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 Oct 2022

Today in Islamophobia: At the Council of Europe, parliamentarians from 46 countries will vote on a “resolution that accuses authorities in several European states of normalizing discrimination against Muslims and calls for state action to address Islamophobia as a form of racism,” meanwhile at a rally in India, multiple BJP lawmakers and Hindu religious called for violence against Muslims and urged Hindus to economically boycott the minority community, and at the United Nations, “Arab and African countries continue to stand firm behind China in key votes,” demonstrating the country’s “economic and soft power push into the Global South.” Our recommended read of the day is by Kavitha Iyer for Article 14 on a new report that finds that “a divisive narrative, anti-Muslim hate speech following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019 and portrayal of anti-CAA protestors as traitors laid the groundwork” for the February 2020 anti-Muslim riots in Delhi that claimed 53 lives. This and more below:


11 Oct 2022

Delhi Riots: How BJP Leaders Created A Powderkeg That Led To 2020 Hindu-Muslim Violence | Recommended Read

A months-long build-up of a “divisive Hindu-Muslim binary” fanned by powerful politicians and Hindu nationalist figures followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) sectarian, hate speech-filled campaign for the Delhi Assembly election created a volatile tinderbox eventually leading to the February 2020 communal clashes in New Delhi, according to a fact-finding committee chaired by former Supreme Court judge Madan B Lokur. Calling the BJP’s rhetoric in the run-up to and after the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December 2019 “divisive and inflammatory”, the panel’s report, called ‘Uncertain Justice’ and released on 8 October, said the ruling party’s framing of the National Register Of Citizens (NRC) as a step towards identifying and expelling ‘infiltrators’ from the country sparked fears in the Muslim community about loss of citizenship. Allegations of police complicity in allowing or participating in the targeting of Muslims and their establishments was another facet of the violence, the report said. Even as anti-CAA demonstrations in the capital faced police action, pro-CAA demonstrations emerged, “calling for shooting bullets while branding anti-CAA protesters as ‘traitors’, ‘terrorists’, ‘rioters, and ‘jihadis’,” the report said, holding speeches by politicians, Hindu nationalists and the BJP’s election campaigners responsible for growing communal tensions in the period immediately preceding the outbreak of violence in the North-East Delhi district, “... the February violence emerged as the ultimate culmination of a larger communally divisive project that was set in motion before the eruption of violence…” the report said. “Once it broke out, while the violence was perpetrated through the mechanics of mob involvement on both sides, Muslim identity was singled out as a target to be attacked.” read the complete article

11 Oct 2022

India: BJP lawmakers, Hindu leaders call for 'Muslim boycott' World

Multiple Indian lawmakers from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hindu religious leaders dehumanised Indian Muslims at a New Delhi rally on Sunday, including calls for taking up arms. The rally was organised by a local branch of a Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a right-wing Hindu nationalist group. Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, a BJP Member of Parliament from Delhi, urged Hindus at the rally economically boycott Muslims. Calling them "these people", Verma urged the gathering to chant with him that they would stop purchasing goods from Muslim-owned shops. "Wherever you see them, I say that if you want to set their minds straight, then there is only one remedy - that is complete boycott. Do you agree with this? Raise your hand if you agree. And say with me, we will completely boycott them, we will not buy any goods from their shops, we will not employ them," he said in a video widely shared on social media, in which the crowd repeated his chants. A second BJP regional legislator Nand Kishore Gujjar, speaking at the same event, called Muhammad Akhlaq - a Muslim who was lynched by a Hindu mob on suspicion of slaughtering a cow in 2015 - a "pig". Gujjar also boasted that he had brought 2,500 people into Delhi to "kill jihadis". Other speakers openly called for violence against Muslims. Jagat Guru Yogeshwar Acharya, a Hindu religious leader, urged people to behead those who attack their temples, according to India Today. Another religious leader, Mahant Nawal Kishore Das, urged Hindus to arm themselves. read the complete article

