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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29 Sep 2022

Today in Islamophobia: At the United Nations, the “United States and some of its European partners have decided to force a vote on whether to debate China’s atrocities against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities,” meanwhile in the United States, an Asian NYPD officer “charged with a hate crime for allegedly hurling ‘anti-Muslim’ slurs at an alleged drunk driver before beating the Middle Eastern man” has been fired from the force, and in India, the government has declared the Muslim group, Popular Front of India (PFI), unlawful, accusing them of involvement in “terrorism” and banning them for five years. Our recommended read of the day is by Chad De Guzman for TIME on a new report from Amnesty International that finds Facebook’s algorithms “proactively amplified” anti-Rohingya content, and “substantially contributed” to human rights violations perpetrated against the Rohingya community. This and more below:


29 Sep 2022

Meta’s Facebook Algorithms ‘Proactively’ Promoted Violence Against the Rohingya, New Amnesty International Report Asserts | Recommended Read

In a new report, Amnesty claims that Facebook’s algorithms “proactively amplified” anti-Rohingya content. It also alleges that Meta ignored civilians’ and activists’ pleas to curb hate-mongering on the social media platform while profiting from increased engagement. Facebook’s seeming inability to manage online hate speech and disinformation has become a major offline problem for many countries across the globe. Amnesty is calling for the tech giant to provide reparations to affected communities. The Rohingya have been persecuted by Myanmar’s Buddhist majority for decades, but Facebook has exacerbated the situation, Amnesty says. The human rights group claims that the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s armed forces, used Facebook to boost propaganda against the Rohingya and to amass public support for a military campaign of rampant killings, rape and arson targeting the predominantly Muslim minority in August 2017. Amnesty analyzed internal Meta documents released by whistleblower Frances Haugen in 2021, as well as various public reports, and it conducted interviews with Rohingya activists and former Meta staff. It concludes that Facebook’s parent company—then known as Facebook Inc.—was made aware of its role in contributing to the atrocities against the Rohingya ethnic group years before 2017, and it both failed to heed such warnings at the time and took “wholly inadequate” measures to address them after the fact. read the complete article

29 Sep 2022

The U.S. and China are headed for a showdown at the U.N.

The United States and some of its European partners have decided to force a vote at the United Nations next week on whether to debate China’s atrocities against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities — acts the United Nations’ own human rights commissioner has said may constitute “crimes against humanity.” But Beijing is working overtime to prevent the debate from ever taking place. This is a crucial test for both the United Nations’ and the Biden administration’s commitments on human rights. On Monday, the United States filed a resolution, formally known as a “draft decision,” that — if passed — would add China to the agenda of the ongoing session at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. The debate would address the report on China’s abuses released by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Aug. 31, her last day in that post. The Chinese government had tried to thwart the release of the report and afterward called it “wholly illegal and invalid.” Now, Beijing is working to strong-arm countries that sit on the council, threatening them with economic and other punishments if they don’t vote to bury the Bachelet report, several officials and diplomats told me. read the complete article

29 Sep 2022

Why this suburban school is working so hard to save Uyghur language and culture

In the quiet, leafy Adelaide suburb of Gilles Plains, the carpark for the local mosque and adjacent school bustles with children eager to learn Uyghur language and culture. Kelara Zulpar stands in front of her classroom door, a troop of excited kindergarten students milling around her. About 100 children attend the Sunday school, and the classrooms are divided by age and language fluency. She beckons them into the room, and they stand in a circle singing Uyghur songs and reading the Uyghur name for a variety of animals from a bundle of placards. “We are trying to link these people who are born in Australia, they're literally Australian, [with] another identity, which we can relate to them better.” Kelara is part of the tight-knit 1500-strong Uyghur community in Adelaide. They form one of the largest expatriate Uyghur communities outside of Turkey. “[The school] is very important to our community, because back home, our language, and our culture is getting wiped off,” she said. “If we don't do something about it here, at least, we're going to lose it. “And when we lose our language and culture, I think we're going to lose ourselves as Uyghurs.” read the complete article

29 Sep 2022

Coalition of Muslim NGO’s decry endemic of state sponsored Islamophobia across Europe at OSCE Human Rights Conference

