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 Oct 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Australia, the local Muslim community in Brisbane “have questioned why more serious charges have not been laid after a mosque received a threatening voicemail from a man who pledged to kill Muslims and burn down the building,” meanwhile in India, police in the state of Gujarat tied Muslim men, who were accused of throwing stones at a Hindu religious celebration, to a pole and publicly flogged them with canes, and in the United Kingdom, new data reveals that “many of the misleading posts alleging that Hindus and Hindu sites were being attacked in Leicester came from India.” Our recommended read of the day is by Elisa Massimino for CNN who states that the prison at Guantanamo Bay has been a “moral, legal, strategic, and financial sinkhole for our country.” This and more below:

United States

05 Oct 2022

Opinion: Guantanamo has become America’s cage | Recommended Read

According to Google Search, one of the most frequently asked questions about Guantanamo is: “When did the Guantanamo prison close?” The answer: It hasn’t. Given the extensive list of human rights groups, bipartisan members of Congress, and national security experts who have called for the prison to be shut down, it’s no surprise that so many people think that Guantanamo was shuttered long ago. Indeed, the loudest and most persistent calls to close the prison have come not from human rights and civil liberties groups but from senior US defense, law enforcement, intelligence, and diplomatic officials – people with a 360-degree view of the costs and benefits of Guantanamo. They know that our national security is best served by closing it. And yet, Guantanamo remains open. Former President Barack Obama, who made the most serious public commitment to close the prison and developed the clearest exit strategy, was stymied both by congressional action and by his own administration’s loss of nerve in the face of political headwinds. Today, more than 20 years after the United States transferred the first prisoners to Guantanamo, it’s not only the prisoners who are trapped there. It’s our cage, too. And the costs of being stuck there are enormous: loss of US moral authority, particularly acute now amid the global contest between democracy and authoritarianism; free propaganda for America’s enemies; lack of closure and accountability for the worst terrorist attacks in US history. All this comes at a cost to the American taxpayers of about $540 million a year to maintain the prison. The improvised detention and trial experiment at what Donald Rumsfeld glibly called “the least worst” place to warehouse prisoners in the war on terror has been a moral, legal, strategic, and financial sinkhole for our country. read the complete article

05 Oct 2022

On hit shows ‘Ramy’ and ‘Mo,’ Azhar Usman adds nuance about Islam (and joy) to Hollywood

If you watch the credits roll on some recent TV shows, you’ll see one name popping up again and again: Azhar Usman. You can’t help but notice another thing these recent hits for Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus have in common: They are shifting Hollywood’s narrative about American Muslims. “Mo” follows a Palestinian American refugee in Houston. “Ms. Marvel” is about a teenage Muslim superhero. “Ramy” is the semi-autobiographical comedy by Ramy Youssef that has won Golden Globe and Peabody awards. Usman, a lawyer-turned-comedian from Skokie, Illinois, rose to fame two decades ago with the “Allah Made Me Funny” comedy tour before serving as a creative adviser and co-writer on the show “Ramy” and a writer on “Mo,” another Netflix show anchored by Usman’s erstwhile touring partner, Mo Amer. Usman’s credits rest atop a decades-long commitment to build a more nuanced understanding of Islam and American Muslims for American audiences. Earlier in his career, Usman co-founded a foundation dedicated to Islamic spirituality and scholarship, inspired by the teachings of Umar Abd-Allah. Usman considers himself a comedian first, but it’s clear that he’s helping shape the view of Muslim spirituality in Hollywood. In a recent conversation with Silma Suba and Monique Parsons of Interfaith America Magazine, it’s also clear he’s only getting started. read the complete article


