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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01 Sep 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, two recent reports have “exposed disproportionate and biased audits of many Muslim charities by the CRA’s Review and Analysis Division (RAD), which is responsible for countering terrorist financing,” meanwhile in the United States, the Indian Business Association (IBA), “under fire for bringing a bulldozer to an India Day Parade in two New Jersey towns in mid-August, has apologized for the incident, calling it ‘a divisive image that did not reflect our mission,'” and lastly the outgoing UN human rights commissioner has said that China had committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, which may amount to crimes against humanity. Our recommended read of the day is by Yonat Shimron for Religion News Service on ISPU’s new survey, which found a disturbingly high level of Islamophobia amongst American Muslims, as the community scored 26 on the Islamophobia Index, which measures a group’s endorsement of anti-Muslim stereotypes. This and more below:

United States

01 Sep 2022

New survey shows US Muslims have negative stereotypes about themselves | Recommended Read

American Muslims breathed a sigh of relief when law enforcement authorities announced the arrest of a man suspected of killing as many as four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this month. But then it turned out the suspect, Muhammad Syed, was himself a Muslim. (He has been charged in the killing of three of the men.) A new survey by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a think tank based in Washington and Dearborn, Michigan, corroborates a disturbing finding. While Islamophobia has declined among other American religious groups, it has increased among Muslims themselves. American Muslims scored 26 on the ISPU’s Islamophobia index of 0 to 100, which measures a group’s endorsement of anti-Muslim stereotypes. That’s higher than many other religious groups, such as Jews, who scored 17 on the index; Protestants, who scored 23; or the religiously unaffiliated, who had a score of 22. White Catholics (28) and white evangelicals (30) scored highest on the Islamophobia index. “Minority groups can internalize negative stereotypes about their community,” said Erum Ikramullah, research project manager and the report’s co-author. “It has huge effects on mental health, feelings of shame, embarrassment and self-identity.” Within the Muslim community, the report found that higher Islamophobia index scores were driven primarily by Muslims who identify as white. White Muslims had a score of 40 on the index. Moustafa Bayoumi, a professor of of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, suggested that’s a crisis of whiteness that has affected white Muslims, too. “With the whole country being driven by conservative politics centered on whiteness, it’s naive to think that white Muslims would not be susceptible to that same ideology,” Bayoumi said. Younger Muslims were also more likely to have internalized Islamophobia. read the complete article

01 Sep 2022

Officials discuss Mystic Valley Regional Charter School’s handling of eighth-grader wearing hijab

Community leaders and law enforcement officials met Wednesday to discuss the recent allegations of discrimination at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School after an eighth-grader received a “uniform infraction” for wearing a hijab to school. “As soon as I learned about this incident, I knew that our task force had to respond,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said at the meeting of her office’s Anti-Hate Anti-Bias Task Force, which was held remotely over Zoom. “Sadly, it’s incidents like this at the charter school several weeks ago that remind us that we need to be constantly vigilant against incidents of bias, hate, and ignorance.” The Mystic Valley student received the infraction on Aug. 18, the first day of classes at the Malden school, which serves more than 1,600 students in grades K-12 and has faced criticism for its treatment of Black, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ students. The Muslim family said their eighth-grader came home in tears after receiving the infraction and noted that hijab was misspelled as “jihab” on the form. School officials later issued a statement saying they regretted how “the recent incident of one of our Muslim students who chose to express her faith by wearing the hijab was mishandled.” “This experience has shown us that we can and need to adjust our practices,” the statement said. read the complete article

01 Sep 2022

Indian organisers apologise for 'divisive' bulldozer at New Jersey parade

The Indian Business Association (IBA), under fire for bringing a bulldozer to an India Day Parade in two New Jersey towns in mid-August, has apologised for the incident, calling it "a divisive image that did not reflect our mission". In a letter addressed to the mayor of the two neighbouring towns in which the parade passed through on 14 August, Chandrakant Patel, chair of the IBA, wrote that he was writing to "offer his sincere apologies for certain aspects of our 2022 Indian Independence Day Parade that reflected poorly on our organisation and offended the Indian American minority groups, especially Muslims, from the local area, and across the state and country". The bulldozer was decorated with posters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, an Indian politician from the state of Uttar Pradesh, who has earned the nickname "Bulldozer Baba" over his extensive use of excavators. Since Modi took power in 2014, bulldozers have become a symbol of anti-Muslim and anti-minority hate, with authorities using them to demolish the homes of activists, particularly Muslim activists, under the pretext of the structures being illegal. The practice has drawn the ire of both the UN and international human rights groups. "Unfortunately, there was a bulldozer among the floats in the parade which is a divisive image that did not reflect our mission," the letter addressed to Edison Mayor Samip Joshi and Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, said. "The parade should be and has always been about a celebration of our Indian heritage and inclusion and diversity among our many different cultures and religions," the letter read. read the complete article


