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 Sep 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, the “Edison bulldozer scandal is the first time that they have heard about the intolerant ideology of Hindu nationalism, also known as Hindutva or Hindu supremacy. But it is unlikely to be the last time,” meanwhile in India, former Congress party chief said Modi’s government is weakening the country by “creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred, in reference to the ruling BJP policy of Hindu-Muslim polarization,” and in the United Kingdom, the “Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis), the national body for Muslim students in Britain, has threatened to launch a disaffiliation campaign against the National Union of Students (NUS) after the NUS suspended its president-elect, Shaima Dallali.” Our recommended read of the day is by Omar Suleiman for Religion News Service on how the recent report from the outgoing UN human rights chief “provides extensive proof of torture, ethnic cleansing and forced disappearance” against Uyghurs, and the findings should “lead to action that counters the CCP’s human rights abuses.” This and more below:


05 Sep 2022

The world needs to make China pay for its maltreatment of the Uyghurs | Recommended Read

Just minutes before her tenure ended on Wednesday (Aug. 31), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s office published a report on human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the area set aside by China for the ethnically distinct and majority-Muslim Uyghurs. It details the wicked nature of now-notorious Chinese detention camps where more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are being held — all under the pretext of countering religious extremism. This report should lead to action that counters the CCP’s human rights abuses. We can’t stop short of meaningful accountability. We know what inaction looks like. The genocide of the ethnic Rohingya Muslim population in Burma has resulted in tens of thousands of dead, tortured, raped and displaced people. There was no shortage of international outrage, and just this past August, the U.S. State Department released a statement in support of “advancing justice and accountability for Rohingya and all the people of Burma in solidarity with the victims and survivors.” But the genocide has continued undisturbed for more than five years. The international community’s determination wasn’t enough, and it continues to fail to take action to stop the genocide. But condemnations, declarations of solidarity and general sympathy constitute a bare minimum unworthy of the name action. The evil done to these Muslim populations deserves more honorable, practical and urgent opposition. The plight of the Uyghurs requires immediate action, despite behemoth China’s economic hegemony. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

5 years in exile: What lies ahead for the displaced Rohingyas?

On 25 August, the exodus of close to a million Rohingyas to Bangladesh brought on by the rising violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, marked its fifth year. In 2017, the Rohingya people were driven out of Myanmar, which was acknowledged as ethnic cleansing and even genocide by the international world. Officials from the United Nations (UN) have stated that the country’s military leaders should be held accountable for the worst crimes against humanity. However, the conditions of these displaced people living in the peripheries have only worsened. The displaced Rohingyas residing in the camps in Bangladesh are referred to as Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN). The FDMNs are individuals without a state and aren’t considered as citizens in Myanmar or refugees in Bangladesh, since the nation is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. The future course of action for the repatriation of the FDMNs looks dismal in the domestic run-offs in both, coup-torn Myanmar and the election-awaiting Bangladesh. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

Over a million Rohingya migrants a “big burden” on Bangladesh: Sheikh Hasina, feels India can play major role

The Rohingya migrants are a “big burden” on Bangladesh and the country is reaching out to the international community to ensure they return to their homeland, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said adding that she feels India could play a major role in resolving the issue. In an interaction with ANI, Hasina confessed that the presence of lakhs of Rohingyas in Bangladesh had created challenges for her regime. “Well you know… for us it’s a big burden. India is a vast country; you can accommodate but you don’t have much. But in our country… we have 1.1 million Rohingya. So well… we are consulting with the international community and also our neighbouring countries, they should also take some steps so that they can go back home,” Hasina said. “This Rohingya, yes… on humanitarian ground we give them shelter and providing everything but during this COVID, we vaccinated all the Rohingya community. But how long they will stay here? So in the camp they are staying. Our environment hazard is there. Then some people engage in drug trafficking or some arms conflict, women trafficking. Day by day it is increasing. So as quick as they return home it is good for our country and also for Myanmar. So we have been trying our best to pursue them, we’re discussing with them and also the international community, like ASEAN or UNO, then other countries,” Hasina said. The Bangladesh prime minister said that her country had offered shelter to the Rohingya when they were facing many troubles. “But now they should go back to their country. But India as a neighbour country, they can play a big role on it, I feel that,” Hasina added. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

Explained | What does the U.N. report say about China’s repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang?

