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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20 Sep 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, authorities report that “almost half of the 18 people arrested after violence between Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester over the weekend came from outside the county,” meanwhile a new study finds that nearly 86 percent of anti-Muslim posts on social media come from the US, the UK and India, and lastly, “five years after the Myanmar military launched its clearance operation targeting the Rohingya in Rakhine State, the wheels of international justice continue slowly to turn.” Our recommended read of the day is by the Editorial Board for the Chicago Tribune on how its past time to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, noting that the “United States cannot preach the sanctity of human rights to China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia or a host of other transgressor nations if it continues to operate one of its most infamous symbols of disregard for fair, humane and just treatment of detainees.” This and more below:

United States

20 Sep 2022

Editorial: Infamy taints Guantanamo’s 20-year history. It’s past time to shut it down. | Recommended Read

Just two days after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama ordered the shutdown of Guantanamo. The detention compound at the U.S. naval base on the southern coast of Cuba was built to hold militants captured in the course of the post-9/11 war on terror. But by the time of Obama’s ascent to the White House, Guantanamo had become synonymous with hypocrisy. America insisted that other nations treat detainees with dignity, and yet secretly tortured and mistreated individuals it had in custody at Guantanamo, relying on the cover of national security to justify its actions. In signing an executive order mandating Gitmo’s shutdown, Obama said the U.S. would continue fighting terrorism “in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.” Like his old boss, Biden at the outset of his presidency promised to permanently shutter the Guantanamo detention facility. More than a year and a half later, there has been little movement toward the compound’s closure. Inexplicably, there’s still no end in sight for Guantanamo. Today, 36 inmates remain, at a cost to American taxpayers of $13 million per detainee per year. Overall, Gitmo is estimated to cost $540 million annually, but cost isn’t the only reason why the Biden administration must act decisively to finally shut down the compound. The United States cannot preach the sanctity of human rights to China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia or a host of other transgressor nations if it continues to operate one of its most infamous symbols of disregard for fair, humane and just treatment of detainees — regardless of affiliation or alleged offense. read the complete article

20 Sep 2022

Guantanamo: Biden appoints senior diplomat to oversee detainee transfers, report says

The Biden administration has appointed a senior diplomat to oversee the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, in a quiet step towards fulfilling a campaign promise to finally close the prison, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Biden's new special representative is Tina Kaidanow, a former ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The administration has also signalled that it will not interfere with plea negotiations that could resolve the long-stalled prosecution of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants. There are currently 36 men being held at Guantanamo Bay, 20 of whom have been approved for transfer, while five are in indefinite detention. Ten are awaiting trial and two have been convicted, including Majid Khan, who has finished his sentence and is in need of a country to be transferred to. Around $540m of US taxpayers' money is spent each year to hold the prisoners at Guantanamo, equal to $13m per prisoner, according to a 2019 report from The New York Times. Some critics of the Biden administration's policy on Guantanamo say that its efforts to close the prison have been delayed by other issues, including newer crises that have been occupying the national security staff. "Holding people without charge or trial for years on end cannot be reconciled with the values we espouse as a nation, and has deprived the victims of 9/11 and their families of any semblance of justice or closure," Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin told the Wall Street Journal. read the complete article

United Kingdom

20 Sep 2022

Opinion: Why King Charles III will surprise us

King Charles III will surprise us. The man whose family has served as the physical symbols of colonialism has spent his life trying to free his mind from the calcified prejudices of empire. Britain’s new head of state is a loud admirer of Islam, a critic of Western interventionism and a champion of multiculturalism who will win his country new friends — and some populist enemies — across the world. The new king has for decades sought to free himself from what he calls “Western materialism” by immersing himself in the world’s second-largest faith. As the Prince of Wales, he threw himself into the study of Islamic textiles, gardens and architecture. But he did not stop there. The king has also studied Arabic to understand the Quran. As bigotry and Islamophobia grew rampant after 9/11, he doubled down. “This planet’s survival will depend on you understanding that you can achieve unity through diversity,” he said in 2006 in Pakistan, going on to quote the Quran: “Only they pay attention who have hearts; only they believe (or see signs) who have hearts.” His views put him far outside the mainstream: not only his opposition to France’s bans on Muslim face coverings but also his criticism of Danish cartoons that mocked the prophet Muhammad. The king’s embrace of Islam has occurred against a backdrop of rising Islamophobia across the West, a political context he is well aware of. Speaking in 2016, he implicitly criticized the newly elected U.S. president, Donald Trump, and his policy of banning many visitors from Muslim-majority countries. Charles lamented the rise of “many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s.” This is what makes Charles’s stated ambivalence of his title Defender of the Faith, instead saying he sees himself more as “Defender of Faith,” consequential. Britain’s new king is a man whose mission is to put multiculturalism — not nationalism — first. read the complete article

