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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09 Mar 2020

Today in Islamophobia: India’s UP erects holdings with names and photos of anti-CAA protestors, as the Biden campaign in the U.S is urged to remove its pro-BJP Muslim outreach coordinator. In China, reports emerge of Uighurs being forced into labor camps by authorities. Our recommended read today is by Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Shaikh Azizur Rahman titled “I cannot find my father’s body.” This, and more, below:


09 Mar 2020

'I cannot find my father's body': Delhi's fearful Muslims mourn riot dead | Recommended Read

Arshad’s death is just a small fragment of the devastating legacy of the riots that engulfed Delhi last week – the worst religious violence in the capital in decades. For four consecutive days, Hindu mobs of thousands roamed the streets of north-east Delhi, destroying Muslims’ houses and shops, and lynching or killing Muslim residents. The bodies of the dead are gradually being returned to families but the thousands of Muslims who fled their homes in the riots are mostly still too afraid to go back. In the aftermath, even in unaffected areas of Delhi, an exodus of Muslim families began this week, with swathes packing up their bags and returning for good to their home villages, fearing for their safety in the capital. In a prayer ground in Mustafabad, a makeshift relief camp had been set up for over a thousand Muslim families who had fled the violence and still could not return home, out of fear over their safety or simply because their houses and all their worldly possession had been looted, destroyed or burned. Food, shelter and medical care was being given out to those who had lost everything. Abdul Kalam, a Muslim man who fled Shiv Vihar on Tuesday night, described how “over 1,000” men had arrived in the neighbourhood on trucks. “Most of them wore helmets to hide their identity and shield their heads from possible stone attacks… Apart from being armed with pistols, iron rods, crowbars, hammers and other heavy tools, the attackers also carried gas cylinders, big jerry cans of acid and petrol,” said Kalam. read the complete article

Recommended Read
09 Mar 2020

India's Muslims are punished for asking to be Indian

In the aftermath of the attacks, I visited one of the worst-affected neighbourhoods, Shiv Vihar, and witnessed the destruction. While Hindu shops and residences looked largely intact, most Muslim houses and businesses were gutted down to their bare bones. The burnt remains of the possessions of Muslim families - fridges, TV sets and cars - were scattered across the neighbourhood's narrow lanes. While one local mosque was charred to the ground, another named Auliya looked largely unaffected from the outside. But inside, I found that it, too, was a charred, mangled mess. Hindu residents seemed to be carrying on with their lives as normal, but Muslims were nowhere to be seen - they had all left, seeking safety in relief camps set up by the government. Anti-CAA protests in Delhi had been peaceful from the beginning. People got together to sing patriotic songs, wave Indian flags, recite from the Indian constitution and listen to speeches on freedom, solidarity and secularism. The protesters - many of them women - demonstrated nothing but loyalty to their country, but this did not stop the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from portraying them as "traitors" and making them prime targets for vigilante attacks. read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

UP Erects Hoardings With Names, Photos of Anti-CAA Protesters

In what seems to be a move to publicly name and shame those who participated in the December 2019 protests in Lucknow against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – and possibly jeopardise their lives at the hands of miscreants – the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has put up hoardings with the photos and home addresses of those it blames for the violence seen at strategic traffic points in the capital city. In February, the state government had issued notices to the 28 persons whose faces feature in the hoardings, including political activist and Congress member Sadaf Jafar, retired police office S.R. Darapuri, activist Mohammad Shoaib and poet Deepak Kabir. The notice sought the payment of more than Rs 63 lakh from them for allegedly damaging public property within 30 days. If they failed to do so, their property would be attached by the administration. According to an NDTV report, a source in the office of UP chief minister said that the hoardings had been put up on Adityanath’s instructions. read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

In pictures: India's damaged mosques amid rising Islamophobia

Many local commentators, journalists and activists said the violence was preplanned, pointing fingers at right-wing Hindu outfits such as Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang (RSS), a paramilitary group India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a lifelong member of. Indian police also came under criticism mostly from foreign observers as videos emerged on social media, in which the police was seen supporting Hindu mobs, encouraging them to attack Muslim neighbourhoods and also using brute force against Muslims who retaliated in some areas. Since Muslims were the main targets, their mosques were also vandalised and copies of the Quran desecrated. read the complete article

