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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01 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, an investigation found that a trust run by a group of Hindus used Islamophobia as tactic to get Hindu farmers to sell their land at cheap rates, meanwhile at the United Nations, 50 member countries issued a joint statement that condemned the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, and in Canada, a “motorist who punched a man during a road rage incident initially described by police as “racially motivated” will be allowed to serve his sentence in the community.” Our recommended read of the day is by H. A. Hellyer for The National who argues that while PM Rishi Sunak’s belonging to the UK was not a major issue, it “does not mean that the UK does not have a problem with racism, or with minority religious groupings.” This and more below:

United Kingdom

01 Nov 2022

Sunak's appointment doesn't cancel bigotry in the UK | Recommended Read

There are those that want to imagine that the UK has got to this point – that Mr Sunak’s race and minority religious status as a practicing Hindu, is simply irrelevant for the British public. Hence his being elected as the new leader of the Conservative Party, and thus prime minister, was extraordinary in its ordinariness. There are others who go in the other direction, which we saw on the Daily Show, a popular American comedy-news show, where it was claimed there was a massive "backlash" against Mr Sunak’s becoming Britain’s prime minister, due to his Indian origins. The host, Trevor Noah, defended his comments, insisting that he wasn’t making a generalised characterisation of British society writ large, but was talking about only "some" people. Noah was wrong – but also right. He was very wrong in saying there was a backlash against Mr Sunak due to his Indian origins – his belonging to the UK seemed barely to come up as an issue, even at the height of campaigning. But that does not mean the UK actually does not have a problem with racism, or indeed with minority religious groupings. Mr Sunak has Indian origins, true – but Mr Sunak is also incredibly wealthy, and in the context of the UK, class often overcomes and displaces race. Moreover, historically, the biggest target of racism and bigotry in the Indian British community is aimed at a different demographic – the Muslim community, and especially those who are visibly and publicly Muslim. This is why the former chairperson of the Conservative Party, Sayeeda Warsi, has been raising the alarm around anti-Muslim bigotry in the UK in general, and inside the Conservative Party in particular, for many years now. read the complete article


01 Nov 2022

Record Number of States Condemn China’s Persecution of Uyghurs

Fifty United Nations member countries today issued a joint statement that condemned the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang. It was the largest group of states to publicly denounce Beijing’s human rights violations in Xinjiang, which the UN’s human rights office determined may amount to crimes against humanity. The statement was presented to UN member states by Canada at a meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, which focuses on human rights. The statement urges the Chinese government to implement the recommendations of the groundbreaking August 31 report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). “This includes taking prompt steps to release all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in Xinjiang, and to urgently clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing family members and facilitate safe contact and reunion,” the statement reads. read the complete article

01 Nov 2022

Misinterpreting Iran’s smoldering hijab protests

What happens when a progressive local politician attempts to honor the struggle for women’s rights unfolding in another part of the world, seemingly without first engaging the people at the center and with the most knowledge of that struggle? First-year Boston City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson set off intense backlash when she offered a resolution calling for “Mahsa Amini’s birthday, September 23rd, as the day of women’s right to self expression,” or “Boston’s Hijab Day,” according to the document filed Oct. 19. Nearly two weeks ago, Fernandes Anderson brought up Amini’s death and talked about the rise of Islamophobia around women — like herself — who wear hijabs or scarves around their head. “The choice to wear a head covering in the United States is unrestricted legally, though entrenched Islamophobia can still make this choice a precarious one,” her resolution noted. But many local Iranian Americans and Iranians living abroad were appalled by Fernandes Anderson’s “Boston’s Hijab Day” proposal and how she connected it to Amini’s death. Ultimately Fernandes Anderson changed course and, at Wednesday’s City Council hearing, said that after listening to the community and people around the world she amended her proposal to mark Amini’s birthday instead as a “Day of Woman, Life and Freedom.” Fernandes Anderson said she originally wanted “to bring home the point that no government has the right to force women to wear a headscarf” and that she intended to use the word “hijab” for educational purposes. The councilor did not respond to questions sent via email about the backlash, but in a social media post last week she said her intentions had been misunderstood. read the complete article

01 Nov 2022

Jacinda Ardern urges Musk to ‘stick to transparency’ amid extremism fears

The New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has called for Elon Musk to take on the “huge responsibility” of controlling a social media platform and “stick strongly to the principle of transparency”, after the billionaire took control of Twitter. Ardern was speaking at a summit on national security, disinformation and online extremism when she was asked about Musk’s purchase of the company and his recent online behaviour. In her speech at the counter-terrorism summit, Ardern said online disinformation was a top concern for New Zealanders, with one in four saying disinformation was the greatest security threat to them and their families. After the March 15 mosque terror attacks, where a white supremacist killed 51 Muslims worshipping in Christchurch in 2019, Ardern launched the “Christchurch Call”, asking social media companies to counter online extremism and misinformation. The mosque attack was livestreamed on multiple social media platforms, and the terrorist’s manifesto published online. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey had supported Ardern’s “Christchurch Call”, and the platform has been a partner with the initiative. read the complete article


01 Nov 2022

How A Trust Used Urdu Name And Islamophobia To 'Dupe' Farmers

Six months after the riot hit town of Khargone began limping back to normalcy, a new controversy has exposed the eroded trust between the two communities. A trust run by a group of Hindus used an Urdu name, appointed a Muslim manager and intimidated Hindus to purchase their land at throwaway prices. Islamophobia was the tool. Years later, the organisation is back in the limelight after members of another trust, started by the same founder, have complained of misuse of their funds. In the complaint to the Khargone police they have alleged that an organisation named Tanzeem-E-Zarkhez which was renamed to PC Mahajan Foundation, used their money to buy lands. Over half a dozen farmers of the Rajpura panchayat, who sold their nearly 50 acres of land because of the "fear of Muslims" claim that they were tricked by Ravi Prakash Mahajan, who owns both the trust. The farmers allege that men employed by the organisation called Tanzeem-E-Jarkhez bought land from them at cheap rates back in 2002-2003 by telling them that the area will be used to establish a Muslim colony with a butcher house and a graveyard near their home, that will force them to leave. The land is now being used to build a housing colony that has no Muslim residents. read the complete article

