News Brief

Anti-Muslim Hate Overwhelmed on Social Media by #LoveAMuslimDay and #WeStandTogether

The #PunishAMuslimDay campaign was drowned out today by anti-hate campaigners.

A cryptic campaign meant to scare British Muslims into expecting Islamophobic violence on April 3rd has been largely drowned out by messages of support and solidarity.

Back in mid-March, BBC News reported political leaders, particularly Labour Members of Parliament, received packages which contained suspicious liquid and flyers for "Punish A Muslim Day." The flyer gives today, April 3rd's date as the failed "established" day, and includes a point system guide on how to participate. These flyers, as well as social media posts and videos invoking anti-muslim hate crimes, originated from the UK, but have been taken seriously by some authorities in the U.S as well.

While Twitter has seen some support for #PunishAMuslimDay among far-right hate groups, the counter movement, #LoveAMuslimDay has been drowning out the hatred with messages of support and solidarity with those targeted by bigots. Here in the United States, as reported in the New York Daily News, Brooklyn borough president, Eric Adams, made a statement claiming measures are being taken to protect Muslims by the NYPD, which has increased security around parts of New York in areas where there are large populations of Muslim residents, and mosques.

Human rights activists and organizations around the world have condemned the campaign on social media. Last night on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Hasan Minhaj, a Senior Correspondent on the show and American comedian gave a response denouncing the bigoted campaign.

The letter sends a chilling message:

Are you a 'sheep' like the vast majority of the population? Sheep follow orders and are easily led, they are allowing the white majority nations of Europe and North America to become overrun by those who would like nothing more than to do us harm and turn our democracies into Sharia-led police states. Only you can turn this thing around."

Newsweek's report of the UK origin of the letter suggests it is due to a rise in "anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant backlash." They suggest, that the "Brexit vote, a referendum in which a slim majority of British citizens opted for the country to leave the European Union, is believed to have been caused by xenophobia and fear of immigration."

The Guardian reports the distributers of the letter are currently under investigation by counter-terrorism police. Since the delivery of the original letters, officials have been keeping tabs on any violence accumulating evidence, including the strange, yet luckily non-harmful liquid found inside each package for the ongoing investigation.

In the meantime, many have begun coordinating #LoveAMuslimDay events throughout the UK and U.S. including the city, Nottingham, which is hosting an event at the Brian Clough statue starting at 2pm, as also reported by The Guardian.

Photo by Xaume Olleros/Getty Images.

Malian Government Claims Anti-Trump Tweets Were a 'Handling Error'

A former Malian government official allegedly used President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's official Twitter account to describe Trump's recent drone strike on Iraq as a "fuck up".

This past Monday, a number of tweets which referred to President Donald Trump's recent drone strike on Iraq as a "fuck up", were sent from Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's official Twitter account.

According to News24, the Malian government now claims that the since-deleted tweet was a a result of a "handling error" after a former government official mistook the Twitter account as his own personal one.

Keep reading...
Andrew Aitchison/Getty Images

South Africans are Reacting to the Constitutional Court's Ruling on Spanking

Not everyone is happy that spanking is now unconstitutional.

Yesterday, South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled that the spanking of children is now unconstitutional. The ruling upheld a previous ruling by the High Court back in 2017, that criminalized spanking after a father beat his 13-year-old son "in a manner that exceeded the bounds of reasonable chastisement". Parents or guardians can no longer use the common law defense of "reasonable chastisement" should they be charged with assault for spanking their children. While many South Africans as well as children's rights activists and organizations have welcomed the ruling, others have rubbished it entirely.

Keep reading...
Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading...
Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox