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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16 Nov 2021

Today in Islamophobia: A new report from the U.S. Holocaust Museum finds that China’s campaign targeting Uyghurs hinges on “coercive interventions of the Chinese government to prevent sizable numbers of Uyghurs from coming into being,” with the deliberate goal “to biologically destroy the group, in whole or in substantial part,” meanwhile, in the United States, Hamtramck has elected an all-Muslim City Council and a Muslim mayor, becoming the first in the US to have a Muslim-American government, and in the United Kingdom, Adil Rashid, the England leg-spinner, not only confirmed Azeem Rafiq’s recollections of the incident, but pledged to participate in any official investigation aimed at stamping out what he called the “cancer” of racism. Our recommended read of the day is by Rana Ayyub for the Washington Post on the new Bollywood film, “Sooryavanshi,” which she argues is full of anti-Muslim tropes and stokes the dangerous “love jihad” conspiracy, which paints Muslim men as colluding to seduce or kidnap Hindu women or girls and convert them to Islam. This and more below:


16 Nov 2021

Why an Indian film’s success at the box office should worry us all | Recommended Read

The young Muslim man watches his wife being killed in the name of jihad. The man had been living a quiet domestic life posing as a Hindu and working as a car mechanic. But when his Hindu wife confronts him about a terrorist plot, the head of the terrorist group who has come to recruit him back kills her in cold blood. Soon after, we see the husband and other men praying as they gear up for the attack. The nauseating scene is featured in the movie “Sooryavanshi,” which is ruling the box office here in India. The film stokes the dangerous “love jihad” conspiracy, which paints Muslim men as colluding to seduce or kidnap Hindu women or girls and convert them to Islam. But other Islamophobic tropes are the center of the film, which has as its male lead one of the biggest stars in India, Akshay Kumar — a big fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and an actor famous for his jingoistic, hyper-nationalist films. “Sooryavanshi” is one of the most successful films in India after the covid-19 lockdowns were eased. Its success contributes to the climate of hate and discrimination that India’s estimated 200 million Muslims must face everyday. Every third frame of the film is a bloodcurdling Islamophobic image. While an upper-class Hindu character played by Kumar gives lessons in patriotism, the Muslim antagonist responds with hate. He is ungrateful, with a long beard and skull cap. Each time the protagonist sermonizes the Indian Muslim to fall in line, the audience in the theater where I saw the film whistled and applauded. read the complete article

16 Nov 2021

India’s Hindu hardliners attack Muslim ex-foreign minister’s home

Hindu hardliners have attacked and set fire to the home of a former Indian foreign minister, police say, in the latest incident of religious violence that critics say has been inflamed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Salman Khurshid, a Muslim from the main opposition Congress party, published a book last month in which he compared the kind of Hindu nationalism that has flourished under Modi to “extremist groups” such as ISIL (ISIS). Police said a mob of about 20 people from a hardline local Hindu group massed outside Khurshid’s house near the northern city of Nainital on Monday. “They shouted slogans, threw stones, broke several windows, ransacked [the entry] and set fire [to a door],” local police chief Jagdish Chandra told the AFP news agency. The Times of India newspaper reported that the group had set fire to an effigy of Khurshid, fired shots and threatened the daughter-in-law of the caretaker with a gun. Khurshid, who served as foreign minister from 2012 to 2014, was away with his family at the time of the incident. He later posted images of the aftermath of the attack on social media. read the complete article

16 Nov 2021

India journalists accused of publishing ‘false news’ granted bail

Two female Indian journalists who were arrested in the northeastern state of Assam for their coverage of anti-Muslim violence in the neighbouring Tripura state have been granted bail. The arrest of Samriddi Sakunia and Swarna Jha on Sunday drew concerns from media watchdogs, activists and politicians, who called it a “violation of press freedom”. Sakunia and Jha were arrested on charges of publishing false news aimed at disrupting communal harmony. The young journalists, in their early 20s, have been reporting from Tripura, which saw large-scale anti-Muslim violence late last month, during which more than a dozen mosques saw arson attacks. The Tripura police earlier filed cases against 102 people, including journalists, for social media posts about the violence under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA. The police have accused the users of spreading fake news. According to HW News Network, a case was filed against Sakunia and Jha on Sunday by the Tripura police on the basis of a written complaint submitted by one Kanchan Das, who is a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP) linked to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). read the complete article


16 Nov 2021

The Uyghur woman fighting to keep her culture alive - BBC News

Mukaddes Yadigar is a Uyghur Muslim entrepreneur who has been living in the UK since 2011, and is desperate to pass on her culture and language to her children. The Uyghur are a Muslim minority who hail predominantly from the region of Xinjiang, in China. Human rights organisations accuse the Chinese government of detaining over 1 million Uyghur Muslims and restricting their religious practices. Local activists say China is trying to erase their culture. In London, Mukaddes has two restaurants devoted to Uyghur cuisine, where every month she holds events to celebrate the food, music and dances of her people to try and ensure the preservation of their traditions. read the complete article

