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 Sep 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a group representing New Jersey Muslims has asked Teaneck’s mayor to censure a zoning board member they claim “made racist remarks during discussions on opening an Islamic daycare center,” meanwhile, a new study finds that “around 85% of posts that are inciting hatred towards Muslim communities across the globe come from India, the US, and the UK,” and lastly at the UN Human Rights Council, many western countries are calling for a debate to discuss China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang. Our recommended read of the day is by Somdeep Sen for Al Jazeera on how the “scourge of Hindu nationalism has gone global.” This and more below:


27 Sep 2022

Hindu nationalists now pose a global problem | Recommended Read

India’s Hindu right wing has long advocated for its vision across the world. Overseas offshoots of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have helped in this, as have allied groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council. Now, recent events in Leicester in the United Kingdom suggest that their dream of propagating Hindutva, their political philosophy, is coming true in new ways – violently, on the streets of cities far from India. Like in the UK, Hindu nationalists have actively campaigned for right-wing, Islamophobic candidates in the United States. This was apparent during the 2016 presidential elections when Hindu groups went all out in their efforts to mobilise Hindu Americans for Republican candidates. In Canada too, Hindu nationalists have been making waves. In December last year anti-Sikh slogans and the Hindu swastika appeared outside a Sikh school. Canadian academics have been harassed and faced death and rape threats from diaspora Hindutva supporters for criticising the Modi government in India. Undoubtedly, the rise of Hindu nationalism globally has much to do with the rise of Modi. Since becoming prime minister in 2014, he has overseen a highly controversial citizenship reform that discriminates against Muslim asylum seekers, scrapped the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and built a temple at the location of a historic mosque demolished by Hindu hardliners in 1992. All while going after opposition leaders, activists and critics. Modi’s success in delivering on Hindutva’s promises at home has inspired his supporters in the diaspora to exude a sense of chauvinistic pride abroad. read the complete article

27 Sep 2022

China rights report prompts Western-led call for UN debate

The United States, Britain and other countries are calling for a debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council to discuss China's treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslims in the far western region of Xinjiang, a document showed and diplomats said on Monday. Intense diplomatic discussions have been continuing on the sidelines of the council meeting since a much-anticipated U.N. report last month stipulated that "serious human rights violations have been committed" in Xinjiang that may amount to crimes against humanity. "We cannot ignore such severe and systematic breaches of human rights," Britain's ambassador Simon Manley told the U.N. body on Monday. "This council must not, cannot, stay silent." read the complete article

27 Sep 2022

85% of Islamophobic Tweets Came From India, US and UK According to This Report

According to a study conducted by the Islamic Council of Victoria, around 85% of posts that are inciting hatred towards Muslim communities across the globe come from three nations, namely India, the US as well as the UK. India is the recipient of the dubious honor of most Islamophobic country on Twitter, with over 870,000 hateful tweets coming from that nation in just two years. The US came in second with 289,000, followed by the UK with 196,000. Much of the rise of Islamophobia in India can be attributed to the ruling BJP political party, which has been known for using anti-Muslim rhetoric to gain power. The BJP has also collaborated quite openly with various extremist Hindu organizations and helped to further their agenda, such as the Hindu nationalist organization known as the RSS. As for the US, Islamophobia became a major issue there in the fallout of the pandemic. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency made matters much worse than they already were. Much like Narendra Modi of the BJP, Trump used inflammatory rhetoric to drum up votes, and members of the Muslim community were among his most popular targets with all things having been considered and taken into account. Moving on to the UK, this nation has seen a similar rise in its staunch 21st century Islamophobia in the nationalist environment of the Post Brexit landscape. Recently ousted Boris Johnson also contributed to this with his casual racism, although he did not take as much of a heavy handed approach as his counterpart across the Atlantic. read the complete article

