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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01 Jul 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the US, human rights groups have criticized former President Donald Trump’s comments about Palestinians during Thursday’s presidential debate with President Joe Biden as offensive and racist, meanwhile in the UK, a video circulating on social media shows a man removing the hijabs of several women in a west London neighborhood, and in France, nationwide elections began over the weekend with far-right candidates favored to win, a harrowing reality for the country’s already marginalized and politically demonized Muslim minority. Our recommended read of the day is by Steven Zhou for The Toronto Star on how the recent hateful incident in Toronto involving a van displaying Islamophobic messaging is a warning sign that must not be ignored of growing Islamophobia in Canada. This and more below:


Canada’s clownish anti-Muslim activists are still ginning up hate to earn a buck. This is the one good reason why we can’t ignore their antics | Recommended Read

Before killing four members of the same Muslim family in London, Ont. three years ago, the man behind the attack — a convicted Islamophobic terrorist — wrote a manifesto calling for mass violence against non-white people. He chose Muslims dressed in traditional clothing as his first targets. After killing six Muslim worshippers inside a Quebec City mosque in 2017, the mass shooter behind that attack told police he wanted to protect his family from “Islamic terrorists.” He had immersed himself in online hate about refugees. He said he regrets not killing more people. Those two men were consuming and consumed by content claiming Muslims pose a special threat to Canada and the West. It’s an old conspiracy theory that goes by many names — the Counter Jihad, the Great Replacement —with a diverse array of boosters, from neo-Nazi trolls to the former President of the United States. Bad ideas with that type of exposure can take on lives of their own. They can travel from the realm of abstract thought into the arena of tangible action. Canadians should be especially acquainted with that process. Muslims in Canada certainly are. We watched ten members of our community murdered, in just five years, by killers who openly trafficked in exactly that kind of hate. But we’ve also watched people use those narratives to make money. They’ve ginned up fears with headlines like, “White genocide in Canada?” and “Dear Liberals: Islamophobia is justified” on their platforms. They continue to serve what they must see as a market for this type of dangerous commentary in Canada. That’s what I thought when I saw the “jumbotron van” bearing Islamophobic messages making its way through Toronto recently. read the complete article

United States

Rights groups slam Trump's use of 'Palestinian' as racial slur

Human rights groups have criticised former President Donald Trump's comments about Palestinians during Thursday's presidential debate with President Joe Biden as racist and offensive. During a controversial moment in the debate, the two presidential candidates briefly discussed the Gaza conflict, where Israel has killed over 37,000 Palestinians and triggered a dire humanitarian crisis. "The only one who wants the war to continue is Hamas," Biden said, to which Trump retorted that the incumbent president had become "like a Palestinian". "Actually, Israel is the one [that wants to keep going], and you should let them go and let them finish the job. He [Biden] doesn’t want to do it. He's become like a Palestinian but they don't like him because he's a very bad Palestinian. He's a weak one," Trump said. On Friday, Trump repeated his use of "Palestinian" as an insult at a rally while referring to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is Jewish. "He's become a Palestinian because they have a couple more votes or something," he added. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) had since issued a statement slamming Trump's comments, as well as Biden's claim that Israel wants to stop the war. read the complete article

Community members raise concerns about Islamophobia, pro-Palestine walkout at school board meeting

On May 10, around 50 students from Princeton High School left during a passing period between exams and marched to the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on the University’s Cannon Green. In the aftermath of the protest, administration sent an email to the school district saying that the incident was being investigated, specifically for alleged use of “signage and inappropriate posters.” More than 40 people were present at the meeting, a much higher number than usual. Several speakers expressed support for students who participated in the walkout and disapproval of the way the school has handled the incident, and many talked about their personal experiences with Islamophobia. Zainab Qureshi, who identified herself as an alum of Princeton Public Schools, said that the Board had failed to protect students during and after the protest. “Keffiyehs, symbols of Palestinian heritage and resistance, were confiscated and students wearing them were labeled agitators,” she said. “Minors were filmed without consent, and parents shared these videos on social media, leading to cyberbullying of these kids.” read the complete article

