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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30 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: Experts and academics note that western media coverage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is laced with anti-Muslim bias and double standards, meanwhile in Sweden, the government aims to close more school’s operated by those within the country’s Muslim minority community after a bill “prohibiting the establishment of religious schools” goes into effect, and in India, tensions are high in the motion picture industry as Israeli Director Nadav Lapid described The Kashmir Files, a controversial film about Kashmir, as propaganda and a “vulgar movie”. Our recommended read of the day is by The Bridge Initiative’s Farid Hafez on the two year anniversary of the anti-Muslim raids in Austria and the impact this event still has on the Muslim families who were targeted by the government operation. This and more below:


29 Nov 2022

Austria raids: Two years on, Muslim families are still suffering | Recommended Read

More than two years ago, Operation Luxor, the largest police raid in postwar Austria, aimed to “cut off the roots of political Islam” in the words of Karl Nehammer, then the interior minister and now the country’s chancellor. The raid in November 2020 was preceded by an investigation spanning at least a year and a half. Around 70 Muslim homes were brutally raided by more than 900 police and special forces, based on the state’s suspicion that the defendants were terrorists and enemies of the state. Family members and children were traumatised. The raid targeted dozens of individuals, associations, businesses and foundations. Assets and bank accounts totalling more than 20 million euros ($20m) were frozen, while phone-tapping cost Austrian authorities more than half a million euros. But what was the outcome? Zero arrests, zero convictions. An Austrian court ruled that nine individuals who appealed against the raid were right, and the raid was unlawful. The cases against more than 25 defendants were dropped. Phone taps were ruled to have been unlawful. Witnesses against the defendants either withdrew their statements or lost in civil proceedings. In other words, the whole operation has collapsed like a house of cards. Still, more than 70 defendants continue to suffer from the implications of the raid. Most of their bank accounts and assets are still frozen. Businesses have been economically destroyed. Children have been traumatised. People have been unable to continue their work. Operation Luxor sent a message to Muslim civil society and to Muslim academics. It was a message of intimidation, warning that any sort of independent Muslim political agency, protesting injustices at home and beyond, would result in a crackdown. read the complete article


29 Nov 2022

Years of horrific atrocities against Rohingya women and girls cannot go unanswered

For the Rohingya, 2012 was a very difficult year as it saw the beginning of the Rakhine State riots – a series of ethnic conflicts in that paved the way for the wave of violence that eventually led to the 2017 mass displacement of Rohingyas into Bangladesh by the military. Marginalisation of the Rohingyas in Myanmar (Burma) long predates 2012, but that year was perhaps the first time we were able to truly draw attention to the continued persecution our people have endured over many decades. Some Rohingya have been in Myanmar for centuries, while others arrived more recently. Regardless of how long we have been in the country, Myanmar authorities consider us undocumented immigrants and do not recognise us as citizens or as an ethnic group. Instead, they see us as a destabilising force and have been intent on ethnically cleansing us and erasing us from the history books by enacting repressive and discriminatory laws, such as the 1982 Citizenship Law. Unfortunately, one of the most effective ways to ethnically cleanse an entire group is the use of sexual violence to terrorise women and girls – the Myanmar military is sadly infamous for it, most notably against the Rohingya. Since the military staged its takeover coup in February 2021, women have emerged as symbols of defiance and leaders of resistance efforts at home and abroad, but this has put a target on their backs. Despite extensive documentation, widespread outcry among the international community and an on-going case at the International Court of Justice, the military has yet to face any consequences for its actions. It continues to employ sexual violence with impunity. read the complete article

29 Nov 2022

'They tried to erase us': Rohingya IDs deny citizenship

Zaw Win's grandparents had the same identity card as everyone else in Myanmar, but a generation later his parents were given a separate ID for minority Rohingyas. Today, Zaw Win is classed as an illegal immigrant in the land of his birth. For more than three decades, Myanmar's ruling powers have weaponised the country's identity card system in a wider campaign of persecution, exclusion and surveillance targeting the Muslim ethnic community, human rights groups say. Zaw Win, 37, a rights activist who fled Myanmar in 2014 in fear for his safety, traces the withdrawal of his citizenship back through his family members' diminishing identity status. "My grandparents had full citizenship - they had the same type of ID card that Daw Suu Kyi had," Zaw Win said, referring to Aung San Suu Kyi, the deposed political leader who was jailed after a military coup early last year. "My parents had a green card that only the Rohingya had, and I got a piece of paper that categorised me as Muslim and my race as Bengali, an illegal immigrant. So over the years, they stripped us of our citizenship and tried to erase us," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. read the complete article


