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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27 May 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, a 59-year-old Clifton woman was arrested and charged with bias crimes after she allegedly screamed anti-Muslim slurs at two teenagers at a nail salon and struck one in the head in an unprovoked attack, meanwhile in India, Hindu students staged protests against wearing the headscarf at the University College in Mangaluru’s Hampankatta, and in the United States, the city of Ferndale is set to update how they process booking photos to resolve a complaint from a Muslim woman who sued over the removal of her Islamic headscarf after an arrest last year. Our recommended read of the day is by Layla Aitlhadj for The New Arab on how the recent leaked Prevent review in the United Kingdom “shows that the focus [of the counterterrorism program] remains the targeting of Muslims.” This and more below:

United Kingdom

27 May 2022

Leaked Prevent review: It was always about targeting Muslims | Recommended Read

The leaks around the Prevent review recommendations reveal more about the current UK government than it does about Prevent itself. In 2019 when the Independent Review of Prevent was announced, nobody could have imagined that three years and two not-so-independent reviewers later, we would still be waiting for the review recommendations. There has been no shortage of ‘leaks’ to keep us entertained. The latest round published by The Guardian suggests that the recommendation is to refocus Prevent’s lens back onto the Muslim community. According to Shawcross that is where the real ‘terror threat’ is, despite counter-terrorism experts warning that most Prevent referrals involve amorphous ideologies, such as the “incel” group. However, this is unsurprising given that an “Islamist” is markedly easier to profile than a person with “mixed, unclear” ideologies, and also due to Shawcross’s well documented Islamophobia. His statements ignore growing criticism from experts across the field of Prevent and counter-terrorism, that the counter-extremism programme is not working and may even be counterproductive. And yet he steamrolls on, only reinforcing the fact that Shawcross is not, nor could ever be ‘independent’, and the conclusion of any such ‘review’ could never be taken seriously. This is why over 450 organisations pledged to boycott the Shawcross review of Prevent in March 2021. A further revelation in the latest ‘leak’ is that there is a double-standard when it comes to far-right extremism, and this is because the government perceives the definition of neo-Nazism to be so broad that it risks capturing ideas that are ‘mainstream’. This is a very revealing statement, as it admits that far-right attitudes are now ‘mainstream’. In the UK, there has been a steady creep of Islamophobia over the years, particularly under the Conservative party leadership which has edged towards the far-right. Many therefore anticipated this whole outcome. We knew that Shawcross would have no choice but to divert attention away from ‘far-right extremism’ as a pre-criminal offence, in order to avoid Prevent being applied within the corridors of power. This gentle dodging of their very own flawed and abusive policy is typical of a government that has demonstrated a steady but drastic decline in accountability over the past two years. It is also a confirmation of the validity of the PROP, which concludes that Prevent is dangerous. read the complete article

United States

27 May 2022

Learn why Ferndale police are changing how they book Muslim women

The city of Ferndale is set to update how they process booking photos to resolve a complaint from a Muslim woman who sued over the removal of her Islamic headscarf after an arrest last year, an advocacy group announced Thursday. The Oakland County community has reached "a full and satisfactory settlement" with Helana Bowe, who filed a federal lawsuit in October, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter said in a statement. The settlement includes the city "instituting new policies allowing Muslim women to maintain their hijab when a booking photo is taken and prohibiting cross-gender searches in the absence of an emergency" as well as an undisclosed amount of money, according to the release. “We are pleased to announce this settlement and believe that the policies that Ferndale has put in place will help protect the religious rights of Muslim women who may find themselves in their custody,” said CAIR-MI staff attorney Amy Doukoure. read the complete article

27 May 2022

Two teens targeted in alleged anti-Muslim bias attack at Clifton nail salon

A 59-year-old Clifton woman was arrested Wednesday and charged with bias crimes after she allegedly screamed anti-Muslim slurs at two teenagers at a nail salon and struck one in the head in an unprovoked attack. Nancy B. Jones was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, bias intimidation and harassment, as well as simple assault, according to a statement from the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office. The alleged incident took place on April 30 when two sisters, ages 13 and 15, were waiting to get their nails done at New Natural Nails on Lakeview Avenue. Clifton police responded to a report of an assault at around 2 p.m. Upon arriving, the girls told officers, Jones "approached them in a harassing and tumultuous manner and told them to go back to their country," according to the statement. "During the incident, the actor struck the 13-year-old victim in the head," authorities said. read the complete article


