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 May 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, Uyghur lawyer and human rights activist Nury Turkel talks about his new book, “No Escape,” detailing China’s persecution of Uyghur people inside the country and across the globe, meanwhile in India, the Delhi BJP has asked residents to alert them about Rohingya and Bangladeshis ‘illegally’ living in their neighbourhood or any part of the city, so it can initiate ‘bulldozer action’ against them, and in Mumbai, senior clerics said more than 900 mosques in the state of Maharashtra had agreed to turn the volume down on calls to prayer following complaints from a local Hindu politician. Our recommended read of the day is by Umar A Farooq for Middle East Eye on the backlash to the leaked SCOTUS draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, and how the criticism “often invoked a repetitive, racist and Islamophobic trope.” This and more below:

United States

09 May 2022

US Roe v Wade debate brings up age-old Islamophobic tropes | Recommended Read

On Monday, an initial draft opinion leaked by Politico suggested that the US Supreme Court could soon overturn the decades-old Roe v Wade ruling, a move that would have a monumental impact on reproductive rights in the US. What followed was a slew of outrage on social media, news articles, and opinion pieces. But within that backlash, a repetitive, racist and Islamophobic trope reemerged. In castigating the Supreme Court justices who wrote the draft ruling, many equated the potential impact with being placed under "sharia law" or under the rule of the "American Taliban". In other words, the decision to ban abortions, a cause championed by Christian conservatives and fundamentalists in the US, was equivalent to living under an "extremist" Muslim government. The comparison was met with immediate condemnation by many Muslim Americans as well as academics. They argued that this was just another example of Muslims being used as a scapegoat to demonise Muslims and when discussing structural issues in the US. "This is a form of Islamophobia because you don't need to be bringing us into this right now, but you are choosing to in order to underscore how awful and messed up [the draft decision] is," Muna Saleh, an assistant professor at the Concordia University of Edmonton, who has studied Islamophobia, told Middle East Eye. "It reinscribes Islamophobist ideas and notions and stereotypes. What it does is that it positions Muslims and our belief systems and our traditions as inherently the opposite of what 'civilised' means." read the complete article


09 May 2022

The new vigilantism

Officials of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation refused to stop the demolition drive in Jahangirpuri even after the Supreme Court had stayed the drive. The demolition itself came amid the demand of the Delhi BJP chief after violence in the area that ‘illegal’ houses and properties of the rioters be identified and demolished. In Mangaluru, Bajpe police inspector P.G. Sandesh and three other personnel have been suspended after he detained miscreants who had attacked a Muslim fruit seller and investigated their role. This is only a small sample to show that the Hindutva network now has a new ally: the police and administration. To understand the violent network of Hindutva forces, we need to keep this novelty in mind. Earlier, it was expected that the police and the administration would counter any attempt to disturb law and order. The open display of bias against the minorities by the police and administration is creating an impossible situation for these communities. How do they deal with this de facto legalised violence? The violent network against Muslims and Christians has now become so large and so complicated that it is impossible to say whether the hate campaigns and acts of violence are planned and directed by a single authority. One can say safely that not all of the perpetrators are formally affiliated to any of the Hindutva organisations we know about. But they are definitely part of a violent network, and most of them undertake these activities voluntarily. We know that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) remains the ideological fountainhead for muscular Hindutva. It keeps rationalising it and presenting arguments to defend it. But we never hear that the RSS is directly involved in the actual acts of violence. This is largely because it is difficult to say who is a member of the RSS unless the person involved volunteers this information. The RSS does not maintain a formal register of its members. This informality is of great help to it as the organisation can never be accused of being party to any act of violence. read the complete article

09 May 2022

The World Ignored Russia’s Delusions. It Shouldn’t Make the Same Mistake With India.

For decades, India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—the Hindu nationalist organization with close links to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—has put forward the idea of Akhand Bharat or an “unbroken India.” The proposed entity stretches from Afghanistan on India’s western flank all the way to Myanmar to the east of India as well as encompassing all of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has mentioned the idea: In a 2012 interview, when he was still the chief minister of Gujarat, he argued that Akhand Bharat referred to cultural unity. Last month, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat told a public gathering that India will become Akhand Bharat in 10 to 15 years, providing the first timeline for a Hindu nationalist pipe dream. Besides heading the RSS, Bhagwat is a very powerful figure in today’s India because of his personal relationship with Modi. The BJP is one of a few dozen institutions that comes under the direct control of the RSS, which now holds the most power since it was founded in 1925. Modi was a full-time RSS campaigner before it assigned him to the BJP, and he considers Bhagwat’s late father to be a mentor. Indian corporate leaders and foreign diplomats recognize Bhagwat’s clout, visiting him at RSS headquarters in Nagpur, India. His words must be engaged with seriously, not dismissed offhand as the fantasies of an old man. The idea of Akhand Bharat is a core tenet of Hindutva ideology, a century-old doctrine of Hindu nationalism. Now, with its own map and nomenclature, it is being taught to students in RSS-run schools across the country. Modi’s government seems to assert that this political geography transcends present-day borders. Its proponents imply that achieving Akhand Bharat will come after India is refashioned as a de facto Hindu Rashtra or “Hindu nation”—even if it remains a constitutional republic. This does not bode well for India’s democratic values. Modi has often presented himself as a Hindu ruler, a shift accompanied by increased violence against Muslims in India. read the complete article

