muslims. Like Dandia, hundreds of thousands of Muslims from New York and New Jersey are still coming to terms with Bloomberg's discriminatory practises that left a legacy of distrust between communities and contempt for the police. Bloomberg's short-lived run for the White House has left those impacted by his policies troubled, wondering how he could have even been considered as a Democratic presidential nominee. Ayisha Irfan, a New Yorker who studied at Brooklyn College in the mid-2000s, remembers being told as an 18-year-old to "watch what you say and who you trust because there are police informants at the university". The fear of being watched meant that Muslim youth were forced to avoid congregating, participating in social or civic life, and inevitably, avoiding each other. While Bloomberg has apologised for the stop and frisk policy that targeted mostly black and brown people, he has since doubled down on the surveillance programme, arguing "that it was just after 9/11 and everyone was petrified of another terrorist attack". read the complete article


05 Mar 2020

Myanmar violence: Thousands displaced by fresh fighting

Government soldiers are in Rakhine state again, more than two-and-a-half years after a military offensive killed thousands of Rohingya and drove out more than 700,000 others. This time, they are fighting the Arakan Army, an armed group founded in 2009 that says it is fighting for the rights of the ethnic, mainly Buddhist, Rakhine minority. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that conditions on the ground and an internet shutdown has made reaching people or gathering information increasingly difficult. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 05 Mar 2020 Edition


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