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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25 Apr 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) recently released a report detailing a national rise in anti-Muslim hate with over 8 thousand complaints filed in 2023, the highest recorded in its thirty-year history, meanwhile in the UK, a senior Labour MP and co-author of a new Policy Exchange report attacking attempts to define Islamophobia, privately told former Baroness Sayeeda Warsi that the think tank is a “dangerous” outfit with extremist tendencies, and in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a crowd of supporters on Sunday that if the opposition comes to power, it will take Hindus’ wealth and give it to those “who have more children”, which analysts believe was code for Muslims. Our recommended read of the day is by Eli Clifton for The Guardian, on how investigative reporting has linked TikTok investor and philanthropist Jeff Yass to $16m in donations to anti-Muslim and pro-Israel groups. This and more below:

United States

Billionaire Jeff Yass linked to $16m in donations to anti-Muslim and pro-Israel groups | Recommended Read

Top Republican donor and TikTok investor Jeff Yass is connected to over $16m in funding to anti-Muslim and pro-Israel groups that have advocated for a US war with Iran and other militaristic policies in the Middle East, according to an investigation by the Guardian and Responsible Statecraft. Media reports on Yass, the billionaire co-founder of Susquehanna International Group, a trading and technology firm, have focused on his outsized role in the Republican party, to which he is now the largest political donor in the 2024 election cycle, contributing more than $46m thus far. Little has been reported about his involvement in funding groups advocating a pro-Israel US foreign policy, hawkish US policies in the Middle East and support for theorists whom experts described as extreme anti-Muslim conspiracists. Leading Yass’s philanthropy in the foreign policy space is $7.9m contributed to Jerusalem Online University between 2014 and 2019 by a grant-making group at which he once served as one of three directors. The contributions came from the Claws Foundation, an entity at which Yass served as a director alongside Arthur Dantchik, a co-founder of Susquehanna, and attorney Alan P Dye. The Claws Foundation also issued a $10,000 grant to Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in 2011 and $35,000 in grants, between 2010 and 2011, to the Center for Security Policy, an anti-Muslim and conspiracy theory-promoting group founded by Frank Gaffney, whom the Southern Policy Law Center describes as “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes.” In 2013 to 2014, the Claws Foundation sent $250,000 to the David Horowitz Freedom Center, another central promoter of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. read the complete article

Campus protests escalate free speech debate amid increasing antisemitism, Islamophobia

Protests on college campuses against the war in Gaza are continuing to spread across the country and creating difficult situations for university leaders to navigate when it comes to protecting free speech rights and preventing hateful speech that leads to violent behaviors. Universities are under a microscope for their handling of the protests amid a rise in antisemitic and Islamaphobic incidents happening on campuses across the country, including at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions. Dozens of protesters have been arrested at schools as administrators have struggled to soothe the tensions playing out on campus. read the complete article

White Americans who dislike Jews also tend to endorse anti-Muslim attitudes, study suggests

A study in the United States found that around 46% of white Americans held medium or high anti-Muslim opinions back in 2014. Anti-Jewish opinions were much rarer, but most of the people holding these opinions also held anti-Muslim views as well. The paper was published in The Sociological Quarterly. In the United States and much of Europe, Muslims have increasingly become the central ‘other’ in recent nationalist movements. Research indicates a shift in recent years, moving the rejection of Muslims from a fringe political topic to the forefront of political discourse. This trend particularly intensified during the 2016 U.S. elections, leading to notable consequences. The results showed that levels of anti-Muslim sentiment were several times higher than anti-Jewish sentiment. A clear majority of participants disapproved of a marriage between their child and a Muslim and roughly two thirds considered Muslims to be more loyal to their religion than to America. About one in four participants associated Muslims with public safety issues, while one in three believed they did not share their moral values and were intolerant. read the complete article