09 May 2022

Mumbai mosques turn volume down on call to prayer after Hindu’s demands

Sitting in an office lined with books overlooking a giant prayer hall, Mohammed Ashfaq Kazi, the main preacher at the largest mosque in Mumbai, checked a decibel meter attached to the loudspeakers before he gave the call to worship. “The volume of our azaan (call to prayer) has become a political issue, but I don’t want it to take a communal turn,” said Kazi, one of the most influential Islamic scholars in the sprawling metropolis on India’s western coast. As he spoke he pointed to loudspeakers attached to the minarets of the ornate, sand-colored Juma Masjid in Mumbai’s old trading quarters. Kazi and three other senior clerics from Maharashtra where Mumbai is located said more than 900 mosques in the west of the state had agreed to turn the volume down on calls to prayer following complaints from a local Hindu politician. Raj Thackeray, leader of a regional Hindu party, demanded in April that mosques and others places of worship kept within allowed noise limits. If they did not, he said his followers would chant Hindu prayers outside mosques in protest. read the complete article

09 May 2022


Hindus have been convinced by the use of propaganda on state-run digital and social media platforms that they are the intended victims of a religious revolution by Muslims, threatening their rights and freedom. The inciting rhetoric has ignited a fierce anti-Muslim movement, with bulldozers targeting their homes, businesses, and places of worship in an effort to rid them from the country. The sole intent is to see India as a supreme Hindu nation. Days after the April 10, 2022, violent outbreak, similar clashes took place in New Delhi, the capital of India, during the celebration of the birth of the Hindu god, Hanuman. The unprovoked violence should serve as an alarm as to the power of—and danger in—the often unverified and inflamed spread of fearmongering and hate-filled rhetoric on the vast media platforms. The act of diminishing a people due to race or religion is a fast track to brutality, oppression, and loss of life and property. The unprovoked attacks, fueled by the spread of misinformation by the right-wing Hindutva groups, have resulted in normally peaceful national celebrations becoming the weapon of choice for practices of intimidation and threat to the minority Muslim communities, even casting blame on Muslims for the disruption of Hindu festivals, resulting in punishment and arrest. This disturbing account of unprovoked violence toward Muslims in India is fueled by misinformation and propaganda from news and social media outlets, as well as right‑wing editorial media constructing a false narrative of Muslims as a threat. That narrative continues to spiral into a climate of dangerous Islamophobia. read the complete article

09 May 2022

Delhi BJP asks residents to alert them about ‘Rohingya settlements’

The Delhi BJP Saturday asked residents to alert them about Rohingya and Bangladeshis ‘illegally’ living in their neighbourhood or any part of the city, so it can initiate ‘bulldozer action’ against them. Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta alleged that around 5 lakh Rohingya and Bangladeshis live across the city. “Bulldozer action should be taken wherever these people have captured our lands illegally. No nationalist, deshbhakt or any person belonging to any religion will be harmed, but we should not let outsiders live in our country,” said Gupta, adding, “Bulldozer chalana padega to chalayenge.” “I appeal to all the members of the BJP and residents to come forward and inform us about Rohingya and Bangladeshis who are living near your area. The MCD will take immediate action against these encroached settlements and establishments. We will also seek help from the Delhi Police for their intervention and action against them,” said Gupta. read the complete article


09 May 2022

Authorities In Xinjiang Forcefully Paid Uyghur Muslims To Dance In front Of The Kashgar Mosque

Authorities in Xinjiang allegedly have hatched a scheming plot to convince UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet, who will be visiting later this month, that Uyghur Muslims in Northwest China’s Xinjiang region are doing well. Officials in Kashgar are alleged to have paid Muslim Uyghur men to dance in front of the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Northwestern China’s Xinjiang region, in celebration of the religious holiday of Eid al-Fitr on May 3. On Tuesday, the dance was later documented and published on Youtube by China’s state-run media, China News Service (Zhongxinwang). The allegation is reinforced by residents who say that people were not allowed to pray at the Id Kah Mosque but were arranged to dance during the Eid celebrations on May 3. On Radio Free Asia (RFA), a police officer from the Kumdarwaza city police station confirmed that prayers had not been allowed at the Id Kah Mosque since 2016. He said the dance was organized by the residential committee, a Chinese Communist Party organization that oversees neighborhood units in the cities and towns throughout China. read the complete article