29 Nov 2022

The Western media’s World Cup coverage has put its anti-Muslim bias on full display

Whatever the players decide to do for the rest of the tournament, the politicking at World Cup goes far beyond the teams themselves. Nowhere is that clearer than how Western media, particularly western European media, are covering the tournament. The 2022 World Cup kicked off in Qatar on Nov. 20, marking the first time an Arab and Muslim nation has hosted the world’s biggest sporting event. The historic moment was met with an opening ceremony that showcased the beauty of Arab culture and the words of the Quran, centering two native identities that have long been demonized in the West. That bias was on full display on opening day. For the first time, the BBC refused to televise the opening ceremony, instead opting to air a British women’s soccer match followed by a pre-packaged segment on Qatar’s human rights record and the controversy surrounding the tournament. Another major public British media outlet, ITV, also chose not to air the opening ceremony. Despite what Western media coverage suggests, Qatar does not hold a sporting monopoly on human rights violations. In February, China hosted the Winter Olympics while carrying forward a genocide against the Uyghur Muslim population in its disputed northwest region. The BBC and ITV both televised the opening ceremony despite the existence of concentration camps in the Communist nation and calls for global boycotts against China’s staging of the Winter Olympics. read the complete article

29 Nov 2022

The Kashmir Files: Israeli director sparks outrage in India over ‘vulgar movie’ remarks

A row has erupted in India after an Israeli director described a controversial film about Kashmir as propaganda and a “vulgar movie”, prompting the Israeli ambassador to issue an apology. Nadav Lapid, who was chair of this year’s panel of the international film festival of India (IFFI), spoke out against the inclusion of The Kashmir Files at the event. The film, released in March to popular box office success, is largely set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when attacks and threats by militants led to most Kashmiri Hindus fleeing from the region, where the majority of the population are Muslim. Many film critics, Kashmiri Muslims and others, have described it as propaganda that inflames hatred against Muslims and distorts events to suit an anti-Muslim agenda. However, the film has received a ringing endorsement from the highest levels of the Indian government, ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), who have also been accused of pursuing an anti-Muslim agenda. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, has praised the film, congratulating its makers for having “the guts to portray the truth” and it was the second highest-grossing film in India this year. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the film festival, Lapid said he and other jury members had been “shocked and disturbed” that the film had been given a platform. The Kashmir Files, said Lapid, was “a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival”. read the complete article

United Kingdom

30 Nov 2022

Census says 39% of Muslims live in most deprived areas of England and Wales

Campaigners have urged policymakers to act on the “cycle of poverty” entrapping generations of British Muslims, as the latest census shows that 39% of Muslims are now living in the most deprived areas of England and Wales. The proportion of people who identify as Muslim has risen by 1.2 million in 10 years, bringing the Muslim population to 3.9 million in 2021, the census shows. Overall, Muslims now make up 6.5% of the population in England and Wales, up from 4.9% in 2011. Overall, the data showed 61% of Muslims in England and Wales live in the lowest 40% of areas in the country ranked by deprivation score. Just 4% of Muslims live in the least deprived fifth of England and Wales. “We’re now the second or third generation [of Muslims]. There’s more of us here. Yet, we’re still in these cycles of poverty and deprivation,” said Zara Mohammed, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). “I think part of that is down to socio-economic conditions where people are housed and the economic opportunities available.” Mohammed added: “I think there’s something to really be said about what our politics and policies are doing to help those who are really suffering. There’s all these stereotypes and tropes around Muslims, but the reality is that people are actually in cycles of poverty. And these need to be broken.” read the complete article


29 Nov 2022

"It's not funny, sir": Muslim student confronts professor on being compared to a 'terrorist'

A short video clip of a college student calling out his professor for allegedly referring to him as a 'Muslim terrorist' has gone viral. On Friday, in a classroom at the Manipal Institute of Technology in Udipi, the professor had reportedly asked the student his name. However, on hearing a Muslim name, he says, "Oh, you are like Kasab!" Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani terrorist and a member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba Islamist fighter organization, who was one of the culprits in the 26/11 Mumbai attack. In the video, the student is seen and heard confronting his professor for comparing him to a terrorist. "26/11 was not funny. Being a Muslim in this country and facing all this every day is not funny, sir. You can't joke about my religion, that too in such a derogatory manner. It's not funny sir, it's not," the student says. Trying to calm down the student, the professor says, "You are just like my son..." "Will you talk to your son like that? Will you call him by the name of a terrorist?" came the swift response from the student. It was when the professor said 'no' that the student said, "Then how can you call me like that in front of so many people? You are a professional, you are teaching. A sorry doesn't change how you think or how you portray yourself here." read the complete article


