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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18 Jun 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the US, the Department of Education says that the University of Michigan and the City University of New York have fallen short in addressing recent incidents of anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and antisemitic nature, meanwhile in Canada, police are investigating an alleged hate crime that occurred at the Hamilton Downtown Mosque involving a man unlawfully entering a classroom space, threatening children and an instructor, and then desecrating a copy of the Qur’an, and in China, the government’s criminalization of Muslim identity is spreading as techniques honed in Xinjiang against Uyghur Muslims are now being applied to Hui Muslims, including separating Muslim children from the faith and culture of their parents. Our recommended read of the day is by Humza Yousaf, former First Minister of Scotland, for The Guardian on how “politicians across the political spectrum” have allowed Islamophobia to fester in society. This and more below:


I was the first Muslim leader of a western democracy. And I say Islamophobia has poisoned our politics | Recommended Read

While many in the world rightly bemoan the rise of populism, few are willing to confront the fact that it is the hatred of Muslims that is driving populism in Europe and the west. In 2024, almost half the world’s population will take part in elections. Many countries have already gone to the polls, and in a number of countries, particularly across Europe, the biggest gains have been made by those who make a living out of vilifying Muslims. I am, proudly, a western Muslim. I had the great honour and privilege of being the first Muslim leader of any western democracy, and yet it is increasingly difficult to persuade fellow Muslims that Europe does not have a problem with our very existence. In the UK, the scale of a Labour victory is likely to be the story of the day, but it is also expected that Nigel Farage’s Reform UK will make significant gains. A recent YouGov Poll put Reform one point ahead of the Conservatives. Farage – who, during this campaign, has said that Muslims do not share British values – has a history of making Islamophobic remarks. In 2015, he said that people had fears of Muslims as a “fifth column”; in 2013, he suggested Muslim migrants were “coming here to take us over”. Farage has failed to get elected seven times and yet, despite this and regardless of the fact that he has made a living out of fanning the flames of religious and racial tension, the British media appears obsessed with platforming him. Across the Channel, we have had results of elections to the European parliament, and in many countries we have seen the far right victorious and celebrating gains. Politicians across the political spectrum have, over the decades, been far too dismissive of Islamophobia within our politics. Instead of challenging and confronting inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, politicians have inexplicably allowed it to fester. They have allowed anti-Muslim hate preachers to spread their insidious ideology and let it rip throughout our communities. read the complete article

United States

US says two universities fell short in addressing anti-Arab, antisemitic hate

The University of Michigan and the City University of New York have fallen short in addressing recent incidents of anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and antisemitic nature, the U.S. Education Department said on Monday. The department also reached resolutions with both universities over complaints of such incidents. The schools agreed to take some steps like re-opening some past complaints, reporting their results to the government, training personnel on how to respond to claims of discrimination and conducting more surveys to assess such discriminatory experiences, the Education Department said in a statement. The incidents that were looked into ranged from threats reported by a Jewish student on social media to pro-Palestinian students reporting they were called "terrorists." The universities confirmed the resolution agreement and said they opposed all kinds of discrimination and harassment. Advocacy groups say that incidents of hate and bias against Jews, Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians in the United States, Israel's key ally, have gone up amid the war. read the complete article

War Crimes Hearing Gives Public Virtual Look Inside a Secret C.I.A. Prison

The public on Monday got its first view of a C.I.A. “black site,” including a windowless, closet-size cell where a former Qaeda commander was held during what he described as the most humiliating experience of his time in U.S. custody. The former commander, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, led the 360-degree virtual tour of the site, Quiet Room 4, during a sentencing hearing at Guantánamo Bay that began last week. He described being blindfolded, stripped, forcibly shaved and photographed naked on two occasions after his capture in 2006. He never saw the sun, nor heard the voices of his guards, who were dressed entirely in black, including their masks. Mr. Hadi, 63, was one of the last prisoners to be held in the overseas black site network where the George W. Bush administration held and interrogated about 100 terrorism suspects after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Even now, years after the Obama administration shut the program down, its secrets remain. But the details are slowly emerging at the national security trials of former prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. read the complete article


Uyghur Organisation accuses Chinese authorities of banning Eid celebrations in Xinjiang