From evidence of horrific torture inside detention camps to proof of destruction of religious sites, the U.N. Human Rights Office report contains details of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. The story so far: China has vehemently rejected a report released by the United Nations Human Rights Office on “serious human rights violations” in the northwestern Xinjiang region. Charges of torture of Uyghurs and other mainly Muslim ethnic groups in the region may constitute possible “crimes against humanity”, concludes the long-pending assessment report, released on the final day of the four-year term of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. The human rights office cites patterns of torture, forced medical treatment, incidents of sexual and gender-based violence and adds that a substantial proportion of the Muslim population was put through so-called Vocational Education and Training Centres, or VETCs. Saying that “conditions remain in place for serious violations to continue and recur”, it has called for “urgent attention” from the U.N. and the global community. China has been long accused of suppressing Muslim and other minorities and violating their human rights in Xinjiang. In 2014, Chinese leader Xi Jinping ordered a massive crackdown following violence in the region that spread to Beijing. In the years that followed, Uyghurs and others were sent into ‘re-education’ camps as part of the campaign. This was followed by a string of allegations of mass imprisonment, torture, compulsory sterilisation, sexual violence, destruction of Uyghur cultural and religious sites and forced labour. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

‘When I write, I exist and so does my community,’ says Rohingya poet Mayyu Ali

Mayyu Ali is one of the 700,000 or so Rohingya who had to flee Myanmar in the summer of 2017 following abuses committed by the Burmese army. Five years later, the 31-year-old poet continues to give voice to his people through his writings. "The earth orbits with two different worlds; the hell and the heaven. I left one, to discover the other." One year ago, in September 2021, Mayyu Ali wrote those words as he walked through the door of his new flat in Ontario, Canada, with his wife and young daughter. It marked the end of a long ordeal for the 31-year-old Rohingya poet, who had spent four years in the world's largest refugee camp, Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. By chance or a twist of fate, he will be heading to university to study committed literature (littérature engagée) on September 6, five years to the day since he left Myanmar – like 700,000 other Rohingya – to flee army persecution. Since adolescence, he has dreamed of becoming a spokesperson for his community and telling its story. He has already published dozens of poems and, more recently, an autobiography in French, "L'Effacement" (Éditions Grasset), which he co-wrote with journalist Émilie Lopes. "Discrimination, flight, violence... I have seen and experienced everything. It is my duty to tell the world about it," Ali tells FRANCE 24 from Canada. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

Rohingya: A life lived in limbo

Gul Zahar, a young Rohingya woman, was forced to flee her home in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Escaping brutality and widespread abuse, she and around 200,000 fellow Rohingya refugees sought safety in Bangladesh. That was in 1978. After returning home, another wave of violence against the Rohingya forced her to seek safety in Bangladesh once more. That was in 1992. Many years later, Gul and her four-generation family were among the 720,000 Rohingya who made that same desperate journey to safety, yet again forced from their homes by violence. Trekking through jungles and mountains and crossing the river, it was one of the largest and fastest refugee influxes the world had seen for decades. That was five years ago, in 2017. Today, over 925,000 Rohingya refugees live in the densely populated camps near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Over 75 percent are women and children. The Rohingya are the largest stateless community in the world. Although they have lived in Myanmar for generations, they aren’t recognized as citizens. And they face a host of discriminatory practices limiting their daily lives, in addition to the violence and persecution carried out against them. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

New Zealand’s shadow foreign affairs spokesperson faces criticism for response to UN report on Uyghurs

New Zealand’s shadow foreign affairs spokesperson said a UN report on the human rights abuses of Uyghurs includes recognition that China is “dealing with a terrorist problem essentially”, in remarks criticised by China analysts. “It’s good that it acknowledges that there has been a terrorism problem in the particular part of China that the report is on,” Gerry Brownlee, a lawmaker for the centre-right National party, told Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on Thursday in an interview about the UN findings. In the damning report, the outgoing UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, said China had committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province which may amount to crimes against humanity. The report was highly critical of Beijing’s anti-extremism and counter-terrorism justification for its policies in Xinjiang. It found the relevant laws and regulations to be ill-defined and open to the interpretation of individual enforcers. They were used to target people for acts which the UN said were often simply expressions of Islamic belief or a personal opinion, such as having a beard or a social media account. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

