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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27 Oct 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority has imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on television channel News18 India for its coverage of the Karnataka hijab ban case, meanwhile in Sweden, the rise of the Sweden Democrats “relates to the way that the global far-right ecosystem has been nourished by disinformation,” and in the United States, a recent vandalism incident at a Muslim cemetery in Fargo, North Dakota, resulted in the destruction of five concrete vaults used in burials. Our recommended read of the day is by Max Daly, Sahar Habib Ghazi, and Pallavi Pundir for VICE on how Hindutva, a far-right extremist ideology from India, is fuelling rising division and hate speech in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. This and more below:


27 Oct 2022

How Far-Right Hindu Supremacy Went Global | Recommended Read

This week, hundreds of millions of people in India and around the world are celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights. But in the English city of Leicester, recent confrontations between young Hindus and Muslims have cast a huge shadow. The violent disorder shook the peaceful image of the Midlands city known for its textile industry, its football team’s miraculous achievement and its large Indian diaspora. The unrest has unsettled communities here, but this is not just about one English city. It is instead a story about how a pernicious brand of right-wing extremism originating in India is using the positive and peaceful ethos of Hinduism as a vehicle to spread hate speech and division. Intent on pushing the interests of Hindus while throwing other religious groups from India under the bus, it is a supremacist ideology that courts the far-right while galvanising an army of online warriors to silence its critics and spread fear. People will be familiar with Islamic extremism’s devastating global consequences, and the threat of far-right white racist groups in the US and Europe. Yet, under the guise of spreading peace and understanding, this insidious far-right Hindu ideology, known as “Hindutva”, has successfully spent decades embedding itself under the radar in India, the UK, Australia, the US and Canada. Experts and community leaders told VICE World News that the rise of Hindu nationalism in India has led to the emboldening of Hindutva outside the motherland. With the help of a network of charities and influential public figures, it is a movement that is building links with other far-right groups and targeting Muslims and Sikh diaspora communities across the world with a toxic mix of propaganda and violence. read the complete article

27 Oct 2022

World has left Bangladesh to shelter 1m Rohingya refugees alone, says minister

The world has done “absolutely nothing” to ensure safety in Myanmar for its persecuted Rohingya minority, said Bangladesh’s foreign minister, complaining that his country is sheltering more than 1 million refugees without support. Foreign minister Shahriar Alam told the Guardian financial support for the Rohingya has decreased each year and there has been no real progress towards repatriation in the five years since more than 700,000 fled massacres by Myanmar’s military. That wave, in August 2017, joined approximately 300,000 people that had already fled Myanmar because of previous security crackdowns. Alam said not enough pressure had been brought to bear on Myanmar’s military junta and called for greater international support for a genocide case at the UN’s international courts of justice, and for a case focusing on forced deportation at the international criminal court. “On the political and repatriation solution, the world is doing absolutely nothing,” said Alam. “They haven’t exercised all their power yet. Up until recently they have kept on investing in Myanmar. The growth of FDI [foreign direct investment] in Myanmar from 2017 to 2020 was greater than that of Bangladesh. You know, how weird is that?” Alam was sceptical of proposed sanctions on the travel and finances of senior military figures, saying the people in question rarely travel. read the complete article

United States

27 Oct 2022

Vaults for the dead smashed in North Dakota Muslim cemetery vandalism

A recent vandalism incident at a Muslim cemetery in Fargo, North Dakota, resulted in the destruction of five concrete vaults used in burials. The incident occurred sometime before Friday morning at a vacant building of the Islamic Society of Fargo-Moorhead (ISFM) in the 8000 block of 25th St. South, according to reports. Staff members preparing for a funeral reportedly discovered the shattered vaults. Damages are estimated at around $5,000 in total. “They needed to have some sort of tool to get in, and then also to break up these vaults,” Heidi Soliman, a spokesperson with ISFM, told InForum. “They’re cement boxes that are heavy and big. So this is a little concerning, and why, and who did it and what was the point? Probably not high school kids.” “This is a pre-planned hate crime,” Dr. Ahmer Qarni told InForum. “Just to send a message to the Muslims, you know, that you are not welcome.” The recent incident adds to anti-Muslim incidents reported in the area since last year. In a statement, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged law enforcement authorities to consider a bias motive in their investigation. read the complete article

