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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09 Jul 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In Australia, the government is appointing the country’s first envoys to fight antisemitism and Islamophobia in an attempt to prevent further fraying of social cohesion over Israel’s war in Gaza, meanwhile in Canada, Ottawa Police Service reported  that it had seen a more than 100 per cent increase in hate-motivated incidents against both the Jewish and Muslim communities so far in 2024, and in the U.S., presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump posted on Truth Social an “apparent bid to mock President Joe Biden’s outreach to the Muslim community.” Our recommended read of the day is by Dr. Omar Suleiman for The Yaqeen Institute on how “systemic dehumanization” played a key role in the Bosnian genocide 29 years ago and how it plays a key role in the genocide in Gaza today. This and more below:


From Srebrenica to Gaza - How Systematic Dehumanization Leads to Genocide | Recommended Read

The genocide that occurred in Srebrenica 29 years ago this week, when some 8,000 mostly Muslim Bosniaks were killed by a Serbian nationalist militia, was the largest genocide Europe has seen since the Holocaust. It didn’t come out of nowhere: In the three years leading up to the genocide, an estimated 100,000 people were killed, 80% of whom were Bosniaks, one of three ethnic groups who called the fledgling state of Bosnia and Herzegovina home. But in July 1995, Bosnian Serbs troops slaughtered Srebrenica’s men and boys before burying them in mass graves, raped an untold number of Bosniak women, and removed an estimated 23,000 women, children and elderly, putting them on buses and driving them to Muslim-controlled territories. It was the horrific climax of a disgraceful war. The international Muslim community mobilized, and the shame of the genocide prompted the West to act. A NATO-led bombing campaign led to the cessation of the Serbian murder machine. Now, as we commemorate the 29th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, Gaza enters its 9th month under Israeli bombardment as a new genocide unfolds. Nearly 38,000 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children, with another 87,000 injured. How do we reflect on the murder of thousands of Bosniak Muslims, while working to end the ongoing genocide in Gaza? How do we avoid “statistical numbness,” one where casualty counts, past and present, are merely numbers, absent souls? Just as Bosnians were dehumanized and systematically killed, so too are Palestinians today. All around us in media and culture, Palestinians are synonymous with evil. Their casualties are merely collateral. It doesn’t happen in one day; it takes sustained neglect and systematic dehumanization. read the complete article

Islamophobia unites Israel and Europe's far-right

Recent comments by Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister, Amichai Chikli, endorsing France’s far-right politician Marine Le Pen brought to mind the insightful words of prominent anti-Zionist British cabinet minister Edwin Montagu more than one hundred years ago. “Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom,” stated Montagu famously in a 1917 memorandum expressing his opposition to the proposed Balfour Declaration three months before it was issued. The Jewish MP’s prophetic assessment, which cautioned against the threat that Zionism posed to Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, remains strikingly relevant today, as Israel aligns itself with Europe’s far-right. Chikli’s endorsement of Le Pen not only illustrates the growing alliance between Israel and the far-right across Europe, but also exposes a long-standing but often overlooked tension between the interests of Jews and those of the Jewish state, a tension that has existed since Zionism’s early days. Chikli also mentioned attending a mass rally for Spain’s far-right Vox party in Madrid, where he met Le Pen and expressed the fact that he was “very impressed” by her actions. This courting of the far-right by Israeli officials contrasts starkly with warnings issued by France’s official Jewish representative body, CRIF, and other Jewish groups against engaging with Le Pen’s party due to its historical ties to anti-Semitism. The alliance between Israel and Europe’s far-right, however, has been forged largely through their shared hostility towards Islam and Muslims. Although there is no factual basis to their hateful claim, the narrative that Muslims pose an existential threat to Europe has become a potent propaganda tool. The rhetoric has served to mobilise both global Zionism and the global far-right against Muslims, creating a powerful and troubling intersectional force. read the complete article

Indian universities build closer ties with Israeli colleges and arms firms despite Gaza war

