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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03 May 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, Ramadan marks an increased period of discrimination for incarcerated Muslims as prison facilities ignore the rules and at time disregard federal law (ex. denying Muslim prisoners access to sacramental food), meanwhile in India, a college administration in Ghaziabad allegedly refused to provide free tablets to Muslim students who were wearing Hijab, and lastly during the White House’s reception to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, President Joe Biden said that Muslims are being targeted with violence around the world. Our recommended read of the day is by Ashok Swain for Gulf News on how “Islamophobia is no more an exclusive feature of far-right politics [as] the growing popularity of the far-right has resulted in new agenda-setting in Europe.” This and more below:


03 May 2022

How the right wing makes prejudice mainstream in the West | Recommended Read

This year, the Easter weekend was marred by violent protests in many urban centers of Sweden. The unprecedented unrest continued for four nights. It was in response to planned election meetings of far-right Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, who intends to contest the parliamentary election in Sweden this autumn. The election meetings of this Danish far-right politician, who has dual Swedish citizenship, are usually his monologues with anti-Muslim vitriols. As if the Easter weekend violent unrest was not sufficient for his political ambition, the far-right rabble-rouser had planned the burn the Holy Book in front of the only mosque in Sweden’s university town Uppsala on the 1st of May, which was thwarted by police. Why does a politician repeatedly go to this extent in Sweden to express his bigotry? The simple answer is that Islamophobia has become an easy route to gaining political capital in Europe. Even in a country like Sweden, the far-right party Sweden Democrats has been the third largest political party in the Parliament since 2014. To gain more extensive support among Swedish electorates, the Sweden Democrats party adopts a so-called zero-tolerance policy against its leaders publicly being racist; however, that principle doesn’t apply to their Islamophobic rhetoric. The party demands that Sweden end receiving refugees. It argues that unassimilated immigrants, particularly Muslims, are the reasons for the country’s increasing crime rates, economic difficulties, and expanding cultural divide. Right-wing extremism is gaining ground in a significant manner in most of Europe. Mainstream centrist parties have been unable to counter with policies or mobilisation against this xenophobic nationalism that aims to restrict immigrants’ rights in Europe. As the Timbro Authoritarian Populism Index shows, by 2019, almost 27 per cent of European voters have voted for a far-right party in the national elections, moving away from the traditional political parties. These far-right political outfits are already part of more than one-third of governments in Europe. The trend has made the conventional centrist parties nervous and made them adopt and profess Islamophobic policies overtly and covertly. Thus, Islamophobia is no more an exclusive feature of far-right politics. The growing popularity of the far-right has resulted in new agenda-setting in Europe. read the complete article

United States

03 May 2022

Muslims Being 'Targeted With Violence': Biden Recalls Plight Of Uyghurs, Rohingyas At Eid Reception

US President Joe Biden on Monday said that Muslims are being targeted with violence around the world as he asserted that Muslims make America stronger every single day even as they still face challenges and threats in the society they live in. Biden made the statement at a White House reception to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, news agency PTI reported. The US President has appointed the first Muslim to serve as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. "It's especially important because today, around the world, we're seeing so many Muslims being targeted with violence. No one, no one should discriminate against oppressed or be oppressed for their religious beliefs," he said to applause from the select gathering at the White House, as quoted by PTI. Speaking to the gathering, Biden said: "Today, we also remember all those who are not able to celebrate this holy day, including Uyghurs and Rohingyas and all those who are facing famine, violence, conflict, and disease. And honour the signs of hope and progress toward the world we want to see, including the ceasefire, which allowed the people in Yemen to honour Ramadan and celebrate Eid in peace for the first time in six years." read the complete article

03 May 2022

Incarcerated Muslims in Florida celebrate Eid with limited accommodations

Muslims make up a little more than 10 percent of Florida's incarcerated population. That's comparable to how many Muslims are incarcerated throughout the U.S. But their constitutional rights are often violated by prison facilities that ignore their own rules, and at times disregard federal law. During a holy season like Ramadan, the lack of care is most evident. For example, Muslims are often denied access to sacramental food, though accommodations are routinely made for Jewish, Christian, and Catholic observances. This is one of many issues Muslim organizations are working to address—not only out of civic responsibility, but also as a part of their faith practice. In the South, the number of Muslims in men's and women's prisons has rapidly increased over the last decade. Kentucky's Muslim prison population jumped almost 26 percent from 2010 to 2018. Texas prisons reflected a similar increase over the same period. Georgia, where the incarcerated Muslim population is much smaller, saw a whopping 55 percent increase, from 309 Muslims in 2010 to 478 by 2018. Despite these trends, Muslims on the inside still struggle to practice their religion freely. Between October 10, 2017, and January 23, 2019, 34 cases of litigation nationally were submitted to federal courts on the way prisons and jails handled Ramadan. In addition, another 57 were filed on prayer, 64 on dietary restrictions, and 15 on facial hair, according to a 2019 report conducted by Muslim Advocates. Muslim Advocates is a civil rights organization founded after the passage of the Patriot Act in 2005 to end discrimination against Muslims in America. They found that in 2018, the total number of Muslims in US prisons was 84,882. About 10,000 of those Muslims are incarcerated in Florida according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a nationwide Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group. "Ramadan is one of our busiest months. We see a jump in the number of complaints," said Salma Abdelrahman, a public service fellow at CAIR-Florida's Muslim Inmate Advocacy program. Complaints vary from Suhoor meals being served at an inappropriate time, to prison officers spreading misinformation on whether Muslims could drink water or not during Ramadan, to obstacles regarding the Ramadan list that Muslims have to be on in order to participate in the ritual fast. These lists are made months in advance, so if a person were to convert to Islam a week before Ramadan or during Ramadan, it is almost impossible for them to participate. "So, we address that it's unconstitutional. It's illegal to limit someone from joining a Ramadan list, especially if they are expressing sincerely held belief," said Abdelrahman. "We are talking about a population of Muslims that makes up a large percentage of the Muslim population in Florida. It's on us to ensure that Muslims in prison have a right to practice Ramadan in a way that's in accordance with the Sunnah." read the complete article