01 Sep 2022

Hate incidents targeting Quebec’s religious minorities spike after passage of CAQ’s Bill 21

A study released last month by the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) highlights the devastating impact that the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) provincial government’s “state secularism” law, or Bill 21, has had on Quebec’s religious minorities. Adopted in June 2019, Bill 21 prohibits public school teachers and government employees in “positions of authority” from wearing religious symbols—including the hijab, Jewish kippah and Sikh turban—and denies essential public services to devout Muslim women who wear the niqab or burqa. The CAQ government has placed the entire law under the anti-democratic “notwithstanding clause.” This means that its provisions cannot be struck down by the courts even if they are found to violate rights constitutionally “guaranteed” under the Canadian constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Quebec’s own charter of rights. According to the survey conducted for the ACS by the market research firm Léger, two out of three Muslim women have experienced or witnessed a hate incident since the passage of Bill 21. In addition to verbal attacks, they reported physical violence such as being spat on or having their Islamic headscarf torn off. As a result, 78 percent reported a deterioration in their feeling of “being accepted as full members of Quebec society.” Members of other religious minorities, such as Sikh and Jewish men, also reported a significant increase in hateful acts directed against them and their co-religionists and a growing sense of alienation and rejection. This marginalization of religious minorities is the intended and desired outcome of the Quebec ruling class. For the past two decades, the political establishment has whipped up chauvinism against immigrants and religious minorities to distract attention from, and scapegoat them for, the social crisis caused by capitalism, and to divide workers along ethnic, cultural or linguistic lines. read the complete article

01 Sep 2022

Mazigh: Canada's Muslim charities deserve fairness from tax officials

Growing up, I heard stories from my father, a public servant in Tunisia, of how some respected political opponents of the Tunisian president would immediately find themselves the targets of “audit services” when they “crossed” political boundaries, took opposing political stances or gently criticized the regime. My father, a finance inspector, had first-hand knowledge of these administrative shenanigans, whereby the state uses its institutions to “punish” those with whom it does not see eye to eye. Many years later in Canada, a long-time Canadian union activist told me, laughing, about how he and a bunch of his comrades were audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) after they were “rude” in a meeting with a high-profile politician. Exaggeration, paranoia, legends? How do we distinguish between the legitimate work of government agencies versus those influenced by political interests or discrimination? Only fairness and transparency can guide us through these complex meanders into possible political interference and abusive administrative or law enforcement practices — among which CRA audits of Muslim charities have received the greatest criticism in recent years. Last year, a few weeks before the Islamophobia summit that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “offered” Muslim Canadians as a gesture of good will to combat hate and racism faced by the community, I wrote an op-ed in which I highlighted two recent reports by the University of Toronto Institute of Islamic Studies and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. Both exposed disproportionate and biased audits of many Muslim charities by the CRA’s Review and Analysis Division (RAD), which is responsible for countering terrorist financing. read the complete article

United Kingdom

01 Sep 2022

When Waltham Forest fought off the far-right

Ten years ago today, thousands of Waltham Forest residents took to the streets to fight off a far-right group looking to intimidate the borough’s Muslim population. The English Defence League (EDL), led by Tommy Robinson, planned to march through Walthamstow and rally outside the town hall on 1st September, 2012. However, a few hundred EDL supporters from around the country were met by a 4,500-strong counter-protest, organised by We Are Waltham Forest, which chased them out of the borough. The Echo spoke to “life-long socialist and anti-racist” Roger Huddle, who was 66 at the time of the demonstration, about his memories of the day. He said: “I worked with the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism [in the 70s] and we always believed that the best way to stop the far-right is to mobilise the largest number of people. “We had no online presence ten years ago so we had to do it the old-fashioned way, we distributed around 20,000 leaflets. “We had no idea what was going to happen - it could have been three men and a dog on the day - and we were completely opposed by the Labour council. “But it was amazing the amount of people that came, particularly the amount of Asian people because it must have been very difficult for them due to the Islamophobia they faced. “The younger people were furious that the EDL were coming to their borough and I also recognised some older people that I demonstrated alongside against the National Front in 1978.” read the complete article

