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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17 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., the Southern Poverty Law Center finds that dozens of extremists now sport the “blue check” as a result of CEO Elon Musk’s new paid Blue service, meanwhile in Canada, a court in Quebec is evaluating whether Bill 21 (Secularism Law) is disproportionately discriminating against Muslim women who wear the hijab, and in the UK, new research from the Network Contagion Research Institute at Rutgers University finds that a network of fake Twitter accounts based in India played a significant role in stoking violence between Muslims and Hindus earlier this year in Leicester. Our recommended read of the day is by Simina Mistreanu for The Telegraph on a recent report from the Uyghur Human Rights Project, which found that Xinjiang officials are bribing and threatening Uyghur women into forced marriages with individuals from the Han majority ethnic group. This and more below:


16 Nov 2022

Chinese being 'paid to marry Muslims in plan to wipe out Uyghurs' | Recommended Read

Chinese people are being paid to marry Muslims in order to wipe out the Uyghur population, a human rights body has said. Local authorities are using financial incentives and blackmail to force Uyghurs and members of the Han majority into arranged marriages in China’s western Xinjiang region, according to a report by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), a Washington-based nonprofit. The report draws from official policy documents, social media posts and interviews with Uyghurs abroad. Xinjiang officials have been offering cash rewards as well as housing and education subsidies, jobs and medical cover to Uyghur women willing to marry Han men – as well as reportedly threatening the women that they or their family could end up in internment camps if they refuse. In one instance, officials from Kalasa village in Aksu Prefecture offered 40,000 yuan (£4,750) to two mixed Uyghur-Han couples as part of the village’s “National Unity, One Family” campaign, according to local media. Similarly, the ancient city of Kashgar put aside 20,000 yuan (£2,380) annually for “ethnic intermarriage awards”, according to official documents. An Uyghur woman abroad said her neighbours “had to agree to wed their 18-year-old daughter to a Han Chinese out of fear that they could be sent to internment camps”. read the complete article


16 Nov 2022

India-Based Twitter Accounts Fanned UK Unrest, Researchers Say

A network of fake accounts originating outside of the UK stoked violence between Muslims and Hindus in a British city earlier this year, according to research first provided to Bloomberg News. An estimated 500 inauthentic accounts that called for violence and promoted memes, as well as incendiary videos, were created on Twitter Inc. during riots in Leicester between late August and early September this year, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute at Rutgers University. Social media was rife with videos claiming to show mosques being set alight and claims of kidnapping, forcing police to issue warnings that people should not believe misinformation online. Many of the Twitter accounts that amplified the unrest originated in India, researchers said. Anti-Muslim sentiment has been rising in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leading to a narrative that Hindus outside the country, some of whom are not Indian, subscribe to Hindutva, a kind of Hindu nationalism. An initial video purporting to show Hindutva Hindus attacking Muslim men sparked uncorroborated claims that local, politically motivated activists amplified, researchers said. The video sparked the interest of a foreign influence network, the involvement of which contributed to real-world violence, according to the findings. read the complete article

16 Nov 2022

Panel discussion on Islamophobia in Europe organised in Paris

The Perspectives Musulmanes Movement presented a panel discussion Friday in Paris that included Turkish-German University Faculty Member Enes Bayrakl and CAGE UK member Shezana Hafiz, reported Anadolu Agency. Bayrakli used instances from the Europe 2021 Islamophobia Report by the group to explain Islamophobia across Europe, particularly in France. He said that Perspectives Musulmanes Movement, which has been issuing reports about Islamophobia, has been producing studies on the subject in Europe for seven years and have featured politicians associated with Islamophobia on the covers of reports since 2018. He said the group featured French President Emmanuel Macron, an Islamophobic politician, on the front of last year's report. Bayrakli drew attention to the institutionalisation of Islamophobia in Austria and France, emphasizing that Europe has the highest rate of anti-Islamic prejudice in the world. He evaluated France as the European country with the most problematic history with the Muslim community on its territory, claiming that 101 security units were established in France to spy on Muslims and more than 24,000 Muslim organisations and companies were registered on a secret blacklist. read the complete article

