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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28 Oct 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Australia, Queensland police are investigating who is responsible for placing a pig’s head and heart at the entry of a mosque on the Gold Coast in the early hours of Friday morning, meanwhile in Europe, the position for “Coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred” has stood empty for over a year and it appears the EU Commission is “in no rush to fill it,” and in France, Islamophobia is on the rise and many French Muslims “feel the elections have stigmatized their faith and increased populist and right-wing attacks on their way of life.” Our recommended read of the day is by Rashmee Kumar and Akela Lacy for the Intercept on how Maryland’s Democratic gubernatiorial ticket, Wes Moore and Aruna Miller, “held a fundraiser with Trump supporters and people linked to the Hindutva movement.” This and more below:

United States

28 Oct 2022


Maryland's Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore is widely expected to blow out his Republican opponent Dan Cox. But that won’t stop Moore from welcoming support wherever he can get it. Lately, the list of Moore’s supporters even includes the leaders of two organizations founded to support former President Donald Trump. Last month, Moore, a political newcomer, and his running mate, former state Del. Aruna Miller, held a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Jasdip “Jesse” Singh, the founder of Sikhs for Trump. The event was co-hosted by one-time Trump adviser Sajid Tarar, who founded Muslims for Trump and delivered a prayer for the then-candidate at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Singh and Tarar have strong connections to the current Republican governor, serving on his commission for South Asian issues. Adapa Prasad, the national president of the group Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the U.S. outreach wing of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, also attended the fundraiser. The group, which Sekhsaria has also been linked to, was required in 2020 to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent. The fundraiser in Maryland for Moore and Miller appeared to be the latest instance of Hindutva, or a Hindu nationalist political ideology, creeping into American politics. As the global far right gathers power, Indian policy issues and Hindutva-affiliated money have increasingly shown up in U.S. elections. In Maryland, the combination of cozying up to allies of both Trump and Modi has raised questions among local activists and South Asian Americans as to what interest they might have in helping Democrats take back the governor’s mansion. read the complete article

28 Oct 2022

Bush, Guantanamo and the rule of law | Napolitano

Last week, the government announced that it does not want to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four of his colleagues whom it claims are the remaining conspirators of the attacks on 9/11. All five are awaiting trial at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The allegations are that these five conspired to commit mass murder, a capital offense. Even though conspiracy is not a war crime, the feds are planning to try these defendants before a military tribunal under the rules utilized in federal criminal trials. All five were detained from around 2003 to 2006 at CIA black sites, where they were kept in solitary confinement and egregiously tortured. After the CIA torture was concluded, the five were transferred to military custody at Gitmo in 2006. There, the tortures resumed until FBI agents arrived to interrogate them. For all of its faults in other cases, the FBI put a stop to the military torture and solitary confinement. The decisions to have the CIA torture these detainees, not to charge them with capital offenses in federal district courts in the U.S. as the Constitution mandates, to implement military torture, to charge these folks with crimes not recognized under the laws of war before military tribunals, to scuttle the constitutionally mandated jury system, and to keep the Department of Justice out of these cases were all made by the legally ignorant, Constitution-defying President George W. Bush. After 12 years of litigation and numerous changes in the prosecution teams and the judges hearing the case, as a result of Bush’s profound incompetence, the feds are giving up on trying these men. read the complete article


28 Oct 2022

India’s Abuses at Home Raise Concerns About Its Global Counterterrorism Role

India’s role on the international counterterrorism stage is expanding, even as its broad-brush responses to armed extremist threats at home become more troubling. On Oct. 28-29, India will host a special meeting of the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, which it chairs, on “Countering the Use of New and Emerging Technologies for Terrorist Purposes.” Next year, India will also chair the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), an alliance with a reputation for heavy-handed counterterrorism and that is dominated by serial rights offenders China and Russia (Iran is to join next year, and Turkey waits in the wings). India’s efforts to increase its influence in this domain are concerning, given its domestic record of undermining human rights under the guise of countering terrorism. Its intensifying internal repression does not bode well for its approach on the Security Council. Under the administration of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, abuses of India’s draconian counterterrorism law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, have markedly increased. The authorities have jailed numerous activists, minorities, and critics of the government under the law, along with student protesters, ordinary citizens from rural and tribal communities, and political opponents. Leaders and affiliates of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party often stigmatize Indian Muslims, baselessly accusing them of terrorism. Muslim Kashmiris, including protesters and independent journalists, have been accused of terrorism or arbitrarily detained under another abusive law, the Public Safety Act. Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar have been at risk of detention and deportation. One focus of the upcoming Counter-Terrorism Committee meeting in Mumbai and Delhi will be the use of the internet and social media for terrorism purposes. Indian authorities have been targeting online expression, including through the use of counterterrorism, sedition, and hate speech laws, against people who have simply criticized or disagreed with the government. India has adopted new internet and social media rules and policies that expand censorship, weaken encryption, and threaten privacy, all in the name of security. read the complete article

28 Oct 2022

Arvind Kejriwal: Row over plea for Hindu deities on India currency

Arvind Kejriwal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to print photos of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha on rupee notes. He said it would bring "economic prosperity" to the country. His comments have drawn sharp criticism - he has been accused of pandering to Hindu voters ahead of key state polls. The Aam Aadmi party (AAP), led by Mr Kejriwal, has been campaigning extensively in the states of Gujarat - a stronghold of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - and Himachal Pradesh where elections are due soon. Fresh off a sweeping win in Punjab state earlier this year, the AAP is now eyeing wins in the two states - as well as in municipal elections in Delhi, where it hopes to defeat the BJP and emerge as an alternative to the Congress, India's main opposition party. On social media, many accused AAP of "hypocrisy" saying that the party had come to power promising an overhaul of the political system and a focus on development. Mr Kejriwal has often said that his party believes in equality of all religions and justice for all. The AAP was seen by many as a breath of fresh air in a country where politics is mostly run on caste and religious divisions. But many say the party is not following through on what it had promised. read the complete article


28 Oct 2022

Why is Islamophobia on the rise in France?