The U.N. report on China’s atrocities against the Uyghurs is damning

There are no surprises in the long-awaited United Nations report on China’s brutal human rights violations in the region of Xinjiang. But its contents, and the circumstances around its release, should bring renewed attention to China’s persecution of the Uyghur people — and Beijing’s determination to cover it up. The report, released Wednesday by U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, concludes that China’s actions in Xinjiang “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” The details are chilling. Investigators found that, under the guise of “counterterrorism,” the Chinese government perpetuated “severe and undue restrictions on a wide range of human rights.” Central to this campaign was the mass detention of Uyghurs in “vocational education and training centers,” a sanitized term for internment camps. Former detainees and camp workers described a litany of abuses and torture, including beatings with electric batons while strapped to “tiger chairs” and solitary confinement. In addition, survivors spoke of being given unidentified injections or pills that made them drowsy, while some women reported sexual violence and rape. Investigators also documented allegations of enforced disappearances, family separations and the targeting of Uyghurs abroad, and raised concerns about the apparent destruction of religious sites. Crucially, they found “credible indications of violations of reproductive rights,” including first-hand accounts of forced birth control and abortions. These findings echo what many other institutions had already concluded. The United States rightly declared last year China’s repression of the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang a genocide. Other organizations have also accused Beijing of crimes against humanity. But the United Nations’s imprimatur is significant, particularly because many advocates and survivors worried the report would never see the light of day. read the complete article


05 Sep 2022

India Supreme Court grants interim bail to human rights activist in Gujarat Riots forgery case

The Supreme Court of India Friday granted interim bail to human rights activist Teesta Setalvad. Chief Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia observed that, while the High Court must decide whether Setalvad is ultimately released on bail, the Supreme Court is free to decide “whether the custody of the appellant must be insisted upon during the consideration of matter.” Setalvad is accused of fabricating documents related to the anti-Muslim 2002 Gujarat riots, but human rights groups have questioned the charges against her. Amnesty International India called Setalvad’s arrest a “direct reprisal against those who dare to question” Indian authorities’ human rights record. Setalvad was arrested on June 25 on charges of forgery, using a forged document as genuine, fabricating false evidence, false charge of offence made with intent to injure, preparing an incorrect record as a public servant and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. Setalvad then filed a bail application before the Supreme Court. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

India’s Gandhi slams PM Modi over price rise, Hindu-Muslim divide

Thousands of Indians rallied under key opposition leader Rahul Gandhi over soaring unemployment and rising food and fuel prices, with the former Congress party chief attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for failing to address issues facing the people. Gandhi accused Modi of pursuing policies benefitting big business groups at the expense of small and medium industries and poor farmers and workers, adding that people were being affected by unemployment as well as price rise. He said the government is weakening the country by creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred, in reference to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) policy of Hindu-Muslim polarisation. “Together we will defeat the ideology of the BJP and the RSS,” he said, referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – the Hindu supremacist organisation that is the BJP’s ideological mentor. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

Several Wards Of Gorakhpur To Be Renamed And Erased Off Its 'Muslim-Sounding Names'

The Gorakhpur Municipal Corporation issued a draft delimitation order that proposes renaming a dozen wards that earlier had "Muslim-sounding names". Delimitation refers to the process when the boundaries or certain features of a country's territorial constituencies are reorganised. Officials have informed that objections to the disposal can be filed within a week, after which it would be analysed and decided upon. The decision, however, has triggered a row among the opposition parties who have called it out. A draft order issued by the Gorakhpur Municipal Corporation has changed the "Muslim-sounding names" of several wards as a part of a delimitation exercise which would raise the number of wards in Gorakhpur to 80. The Mayor Sitaram Jaiswal said that the renaming would evoke a sense of pride as many of them are named after iconic personalities and freedom fighters such as Shiv Singh Chetri, Baba Gambhir Nath, Baba Raghavdas, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Madan Mohan Malviya, and Ashfaqullah Khan. Congress leader Talat Aziz called the name-changing exercise as a waste of funds and said that he fails to understand what the government hopes to achieve through such an exercise. Shahab Ansari of the Samajwadi Party commented that the changing of the names is an attempt at polarisation and hinted at the divisive politics of the government. He also added that the party would convene a meeting to discuss the same, and a delegation would be raising the objection to the district magistrate. read the complete article

