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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05 Nov 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, the Pentagon absolves itself of the Kabul strike, which killed 10 civilians, categorizing it as a “mistake” and not a crime, meanwhile the Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer is doubling down on the decision to hire a lawyer who has previously worked for anti-Muslim hate groups, and in India, Muslims in Tripura remain in fear following a string of attacks targeting mosques in the region. Our recommended read of the day is by Azeezah Kanji for Al Jazeera on how the prevalence of slaughterhouses, factory farming, and animal abuse in Europe’s meat-producing industry demonstrates that the continent’s growing kosher and halal meat bans are simply about religious discrimination and not animal welfare. This and more below:


05 Nov 2021

Kosher and Halal bans: Fur-washing factory farming’s brutality | Recommended Read

The Muslim and Jewish “barbarians” are allegedly at the gates – again – with their “ritual” slaughter knives. Across Fortress Europe, the ramparts are being fortified against halal and kosher slaughter – now proscribed in at least 11 European states. In previous centuries of European Christendom, kosher and halal slaughter was condemned as a sign of the practitioners’ “blood lust” or, under the Spanish Inquisition, as evidence of the “impurity of blood”: part of the arsenal of rationalisations for the recurrent pogroms, torture, and expulsions staining Europe’s own slate. Now, courts, politicians and governments deploy the seemingly bloodless language of “animal welfare” instead.= Right-wing Belgian regional Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts, for instance, lectures Jews and Muslims about the incompatibility of their “outdated” traditions with “civilised society” – even while overseeing the expansion of mass animal killing in the slaughterhouses of the “civilised.” Just earlier this year, Tielt slaughterhouse in Weyt’s region of Flanders was approved to significantly increase its “output” – from 1.5 million pigs killed per year to 2.3 million – despite video footage from 2017 showing animals being knifed, scalded, and drowned while fully conscious, as well as beaten, kicked, and dragged by chains. Due to the relative permissiveness of its environmental regulations, Belgium has served as a haven for the relocation of factory farms from the Netherlands – where the export of halal and kosher meat has been banned since 2018, while the export of factory farming and its products of suffering continues to lucratively flow. Documents disclosed from the Netherlands Food and Product Safety Authority reported instances of pigs and calves being boiled and skinned alive in Dutch slaughterhouses: abuses deemed insufficient to result in the closure of the slaughterhouses involved. read the complete article

05 Nov 2021

U.S. Absolves Drone Killers and Persecutes Whistleblowers

On August 26, Biden authorized a drone strike that the U.S. claimed took out a dangerous cell of ISIS fighters intent on staging another attack on the Kabul airport. Biden held up this strike, and another one a day earlier, as evidence of his commitment to take the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan even as he declared an end to the 20-year war there. The Kabul strike, which targeted a white Toyota Corolla, did not kill any members of ISIS. The victims were 10 civilians, seven of them children. The driver of the car, Zemari Ahmadi, was a respected employee of a U.S. aid organization. Following a New York Times investigation that fully exposed the lie of the U.S. version of events, the Pentagon and the White House admitted that they had killed innocent civilians, calling it “a horrible tragedy of war.” This week, the Pentagon released a summary of its classified review into the attack, which it originally hailed as a “righteous strike” that had thwarted an imminent terror plot. The results were predictable. The report recommended that no personnel be held responsible for the murder of 10 civilians; there was no “criminal negligence,” as the report put it. None of this is new. It is a cycle that got into high gear under President Barack Obama (when Biden was vice president), continued during the Donald Trump presidency, and is not relenting in the Biden era. As the Pentagon absolves itself of this crime, the Biden administration is pushing ahead with its persecution of whistleblowers who exposed this system of killing innocents. read the complete article

05 Nov 2021

EU-funded hijab campaign sparks outrage

Young European Muslims say a decision to cancel a newly launched EU online campaign to promote acceptance of hijab is "an attack on human rights." "Attacks on this vital campaign take place in a wider environment of a shrinking of civic space, where government actors routinely censor and limit the freedom of speech when it doesn't fit their political agenda," said the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO). A backlash, particularly in France, caused Europe's top human rights organization, the Council of Europe (CoE), to take down posts and ads for the online campaign. French Minister for Young People Sarah El Hairy told LCI TV broadcaster in France the images "deeply shocked me." El Hairy said that "France has expressed its extremely strong disapproval" to the campaign. "It is another example of how the rights of Muslim women are non-existent to those who claim to represent or protect notions such as liberty, equality and freedom," said FEMYSO head Hande Taner. read the complete article


05 Nov 2021

Virat Kohli’s defence of his Muslim teammate is crucial in the fight against religious bigotry

