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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07 Mar 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said “he has no plans to remove from his caucus three members of Parliament who recently met with a German politician from a far-right party,” meanwhile in India, a local court has granted bail to seven Hindu men accused of murder of a Muslim man during the 2020 northeast Delhi pogrom, and lastly, a UN committee expressed its concern regarding China’s treatment of its Muslim minority, including the use of forced labour against Uyghurs. Our recommended read of the day is by Middle East Eye on a lawsuit filed by the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) “against several officials of the Missouri prison system for allegedly pepper-spraying Muslim inmates while they prayed”. This and more below:

United States

Muslim inmates sue US prison after being pepper-sprayed while praying | Recommended Read

A Muslim American civil rights group has filed a lawsuit against several officials of the Missouri prison system for allegedly pepper-spraying Muslim inmates while they prayed. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the prisoners by the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), accused the state's department of corrections officials of violating the inmates' constitutional rights, including to freely practice their religion. According to the lawsuit filed last Thursday, 28 February 2021, a group of nine Muslim prisoners were praying in a common space when a corrections officer told them to stop. The inmates say they had prayed together without issue three times earlier in the day and had also done so "hundreds of times in the months" prior. In this instance, twenty officers responded to the scene. Two of the inmates stopped praying and stepped away, while another two men also stopped praying but were then put in handcuffs.The five others were doused with pepper spray, some while they were handcuffed, and one prisoner was beaten, according to the lawsuit. read the complete article

Rep. Judy Chu: I am a target of the right’s new McCarthyism

I was born in Los Angeles to Chinese American parents. My father was a World War II veteran, and my mother was an immigrant. I graduated from UCLA, spent my professional career teaching psychology in community colleges and have served in elected office for 37 years — going from the City Council to Congress. And so it might surprise many that my loyalty to the U.S. — and with it my American identity — was recently questioned by Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, on a Fox News show hosted by Jesse Watters. His ugly and false accusations build on the centuries-long stereotype that Chinese Americans and Asian Americans more broadly are forever foreigners in their own land — no matter whether they just arrived, they are naturalized American citizens or they have been here for generations. We would be mistaken if we think, however, that these kinds of attacks will end with us. Before the attacks made it onto Fox News prime time, they were being leveled against us by an extreme, far-right outlet known for spreading disinformation. The outlet’s co-founder, Tucker Carlson, now spends his daily hour on Fox News prime time regularly promoting the racist “great replacement” theory, and he amplified the smears against me last Thursday. Another co-founder, Neil Patel, last week penned a McCarthy-esque editorial also questioning my loyalty and asserting China is “infiltrating” America’s political system. After the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, and during subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Muslim, Middle Eastern, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities were subjected to swift backlash that included government surveillance, xenophobia, civil rights violations and violence. read the complete article


UN committee urges China to dismantle forced labour systems

A U.N. committee said on Monday it was concerned about China's treatment of its Muslim minority, including the use of forced labour against Uyghurs, in a sweeping report that adds pressure on Beijing to improve its human rights record. The findings by the group of U.N.-appointed independent experts follow a series of Geneva hearings last month where rights groups raised a range of topics including Beijing's COVID-19 policies, treatment of human rights defenders and its Muslim minority. Last year, a report by the U.N. human rights chief said China's treatment of Uyghurs, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority that numbers around 10 million in Xinjiang, in the country's far west, may constitute crimes against humanity. read the complete article

The Rohingya fled genocide. Now, violence stalks them as refugees.

Six years after the Myanmar military conducted a genocidal campaign against its Rohingya Muslim minority, a wave of violence is sweeping through the camps in southeast Bangladesh where nearly a million Rohingya have sought refuge. Rohingya militant groups that once targeted the Myanmar military have turned against each other, their disagreements escalating into brutality amid the camp’s isolation and desperation. Abductions and armed robberies have surged. Radical groups have proliferated, imposing a reign of terror after dark. In the warren-like encampment, where families are crowded into thin, tarpaulin shelters jammed along narrow alleyways, every shriek and every gunshot has rippled through the community. Worst of all, refugees say, have been the targeted killings of community leaders and those branded, like Ismail was, as Bangladeshi government informants. The Rohingya, already one of the most persecuted populations in the world, have been left by the agencies charged with protecting them to face violence by themselves — yet again. read the complete article


