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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04 May 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, the “psychologist who for the C.I.A. waterboarded a prisoner accused of plotting the U.S.S. Cole bombing testified this week that the Saudi man broke quickly and became so compliant that he would crawl into a cramped crate even before guards ordered him inside,” meanwhile in Denmark, rights activists are accusing the government of racism after the authorities changed a law barring refugees from certain areas to free up accommodation for people fleeing the war in Ukraine, and in Sweden, police are investigating the vandalism of graves belonging to Muslims and Orthodox Christians by unidentified attackers. Our recommended read of the day is by Debashish Roy Chowdhury for TIME on how this year’s Eid celebrations are tinged with new levels of anxiety for Indian Muslims, as the month of Ramadan saw organized attacks on Muslims (including homes and shops burned, places of worship desecrated, and open calls for genocide) on a scale not seen lately. This and more below:


04 May 2022

For India's Muslims, Eid al-Fitr Brings Little to Celebrate | Recommended Read

This year, as the dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan ends in Eid al-Fitr, there is little joy for India’s 200 million Muslims—the world’s third largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan—tinged as the festival is by a new anxiety over their place in the country. The state pandering of the mob, and its own subversion of the rule of law, signal a crumbling social contract between Indian Muslims and the Indian state—even by the standards of the state-sanctioned intimidation, anti-Muslim violence, and hate speech that have become a staple of the eight years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been accelerating its bid to dismantle the country’s constitutionally mandated secular democracy and create a Hindu-first state. Its conspicuous subjugation of Muslims includes choreographed hate campaigns, violence, as well as official measures designed to weaken the community. Lynchings are frequent, as are organized boycotts of Muslims and their businesses. Hindu nationalism, called Hindutva, has been gorging during this fasting month of Ramadan. The holy Muslim period, which coincides with several Hindu festivals, saw organized attacks on Muslims in many parts of India on a scale not seen lately. Muslim homes and shops were attacked and burned, Muslim places of worship desecrated, and Muslim prayers interrupted. A familiar pattern that emerged was that of religious processions organized by Hindu groups through Muslim neighborhoods. Men brandishing swords, sticks and guns, chanting loud slogans and playing music that demeans and threatens Muslims, linger around mosques hoping to pick a fight. The emboldening of such extremists is the result of BJP-run federal and state governments giving Hindutva vigilante groups a free rein to ratchet up their war on Muslims. Open calls for the genocide of Muslims by militant Hindu leaders, and hate speech by senior BJP functionaries and Hindu organizations, have become increasingly common in recent months, with little or no official reprisal. If the Indian state’s silent endorsement of such treatment of minorities has been a feature of the Modi years, this Ramadan has seen the state itself join the marauding mobs in ravaging and dispossessing Muslims—using bulldozers. The state-enforced homelessness of Muslims speaks to two dominant tropes of Hindu supremacist politics: the inherent degeneracy of Muslims, and the illegitimacy of their presence in India. Disinformation campaigns, political messaging, and official policy paint Muslims as criminals, jihadis, predators waging “love jihad,” and over-procreating sexual deviants. The government of the north-eastern state of Assam last year appointed seven “sub-committees” to recommend ways to control the growth of the Muslim population. They have just submitted their report. read the complete article

04 May 2022

India: Curfew imposed in Jodhpur following Hindu-Muslim clashes

Government authorities have imposed a curfew and cut off internet connections in an area of Jodhpur, the capital of northern India’s Rajasthan state, following fresh altercations between the Hindu and Muslim communities there. Al Jazeera’s Elizabeth Puranam said there was a “very heavy police presence” in the Jalori Gate area, following more fighting between the two groups. The clashes began on Monday during religious festivals for both communities, each of whom wanted to raise religious flags in the same area. Muslims were marking the end of Ramadan month of fasting, and Hindus were celebrating a festival called Parshuram Jayanti. Things had calmed down overnight, and Eid prayers took place on Tuesday peacefully. However, clashes between Hindus and Muslims later erupted again in at least five different areas in Jalori Gate. “Local media is saying at least 10 people have been injured and one person has been taken to hospital,” Puranam said. “Police tried to disperse the crowds using batons and tear gas. The crowd then attacked a police post and injured four officers.” Hindu leaders in the state of Maharashtra – home to India’s financial capital Mumbai – have given mosques a May 4 deadline for them to remove their loudspeakers because they say that the call to prayer is noise pollution, Puranam said. “They are asking their followers to go to mosques on Wednesday and play Hindu songs at twice the volume of the call to prayer if loudspeakers aren’t taken down,” she said. read the complete article