16 Nov 2021

Government refuses to declare atrocities in Xinjiang a genocide

The UK government has refused to declare ongoing atrocities in Xinjiang a genocide, in its response to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s special report “Never Again: The UK’s Responsibility to Act on Atrocities in Xinjiang and Beyond”, published over the weekend. The Government states that it will not “make determinations in relation to genocide” in response to the Committee’s recommendation to “accept Parliament’s view that Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang are suffering genocide and crimes against humanity”. In April this year the House of Commons declared that genocide is taking place against Uyghurs and others in north-west China. The government opposed the motion, claiming that genocide designation was a matter for “competent national and international courts after consideration of all the available evidence”, but ministers did not vote against it. read the complete article

16 Nov 2021

‘Minarets in the Mountains’: A journey into Muslim Europe

Author Tharik Hussain discusses how his travels to the Balkans shed light on issues like identity and belonging, the roots of Islamophobia, and the European fear of the ‘Turks’. The footsteps of 17th century Ottoman explorer, Evliya Celebi, have been re-traced by travel writer and author Tharik Hussain in his groundbreaking new book, Minarets in the Mountains. The book brings to life this rarely told story of Muslim Europe, and unearths a living history of Balkan people and their 600-year-old Ottoman Muslim heritage and culture. As we journey through Islamophobia Awareness Month this November, and reflect on the hatred, exclusion, misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Muslims from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, this story of blond-haired, blue-eyed, white Muslims indigenous to Europe provides a lot of food for thought on the nature of anti-Muslim rhetoric from the past to the present day. As Tharik highlights, Islam and Muslims have a historic and long-standing connection with Europe but their contribution to the Western world is ignored or overlooked by historical narratives and present discourse. “For Muslims in the West, we often feel like we are under some kind of attack. We’re made to feel like we don't belong here but to discover that we have this heritage that goes back 14 centuries, it feels almost criminal that this stuff is not being discussed,” Tharik told TRT World. read the complete article

16 Nov 2021

Hundreds of demonstrators across U.S. protest Facebook’s role in anti-Muslim hate speech, violence by Hindu extremists in India

Hundreds of people of different faiths, professions and backgrounds gathered in eight major U.S. cities Saturday and Sunday to protest Facebook allowing hate speech to be freely posted in India, resulting in persecution, physical attacks and killings of members of non-Hindu minority religions. The protests, organized by India Genocide Watch, featured speakers demanding that Facebook’s founder-CEO Mark Zuckerberg end his company’s complicity in extreme Hindu right-wing incitement to violence, proliferating on Facebook and WhatsApp, as exposed by whistleblower Frances Haugen. The protest demonstrations, that included women and children, were held in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco’s Menlo Park, where Facebook is headquartered. “We demand that Facebook designate as dangerous organizations Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, its Nazi-inspired ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamasevak Sangh and their armed affiliates, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal,” declared Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of the Indian American Muslim Council. At a protest at Menlo Park in California, outside the global headquarters of Meta, the new name for Facebook, Inc., Javid Ali of Bay Muslims for Human Rights, said, “Facebook deliberately and knowingly refused to block Islamophobic hate enabling fascist violence against India’s Muslims. Facebook has blood on its hands.” Added Karthic of Ambedkar King Study Circle, “The algorithms used in Facebook are biased against the religious minorities and the socially oppressed. We condemn Facebook for failing to fix these proven issues.” read the complete article

16 Nov 2021

Biden raises human rights with China's Xi during four hour meeting

President Biden on Monday raised concerns about China's human rights record, specifically its treatment toward Uyghur Muslims and the people of Hong Kong, during an hours long meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The virtual meeting ran a gamut of topics, according to a White House readout of the call. The two men discussed "the complex nature of relations between our two countries and the importance of managing competition responsibly." They spoke about climate change, human rights, Taiwan and economic practices. Biden specifically brought up concerns with China's behavior in the Xinjiang province, where administration officials have accused the government of carrying out genocide against Uyghur Muslims. Biden also raised concerns about China's conduct in Tibet and Hong Kong, the latter in which a national security law has been used to crack down on protests. read the complete article

