Today in Islamophobia

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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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08 Jul 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In Germany, the secretary-general of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) is calling on the German public and politicians to take action on the rising anti-Muslim attacks on Turkish mosques in the country, meanwhile in France, a left-wing alliance has won the national elections with 182 seats, leaving Marine La Pen’s far-right National Rally in third place despite projections of a far-right victory, and in Spain, the far-right is calling for the expulsion of Muslims, labeling them on social media as “invaders” by referencing historical events from the fall of Andalusia and the Reconquista. Our recommended read of the day is by Noor El-Terk for Middle East Eye on how Muslim voters who mobilized to vote in the UK are being demonized by right-wing media, labelling them as “sectarian” and “divisive,” which critics are noting is dog-whistle racism. This and more below:

United Kingdom

UK elections 2024: ‘Racist’ takes against pro-Palestine, Muslim candidates spark anger | Recommended Read

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, while winning by a landslide in Thursday's general election in the UK, also lost votes to pro-Palestinian candidates, several of whom picked up shock wins in previously "safe" seats. Labour's victory has led hundreds of social media users to draw attention to some of the rhetoric surrounding the substantial spate of votes that went to pro-Palestine candidates who ran as independents. Takes dismissing the victories of candidates like Shockat Adam, Adnan Hussain and Ayoub Khan and labelling Muslim voter mobilisation as “sectarian voting”, are being slammed as dog whistle racism and repetitions of Islamophobic tropes. “Muslims, like anyone else, have the right to voice their views in democratic elections,” a representative of The Muslim Vote (TMV), a UK-based political campaign, said to MEE in a statement. “The recent Islamophobic remarks from parts of the British media and political establishment are not only narrow-minded but downright embarrassing. Criticising Muslims for electing representatives who oppose war crimes is as clueless as it gets. We won't let this bigotry slide - we're here to stay and make our voices heard.” TMV has said it aims to encourage Muslim political engagement and attach a value to the voting power of local Muslim communities, rejecting accusations of “sectarian politics”. ITV News correspondent John Ray described those who voted for Iqbal Hussain Mohamed, an independent pro-Palestine candidate for Dewsbury & Batley, as "voting with their religion". Harry Cole, the political editor of the traditionally right-wing tabloid, The Sun, wrote: “Hamas gain,” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Describing people voting against Labour because of their failure to stand up for human rights in Gaza as ‘voting with their religion’ is pretty unforgivable,” another wrote in response to Ray's report. read the complete article

Labour majorities slashed in Muslim areas as five pro-Palestine independents gain seats

Labour may have won a landslide victory, but there were huge upsets for some candidates who faced pro-Palestine independents. Five candidates who stood on pro-Gaza platforms won seats as the Muslim vote for Labour appeared to collapse. In the most shocking toppling, shadow cabinet minister Jonathan Ashworth lost his seat in Leicester South. Shockat Adam, an independent who had focused his campaigning on Palestine, dramatically defeated the man who would have been Paymaster General. It follows simmering anger at Sir Keir Starmer over the party’s stance in the Israel/Gaza war and clumsy comments he made about Bangladeshi migrants during an event. Labour’s vote was estimated to be down an average 11 points in seats where more than 10 per cent of the population identify as Muslim. read the complete article

‘Don’t take us for granted’: Muslim voters send message to Labour over its Gaza stance

When Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth lost his Leicester South seat to the pro-Palestine independent candidate Shockat Adam, it was widely seen as one of the biggest upsets of election night. But a walk along Evington Road, a busy shopping street with a large Muslim population in the constituency, showed that all the signs were there. Posters and banners calling on people to vote for Adam were plastered on every other shop, while dozens of Palestine flags blew in the breeze along streets of terrace houses. Gaza is a huge issue here, alongside frustration with Ashworth’s performance locally. “I was always a Labour voter, but it was [Ashworth] who changed me because he became complacent. He didn’t listen to us. When he abstained from the Gaza vote, he closed his doors on us. That wasn’t good enough,” said Kauser Patel, 37, a local business consultant who has been campaigning for Adam. read the complete article

What does the success of pro-Gaza independents say about Labour’s victory?