27 May 2022

Film on Expulsion of Kashmir’s Hindus Is Polarizing and Popular in India

This opening scene sets the tone for “The Kashmir Files,” a film that has become an unexpected blockbuster, drawing millions of moviegoers across India and the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P. The film, released in March, is largely set in the late 1980s and the early 1990s when a group of militant Islamists forcibly expelled Kashmiri Pandits, upper-caste Hindus, from the region. It has been seized on by the B.J.P. as a tool to advance its narrative of Hindu persecution in India, at a time of increasing calls for violence against India’s minority Muslims. Bharatiya Janata Party workers are encouraging members and supporters to attend, the cast and crew are doing photo ops with Mr. Modi and some states governed by the party have been offering tax breaks on ticket sales and days off from work to spur attendance. While the Indian government has insisted that its decision to take away Kashmir’s special status was intended to improve governance there, and to cut down on militancy, the region has experienced unrest and violence, sometimes deadly, since then, with the killings by both militants and security forces. The film’s critics, including opposition politicians and left-leaning intellectuals and historians, have called it “divisive” and “propaganda,” an attempt to sensationalize the killing of Kashmiri Pandits while avoiding the depiction of any violence against Muslims. In 1990, the peak year of the Pandits’ exodus, hundreds of both Hindus and Muslims were killed by militants. Critics also say the film has given the B.J.P. ammunition to widen the wedge between Hindus and Muslims. read the complete article

27 May 2022

A world obsessed with Ukraine must not forget the Rohingya

While Bangladesh’s Rohingya’s plight has been overshadowed by the Covid-19 outbreak, Myanmar’s military coup in February, the Afghan refugee crisis, and now the Ukraine crisis, the community remains in limbo, with many of its members missing citizenship and the rights that come with it. Around a million Rohingya refugees have been living in Bangladesh since 2017, while others have sought sanctuary in nations all over the world. When the Myanmar military began a clearance operation against them in 2017, several members of the community were forced to flee. Rakhine state was particularly tense, with tales of rape and murder against Rohingyas abounding. The International Court of Justice has charged Myanmar with genocide over these atrocities. Meanwhile, the community’s living conditions in refugee camps are deteriorating. Due to the extended ambiguity surrounding their repatriation to Myanmar, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are becoming frustrated. Such ambiguity poses a significant risk because it tempts many people to engage in illicit activity. Bangladesh confronts increasing difficulty in managing the displaced people as foreign support for the Rohingyas dwindles, with little hope of repatriation in the near future. Following the ongoing Ukraine crisis, and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, which has already displaced millions of Afghans both inside and outside the nation, another humanitarian crisis has emerged. While many in the world community have correctly condemned Myan- mar’s junta for deposing an elected government, the Rohingya’s situation must not be overlooked. The international community must demand justice for the Rohingya in addition to a restoration of representative rule in Myanmar. Despite the fact that members of the Muslim Rohingya population claim generations of roots in the country formerly known as Burma, Myanmar’s ruling generals have long promoted the xenophobic stereotype that they are “outsiders” in the Buddhist-majority country. read the complete article


27 May 2022

Hijab Row Resurfaces As Mangaluru Students Stage Protests Demanding Complete Ban On Headscarf

After a significant uproar across Karnataka and the high court judgement, the hijab row seems to be resurfacing in the state. Hindu students staged protests against wearing the headscarf at the University College in Mangaluru's Hampankatta. Within less than three months of the Karnataka High Court judgement stating that "hijab by Muslim women does not make up an essential religious practise in Islamic faith", protest erupted after some Muslim girls came to the university wearing the headscarf, and some Hindu students raised their objections. The protestors gathered near the compound of the university, demanding authorities not allow students to wear hijab inside classrooms. They claimed that students must follow the uniform code wherever the uniforms are imposed. Last week, the university released a notice stating that all the six constituent colleges that uniform rules to be followed strictly. Earlier, Muslim girls were allowed to wear headscarves using the uniform shawl. However, last week, during the syndicate meeting, the authorities decided that hijab should not be worn inside and outside the classrooms. But the college universities could not impose the rules entirely as there were resentments from Muslim girls. While some adhere to the rules but some refuse to do the same. Few of them started to miss classes. There are 1900 students at the university, and 44 are Muslim girls. read the complete article


27 May 2022

French court blocks ‘burkinis’ in council’s pools

The administrative court in the Alpine city of Grenoble blocked the rule change by the council there, arguing that it “seriously violated the principle of neutrality in public service”. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin welcomed the court ruling as “excellent news” in a post on Twitter Wednesday evening. The ruling was the latest development in a long-running dispute that has set defenders of France’s secular values against those arguing that a burkini ban constitutes discrimination. The all-in-one swimsuit, used by some Muslim women to cover their bodies and hair while bathing, is a controversial issue in France where critics see it as a symbol of creeping Islamisation. The governor of the Isere region in southeast France had asked the court to intervene to stop the rule change from coming into effect in June. The new rule had been championed by Grenoble’s mayor Eric Piolle, one of the country’s highest profile Green politicians who leads a broad left-wing coalition locally. The judges delivered their ruling on Wednesday evening after hearing arguments earlier the same day. In their judgment, they said that the council’s rule change meant some people could invoke religious grounds for not respecting the usual dress code in council pools. Under a new law to counter “Islamist separatism” passed by parliament last year, the government can challenge decisions it suspects of undermining France’s strict secular traditions intended to separate religions from the state. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 27 May 2022 Edition


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