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
23 Aug 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In India, a number of laws passed under Narendra Modi’s government have been used to discriminate against Muslims in the country, meanwhile in the U.S., a lawsuit has been filed by a Muslim family against the owner of an orchard and cider mill in Michigan due to racially motivated threats and bigoted remarks, and lastly Indian authorities have evicted the independent news outlet, The Kashmir Walla, from it’s offices in Kashmir after authorities shuttered it’s website and social media accounts. Our recommended read of the day is by Amanda Sahar d’Urso and Tabitha Bonilla for LSE Blogs on their research study that found that for “White American public, Muslim identity is one of the most salient factors in determining who should be allowed to immigrate.” This and more below:

United States

Religion over Race: White Americans do not support Green Cards for Muslim Immigrants, even if they are White | Recommended Read

Immigration is a hot-button issue in many countries – the United States is no exception. Most Americans prefer some level of immigration but have a strong preference for which types of immigrants should be allowed to come. Immigrants who are Muslim and immigrants who are Middle Eastern are among those who most Americans do not prefer immigrating to the US. But Americans often conflate Muslims—subjects of Islam—with Middle Easterners—members of a racial or ethnic group. The question remains whether Americans hold negative immigration attitudes toward all Muslims, (regardless of if they are Middle Eastern), or whether Americans are specifically wary of Muslim immigrants who are from the Middle East. We find White Americans do not prefer Muslims of any race to immigrate to the United States. That is, White Muslims are no more or less preferred relative to Middle Eastern, Black, or South Asian Muslims. However, we also find that White Americans believe White Muslims will have an easier time assimilating into American culture relative only to Middle Eastern Muslims. This suggests in the White American public, Muslim identity is one of the most salient factors in determining who should be allowed to immigrate. Most notably, White American identity is closely associated with being Christian and many Americans do not prefer immigrants who are Muslim. In fact, when comparing feelings of xenophobia (i.e., fear, hatred, or prejudice against those from another country) versus Islamophobia (i.e., fear, hatred, or prejudice against Islam and Muslims), people tend to hold stronger anti-Muslim sentiments than anti-immigrant sentiments. However, anti-Muslim prejudice may stem from the beliefs that Muslims are cultural outsiders, whereas immigrants more generally may be perceived to have the skills necessary to assimilate. read the complete article

Henna and Hijabs and Amazon Launch Collaboration

Minneapolis-based fashion and beauty retailer Henna and Hijabs has announced a partnership with Amazon. Unveiling a new Amazon-branded hijab design designed for factory environments, the collaboration marks yet another groundbreaking step in Henna and Hijabs’s mission to ensure that hijabi women are represented in all sectors of industry. The inaugural launch took place last Wednesday at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Brooklyn Park. Henna and Hijabs specializes in products designed by and for Muslim women. Central to the business are products that promote “ethical beauty,” that use organic ingredients and source sustainable fabrics in their hijabs. The collaboration was a result of employee feedback, wanting apparel options that are religiously and culturally inclusive. The Amazon hijab is now available, at no cost, for the Brooklyn Park workplace for employees, and will soon become accessible to Amazon employees at other locations.“We aspire for this partnership to foster a sense of inclusion and belonging among the team members. What an incredibly humbling honor to be able to fill this need,” Ibrahim says. read the complete article

Lawsuit filed against Michigan orchard over owner's anti-Muslim remarks

A Muslim man who endured bigoted remarks from the owner of an orchard he was visiting earlier this month filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Monroe County against the owner, Steve Elzinga, and Erie Orchards and Cider Mill. The 11-count lawsuit was brought by Dearborn attorney Abdallah Moughni on behalf of Joe (Yousef) Mahmoud, of Ypsilanti, who alleges that Elzinga forcibly tried to imprison him in a dispute over payment of picked fruit, intimidated him because of his ethnicity and caused emotional distress. The lawsuit alleges the owner violated the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Elzinga apologized earlier for his remarks and actions. "Mahmoud remained as calm as possible throughout this degradations as he reasonably believed he would be seriously injured or murdered in front of his family if he upset the proud and blatant racist defendant Steve Elzinga," the lawsuit reads. "A reasonable Muslim in similar circumstances to plaintiff Joe Mahmoud would believe that they were in danger of physical harm. Further ... Elzinga conducted an illegal search of Plaintiffs’ vehicle, diaper bag, and trunk bed." read the complete article