29 Nov 2022

Sweden's ban on religious schools slammed for targeting Muslims

Sweden's government aims to close more schools owned by the country's Muslim community in a bid to push "anti-Islamic rhetoric" and allegedly "stop privatization" in education, a move criticized for selective discrimination. Earlier this year, the Nordic country's then-Educational Minister Lena Axelsson Kjellblum told a press conference that her government had introduced a bill aiming to "prohibit the establishment of so-called independent religious schools." The bill essentially prevents the schools from expanding by increasing the number of their students or opening new branches from 2024 onwards. Only Islamic schools have been targeted by the legislation so far, triggering an outcry from Muslim organizations, researchers and schools, arguing that the decision to shut down Islamic schools was not based on poor academic results or other teaching shortcomings, but rather had political anti-Islamic motives. read the complete article


30 Nov 2022

How immigration ‘made French football better’

Zidane, a second-generation Algerian immigrant from a working-class area of Marseille, had been part of a team that included players of Armenian, Ghanaian, Senegalese and Guadeloupean descent. As his name rang through the streets, many heralded the victory as a historic footballing achievement and a celebration of a new multicultural France united under one flag. The success appeared to be the perfect antidote to a nation struggling to come to terms with its colonial past. The Algerian War of Independence (1954-62), which ended 132 years of colonial rule and represented the final collapse of the French empire, had only been recognised as a war by the French state in 1999. The team, typically known as Les Bleus but nicknamed this time “Black, Blanc, Beur” (Black, White and Arab) in the media during the 1998 tournament, was hailed as a shining example of successful integration. French newspaper Le Monde labelled them a “symbol of the diversity and of the unity of the country”. Then-French President Jacques Chirac described them as a “tricolour and multicolour team” that had created a “beautiful image of France and its humanity”. The victories in 1998 and 2000 had been a source of embarrassment for the far-right party, the Front National (FN). Its then leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had infamously claimed in 1996 that the France team was “artificial” as it contained too many non-white players. He would later describe the French side as “unworthy” representatives who did not know the words of the country’s national anthem. In 2000, 36 percent of respondents to a French survey said they thought there were too many players of foreign origin on the national team. read the complete article

United States

29 Nov 2022

Why Laura Loomer Was Banned From Twitter

Far-right activist Laura Loomer was one of the controversial figures thought to be in the running to have their Twitter accounts reinstated after the social media site was bought by Elon Musk. Ahead of his $44 billion takeover, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO vowed to make Twitter a "digital town square" where free speech is not restricted and later promised that a number of previously banned accounts could return to the platform. Loomer, an anti-Muslim extremist and conspiracy theorist, was banned in November 2018 for breaking Twitter's rules against hateful conduct after sending tweets about Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar's Muslim faith. read the complete article


29 Nov 2022

Uyghur mistreatment to blame for fire behind Chinese protests, says victims' relative

When Abdulhafiz Maimaitimin learned that his aunt and her four children were killed in the apartment fire that sparked protests across China, he says he felt like he'd been knocked off his feet. Maimaitimin, 27, is a Uyghur man living in exile in Switzerland. He says he learned through a friend that his aunt, Haiernishahan (Qamarnisa) Abudureheman, 48, died in the blaze along with her four children, Shehide, 13, Imran, 11, Abdurrahman, 9, and Nehdiye, 5. The Friday fire in the city of Urumqi is at the heart of some of the most widespread protests in China since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. Demonstrators blame the blaze on China's strict pandemic restrictions, claiming locked doors hampered efforts to fight or escape the flames — a charge local officials have denied. But Maimaitimin says these kinds of tragedies are all too common for members of China's Uyghur minority. Uyghurs are a mostly Muslim ethnic minority in China, where they face widespread surveillance, discrimination and detention. Human rights organizations estimate that China has locked more than one million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in detention camps, where the United Nations has reported allegations of torture and abuse. Several of Maimaitimin's relatives, including his father, have been detained, according to NPR. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Nov 2022 Edition


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