27 Oct 2022

Former Trump adviser Tom Barrack criticizes his rhetoric and GOP ‘racist tone’

Longtime Donald Trump ally Tom Barrack testified that he had mixed reactions to the former President’s rhetoric on the campaign trail and in the White House as he took the stand Wednesday during his foreign lobbying trial. Barrack is charged with allegedly acting as a foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates and failing to notify the Justice Department of his role. He has pleaded not guilty. Barrack is a longtime friend of Trump’s, served as chairman of his Presidential Inaugural Committee and advised him as president. But Barrack has testified at trial this week that he felt the Republican Party had taken on a “racist tone,” as people embraced Trump’s ideas of building a wall between the US and Mexico, the Muslim ban and other proposals. “To have the Republican Party not viewed as racist was important,” Barrack said. On Tuesday, Barrack testified about trying to connect then-candidate Trump with Arab leaders to change his mind about his proposed Muslim ban. In an April 2016 email between Barrack and UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba, Al Otaiba wrote “confusion about your friend Donald Trump is VERY HIGH,” over Trump’s proposed Muslim ban. Barrack responded that Trump is not “anti-Islam” or “racist” and that “He is the king of hyperbole.” “We can turn him to prudence,” Barrack wrote. read the complete article

27 Oct 2022

Monia Mazigh: Racist Hollywood stereotypes are informing mainstream media coverage

Rabble columnist Monia Mazigh explains how anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiments present themselves in Hollywood: with Muslim men portrayed as violent and terrorizing, and the Muslim women as submissive and oppressed – yet sexualized. Mazigh explores how these caricatures and stereotypes have developed throughout history and how they inform mainstream news reporting. This is a clip from rabble’s most recent live politics panel: ‘Off the Hill: Confronting Islamophobia in Canada.’ The panel featured guests Senator Salma Ataullahjan, Monia Mazigh, Nuzhat Jafri, and Karl Nerenberg. Co-hosted by Robin Browne and Libby Davies. read the complete article

United Kingdom

27 Oct 2022

Doctor who told married Muslim woman to remove veil handed nine-month suspension

A doctor who asked a Muslim woman to remove her veil three times has been suspended. Dr Keith Wolverson has been banned from working for nine months after a misconduct panel found his actions were 'deplorable'. The medic, who has been a doctor for more than 25 years, committed a string of acts which amounted to misconduct while working in Staffordshire and Derby. It included asking the married woman to remove her face covering, while the doctor went on to criticise the English speaking skills of 15 of his patients. But Dr Wolverson has since spoken on and said he plans to fight the ban. He will appeal the ruling despite confessing his acts were 'unprofessional'. It comes after Dr Wolverson, 56, was found guilty of or admitted to a total of 17 charges of misconduct during a hearing held by the Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service (MPTS), StokeonTrentLive reports. Some of the charges - all of which date from January to May, 2018 - related to his work at the Royal Stoke, both as a locum, or temporary doctor, and at Derby Urgent Care Centre. One incident saw him repeat a request to a Muslim woman, named as Mrs Q, to take off her veil three times during a consultation on May 13, 2018. read the complete article

27 Oct 2022

Violent clashes between Hindu and Muslim men in Leicester sparks independent review

An independent review is being carried out in Leicester after a number of violent clashes between young Hindu and Muslim men last month. The review has been commissioned by Leicester City Council who is hoping to determine what has caused the unrest. Researchers will talk to hundreds of people including members of the public, the police, MPs and local councillors. The independent inquiry will take place over four months and the results being published by March next year. It is being carried out by the University of Leicester and lead by Dr Chris Allen. They say they are not trying "to apportion blame" but are determined to find out "what actually happened" Dr Allen said: "This isn't necessarily something that is entirely exclusive to Leicester. "We'll be looking into actually what happened with those [groups], what were the catalysts and why did they happen when they did?" "We'll be looking at what happened before, during and after the disturbances. Did we miss any of the warning signs? Did we see anything before that we didn't act on properly." read the complete article