Trump gravitates to fringe figures despite efforts to limit their influence

On Aug. 13, former president Donald Trump spent the day at his New Jersey golf club with former congressional candidate Laura Loomer, whose history of offensive and inflammatory comments led to her being banned by social media platforms and shunned by other Republicans. Trump’s current presidential campaign in some ways is more professionalized and orderly than his past operations — so far not besmirched by as much infighting, sudden staff firings and other drama. But the candidate is still finding himself drawn to fringe figures, outside the formal chain of command, who reinforce — and encourage — his most pugilistic impulses. Loomer had never visited Bedminster before, and she knew there was a chance she’d get to see Trump. She hadn’t packed another outfit, so she bought a new fuchsia bodycon dress before driving to the club and buying a public ticket to a LIV Golf tournament. When Trump approached a rope line of fans to shake hands and sign Make America Great Again hats, one of his aides pointed out Loomer in the crowd. “Where’s Laura?” Trump shouted, turning around to see her, according to video of the encounter reviewed by The Washington Post. “I love you,” he told her. Then, turning to Harp, he said: “Would you do me a favor? Get her a pass.” Loomer has a history of derogatory and provocative remarks — particularly against Muslims — that has led to her being banned from social media platforms and being ostracized by other Republicans. Loomer has denied being a white supremacist or anti-Muslim, describing herself as a “free speech absolutist.” She has publicly feuded with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Fla.), who publicly warned Trump against hiring Loomer to work on his reelection campaign. read the complete article


Islamophobia: What Are The Laws That Target Minorities

Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019: The new citizenship law is an amendment to a 1955 legislation and makes religion the basis for granting Indian citizenship. The law grants citizenship to ‘persecuted’ minorities—Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians—from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it makes no reference to Muslims from these areas, who would then effectively be denied from seeking Indian citizenship. Criminalising the Possession of Beef: The first state to criminalise the possession of beef was Maharashtra in 2015 (then under BJP rule). A 2019 report titled ‘Violent Cow Protection in India’ notes that between May 2015 and December 2018, at least 44 people, majority Muslim, indigenous Adivasis, or Dalits—members of India’s most oppressed caste, for whom beef forms a significant part of their staple diet, were killed after being suspected of eating, selling, or transporting beef. Hijab Ban: The Karnataka High Court upheld a ban on wearing the hijab in class in 2021, saying that it is not an essential religious practice of Islam. The ruling, which was contested in the Supreme Court, is still awaiting a hearing, and has effectively pushed out thousands of Muslim girls from schools. ‘Love Jihad Laws’: Through a number of laws were passed by states in the last few years, Muslim-Hindu marriages done for the ‘sole purpose of conversion’ have been criminalised, effectively undoing interfaith marriages. The legislation has often been justified on the grounds of an alleged increase in instances of Muslim men marrying Hindu women. A few days after enacting the legislation in UP in 2020, a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl were attacked. The police charged the boy under the anti-conversion law. read the complete article


To help the Rohingya, the West must improve its own treatment of refugees

As we reach the six-year mark since atrocities committed by the Myanmar military pushed much of the country’s Rohingya population to flee, it is clear that despite the commitment by Canada and other countries to support human rights, justice, accountability and conditions for safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable repatriation, Rohingya refugees have not had any relief. The all-powerful permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are divided on most matters of international peace and security. This has hindered effective intervention to address grave human-rights violations around the world. Rohingya and other refugees are victims of this broken system. Six years on, the government of Bangladesh – host to nearly one million Rohingya refugees – argues that repatriation is the only solution to the challenges presented by the sprawling refugee camps in the country. In co-ordination with the Myanmar military government, it plans to pilot repatriation efforts soon, even if the situation in Myanmar does not meet the conditions for safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return. Recent cuts in international humanitarian aid, surging violence in the refugee camps and the absence of any substantive progress in global efforts to hold Myanmar accountable and create the conditions for the Rohingya to return have made matters worse with regard to protecting the human rights of refugees in Bangladesh. read the complete article