France is home to one of western Europe’s largest Muslim populations, estimated at 5.7 million. Since the nation held presidential and legislative elections, Muslims in France have endured a rise in discrimination, from bans on burkinis and Muslim headscarves to accusations of offending the values of the secular republic. Many Muslims feel the elections have stigmatised their faith and increased populist and right-wing attacks on their way of life. read the complete article


28 Oct 2022

Karl Nerenberg: Recent history of Islamophobia in federal and provincial politics

Rabble parliamentary reporter Karl Nerenberg shares examples of Islamophobia on the provincial and national stages in recent history. In 2015, the Conservative Party set up a “barbaric practices” hotline, which encouraged Canadians to report on immigrant Canadians or forgein visitors to Canada if they were engaging in practices that they believed were “un-Canadian.” Unfortunately, persecution of cultural or religious practices that are deemed ‘too foreign’ continue, and can be seen with the recent implementation of Bill 96 in Quebec which prohibits the wearing of religious symbols like the hijab by teachers in schools. 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

28 Oct 2022

UK failing to investigate cotton imports from Uyghur labour camps, court told

A Uyghur human rights organisation, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), told the High Court on Tuesday that failing to launch a criminal investigation into the import of cotton allegedly picked by Uyghurs subject to forced labour within northwestern China was "unlawful". Uyghur factory workers in Xinjiang face "detention and coercion" and the UK is thus potentially complicit in human rights violations, the WUC said. China denies all claims of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, despite allegations that over a million people have been subjected to ill treatment including detention, torture and forced sterilisation. Munich-based WUC appeared before the High Court on Tuesday where it claimed there was a "high risk" cotton products imported into the UK by some Chinese businesses are likely to be produced at the expense of Uyghurs Muslims through "prison or forced labour". read the complete article


28 Oct 2022

China accused of using influencers to deflect treatment of Uyghur Muslims

Walking down a leafy street, with perfectly flawless skin, flicked eyeliner and rouged lips, Chinese-based influencer Sabira Samat seems like any other video blogger the internet-savvy generation has become used to. It’s what she says next that raises a few eyebrows. “What I want to say is that Xinjiang is the same as other places in China. People live and work in peace and happiness. There is no genocide and no forced labour,” she says, speaking into a handheld camera. “We have a proverb in China: Hearing is fictitious, seeing is believing. “So people from all over the world are welcome to Xinjiang.” A self-proclaimed Uyghur woman from China’s Xinjiang region, her words go against the international condemnation of the Chinese Communist Party for its appalling treatment of the largely Muslim ethnic minority group. Among the shocking accusations levelled at China are allegations of torture, mass sterilisation, labour camps, and forced detention, all of which amount to claims of genocide. However, the narrative presented on Samat’s YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok accounts (titled the “Story of Xinjiang by Guli”) is a little different. Instead, she, and her co-presenter, Hurshidem Ablikim, focus on Xinjiang as being dominated by lush landscapes. Her videos show mountains, lakes and cotton fields, as well as shots of the national cuisine, including mutton kebabs and hand-pulled noodles. Now, a recent report titled “Frontier influencers: the new face of China’s propaganda” and released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has exposed how China’s state government uses vloggers to spread propaganda and strengthen government messaging. read the complete article


28 Oct 2022

'This is a hate crime': Pig's head left outside Gold Coast mosque shocks Muslim leaders

Queensland police have confirmed they are investigating who is responsible for placing a pig's head and heart at the entry of a mosque on the Gold Coast in the early hours of Friday morning. Chairperson of Gold Coast Mosque, Hussin Goss, told SBS News he was "shocked" to find the pig's head, painted green, in a plastic bag at the second entry of the mosque at around 10.45 am. A pig's heart was also placed in the bag. The bag with animal remains was placed on a Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, and just a day before the National Mosque Open Day, which is held annually on 29 October. The day is aimed at inviting non-Muslims to mosques to learn more about Islam. read the complete article


28 Oct 2022

EU anti-Muslim hatred post still vacant

An EU office for combatting anti-Muslim hatred has stood empty for over a year, in what risks smelling of neglect. The last time the EU Commission had a "Coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred", back in spring 2021, he was chairing seminars with officials and academics, contributing to reports, and posting on social media to raise awareness of the problem. The anti-Muslim hatred envoy was meant to do the same thing as the Commission coordinator for combatting antisemitism and the one fighting racism. The Commission's support for Europe's Jewish communities is still in full swing, led by Katherina von Schnurbein, a high-profile and highly active EU official. The anti-racism work is being done by Michaela Moua, a Finnish former basketball star and justice minister. The anti-Muslim hatred chair has stood empty since June 2021 and the Commission seems in no rush to fill it. When asked by EUobserver how come the post has stayed vacant so long, it gave cryptic answers. "The Commission has been examining the modalities for assigning this function to ensure that it will be effectively carried out," a spokeswoman said on Wednesday (26 October). "The Commission has launched the respective internal procedures, which are now ongoing," she said. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Oct 2022 Edition


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