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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08 May 2020

Today in Islamophobia: Canadians push back against Indian diaspora spewing anti-Muslim hate in the country, as analysis by PBD Newshour unmasks how the pandemic is exacerbating India’s social and religious tensions. The Georgia chapter of CAIR calls for justice “over modern day lynching” of Ahmaud Arbery. Our recommended read today is by Michael Sullivan on COVID-19 and how it is further alienating the Muslim Rohingya. This, and more, below:


08 May 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic Further Alienates Muslim Minority Rohingya | Recommended Read

MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: For decades, Muslim-majority Malaysia has been a safe haven for Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar. Not anymore - an online hate campaign that began last month has shattered that dream. PHIL ROBERTSON: It started around the 18 of April, and that was around the time that there was publicity coming out - the pushback of a Rohingya boat by the Malaysian navy. SULLIVAN: Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, says international criticism of that pushback policy didn't sit well in Malaysia. ROBERTSON: And this appears to be part of the reaction - that they didn't want any more Rohingya, people were tired of the Rohingya. And quite quickly, it metastasized into a very serious hate speech campaign against the Rohingya. read the complete article

Recommended Read
08 May 2020

First Arab world, now Canada saying enough is enough to Muslim-hating overseas Indians

While bigots in India have enjoyed a free run with direct and indirect support of members in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and even Narendra Modi government, the situation for bigoted Indians living abroad, such as in the Gulf and now Canada, has taken a different turn. After several incidents of Indian expatriates in the Gulf countries being called out for their Islamophobic tirade on social media and getting sacked by their employers, it was Canada’s turn to take down such hate. Ravi Hooda, a real estate agent based in Ontario, was angered by Brampton mayor Patrick Brown’s tweet over exemptions given in the city’s noise bylaws to allow azaan (call to prayer). “What’s next? Separate lanes for camel & goat riders, allowing the slaughter of animals at home in the name of sacrifice, bylaw requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents to appease the piece fools for votes,” he tweeted in reply. It was lost on the Islamophobe that the exemption was earlier limited to church bells and was now being extended to all faiths. Perhaps, he also forgot that he was in Canada, and not in India, where such remarks draw thousands of likes and retweets. But he soon learnt his lesson. Hooda, who later deleted his tweet, was called out by several Twitter users, including Canada’s Anti-Hate Network, for his vile comments. The real estate company he was associated with terminated his services. He has also been removed as the School Council Chair by the Macville Public School. read the complete article

08 May 2020

UN chief: Covid-19 has sparked hate, xenophobia, Islamophobia

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for an "all-out effort" to end the "tsunami of hate and xenophobia" sparked by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, without naming specific countries. "The pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scaremongering," Guterres said in a statement. "Anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and in the streets. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have spread and Covid-19-related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred." According to Guterres, migrants and refugees have been "vilified as a source of the virus – and then denied access to medical treatment." Meanwhile, "contemptible memes have emerged suggesting" that older people, some of the most vulnerable to the virus, "are also the most expendable," he said. read the complete article

United States

08 May 2020

Leading Muslim civil rights group calls for justice over 'modern-day lynching' of unarmed black jogger

The Georgia chapter of the largest US Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation called on Thursday for the immediate arrest of two men who allegedly shot unarmed black man Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through his neighbourhood in the southern state. The Georgia office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) also criticised the "overdue" decision by the District Attorney Tom Durden to convene a grand jury to bring charges against the two suspects. The group requested the state use the full force of the law to prosecute the father and son, in a case which has rocked the country. Khwaja added that Georgia's Muslims were "dismayed and infuriated but not surprised" by the footage showing the "modern-day lynching" of Arbery. "We strongly condemn this racist act of unjustified murder, which is part of a pattern of violence rooted in the historic subjugation of African-American men and women. We join the call for the arrest of the two suspects prior to the convening of the grand jury," he said. “These dangerous episodes targeting the African-American community are not unique, but rather are symptomatic of the racism that instills fear and distrust within our communities. It is long past time for law enforcement to take such crimes seriously,” he added. read the complete article

