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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21 Aug 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In Italy, a large group of women and several men came out to Trieste beach over the weekend wearing burkinis, modest swimwear, and undergarments to showcase solidarity with their Muslim neighbors who were refused entry into the water last week, meanwhile in the Netherlands, another far-right public destruction of the Quran took place over the weekend, this time in front of the Turkish embassy in The Hague, while in Sweden, a counterprotester in Stockholm douses another Quran burning attempt by Salwan Momika with a fire extinguisher. Our recommended read of the day is by Cindy Tran for Edmonton Journal on how a local Muslim women’s group in Edmonton Alberta have launched a campaign designed to tackle Islamophobia in their community and push city residents to challenge the biases that contribute to hate crimes and discrimination. This and more below:


'This is for us': Edmonton Muslim women's group launch campaign against anti-Islamic hate crimes | Recommended Read

A local grassroots Muslim women’s group has launched a campaign to showcase the diversity of their community and push Edmontonians to challenge their biases. Sisters Dialogue, a group comprised of Muslim women, unveiled the campaign that was two years in the making on Friday morning with a transit bus displaying diverse Muslim women. The slogan said, “Individual safety is all our responsibility.” Wati Rahmat, founder of Sisters Dialogue, said with the rise of Islamophobia, particularly against women and girls, the main goal of the campaign is to allow Muslim women and girls to see themselves in public spaces. “We are scared. This is for us to take up space and see ourselves because oftentimes we’ve heard from many Muslim women when we have our healing circles, that their needs and their fears are often erased — even their own identity.” Rahmat said the campaign is a start. The goal is to remind people that the Muslim community is diverse and they are not a monolith. She hopes the campaign will help dispel assumptions and work towards ending Islamophobia. Since June 2021, Sisters Dialogue logged 16 Islamophobic incidents. They cited an incident from December 2022 where a young Black Muslim woman was assaulted in northeast Edmonton. According to the organization, only nine out of 16 incidents were reported to the police. read the complete article


Trieste women bathe clothed in solidarity with Muslim women

A group of about 50 women and a few men bathed in their clothes on Sunday at Trieste's famous gender-divided beach on Sunday to show solidarity with a group of Muslim women who were prevented from taking a dip in their clothes or burkinis a week ago. After taking to the water mainly in undergarments, but also burkinis, one of the women said "we too are wearing burkinis to say it was wrong to stop the other women from bathing". The protest dip took place at the northeastern port city's historic Lanterna Beach, known to locals as Pedocin, which has been split along gender lines since the first bathers took to the water in the early 20th century. read the complete article


Qur’an ripped up during far-right protest in Netherlands

A Dutch far-right activist trampled on and tore up a copy of the Qur’an at a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in The Hague on Friday, infuriating dozens of counter-protesters. The Dutch government had already condemned the holding of the demonstration ahead of the event, but said it had no legal powers to prevent it. Edwin Wagensveld, who leads the Dutch branch of the far-right group Pegida, damaged a copy of the Qur’an, AFP correspondents witnessed. He was accompanied by two other people. Wagensveld nevertheless faces trial for comments he made during a similar demonstration in January, when he tore up a copy of the Qur’an outside parliament while likening the book to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” A T-shirt he wore at Friday’s demonstration made a similar claim. Geert Wilders, the leader of another far-right party, the PVV, posted a message online supporting Friday’s demonstration by Pegida. read the complete article


Muslim couple killed in India over son’s relationship with Hindu girl

An elderly Muslim couple was beaten to death in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh over their son’s relationship with a Hindu woman, it was reported. Abbas Ali, 55 and his wife Kamrul Nisha, 53, died on the spot on Friday evening in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, after they were attacked with iron rods and sticks allegedly by the members of the Hindu community, including the family members of the woman. Three people accused of killing the couple have been arrested while the search is ongoing for two other people, the police said. The incident is the latest example of growing sectarian violence targeting the Muslim minority community in the country since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014. read the complete article

How did India’s news channels become so full of hate?

In one of India’s most chilling hate crimes, a Railway Protection Force jawan named Chetansinh Chaudhary shot four train passengers dead on July 31. Three of those people were Muslim. Chaudhary had roamed through the train he had been entrusted to protect, hunting for people who looked Muslim, asked for their names and then pumped bullets into them. What drove this mass killing? The answer was provided by Chaudhary himself. As a Muslim man lay writhing on the floor, having just been shot, Chaudhary delivered a speech – which he forced other passengers to record. In his rant, Chaudhary spoke of a shadowy theory of people operating from Pakistan. “Inke aqa hai wahan,” he said. Their leaders are there in Pakistan. His source for this unhinged information, he declared, was the Indian media. He ended by invoking his Hindutva heroes: “If you want to vote, if you want to live in India, then I say, Modi and Yogi [Adityanath], these are the two, and your Thackeray.” Chaudhary’s rant claiming a conspiracy emanating from Pakistan involving India’s Muslims might seem deranged – except that it is regular programming on the Indian media, especially large English and Hindi-language TV news networks. Chaudhary’s reference to the Indian media as he carried out a mass killing of Muslims is a reminder of just how profoundly this hate on India’s airwaves is changing its politics and, in fact, its social structure. read the complete article

Politicising Language To Stoke Islamophobia And Communal Passions

Hijab, azaan, jihadi, anti-national, terrorist, mullah, miya—the meaning of these terms are blurred on purpose by many political leaders and Right-wing groups. They use it as a strategy to serve their own agendas, target religious minorities and stoke communal passions. read the complete article


A woman interrupts a Quran-burning protest in Sweden by spraying activist with a fire extinguisher

Swedish police detained a woman Friday who sprayed an anti-Islam activist with a fire extinguisher as he staged a Quran-burning protest outside the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm. Video of the scene showed the woman rushing up to Salwan Momika and spraying white powder toward him before she was intercepted by plainclothes police officers who led her away. Momika, who appeared stunned but unhurt, then resumed his demonstration, which had been authorized by police. Police spokeswoman Towe Hägg said the woman, who was not identified by police, was detained on suspicion of disturbing public order and violence against a police officer. Momika, a refugee from Iraq, has desecrated the Quran in a series of anti-Islam protests that have caused anger in many Muslim countries. Swedish police have allowed his demonstrations, citing freedom of speech while filing preliminary hate speech charges against him. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Women's World Cup: Referees inspired by hijab being worn

Teenagers Rosheen and Eleeza Khan are Wales' first Muslim female football referees. The sisters, from Cardiff, said they loved the sport from a young age but never saw anyone that looked like them. They said watching the Women's World Cup, which has seen the first player and referee to wear the hijab at the tournament, was inspiring. After a chance opportunity and a six-hour online course with the Football Association of Wales (FAW), they are now hoping to be the role models they never had growing up. "We looked different and we dressed different, but we absolutely smashed it," they said. Sisters Rosheen, 19, and Eleeza, 17, who live in Grangetown, said their dad, who is a Liverpool fan, introduced them to the "beautiful game". "We loved watching tournaments like the Euros and World Cup, but we never saw any representation of people who looked like us, who wear the hijab." Despite loving football, Rosheen felt "the role models weren't there, and we just hope that we can champion this movement and be the role models for the next generation". "We want to break down as many barriers as possible so other girls can access the sport, whether that's playing, coaching or refereeing," added Eleeza. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 21 Aug 2023 Edition


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