16 Nov 2021

It Is Time for the U.S. to Reassess How It Wages War

U.S. military commanders covered up an airstrike over Syria that killed several dozen civilians, dishonestly portraying it as a successful attack against ISIS fighters and ignoring firm recommendations—filed by military lawyers—to investigate the strike as a war crime. The attack and subsequent cover-up—revealed in a long, extensively documented story in this weekend’s New York Times—took place in 2019, during the final phase of the U.S. and allied campaign to oust the Islamic State from its self-declared caliphate in Syria. The Times report comes a few months after the final U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan in August, which Pentagon officials touted as halting a terrorist attack—but which in fact, as another Times investigation soon revealed, killed 10 civilians, none of whom had any connection to terrorists. (Seven of the 10 were children.) Together, the two reports raise questions about the moral and strategic wisdom of launching airstrikes in areas where civilians and fighters routinely mix. These questions have been raised many times in the course of America’s 20-year “global war on terror.” But now that President Joe Biden has scaled back that war and declared the longest of those wars, in Afghanistan, to be over, it is time for a basic reassessment. read the complete article


16 Nov 2021

China is perfecting a 21st-century method of destroying an entire people

China’s Communist leaders, innovative in so many ways, appear to be perfecting a 21st-century approach to genocide. With the Beijing Olympics less than three months away, will Coca-Cola and other sponsors of the Games celebrate with China while this is taking place? While, a few hours’ flight due west of the stadiums and ice rinks, an entire people is being slowly, deliberately erased? We have learned to think of genocide as industrial-scale slaughter: gas chambers, killing fields, mass graves. A report published last week by the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, “To Make Us Slowly Disappear,” suggests that China may have found a different way, more insidious if no less monstrous. The campaign against the Uyghur population of western China, a Muslim minority of about 12 million people inside a nation of more than 1 billion, began with conventional discrimination, escalated to intense surveillance and mass detentions, and now includes forcible sterilization and insertion of IUDs; separation of men and women through incarceration, forced migration and coerced marriages of Uyghur women to men from the ethnic Han majority; and mass kidnapping of Uyghur children, taken from their parents and placed in state “boarding schools.” The campaign is not without terrible violence, torture and killing, as survivor accounts make clear. But, the report says, it hinges on something else: “coercive interventions of the Chinese government to prevent sizable numbers of Uyghurs from coming into being.” This suggests that the deliberate goal is “to biologically destroy the group, in whole or in substantial part.” read the complete article

United States

16 Nov 2021

The harmonious US city run by Muslim Americans

A Polish sausage store and an Eastern European bakery sit alongside a Yemeni department store and a Bengali clothing shop. Church bells ring out along with the Islamic call to prayer. "The world in two square miles" - Hamtramck lives up to its slogan, with around 30 languages spoken within its 5 sq km area. This month, the Midwestern city of 28,000 has reached a milestone. Hamtramck has elected an all-Muslim City Council and a Muslim mayor, becoming the first in the US to have a Muslim-American government. Once faced with discrimination, Muslim residents have become integral to this multicultural city, and now make up more than half its population. And despite economic challenges and intense cultural debates, residents in Hamtramck from different religious and cultural backgrounds coexist in harmony, making the city a meaningful case study for America's future of rising diversity. "It's not unusual to see some with miniskirts and tattoos and some in burqas walking on the same street. This is all about us," said Zlatan Sadikovic, a Bosnian immigrant who owns a café in downtown Hamtramck. read the complete article

United Kingdom

16 Nov 2021

Adil Rashid corroborates Azeem Rafiq's claims against Michael Vaughan

Adil Rashid has confirmed he heard Michael Vaughan question the number of players of Asian heritage in the Yorkshire side during an incident in 2009. In a statement released to The Cricketer, Rashid, the England leg-spinner, not only confirmed Azeem Rafiq's recollections of the incident, but pledged to participate in any official investigation aimed at stamping out what he called the "cancer" of racism. Vaughan, the former Yorkshire and England captain, revealed earlier this month (November 4) that his name appears in the Yorkshire report into Rafiq's allegations of racism at the club. Vaughan admitted that Rafiq alleged he had noted the inclusion of four players of Asian heritage in the Yorkshire side playing at Trent Bridge and responded: "There are too many of you lot; we need to do something about it." Vaughan continues to deny those allegations. But Rashid's intervention is important. Not only is he the third member of that Yorkshire team to confirm he heard Vaughan making the comments - Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, the former Pakistan seamer, has already backed Rafiq's version of events - but, as a highly respected and senior member of the England team, his words carry some weight. Vaughan and Gary Ballance have both come forward to say that they are named in the independent report, with Ballance admitting to using the word "P**i" in relation to Rafiq. Further revelations are expected when Rafiq gives evidence in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee on Tuesday (November 16). Yorkshire's handling of the investigation into allegations of institutional racism made by Rafiq has come in for sustained criticism, with the ECB stripping the club of its right to host international fixtures and a number of sponsors severing ties. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 16 Nov 2021 Edition


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