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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10 Jan 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, this January New Jersey’s first-ever Muslim heritage month after a joint resolution this past spring was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, meanwhile in France, PresidentEmmanuel Macron has appointed former Education Minister Gabriel Attal, who outlawed the Abaya in schools this past September, as the country’s new Prime Minister, and in the Netherlands, a right-wing coalition in the country is becoming far more likely to coalesce after the far-right politician Geert Wilders dropped three pieces of his draft anti-Islam legislation from the Dutch parliament.  Our recommended read of the day is by Adam Johnson and Othman Ali on new research from The Intercept showing that nearly all major U.S. newspapers fostered a “gross imbalance” in narrative and coverage favoring Israel in the first six weeks of reporting relating to the war in Gaza. This and more below:



The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times’s coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza showed a consistent bias against Palestinians, according to an Intercept analysis of major media coverage. The print media outlets, which play an influential role in shaping U.S. views of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, paid little attention to the unprecedented impact of Israel’s siege and bombing campaign on both children and journalists in the Gaza Strip. Major U.S. newspapers disproportionately emphasized Israeli deaths in the conflict; used emotive language to describe the killings of Israelis, but not Palestinians; and offered lopsided coverage of antisemitic acts in the U.S., while largely ignoring anti-Muslim racism in the wake of October 7. Pro-Palestinian activists have accused major publications of pro-Israel bias, with the New York Times seeing protests Opens in a new tabat its headquarters in Manhattan for its coverage of Gaza –– an accusation supported by our analysis. In the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, the words “Israeli” or “Israel” appear more than “Palestinian” or variations thereof, even as Palestinian deaths far outpaced Israeli deaths. For every two Palestinian deaths, Palestinians are mentioned once. For every Israeli death, Israelis are mentioned eight times — or a rate 16 times more per death that of Palestinians. read the complete article

United States

January is N.J.’s 1st Muslim Heritage Month. See 11 ways to celebrate.

Beginning this year, January is recognized Muslim Heritage Month in New Jersey, following a joint resolution signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last spring. The Garden State is home to one of the highest Muslim populations in the United States, about 300,000. The historic move acknowledges the contributions of the Muslim community and celebrates their rich history, civic engagement, patriotism, advocacy and philanthropy. read the complete article

Sunsetting the War on Terror — Or Not

This week marks the 22nd anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, the infamous prison on the island of Cuba designed to hold detainees from this country’s Global War on Terror. It’s an anniversary that’s likely to go unnoticed, since these days you rarely hear about the war on terror — and for good reason. After all, that response to al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, as defined over the course of three presidential administrations, has officially ended in a cascade of silence. But Guantánamo, a prison that, from its founding, has violated U.S. codes of due process, fair treatment, and the promise of justice writ large isn’t the only unnerving legacy of the “war” on terror that still persists. If indefinite detention at Guantánamo was a key pillar of that war, defying longstanding American laws and norms, it was just one of the steps beyond those norms that still persist today. In the days, weeks, and even years following the attacks of September 11th, the U.S. government took action to create new powers in the name of keeping the nation safe. Two of them, more than two decades after those attacks, are now rife with calls for change. Congress created the first just a week after 9/11 (with but a single no vote). It authorized unchecked and unending presidentially driven war powers that could be used without specified geographical limits — and, strangely enough, that power still remains in place, despite recent congressional efforts to curtail its authority. The second, the expansive use of secret surveillance powers on Americans, is currently under heated debate. read the complete article


How did India’s Supreme Court send Bilkis Bano’s rapists back to jail?

India’s Supreme Court on Monday restored life prison sentences for 11 men who had raped a Muslim woman, Bilkis Bano, during the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002. The decision came after Bano and other petitioners challenged a decision by the Gujarat government, backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, to set the convicted rapists free two years ago. Yet, when a Supreme Court bench gathered on Monday to declare its verdict in the case, it was unclear to the wider nation what it had decided — and what its rationale would be, months before India’s national elections in which religious polarisation is expected to play a central part. So how did India’s top court decide to send the convicts back to jail? It starts with a woman’s struggle that has played out before all of India, through multiple twists and turns since a day of horror in the spring of 2002. read the complete article


Abaya ban Gabriel Attal picked as France's new PM

French leader Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday picked Gabriel Attal as prime minister in a bid to give new momentum to his presidency, with the 34-year-old becoming France's youngest and first openly gay head of government. Attal's first move following his appointment as education minister last year was to controversially ban the Muslim abaya dress in state schools. The decision earned him a popularity boost among many conservative voters – but left French Muslims once again feeling under attack and isolated in their own country. Since he defeated the far-right to win a second term in 2022, Macron has faced protests over unpopular pension reforms, the loss of his overall majority in parliamentary elections, and controversy over immigration legislation. With Macron unable to run again in 2027, ministers have publicly aired concerns that Le Pen, who belongs to the far-right National Rally (RN), has her best chance yet to win the presidency. Attal will go toe-to-toe ahead of the European elections with another rising star of French politics, the even younger Jordan Bardella, 28, who is now RN party leader. Constitutional expert Benjamin Morel told AFP that Attal's appointment signals a "very offensive strategy with a view to the European elections" in June. read the complete article


Dutch right-wing coalition moves closer as Wilders drops anti-Islam law proposals

Far-right leader Geert Wilders has withdrawn three pieces of draft anti-Islam legislation from the Dutch parliament in a move that clears arguably the main obstacle to a new right-wing coalition government in the Netherlands. The three controversial proposals have already been identified by the Council of State advisory body as unconstitutional – and have been challenged by Mr Wilders’s potential coalition partners, particulary Pieter Omtzigt’s New Social Contract (NSC), as possible deal-breakers. As coalition talks resumed on Tuesday between Mr Wilders’s Freedom Party, the centre-right VVD, the citizen-farmer protest party, BBB, and the NSC, it emerged that the draft legislation, which had been tabled well before the November general election, had been withdrawn. Most incendiary of the three, and a key article of faith for Mr Wilders’s long-time followers, was the proposal to outlaw all “expressions of Islam” – which included an outright ban on the Koran and a prohibition on Islamic schools as an alternative to the state education system. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Perry’s Facebook group hosted video by Islamophobic ‘comic’

The secretive Facebook group set up by Croydon’s Tory Mayor Jason Perry has now hosted a video rant from a “venomously racist” mate of far-right criminal Tommy Robinson. Among Perry’s Facebook group’s 2,000 members is Conservative MP for Croydon South Chris Philp, whose government job is… checks notes… the Policing Minister. Back in September, when Inside Croydon first uncovered the dodgy company that Perry and Philp were keeping online, we described their Facebook group as occupying “one of the darker, murkier corners of the interweb, which is full of blatantly bogus conspiracy theories, racists and Islamophobes, anti-vax and anti-mask cranks, and out-and-out Trump supporters”. The video posted on Perry and Philp’s group has Tuffs him spreading deliberate disinformation about immigrants getting some kind of priority access to GP appointments and housing. One of the recurring themes of Mayor Perry’s anti-ULEZ Facebook group, and Tuffs’ video rant, is a visceral dislike of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, with barely disguised racism underpinning it all. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Jan 2024 Edition


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