U.S. Department of Education to investigate Berkeley school district for anti-Palestinian discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, has opened an investigation into the federal civil rights complaint filed against Berkeley Unified School District, or BUSD, for alleged anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim discrimination. The complaint was filed in May by the San Francisco Bay Area Office of Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR-SFBA, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, or ADC, in response to numerous reports made by students, parents and teachers alleging harassment and discrimination against Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and other pro-Palestinian individuals within BUSD, according to CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo. Reported incidents included the use of slurs such as “terrorist,” censorship of teaching about Palestine and unequal access to mental health and other resources for Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students and parents, Billoo said. In a June 21 letter responding to CAIR-SFBA’s and ADC’s complaint, OCR said it will investigate whether BUSD “responded in a manner consistent with the requirements of Title VI” to alleged harassment of students based on “their actual or perceived national origin” — including Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students — as well as whether the District violated Title VI through the unequal treatment of these students. read the complete article

NJIT on growing list of schools facing federal civil rights investigation

New Jersey Institute of Technology is facing a federal civil rights investigation, accused of discriminating against Palestinian students in a complaint detailed by students and a former administrator. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim bias at New Jersey Institute for Technology, a Newark-based public university with about 13,000 students, in May. Student Yahya Habehh, who filed the complaint, said the administration “disregarded our requests for fair treatment and due process." The administration blocked students from forming a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter and demanded that an associate director in the Office of Inclusive Excellence delete their information from a contact sheet of identity groups on campus, according to the complaint. Students were treated "as if we weren't part of the community," Habehh said. read the complete article

Revealed: the tech entrepreneur behind a pro-Israel hate network

A prime mover behind the Shirion Collective, a conspiracy-minded, pro-Israel disinformation network seeking to shape public opinion about the Gaza conflict in the US, Australia and the UK, is a tech entrepreneur named Daniel Linden living in Florida who co-wrote a guidebook for OnlyFans users, the Guardian can reveal. Shirion has harassed pro-Palestinian activists, including many Jews, offered bounties for the identity of pro-Palestinian protesters, spread conspiracy narratives centered on figures like George Soros, and boasted of an AI-surveillance platform but offered few concrete details of how the technology functions. Beyond the bounty program, Shirion voices or boosts Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate, while celebrating death and destruction in Gaza, and violence against their supporters in the west. Shirion has repeatedly celebrated the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza, including Palestinian journalists and children. read the complete article


India’s Muslim ‘ghettos’ aren’t just a product of prejudice – they result from forced displacement

On June 10, more than 30 residents of a housing complex in Vadodara protested against the allocation of a flat to a 44-year-old Muslim government employee under the Mukhyamantri Awas Yojana. They claimed that the presence of a Muslim woman and her teenage son in the complex posed a “threat and nuisance”. The incident underscored the deep-seated prejudice against Muslims in India. It also reflects a broader pattern of internal displacement faced by India’s Muslims, particularly over the last decade under Bharatiya Janata Party rule. Similar instances of anti-Muslim bigotry have been seen across India. In June last year, Muslim traders in Purola in Uttarakhand, were threatened and their shops vandalised, forcing over a dozen families to flee. In March, a similar situation unfolded in Dharchula town, again in Uttarakhand. After the violence in Haryana’s Nuh in August, the only community affected by the government’s “bulldozer justice” were local Muslims. These attempts at displacement have been evident at least since the nationwide riots that followed the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992. Many riots or disturbances have led to the forced relocation of Muslims from neighbourhoods with mixed demographics to ghettos. This has been particularly visible in Mumbai and cities in Gujarat. read the complete article

How India’s Newly Empowered Opposition Can Stand Up for Rohingya

The Muslim Rohingya came to India fleeing genocide by the military in neighboring Myanmar, but now has to contend with death threats, police brutality, arbitrary arrest, deportation, and dehumanizing hate speech from leading figures within Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. The hatred of the Rohingya is pervasive in India. Despite them comprising only around 0.02% of the country’s 200 million Muslims, 6% of all Indian anti-Muslim social media posts and 5% of surveyed anti-Muslim in-person hate speeches were specifically targeted at Rohingya in 2023, according to the Washington, D.C.-based India Hate Lab research group. As of late May, an additional 45,000 Rohingya had fled a new surge of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state (40,000 were already in India), including reports of beheadings, mass arson, and forcible conscription into Myanmar’s government forces. With further migration into India likely, the issue of the Modi regime’s treatment of Rohingya refugees takes on renewed urgency. India stands at a crossroads. It can continue to persecute Rohingya refugees in violation of international law, or it can set out on a new path, providing safe haven and pathways to citizenship for a minority group fleeing crimes against humanity. read the complete article