In this election, Starmer’s Labour has lost a number of former strongholds to independent candidates campaigning on pro-Palestinian platforms, demanding an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the decadeslong occupation of Palestine. In five constituencies, voters disturbed by Starmer’s pro-Israel position on the war on Gaza, elected candidates campaigning primarily on this issue. Deposed former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, for example, comfortably won in his North Islington constituency as a pro-Palestinian independent. So far, this unprecedented surge in the independent vote has been explained away by the mainstream media simply as a rejection of Starmer’s Gaza policy in “Muslim majority” areas. This, however, is a shortsighted analysis that implies only Muslims care about genocide. Further, it feeds into tropes about British Muslims’ alleged split loyalties, whipping up Islamophobia. The truth, of course, is simple. Many Britons, Muslim or not, want the killing to end and justice to prevail in Palestine. Moreover, they want their representatives to have the moral integrity to speak against genocide and other blatant violations of international law, even when these violations are committed by a state that is considered a key strategic ally of the UK. Moreover, many Britons acknowledge the UK’s historic complicity in the violent dispossession of Palestinians from their land, and want their government to assume a principled position on the issue to make up for past mistakes. This is why Labour’s position on Gaza led so many voters to turn their back on the party. Another important story in this election is the rise of the far-right, anti-immigration Reform Party, which won 14 percent of the vote and four seats in the parliament. Nigel Farage, former UKIP leader and chief Brexiter, is now a Reform MP representing Clacton. read the complete article


‘We were so scared’: France’s centrist and leftwing voters breathe sigh of relief

In a shock win, final results left the broad leftwing alliance as the biggest force in the French parliament, with the New Popular Front taking 182 seats. Emmanuel Macron’s centrist grouping, Ensemble, was in second place, with 163 seats, a stronger showing than expected. Marine Le Pen’s far-right, anti-immigration National Rally came third with 143 seats. In Paris cries of joy rang out as the projections sparked spontaneous hugs among strangers and several minutes of applause. In the lead-up to the elections, polls had repeatedly suggested RN was poised to become the dominant force in the country’s national assembly. Early on Sunday, as voter turnout climbed to its highest figure in four decades, the question on everyone’s mind was whether the RN would win an outright majority. By Sunday evening, neither suggestion had proved accurate. Historians, lawyers, and Muslim leaders were among those who rallied people to vote against the RN, their efforts bolstered by the 10,000 Christians who signed on to a column describing the RN as a political force that offered “nothing but manipulation and illusion” as it eschewed solutions to instead scapegoat foreigners. The RN’s myopic focus had failed, said Ali, 40. “We’re happy because we don’t like racism,” he added. “The RN didn’t talk about salaries, retirement, pensions. All they talked about was foreigners and Islam.” read the complete article


Rising mosque attacks worry Germany’s Turkish union

The secretary-general of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) is calling on the German public and politicians to take action on the rising anti-Muslim attacks on Turkish mosques in the country. The DITIB oversees over 800 mosques in Germany, home to the largest Turkish diaspora in Europe. Eyüp Kalyon says these attacks range from threats to burning the Holy Qu’ran and the malicious delivery of pork to mosques, which is forbidden to eat in Islam. While these incidents have been reported to the police, authorities have been accused of not paying enough attention to them and even denying the issue. The DITIB also reported an increase in hate mail. The organisation said it had received at least 17 emails and letters containing hateful and threatening material. read the complete article


Spain's far-right calls for expulsion of Muslims

In Spain, the far-right is calling for the expulsion of Muslims, labeling them on social media as “invaders” by referencing historical events from the fall of Andalusia and the Reconquista, according to an official. Sergio Gracia, president of the Center for Research on the Far-Right (CINVED) in Spain evaluated the far-right’s anti-Muslim rhetoric for Anadolu. Gracia said the far-right uses the concept of “Reconquista,” or reconquest, and related historical events to justify reclaiming Spanish lands from Muslims and expelling them. “The extreme right usually refers to historical figures like Don Pelayo or El Sid, also using terms like reconquer, making reference to battles such as the battle of Covadonga, the battle of Alarcos, the battle of las Navas of Tolosa or the takeover of Granada. “They usually give you key dates alluding to the battles that they carried out at the local level, such as Malaga 1487 or Alcala 1247. These are two examples of social movements that have been in Spain working and today they are under the umbrella from a far-right political party as Hacer Nacion,” he said. Gracia noted that far-right figures like Don Pelayo, the Christian king who established the Kingdom of Asturias in northern Spain after rebelling against Arab rulers, are used as symbols. “The far right sees Muslims as invaders and they sell it that way. You can read on social media references such as expel the invader or you can hear a politician of extreme right talk about Troy horses, Islamization or that demographics are changing in Spain — referring to the construction of religious centers such as mosques, as Sergio Macian and Rocio de Meer have done.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 08 Jul 2024 Edition


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