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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07 Sep 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, “there has been a rising trend in which the Bollywood film industry is losing its fans while, at the same time, Hindu nationalist leaders are gaining fans,” meanwhile in the United States, police are investigating a break-in at a Minneapolis mosque that caused an estimated $50,000 in property damage as the suspect “smashed doors and windows, destroyed property and stole donations,” and lastly, the long-awaited UN report into human rights abuses committed in Xinjiang was finally published last week, but failed to “measure genocide allegations made against Beijing against the criteria laid out in the UN convention on genocide.” Our recommended read of the day is by Jeong Park for the LA Times on how rising Hindu nationalism in India is spilling into the United States as conflict is increasing amongst Indian American immigrant communities. This and more below:


07 Sep 2022

Hindu nationalism in India ratchets up tensions among immigrants in the U.S. | Recommended Read

In a park in Anaheim last month, hundreds gathered to celebrate Indian Independence Day. The holiday had special significance this year: Aug. 15 was the 75th anniversary of the end of British rule. Then, about a dozen people, most of whom were Indian American, marched silently past the crowd, carrying signs that read “Abolish caste” and “Protect India’s Muslim lives.” A few men from the independence celebration charged at the protesters, grabbing the signs, breaking them and throwing them into trash cans. Some shouted obscenities in Hindi-Urdu. They called the protesters “stupid Muslims” and yelled at them to “get out of here.” Through a microphone, an announcer led a chant: “Bharat Mata ki jai” — “Victory for Mother India.” “We are Indian,” Rita Kaur, a protester who is Sikh and was born and raised in Southern California, said later. “We are simply speaking for Indians who are harmed relentlessly.” Since Narendra Modi became prime minister of India in 2014, his naked appeals to patriotism and his party’s frequent scapegoating of minorities, especially Muslims, have resonated with some who believe he has made the country stronger and safer. Meanwhile, religious minorities, especially Muslims, have faced mob attacks from Hindu vigilante groups. Those conflicts have sometimes spilled over into Indian communities in the United States. An Indian Independence Day parade last month in Edison, N.J., featured a bulldozer with a photo of Modi — a provocative symbol when local officials in India have used bulldozers to demolish the homes of Muslims. Parade organizers later apologized. In Silicon Valley, discrimination against people from the Dalit caste surfaced in a lawsuit filed in 2020 by California officials on behalf of an engineer at Cisco Systems who alleged that higher-caste supervisors gave him lower pay and fewer opportunities. At Google this year, a talk about caste equity was canceled after some employees accused the speaker of being anti-Hindu. “This poison of sectarian hatred has been getting more widespread,” said Rohit Chopra, a communications professor at Santa Clara University who has long been critical of Modi and his supporters for promoting Hindu nationalism. “That same pattern of increasing aggression and impunity seems to have replicated itself in the diaspora.” read the complete article

07 Sep 2022

UN report on China’s abuse of Uyghurs is stronger than expected but missing a vital word: genocide

The long-awaited UN report into human rights abuses committed in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) was finally published last week to a mixed reception. For some – principally the Chinese government – it went too far. Others thought it didn’t go far enough. Many hadn’t expected the examination of abuses against Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minority peoples, authored UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet, to see the light of day. And Beijing had made strenuous efforts to suppress the report, and influence its content. But on August 31, ten minutes before Bachelet’s tenure as high commissioner was due to expire, the report finally went online. It is surprisingly strong in some aspects but decidedly weak in others. I’ve been researching Uyghur communities and Uyghur-Han relations in Xinjiang for more than three decades, including many field trips. I submitted expert witness evidence to the Uyghur Tribunal, an independent people’s tribunal set up by former war crimes prosecutor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC at the behest of the World Uyghur Congress. Its summary judgment published on December 9 2021 found that genocide, crimes against humanity and torture are being perpetrated against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang. The UN report makes no attempt to measure genocide allegations made against Beijing against the criteria laid out in the UN convention on genocide (1948), despite several reports, legal opinions, scholarly articles and conferences on the issue. read the complete article