16 Nov 2022

No, Iranian women don’t want “their very own Bill 21.” Neither do most Quebec Muslim women

It was groan-inducing to hear CAQ MNA Martine Biron, the Quebec Minister for the Status of Women, state during a recent radio interview that “Iranian women are probably hoping for their very own Bill 21.” That she shared that sentiment while Quebec Muslim women are currently waging a legal battle against the government’s secularism legislation and its discriminatory effects on them makes Biron’s statement twice as dismissive of their plight. To unironically appropriate a human rights struggle happening somewhere else and make it about your government and your legislation while simultaneously ignoring and undermining a legal challenge spearheaded by Quebec Muslim women denouncing your own government’s violation of their basic rights is frankly tone deaf. You can’t use the plight of Iranian women to pretend to speak for women’s rights while ignoring the women at home fighting for theirs. No, Iranian women don’t want “their very own Bill 21.” They want freedom of choice. Iranian women are fighting and risking their lives to be in control of their own bodies, their own choices and their own lives. Exactly what Muslim women in Quebec are fighting for. read the complete article


17 Nov 2022

Victim Blaming, Love Jihad And Islamophobia: Is There A Room For Justice For Women In India?

The death of Shraddha Walkar, a 27 year old woman, in the national capital has brought intense and deep conversations in the public domain. The discourse over her death is accelerated with victim blaming and accusations over her interfaith relationship with Aftab Ameen Poonawala, who has been arrested and charged with the murder. The news over her death sparked the Indian mainstream media giving clickbait headlines questioning Shraddha’s life choices. With this incident happening in India, the mainstream media has been reporting this gruesome murder case insensitively, garnishing headlines with heaps of victim blaming and catering to religious tensions. While this is a murder case that has sent shocking waves across India and the readers are quite anxious to know the updates, there has been very less sensitive approach in covering the issue with ethics. With Shraddha’s father’s “suspect ‘Love Jihad’, want death penalty for Aftab” statement, Love Jihad is again making it’s way to the headlines with appropriations from the right wing groups, initiating a mass movement and trending hashtags in social media. The name Aftab Ameen has become a weapon for the right wing propagandists to suddenly protest and seek justice for the victim. “This is clearly a case of a violent crime by an intimate partner.The Right Wing is as usual trying to capitalise on this gruesome tragedy to invoke the bogey of so-called Love Jihad. It is a desperate attempt to divide Indians and to spread hatred against a community rather than have sympathy for the woman’s safety and security. This tendency to politicise every issue in a Hindu-Muslim binary distracts attention from women’s rights violations so rampant in our country. They must desist from this dangerous politics and support the cause of justice and equality for women.”- Zakia Soman, Founder member of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. read the complete article

17 Nov 2022

BJP outreach to Pasmanda Muslims: Their identity does not disturb the ideological premise of Hindutva

The BJP’s enthusiastic programme to mobilise Pasmanda Muslim communities in UP and Bihar underlines a specific political trajectory. The party is keen to expand its support base in such a manner that the established political equilibrium in favour of the RJD, the SP and the JD(U) in these states could easily be dismantled. This move is understandable. The BJP establishment is confident that its core Hindutva constituency has been sufficiently nurtured. No political party is in a position to ignore Hindutva as an electoral narrative. However, the party is facing another kind of challenge. Hindu victimhood politics has reached a saturation point. Hence, there is a serious need to have a constructive programme of action to include those groups that do not fit well within the established framework of aggressive Hindutva. The Pasmanda Muslims are a group most relevant for outreach for two reasons. First, the Pasmanda Muslim identity does not disturb the ideological premise of Hindutva. It is easy to accommodate these communities in the RSS’s new conceptualisation of the Indian national identity. It could be argued that these communities were forced to give up their original Hindu faith at one point of time. Hence, their ghar wapsi, at least in the formal political sense, is morally desirable. It is worth noting that the government has recently constituted a three-member commission, headed by former Chief Justice of India, K G Balakrishnan, to examine the possibility of granting Scheduled Caste status to Dalits who have converted to religions other than Buddhism and Sikhism. read the complete article