United States

09 Mar 2020

No Country is Above the Law The US: Facing War Crimes Prosecutions by the Hague

The ICC has been trying to investigate human rights violations in Afghanistan carried out by the CIA and the US military, the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Taliban. But it’s been struggling. An appeals court ruling this week overturned a decision by a pretrial panel last year to halt the proceedings. The court cited the passage of time and Washington and Kabul’s “lack of cooperation”, making a successful prosecution unlikely. However, the appeals court ruled that the ICC must not “erroneously inhibit the prosecution’s truth-seeking function” and that the investigation must continue. The US — which rejects the investigation and does not recognise the ICC — imposed sanctions and travel restrictions in 2018 against ICC personnel. This, after the chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announcement to commence investigations into “war crimes by members of the United States armed forces” and “secret detention facilities in Afghanistan”. I endured a year of torture and abuse and saw prisoners beaten to death in front of me while I was imprisoned without charge by US forces in Afghanistan in 2002. I submitted that evidence to the ICC in 2018 and, through my organisation CAGE, we found many others who’d endured a similar fate and were prepared to relive their ordeal so survivors and their families might heal through restorative justice that ensures perpetrators are held accountable. In two decades, I’ve never seen any official prosecuted for their role in torture in a court that matters. read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

Mosque And Muslim-Owned Business In North Mpls. Defaced With Islamophobic And Homophobic Graffiti

A mosque and a Muslim-owned business in North Minneapolis were defaced by spray-painted hate speech sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says Masjid Al Nur is the mosque that was targeted. In a press release, CAIR-MN says the words “F— Allah,” were found spray-spainted at each site. Additional photographs show homophobic language scrawled on a wall as well. The Minneapolis Police Department says it’s aware of the reports and it has opened investigations into both crimes. read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

Biden campaign urged to remove 'Modi supporter' as Muslim outreach coordinator

Pressure is mounting on Joe Biden's presidential campaign to replace its Muslim outreach manager following revelations he has strong connections with India's right-wing Hindu government. Sources have told Middle East Eye that the Biden campaign is scrambling to find a replacement for Amit Jani, as the number of candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination has been whittled down to two. Several Muslim-American political advisers have been approached to help find a new candidate to secure the American Muslim vote amid concerns that Jani's continued presence will alienate Muslims from backing Biden's White House bid, the sources said. read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

White Supremacist and Anti-Muslim Activist Displays Nazi Flag at Sanders Rally

White supremacist Robert Sterkeson has been identified as the man who briefly displayed a swastika flag at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign rally in Arizona on Thursday. Sterkeson has been known as an extremist for more than a decade; he operates an obscure anti-Muslim hate group. Sterkeson was reportedly first identified by Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of the Council on Islamic Relations-Arizona, and his identity was confirmed by antifascist researchers online, who located records of similar anti-Jewish stunts that Sterkeson had performed in the past, as well as an online profile where Sterkeson took credit for Thursday’s display. The Anti-Defamation League reported that Sterkeson “frequently targets Jews” and Muslim communities for his self-described “stunt” activism, and that Sterkeson has spoken positively of Robert Bowers, the man charged with murdering 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. According to Media Matters, Sterkeson has produced and uploaded droves of hateful content to his YouTube account—called “Bomb Islam”—despite YouTube’s promises to counter hate speech on its platform. read the complete article

United Kingdom

09 Mar 2020

James O'Brien's reaction to the "staggering" report of Tory party Islamophobia

James O'Brien talks to the Muslim Council of Britain about their "staggering" expose of the Conservative party's Islamophobia. The report has found that 300 people currently in the party ranks have publicly expressed anti-Muslim views. Spokesperson Miqdaad Versi listed "astonishing" examples from the report of people saying "Muslims should be sterilised", "thrown off bridges" and "deported." "They dismiss anyone who says anything, they deny it's a problem in the first place, and they actually deceive the public," Mr Versi continued, "the former chair Brandon Lewis was public and said there's no outstanding complaints. "Hope Not Hate said here are three complaints, you're just lying and he wasn't able to answer." James pointed out that his sympathy was not only for Muslims but for those who genuinely believe these lies about Muslims as they are being "held hostage by hatred." Mr Versi agreed that these views are fermenting and spreading to wider society: "If we want Islamophobia in society to be tackled, we need the government to get their house in order." read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