20 Sep 2022

Mayor blames Leicester unrest on social media disinformation

Disorder that broke out in Leicester over the weekend between Hindu and Muslim communities escalated as a result of social media disinformation and a distortion of facts, the city’s mayor has said. Fifteen people were arrested on Monday, after weeks of disturbances between Hindu and Muslim people since an Asia Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan on 28 August. For several weeks, the police have tried to counter disinformation as they find it, the spokesperson said, adding: “Certainly, we believe it has attributed to tensions in the community.” The latest disturbance, described by locals as “unprecedented” in the most densely populated city in the east Midlands, broke out after unplanned protests on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Disinformation appeared as members of the different communities alleged acts against places of worship and people of faith, the mayor said. Over the weekend, a chant that has become synonymous with anti-Muslim violence in India – “Jai Shri Ram”, which translates from Hindi to “hail Lord Ram” or “victory to Lord Ram” – was heard in the streets. In circulated videos, a group of Hindu men were filmed marching past Green Lane Road, dotted with several Muslim-owned businesses and a Hindu temple nearby. Hindu and Muslim local residents told the Guardian they felt targeted, taunted and attacked. read the complete article

20 Sep 2022

Half of those arrested over clashes in Leicester from outside county

Almost half of the 18 people arrested after violence between Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester over the weekend came from outside the county, the Guardian has learned. Concerns that outsiders have stirred up trouble in the city have heightened as it was discovered eight of those arrested were not from Leicestershire. Of these, five came from Birmingham, while one came from Solihull, one from Luton and one gave an address in Hounslow. Reacting to the news, Sir Peter Soulsby, the city’s mayor, said it appeared to be the first evidence that people were travelling into Leicester to take part in the clashes. The past weekend saw a tense standoff between groups of Muslim and Hindu men and the police on Saturday evening. A demonstration on Sunday took place in response to an unplanned protest of Hindu men on Saturday, who marched through the city. The febrile atmosphere has been aggravated by videos circulating online over the weekend showing a man pulling down a flag outside a Hindu temple on Melton Road, Leicester, and another video of a flag being burned. Of the incident, Lakhani said: “I’m really proud to say on that day, when the flag was removed, there was an Imam outside. He said I’m standing outside the mandir [temple], making sure nothing happens. ”Lakhani, who has also been working with mosques and local Muslim leaders in the area, urged for calm and dialogue on both sides, in a city he said had long been a sanctuary for Hindu and Muslim communities – who had lived side by side for decades. read the complete article


20 Sep 2022

Hijab ban case: ‘Just like turbans for Sikhs, hijabs important for Muslim women,’ petitioners’ lawyer tells SC

During the hearing, Live Law reported, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who appeared for one of the petitioners, pointed out: “This is not about uniform. We are not dealing with military schools, we are not dealing with Nazi schools with regimentation. We are dealing with pre-university colleges.” Continuing his arguments, advocate Dave said: “Just like turban for Sikhs, hijab is important for Muslim women. Nothing wrong with that. It is their faith. Somebody wanting to wear tilak, somebody wanting to wear a cross, everybody has the right. And that is the beauty of social life.” “This country is built upon a beautiful culture..built on traditions. And in 5000 years, we have adopted many religions… India gave birth to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Islam came here without conquering and we accepted. India is the only place where people who came here settled here without conquest, except the British,” he stated. Pointing out that the fears of Dr B R Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabhai Patel were coming true, Dave said: “How is it unity in diversity if a Hindu has to get permission from Magistrate to marry a Muslim? How can you shackle love? And Magistrate will take his sweet time and all the fringe elements will come in. How is it democracy?” “Your Lordships are not just custodians of fundamental rights for us, citizens. Your Lordships can alone stand between parliamentary excesses and citizens,” Bar and Bench quoted Advocate Dushyant Dave as stating. read the complete article