The vigorous defence by Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli of his Muslim teammate Mohammed Shami could mark an important moment in the battle against the growing tide of Hindu religious bigotry in the country. Shami, the lone Muslim in the Indian cricket team, was subjected to vicious social media abuse following India’s defeat by Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, with many suggesting that, as a Muslim, he must have deliberately underperformed so that his fellow Muslims in Pakistan could win. The fact is that his other 10 Hindu team mates also underperformed dreadfully, handing Pakistan their first ever victory over India in limited overs World Cup competitions. This is not the first time that a Muslim playing for India has had his patriotism questioned when India have played Pakistan. Whenever the two countries have played, whether in cricket or hockey, where they also have great rivalry, many Hindus have debated whether an Indian Muslim could really give his best against India’s greatest Muslim rival. It is a measure of how much the country has changed that, today, Hindu fanatics would probably have denounced Pataudi as a Muslim jihadist seeking to trap Hindu women and destroy the Hindu religion. So venomous is Hindu religious bigotry and anti-Pakistani feeling that, outside of international competitions organised by the ICC, the world body that runs the game, India does not play its neighbour in cricket. Pakistani cricketers are not even allowed to play in the IPL, the world’s most successful cricket tournament, which is a wonderful showcase for most of the prominent cricketers of the world. read the complete article

05 Nov 2021

Muslims in India’s Tripura remain in fear after mosques attacked

“We found that the attackers had poured kerosene inside the mosque as well. But before any more damage could happen, the village had woken up and the attackers fled,” Miya said outside the small tin shack which serves as a mosque and traditional religious school in a quiet corner of Naraura village in Sipahijila district of Tripura state in northeastern India. Naraura is less than 50km (31 miles) from Comilla in neighbouring Bangladesh, where a photo of the Quran placed on an idol of a Hindu deity during the Durga Puja festival triggered violence across the Muslim-majority country, killing six people, including two Hindu men. In apparent retaliation to the deadly violence in Bangladesh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP), and other local groups took out protest rallies in Tripura and allegedly attacked Muslims and their religious places, including mosques. The VHP is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological fountainhead of India’s Hindu supremacist groups which seeks to convert India into an ethnic Hindu state. Most top leaders of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, started their political careers as RSS workers. Tripura, a remote state dominated by Bengali-speaking Hindus, is currently governed by Modi’s BJP. Muslims form about nine percent of its 3.7 million population. The string of attacks targeting mosques has triggered fears and anxiety among Tripura’s Muslim minority. “There are 16 mosques which have been targeted,” said Mufti Abdul Momin, who heads a faction of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, an influential pan-India Muslim organisation, in Tripura. read the complete article

05 Nov 2021

Muslims barred from Friday prayer sites in India’s Gurgaon

Every Friday, Najis Mohammad would offer his afternoon prayers at a public ground near his barber shop in Gurugram, still popular by its old name Gurgaon – a satellite city on the outskirts of the Indian capital, New Delhi. This Friday, however, he has no place to go. “Today, I am not sure if I can pray the namaz anywhere,” he told Al Jazeera. Reason: right-wing Hindu groups had erected large tents and lit a ritual fire to perform a religious function at the same ground in the city’s Sector 12A area Nazim prayed at every Friday. The event was attended by a number of politicians and Hindu priests, including Kapil Mishra, who belongs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). read the complete article

05 Nov 2021

How Twitter’s liberal policy on porn allows Indian Muslim women to be harassed

In July, dozens of Indian Muslim women found their pictures displayed as “deals of the day” on an app that went by the name “Sulli Deals”. The app conducted mock auctions of these women to Hindu men. “There was no real sale of any kind – the purpose of the app was just to degrade and humiliate,” reported BBC. Such perverse use of social media for targeted harassment isn’t new. This kind of harassment is also frequently witnessed on Twitter. There were accounts that took responsibility for “Sulli Deals”. There are also accounts that regularly share pornographic content targeting Indian Muslim women. Most social media sites ban pornographic content but not Twitter. The micro-blogging website is more accepting of porn. Twitter policy states that users cannot post adult content in live video, profile, header or banner images created for lists. But pornography and other forms of consensually produced adult content can be posted within tweets “provided that this media is marked as sensitive”. Despite this guideline, unmarked pornographic content flourishes on Twitter. While the platform is used by porn performers to build their brands, Twitter’s inability to distinguish acceptable adult content from non-consensual objectification is hurting India’s Muslim community. A plethora of handles promoting pornographic content showcasing Muslim women as submissive to Hindu men thrives on the platform. The language they use is filthy, to put it mildly. read the complete article

