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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
02 Aug 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In India, a deputy imam has been killed after a mob of far-right Hindus torched and opened fire at a mosque in a suburb of the Indian capital, New Delhi, meanwhile in the U.S., a group of Yemeni women were brutally attacked over the weekend at a park while picnicking in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in what the alleged victims believe to be a hate crime, and lastly, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson accused outside actors of exploiting the country’s freedom of expression laws with the recent public burnings of the Quran, acts which Kristersson said was “dragging Sweden into international conflicts”. Our recommended read of the day is by Anas Altikriti for Middle East Eye on the author’s personal testimony regarding banking discrimination, a practice which the author says has been used against Muslim business, charities, and non-profit institutions. This and more below:

United Kingdom

Nigel Farage row: As a Muslim who's had accounts closed, can I expect the same response? | Recommended Read

Nine years ago, my life was irreversibly affected by several letters which fell onto my doormat. Out of the blue and without any warning, HSBC, which I had chosen as my personal bank back in August 1985 as a 16-year-old A-level student, was telling me without explanation that it was closing down my bank accounts, personal and business. Other letters were addressed to my then-wife, and to my sons, who were only 15 and 12 at the time. The tone of the letters was abrupt and unforgiving. I was not to inquire about the reasons behind the decision, nor was I to seek to open any account with them or any of their associate banks in the future. Despite a long-running campaign to try to get HSBC to offer some sort of explanation, and sterling efforts from Peter Oborne to expose what had happened and why, we were met with not only complete silence from the bank but also from the mainstream media. Since then, I have had numerous accounts closed down by a litany of high street banks, including NatWest, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Santander, and countless applications for personal and business accounts rejected. As we speak, Wise online bank is claiming to continue to "verify" my details despite applying for an account back in May. Over the years, hundreds of individuals, businesses and charities have seen their bank accounts closed. This has not only cost tens of millions in lost donations and legal fees, but also cost in terms of reputation, confidence and the ability to continue functioning. Notably, the overwhelming majority of those closures were accounts held by Muslims. I'm glad that the NatWest boss, Alison Rose, has been forced to step down, and it would not aggrieve me if Farage got his way and the entire NatWest Board were dismissed. However, what enrages me and countless others are the double standards this story exposes. Where was the mainstream media when I and dozens of others, including charities, had their banking services closed down? If Farage can get an explanation, get the prime minister to intervene, and obtain an apology from the bank, followed by a resignation and a call for a public investigation into the behaviour of banks, then I and my family deserve no less. read the complete article

Banks accused of closing accounts belonging to British Muslims

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said individuals and organisations in the community were being "disproportionately affected by this issue" - leaving the group with "deep concerns". The body has written to senior politicians to call for a review into the decision-making process and the use of third parties in the banking sector. In her letter to the prime minister, the secretary general of the MCB, Zara Mohammed, wrote: "Your decisive intervention calling for change at the NatWest Group, following the recent denial of banking services to Nigel Farage, is of note. "For British Muslims and Muslim-led organisations, however, the arbitrary withdrawal of banking services by different UK banks has become par for the course over the past decade." She added: "The practice has continued unhindered, with limited transparency into the relevant banking systems and decision-making processes, little to no recourse for those impacted and no action taken by successive governments to address any of the aforementioned." Ms Mohammed said high-profile Muslim-led charities and prominent Muslim individuals had been impacted, but had not been able to speak out due to "fear of reputational damage", as well as lacking the "considerable resource and platform required to bring their case to the attention of banking authorities, the media and government of the day". read the complete article

United States


On a recent Monday, the Department of Justice announced the arrest of an 18-year-old man, Davin Daniel Meyer, on charges of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Meyer had been arrested the previous Friday, July 14, at Denver International Airport as he tried to board a flight to Turkey. Meyer thought he was going to the Turkish city of Ankara for a rendezvous with members of the Islamic State terrorist group. Beneath the surface of these serious allegations, however, are troubling details about what really happened between Meyer and the FBI in the months leading up to his arrest. According to the criminal complaint against him, Meyer had first come to the attention of the FBI last year when he was 17 years old, after a person he knew contacted the local sheriff’s office to report “concerning behavior,” including threats of violence against them and the United States by Meyer. The complaint did not mention that the person who reported Meyer to the authorities was his mother. Concerned over Meyer’s erratic behavior and deteriorating mental health, Deanna Meyer reported her son, then a minor, to the authorities in the hopes that they would help keep him away from trouble. What followed instead was a lengthy government investigation employing two confidential FBI informants. First contacting Meyer the day after his 18th birthday, the informants secretly developed a relationship with him. Rather than help steer him away from wrongdoing, the FBI informants helped Meyer develop the plan to join the Islamic State that eventually led to his arrest. read the complete article

