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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11 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, developments in the investigation into the bombing in Dover reveal the perpetrator held deep anti-Muslim and xenophobic views, meanwhile in Australia, a Muslim student was forced by a teacher, despite asking to be excused, to watch an “explicit and blasphemous” cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad, and in the U.S., a police chief in New Jersey is being placed on administrative leave after filing a notice of discrimination against his department. Our recommended read of the day is by Johana Bhuiyan for The Guardian on a Chinese State spyware campaign that is targeting Uyghur Muslims by “masquerading” as Android apps including messaging services, prayer time apps and dictionaries. This and more below:


10 Nov 2022

Spyware targets Uyghurs by ‘masquerading’ as Android apps – report | Recommended Read

Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a spyware campaign that is targeting Uyghurs by “masquerading” as Android apps including messaging services, prayer time apps and dictionaries, according to a new report by the cloud security firm Lookout. The spyware, which researchers say is connected to a Chinese government-backed hacking group, can be used to track people who use services that may be considered a “pre-crime” or are seen by China as indications that someone is engaging in or will engage in religious extremist or separatist activities. “Pre-crime” activities include using a virtual private network (VPN) or sharing any kind of religious content and can lead to being detained in a re-education camp. The surveillance campaign primarily targets Uyghurs in China, according to the report, but there is also evidence that those behind the campaign were looking to target Uyghurs in Muslim-majority countries like Afghanistan or Turkey. Turkey is home to the largest Uyghur diaspora outside of Central Asia with an estimated 50,000 Uyghurs living there. China’s mass surveillance apparatus and its targeting of Uyghurs has been well documented in the past few years. read the complete article

10 Nov 2022

How Modi's politics of hate and fear is causing harm to Indian citizens both home and abroad

Human rights experts have been sounding the alarm about the global threat posed by Hindu nationalism for years, but these warnings went largely ignored – that is until mobs of radicalised Hindu extremists carried out a wave of attacks against Muslims in the UK city of Leicester last month. Similar attacks have been committed by Hindus against Muslims in Anaheim, California, and against Sikhs in Ottawa, Canada, in recent months. In June, Canadian Hindu nationalist leader Ron Banerjee told a street reporter in Toronto, “I support the killing of Muslims and Sikhs in the Republic of India because they deserve to die.” Sydney, Australia, has also experienced a spate of hate crimes committed by Hindus against Sikhs and Muslims, forcing authorities to deport one such assailant, Vishal Sood – he received a hero’s welcome upon arriving in India, mirroring the warm and enthusiastic reception the 11 men convicted of raping a pregnant Muslim woman during the 2002 Gujarat Riots received from the mainstream public upon their early release from prison in August. Put simply – the same kind of communal violence Hindu nationalists have unleashed on religious minorities in India has now made its way to the streets of European, American, and Australian cities. Western states are finally waking up to what has become a global threat posed by Hindu nationalism or Hindutva, an ideology inspired by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party and other European fascist movements of the 1930s. read the complete article

11 Nov 2022

Islamophobia in Europe is a growing structural challenge

On a global level, the unanimous vote in the UN to adopt a resolution presented by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to declare March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia was an important step towards increasing awareness of the problem of Islamophobia. But when riveting on the role of European institutions, the picture gets a disfigurement. Besides India currently ruled by the BJP-led government with ultra-hostile anti-Muslim policies and frequent attacks on minorities, it was only two other political actors voicing opposition to the resolution -- one was France and the other was a delegate of the European Union (EU). France is --like India-- is no surprise if one considers the recent systematic anti-Muslim policies implemented by the Ministry of Interior of Macron’s government. In the name of fighting a ghost called "Islamist Separatism", a long-time secret policy named "Systematic Obstruction" was implemented that ended with a massive crackdown on France’s Muslim civil society. As many as 24,887 Muslim organizations and businesses were placed on a secret blacklist and under strict monitoring, and 718 Muslim-owned organizations and businesses including at least 4 schools, 37 mosques, 210 businesses, and two organizations were closed. About €46 million ($46.2) were confiscated by the French government. If European institutions continue to work with the countries such as France, which implements what the far-right has been preaching for so long, ignoring the structural violence that Muslims are facing in making them invisible and even more vulnerable, values such as freedom, dignity and equality will be nothing, but empty promises for the religious minorities in Europe. read the complete article

United States

11 Nov 2022

Town suspends Muslim police chief who said he intends to sue over racist comments

A Muslim police chief in New Jersey was placed on administrative leave Thursday, several weeks after filing a notice that he intends to sue the town where he works because of alleged discrimination and a hostile work environment. Ahmed Naga, the first Muslim chief of the Long Hill Township Police Department in Morris County, was ordered to turn in his duty and personal firearms and was prohibited from entering any township buildings, according to documents obtained by NJ Advance Media. The suspension comes just days after Naga’s attorney, Patrick Toscano of Caldwell, submitted audio recordings of a township committee member telling a private investigator in a sworn statement that the chief had been called a derogatory and racist name. “He said Vic just called me (an ethnic slur),” Rae says on the tape, which was obtained by NJ Advance Media. Toscano said the recording was made last Friday. “We produced that tape several days ago, not even a week ago, the next thing you know this morning I get a letter saying (Naga) is suspended on administrative leave,” Toscano said. read the complete article