04 May 2022

India’s Muslims mark Eid al-Fitr amid attacks on community

Muslims across India marked Eid al-Fitr on Tuesday by offering prayers outside mosques, with the celebrations this year coming after a string of attacks against the religious minority during the month of Ramadan. “We will not have the same kind of festivity” this year, said Mohammad Habeeb ur Rehman, a civil engineer in India’s financial capital, Mumbai. “This is the most painful Eid, with the worst memories for Indian Muslims.” Anti-Muslim sentiment and attacks have surged across the country in the past month, including stone-throwing between Hindu and Muslim groups during religious processions and subsequent demolitions by authorities of a number of properties belonging mostly to Muslims. The community, which makes up 14 percent of India’s 1.4 billion population, is reeling from vilification by hard-line Hindu nationalists who have long espoused an anti-Muslim stance. Some leaders of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have tacitly supported the violence, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has so far been silent about it. read the complete article

04 May 2022

Hijab Row Reaches Ghaziabad, Students Protest After Not Given Tablets For Wearing Veil

A video of few girl students protesting in hijab in a college in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad city has gone viral on social media. The video is said to be of Ginni Devi College in Ghaziabad’s Modi Nagar. IANS reported sources as saying that tablets were being distributed on the college premises. The girl students have alleged that they were not allowed to take the tablet in hijab. The girl students post this incident came out of the college premises and created a ruckus on the road by protesting and shouting. The incident took place yesterday, said the Ghaziabad Police and added that the students were pacified and sent back home. The college administration while clarifying its stand on the matter said what the students were doing outside the college is none of their business. “We were distributing tablets on the college premises. About 69 tablets were to be distributed. A few students didn't wear uniform. They were asked to follow the dress code which irked them,” said the college administration. read the complete article


04 May 2022

U.S. Ambassador to the UN vows to raise Uyghur's case with Chinese counterparts

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the relatives of a Uyghur detained in Xinjiang that she will bring up the woman's detention with her Chinese counterparts. Why it matters: Raising individual cases with Chinese authorities in some cases results in "proof of life" contact between the detainee and their family members outside China, and it communicates to Beijing that its actions in Xinjiang are under scrutiny. Driving the news: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will be traveling to China and Xinjiang in May, in the first visit to China by the top UN human rights official since 2005. Human rights activists are calling for her office to release its delayed report, promised in December, on Chinese government abuses in Xinjiang. "We continue to press for the release of high commissioner Bachelet’s report on human rights issues in Xinjiang," a spokesperson from Thomas-Greenfield's office told Axios. "We have urged the high commissioner to ask for truly unhindered and unfettered access while on her planned visit to China." read the complete article

04 May 2022

The Controversy Over China's New Embassy in London Reflects Growing Tensions With the West

Those days are long gone, of course, though the Royal Mint Court—tucked inside London’s raffish East End, gazing toward Tower Bridge and the 11th century Tower of London—continues to serve as a barometer of our time. Now, however, it’s the world’s rising superpower that will write the next chapter: China, which purchased the site for $250 million in 2018 to house its new U.K. Embassy, its largest in Europe and, in a perhaps notable augury, almost a third bigger than London’s new U.S. Embassy four miles away. A proposal for the 700,000 sq ft redevelopment was submitted in June, but planning permission has yet to be granted, meaning it will likely take several years before the building is fit for occupation. The upgrade was needed to create a “welcoming public face for China,” according to the architect commissioned in 2020 to lead the refurbishment, with office space and staff accommodation far exceeding its current premises in Marylebone. Locals have been less welcoming, however, and ever since the sale have voiced their opposition to the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ensconcing themselves in this storied landmark given Beijing’s ongoing abuses against Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans and the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong. “It is disgraceful,” local community activist Mohammad Rakib tells TIME. “The government of China should not have been able to purchase such a prominent site. [By] sticking an unobstructed Chinese flag by Tower Bridge and the Tower of London… the authorities may as well have allowed neo-Nazis to occupy the building and fly a swastika from it.” Such is the groundswell of opposition that last year local politicians for Tower Hamlets borough, where Royal Mint Court is situated, passed a cross-party motion in support of renaming nearby roads in commemoration of CCP atrocities, such as “Tiananmen Square, Hong Kong Road, Uyghur Court and Tibet Hill.” Councilor Rabina Khan, who proposed the motion, said it was to “stand up against the CCP’s human rights violations.” read the complete article

