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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12 Jan 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.K., a Muslim prayer flag was desecrated, filled with human waste, and left in front of a building earmarked to be North Ayrshire’s first Mosque and Muslim community center, meanwhile in Canada, an Islamic center in Surrey has petitioned the government for funding to help address security issues for the areas 15 mosques and community centres due to rising Islamophobia, and in Germany, Muslims across the country are experiencing an uptick in anti-Muslim bigotry, with a recent study confirming that “anti-Muslim sentiment is not a marginal phenomenon in society but is widespread in large parts of the German population. Our recommended read of the day is by Nadia B. Ahmed for Mondoweiss on how the Biden Administration’s proposed National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia cannot be taken seriously given the administration’s unconditional support to Israel in its bombardment of Gaza; she argues you cannot combat Islamophobia at home while attacking Muslim communities abroad. This and more below:

United States

White House strategy to counter Islamophobia means nothing while funding the slaughter of Muslims abroad | Recommended Read

Today, as the International Court of Justice considers allegations of genocide against Israel, the White House will be convening an off-the-record discussion of its “National Strategy to Combat Islamophobia and related forms of discrimination.” First announced on November 1, 2023, following the stabbing death of a six-year old Wadea Al Fayoume near Chicago, President Biden and Vice President Harris said the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia would aim to address the disproportionate hate-fueled attacks and discrimination faced by Muslims and those perceived as Muslims. The announcement of the “development” of a National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia should be met with a critical eye. The United States cannot effectively combat Islamophobia while simultaneously supporting actions that harm Muslim communities abroad. This meeting announcement comes at a time when the United States faces international scrutiny for its support of Israel, including its military actions in Gaza, which have resulted in the deaths of countless innocent civilians, including children like Wadea Al-Fayoume. This duplicity is almost like watching a magician distract you with one hand while doing something entirely different with the other. In this case, the paradox is condemning Islamophobia domestically while turning a blind eye to U.S. and Israeli military actions soaked with the blood of Islamophobia on the international stage. American Muslims don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the establishment of a National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia, because they can’t help but sense a glaring irony. The U.S. condemns hate and discrimination at home and does nothing about it. read the complete article

Americans oppose most Trump policies

That said, though, some of what Trump has said he’d enforce should he win a second term is likely to end up being attempted. New polling from YouGov, shared exclusively with The Washington Post, indicates that most Americans won’t be very happy when they are. On 30 policy ideas presented to a national pool of respondents, 22 saw a majority oppose the idea. Only four had majority approval. The other two that received majority support were related to immigration. One, reflecting other recent YouGov polling, indicated majority support for the policy known as “remain in Mexico.” The other saw a narrow majority of Americans express support for deporting thousands of immigrants in the country illegally. read the complete article

Lawmakers unveil bipartisan legislation to fight campus discrimination

Bipartisan lawmakers introduced a bill on Thursday to combat discrimination on college campuses amid the rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia. The Protecting Students on Campus Act would give students more information about the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education and their right to file a civil rights complaint if they are discriminated against on campus based on their gender or race. The bill was introduced by Democratic Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman, along with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “Diversity is our strength as a country. No student should face hostility or violence for who they are, what they look like, where they’re from, or what they believe,” Fetterman said in a statement. “Amid a despicable rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in our country, I am proud to introduce this bill with my colleagues to empower students facing discrimination to take action and hold universities accountable in protecting students.” read the complete article

Ex-police officer settles discrimination suit over Muslim faith against suburban department for $475,000

A former North Chicago police officer has settled a lawsuit for $475,000 in a case against the department for religious and national origin discrimination. Ramtin Sabet sued the city of North Chicago and its former and current police chiefs in March 2017 — a month after he was fired from the department. Sabet joined the department in 2007 and faced harassment for his Muslim faith and Iranian origin, according to the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. While working at the department, Sabet filed multiple complaints alleging coworkers made Islamophobic comments and insults. The complaints included one for discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016. However, despite the efforts a hostile work environment continued and eventually led to Sabet’s termination in February of 2017, CAIR said. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Muslim flag full of excrement found at Scottish mosque site

A MUSLIM prayer flag filled with excrement has been dumped at the front door of the building earmarked to become a Scottish council area's first mosque. read the complete article