01 Nov 2022

HC quashes Gujarat’s first ‘anti-love jihad law’ FIR against Muslim family

The Gujarat High Court quashed the first FIR registered by the Gujarat Police under the state’s ‘anti-love jihad’ law against Muslim man, his parents and priests following the husband and wife settled the matter among themselves. According to the court, the further continuation of the criminal proceedings in relation to the FIR would be nothing but unnecessary harassment to the parties, Live Law reported. Justice Niral R. Mehta quashed and set aside all the proceedings arising out of the FIR. The woman told HC that contained grossly incorrect and untrue facts, particularly regarding the allegations of forceful conversion, the legal website reported. Importantly, the woman alleged that she had approached a local police station in Vadodara to report petty matrimonial discord, however, the cops, on their own, brought in the “love jihad” angle. The police officers inserted the allegations in the FIR which she did not even make, she claimed. “Love jihad” is a term used by the Hindu nationalist groups to describe an alleged phenomenon where Muslim men lure Hindu women, by hook or by crook, into marrying them and converting to Islam. Hindu group propagandists claim that this is an organised racket rooted in a widespread conspiracy. However, successive probes have failed to find any evidence that such a conspiracy exists and the even Union government has admitted that the term has no credible definition. read the complete article


01 Nov 2022

Edmonton motorist pleads guilty in road rage incident police called 'racially motivated'

A motorist who punched a man during a road rage incident initially described by police as “racially motivated” will be allowed to serve his sentence in the community. Andrew Timothy Brown, 36, pleaded guilty to a single count of assault in Edmonton provincial court Monday, but made no admissions regarding language police alleged he used toward the Muslim victim and his family. According to agreed facts read into the record by Crown prosecutor Meghan Rohatyn, two families were driving in separate vehicles in north central Edmonton during the early evening of April 25, 2021, when they noticed Brown driving erratically next to them. The wife of the driver of the first car said Brown pulled alongside the passenger window and showed her the middle finger while accelerating and braking suddenly. At the time of Brown’s arrest police said the woman was wearing a hijab, though no mention was made of this during Monday’s hearing. Eventually, Brown began to yell. Police said he “uttered religious slurs at the driver and his family,” though all Brown admitted to saying Monday was “you want to go?” and “get the f— away from my vehicle.” Brown then punched the first driver’s friend in the face with his right hand and left the scene. He was charged with assault causing bodily harm but pleaded guilty to the lesser included offence Monday. read the complete article

01 Nov 2022

Nuzhat Jafri details systemic Islamophobia in Canada

Nuzhat Jafri, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, explains how she believes that there exists systemic Islamophobia in Canadian provincial and federal governments, both through examples such as Quebec’s Bill 96 and through a need to update provincial and federal labour laws to protect Muslim’s in the workplace. This is a clip from rabble’s most recent live politics panel: ‘Off the Hill: Confronting Islamophobia in Canada.’ The panel featured guests Senator Salma Ataullahjan, Monia Mazigh, Nuzhat Jafri, and Karl Nerenberg. Co-hosted by Robin Browne and Libby Davies. read the complete article


01 Nov 2022

As Denmark votes, I have a question: Am I welcome here?

In early September I was touched to receive a note from the Danish Parliament, congratulating me on becoming a Danish citizen. Over the decade that I have lived in Denmark, letters from immigration authorities notifying me that I had been granted a visa or residence permit had been far from congratulatory. Instead, they included lengthy descriptions of the many ways in which I could lose the residency I had just been granted. In fact, a range of anti-immigrant and anti-asylum laws as well as an increasingly xenophobic political discourse have often made me feel unwelcome. Will that change as Denmark votes for its next government on Tuesday in an election that pollsters predict will produce a fractured result? This is now my country, but the nice note aside, does it really want me? Even the opposition Social Democrats, including the current prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, backed the so-called Jewelry Law, which allowed the police to confiscate items of value from asylum seekers to cover the cost of their stay in Denmark. The government suspended Denmark’s participation in the United Nations refugee resettlement programme and cut benefits available to asylum seekers by almost half. In 2018, the government passed a law banning the burqa and niqab and launched a set of harsh measures and laws specifically targeting what it called ghettos, socioeconomically disadvantaged areas where more than half the population is of non-Western immigrant background. read the complete article

United States

01 Nov 2022

US government withholds art made by detainees at Guantánamo Bay

In 2009, the newly installed administration of Barack Obama decided to improve conditions for the hundreds of detainees rounded up in the Middle East as suspected terrorists and sent to Guantánamo Bay by, among other things, offering art classes. Detainees who were released, either due to lack of evidence of criminality or because they were deemed innocent, were permitted to take any works they created to their home countries. (The works were evaluated beforehand by intelligence officials at Guantánamo Bay for any hidden or coded messages before they were allowed out.) In 2017, however, after the first Art from Guantánamo Bay exhibition took place at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, the US Department of Defense reversed its position and blocked the release of all works created by prisoners, regardless of whether or not military prosecutors believed their creators were associated with terrorism or anti-American acts. A Pentagon spokesman stated at the time that “items produced by detainees at Guantánamo Bay remain the property of the US government”. However, there has never been an official written statement with regard to the ownership of work created by Guantánamo prisoners or if and how it might be released. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Nov 2022 Edition


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