United States

07 Sep 2022

Minneapolis mosque vandalized, burglarized

Police are investigating a break-in at a Minneapolis mosque that caused an estimated $50,000 in property damage. The attack occurred late Sunday when a man broke into Tawfiq Islamic Center at 2400 Minnehaha Avenue and was "rooted" in Islamophobia, according to an email Tuesday from the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. The suspect smashed doors and windows, destroyed property and stole donations. "Minnesota's Muslim community is facing unprecedented amount of attacks against our mosques," said Council on American-Islamic Relations-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein during a news conference Tuesday. "This latest attack is the fourth of such incidents involving a mosque in the state of Minnesota." Minneapolis police have not located any suspects, the department said. Officers found property damage, including to a safe, and a reported loss of cash at the mosque. "Preliminary information indicates that theft was the motivation for this burglary," according to a police statement. "However, due to the location of the burglary, MPD investigators will evaluate available evidence for indications that this burglary and property damage was motivated by hate or bias." The man, who is white and was seen on security cameras, broke into the mosque's back door and destroyed almost every door he could find, said Hussein, who added he is advising mosques to increase their security protocols. read the complete article

07 Sep 2022


A group of University of Texas at Dallas students made headlines in 2013 by establishing the first Muslim fraternity in America. Now two Dallasites have released a documentary that follows them from their first rush week. The 90-minute documentary, Kufi Krew: An American Story, is named for the cap devout Muslims often wear. The film opens with an all too common scene: Angry people at a public protest, this one in Garland, shouting about Islam. One woman declares, “We are standing against the most brutal and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.” But from such a start, Kufi Krew goes where one might never expect — not for a film about a college fraternity: We witness the birth of a child, we follow a secret, long-distance romance. And we discover the difficulties in determining compass directions — if you need to face the east so you can pray, and you happen to be stuck in a parking lot. Inside a car at a Walmart, a frustrated Mohammed points to his cellphone and tells the driver, Humza, “Anyways, here’s west, here’s east. So you’re gonna have to turn the car around.” Photographer Dylan Hollingsworth heard about the formation of the fraternity at UT Dallas in 2013 and thought it was a story worth pursuing. Hollingsworth and co-director Wheeler Sparks had worked and traveled in the Middle East and had often been welcomed warmly there. But they found such stories were not that welcome back here. “So I think both of us were really looking to make a small contribution to the conversation about Islam in America,” Hollingsworth said. Kufi Krew follows a handful of the original 13 members of the fraternity, called ALM. The letter stands for Alif Laam Meem, the three letters that often open chapters of the Quran. In the Greek fraternity world, the letters stand for Alpha Lambda Mu. Ali, the 19-year-old co-founder of the fraternity, explained why such young men would seek the company, the help of people like themselves. “These young, college-age Muslim-American men are lost. That’s what I feel like,” Ali said. “A lot of them have to — by themselves — figure out what it means to be a Muslim. I mean, how do you define establishing a relationship with God?” “And at the same time, defining yourself within a country that has had quite a few problems with Muslims within the past, you know, couple of decades?” read the complete article

07 Sep 2022

The Surveillance State Can’t Solve White Supremacy

After the January 6 attack, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI added new units and social media monitoring initiatives to supposedly tackle domestic terrorism. These agencies and initiatives refuse to name white supremacy; rather, they use broad categories like racially motivated violent extremism and abortion-related violent extremism, giving cover to them to investigate any ideologies in that range. The broad, sweeping discretion of counterterrorism programs, in turn, has allowed law enforcement agencies to single out Black, Muslim, and immigrant communities. COINTELPRO, the FBI’s political surveillance program that targeted anti-war and Black Power movements among others during the civil rights era, is one of the most well-known historic examples of this. U.S. counterterrorism measures proliferated in the early days of the War on Terror, an era which kicked off the widespread surveillance and detention of Muslims and Muslim Americans. More recently, the Trump Administration used the FBI’s counterterrorism apparatus to target Black protesters during the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. After every recent incident of white supremacist violence, DHS has touted its Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programming as a solution. CVE is the latest trend in counterterrorism, deputizing individuals to report on their own community using behavioral policing. As evidenced by the daily policing of Black and brown people, encouraging more profiling will only continue to harm communities of color first and foremost. Although President Joe Biden promised to end CVE programs during his campaign, his administration has done the opposite by expanding them to supposedly tackle white supremacist violence. While many reported that the Center for Prevention Partnerships and Programs (CP3) was launched in response to January 6, it simply renames the CVE department that was launched by Obama in 2015, which was already renamed as Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention in 2020. To address white supremacist and white nationalist violence, we have to simultaneously dismantle these systems while working to build up genuine community safety. That means not only opposing expansion of law enforcement powers and the counterterrorism complex, but also creating alternatives on the ground to support real community needs. read the complete article