A coalition of leading Muslim led Human Rights and advocacy groups will, over the next two days, speak at the OSCE’s Human Dimension Conference in Warsaw, the world’s largest regional security intergovernmental organization with 57 participating states. The NGOs will decry what they have identified as an endemic of state sponsored Islamophobia across Europe. They will also highlight the systematic suppression of Muslim civil society which is giving rise to authoritarian policies across the continent. read the complete article

29 Sep 2022

Meta owes Rohingya reparations for Myanmar violence, says Amnesty

A prominent human rights group says Facebook’s owner Meta owes the Rohingya reparations for the platform’s role in fuelling violence against the mostly Muslim minority in Myanmar. Amnesty International issued the call for compensation on Thursday after accusing Meta of failing to act despite activists repeatedly warning the company about the implications of anti-Rohingya hate speech on its Facebook platform. The group said Myanmar activists had raised concerns about the issue with Meta as early as 2012, some five years before the country’s military launched a campaign of mass killings and rape that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh. The brutal crackdown is now the subject of a genocide investigation at the International Court of Justice, while in March this year, the United States officially declared the military’s actions a genocide. “In the months and years leading up to the atrocities, Facebook’s algorithms were intensifying a storm of hatred against the Rohingya which contributed to real-world violence,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general. read the complete article

United States

29 Sep 2022

Loyola Muslim Student Harassed for Religious Clothing on the Red Line

While on her way to class at Loyola’s Water Tower Campus (WTC), sophomore Abida Diasso said she was verbally harassed by another passenger on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line for her religious identity. Around 3 p.m. on Sept. 16, Diasso got on the Red Line at Loyola and made her way to WTC. Diasso said she was faced with backlash for her religious clothing, an abaya, the traditional prayer garment for muslim women, as well as a hijab. Since, Loyola’s Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) has said they stand in solidarity with Diasso and aim to combat Islamophobia. Diasso said the passenger tapped her thigh, initially causing her to think the passenger was bothered she was not wearing a mask. However, the situation escalated and it became clear to Diasso the passenger was bothered by her Muslim identity. The passenger verbally threatened Diasso saying, “You wouldn’t want to go home killed,” Diasso, 19, told The Phoenix. Another passenger, who had heard the harassment, jumped in to defend Diasso, but the passenger continued making Islamophobic comments and began recording Diasso, according to Diasso. read the complete article

29 Sep 2022

Malala Calls Out Hollywood: Muslim Actors Only Make Up 1% of Popular TV Series Leads

Malala Yousafzai used Variety’s Power of Women event, presented by Lifetime, to make the case for representation in Hollywood, specifically highlighting the fact that Muslim actors only make up 1% of popular television series leads. “Abbott Elementary” creator Quinta Brunson presented Yousafzai with her Variety honor, calling her one of “the most influential advocates of our time.” Yousafzai, who remains the youngest Nobel Laureate in history, recently revealed the first slate of projects out of her production company Extracurricular. The outfit, which is headed by Yousafzai and her head of production Erika Kennair, struck a multi-year programming deal with Apple TV+ last year. At the heart of her first projects is a rich diversity that reflects Yousafzai’s resolve to tell representative stories that haven’t always had a place in Hollywood. “I learned that Asian people like me make up less than 4% of leads in Hollywood films. Muslims are 25% of the population, but only 1% of characters in popular TV series,” Yousafzai underscored at the Power of Women dinner. Yousafzai is also throwing her influence behind Riz Ahmed’s Pillars Artist Fellowship, which supports emerging Muslim directors and screenwriters. The program is timely, with Yousafzai having cited new data from a recent USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative during her speech. “I know that the executives have passed on dozens of quality, equally amazing projects because they thought that the characters or their creators were too young, too Brown, too foreign, too poor,” she remarked. “Sometimes it feels like they’re saying we just don’t belong here.” read the complete article

29 Sep 2022

NYPD fires Asian cop charged with hate crime for allegedly hurling 'anti-Muslim' slurs, beating drunk driver