11 Oct 2022

When the Hindu Right Came for Bollywood

In the summer of 2019, the actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub won a role on “Tandav,” an Indian political drama being produced by Amazon Prime. The title was clever. In Hindu lore, the tandav is the dance of life and death performed by Shiva, the god whose terrible powers can end the universe—a neat metaphor for the dark, intricate maneuvers of national politics. When Ayyub read the show’s script, he spied a handful of allusions to the India around him. In one episode, policemen barge onto a university campus to arrest a Muslim student leader. The scene recalled the government’s persecution of popular student politicians and, more broadly, the hostility toward Muslims that marks the Hindu nationalism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.). The B.J.P. had just begun its second straight term in power, and “obviously, when you write, you write about recent things,” Ayyub said. Mostly, though, “Tandav” aspired to be splashy entertainment—the kind of show in which a Prime Minister dies after drinking a glass of poisoned wine, which happens in the opening episode. “In fact,” Ayyub said, “I even told the director, ‘If your main character breaks the fourth wall, you will have your “House of Cards.” ’ ” Drawing inspiration from bleak headlines—the religious lynchings, the cronyism, the autocratic acts of the state—had become a fraught enterprise. The B.J.P. and its supporters were growing intolerant of contrary views and criticism, and they were liable to react badly—through social-media attacks, targeted harassment by government agencies, or endless litigation. Outright violence was rarer, although its threat was never distant. “In the year or so before ‘Tandav,’ ” the lawyer said, “people were objecting to anything.” When “Tandav” premièred, in January, 2021, Ayyub was on location, shooting a film. On Twitter, he noticed that he was being tagged frequently—sometimes by people praising him, but mostly amid heaps of abuse. In cities and towns far from Mumbai, people filed police complaints, claiming that the portrayal of a foulmouthed Shiva was an insult to Hinduism. (A B.J.P. official told me that, in the large family of Hindu-nationalist organizations, “an enthusiastic worker can always be found who will file these complaints to keep his bosses happy.”) Such cases usually go nowhere, but in the B.J.P.’s India, where the police and the courts are pliant, it’s hard to be sanguine. Recently, a Muslim journalist was imprisoned for three weeks because someone complained that a four-year-old tweet derided Hinduism. The account that reported him was anonymous, had one tweet and one follower on the day of the arrest, and went offline thereafter. Governments have tried to control Indian cinema in the past—mostly through the Central Board of Film Certification (C.B.F.C.), a state authority that can order alterations or essentially ban movies by refusing to certify them. But the B.J.P.’s disdain for Bollywood registers as something deeper—as an echo, in fact, of its animus toward the Congress and other rival parties. When Modi came to power, in 2014, he decried national politics as an élite club: upper-class, upper-caste, English-speaking politicians, activists, and journalists, all cozied up to one another in the plush pockets of central Delhi. In the eyes of the B.J.P., Bollywood, too, is full of liberals disconnected from the real India. And if the film industry is full of “nepo kids”—the children of actors, producers, and directors—then Rahul Gandhi, the Congress’s aspirant Prime Minister and the son, grandson, and great-grandson of earlier Prime Ministers, is the foremost nepo kid of all. “People like us—we’re hated,” the director Nikkhil Advani, the cousin and grand-nephew of producers, told me. read the complete article

11 Oct 2022

‘Identify and kill them’: How calls for Muslim genocide were given at VHP’s Delhi event

“Cut their hands, behead them. In logon ko chun chun kar maaro (identify and kill these people).” Make plans, 50,000 people will join you from Loni (Ghaziabad).” “If you want to set them straight, there is only one solution — total boycott.” North East Delhi, which had witnessed waves of bloodshed and destruction of properties in February 2020, reverberated with such hate and provocative speeches on Sunday (October 9) during an event — ‘Virat Hindu Sabha’ — organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) at Dilshad Garden. Prominent among those who attended the public meeting were Parvesh Verma (BJP’s member of Parliament from West Delhi), Nand Kishore Gujjar (BJP legislator from Loni in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district), among others. The gathering was allegedly organised to stoke communal tension in the wake of the brutal murder of one Manish, 20, who was stabbed to death near his house on October 1 evening in East Delhi’s Sunder Nagri as a fallout of an old rivalry. Three men — Faizan, Bilal and Sajid — were arrested the next morning for killing the youth, and the police had ruled out any communal angle in the incident. A video of the gruesome murder shows the three men stabbing the victim simultaneously as bystanders watch without intervening. Targeting the Muslim community for the incident, a religious leader, Yogeshwar Acharya, told the people that time had come to teach them a lesson. read the complete article

11 Oct 2022

Supreme Court Likely to Pronounce Verdict on Hijab Ban This Week

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on petitions challenging the Karnataka high court judgment refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions before Justice Hemant Gupta retires this week. During the arguments in the apex court, a number of counsels appearing for the petitioners had insisted that preventing the Muslim girls from wearing the hijab to the classroom will put their education in jeopardy as they might stop attending classes. read the complete article


11 Oct 2022

Why Arab and African countries stand with China at the UN

Arab and African countries continue to stand firm behind China in key votes at the United Nations. Reasons for support go beyond siding with an authoritarian regime; they also show China’s economic clout in Africa. The report, published minutes before Bachelet left office on August 30, found China's “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uyghurs and other Muslims in the western Chinese region may constitute crimes against humanity. Muslim countries in Asia and Africa remained silent. Nearly a month after the report was published, 70 countries led by Pakistan made a joint statement at the Council calling on countries to stop interfering in China's internal affairs. Fourteen Arab countries, including Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain were on the list. Last Thursday a vote at the Council to adopt a resolution committing to a debate at the next session in February failed. All African countries apart from three voted no. Benin and the Gambia abstained. Somalia voted yes. The result came after intense behind-the-scenes lobbying by China. Reasons for support of China go beyond internal concerns of wanting to maintain stability and preferring to side with an authoritarian regime. They also reflect China’s economic and soft power push into the Global South, which has led many countries to depend financially on what is now the world’s second-largest economy. read the complete article