07 Sep 2022

Poll: Americans' Views on 9/11 Depend More on Age Than Political Party

Twenty-one years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001, Americans across the political spectrum share many of the same feelings when it comes to their memories and sentiments related to the attacks. However, younger adults demonstrate less connection to the event — and the feelings of unity that many Americans felt following the attacks — than their older counterparts, according to a new poll by nonprofit More In Common and research firm YouGov. The poll also found nuance in American attitudes related to patriotism, safety and Islamophobia following the 9/11 attacks. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. adults — including 72% of Democrats and 50% of all other Americans — said they associate the post-9/11 period with the mistreatment of Muslim Americans. But 73% of adults — including large majorities of Democrats and Republicans — remember the era for American unity. An identical 63% of both Democrats and Republicans associate the era with American politicians working together. However, those numbers fall off precipitously for younger Americans. While more than half of seniors said "united" was one of the best descriptors of the United States after the 9/11 attacks, only 22% of millennials and 21% of Gen Z adults chose that word. In addition to a majority of Americans remembering Islamophobia in the period following 9/11, Muslim Americans were almost as likely to say mistreatment of Muslim Americans (71%) defined the era than any other characteristic, including heightened security (75%), fear of terrorism (72%) and American unity (63%). Sixty-eight percent of Muslim Americans also responded they were “proud to be an American,” in line with the responses from Hispanic Americans and Americans of the millennial generation. Asian Americans (62%) and Gen Z adults (56%) were less likely to say they were proud to be American, while white Americans (80%), Baby Boomers (86%), the Silent Generation (93%) and Republicans (95%) were more likely to say they were proud. The national average was 76%. read the complete article

07 Sep 2022

New CNN chief’s first major hire is retired cop who recently lied about the NYPD spying on Muslims after 9/11

CNN’s newest pundit is John Miller, a former top New York police officer with a history of misleading the public. Miller will join the network as the chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst. The move appears to be part of a larger right-ward shift and very public identity crisis at CNN, as new CEO Chris Licht has pushed out high-profile on-air talent that was critical of Donald Trump. In March, Miller – still serving in his official police role as deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism – lied to the New York City Council and claimed that “there is no evidence” the NYPD spied on Muslim communities after 9/11. Muslim leaders and advocacy groups were outraged at the false claim and demanded that Mayor Eric Adams censure Miller as a consequence. Councilwoman Shahana Hanif, the city council’s only Muslim member, called on District Attorney Alvin Bragg to investigate Miller for possible perjury for the remarks. Adams later contradicted Miller, admitting that the NYPD did in fact spy on Muslims after 9/11 and saying of the department, “What we did was wrong.” That wasn’t Miller’s only foray into Islamophobia. In 2016, he denied allegations that the NYPD violated its own surveillance policy in targeting Muslims. “If you’re investigating al Qaeda, and TTP and ISIL plots against New York City, your investigating targets are going to be who they are,” Miller said, referring to the Pakistani Taliban and Islamic State, as reported by Reuters. read the complete article