27 Sep 2022

Sundance Liked Her Documentary on Terrorism, Until Muslim Critics Didn’t

Meg Smaker felt exhilarated last November. After 16 months filming inside a Saudi rehabilitation center for accused terrorists, she learned that her documentary “Jihad Rehab” was invited to the 2022 Sundance Festival, one of the most prestigious showcases in the world. Her documentary centered on four former Guantánamo detainees sent to a rehab center in Saudi Arabia who had opened their lives to her, speaking of youthful attraction to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, of torture endured, and of regrets. Arab and Muslim filmmakers and their white supporters accused Ms. Smaker of Islamophobia and American propaganda. Some suggested her race was disqualifying, a white woman who presumed to tell the story of Arab men. Sundance leaders reversed themselves and apologized. Many Arab and Muslim filmmakers — who like others in the industry struggle for money and recognition — denounced “Jihad Rehab” as offering an all too familiar take. They say Ms. Smaker is the latest white documentarian to tell the story of Muslims through a lens of the war on terror. These documentary makers, they say, take their white, Western gaze and claim to film victims with empathy. read the complete article

United States

27 Sep 2022

Islamophobic Remarks Made By Teaneck Zoning Board Member, Witness Says

A group representing New Jersey Muslims has asked Teaneck's mayor to censure a zoning board member they claim made racist remarks during discussions on opening an Islamic daycare center. A witness said Edward Mulligan made a comment "under his breath" about people potentially using camels to travel to the center, court documents shared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations' New Jersey chapter show. Al Ummah Community Center (AUCC) filed a civil lawsuit against the township, the zoning board, and its members in 2020 alleging discrimination and the violation of religious liberties. Al Ummah leaders say the township and its zoning board tied the application up in red tape, having drawn-out discussions about parking and traffic while other applications went through at normal speed. The plaintiffs also say they were urged to use an acronym for the center and "minimize the fact that it would be an Islamic Center so as to 'fly under the radar' and not incur the ire of the Town and its residents and officials." read the complete article

27 Sep 2022

An Anti-Muslim Symbol From India Is Paraded on Main Street, New Jersey

The India Day Parade featured a pretty standard lineup of festival fare. A Bollywood actress waved to fans from the top of a handmade float. Indian flags fluttered in the breeze. Flashy cars and quirky ads (“Kidney donors are sexy,” read one) passed by. Then, toward the middle of the caravan, came a small yellow bulldozer, decorated with photos of India’s prime minister and a hard-line protégé. To some bystanders, the solitary piece of construction equipment was no more than an oddity as it rumbled past during the parade last month in Edison, N.J. But to those who understood its symbolism, it was a blunt and sinister taunt later likened to a noose or a burning cross at a Ku Klux Klan rally. “I felt disgusted,” said Deepak Kumar, 50, a co-founder of Hindus for Human Rights, who attended the parade celebrating the 75th anniversary of India’s independence from Britain. In India, where a divisive brand of Hindu-first nationalism is surging, the bulldozer has become a symbol of oppression, and a focus of the escalating religious tension that has resulted in the government-led destruction of private homes and businesses, most of them owned by members of the country’s Muslim minority. But now the bulldozer was here, in Edison, a sprawling suburb that is home to one of the largest Indian American communities in the United States. To Indian immigrants outraged by its presence, it represented a threat to the highest ideals of their adoptive country and exposed subtle fault lines within the region’s Muslim and Hindu communities. But within two weeks, at the urging of the mayors of Edison and the neighboring town of Woodbridge, where the parade ended, Mr. Patel had apologized. In a letter, he called the bulldozer a “blatant divisive” symbol. Mr. Patel added that his group was aware it had “offended the Indian American minority groups, especially Muslims, from the local area and across the state and country” and vowed to never again include anything similar in future parades. He did not respond to requests for additional comment. For many, the apology was too little, too late. read the complete article


27 Sep 2022

The Black Gate: A Uyghur Family's Story, Part 2

In the second and final part of our series "The Black Gate: A Uyghur's Family's Story," a Uyghur man returns to China to find his children who've been sent to "boarding schools" and his wife who's spent two years in prison. In the Xinjiang region of western China, hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups have been arrested and detained. Many are still desperately searching for their families. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 27 Sep 2022 Edition


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