10 Nov 2022

U.S. Government Quietly Declassifies Post-9/11 Interview With Bush and Cheney

On Wednesday, as the eyes of the U.S. public were focused on Tuesday’s midterm election results, a U.S. government panel quietly released a newly declassified summary of an Oval Office joint interview conducted with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney about the September 11 attacks. The interview, carried out by members of the 9/11 Commission, was not recorded and the summary document constitutes the only known official record of the meeting. The meeting took place on April 29, 2004. One of the most striking aspects of the declassified document is the apparent absence of even a glimmer of self-awareness by Bush about the significance of the death and destruction he was unleashing with his global war. The interview took place just as a massive insurgency was erupting in Iraq against a U.S. occupation that would kill thousands of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. While the document is a rough transcript and summary, Bush comes off as almost childishly simplistic in his insights and analysis. The lack of any sensitive information contained within the document should spur questions as to why it took more than 18 years to be made public. read the complete article


11 Nov 2022

Recent Raids On The Wire Contrast With Easy Acceptance of Incendiary, Fabricated News By Govt-Friendly Media

Recent police raids on the homes of editors of The Wire, based on a complaint of cheating and conspiracy by a ruling-party spokesperson, stood out as particularly disproportionate and ironic because India is awash in fake news with provocative or divisive intent. This flood of fabricated or misrepresented news, some of it potentially calling for criminal action, said experts, is largely ignored, especially since it emanates from either media allied to the Bharatiya Janata Party or from the party itself. Apart from being asked to pull down these videos, the channels that broadcast these, faced no scrutiny or action from peers or the government. More evidence of inaction against obviously fake or misleading and potentially incendiary content was made available by fact-checking websites. Experts said the tolerance of this flood of fake news is a contrast to searches and seizure on 31 October 2022 of personal and office computers, phones and iPads from the homes and offices of the editors and business head of The Wire by the Delhi police within 48 hours of a defamation, forgery and cheating complaint by BJP spokesperson Amit Malviya. Anya Schiffrin, the director of technology, media and communications at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs said there was “no justification” for the action against The Wire. read the complete article

10 Nov 2022

Internet Calls Out Adah Sharma for Spreading Lies & Islamophobia in Her New Film

The trailer launch of Adah Sharma's new film, The Kerala Story, has landed both the maker, Sudipto Sen, and the actress in a controversy. According to the reports, the Kerala Police Chief has directed to register an FIR against the film after a complaint was filed; there are also demands to stall the release of the film. Additionally, netizens are calling out the actress Adah Sharma for portraying the film as a "true story" and adding fuel to the fire that is Islamophobia in the country. In the trailer, Adah Sharma could be seen wearing a burqa and narrating the story of her forced conversion. She says she was Shalini Unnikrishnan, a Hindu woman, hailing from Kerala who was forced to convert to Islam. Later, she was recruited into the ISIS and is now languishing in a jail in Afghanistan. She went on to say that, "This was not just her story, but the story of 32,000 women who are converted to Islam and sent to ISIS and no one is taking any action against this." As none of the claims have been backed by any proof, the netizens were quick to point out that the movie was an attempt to spread propaganda and islamophobia in the country. read the complete article

United Kingdom

10 Nov 2022

The Dover bombings were a hate attack – why did it take so long to call them terrorism?

On October 30, Andrew Leak threw a number of incendiary devices at an immigration centre in Dover. The attack, which we can assume was against vulnerable and displaced people due to Leak’s social media posts, was not initially treated as terrorism by police. Yet authorities were initially reluctant to call a spade a spade, and said his actions ‘may not necessarily meet the threshold of terrorism’, before later changing their minds. Why is this? Is it because our anti-Muslim prejudices are so deep-rooted that on some level, we cannot conceive of a white man as a terrorist? Or ethnic minority, displaced people as victims of hate? The horrific attack left two with minor injuries and culminated in Andrew Leak ending his own life. It solidifies the frightening reality that Islamophobic social media posts and dog-whistle racism aren’t just empty words – they have real consequences. And yet, in my opinion, the attack itself seems to have received far less coverage than other attacks, particularly those inspired by Islamist terrorism. I have to ask, if Andrew had been a Muslim, would the media be interviewing his friends and conveniently including details about how, yes he shared far-right conspiracy theories about migrants on his Facebook but he was also friends with some people of colour (and therefore, not all that bad really)? read the complete article

11 Nov 2022

To eradicate Islamophobia we need to start with defining the problem

To make it even more terrifying, his tweet addressed Muslim women and warned of awful consequences, saying “disgusting women will be targeted". We should let that sink in. He wanted to eradicate children for being Muslim. He also declared that Muslim women should be burnt alive. That is Islamophobia. Yet, there is no "official" definition of Islamophobia. But that is the thing about hatred, discrimination and inequality: we can sense it and know it is inherently wrong but it is much harder to put a name on it so as to be able to tackle it. Tackling hatred comes with huge resistance from people and groups who actively perpetuate hate, such as the sources that Andrew Leak had been influenced by, and those who, under a veneer of propriety, perpetuate toxic ideas. It also comes from those who imbibe pervasive attitudes of negativity and are yet unaffected personally. Creating a definition acknowledges that a situation exists and it is wrong. And once there is agreement about its existence and its wrongness, those perpetuating it must be held to account. read the complete article


10 Nov 2022

Muslim student in Australia forced to watch cartoon of Prophet Muhammad

A Muslim student has been left traumatised after an Australian teacher forced her to look at a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad at a school in Australia's city of Melbourne. During a media studies class at a Melbourne college, the teacher played an “explicit and blasphemous” cartoon to the class that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, the student’s father said. According to the Herald Sun, the offensive cartoon is believed to be a Charlie Hebdo front page from 2015, which sparked massive protests across the Muslim world. The Muslim student raised objections to the material but did not leave the class and the teacher continued, according to “My daughter also tried to express her discomfort at the video but unfortunately the teacher didn’t care and continued to play the video, forcing my child to view the content." the father explained. "Forcing a child to view content is illegal and against the law. This has aggravated my child and my family’s sentiments in a painful manner and has put us in a painful psychological and mental trauma.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Nov 2022 Edition


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