British Tories are morphing into a party of bigots

There are still decent men and women inside the Conservative Party. It is not a far-right, racist, neo-Nazi mob, such as Alternative for Germany - but it is moving ominously in that direction. The evidence presented by the MCB is very powerful and, as far as I can see, irrefutable. The problem stretches from the lowest ranks of the Tory party to the very top. There is a massive problem with Islamophobic bigotry among Tory grassroots, where the MCB has provided a list of more than 100 cases. Party members, councillors and officials have repeatedly made disgusting statements about Muslims, calling for them to leave the country, making provocative insults about the Prophet Muhammad and peddling malicious lies. Most British newspapers are as Islamophobic as the Conservative Party itself, and in some cases, more so. This means they are effectively giving Johnson and his senior advisers and ministers a free pass to reshape the Tory party as a far-right, populist organisation of the type we already know too well on continental Europe. read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

Meet Amani Saeed, the poet championing women and confronting Islamophobia, one verse at a time

We integrate the taste of home into your bland dishes, then stand washing up over the kitchen sink wistfully wishing, for some nostalgic rewind of the diasporic ticker tape to some time, where Allahu Akbar meant god is great and didn't turn you into a walking pipe bomb' Just some of the powerful sentences by poet Amani Saeed, who has taken the London Slam community by storm with her defiance in the face of Islamophobia and her exquisite words on the beauty – and complexities – of being a Muslim woman living in the West. The 24-year-old recently published a collection called Split, in which she documents her thoughts on spirituality and her identity, multi-faceted as it is. Hers is a unique position; Amani is both a Muslim and a 9/11 survivor, and carries both the trauma of the Twin Towers falling in 2001 – a seismic shock in the cultural fabric of America – as well as the Islamophobia that was borne out of that shock. read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

The forgotten women who helped to build British Islam

I used archive material linked to the two earliest British mosques to examine the everyday lives of women in these historical communities. This research presents a coherent and compelling narrative of women’s lives and roles as contributors and leaders of their communities. Women in these communities were usually middle-class converts, who encountered Islam through travel, mosque publications or public lectures. They lived in an environment that viewed Islam and Muslims with suspicion and ridicule. British Muslims were perceived as “loyal enemies” and “infidels within” the society of that time. As part of my research, I uncovered many interesting stories of women and their roles in the mosques. There was Mrs Nafeesa T Keep, for example, a convert to Islam who arrived in Liverpool from the United States. She gave talks on Islam and women’s rights, challenging both patriarchal understandings of Islam and stereotypes of Islam. She was appointed the assistant superintendent of the Medressah-i-iyyum-al-Sebbah, an institution aimed at educating young Muslims on religion. Indeed, as my research shows, history puts women at the centre of the establishment of Islam in Britain. read the complete article


09 Mar 2020

China Moves Uyghur Muslims Into ‘Forced Labor’ Factories

According to a new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, China’s been accused of forcing Uyghur Muslims to work at factories that produce goods for well-known global companies including Apple, Nike, BMW, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen. The report documents that the Chinese government moved large numbers of the Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups to factories across the country. Over the last few years the Chinese government allocated approximately 80,000 Uyghurs to factories across the country where they work “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labor.” The Uyghurs produce an array of different parts and products on behalf of roughly 83 well-known international brands. The report offers a harrowing insight into the conditions faced by the Uyghurs. In one of the shoe and sneaker factories in eastern China the site has watchtowers, barbed-wire fences and police guard boxes. read the complete article