01 Sep 2022

‘Threats, accusations of bias’ — why UK paper withdrew Hindu woman’s piece on anti-Muslim bigotry

On Sunday, British newspaper The Independent withdrew an opinion piece authored by a Hindu on how she was increasingly witnessing racist persecution of Muslims around her. The withdrawal of the piece by the newspaper came after the author and her family allegedly received a slew of threats online. Sunny Hundal, deputy editor of the newspaper’s opinion desk, took to Twitter to announce that the report was being taken down, even though no complaint against the piece were based on facts, but rather accusations that the author held a bias against Hindus. He subsequently blamed the “Hindu nationalist BJP government” in India, claiming its anti-Muslim campaign also gets spread among the diaspora in UK. The “Hindu nationalist BJP government” has been running a Facebook and WhatsApp campaign to “demonise” Muslims with false claims and the Indian government in turn assures Hindus that it is acting to protect them, he alleged. “There is definitely a growing problem of bigotry against Muslims among Hindus. It’s spreading from India to the West,” he claimed. There were also questions as to why the opinion piece was taken down instead of being republished without a byline to protect the author. Hundal alleged that bigotry against Muslims is a growing problem, but one that British Hindus themselves are in “denial” about. “No one is saying Hindus are more bigoted than others. But there is definitely a problem and denial of this problem. Over the years I’ve gotten threats from Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus for highlighting internal bigotry. I see it as part of the job, it shouldn’t be like this,” he said. read the complete article


01 Sep 2022

Karnataka: Muslim boy assaulted for speaking with Hindu girl in college

A Muslim student in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district was beaten up by his college mates for allegedly speaking with a Hindu girl Tuesday, said the police Wednesday. Police officials said Mohammed Sanif, 19, a resident of Jalsoor village was assaulted at around 10.30 am at the college premises in the Kasaba village under the Sullia taluk. Sanif was speaking to one of his friends, who is from the Hindu community and studies in the same college, when some students objected to their conversation, they added. According to the police, they called him to the college ground and as soon as he reached the spot, Prajwal, Tanuj, Akshay, Mokshith, Gautam, and others assaulted him with wooden logs. They questioned Sanif over his conversation with the girl and also threatened to thrash him if he spoke to the girl again. The girl, who tried to help Sanif, was also questioned by the attackers who took their photos threatening to make them viral, said the police. read the complete article

01 Sep 2022

No Muslim Delivery Person", Demands Swiggy Hyderabad User. Slammed On Twitter

An unusual request by a Hyderabad customer on an app-based food delivery platform has triggered outrage on social media, with many slamming them for bigotry. In their instructions to the restaurant through Swiggy, the customer said they don't want a Muslim delivery person. Shaik Salauddin, head of an organisation of workers employed in the gig economy, shared the screenshot of the Swiggy order and urged the platform to take a stand against it. We are here to deliver food to one and all, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, he said. "Dear @Swiggy please take a stand against such a bigoted request. We (Delivery workers) are here to deliver food to one and all, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh @Swiggy @TGPWU Mazhab Nahi Sikhata Aapas Mein Bair Rakhna," he tweeted. Swiggy hasn't responded to the controversy yet. Several such incidents have been reported in the past. In 2019, app-based food delivery service Zomato had earned praise online for taking a stand after a man cancelled his order because the delivery person was from a different religion. "Food doesn't have a religion. It is a religion," the company had tweeted in response to the customer's request for change of the rider. read the complete article


01 Sep 2022

China’s treatment of Uyghurs may be crime against humanity, says UN human rights chief

The outgoing UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, has said that China had committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province which may amount to crimes against humanity. Bachelet’s damning report was published with only 11 minutes to go before her term came to an end at midnight Geneva time. Publication was delayed by the eleventh-hour delivery of an official Chinese response that contained names and pictures of individuals that had to be blacked out by the UN commissioner’s office for privacy and safety reasons. The Chinese government, which attempted until the last moment to stop the publication of the report, rejected it as an anti-China smear, while Uyghur human rights groups hailed it as a turning point in the international response to the programme of mass incarceration. The 45-page report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concluded: “The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups, pursuant to law and policy, in context of restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Sep 2022 Edition


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