An Asian NYPD officer charged with a hate crime for allegedly hurling "anti-Muslim" slurs at an alleged drunk driver before beating the Middle Eastern man in an off-duty Brooklyn road-rage incident earlier this year has since been fired from the force, Fox News Digital has confirmed. Riggs Kwong, an 18-year veteran of the New York Police Department, was dismissed effective Sept. 6, and NYPD spokesperson confirmed to Fox News Digital. N.Y. Daily News first reported about his termination on Tuesday, saying it came in connection to the January alleged road rage assault. The termination went into effect about eight months after 50-year-old Kwong was arraigned on third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, third-degree assault, third-degree menacing, second-degree aggravated harassment, falsely reporting an incident and improper use of colored or flashing lights. The charges come in connection to the alleged Jan. 16 caught on video beating of 32-year-old Abdul Motalab during a traffic altercation in Kensington, Brooklyn. read the complete article

United Kingdom

29 Sep 2022

Clashes in Leicester were largely caused by disinformation. The Government has a duty to stop its spread

In Leicester, the latest “sectarian disorder” between Hindus and Muslims shadows weeks of mounting tension that first vented after last month’s Asia Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan. Nationally and internationally, reports claimed that violence erupted in Leicester after a group of Hindu men marched through the streets of the city shouting “Jai Shri Ram” – a Hindu greeting that has turned into a clarion call for Hindutva groups (the political ideology validated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which promotes Hindu supremacy and aims to turn India into an ethno-religious state) and perpetrators of anti-Muslim violence in India. In a place where Hindus and Muslims have lived peacefully for decades, local residents, including me, are shocked. Even now, it is incredibly intimidating for us to visit affected areas in Leicester with our families. In my 13 years of living in Leicester, I had never seen or heard of disorder between Hindus and Muslims in the city. That weekend, I had gone to a shop in the city centre with my family. A Muslim man at the counter told me to avoid Highfields as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supporters – a right-wing Hindu nationalist organisation – were beating Muslims. His wife also told me to strictly avoid the areas affected by violence. I had plans to meet my friends, some of whom lived in those areas, and I was surprised to find that suddenly, I could no longer meet them. One of my friends from Pakistan who works in the area told me she had to close her shop due to violence. She saw men running outside her shop wearing masks. Now, she is too scared to work in her own shop. That evening, I felt the impact of partition in Leicester. read the complete article

29 Sep 2022

Leicester’s unrest is a problem for the whole city, not just Hindu and Muslim communities

Since late August, the city of Leicester in England has seen violent confrontations between groups of Hindu and Muslim men. The situation escalated on September 17 when about 200 Hindu men marched through a Muslim-majority area of east Leicester. Wearing masks, hoodies and balaclavas, they chanted “Jai Shri Ram” (meaning “Hail Lord Ram”), a phrase synonymous with Hindu nationalist violence in India. In response, groups of Muslim men gathered in the area. A flag was forcibly removed from a Hindu mandir (temple). Bottles and other missiles were thrown. Further violence ensued the following evening when the outer wall of a mosque was graffitied and a Hindu flag was burned. In Leicester, no single group has, as yet, been blamed. However, there is a similar reluctance to dig into the complexity of the situation. Though proactive in communicating information about its policing of the disturbances, Leicestershire Police has referred, not specifically to Hindus or Muslims, but to “the community”. Political geographer Arshad Isakjee has shown applying the notion of “community” to ethnic and religious minorities makes the lazy assumption that ethnic minorities have more in common with each other than white or Christian communities do. What’s more, it homogenises all people deemed to be within the group in question, thereby “othering” them as distinct from anyone outside that group. In other words, the problem becomes “their problem”, not “ours”. The onus is put on them to provide “solutions” to what is actually a vast array of social problems. read the complete article


29 Sep 2022

India bans Muslim group PFI for alleged ‘terror’ links

India has declared the Muslim group, Popular Front of India (PFI), and its affiliates unlawful, accusing them of involvement in “terrorism” and banning them for five years, after authorities detained more than 100 PFI members this month. The PFI came together in late 2006 to counter Hindu-nationalist groups and was launched formally the next year with the merger of two other southern India-based organisations. It calls itself a “social movement striving for total empowerment” on its website. Mohammed Tahir, a counsel for the PFI, said the government failed to present evidence of the organisation receiving outside money and funding “terror” activities in India, or its allegation of organising riots in cities and attacks on Hindu organisations and their leaders. The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), which works with the PFI on some issues but was not included in the ban, said the government had struck a blow against democracy and human rights. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 29 Sep 2022 Edition


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