07 Sep 2022

Bollywood's decline, Hindu nationalism's gain: A trend of fandom exodus

Over the past few years, there has been a rising trend in which the Bollywood film industry is losing its fans while, at the same time, Hindu nationalist leaders are gaining fans. A Civic Media Observatory investigation shows that this has led to unprecedented criticism of Bollywood films and actors over their liberal views and allegedly “anti-Hindu” agenda. The most recent incident that is part of Bollywood’s broader cancel culture is the targeting of veteran Bollywood actors Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Their film, Lal Singh Chaddha, which was released in theatres worldwide on August 11, 2022, was entangled in controversies before and after its release. The film is the Bollywood remake of the popular American film Forrest Gump. It tells the story of Laal, played by Aamir Khan, and Rupa, played by Kareena Kapoor, and the hardships they face. Before the release of the movie, social media was buzzing with the #boycottlalsinghchaddha hashtag, and both Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor were targeted for being “anti-national.” There were posts that appealed to the audience to boycott the movie to teach Khan that he needs to conform to the Hindu-nationalist narrative. Right-wing groups shared clips of Aamir Khan from 2015 when he stated that his Hindu wife feels unsafe in India because of the growing religious intolerance and because of the rising sense of “insecurity, fear and despondency” in the country. Kareena Kapoor Khan, who is married to actor Saif Ali Khan, has been targeted time and again for marrying a Muslim actor and giving her children Islamic names. The criticism began not with the content of the movie but with Aamir Khan. At a press event, he even pleaded with the audience to not boycott his film and clarified that he is not “anti-national” by exclaiming that he “loves this country” and audience should not think otherwise. With the Hindu-nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) coming to power in India in 2014, right-wing Hindu ideology has come into the mainstream political and cultural conversation. Research for Global Voice’s Civic Media Observatory shows that Bollywood is blamed for “giving prominence” to Muslim actors, for not making films that have a “nationalist spirit,” and for the “derogatory depiction” of Hindus. Right-wing groups directly relate the religious identity of the actor with the values they present onscreen and use that to amplify their Islamophobic sentiments. This is a departure from the past, when Aamir Khan and fellow Muslim leading man Shah Rukh Khan enjoyed a cult following. Now, Hindu fundamentalism has become the new ground for fandom in India. read the complete article

07 Sep 2022

India Needs to Enact a Domestic Refugee Law

On August 17, India’s Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri announced that the government had decided to provide housing to around 1,100 Rohingya migrants in Delhi. They would be allotted low-cost apartments in western Delhi’s Bakkarwala area, provided with basic amenities and round-the-clock police protection, he said. Puri’s announcement signaled a potential and positive change in India’s policy toward the Rohingya. However, the change proved short-lived. Within hours of the announcement, the home ministry tweeted that “Rohingya illegal foreigners will continue at the present location,” pending “their deportation.” It directed the Delhi state government to declare “the present location as a Detention Centre.” In effect, the home ministry clarified that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government would continue with its policy of treating Rohingya as illegal migrants and persist with detaining and deporting them. The Rohingya have been arriving in India in waves since the 1970s. However, most are recent arrivals, having arrived in the aftermath of the Myanmar military’s unleashing of extreme violence with “genocidal intent” on them in August 2017. According to Human Rights Watch, there are an estimated 40,000 Rohingya living in India, of which some 20,000 are registered with the UNHCR. Lacking refugee status, they are not entitled to housing, jobs, or education and live in squalid conditions in slums in cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, and Jammu. India did not sign the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol. Yet, over the decades it provided refuge to millions fleeing discrimination, persecution, and war in its neighboring countries. read the complete article


07 Sep 2022

Hijab-wearing woman featured on French Vogue cover in first for magazine

A hijab-wearing woman was featured on the cover of the French edition of Vogue for the first time since it began publishing in 1920. Somali-American model Ugbad Abdi appeared on the front of the renowned magazine's August 2022 edition, the Muslim Girl website reported. Abdi was featured alongside another Somali woman, Mona Tougaard, meaning it was also the first time two Somali women have adorned the cover of the magazine, according to Muslim Girl. Asked by Vogue what their combined cover means, Ugbad said: "Everyone was aware of the importance of the project and Mona and I were quite simply happy to be part of it. "We had never seen two black Somali women on the cover of Vogue. It will go down in history." Ugbad said the two women "truly hope" the cover will "allow young people to feel as though they are being seen and represented". read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 07 Sep 2022 Edition


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