Indian universities have deepened research ties with Israeli colleges and weapons companies since the start of the war on Gaza, despite several institutions in the US and UK being forced to rethink exchanges as the death toll spirals, Middle East Eye can reveal. In recent months, Indian universities have increased partnerships in the fields of defence, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), with Israeli universities alleged to be complicit in the months-long conflict. Several are now either directly working with Israeli weapons companies or with Indian companies reported to have sent weaponry to Israel. The partnerships, some publicly announced, have fuelled speculation that Israel is engineering closer ties with Indian universities - especially in the sciences - to build not only new hubs of defence and technology research for its armed forces but also as a means of exerting influence on Indian academia. According to an MEE tally, there have been more than a dozen meetings, workshops and agreements signed between Indian universities and Israeli universities and weapons companies since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found it was plausible Israel was committing genocide in Gaza. Experts and analysts told MEE that the agreements could be part of an attempt by Israel to lean into India's university system to feed its growing appetite for military hardware and technological development, as well as diversify its partnerships at a time when several universities are being urged to boycott and divest from Israel and its war. read the complete article

United States

No, President Trump. Calling someone 'Palestinian' is not a slur

Several days prior, during the US Presidential debate, Donald Trump accused an addled and visibly frightened Joe Biden of hampering Israel’s assault on Gaza. “He has become like a Palestinian, but they don’t like him because he is a very bad Palestinian. He is a weak one,” he said. In response to Trump using Palestinian as an insult, the current president simply grimaced and shrugged. Since the beginning of Israel’s assault, ordinary people have risked defamation, doxxing, and the loss of their livelihoods speaking out for the rights of Palestinians while those in positions of power have dehumanised them to justify their support for the ongoing violence. That the once and likely future president would reduce their identity to a slur is only a more Trumpian version of a growing trend in American politics. Former presidential hopeful Nikki Hayley, on her tour of Israel in May — well after the death toll was in the tens of thousands — personalised an artillery shell by writing “Finish Them!” on the side. That same month, Senator Lindsey Graham compared the crisis in Gaza to the use of nuclear weapons by the US in Japan at the end of World War II. He followed this by saying, “So, Israel, do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state.” Infamous lawyer Alan Dershowitz co-penned an article titled, “Just how many of Gaza’s civilians are entirely ‘innocent’?” Senator Tom Cotton has been one of the most explicit in his anti-Palestinian bile. In response to the Nuseirat massacre in which Israeli forces killed nearly 300 people to extract four hostages, Cotton tweeted, “If Gazans don’t want their people killed in hostage rescue missions, they shouldn’t take hostages in the first place.” This dehumanisation of Palestinians, however, is just the latest phase in a decades-long strategy to justify US involvement in the region. I am old enough to remember when the same strategy was deployed at the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The message from the top to the American people has been the same for my entire adult life: Arab life is very cheap, and we’re allowed to spend it. read the complete article

Trump Launches Cryptic Islamophobic Attack on Biden

Donald Trump wordlessly threw a bone to his Islamophobic followers Sunday night, by mocking President Joe Biden’s outreach to the Muslim community. The presumptive Republican nominee posted a caption-less screenshot of a post from Biden’s X (formerly Twitter) account to his own Truth Social account. “Jill and I wish a Happy Islamic New Year to all families who celebrate. May the arrival of the 1446 Hijri New Year bring you love, peace, and prosperity,” read Biden’s original post. Although Trump’s screenshot bore no caption, his intention was clear: to stir up his followers’ anger that the president would deign to well-wish Muslims. Since the beginning of his first presidential campaign, Trump has used Islamophobia to attract voters. read the complete article

Department of Education and Brown University reach agreement on antidiscrimination efforts

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced Monday that it entered into an agreement with Brown University to make sure the school is in compliance with federal law barring discrimination and harassment against students of Jewish, Palestinian, Arab and Muslim ancestry. According to the investigation, the school received some 75 reports of alleged antisemitic, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Muslim harassment against students from October 2023 through late March 2024, but appeared to take no or little action in response other than to acknowledge receipt of the reports, list support resources, and request to meet with the those making the complaints. During the investigation, the university revised its practices including focusing on protecting the safety of its community, in particular the needs and safety of its students, faculty, and staff who are Israeli, Palestinian, Muslim, Jewish, have ties to the region, and are feeling affected by current events. read the complete article


Who are the grassroots Muslim groups with an eye on Labor seats?