16 Nov 2022

Quebec Court of Appeal to evaluate whether secularism law unfairly targets Muslim women

As arguments wrapped at the Quebec Court of Appeal Wednesday for the legal challenge to the province's secularism law — known as Bill 21 — the panel of judges hinted that the case hinges on whether the bill disproportionately discriminates against Muslim women who wear the hijab. "That's a tough question, but it's really at the centre of our preoccupations and that's why we asked it," Justice Yves-Marie Morissette said as the panel of three judges posed some final questions to lawyers to clarify their positions. A key argument of groups opposed to the law is that it discriminates on the basis of gender by disproportionately targeting Muslim women. Provincial laws that can be shown to be discriminatory on the basis of gender cannot be shielded by the notwithstanding clause. The panel of judges Wednesday challenged both sides to clarify their positions on that key question. Perri Ravon, lawyer for the English Montreal School Board, who made several points about Bill 21's disproportionate effect on Muslim women last week, was questioned about that by Justice Marie-France Bich. "If we look at who's being impacted, it's Muslim women. If we look at who's losing their jobs, it's Muslim women. If we look at who the law was designed for, it's Muslim women," Ravon replied. She noted that so far in the province, Muslim women who wear the hijab are the only people who've lost jobs or been denied employment due to Bill 21. read the complete article

United States

16 Nov 2022

Twitter Blesses Extremists With Paid 'Blue Checks'

Dozens of extremists on Twitter now sport the “blue check” once reserved for verified accounts, after signing up for the paid Twitter Blue service under policies instituted by the platform’s new proprietor, Elon Musk. Between Nov. 9-11, however, users were able to sign up for a paid tier of the service – Twitter Blue – which for $7.99 per month would add to their profile a “blue checkmark, just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.” Twitter prevented new signups to Twitter Blue late on Nov. 11 after a rash of impersonator accounts, including one targeting Musk’s other company, Tesla, created an impression of chaos on the site. Hatewatch’s investigation of extremists’ use of Twitter Blue, based in part on a third-party public list of paid blue-check accounts, found that white nationalists, anti-LGBTQ extremists and other far-right individuals and groups now sport what was once a symbol of credibility on the platform. Other far-right extremists who bought blue checks include male supremacist Tanner Guzy, who has indicated his supported for the far-right Mormon fundamentalist “Deseret nationalist” or “DezNat” movement; Alex Stein, a far-right Internet performer who specializes in video recordings of bigoted stunts; and anti-Muslim pro-Trump influencer Amy Mekelburg, who has spread hate on Twitter as Amy Mek since 2013. read the complete article

17 Nov 2022

How a Defender of American Empire Became a Dissenter

When Lyle Jeremy Rubin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the mid-2000s, he possessed an unwavering commitment to America’s democratizing mission. As a young man, he was attracted to the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party and believed in the War on Terror as a moral project. In his own words, he embraced “the inevitability of capitalism, the primacy of the United States and the naturalness of a special relationship between the U.S. and the Jewish state.” And his decision to join the Marines was inseparable from a strict code of manhood that military service would bolster. Yet by the time he left the Marines in 2011, after having served in Afghanistan, Rubin’s thought underwent a radical ideological reversal. His experience in the Marines forced him to reckon with the violent realities of American military imperialism, his own masculine excesses, and the racial and class hierarchies of the US military machine. Rubin’s new memoir, Pain Is Weakness Leaving the Body: A Marine’s Unbecoming, explains how he became a defender turned dissenter of the American empire. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 17 Nov 2022 Edition


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