A Divided World: How Anti-Islam Narrative Is Promoted To Exploit Hate For Votes

ISLAMOPHOBIA is not confined just to India. Nor is it a new phenomenon. But since 9/11 and America’s War on Terror, Muslims have been under attack in Europe and America and across Asia, Australia, in short around the world. The tendency to see all Muslims as terrorists have made them the target of hate crimes. Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilization helped to popularise the idea that Islamic culture could not co-exist with Christianity and fueled what is now popularly known as Islamophobia which, simply put, implies intense suspicion and “othering” of Muslims. "A number of factors have played a role in the mainstreaming of Islamophobia, including the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation on social media,” says Mobashra Tazamal, Associate Director of US-based Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. “However, one of the primary reasons Islamophobia has been able to spread across the globe has been due to the role of governments and mainstream politicians who’ve adopted, promoted, and sanctioned anti-Muslim racism both in their rhetoric and in their policies. From France to India, we’ve seen leading politicians adopt prejudicial and discriminatory views about Islamophobia as a way to rile up a majoritarian base and scapegoat a community that is already marginalised. This has been a successful technique in garnering votes during election campaigns,’’ she explains. “If we truly want to tackle Islamophobia, it must start at the top. Politicians must be held accountable for their rhetoric, international mechanisms need to be adopted to address Islamophobia at both structural and institutional levels, and there needs to be consequences for engaging in anti-Muslim racism. Currently, individuals engaging in Islamophobia are applauded and even rewarded for their bigoted actions. If this is the message being sent by the authorities, then everyday hate crimes at a local level will continue,” says Tazamal. Another way is to stop the spread of misinformation and to urge social media companies to seriously tackle the problem on their platforms. Currently, Islamophobic content is rampant on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, etc, and there seems to be little appetite in tackling this issue,’’ she adds. read the complete article

India blocks independent news outlet in Kashmir

An independent news outlet in Indian-administered Kashmir says it has been evicted from its office after Indian authorities blocked access to its website and social media accounts, adding to concerns about press freedom in the disputed region. The Kashmir Walla, based in the capital, Srinagar, said it had lived a “horrifying nightmare” since February 2022, when its founder and editor, Fahad Shah, was arrested under anti-terrorism and sedition laws. On Saturday, it said in a statement, “we woke up to another deadly blow of finding access to our website and social media accounts blocked.” Critics have accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a highly popular Hindu nationalist who is expected to seek a third term in elections next year, of cracking down on press freedom, particularly in Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority region. The highly militarized Himalayan region is also claimed by neighboring Pakistan, which controls part of it. In August 2019, Modi revoked the limited autonomy that Indian-administered Kashmir had enjoyed for 70 years and put it under federal control, an order that was followed by a monthslong internet blackout. Rights advocates say civil liberties in Kashmir have been curbed since the order, which is being challenged at India’s top court. read the complete article

United Kingdom

State Capture: The CCE as a vehicle for entryism by right-wing think tanks

Since its formation in early 2018, the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) has undergone a noticeable evolution in its personnel, political approach, and degree of patronage it enjoys from the government. The transition from the inaugural lead commissioner Sara Khan to the current commissioner Robin Simcox, and their respective relationships to successive government administrations, has reflected the shifting character of those administrations. And, perhaps more importantly, it also reflects the tensions between different camps within the British security industry. Simcox currently sits at the heart of an increasingly hawkish counter-terror apparatus that has returned to its original modus operandi of targeting Muslim communities, after a brief period of expanding its focus to other ideologies. This turn has been fuelled by aggressive security think tanks, such as the Henry Jackson Society and Policy Exchange, the ideas and staff members of which are readily absorbed by the government and various state institutions. Perhaps the most pertinent of this is the case of Simcox himself. These think tanks have increasingly hegemonised the policy space for counter-terrorism in recent years, and have reduced the clout of regular civil society organisations which were cultivated and bankrolled by the Home Office under various funding pots – including Prevent – and from which the CCE once sought to draw its own legitimacy. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Aug 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results