In stark contrast to global Muslim festivities marking Eid al-Adha, the Centre for Uyghur Studies has accused the Chinese government of intensifying its crackdown on Islamic practices in Xinjiang, historically known as East Turkistan. Traditionally celebrated as the Festival of Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha holds deep cultural and religious significance for Muslims worldwide. However, the Centre for Uyghur Studies highlighted that Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang are being denied the right to observe this important occasion due to severe restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities since 2017. “For centuries, Uyghur Muslims have joyously celebrated Eid alongside the global Muslim community,” the Centre stated in a public announcement on X. “Yet, in recent years, they have faced increasing suppression under Chinese occupation, particularly since 2017,” it added. Under the current regime, Chinese policies have allegedly criminalised Islamic practices and banned religious festivals like Eid al-Adha. read the complete article

Beijing’s Crackdown on Islam Is Coming for Kids

On March 15, the third day of this year’s Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Muslims living in Yuxi, a city in China’s Yunnan province, woke up to an unusual message circulating on their WeChat threads. The prefectural Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs had issued an “urgent public notice” authorizing surveillance of fasting among their schoolchildren. “The Party Committee, governments, education, and sports bureaus of all levels should investigate the participation of minors in fasting and other religious activities,” the notice stated. It further required these organs to “adhere comprehensively to the principle of separation between education and religion, and strengthen the education and guidance of teachers, students, and the majority of young people.” Yuxi is home to a significant population of a state-recognized ethnic Muslim minority nationality called the Hui. Partly descendants of Arab and Persian traders from the times of the Silk Road, they speak Mandarin and are racially indistinguishable from the Han majority. Despite this long history of assimilation, they find themselves today at the epicenter of a nationwide Sinification campaign that started in the wake of the Chinese Communist Party’s forum on religious work in April 2016. So far, the campaign has centered on removing halal food signs written in Arabic and modifying the “foreign architecture” of mosques, actions that were justified as preventing the spread of the so-called trends of “Saudization and Arabization” among the Hui. Now that the majority of mosques have been beheaded of their domes and minarets, the notice in Yuxi brings into focus an even more critical dimension of the campaign: profiling Hui Muslim youth in the name of separation between religion and education. read the complete article


Modi has been re-elected — and after a decade of discord, India’s Muslim community looks to an uncertain future

Following the pre-dawn prayers in New Delhi’s predominantly Muslim neighbourhood of Jamia Nagar, a number of shopkeepers gather near the local tea stalls. One of them, 27-year-old Shariq Khan, is expressing his dismay that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to win all seven Lok Sabha seats in India’s capital. “This does not look right, not even a single defeat in Delhi”, Shariq says. “This will have dangerous repercussions for Muslims throughout India.” As we are speaking, the tea seller’s attention is captured by news on his phone. “Two prayer leaders killed, one found dead under mysterious conditions in Uttar Pradesh”, he reads aloud. The ominous words bring the bustling environment to an abrupt and uneasy standstill. Narendra Modi has been sworn in for a third term as India’s prime minister after his party, the BJP, secured 240 seats in the recent national elections. Even though it fell 37 seats short of an outright majority, the BJP has formed alliances the necessary alliances with two other parties to form government. This was not welcome news in Muslim-majority neighbourhoods, where conversations have shifted from the business of day-to-day life to anxious debates over what the future holds for the Muslim community. This community, making up 14 per cent of India’s population, has seen a dramatic shift in the political climate since Modi first came to power in 2014. read the complete article


Man charged after incident at Hamilton Downtown Mosque, police classify it as a hate crime

A 54-year-old man has been arrested and charged with criminal harassment following an incident at the Hamilton Downtown Mosque that police say, based on the man's "statements and actions," they have classified as a hate crime. On Monday, Hamilton police issued a statement saying they charged a Hamilton man after reviewing video evidence and interviewing witnesses. They say that on Friday at about 12:40 p.m. ET, police went to the mosque after a call about a trespasser who had entered the building and "made his way to a classroom with a teacher and students." The man "proceeded to make hate-related comments" and "upon leaving the building (he) ripped up an English copy of the Qur'an that he had brought with him," police said. "This has terrorized the teachers and students," the mosque's board of directors said in a statement posted on social media on Saturday. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 18 Jun 2024 Edition


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