05 Oct 2022

How tweets, lies from India fueled Hindu-Muslim unrest in central England

Rumor had it that a Muslim girl had been kidnapped and a Hindu temple had sent masked thugs into combat. Add in local fury over an India-Pakistan cricket match, and Hindu and Muslim men were soon fighting on the streets of central England. It was a social media storm - mostly cooked up a continent away - that materialized in real life in Leicester, where police made almost 50 arrests and a community was left in tatters. “It is a powerful illustration of how hashtag dynamics on Twitter can use dubious inflammatory claims to ... escalate tensions on the ground,” said a spokesperson at fact-checking site Logically, which analyzed the posts’ veracity. Experts say most of the incendiary tweets, rumors and lies came from India, showing the power of unchecked social media to spread disinformation and stir unrest a full continent away. “I’ve seen quite a selection of the social media stuff which is very, very, very distorting now and some of it just completely lying about what had been happening between different communities,” Peter Soulsby, Leicester’s mayor, told BBC radio. Rob Nixon, who runs Leicestershire Police, concurred, telling the BBC that misinformation on social media had played a “huge role” in last month’s unrest. Many of the misleading posts alleging that Hindus and Hindu sites were being attacked came from India, analysis showed. Some 80 percent of tweets with geographic coordinates, or geo-tagged information, were connected to India, Logically said. “The ratio of tweets geo-tagged to the UK versus those geo-tagged to India was remarkably high for what, ostensibly, was a domestic incident,” a spokesperson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. read the complete article

05 Oct 2022

What we owe Mahsa Amini and all Muslim women

Among those sympathetic to Amini and other women in her shoes are people like me, a Muslim woman who wears a niqab, an Islamic face-covering. But unfortunately, when these stories break, the head-covering is often framed as the problem, the source of the subjugation, when the real problem is the absence of women’s choice. That was also the case in a recent Toronto Star column by Vinay Menon calling for Hollywood to condemn what happened to Amini. Along the way, Menon pivots, raising doubts about whether Muslim women who wear burqas in Toronto are doing so by choice. While I wholeheartedly agree that the events reported in Iran should be universally condemned, saying that every woman who wears a burqa, even in Toronto, must be doing so against her will is false and counter-productive. It’s akin to saying that there’s only a duck in the illustration and no other perspective is valid. I was particularly disappointed to see that lack of nuance within the pages of my own newspaper. Supporting women who choose to wear religious coverings in no way undermines the fight of other women against legislated dress codes. Saying that women shouldn’t wear something is just as problematic as saying that they should. Even more problematic was that in a piece about the liberation of Iranian women, the writer expressed his personal discomfort with how some Canadian women dress. Likening burqas to “Halloween costumes,” the column ridiculed these women’s appearance against the Star’s own policies. Women in Iran are protesting the country’s hijab mandates and fighting for the choice not to wear the covering. That’s their right. Other women are actively fighting to wear the hijab and niqab, like those who are banned from doing so in Quebec and France. That is equally their right. It may look like they’re fighting for opposite things, but at their core, both fights are about choice. read the complete article

05 Oct 2022

International Community Is Failing The Uyghurs But A Change May Be Ahead

In 2021, several reports produced by experts found that the Uyghurs are subjected to genocide in Xinjiang, China. This finding was followed by several determinations from parliaments and the U.S. State Department of the atrocities amounting to genocide and by calls for action to address the atrocities. However, no real action followed. On Aug. 31, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights published its report concluding that “serious human rights violations” against the Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim communities have been committed in Xinjiang. The report added that the atrocities may amount to international crimes and, in particular, crimes against humanity. However, this report was also not followed by any decisive steps to address the atrocities. China continues to deny the allegations and brands them as propaganda. However, the tables may turn after all as several states work on a resolution — a so-called draft decision — to ensure that the U.N. debates the high commissioner’s report. At the end of September, the United States filed the draft decision with the U.N. If successful, the report and the situation of Uyghurs would be debated at the next U.N. Human Rights Council session. The vote is expected just before the end of the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, before Oct. 7. A simple majority is needed for the draft decision to pass. The Chinese delegation is said to be exercising pressure on states to oppose the resolution to prevent further engagement with the critical report. read the complete article


05 Oct 2022

India: Muslims complain of rampant housing discrimination

Many Muslim renters, even in big cosmopolitan cities, say it has become extremely difficult for them to find a place to live because of widespread religious discrimination. read the complete article

05 Oct 2022

Muslim men tied to pole and flogged publicly by Indian police

After they were detained for allegedly throwing stones at a Hindu religious celebration called Navratri Garba in Gujarat state, Indian police took things to a new low by tying Muslim men to a pole and publicly flogging them with canes. Police officers in plain clothes are shown assaulting Muslim males while their hands are restrained in viral recordings. According to NDTV, there were also police officers there while a sizable throng cheered and chanted slogans. The footage was also posted by the neighborhood news source VTV Gujarati News, which said that “10 to 11 heretics were hauled to the village, where the police taught them a lesson in public” at Undhela village. The men were asked to “apologize to the public” and the police inspector in charge of the area was present too, the report added. The incident is one of many in which Muslim men are accused of disturbing the festivities. Hindu right-wing outfits such as the Bajrang Dal have warned them against it. Five Muslim men were detained from a Garba pandal in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, but police later said they had not committed any crime. The arrest was only preventive, an officer added that the men had argued with the organizers and the police. read the complete article