Fact Check: Central London prayer space will not ban alcohol, music nearby

Claims that a property tycoon will ban alcohol and music in the streets around his planned Islamic prayer and multifaith community space in London’s Trocadero centre are not based on evidence. Businessman Asif Aziz and his Aziz Foundation were granted approval in June to turn the ground floor and basement of the Trocadero building, situated in London’s busy theatre district, into the Piccadilly Prayer Space and Community Centre. In December, social media users on X and Facebook shared a video of a man speaking in Urdu near the Trocadero, captioning the clip in English: "Mega Mosque - Foreign Jihadis are now proclaiming London as a Muslim city. Here one boasts about the Mega Mosque being built in Central London. Once operational, they will ban all alcohol, music from the vicinity, including the theatre district." Reuters did not identify the man in the video. While he does talk in Urdu about a man buying the building to construct a mosque, he mentions nothing about a ban on alcohol or music. London-based philanthropist Aziz told Reuters via email: “We have never requested the public to refrain from drinking alcohol or playing music outside the Piccadilly Prayer space, at any stage of the application process.” read the complete article


Thousands of Indian teachers set to lose jobs as Muslim school funding ends

India's most populous state has stopped paying some 21,000 teachers of subjects including mathematics and science in Muslim religious schools, or madrasas, an official said on Thursday, and they could lose their jobs altogether. The teachers work at madrasas in Uttar Pradesh, ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, and the move comes ahead of Modi seeking his third straight term in a general election due by May. "Over 21,000 teachers are set to lose their jobs," Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, chief of Uttar Pradesh's madrasa education board, told Reuters. "Muslim students and teachers will go back by 30 years." Muslims are a minority in mainly Hindu India, accounting for about 14% of a population of 1.42 billion, and they make up nearly a fifth of the population of Uttar Pradesh. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch say nationalist groups have threatened and harassed Muslim and other religious minorities with impunity under Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusations the party denies. read the complete article

India: Increased Abuses Against Minorities, Critics

The Indian government undermined its aspirations for global leadership as a rights-respecting democracy during 2023 with its persistent policies and practices that discriminate and stigmatize religious and other minorities, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2024. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government also arrested activists, journalists, opposition politicians, and other critics of the government on politically motivated criminal charges, including terrorism. “The BJP government’s discriminatory and divisive policies have led to increased violence against minorities, creating a pervasive environment of fear and a chilling effect on government critics,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of holding those responsible for abuses to account, the authorities chose to punish the victims, and persecuted anyone who questioned these actions.” read the complete article


Surrey mosque taps into federal security funds as Islamophobia grows

A Surrey Islamic centre has used a federal government grant program to bolster security at its Newton facility as members face a rise in Islamophobia. According to Imran Yakub, president of the Abu Bakr Islamic Society and mosque, there has been an increase in anti-Muslim actions and statements toward Surrey’s 40,000 Muslims since the conflict ignited between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last October. The last time this sort of surge in hatred had occurred was after the terror attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, Yakub said. In particular, Muslim women are being targeted, insulted and harassed for wearing the hijab head covering. “There have been several incidents of women in hijab who have been assaulted and harassed and generally made to feel uncomfortable because there is a big population of Muslims in Surrey, with around 15 mosques and community centres,” Yakub said. He said that there had been a break-in and several attempted break-ins at the Abu Bakr mosque in the 7300-block of 144th Avenue. Yakub said these were likely not hate-related, but noted a nearby mosque was burned down in 2000 while another had anti-Islam slurs painted on power poles in front of the facility. read the complete article


Muslims in Germany: Life post-Hamas-attack 'like after 9/11'

"I experienced the weeks that followed September 11. I feel like I've been taken back there," said Suleman Malik, a Muslim from the eastern German state of Thuringia, as he recalled the terror attack on the United States that took place in 2001. He added that sometimes he felt as if he was "being led through the circus on a nose ring." Malik said he knows that Muslims across Germany have been suffering new recriminations since Israel's war on Hamas began: women being yelled at for wearing headscarves, for instance, or communities receiving hate mail. "What is missing," he told DW, "are people who say, 'you Muslims belong here with us, we'll protect you.'" Malik said people who felt and articulated empathy for the suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza were immediately, "seen as being antisemitic, even though not every Jew thinks the Israeli government is doing the right thing." Malik also spoke to DW about his home state, Thuringia, and the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the Thuringia branch of which German domestic intelligence agencies have labeled a right-wing extremist organization. "We have a party that has declared Islamophobia part of its political program, and it is currently winning approval from nearly one-third of voters in opinion polls," he said, adding that right-wing extremists protest in front of his community's mosque every week. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 12 Jan 2024 Edition


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