27 Oct 2022

News18 India fined Rs 50,000 for its coverage of Karnataka hijab ban case

The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority has imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on television channel News18 India for its coverage of the Karnataka hijab ban case, reported Live Law on Wednesday. The hijab ban controversy had erupted in Decemebr after a group of Muslim students of the Government Women’s Pre-University College in Karnataka’s Udupi city were not allowed to attend classes for wearing the headscarf. As the matter snowballed, the Karnataka government on February 5 issued an order stating that students would have to wear the uniform prescribed by their schools and pre-university colleges. The Karnataka High Court upheld the ban in March and in October, the Supreme Court delivered a split verdict on petitions challenging the decision. The News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority order has been passed on a complaint filed on April 10 by a man identified as Indrajeet Ghorpade, reported News Laundry. The show in question was aired on April 6. Ghorpade alleged that News18 India anchor Aman Chopra had referred to Muslim students as “hijabi gang” and “hijabwali gazwa gang” while making “false allegations that they had resorted to rioting”. After getting a response on the complaint from News18 India in September, the news regulator directed the channel to take down the show from its website and all its platforms within seven days. read the complete article


27 Oct 2022

$1.5B 'Islamophobia industry' foments fear, moral panic in Canada

A recent study revealed that north American networks that influence and fund Islamophobia "has become a transnational sector" as the "industry," with access to over $1.5 billion in funding, foment Islamophobic fear and moral panic in Canada. Jasmin Zine, a Canada-based professor of Sociology, Religion and Culture, and the Muslim Studies Option at Wilfrid Laurier University mapped these political, ideological, institutional, and economic networks in a four-year study. In a 127-page report published recently, Zine and her team concluded that at least 39 U.S.-based organizations coordinate the market. A 2016 study concluded that this network was financed by 1,096 charitable institutions between 2014 and 2016 through donor-advised funds (DAF), giving them access to over $1.5 billion. Zine's latest publication, titled "The Canadian Islamophobia Industry: Mapping Islamophobia’s Ecosystem in the Great White North," also examined strategies employed by Islamophobia agents and highlighted the ties among players within the Islamophobia industry. It also created profiles of key public figures, media outlets, and organizations that produce and distribute Islamophobic ideologies and propaganda, while identifying the dominant Islamophobic discourses that circulate through these networks. read the complete article


27 Oct 2022

A letter from Sweden: The far right is shifting public norms — it could happen here too

In Sweden, where I live, we have just experienced a national election that represents the culmination of years of intensifying polarization. Anyone living in the United States will recognize the pattern, although for a country as culturally committed to consensus as Sweden, it is particularly shocking. As an American poised to vote in the U.S. midterm elections, the interconnections are foremost in my mind. As a descendant of Nazis who has spent many years immersed in history, I feel intensely what is at stake for democracy and peace globally. In the run-up to the Swedish election cycle in 2018, my friend, Hédi Fried, invited the leader of Sweden’s Moderate Party for lunch at her apartment. Hédi is a national icon in Sweden — a Holocaust survivor, psychologist and author who has been a warrior for democracy and human rights for the better part of 40 years. During his meeting with Hédi, Kristersson vowed never to enter any form of cooperation with the Sweden Democrats, a political party that had made significant gains in parliament. The reason: Sweden Democrats represent no ordinary party. After WWII, the party emerged from a neo-Nazi group called Behåll Sverige Svensk (BSS), or Keep Sweden Swedish. Its founders had Nazi affiliations and were even members of Hitler’s Waffen SS. Over the years, the Sweden Democrats have attempted to sanitize their party, but its behavior, even in more recent years, suggests that it cannot escape its compromised beginnings. Despite all that, as the votes were counted in Sweden’s last national election in September 2022, it became increasingly clear that the Moderate Party could only govern if it entered a coalition with the Sweden Democrats, which, for the first time, overtook the Moderates to become Sweden’s second-largest party. Needless to say: Kristersson folded, making what many regard as an alliance with the devil. To my friend Hédi, the Holocaust survivor, it is not only the breaking of a promise, but one of many symptoms of Europe's collective forgetfulness about the dangers of allowing the far right into positions of power. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 27 Oct 2022 Edition


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