United Kingdom

05 Oct 2022

Suella Braverman’s Tory conference speech was heavy on anti-migrant rhetoric but light on detail

Suella Braverman was cheered to the rafters by Conservative Party members for a speech heavy on anti-migrant rhetoric, but it remains unclear how she will fulfil her commitments. The new home secretary received two standing ovations during her speech to Tuesday’s conference. The first came after she attacked the “forces working against us” over tackling small boat crossings by asylum seekers. “The Labour Party will try to stop this, the Lib Dems will go bananas, The Guardian will have a meltdown,” Ms Braverman said. “As for the – don’t get me started on the lawyers.” The former attorney general, who worked as a barrister before entering politics, claimed “small boat-chasing law firms” were abusing the law. Ms Braverman talked of “asylum seekers abusing the system” and “illegal migrants” and said she wanted to cut down the number of migrants who “aren’t meeting the needs of our economy”. The home secretary accused police of “pandering to identity politics” and repeated that they would be expected to cut homicide, serious violence, and neighbourhood crime by 20 per cent – without giving details of how. In a particularly incendiary part of her speech about “political correctness”, Ms Braverman invoked grooming scandals in Rochdale and Telford, adding: “The grooming gangs scandal is a stain on this country and it’s what happens when political correctness becomes more important than criminal justice.” She intervened in recent disorder between Hindu and Muslim groups in Leicester by claiming they were the result of “failures to integrate large numbers of newcomers”. read the complete article

05 Oct 2022

Amir Malik is on a drive to make golf more inclusive for Muslims

Amir Malik is a man in love with golf. Yet golf has not always loved him back. A devoted sports fan since his childhood in Kingston upon Thames, London, he was fascinated with golf long before he took his first swing. But knowing nobody else who played, Malik settled for a sideline view. That all changed in 2012, when his former boss invited him to try his hand at a driving range. Eventually, Malik was ready to take his game to the next level. Joining a municipal club in 2017, he began competing in Sunday morning tournaments. It was at these events that the “ugly side” of the game was swiftly revealed to Malik, who felt isolated by the jarring clash of club culture and his Muslim faith. The discomfort would begin before a ball was struck, as Malik says he drew questioning looks at his refusal to partake in wagers over in-house competitions, as gambling is forbidden in Islam. Out on the course, stepping aside to observe salat – ritual Islamic prayers performed five times a day – further heightened his anxieties. “You would feel scared, intimidated. How are people going to react?” he recalled. “We always made sure we were out of the way, but you were made to feel very, very uncomfortable.” His unease was exacerbated by the commonplace tradition of clubhouse drinking after competitions. As Malik doesn’t drink alcohol, he was left to hand in his scorecard and make an early exit. As he improved and played more prestigious courses, discomfort often escalated into outright hostility. Malik, who is of Pakistani descent, said he has experienced racism on the golf course. “You turn up and immediately you can feel the vibe and the atmosphere, the way you’re spoken to, the way you’re treated,” he said. read the complete article


05 Oct 2022

Islamic leaders question why police didn’t lay more serious charges after Brisbane mosque threat

Islamic groups have questioned why more serious charges have not been laid after a Brisbane mosque received a threatening voicemail that pledged to kill Muslims and burn down the building. In a 57-second message received by Kuraby Mosque in Brisbane’s south on Monday, a man labels Muslims “terrorists” and vows to kill them. “Listen you Muslim fucking shit, you don’t belong in fucking Australia. So what’s going to happen is I’m going to kill you fucking all,” the voicemail begins. “This is a white man’s country and you think you can build your fucking mosques around Australia, get fucked. I’ll fucking burn them down. I’ll fucking kill all the Muslims in this world. “You fucking goat fuckers. You terrorist pieces of shit.” On Tuesday Queensland police said counter-terrorism detectives arrested a 30-year-old man at his home and charged him with one count of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence. The man was granted bail and will appear in Brisbane magistrates court on 31 October. “There is no ongoing threat to the community,” a police spokesperson said. Queensland Muslim groups say they are shocked that stronger charges have not been laid and that the man was released on bail. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 05 Oct 2022 Edition


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