United States

05 Sep 2022

The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion

For many New Jerseyans, the Edison bulldozer scandal is the first time that they have heard about the intolerant ideology of Hindu nationalism, also known as Hindutva or Hindu supremacy. But it is unlikely to be the last time. I have been studying global Hindu nationalism for years, including a recent focus on Hindu Right goals and tactics in the United States. America, especially New Jersey, is a stronghold for Hindu nationalist groups who provide financial support and ideological guidance for the larger global movement. This extremist ideology — which has roots in early 20th-century European fascism — has flourished for decades, largely unchecked, in our state and has had many harmful consequences. Hindu nationalists propagate their intolerant ideas in the United States through a network of organizations. Some of the most common include the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America (VHPA), and the Hindu Students Council (HSC). Sometimes a Hindu nationalist group registers as a foreign agent, such as Overseas Friends of BJP, which promotes the interests of India’s far-right ruling party. More commonly, Hindu nationalist groups try to spread and normalize their extremist ideas under the ruse of promoting Indian culture, such as at the Edison parade. Hindu nationalists regularly attack lots of people—including Dalits, Christians, and the many Hindus who oppose Hindutva—but Muslims are their most common targets. In India, Muslims are subjected to daily violence and harassment, an abysmal situation documented by human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United States International Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In 2022, USCIRF recommended India for sanctions for the third year in a row due to rapidly worsening conditions in the country, especially attacks on Muslims. read the complete article

05 Sep 2022

“Telling Stories That Feel True”: A Conversation with Dur e Aziz Amna

IN HIRA, the protagonist of her debut novel American Fever, Dur e Aziz Amna has written an unashamedly female, Pakistani, Muslim character. But she didn’t set out to do so. Hira is part her, part other women she’s met and been influenced by. “She’s me, but perhaps angrier, less diplomatic, hopefully less mature,” she says. The author is strongly convinced that “all good literature is moral, but breaking stereotypes feels like an uninspired corrective to aim for, yet another way in which certain kinds of writing and writers are infantilized.” Indeed, nothing in the novel seems forced or contrived. Amna writes about memory and migration, language and loss, tradition and translation, racism and Islamophobia, the United States and Pakistan, with ease and elegance, intelligence and irreverence, warmth and wisdom, humor and heart. She is an astute observer and storyteller of the world we live in — the world young girls of color come into and move through. While she tells a coming-of-age, coming-to-America story, she does so with a voice that is very much her own. read the complete article


05 Sep 2022

Does China believe its own propaganda on Uyghurs?

The US has welcomed a long-awaited report by the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, which concludes that China's policies in Xinjiang may constitute crimes against humanity. The BBC's John Sudworth, who spent many years covering the story and was eventually forced out of China as a result, considers what it tells us about the country. Increasingly, the Chinese state has come to view Uyghurs as not just suspiciously different, but dangerously seditious. The building of the giant prison camps and the use of arbitrary mass detentions to target almost any expression of Uyghur identity, culture and faith began in earnest in 2017. The UN report finds credible evidence of torture, forced fertility controls that have led to a dramatic drop in the birth rate, and the violent suppression of Uyghur culture and faith. But how do we reconcile this dystopia with the booming cities and skyscrapers of Beijing and Shanghai away in the east? Which is the real China, even my editors would sometimes wonder aloud. read the complete article

United Kingdom

05 Sep 2022

UK: Muslim students threaten to disaffiliate from NUS after Islamophobia claims

The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis), the national body for Muslim students in Britain, has threatened to launch a disaffiliation campaign against the National Union of Students (NUS) after the NUS suspended its president-elect, Shaima Dallali. Earlier this year, Jewish students accused Dallali of antisemitism and homophobia over old tweets she posted. Dallali denied the claims and welcomed the QC-led investigation into her actions. But following a leaked report that the NUS had suspended an elected president for the first time in its one-hundred-year history, Fosis said it would urge its members to launch disaffiliation campaigns across the UK against the national body. In a statement published on Friday evening, Fosis said the NUS had a track record of failing to help Muslim students acting in elected positions within the organisation and student unions across the country. "For many years, Fosis has dealt with troubling cases of Islamophobia experienced by Islamic Societies, Muslim sabbatical officers and the wider Muslim student community in both Higher and Further Education," Fosis said in a statement. "This active targeting of Muslim students through a systematic pattern of over-scrutiny, bad faith allegations and subjugation to a disproportionate level of disciplinaries using Islamophobic tropes reflects prejudice and endemic bigotry that spans the entire educational journey of Muslim students. "What Shaima is experiencing is a clear extension of institutional Islamophobia within the education sector, and it is apparent that NUS' attitude towards Shaima is a manifestation of this oppression." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 05 Sep 2022 Edition


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