03 May 2022

As Ramadan comes to an end, a reflection on what it means to be a Black American Muslim

My lineage is deeply rooted in this faith and, as a Black American, dates back to the 1500s when the first Black Muslims stepped foot in North America. The concept of Islam in America began with Black people and somehow got lost in a present-day white adjacency and assimilation that doesn’t reflect the practice that was passed down from previous generations of my family. No, it’s not “our Christmas” or anything else some people want others to believe so they can understand it better and make it digestible. When Ramadan approaches, I begin to reflect on the teachings of my intersections of identity and the history of what it means to be Black, “American” and Muslim. My father was the first person to teach me that during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Muslims would continue to partake in Ramadan to keep their culture but also as a form of open defiance. Fasting was rooted deeply in resistance and liberation during a time when every scrap of food or drink was also essential for survival. But, it was also a way they formed community by offering their non-Muslim counterparts what they called “saraka” or what we call “sadaqa” (charity) in the form of rice cakes. In addition, when they were first to write Bible verses, they’d transcribe verses of the Quran instead. I think of that type of foresight to challenge everything you’re being forced to assimilate into, just to keep a morsel of yourself. And that’s what Ramadan means to me when I approach the month. So, as the month makes its exit, I reflect on my ancestors who had no choice but to stand up for who they were and what they proclaimed they believed by doing the things that probably weren’t very comfortable but required action. read the complete article


03 May 2022

Ghaziabad Hijab row: College administration allegedly refuses to give free tablets to Muslim students wearing Hijab

In a fresh stir to the Hijab controversy, a college administration allegedly refused to provide free tablets to Muslim students who were wearing Hijab. The alleged incident reportedly took place on Monday in the Ginni Devi College located in the Modinagar area of Ghaziabad. The girls attempted to block the road near the campus and created a ruckus by allegedly raising slogans against the college administration. However, the administration claimed that the students were not provided with the tablets because they did not adhere to the dress code. Meanwhile, the college principal has refused all the allegations and said that the students were not in uniform hence they were not allowed to enter the college premises. A second-year student pursuing BA alleged that the college authorities told them to remove their hijab when they went to the principal for inquiring about the free tablets. The girl also alleged that the college authorities spoke with them in a 'rude' manner but when police arrived, they started speaking politely. read the complete article

United Kingdom

03 May 2022

I’ve Worn The Hijab Since I Was 14. Here’s How I Feel About Modest Fashion

From the moment I landed at Heathrow with my head wrapped in a shiny blue number, everything changed. If I thought I was othered before, I was wrong. Extra security checks. Teachers mistaking me for other hijabis. Microaggressions from friends. My non-Muslim family ignoring me. Racist comments in public. Even the Muslim girls I admired thought I was pulling a prank, as if I were a white girl masquerading as a hijabi. I cried more times than I can count in those first few weeks but nothing could destroy the peace inside me. Wearing the hijab finally made me learn about the faith I had grown up with as something spiritual rather than a set of rules. I finally felt like I had an identity that was mine; I didn’t have to be half this or half that. I could be fully Muslim and that was something nobody could challenge, although they tried. Being a recognisably Muslim woman in public can be scary. I avoid standing at the edge of the Tube platform and in the aftermath of terror attacks I brace myself for retaliation. It means extra scrutiny and barriers but I relish being unapologetically Muslim in our age of Islamophobia. Contrary to what my teenage self believed, I belong here and nobody can tell me otherwise. read the complete article


03 May 2022

Daughter of Uyghur scholar urges China to release father for Eid al-Fitr

The daughter of a detained Uyghur scholar called on China to release her father for Eid Al-Fitr in an emotional plea shared on social media. Tumaris Yalqun released a video on Twitter early on Tuesday urging for the "immediate" release of her father, Yalqun Rozi, who was unlawfully arrested and imprisoned six years ago by Chinese authorities. Rozi was a literary critic and writer among the first wave of Uyghur intellectuals to be detained in 2016. The People’s Republic has since orchestrated a systematic campaign to persecute the Uyghur community, involving mass arrests and imprisonment, and wipe out Uyghur culture under the guise of "education" centres. "Uyghurs are locked away in the dark chambers of concentration camps and jails," said Yalqun in a Twitter thread accompanying her video. "[They are] unable to even gather around with their loved ones to celebrate this wonderful day. It’s heartbreaking to think that their only crime was being born an Uyghur." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 03 May 2022 Edition


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