04 May 2022

European Leaders Should Raise Human Rights Concerns with Modi

Speaking in New Delhi on April 25, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen referred to India as a “vibrant democracy,” sharing common values and interests with the European Union. But these cliches, repeated by rote by European leaders seeking closer trade and political ties with India, do not reflect the reality of growing abuses and discriminatory policies under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. As European governments prepare to receive Modi beginning May 2, senior officials from Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden should reconsider Europe’s “quiet diplomacy” on human rights violations in India. This approach has had no evident impact and has also led to growing sentiment that Europe is willing to overlook the plight of affected communities in India because it needs India as an ally against China and Russia. As von der Leyen delivered her flattering speech in Delhi, residents in the mainly Muslim neighborhood of Jahangirpuri, about 25 kilometers from the conference site, were still reeling from unlawful demolitions of their shops by the city’s civic body run by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Prime Minister Modi’s government continues to adopt laws and policies that systematically discriminate against minorities. BJP leaders routinely make divisive remarks, and several have condoned or even incited violence against Muslims. The prejudices embedded in the government have infiltrated independent institutions, such as the police and the courts, and provoked Hindu mobs to threaten, harass, and attack religious minorities, which they do with impunity. read the complete article

United Kingdom

04 May 2022

Conservative election candidate suspended over anti-Muslim posts

A Conservative election candidate has been suspended over past social media posts – including comments supporting “the removal of all immigrants” and asking people who come to the UK to “stop dressing funny”. Enfield Conservatives confirmed that Stephen Antony Savva, a candidate for Brimsdown ward, had been suspended from the party “following reports of offensive tweets” and that an investigation into the matter was taking place. The posts, which were made on Twitter in 2017 and 2018, were uncovered by the national antiracism campaign group Hope Not Hate. Savva’s account has since been locked so that only approved followers can see his posts. One tweet from Stephen’s account stated: “How about the removal of ALL immigrants? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Just think of all the homes that would suddenly become available? All those school places? No more have to wait an ion [sic] to be seen by a doctor…” A reply from Savva’s account to an article about TV chef Nadiya Hussain revealing that she suffers Islamophobic abuse on social media stated: “As a westerner she shouldn’t wear a headdress. If she integrated more, she wouldn’t suffer any abuse.” Another thread included statements that burkas are “NOT normal British clothing” and added: “Neither are those dresses Muslim men wear.” read the complete article

04 May 2022

Teenager accused of UK terror plot took photos of police station, court told

A teenager said to have lionised Hitler and who allegedly believed he was part of a race war against “totalitarian” liberal democracy has gone on trial accused of preparing to commit a terrorist act. Luke Skelton, 18, is alleged to have carried out “hostile reconnaissance” of Forth Banks police station in Newcastle upon Tyne. Skelton denies preparing to commit acts of terrorism while a college student studying a BTec in information technology. The prosecuting barrister, Nicholas de la Poer QC, told a jury at Teesside crown court on Tuesday there was evidence that Skelton conducted internet research into three police stations in Newcastle, physically going to one where he took photographs. He said there was evidence that Skelton believed in an extreme rightwing ideology that was racist, sexist, antisemitic and Islamophobic. Skelton lionised Hitler and approved of the attack by the white supremacist Brenton Tarrant on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 51 people were killed, De la Poer said. De la Poer said Skelton was not in the dock for merely holding those views but “as a result of those views, the prosecution say, he decided to act, he began to prepare”. The prosecution said the jury would see copies of notes, messages and a “draft manifesto” prepared by Skelton. One note, it was said, echoed key elements of a manifesto written and sent by Anders Breivik, the far-right Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people in 2011. read the complete article

United States

04 May 2022

C.I.A. Captive Was Too Small for Waterboard, Interrogator Testifies

The psychologist who for the C.I.A. waterboarded a prisoner accused of plotting the U.S.S. Cole bombing testified this week that the Saudi man broke quickly and became so compliant that he would crawl into a cramped crate even before guards ordered him inside. The psychologist, James E. Mitchell, also told a military judge that the prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was so scrawny that Dr. Mitchell and his interrogation partner, John Bruce Jessen, stopped waterboarding him after the third session at a secret site in Thailand in 2002 because they feared he might be hurt. In that instance, they put him in a neck brace and strapped him to a gurney that served as the board. But when they tilted the board up to let him breathe after a “40-second pour,” the 5-foot-5, 120-pound prisoner nearly slid out of the straps to the floor, Dr. Mitchell said. “He was snorting and blowing water out of his nose,” Dr. Mitchell testified. A former career military psychologist who said he learned the techniques at an Air Force survival school, Dr. Mitchell said the waterboarding episodes were so long ago that he could not recall whether the prisoner actually cried. Mr. Nashiri, who was captured in Dubai in 2002, is accused of being the mastermind of the Qaeda suicide bombing of the Cole off Yemen in 2000, an attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors. His case is still in pretrial proceedings, and his lawyers have been calling witnesses in a long-running effort to exclude government evidence from his eventual death penalty trial. They argue that some of the case’s evidence is contaminated by torture or other U.S. misbehavior. “When I heard him talk, I got the image of crate-training a dog and became nauseous,” said Annie W. Morgan, a former Air Force defense lawyer who serves on Mr. Nashiri’s legal team. “That was the goal of the program: to create a sense of learned helplessness and to become completely dependent upon and submissive to his captors.” read the complete article