Delhi pogrom: 7 men accused of killing Muslim man get bail, citing “no serious evidence”

A local court on Monday granted bail to seven Hindu men accused of murder of a Muslim man during the 2020 northeast Delhi pogrom, saying no serious evidence had come up against them despite the examination of prime witnesses. Amir Ali, 31, and his brother Hashim Ali, 16, were killed and their bodies were thrown into the Bhagirathi Vihar drainage by anti-Muslim rioters during the Delhi pogrom. The brothers were beaten to death when they were returning to their house in the area on February 26 in the night. The judge said one of the eyewitnesses did not say anything regarding the alleged incident while the other six witnesses did not support the prosecution’s case. “Just five minutes from home, they made frantic calls to their father between 9 and 9.30 pm on February 26, saying they were afraid because the Hindu mob had gathered outside, targeting Muslims,” Asghari, mother of Hashim and Amir earlier told Maktoob. The police investigation had found that “during peak rioting, a WhatsApp group Kattar Hindut Ekta was created on the intervening night of February 25 and 26, which has 125 members.” According to the chargesheet, the WhatsApp group members bragged about “killing Muslims” and “dumping their bodies in the sewer,” and offering manpower and guns when necessary. read the complete article

Can the Supreme Court fix India's hate speech problem?

The Supreme Court of India on February 2 highlighted fundamental problems when it comes to curbing hate speech. It bemoaned the fact that authorities were not taking any action against instances of hate speech despite orders from the apex court. “You ask us to be embarrassed again and again by getting an order [and nobody taking action],” the bench remarked orally when a lawyer wanted to argue an application to prohibit a Hindu Jan Akrosh Morcha rally in Mumbai on February 5, on the grounds that this rally would be platforming anti-Muslim hate speech. In another hearing on February 20, the Supreme Court highlighted a different problem. Staying action against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for a speech from 2014, the court said that the provisions of the law covering hate speech were very broad and open to misuse. These instances highlight problems with the implementation of the hate speech law in the country. In several instances, given inaction by governments, petitioners have to directly approach the highest court in the country for any action to be taken on hate speech. However, even that does not guarantee any result. On the other hand, existing provisions are often misused against innocuous speech as a way to target the critics of the government. read the complete article

United Kingdom

West Ham star speaks out after latest vile racist, misogynistic and Islamophobic abuse online

Football fans have shared messages of support and solidarity after West Ham United Women defender Hawa Cissoko was the subject of racist, misogynistic and Islamophobic abuse received online over the weekend. The French star took to Instagram to share the messages she had received in her inbox with the caption: "I thought we were done with this story. Obviously not." The 12 messages from the same account shared by Cissoko contained numerous offensive slurs and prompted widespread condemnation online. read the complete article


Three Conservative MPs who met with far-right German politician will stay in caucus

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said Monday he has no plans to remove from his caucus three members of Parliament who recently met with a German politician from a far-right party. Speaking to reporters Monday in Ottawa, Poilievre otherwise ducked questions about the luncheon between Ontario MPs Leslyn Lewis, Dean Allison and Colin Carrie and Christine Anderson. Anderson visited Canada as part of a tour organized by supporters of last year's "Freedom Convoy" protests near Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, which she publicly supported. Anderson is a member of the European Parliament representing the Alternative for Germany party, which has been under surveillance as a suspected extremist group in Germany and is accused of downplaying Nazi crimes, opposing immigration and pushing anti-Muslim ideology. After photographs of the meeting emerged, Poilievre's office released a statement condemning Anderson's views as "vile" while insisting his three MPs were unaware of her politics and regretted the meeting. read the complete article


What does the future hold for Rohingya refugees?

Nearly a million Rohingya are stuck in refugee camps in Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar. Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh is home to about a million Rohingya refugees, who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017. But on Sunday, life in one of the most crowded refugee camps in the world got even more difficult. A huge fire broke out, burning down some of the camp’s makeshift homes and causing extensive damage. So, what does the future hold for Rohingya refugees? And is the international community doing enough to help them? read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 07 Mar 2023 Edition


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