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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21 Oct 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In India, Barkha Dutt writes that the imprisonment of Shah Rukh Khan’s son illustrates the “absence of proportionality in the court’s response — in a justice system in which bail should be the norm rather than the exception” and the “subsequent, often communal, gloating of toxic mobs is revealing,” meanwhile in the United Kingdom, government research shows that the biggest targets of religiously motivated hate crimes in England and Wales from 2020-2021 are Muslims, and in the United States, a number of rallies are being held calling for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who is currently serving 86 years in prison in what civil liberties groups and activists say was an unjust sentencing as a result of the US “war on terror.” Our recommended read of the day is by the Carol Rosenberg for the New York Times on the recent ruling by a federal judge that the United States has no legal basis for holding an Afghan man at Guantánamo Bay. This and more below:

United States

21 Oct 2021

Detention of an Afghan at Guantánamo Bay Is Ruled Unlawful | Recommended Read

A federal judge has ruled that the United States has no legal basis for holding an Afghan man at Guantánamo Bay because although he fought on the side of a militia in Afghanistan, he was not part of Al Qaeda. U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta found that the detainee, Assadullah Haroon Gul, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2007 as a member of an Islamic militia, did not qualify as a member of Al Qaeda or an associated force, the legal basis for detention at Guantánamo Bay. The ruling on a petition of habeas corpus, however, does not assure his release any time soon. In 2008, a federal judge ruled that 17 Muslims from China of the Uyghur minority were unlawfully detained at Guantánamo Bay but, as an oppressed minority, could not go home. The Uyghurs then languished at the prison for years while the Obama administration sought nations to receive them. The last three Uyghurs were sent to Slovakia for resettlement in 2013. “What the ruling means is that Mr. Gul’s detention is illegal,” Tara J. Plochocki, a lawyer for the prisoner, said on Wednesday. “The grant of the writ does not mean the judge can order the government to put him on a plane to Kabul, but the government is required to obey court orders and to comply, it must release him.” The White House declined to comment on the decision. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, which has been defending the president’s authority to detain him at Guantánamo Bay, said lawyers were still considering whether to appeal. read the complete article

21 Oct 2021

'War on terror': US protesters rally in support of incarcerated Aafia Siddiqui

Dozens of protesters stood outside Pakistan's consulate in New York City on Wednesday, calling for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who is currently serving 86 years in prison in what civil liberties groups and activists say was an unjust sentencing as a result of the US "war on terror". A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and PhD scholar in neuroscience from Brandeis University, Siddiqui disappeared from her home in Karachi in 2003 and was later found in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 2008. She was arrested, charged, and convicted of the attempted murder of US officials and nationals, and later sentenced to 86 years of imprisonment. In the indictment presented to the US court, prosecutors had said that Siddiqui possessed notes referring to a "mass casualty attack", with multiple locations listed as the target, including the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge. Cage, a London-based rights group, has made accusations that her case is rife with inconsistencies, contradictory allegations and evidence obtained under torture. While she was never charged with links to the militant group al-Qaeda, multiple attempts were made to connect her to the organisation, according to Cage. "Aafia Siddiqui's case remains one of the most troubling in the sordid history of the 'War on Terror'. It is time this chapter of Aafia Siddiqui’s life was closed. She needs to go home and be with the children she never saw grow up," Moazzem Begg, an ex-Guantanamo prisoner and outreach director at Cage, said in a statement in August. read the complete article

21 Oct 2021

Donald Trump’s Republican Party shows true colours as it blocks Muslim nomination for White House job

At first glance Dilawar Syed appears to personify the American ideal; an entrepreneur who came to the US in search of an education and opportunity, and grabbed both to build a successful career that has seen him run businesses in computing, health care and artificial intelligence. The Biden administration spotted his talents and decided in March this year to make him deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, having decided his skills could help the US economy recover from Covid-19. Had he got the job, Syed would have been the highest ranking Muslim in the US government. But his nomination remains frozen, blocked at every turn by Republicans citing any number of fatuous excuses. First they murmured about queries relating to Covid relief loans given to his businesses. When that was discounted they questioned Syed’s links to an advocacy group that has been critical of Israel. The American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League have dismissed these objections to Mr Syed’s nomination out of hand. But Republicans on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship have still boycotted key votes, denying the committee the quorum it needs to confirm Syed’s nomination. read the complete article

21 Oct 2021

Bloomington mosque vandalism highlights surge in Indiana hate crimes

A mosque vandalized Monday night in Bloomington highlights the huge surge of hate crimes across Indiana. According to an FBI report, in 2019, 80 hate crimes were recorded in Indiana. In 2020, there were 186. “The lack of civil discourse that we are seeing lately has emboldened people and encourage them to act on their hate,” said Hiba Alami, the executive director for the Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network. Alami tells I-Team 8 that she remembers when Masjid E Noor, a mosque on Lafayette Road, was shot at several times in May 2020. Federal investigators say they believe Jonathan Warren fired shots into the mosque after a fight with his girlfriend’s father. Warren was not charged with a hate crime. Alami says it’s been difficult to swallow that fact. “We trust law enforcement, we trust the FBI, but, honestly, for the community, the way we perceive it is that there’s no other way but to have it as a hate crime.” Alami says it’s been concerning to see the attacks on the Muslim community in the past few years. In 2019, a Muslim man was killed in a road-rage shooting after the shooter yelled Islamophobic insults at him. I-Team 8 was told by members of the Masjid E Noor that they now have bulletproof panels behind their windows where bullet holes once were in 2020. read the complete article


21 Oct 2021

Shah Rukh Khan was a symbol of hope in India. Now his story shows all that is being corroded.

