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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22 Feb 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, a second major Uyghur rights group has officially pulled out of an inquiry lead by Canada’s Foreign Interference Commission as concerns mount related to the fear of reprisals from the Chinese state despite the Commission’s promise of protection for members of diaspora groups, meanwhile in Europe, a mosque in the Swedish capital of Stockholm has been the target of yet another Islamophobic attack on the site with worshipers finding anti-Muslim graffiti and targeted threats painted on the building’s external wall, and Anadolu Agency reports that the conflict in Gaza has drastically impacted the lives of American Muslims from politics to a steep rise in domestic Islamophobia since the October 7th attacks. Our recommended read of the week is by Soraya Ebrahimi for The National UK on how according to research by the Muslim advocacy group Tell Mama, there were 2,010 cases of anti-Muslim abuse between October 7, 2023 and February 7 of this year, with 2/3 of the reported incidents targeting Muslim Women. This and more below

United Kingdom

UK sees sharp rise in anti-Muslim abuse ‘with women bearing brunt’ | Recommended Read

Islamophobic incidents in the UK have more than tripled in the four months since the Hamas attacks in Israel last year, an organisation monitoring anti-Muslim sentiment has reported. There were 2,010 cases of anti-Muslim abuse between October 7, 2023 and February 7 this year, reported Tell Mama, an organisation which describes itself as the leading agency on measuring anti-Muslim hate. During the same four-month period a year previously, just 600 cases were reported. Of the total cases recorded after the October 7 Hamas attacks, 1,109 were classed as online cases, while 901 took place offline, Tell Mama said. Incidents it recorded included a Muslim woman in Islamic clothing being assaulted on a bus in east London and told “you Muslims are troublemakers”; a written death threat to worshippers at a mosque; a woman whose car was vandalised with a Nazi swastika; and cases of Muslim women being called “terrorists”. read the complete article

United States

The War on Terror Never Ended

In early November, we gathered with colleagues in Montreal for a roundtable entitled “Teaching 9/11 and the Global War on Terror at the Undergraduate Level” as part of the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). Alongside our conversation on pedagogical approaches across disciplines and geographies, we reflected on the constraints and personal risks of teaching these topics specifically as faculty members of color at our respective institutions. Our practice as educators in the classroom, we agreed, was inevitably shaped by pressures and politics well beyond it. Since Oct. 7, 2023, these pressures have been rapidly intensifying. As if on cue, a few days later we learned that our panel was selected by a U.S.-based far-right website as among the most “politically correct” sessions at MESA. Purporting to reveal that MESA promoted “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jew” hatred (seemingly synonymous in their view), the author had evidently perused the conference program, copied and pasted a handful of abstracts ,and largely fantasized the rest. It didn’t matter that none of the summaries for our session mentioned Israel at all. Adding a dash of retro flair, we also stood accused of “spreading communism.” This paranoid-delusional exposé of MESA and our panel gave us both a chuckle and a chill at once, especially in this climate where fringe ideas, no matter how ludicrous, can quickly gain mainstream traction and suddenly upend careers and personal lives. It is no exaggeration to say that academic freedom and extramural freedom of conscience and expression have never been more imperiled than they are today. Their erosion threatens the entire project and purpose of postsecondary education and, in turn, of democracy, or any sincere aspiration for it. read the complete article

Gaza war shows how power of US Muslims is easily blown away by outside events: American-Muslim scholar

Israel’s war on Gaza has affected the lives of Muslims all over the world – none more so than the US, where millions are living through turbulent times, Anadolu Agency reports. As the 2024 presidential election inches closer, Gaza remains a defining factor in almost all spheres of Muslims’ lives in the US, shaping their daily realities, specifically in terms of rising Islamophobia and their political choices. “In many ways, 7 October feels as if a Muslim committed an attack, a terrorist attack, here on United States soil, and the Muslim community is facing the backlash for that,” Omar Suleiman, a prominent Muslim American scholar, Imam and activist hailing from a Palestinian family, told Anadolu. What Muslims are facing for something that did not even happen in the US “shows that any power that the Muslim community supposedly has earned within the establishment, within the mainstream, is so easily blown away by things that don’t even happen on our soil,” he said. read the complete article


Foreign interference commissioner seeks to reassure diaspora groups anxious about inquiry

The commissioner leading the public inquiry into foreign interference said Thursday the inquiry has taken steps to protect members of diaspora groups who say they fear for their safety if they participate. "Some members of diaspora communities have told us that they fear reprisals if they provide information to the commission," Justice Marie-Josée Hogue said in a media statement. The Canadian Friends of Hong Kong (CFHK) announced earlier this week it would be boycotting the commission. And last month, the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project withdrew from the inquiry's proceedings entirely. "We have grave concerns regarding the objectivity and the security integrity of the Foreign Interference Commission Inquiry, primarily due to standing being granted to individuals suspected to have strong ties to Chinese Consulates and their proxies," the CFHK wrote in a statement posted to its Facebook page. read the complete article


Mosque in Sweden's capital again targeted by Islamophobes with threatening graffiti

A mosque in the Swedish capital of Stockholm has been the target of Islamophobic attacks for over a year, with the latest incident occurring on Wednesday when Muslim faithful read graffiti on the mosque wall with a Swastika sign and the threatening message "kill Muslims." The Stockholm Mosque in the capital's Sodermalm district has been subjected to hate crimes for the second time this week. It is just one of several threats and hate crimes targeting Muslims over the last year. On Tuesday, the perpetrator also scrawled graffiti with a Swastika mark and a threatening message, saying "go home" carved on a door, the mosque's administration said in a post on its website. Mohamed Amin, a member of the Stockholm Mosque committee, told SVT TV that "soon we will have to put bars in front of the windows to protect them, like in a prison." The administration also shared photos of windowpanes smashed by the perpetrators before they left the mosque premises. Just a couple of weeks ago, a letter containing a powder-like substance was sent to the mosque, and a fake bomb was also reportedly placed at the main entrance.The mosque had previously been targeted by scrawled doors in November. read the complete article


Canadian white supremacist who killed Muslim family gets life sentence

A Canadian white supremacist who deliberately ran over four members of a Muslim family has been sentenced to life in prison for the murders. Nathaniel Veltman, 23, was convicted in November of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for the attack that shocked Canada. Salman Afzaal, 46; his wife, Madiha Salman, 44; their daughter Yumnah, 15; and Afzaal’s mother, Talat, 74, were killed. The couple’s nine-year-old son suffered serious injuries but survived. The family had been out for a walk near their home in the town of London, Ontario, at the time of the attack. The judge in the case said Veltman’s attack represented an act of terrorism, the first time that the term has been used to describe white nationalist violence. “I find that the offender’s actions constitute terrorist activity,” Judge Renee Pomerance of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said at this sentencing on Thursday. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Feb 2024 Edition


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