Invisible Hate: Anti-Muslim Hate Incidents Going Unreported

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a report detailing a national rise in anti-Muslim hate. CAIR received over 8 thousand complaints of hate and mistreatment across the country in 2023, the highest recorded in its thirty year history. The report accounts for the national total, but the local numbers are equally as stunning. Tazheen Nizam, Executive Director of CAIR San Diego, says their office saw a 300 percent increase in complaints in 2023 from the prior year. 45 complaints were filed in the months following the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel. These complaints, she says, include harassment of Muslim or Palestinian-owned businesses and two incidents outside of the Islamic Center of San Diego. “They were done with the intent of instilling fear and hate in our community,” Nizam said. Nizam says many of the complaints are from students in grades K-12. Students have reported that having pro-Palestinian stickers on binders and water bottles, expressing a pro-Palestinian opinion or wearing a keffiyeh gets them in trouble with school administration, where Nizam says they are being spoken to without their parents. read the complete article


Modi wants to turn India’s election into a Hindu-Muslim war

According to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu majority face danger as the opposition Congress party is conspiring with the Muslim community to rob them of their wealth and entitlements and hand them over to Muslims. On Sunday, the prime minister told a rally in Rajasthan that if the opposition comes to power, it will take Hindus’ wealth and give it to those “who have more children”, clearly referring to Muslims. He then went on to call the Muslim community “infiltrators”. Modi is considered an expert in dog-whistling. He has mastered the art of insulting, mocking, and attacking Muslims without uttering the word Muslim. For example, during his time as chief minister of Gujarat state in 2002, riots took place that evicted thousands of Muslims from their homes and forced them into relief camps. When the state government started demolishing these camps and faced criticism over it, Modi said he could not allow “children-producing factories” to operate. Without uttering the word Muslim, he said these were people whose motto was “We are five, ours are 25”. That referred to Muslim men supposedly marrying four times and having 25 children. In Sunday’s speech, Modi directly referred to Muslims as “those who produce more children” and “infiltrators”, evoking a sinister conspiracy theory that the Muslims are outsiders and aim to outnumber the Hindu majority. The prime minister is clearly playing a dangerous game, turning the election into a war between Hindus and Muslims, and the BJP is openly calling itself the party of Hindus. It is not wrong to conclude from his speech that he has accepted that his voters are only Hindus. read the complete article

Does Modi’s Anti-Muslim ‘Hate Speech’ Reflect Nervousness?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered one of his most controversial and divisive speeches on April 21, while addressing an election campaign in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. He referred to Muslims as “infiltrators” and “those who have a large number of children,” and claimed that the opposition’s victory would mean Hindus’ wealth going into Muslims’ hands. While Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does have a reputation for being a divisive or polarizing figure, his April 21 speech went a little too far even by his standards, according to many political observers. Blaming Muslims for a higher population growth rate has been an old favorite conspiracy theory of India’s Hindu nationalists to spread anxiety in Hindu society, even though it is a disputed idea. Not only has the Muslim growth rate steadily declined, but different growth rates among Hindus can be observed from region to region – the north-south divide in particular. While many media outlets pointed out how the prime minister himself was distorting facts, Modi has kept up his offensive on the twin issues – Muslims and redistribution of wealth. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Policy Exchange Insider Labour MP Who Attacked Islamophobia Definition Privately Told Baroness Warsi Think Tank is ‘Dangerous’

A senior Labour MP and co-author of a new Policy Exchange report attacking attempts to define Islamophobia privately told former Conservative Cabinet Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi that the Conservative think tank is a “dangerous” outfit with extremist tendencies that he is trying to “temper” with his presence. The conversation between Baroness Warsi and Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, came to light in leaked WhatsApp messages seen exclusively by Byline Times. Mahmood is currently a senior fellow at Policy Exchange. According to the parliamentary register of interests, he received regular payments from the think tank between April 2019 and March 2022, totalling more than £50,000. His private criticisms of Policy Exchange cohere with previous reports by Byline Times revealing the connections of multiple staffers with far-right anti-Muslim and antisemitic conspiracy theories. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 25 Apr 2024 Edition


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