Khan’s middle-class roots, interfaith love marriage to a Hindu woman, full-throated embrace of multiculturalism and sardonic humor are among the many factors that made him a symbol of all that is bright, brilliant and possible about India and its pluralism. Now, his heartbreaking transition to a sad, apologetic and, above all, silent public figure captures all that is being corroded, debased and devalued in India today. It is his kowtowing to the online lynch mobs that Khan might be reflecting on today as an anguished parent to 23-year-old Aryan Khan, who has now spent 17 days in jail on charges of drug use. On Wednesday, his bail was rejected by a special narcotics crime court. The matter moves to the High Court. Not many would disagree that Aryan Khan should be penalized as needed under the law if he has violated it. Nor is it my case that he has been arrested for being Muslim. But the utter absence of proportionality in the court’s response — in a justice system in which bail should be the norm rather than the exception — and the subsequent, often communal, gloating of toxic mobs is revealing. Shah Rukh Khan and his son offer the perfect deflection. Who wants to talk about the threat from China or the economic and social impact of covid-19 when you can stargaze on prime time and pass judgment without due process? Throw in some Islamophobia into the mix and the distraction works even better. Virtual bullies feel empowered, while once-powerful heroes move into even deeper silence. read the complete article

21 Oct 2021

Bogey of ‘economic jihad’: a conspiracy to target livelihood of Indian Muslims

The term ‘economic jihad’, was coined by Hindutva groups to target Muslims. The right-wing Hindu leaders often use such hateful terminology to construct and weave an anti-Muslim narrative in India. One feature of this anti-Muslim narrative is manufacturing conspiracy theories. One such conspiracy theory being floated is that Muslims are hijacking jobs of Hindus in formal and informal sectors and that Muslims sell their goods at a cheaper rate and Muslims are using Hindu identity to attract customers in Hindu majority areas. The pertinent question is that what is the purpose of such bogus conspiracy theories? Certainly, the purpose is to target the livelihood of Muslims and weaken them economically. The Hindutva effort, however, is not limited to mere conspiracy theories. Indian Muslims have been facing violence from Hindutva forces for a long time, and Muslim properties are often targeted by Hindu extremist mobs during communal violence. read the complete article

United Kingdom

21 Oct 2021

British Muslims Encouraged Not To 'Remain Silent' On Hate Crimes

Ever since the killing of Sir David Amess was labelled a terrorism incident, the British Muslim community have been braced for a rise in hate crimes. In fact, since the MP was stabbed in his own Essex constituency on Friday, Islamophobic attacks have already taken place. British Somalis in particular have received death threats and community centres have been forced to close as residents had objects thrown at them. But it’s not just following high profile terrorism cases that hate crimes are directed against Muslims. Government research published just three days before the attack in Leigh-on-Sea shows that the biggest targets of religiously motivated hate crimes in England and Wales from 2020-2021 are Muslims – followed by Jewish groups. Now, the Muslim Council of Britain is issuing guidelines to help British Muslims deal with potential influx of hate crimes against the group. According to the Home Office, Islamophobia remains a trend year-on-year. In the year ending March 2021, where the perceived religion of the victim was recorded, just under half (45%) of religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims (2,703 offences). The next most commonly targeted group were Jewish people, who were targeted in 22% of religious hate crimes (1,288 offences). read the complete article

21 Oct 2021

Bristol schoolgirl's award for tackling racism and sexism

A schoolgirl has been given an award for her work educating young people about issues such as racism and sexism. Mariama, 15, from Bristol, is a trustee of the charity Integrate UK, set up by young people in the city. It uses videos and workshops to raise awareness of radicalisation, female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual exploitation and Islamophobia. Mariama said it was "amazing" to win the Young Hero Award from the National Lottery. Integrate UK, which benefits from lottery funding, was founded in 2009 by a group of girls from Bristol. It now works across the UK providing workshops to schools, often using videos and other creative media. Mariama joined the charity, which tackles the topics of gender and racial inequality in particular, in 2018. read the complete article


21 Oct 2021

Accused in deadly alleged attack on Muslim family returns to court

The case of the man charged with four counts of murder after a horrific hit-and-run that killed four of five members of a Muslim family in northwest London continues to move slowly through the court. Nathaniel Veltman, 20, made a brief court video court appearance Wednesday morning. His case has been adjourned until Nov. 17 to allow more disclosure to flow to the defence and to possibly schedule a judicial pretrial. Along with four counts of first-degree murder, Veltman faces an additional count of attempted murder. At this time, there is a publication ban on any evidence heard in court. London police have called the attack a targeted attack on Muslims. Prosecutors are pursuing terrorism as the basis of the the first-degree murder charges. read the complete article


21 Oct 2021

Right-wing French commentator Eric Zemmour points unloaded sniper rifle at reporter

Eric Zemmour, a French right-wing commentator who's expected to run for the French presidency next year, has been criticised for pointing an unloaded sniper rifle at a journalist during an arms fair. read the complete article


21 Oct 2021

Senators seek details from U.S. electronics firm on Uyghur labor

A group of Democratic and Republican U.S. senators wrote to remote-control maker Universal Electronics Inc (UEIC.O) on Wednesday about concerns the Arizona-based company could be implicated in the mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims in China's Xinjiang region. Universal (UEI) struck a deal with authorities in Xinjiang to transport hundreds of Uyghur workers to its plant in the southern Chinese city of Qinzhou. There, workers live in segregated dormitories, are continuously surveilled by police, and are made to participate in government "education activities," Reuters reported. "We believe these conditions bear obvious signs of forced labor," said Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Jeff Merkley and Republican Senator Marco Rubio in the letter to UEI Chief Executive Paul Arling. Menendez chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rubio and Merkley are members of the panel. "We are especially troubled that Universal Electronics appears to have done little to investigate or remedy the situation," the letter added. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 21 Oct 2021 Edition


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