04 May 2022

Denmark accused of racism after 'anti-ghetto' law is changed for Ukrainian refugees

Denmark has been accused of racism after it changed a law barring refugees from certain areas to free up accommodation for people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Denmark introduced a policy three years ago that sought to restrict immigrants from moving into what are described as disadvantaged areas. It has led to some "non-western" people being evicted. Last week, the government voted to amend the policy to allow Ukrainian refugees access to the homes. It has pledged to take in 100,000 refugees fleeing the war. Susheela Math, a litigation officer at campaign group the Justice Initiative, which is against forced evictions, said the move showed the policy was "racially inequitable and unnecessary". The Open Society Justice Initiative said the "discriminatory housing laws" laws should be abolished and called for better access to housing and education for all refugees. The group says the "ghetto package" has sought to "physically demolish and transform" largely Muslim areas where many families are classed as "non-westerners". “The state’s volte-face on measures such as housing allocations for refugee groups show that the ‘ghetto package’ was clearly meant to target non-white individuals,” Ms Math said. Majken Felle, a resident of Mjolnerparken, a housing project near Copenhagen that is classified as a “ghetto” area, accused the authorities of racism. “Recently, a representative from Bo-Vita, the organisation responsible for the redevelopment of Mjolnerparken, said in an interview that in neighbourhoods like mine there is an Arab mentality and residents do not care about western culture, making these areas feel potentially unsafe to Ukrainian refugees," she said. "He is saying out loud what is the unspoken intention behind the permanent removal of homes in ‘ghetto’ areas – that these policies and demolition projects are driven by racial prejudice.” read the complete article


04 May 2022

Mystery attackers vandalise Muslim, Christian graveyards in Sweden

Police officers in Sweden are investigating the vandalism of graves belonging to Muslims and Orthodox Christians by unidentified attackers, according to reports. Muslims who went to pray for their deceased relatives at the Ostra Cemetery on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday on Monday noticed around 20 graves were deliberately damaged and contacted the police, according to Swedish newspaper SvD. Many tombstones were graffitied with red paint by the unknown attackers at the cemetery in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, said spokesperson Nils Norling. Swedish police said they are currently unable to identify the perpetrators and pledged eyewitnesses to contact them to assist with the ongoing investigation. The attack comes amid increased tensions with Muslims in the country. Ramus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish politician who leads the far-right Stram Kurs ("Hard Line") party, said during Ramadan that he burned a copy of the Quran and planned more during a series of rallies. His announcement sparked a wave of Islamophobic attacks and clashes with far-right protesters in the Nordic country. read the complete article


04 May 2022

'Xinjiang is a minefield for organs': Are Chinese surgeons executing Uyghur prisoners for organ removal?

“When I was in the concentration camp in Xinjiang my organs were scanned and many blood tests were done on me. I was so scared as I didn’t know why they were doing those tests," Aisha, an Uyghur mother of three whose name has been changed for safety reasons told The New Arab. Over the years China has repeatedly denied killing prisoners from minority groups such as Falun Gong, Uyghurs and Kazakhs for their organs. However, a new study reveals that the country has breached their own legislation of the Dead Donor Rule in China (DDR). "Chinese doctors have personally conducted executions of prisoners on the operating table, using the tools of medicine," explains Matthew Robertson. The Australian National University researcher, who reviewed thousands of Chinese medical papers with research fellow Jacob Lavee, unearthed evidence from over 71 papers published between the years 1980 to 2015 that showed evidence of prisoners having their hearts removed before being medically brain dead. “This is the first time a study on this topic has been published in a peer-reviewed journal and we hope that the global medical community looks closely at our findings,” Matthew, also a research fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, told The New Arab. The majority of organ donations come from prisoners in China but to date, many hospitals in China have very short waiting times for organs. China is known to be the second-largest transplant country in the world after the United States. Human rights researchers have found that China performs even more transplants than the biggest transplant provider in the US and have stated that they would perform 50,000 transplants by 2023. The China Tribunal which was held in 2019 also found that China had been forcefully taking the organs from prisoners according to witness testimonies and evidence presented at the tribunal. China denied this was the case and continues to evade accountability but human rights groups fear that without a medical record of the causes of death of prisoners and patients, forced organ harvesting may still be prevalent in China today. Maryam, an Uyghur exile and mother who currently resides in Istanbul believes this is the case: “Xinjiang is a minefield for organs and many of the prisoners in concentration camps are Uyghurs or minority groups. They (the Chinese government) did this to Falun Gong minority prisoners years ago and now they are doing this to us. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 May 2022 Edition


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