09 Mar 2020

A Quebec ban on religious symbols upends lives and careers

A Muslim lawyer who wears a head scarf has put aside her aspiration to become a public prosecutor. A Sikh teacher with a turban moved about 2,800 miles from Quebec to Vancouver, calling herself a “refugee in her own country.” And an Orthodox Jewish teacher who wears a head kerchief is worried that she could be blocked from a promotion. Since the Quebec government in June banned schoolteachers, police officers, prosecutors and other public sector employees from wearing religious symbols while at work, people like these three women have been grappling with the consequences. The English Montreal School Board said the law was forcing it to turn away qualified teachers. It said at least one teacher had removed her head scarf while at work to keep her job. The Coalition Inclusion Québec — a group that includes Roman Catholics, Jews, Sikhs and Muslims — is challenging the law in court, along with three teachers, including two Muslims and a Roman Catholic. read the complete article


09 Mar 2020

Canada's politicians have stayed mostly silent about a wave of anti-Muslim violence in India

The Trudeau government quietly communicated something to the Indian government this week about that country's latest paroxysm of anti-Muslim violence. But it is hard to know what that message was. Certainly, an official Canadian government "readout" of the conversation between Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, offers little insight. After touching on other matters, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and upcoming summits, the readout ends with this short sentence: "Minister Champagne raised recent events in Delhi and expressed concerns over the lives lost." The statement's wording could have applied to lives lost to a cyclone or mudslide — rather than a wave of mob violence that evidence suggests was fuelled in part by the indifference of the government in Delhi, if not by outright encouragement by members of the governing party. Nor did the readout give any suggestion that Canada is concerned about the passage of laws that India's 200 million Muslims and opposition parties have said are designed to strip Muslims of their citizenship. "We aren't hearing much from Trudeau," said Indo-Canadian secularist Gurpreet Singh of British Columbia, co-founder of Indians Abroad for a Pluralist India. "We aren't hearing much even from the south Asian members of his cabinet or his caucus. And it's very unfortunate." read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

Tulsi Gabbard's Tweet About Anti-Hinduism In The West Is Stoking Anti-Muslim Sentiment In India

A tweet by Tulsi Gabbard, the only woman remaining in the US presidential race, about experiencing “Hinduphobia” in the US has added fuel to escalating communal tensions in India. Gabbard’s tweet has since been shared on right-wing news websites in India and discussed on news channels. Hindu and Muslim lives have been lost in the violence. But the the footage of the police suggests the Hindu mobs acted with an impunity stemming from the belief that they had the support of the state. In recent weeks, BJP leaders appeared to prepare the ground for precisely such a confrontation, making several speeches across New Delhi asking citizens to “shoot the traitors.” read the complete article

09 Mar 2020

A Warrior Against Genocide, Abubacarr Tambadou | Imam Omar Suleiman

Last night I had the pleasure of hosting His Excellency Attorney General Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, the Justice Minister of the Gambia and Shaykh Imam Omar Suleiman at Honor Our Heroes in Washington DC. Imam Omar presented the Torch of Justice Award on behalf of Justice For All’s Burma Task Force and the American Muslim community to the Justice Minister for fighting genocide. At that time, His Excellency Abubaccar Tambadou worked as a trial attorney, where he was responsible for prosecuting violations of international human rights law in Rwanda. He secured the prosecution of four war criminals, including former Rwandan army general Augustin Bizimungu who called his victims cockroaches. Here Abou Bacar was now, a decade later, witnessing the Rohingya genocide. More than 128,000 Muslims remain in detention camps in Burma today, where they have been confined since 2012, arbitrarily deprived of their liberty. More than 730,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since the military campaign of ethnic cleansing began in August 2017 Their villages have been burned down, their bodies discarded like waste, and the world has remained unwilling and unable to support them in their plight. Simon Adams, head of the humans rights organization, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, said there was only one man with the courage, skills and humanity to try to hold Myanmar accountable for the alleged atrocities. “Some were afraid of retaliation from the Chinese” (who tried to stop the prosecution of Myanmar knowing that it may set a precedent for them being taken to court for their Uyghur concentration camps). “Others said it wasn’t a good time, was too politically risky. [But] I was impressed by his fearlessness. He realized what would be coming pressure-wise but he was developing a strategy to deal with it.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Mar 2020 Edition


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