Women wearing hijabs attacked in Milwaukee park while picnicking

A group of Yemeni women were brutally attacked over the weekend at a park while picnicking in the US city of Milwaukee in what the alleged victims believe was a hate crime. The assault, which an onlooker filmed, took place on Sunday at Cathedral Square Park in downtown Milwaukee, where the group of women were approached by strangers, who then proceeded to grab them, put at least one in a headlock, and punch them while trying to pull off their hijabs. On Monday, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office confirmed two arrests related to the brazen incident had been made. So far, no hate crime charges have been filed. However, public pressure for classifying the attack as such is mounting following local news reporting of the women's first-hand accounts of being assaulted, which left at least one victim with a broken nose, according to hospital records. This incident comes as Muslims across the US are experiencing attacks, random as well as what appears to be related to their faith or ethnic background. read the complete article

US detention centre changes hijab policy following forced removal during booking

The head of a detention centre in the US state of Kentucky has announced that they will change how they deal with people wearing religious coverings following a recent incident in which a Muslim woman was taken into custody and forced to remove her hijab in a public area for booking. The incident occurred in July after a local doctor was taken into custody for a minor vehicle-related infraction. She was then taken to the Fayette County Detention Center. Once there, she was taken to a public hall, where officials forced her to remove her hijab as they booked her. The woman, a physician of Iraqi origin, whose name has not been publicly released, shared her story with the Council on American Islamic Relations, which issued a public statement condemning the incident and calling for an investigation into the facility's denial of religious rights. The response by the detention centre was swift, with its director, Scott Colvin, acknowledging that until this point, they didn't have the proper regulations in place to address religious head coverings, according to local news reports. read the complete article


Imam killed after Hindu mob attacks mosque in India’s Gurugram

A deputy imam has been killed after a mob of far-right Hindus torched and opened fire at a mosque in a suburb of the Indian capital, New Delhi, hours after deadly communal violence in a nearby district. Police have identified the victim as 19-year-old Maulana Saad, prayer leader of the Anjuman Jama mosque located in Sector 57 in Gurugram, a city of 1.2 million known for its glistening towers and offices of multinational corporations. The mosque came under attack by the mob early on Tuesday, a day after violence in neighbouring Nuh district in northern Haryana state. Gurugram, however, continued to remain tense through the day as mobs roamed the streets, setting fire to scrap shops and vandalising small eateries, most of which belonged to Muslims. This comes as Hindu far-right groups aligned with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been campaigning against Friday prayers in Gurugram, located in Haryana state. The Anjuman mosque was one of the few places officially recognised to hold prayers. At least four people, including two police personnel, were killed in the clashes in Nuh district. The violence erupted when a Hindu religious procession passed through the Muslim-majority region. Authorities have suspended internet services in the area and banned large gatherings. read the complete article

Nuh: Mosque set on fire, cleric killed in religious clashes in India's Haryana Published

A mosque was set on fire and a Muslim cleric killed during religious clashes that broke out after a procession by Hindu nationalist groups in the northern Indian state of Haryana. Those killed in the violence in the state include two "home guards", who assist the police in controlling riots and public disturbances, police say. Several policemen are among the injured and have been admitted to hospital. Violence broke out on Monday afternoon during a procession taken out by the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Footage from Nuh showed stone-pelting by a mob as cars were set on fire and shops were vandalised. More than 2,000 people who were in town to take part in the procession were stranded in a temple as the clashes escalated. They were later evacuated by the police. The violence, which lasted for several hours, soon spread to the neighbouring areas of Faridabad, Palwal and Gurugram (formerly Gurgaon), on the outskirts of the capital, Delhi. In Gurugram, a mosque was set ablaze by a mob. read the complete article