The Albanese government’s response to the conflict in Gaza will come under fire when self-described “grassroots” campaigns target dissatisfied voters in numerous key electorates at the next federal election. Senator Fatima Payman’s dramatic exit from Labor to the crossbench last week over disagreement on when and how to recognise Palestinian statehood has sparked fresh debate about the electoral impact of the issue. Could Labor’s heartland seats in western and south-western Sydney and parts of Melbourne be vulnerable to campaigns run by pro-Palestine Muslim groups? The prospect of such campaigns has prompted a round of hand-wringing from the major political parties and from prominent media outlets. So let’s take a look at the planned community campaigns and then put them in context. read the complete article

Australia appoints special envoys as antisemitism, Islamophobia rise over Gaza war

The Australian government is appointing the country’s first envoys to fight antisemitism and Islamophobia in an attempt to prevent further fraying of social cohesion over the war in Gaza. Announcing the positions on Tuesday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East had caused “a great deal of grief” for Jewish and Islamic communities in Australia. Albanese said a “special envoy for Islamophobia” will be appointed “shortly” in a similar role to work with the Muslim community to promote social cohesion. “With a heavy heart but a clear conscience, I announce my resignation from the Australian Labor Party,” Sen. Fatima Payman announced last Thursday. Payman, Labor’s first Muslim senator, voted with the Greens Party on a motion to recognize Palestinian statehood and threatened to do it again, breaking party rules. She was indefinitely suspended from Labor’s parliamentary caucus and later resigned to serve as an independent, accusing her former colleagues of attempting to intimidate her – claims the party denied. read the complete article


Hate incidents against Jews, Muslims jump in 2024, but overall numbers down: Ottawa police

With the Israel-Hamas War now into its 10th month, the Ottawa Police Service reported Monday that it had seen a more than 100 per cent increase in hate-motivated incidents against both the Jewish and Muslim communities so far in 2024. A total of 74 incidents had been reported against the Jewish, compared to 36 at this time in 2023, while there had been 15 incidents reported against Muslims, up from seven at this point last year. Despite those significant increases, police reported in a news release that there had been a slight decline of about two per cent in overall hate- and bias-motivated incidents so far in 2024. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Pro-Palestine votes aren’t ‘sectarian’. Dismissing them would be a dangerous mistake for Labour

It’s always telling, which votes are considered valid and which aren’t. Which ones are “tactical”, which express “legitimate concerns” and which are merely “sectarian”. The four independent candidates who won in last week’s election by harnessing frustrations about Gaza are already being treated as a worrying sign of the emergence of sectarian politics. The implication is that it’s only Muslims who care about Gaza, and that they do so at the expense of their domestic concerns and loyalties. The truth is that Gaza’s resonance stretches across diverse demographics. It is both connected to and informed by other political grievances, and it has become the expression of something that our political climate has made it difficult to countenance – that voters can have principles they care about without this being an indication of extremism or irrelevance. There has been a persistent tendency to treat frustrations about Gaza as crude, separatist and confined to a small but vocal minority. Despite poll after poll indicating that the majority of the public supports a ceasefire, politicians – in particular the leadership of the Labour party – continued to ignore the issue. As a result, four candidates campaigning centrally on Gaza took four seats, one of them Leicester South: thereby deposing Jonathan Ashworth, the erstwhile shadow paymaster general. Labour HQ can comfort itself that it’s only a small number in the grand scheme of things, that Gaza is (hopefully) not a permanent issue, and that in five years’ time it will no longer be relevant. That it’s only Muslims who are concentrated in high numbers in a small number of seats. But those four independent candidates won because non-Muslims voted for them too, and because many people didn’t vote at all. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Jul 2024 Edition


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