09 May 2022

'No Escape' details the history of Uyghurs in China up to their modern-day oppression

Ayesha Rascoe asks Nury Turkel about his new book, "No Escape," and about China's persecution of Uyghur people inside China and across the globe. TURKEL: The stories are simply disturbing. It shocks the conscience. They are forcing Uyghur women that are the source of education for Uyghur kids when it comes to values, religious beliefs, manners, even, to go through this transformation process, which is a code word for human re-engineering. So the food deprivation, unsanitary conditions, mental torture, even potential death were something pretty common based on my interviews with the camp survivors. What is not being reported is the sexual violence, the forced sterilization, even forcing middle-aged women to go through this brutal process. And the other thing that really, really strikes me is the fact that even some of them, after returning home, were subject to this homestay program. RASCOE: Well, yeah. Let me ask you about that, because the Chinese are actually sending people, Chinese people, to stay in Uyghur homes who come and live in your house and spy on you. Like, talk more about that program, because that was really shocking. TURKEL: Essentially, what the Chinese government has been doing is sending cadres to Uyghur homes, particularly those families that don't have a male household leader. What they do is just come in and eat and sleep uninvited in their bedroom. So essentially, the Uyghurs are living in an open-air prison. Even those who are not in the camp, even at your private home, you don't have a type of a life that normal people would have otherwise. RASCOE: Another part that you talked about in your book is there were prisoners who are forced to renounce their faith, their Islamic faith, and to say that the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, is their only god. TURKEL: To the Communist Party, Islam and Christianity are foreign religion that comes with kind of a sense of community, that you stick together. That can be perceived as a threat to the regime. When you have a spiritual life, the Chinese regime perceive that as a sign of disloyalty. Today, if you go to the place of worship in China, whether it be church or mosque or temple, you see Xi Jinping's giant portrait. In Islam, looking at the picture to perform any type of rituals are not permitted. And this is something that they also force the detainees to go through daily at - in those camps. They have forced indoctrination programs. We have seen images during the holy month of Ramadan, Uyghur women and men are dragged to public square, participating in beer drinking competition or contest. read the complete article

09 May 2022

China razes Uyghur’s 2000-year-old historic Silk Road market in alleged culture erasure scheme

Satellite images show that the Chinese government is destroying the Grand Bazaar, the largest international trade market in Kashgar, a famous oasis city in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), located in a city over 2000 years old and is the most important stop on the historic Silk Road, Grand Bazaar has 4,000 shops selling more than 9,000 products on 250-acres of land. Typical items sold at this market include spices, teas, silk, dried fruit, carpets, Uyghur musical instruments, Central Asia clothing, and skullcaps. RFA cited one local official saying that the local government removed the symbol of Kashgar to build a new tourist attraction. However, Uyghur activists and foreign scholars view that the destruction of the Grand Bazaar is really to serve the Chinese authorities’ ongoing plan to erase traditions and customs in the Xinjiang region. read the complete article


09 May 2022

Traces of Xinjiang cotton found in T-shirts made by Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss, report says

Traces of cotton sourced from the Chinese province of Xinjiang have been found in clothes made by Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss by German researchers. The major fashion brands have denied sourcing cotton from the region in which China is accused of carrying out widespread human-rights violations. Markus Boner from Agroisolab told the broadcaster about an “unambiguous” signature in the cotton made by the climate and geology of a place. He said such signatures are isotopic fingerprints to differentiate cotton sourced from other countries and other Chinese regions as well. Cotton is a big business for China as its Xinjiang province accounts for 84 per cent of global supplies. The region’s government has come under intense criticism for allegedly detaining Uyghur Muslims in the camps and is accused of some of the worst human rights violations, including forced labour on minorities. Since 2017, China is widely reported to have detained more than a million – some estimates put the figure at three million – Uyghur Muslims in detention facilities that Beijing has described as vocational training centres. read the complete article

09 May 2022

‘Hate is good business’: Social media giants fail on anti-Muslim hate

Social media companies are failing to act on 89 percent of posts containing anti-Muslim content reported to them, according to a recent report. “This report exposed that social media companies, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube, failed to act on 89 percent of posts containing anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobic content reported to them,” said the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). The CCDH researchers reported 530 posts which contain disturbing, bigoted, and dehumanising content that target Muslims through racist caricatures, conspiracies, and false claims. These posts were viewed at least 25 million times. Many of the abusive content was easily identifiable, and yet there was still inaction, it said. Stating that Instagram, TikTok and Twitter allow users to use hashtags such as #deathtoislam, #islamiscancer and #raghead, the report further said content spread using the hashtags received at least 1.3 million impressions. Such content further endangers these communities by driving “social divisions, normalising the abusive behaviour, and encouraging offline attacks and abuse,” it added. “Worse still, platforms profit from this hate, gleefully monetising content, interactions, and the resulting attention and eyeballs. For them, hate is good business,” it said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 May 2022 Edition


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