11 Oct 2022

Democracies must stand firm against Xi Jinping’s next assault on human rights

Over the past decade, Xi’s regime has conducted brutal assimilationist campaigns with especially grim consequences for Tibetans, Uyghurs, people in Hong Kong, and others. He has reengineered the party state, reversing previous decades of slow progress toward legal reform. From the 2016 counterterrorism law to the 2017 Foreign Nongovernmental Organization Activities in China law to the Orwellian 2020 “national security” law imposed on Hong Kong, Xi’s entourage has used the law to entrench party power. Some members of diaspora communities — even those who have obtained citizenship in democracies — are under such close scrutiny or harassment that they don’t feel secure exercising their rights. Chinese authorities now seek to influence public education in democracies, neutralize key international human rights institutions and shape global technical standards to expand their vision of technology as an instrument of control and coercion. Democracies can no longer ignore the reality that their economic interdependence with Xi’s government has helped sustain human rights abuses. Canada, the European Union, Britain and the United States have begun imposing some sanctions in response to Chinese government human rights violations. The U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act has made it harder for goods produced in China with forced labor to enter the United States, and has helped gain recognition for the idea that companies and consumers should not want to profit from repression. But large swaths of economic activity — from finance to manufacturing — remain largely unexamined. read the complete article

11 Oct 2022

Council of Europe resolution is a call for action against Islamophobia in Europe

Amid rising Islamophobia in Europe, amplified by politicians using anti-Muslim rhetoric, parliamentarians from 46 countries will vote in a plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on a resolution that accuses authorities in several European states of normalizing discrimination against Muslims and calls for state action to address Islamophobia as a form of racism. Amnesty International’s research and recommendations are among the sources that informed the PACE report on which the resolution is based. It is expected that there will be a majority in favour of the resolution in the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), following the unanimous adoption of the related report within the Assembly’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. On 1 June 2022, Amnesty International submitted to the PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination a regional overview of Islamophobia in Europe, documenting how a number of states have “racialized” Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim and subjected them to a range of discriminatory and racist laws, policies and practices. As described in the Council of Europe’s new report, this process of “racialization” leads Muslims to be perceived as a separate ethnic group “based on various markers that include ethnic or national origin, appearance and cultural characteristics, and may overlap with anti-immigrant sentiments, xenophobia and social class bias”. The PACE report and resolution highlight that any acknowledgement of the issues faced by Muslims must be followed by action in the form of national anti-Islamophobia action plans. It includes concrete recommendations to Council of Europe member states. read the complete article

11 Oct 2022

As protestors decry Iran’s repressive policies, anti-hijab rhetoric rises in Baltimore and beyond

When ally-ship selectively manifests only for those choosing to take off the hijab, but not for those choosing to put it on, it translates into Islamophobia that risks perpetuating more violence against girls and women. That’s not solidarity. When a legitimate, worthy cause is co-opted as a cover to vilify Islam, push for sanctions that harm innocent Iranians, or advocate for a disastrous war, that’s not solidarity. When people enthusiastically support women killed overseas by American adversaries, but steadfastly ignore women killed overseas by our government’s allies, that’s not true solidarity. As the force that’s launched a massive movement to galvanize change and fight gender-based oppression, these double standards do a disservice to Mahsa Amini’s legacy. Our liberation is intertwined, it’s often said that none of us are free until all of us are free. The freedom for all girls and women to peacefully protest without fear of violence must be protected at all costs. In Maryland, we can do that by not fueling Islamophobia even as we justly demand accountability and criticize oppressive governments, and by consistently standing up for the safety of all girls and women, from Mahsa Amini in Iran to an Afghan teen in Baltimore. read the complete article

United States

11 Oct 2022

How 'Ramy' Is Rewriting The Narrative On Muslim Representation | The Mehdi Hasan Show

Even though Muslims account for 25% of the world’s population, they only make up 1% of characters in popular TV shows — and much of that representation is negative. But in recent years, Egyptian-American comedian and actor Ramy Youssef has been working to change that. Youssef joins Mehdi to talk about his semi-autobiographical show, “Ramy,” portraying the life of Muslims in America and much more. read the complete article

11 Oct 2022

Influencers apologise after being accused of mocking Muslim woman wearing the hijab

Two US-based influencers with a combined following of more than 10 million followers have apologised after they were accused of Islamophobia. Content creators Savannah Demers, 22, and Michelle Kennelly, 19, have been accused of mocking a Muslim woman wearing a hijab at an Amazon Prime event to celebrate the premiere of Lena Dunham’s Catherine Called Birdy. In a video shared to her Instagram story, Demers filmed herself and Kennelly with blankets over their heads. Above the blankets and in the background, a Muslim woman wearing the hijab could be seen sitting behind them using her phone. The now-deleted Instagram story quickly began circulating online, with social media users criticisng the pair for allegedly mocking the Muslim woman. Another TikTok creator named Maya Abdallah, who can also be seen in the background of the video, weighed in on the controversy and accused Demers and Kennelly of being “extremely Islamophobic”. “They went out of their way to put those blankets over their head to film a hijabi woman without consent to make fun of her on their platforms with millions and millions of followers,” Abdallah alleged. “The woman I’m sitting next to [the woman wearing the hijab] is not an influencer. She did not come to this event to be mocked or to be laughed at. She came to this event to enjoy the event that she was invited to.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Oct 2022 Edition


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