France's snap elections: Muslims face stark choice amid far-right surge

For France, the writing seems to be on the wall: the general elections starting this Sunday could well bring the far-right to power. Not only would that plunge the country into uncharted political territory, but for minority communities, especially Muslims, it could prove to be a death knell for their already shrinking space in French society. That realisation is not lost on French Muslims, who now have a difficult choice to make, with many weighing up one of what they see as their only two choices: vote for left-wing parties or no one at all. Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen's party ended the EU elections with more than 31 percent of the vote, a tally most certainly racked up without Muslim votes, and is expected to repeat the strong showing on June 30 and July 7. According to French pollster IFOP's survey for a local daily, as many as 59 percent of Muslim voters abstained in the European elections, while 62 percent of those who did go out opted for the left-wing La France Insoumise (LFI) party, which finished a distant fourth. French society has witnessed a sharp escalation in Islamophobia in recent years, along with many anti-Muslim policies, including bans or discriminatory rules regarding the Muslim headscarf and clothing, and a crackdown on mosques and religious organisations. That makes a possible victory for the far-right RN and its allies an even more fearful prospect, particularly given their extreme rhetoric against Muslims. read the complete article

Is France heading towards a far-right government

A coalition running against a failing, unpopular Macron is pledging to kick migrants out. Here is what’s at stake for French people in the snap elections starting on June 30. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Attacker rips headscarves off Muslim women walking through London

This is the moment an attacker ripped headscarves of Muslim women as they walked through west London. Footage shows a number of women wearing headcoverings targeted by someone behind a camera in Kensington. Instagram user Bahar Mahroo, who shared the video online, wrote: ‘Just as you take democracy away from us in Iran and force us to wear headscarves, since we have democracy in this country, we’ll pull off those very headscarves from you.’ Mahroo denied any involvement in the attacks and said she was only sharing the videos. read the complete article


Israel's top Arab MP says his people 'hunted' over Gaza support

Israel's retaliatory military campaign in Gaza has killed at least 37,765 people, also mostly civilians, according to data from the Hamas-run territory's health ministry. This has put pressure on Israel's Arab minority, who make up about 20 percent of the population and say they face escalating hate crimes and unjust police action. "After October 7, hundreds of Arab citizens were hunted down, chased by the Israeli police for writing a post or a story empathising with the children of Gaza or saying no to the war," Tibi, the 65-year-old leader of an Arab-majority party, told AFP. "It was, and still is, tough days for Palestinian citizens of Israel." Adalah, an organisation advocating for Arab minority rights in Israel, said community members who expressed sympathy for Gazan civilians have been unfairly punished. Between October 7 and March 27, Israeli police arrested 401 people, the majority Arabs, for speech-related offences it says were tantamount to "incitement to terrorism", its figures showed. In the same period, there was a total of 667 suspects for speech-related offences -- with only 13 Jewish Israeli citizens compared with 590 Arabs. "The crackdown on freedom of speech has created a situation in which Palestinian citizens... can neither protest nor freely voice their opinions," it said in a report after October 7. read the complete article


Albanese stands by Fatima Payman’s suspension over Palestine ‘stunt’

Anthony Albanese has accused the Labor senator Fatima Payman of disrupting and undermining the government by vowing to repeat her vote for a Greens motions on Palestine, which he derided as a “stunt” and “indulgence”. The prime minister suspended Payman indefinitely from Labor’s caucus on Sunday after an interview with ABC’s Insiders in which the Western Australian senator said she would again cross the floor if faced with another Senate motion to recognise the state of Palestine. “By her own actions, Senator Payman has placed herself outside the privilege that comes with participating in the federal parliamentary Labor party caucus, and I informed her of that yesterday,” he said. Last week the Greens and the Coalition joined forces to reject a proposed government amendment to the motion’s wording that embraced a “two-state solution” and, if accepted, would have allowed all Labor senators to vote for the motion. Payman has been defended by Labor Friends of Palestine, who noted that the ALP platform contains a “commitment to recognising the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for self-determination within a sovereign state”. read the complete article

New Zealand

Samadiana Fariz helping shift the stereotype for Islamic women

As part of the ongoing CHILL Campaign, the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand introduces Samadiana Fariz, an accomplished gymnast and coach whose presence and participation in sports directly challenges stereotypes about Muslim women. The CHILL Campaign, an acronym for Challenge Islamophobic Language and Loathing, is a 10-week initiative designed to counter gendered Islamophobia by showcasing the achievements and lived experiences of eight Muslim women in New Zealand. Jesse speaks Samadiana about the campaign and her role in it. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 01 Jul 2024 Edition


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