United States

05 Nov 2021

'Shameful, unacceptable, and ridiculous:' Senate Republicans just blocked Biden's highest-ranking Muslim nominee for the 4th time

For the fourth time, Senate Republicans blocked the consideration of Dilawar Syed, the CEO of a healthcare AI company and President Joe Biden's nominee to serve as deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, in the Senate's Small Business Committee. If confirmed, Syed would be the highest-ranking official in the federal government who is a practicing Muslim. Republicans have seized on Syed's membership on the board of Emgage Action, a Muslim-American advocacy group. Hawley spearheaded a letter with other Republicans on the committee that specifically called out as "anti-Semitic" a line from one of the group's press releases that described Palestinians as "occupied" and Israel as "the occupier." And POLITICO reported in August that an aide to Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho flagged Syed's Pakistani heritage in a June email to committee members - a detail that has no bearing on Syed's qualifications to do the job and one that both advocacy groups and Democratic senators have highlighted as an example of the "flagrant anti-Muslim bias" animating Republican opposition to the nominee. An August letter to the committee from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights touted Jewish groups' support for Syed, denouncing the Republicans' boycott of the committee as "tinged with religious bigotry and xenophobia." And Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of perhaps the most influential organization combatting anti-Semitism, told the Daily Beast that it was "painful to see the attacks on Mr. Syed's candidacy because of his association with Emgage" and that "we need him confirmed." read the complete article

05 Nov 2021

City Attorney's Office workers told to have 'open mind' about lawyer with past ties to anti-Muslim ‘hate groups’

Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer is doubling down on the decision to hire a lawyer who has previously worked for organizations dubbed anti-Muslim hate groups — even as a national Islamic group called for her firing. In a video obtained by the Journal Sentinel, Spencer's top deputy, Celia Jackson, urged employees in the City Attorney's Office to offer professional support and to have "an open mind" to new Assistant City Attorney Jennifer DeMaster. Her comments come as DeMaster's hiring has begun to receive national attention with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the primary lobby for American Muslims, urged Spencer to dismiss DeMaster based on her ties to hate groups. Earlier this week, a Journal Sentinel story detailed DeMaster's previous work for the Clarion Project, which has been labeled one of the major proponents of Islamophobia in the United States, and for the American Center for Law and Justice, where she prepped attorneys on "Sharia law (and) radical Islamic ideology," according to a résumé she filed in a federal court case. In 2020, she wrote a book titled "Babylon Unveiled," in which she argued that Islam is not a peaceful religion. read the complete article

05 Nov 2021

GOP candidate who shocked Sweeney faces demands to repudiate offensive tweet

Two civil rights advocacy groups for Muslims have called on the surprise winner of a South Jersey legislative race to repudiate an offensive tweet. Otherwise, Edward Durr of Logan should resign from the state Senate seat to which he was just elected, said the organizations — the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Muslim Advocates. CAIR contended the tweet by Durr was "hate-filled, xenophobic and anti-Muslim." Muslim Advocates asserted it contains "false, offensive and incendiary comments about Muslims and Islam." The Washington, D.C.-based groups issued separate statements in response to a published report that Durr in September 2019 had tweeted Islam was "a false religion" and the Prophet "was a pedophile!" "Only fools follow muslim (sic) teachings! It is a cult of hate!" Durr tweeted. read the complete article


05 Nov 2021

What does Islamophobia look like in Durham? Parents, students speak out

In the aftermath of an attack that saw four members of a Muslim family murdered in London this past summer, the Muslim Educators' Network of Durham (MEND) received an avalanche of questions from the community. What were Durham schools doing to ensure Muslim students felt safe? Were schools discussing Islamophobia? “When the London attack happened, it touched a raw nerve within the community,” says Imran Syed, who co-chairs MEND with Shahana Arain. In the months since, MEND has been working closely with local parents and students to learn more about their experiences with Islamophobia in Durham and develop calls for action. “It's no longer a debate — Islamophobia, is it real or not? We know it is,” Syed says. On Oct. 28, MEND hosted a virtual session called “Islamophobia and Our Kids" where Durham District School Board (DDSB) parents and students talked candidly about their experiences. Parents described anxiety due to the rise of anti-Muslim hate groups. “Seeing certain movements grow within Durham … that have public platforms that actually celebrate the (2019 Christchurch mosque) massacre in New Zealand and they don’t face any reprisal and they’re not considered to be violent … it does cause a lot of fear for me,” said Wafaa Hasan, a parent of two DDSB students. Students described the blatant and more subtle ways they encounter Islamophobia at school. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 05 Nov 2021 Edition


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