20 Sep 2022

Modi’s India furthering colonial legacy, say historians from South Asia

Soon after the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rose to power in India eight years ago, the country’s rich Baburid (Mughal) history became an uneasy subject, so much so that many Baburid rulers began disappearing from school textbooks. This was the sentiment expressed by scholars and historians on the sidelines of the 4th International Suleymaniye Symposium, discussing new academic approaches towards the Baburid dynasty, hosted by Ibn Haldun University in Istanbul from September 16-18. “In contemporary India, currently since 2014, it is an anti-Muslim, Hindu nationalist party which is ruling and they are projecting Muslims as the enemy or the ‘other’ of the nation,” Irfan Ahmad, professor of sociology and anthropology at Ibn Haldun University, says. “The prime minister himself subscribes to this idea and on the floor of the parliament he described Muslim rule in India as a rule of slavery.” Ahmad says constant violence has been meted out to Muslims in the name of protecting cow, ‘love-jihad’ and terrorism. “But all of these things are done in the name of Muslims being the enemy of the nation and this is connected to the idea that Muslims have been invaders,” he tells TRT World. The Baburids ruled much of South Asia, that included parts of modern-day India, from 1526 to 1761. One of the most noticeable traits of their rule, as historians put it, was the emergence of a syncretic culture — a combination of different sets of beliefs and traditions. Ahmad says the very idea of syncretic culture in modern India is being used to “erase the identity of Muslims”. read the complete article


20 Sep 2022

Inching Forward but a Long Road Ahead to Achieve Justice for the Rohingya

Five years after the Myanmar military launched its clearance operation targeting the Rohingya in Rakhine State, the wheels of international justice continue slowly to turn. On July 22, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) dismissedMyanmar’s preliminary objections in the genocide case against it, allowing the proceedings to move forward on the merits. In the following weeks, Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) welcomed the judgment, five States and the European Union jointly affirmed their support for the case, and the U.K. and Germany announced their intention to intervene in support of Gambia (the applicant State). Meanwhile, the 77th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly has further promoted discussion over the question of who represents Myanmar: the National Unity Government (NUG) or military junta. That debate unfolds amid the ICJ’s persisting acceptance of the junta, which is coming under increasing criticism. Many challenges lie ahead in the pursuit of justice for the Rohingya, not least the task of establishing genocidal intent on the part of Myanmar, and the ICJ’s continuing recognition of the junta. States can help to maximize the prospect of an outcome that provides real benefits to the Rohingya, including by intervening on behalf of Gambia and accepting the NUG’s delegates as representing Myanmar at the General Assembly and in other diplomatic engagements. read the complete article

20 Sep 2022

Majority of anti-Muslim Twitter posts come from US, UK and India

Nearly 86 percent of anti-Muslim posts on social media come from the US, the UK and India, a report by the Australian-based Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has found. Over a two-year period, between 28 August 2019 and 27 August 2021, India saw the highest figure, with 871,379 Islamophobic tweets, followed by the US with 289,248, and the UK, with 196,376. The report, Islamophobia in the Digital Age, states that in India, the rampant Islamophobia is a result of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) normalisation of hatred against Muslims. In the US, though, Islamophobia has long been a problem, one that “was dramatically exacerbated by the racist, conspiratorial and inflammatory rhetoric employed by Donald Trump”, the report states. As for the UK, the prevalence of anti-Muslim tweets was attributed to a multitude of factors, including the global reach of Trump’s hatred, the country’s longstanding issues with anti-migrant sentiment, and the casual racism of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the report wrote. According to the ICV, there were at least 3,759,180 Islamophobic posts made on Twitter between 28 August 2019 and 27 August 2021. After nearly one year, 85 percent of the hateful tweets were still online; only 14.8 percent were eventually removed, either because they had been hidden through privacy settings, taken down by users, or deleted by moderators. read the complete article


20 Sep 2022

Giorgia Meloni – the political provocateur set to become Italy’s first far-right leader since Mussolini

A century on, Italy looks set to get its first far-right leader since Mussolini’s body was strung up for all to see at the end of World War II. On Sept. 25, 2022, voters are widely expected to elect as prime minister Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Fratelli d’Italia, or Brothers of Italy – a party whose lineage traces back to the rump of Mussolini’s fascists. Many Italians and Europeans are understandably worried. Her likely ascent comes at a time of national fragility for Italy, which is wracked by economic woes, spiraling inflation and an immigration crisis. It also poses uncomfortable questions over the idea of European identity and unity. Moreover, it is a symptom of the political malaise in Italy and of the winds that have seen populist right-wing leaders gain support around the world. Meloni has been accused of being a political provocateur. A proud nationalist, her policy stances stress anti-immigration positions and the protection of Italy from “Islamization.” In contrast, she presents herself as the defender of traditional family values, politicizing Christianity and motherhood as the cornerstones of the authentic Italian national identity. In a 2019 speech, she explained: “I am Giorgia. I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian” – a rhetorical flourish that went viral, even being turned into a disco remix. Faced with these crises, Meloni has positioned herself as the person to “rescue” Italy. History has proved that in times of precarity, charismatic ultra nationalists leaders tend to do well. With a familiar formula of putting Italy “first,” Meloni’s euroskepticism, xenophobia and Islamophobia – repackaged as patriotism – has gained popularity among Italians. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 20 Sep 2022 Edition


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