Haryana Violence: Hours After Peace Meet, Mosque Vandalised in Sohna By Mob

A mosque was vandalised in Haryana’s Sohna on Tuesday, 1 August, a day after violence erupted in different parts of the state, starting from Nuh. The mosque, Shahi Jama Masjid, was attacked at around 2 pm on Tuesday, just hours after a peace march was held by the police and district authorities in the area. The caretaker of the mosque, Shamim Ahmed, said that a mob of around 200 men, with their faces covered, barged in during the afternoon and began destroying “whatever came in their path.” “We were about 50 people—including children who study here. We were hidden in the inner rooms of the mosque. It must have appeared to them that the mosque is empty, or they wouldn’t have spared us. We would have died today,” Ahmed told The Quint. Ahmed added that those who live in the mosque—caretakers, their families and children— had contemplated fleeing to their villages after Monday’s violence, but stayed back because of assurance from the authorities. “There was a peace meeting in the morning. Locals too told us that we don’t need to leave now as everything is fine now. It is because of that assurance and trust that we stayed, but we regret it now,” Ahmed told The Quint, sitting at the footsteps of the vandalised mosque. read the complete article


‘Fear Follows Every Uyghur.’ A Groundbreaking Book Details China's Repression in Xinjiang

Waiting to Be Arrested at Night is more than just a memoir. The book is ostensibly a story about Izgil’s life—from his time growing up in his native Xinjiang, the northwestern region of China where the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority hails, to the Chinese government’s intensifying crackdowns on Uyghurs and, ultimately, his family’s harrowing attempts to flee the country before they too disappeared into Beijing’s so-called “reeducation camps.” Yet it is also the story of the Uyghur people and the political, social, and cultural destruction of their homeland by the Chinese state. Since 2017, more than 1 million Uyghurs are thought to have been forced into Beijing’s sprawling network of mass-internment camps, where they have been subjected to political indoctrination, forced sterilization, and torture. In less than 250 pages, Izgil takes readers through many of the Orwellian measures that lead up to mass internment of Uyghurs, from the banning of books and radios to the emergence of ubiquitous police checkpoints monitoring their every move. By providing a firsthand account of his experience under the Chinese government’s persecution—one of the few that have emerged from China’s tightly-controlled information space—Izgil hopes to speak for those who have been silenced, including many of his own family and friends. read the complete article


Swedish PM says outsiders are using country’s freedoms to spread hate

The Swedish prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, has accused outsiders of exploiting the country’s freedom of expression laws and using them as “a stage for spreading hateful messages”, after a diplomatic crisis erupted over Qur’an burning protests. There have been a string of protests in Sweden and Denmark in recent weeks at which copies of the Qur’an were burned or otherwise damaged, prompting outrage in Muslim countries and demands that the Nordic governments put a stop to the burnings. Both countries said they were examining ways to legally limit such acts in a bid to de-escalate tensions. Speaking in Stockholm on Tuesday, hours after two Iraqi men, who have taken part in previous such protests, were permitted to set fire to a Qur’an outside the Swedish parliament, Kristersson said such acts were “dragging Sweden into international conflicts”. Warning that threats to the Scandinavian country had increased after the recent incidents, Kristersson said he was working “day and night” to respond to the issue and that he was in close dialogue with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has condemned the protests and called for the United Nations to intervene. read the complete article


A hierarchy of hate

Are global tech platforms controlling hateful content adequately through algorithms and AI-based moderation? And is hateful misinformation largely a matter of media illiterate publics accessing mobile technologies? In 2022 Ram Bhat and I published a book called Social Media and Hate based on research we’d been doing in India, Brazil, Myanmar and the United Kingdom online and with people who make, circulate and receive hateful messages online. Our analysis of thousands of distinct pieces of hateful and dehumanising audiovisual data – short films circulated online and through social media, memes, gifs, images, slogans, speeches, animations, quotes and other mediated content – led us to propose and test a typology of the most-circulated violent social media content that extends from the bizarre and extreme (massive traffic accidents, industrial disasters) to the dehumanising, the violent and hateful (random acts of violence, misogyny, xenophobia, racism, casteism, Islamophobia, fat-phobia, transphobia, homophobia and various iterations of such abuse and violence with actual images of violent attack or atrocity). In some of these videos, groups of people were actively calling for pogroms or genocide against racialised or caste groups in national or local contexts. In others, they were making fun of them or perpetuating more subtle derogatory myths, stereotypes and lies to dehumanise minorities. In yet others, disinformation was being deployed about the minority to make a majority community seem to be endangered or victimised, and to perpetuate a sense of collective grievance against a minoritised group. Often this was the most-circulated and watched content, and the most liked or supported content, despite breaching the guidelines on hate speech of the various platforms. Much of this content was deeply intertwined with the public political ideologies and positions of dominant groups, and political parties in the countries in question. Furthermore, we found clear patterns in terms of who was propagating and circulating such content and who was at the receiving end. And so, in our book, we set out what we call here a hierarchy of hate, linked to histories of colonial, precolonial and postcolonial inequality and oppression. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Aug 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results