08 May 2020

Islamophobia, Race and Global Politics by Nazia Kazi

In Islamophobia, Race and Global Politics, Kazi contends that Islamophobia is rooted primarily in U.S. government policy toward the Muslim world. Decades of racist and imperialistic policies, coupled with a society and educational system that uncritically accepts and perpetuates government narratives, have fueled Islamophobia’s rise, she argues. At a Feb. 19 event hosted by Georgetown University, Kazi noted that she recently surveyed undergraduates born after 9/11 to find out how much they know about the attacks. Saddam Hussain, ISIS, Pakistan and Palestine were among the culprits many students incorrectly blamed for the attacks. Many couldn’t list a reason why the U.S. invaded Afghanistan or Iraq. Students, she observed, seemed to only associate the day with patriotism and the heroism of first responders, “forgetting everything else.” “Never forget,” she noted, is the “brand name of 9/11,” and yet “it seems the way we remember 9/11 has actually meant a deep forgetfulness.” The troubling ignorance goes beyond the events of 9/11. “What about before 9/11/2001?” she asked. “What if we didn’t forget the geopolitics, the histories between the U.S. and what we now call the Middle East?” As just one example, Kazi noted the prominent role the CIA played in funding mujahedeen fighters in Afghanistan, fueling their flourishing opium trade and enabling their horrific treatment of women. “These are not the histories that make it into our social studies books,” Kazi observed. “The histories that are popularly taught have been incomplete, to put it mildly.” read the complete article

08 May 2020

New Jersey man accused of ramming Muslim woman’s car

Nutley police said local resident Michael Morrison, 55, began shouting statements, including “You’re a terrorist,” “I’m going to kill you” and “Go back to your country,” at the woman and her 16-year-old son on April 21 inside a Carvel ice cream shop, where they were waiting in line. When the mother and son left the store, Morrison followed them and twice used his vehicle to hit the driver’s side of their car, police said. Authorities said he attempted to crash into the woman’s car once again while she was at a stop sign and then fled. Morrison faces charges of aggravated assault, making terroristic threats, bias intimidation, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon with an unlawful purpose, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. Nutley police are also summoning him on allegations of reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage and several other motor vehicle charges. read the complete article


08 May 2020

Bangladesh quarantines hundreds of Rohingya boat people on island - officials

The Bangladesh navy has rescued around 280 Rohingya Muslims from the Bay of Bengal, towing their stranded boat to an island where they will be quarantined as a precaution against the coronavirus, coast guard and naval officials said on Friday. The rickety wooden boat was spotted early on Thursday in Bangladeshi waters, and taken to Bhasan Char, a low-lying island off the southern coast, where the government has built housing and cyclone shelters. “They were starving and we have given them food and water,” one naval officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The plan is to keep them in home quarantine for 14 days. Later the government will decide.” The navy and coast guard are on alert for other boats in Bangladeshi waters, unable to find their course as the seas turn rougher due to a change in season. Back in February, Bangladesh appeared to be backing off plans to settle Rohingya refugees on Bhasan Char, having come under fierce criticism from the United Nations and aid agencies. But the subsequent coronavirus scare appears to have persuaded Bangladesh authorities to at least use the facilities on the island for quarantining rescued Rohingya boat people. read the complete article


08 May 2020

How COVID-19 is inflaming India’s social and religious tensions

India’s government has begun to relax its lockdown, though COVID-19 continues to spread there. The country has incurred massive economic and humanitarian losses and is still vulnerable to a devastating blow from the virus. Meanwhile, the pandemic is fomenting violence against health care workers and Muslims, whom many blame for spreading the disease. While facilities are a concern, doctors say that the infection isn't the only thing that they're battling. Many health care workers have been attacked by angry neighbors who've accused doctors of being carriers of the virus. Many leaders of Prime Minister Modi's Hindu majority BJP Party blamed the rapid spread on Indian Muslims. Since then, many Muslims have been beaten up, others harassed and targeted online, accused of being carriers of the virus, including Rana Ayyub, who says the Indian government stands to gain from such a hate campaign. Rana Ayyub (through translator): It is trying to obfuscate the truth by diverting the country's attention to communalization, to communalization of the virus. So, unfortunately, it has had an impact. You see middle-class narratives in India focusing on — focusing on Muslims being the villains. And is it not asking the questions of the government that need to be asked. read the complete article

08 May 2020

As Muslim cases surge, Maharashtra ropes in Mosques and Imams to issue Coronavirus awareness messages in Urdu: Report

According to the reports, at least 239 deaths out of the total 548 deaths recorded in Maharashtra are from the Muslim community, making a whopping 44 per cent of the total deaths in the state, which is almost thrice their share of the population in the state. The numbers are quite alarming as Muslims are reportedly less than 12 per cent in the state’s population. Incidentally, only one death of a Filipino national is linked to Tablighi Jamaat mid-March event in New Delhi. 69 coronavirus positive cases in Maharashtra were traced to the Tablighi Jamaat. “A lot of people working (in the Gulf) returned home and were missed during airport screening. That was a game-changer. We noticed that several of them, although asymptomatic, spread infection in the community,” state epidemiologist Pradeep Awate said. Awate added that most cases were now coming from the lower socio-economic strata. He added that the cases are spreading in slums not because of a particular religious group, but because of poor living conditions. In the slums, Muslims are in large numbers and at least 8-10 people live in a small room where social distancing is difficult, Awate said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 08 May 2020 Edition


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