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.

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03 Jul 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the US, five cars in San Diego California were spray painted with gay slurs, swastikas, and anti-Arab messages in front of an apartment complex last month, meanwhile in the UK, London police are speaking to several women who had their hijabs pulled off while walking in the capital, as the assailant remains at large, and in Tajikistan, a newly imposed hijab and religious attire ban is the latest measure by the President who seeks to secularize the Muslim-majority nation. Our recommended read of the day is by Sania Mahyou for Al Jazeera on how many of France’s six million Muslims are “paralyzed with fear” for the future of the country as the far-right National Rally surges in the elections. This and more below:


France’s Muslims fear for their futures as Le Pen’s far right party surges | Recommended Read

On Sunday, the far right led the first round of parliamentary elections and while it’s not yet clear if Marine Le Pen’s National Rally movement will form a majority after the July 7 run-off, many of France’s six million Muslims are, like Fatimata, paralysed with fear. “I am feeling betrayed by France. Knowing that 10.6 million people voted for a party promoting the ban of the veil in the public space is hurtful,” she told Al Jazeera. She represents the kind of French citizen that Le Pen’s party has long demonised. Le Pen has called for the hijab to be banned in public spaces while Jordan Bardella, her protege who could become France’s next prime minister, has called the veil a “tool of discrimination”. He has railed against the populous banlieue north of Paris that he grew up in – Seine-Saint-Denis – and promised to ban dual nationals from some “the most strategic” state jobs if his party seizes power. Elias, a 27-year-old who works in marketing, said many Muslims are considering emigrating from France if the National Rally ends up governing – a trend which has already taken hold among some professionals. read the complete article

United States

Swastikas, gay slurs, anti-Arab messages spray painted on cars in San Diego

Five cars in an El Cajon neighborhood were spray painted with gay slurs, swastikas, and anti-Arab messages on June 27. The car is still parked on the side of Greenfield Drive, in front of an apartment complex. It’s not far from her home. “It made me say what?” she said, describing her shock. The messages and symbols she saw sprayed on the car were vile. days later, it’s not the only vandalized car still parked on the block. About 50 yards up the street, another car is spray-painted with swastikas and gay slurs. Another neighbor gave ABC 10News photos of five cars that were tagged last week. The messages are racist and include anti-Arab sentiments as well. read the complete article

Mark Ruffalo criticised for 'Islamophobic' remarks

American actor Mark Ruffalo has sparked outrage and accusations of perpetuating Islamophobic tropes after describing a collection of conservative policy proposals as the "Sharia Law of the 'Christian' crazy people". "Project 2025 is not a game, it’s white Christian nationalism," he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday, referring to a policy agenda developed by American think tank The Heritage Foundation. "It is the Sharia Law of the 'Christian' crazy people who aren’t Christian at all but want to control every aspect of your life through their narrow and exclusionary interpretation of Christ’s egalitarian, inclusive, and kindly teachings... Forced birth and forced religion. Trump’s American Taliban," the Hollywood star wrote. Hundreds of social media users pushed back against Ruffalo's use of Islamic terms to describe extremism in the West. Several X users noted the stigma surrounding the term sharia, with one writing: "The term has been propagandised to incite fear and hate against Muslims. This needs to stop. We have been demonised, dehumanised and persecuted enough." Project 2025, also known as the Presidential Transition Project, proposes policies and changes that would be implemented in the case that Donald Trump wins the 2024 presidential election. The plan would see a reshaping of the federal government to align with principles advocated by conservative groups in the US, which critics have described as "dystopian" and "authoritarian". read the complete article

The Many Challenges at Guantánamo Bay, Encapsulated in One Case

Many of the questions confronting the future of prison operations at Guantánamo Bay converged in the sentencing case of a confessed commander of Al Qaeda, from its aging population to secret plea deals. At a hearing last month the prisoner sat in a padded hospital chair, with a four-wheeled walker and grab stick in reach, barely resembling the revered commander of insurgents he once was in Afghanistan. A paralyzing spine disease has left him disabled, and his lawyers say he is in constant pain. In the jury box opposite the prisoner, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, 11 U.S. military officers looked fit and polished in their service uniforms. The panel sentenced him to the maximum possible punishment, 30 more years in prison, unaware that his fate had already been determined in a secret plea deal two years earlier. Mr. Hadi, who was captured in 2006, is now one of just four convicted prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. But like most of the 30 detainees there, he has theoretically been approved for transfer to a stable, trusted U.S. ally. At 63, he is also the oldest prisoner and among the sickest in the offshore operation’s aging and ailing population. For Mr. Hadi, that means he cannot join his wife and four adult children, all citizens of Afghanistan, his adopted homeland. U.S. diplomats have discussed his case with other countries. None have agreed to take on the plight of an admitted war criminal in need of continuing medical care following six operations on his spine at Guantánamo. The sentencing trial also served as a model for resolving Guantánamo’s long-running war crimes cases through plea agreements. read the complete article

United Kingdom

UK: Police investigate targeting of Muslim women in London hijab-pulling assaults

A disturbing video showing a suspect pulling the hijabs of Muslim women in the British capital London in unprovoked attacks has gone viral this week prompting police to investigate. The clips showed Muslim women getting their hijabs, or headscarves, pulled off from behind by an unseen suspect recording themselves carrying out the assault. The attacks took place in the city's prestigious and affluent Kensington district, often visited by tourists and families due to housing London's iconic landmarks, including Kensington Palace, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Science Museum. Online reports suggested that the videos were being circulated by Iranian opposition activists who were reportedly targeting people walking out of the Iranian embassy in London, located in South Kensington. The Metropolitan Police Service, which polices London, told The New Arab it was speaking to victims of the assault and seeking witnesses of the reported incident as it had not yet made any arrests. read the complete article


Tajikistan's hijab ban latest in decades-long religious freedom violations

When Muslim-majority Tajikistan enacted a controversial law banning the hijab and other religious attire recently, 33-year-old Shahnaz was hardly surprised. Hailing from the Tajik city of Khujand, Shahnaz left her country to escape the oppressive rule of President Emomali Rahmon, who has aggressively pursued an agenda of “secularism”, encouraging its citizens to adopt more Westernised” looks and lifestyle. Shahnaz fled to Russia 23 years ago after she was denied a Tajik passport simply because she refused to take off her hijab for an official photo. President Rahmon – who has ruled the country with an iron fist for over 30 years – also banned some Islamic religious traditions, such as children visiting homes to collect pocket money on Eid holidays. The official decree said the ban was aimed at “safeguarding national cultural values and combating superstition and extremism”. read the complete article



This factsheet explores various facets of anti-Palestinian racism (APR), detailing how it manifests at institutional, structural, and systemic levels within Canadian society. It underscores the absence of formal definitions of APR in federal policy, highlighting instances where Canadian institutions perpetuate discriminatory practices against Palestinians, impacting their rights, immigration policies, and public perception. read the complete article


The Take: How a notorious US prison still haunts Afghanistan

Thousands of people were imprisoned for years without charge or trial by the United States during its so-called “war on terror”. Moazzam Begg was one of them. For the first time since he was detained more than 20 years ago, Begg returns with Al Jazeera to the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he witnessed terrible abuses that continue to haunt him. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 03 Jul 2024 Edition


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