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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24 Jun 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a 42-year-old woman in Texas has been charged with attempted murder after she tried to drown a three-year-old Palestinian-American child while also assaulting the toddler’s mother, meanwhile in Canada, the Muslim community is worried about increased attacks following a disturbing episode involving a truck displaying Islamophobic messages being driven around the Greater Toronto Area, and in India, the country’s Muslims continue to face discrimination following Prime Minister Modi’s election win. Our recommended read of the day is by Ashifa Kassam for the Guardian on the popularity of the far-right National Rally party, whose manifesto includes anti-Muslim policies, and how this is creating great fear amongst the French Muslim community. This and more below:


‘They’re trying to divide us’: Muslims in France voice fears over rise of far right | Recommended Read

They marched through the narrow streets of Lyon’s medieval old town, about three dozen of them, emboldened after the French far-right gains in the European elections. Masks covering their faces, they wound past the hidden passageways that provided cover for the resistance during the second world war, chanting: “We are fucking Nazis” and “Islam out of Europe”. For some in this French city, last week’s far-right demonstration, captured on video, was a chilling reminder of just how much is at stake in the snap parliamentary elections that could see the French far-right lead government. “The consequences would be catastrophic,” said Kamel Kabtane, the head of the French Institute of Muslim Civilisation, founded in 2017 to promote intercultural dialogue in Lyon. “For France, for all of the citizens of this country and, in particular, for the Muslim community.” Polls suggest the far-right, anti-immigrant National Rally (RN) is on course to win the elections but will fall short of a majority. “We’re up against those who object to our very presence in this country,” said Kabtane in his office at the institute, located in the city’s tree-lined outskirts. “And they’ll do everything they can to make life difficult for us.” Rife with antisemitic, homophobic and racist views, the party was long seen as a danger to democracy. While Marine Le Pen, Jean-Marie’s daughter, has spent much of the past decade working to soften the party’s image, RN’s vehemence against immigrants, and Muslims in particular, remains the party’s calling card. read the complete article

'France's prevailing Islamophobic discourse is responsible for the rise of the far right'

In recent days, I've often been asked if Muslims should be worried about the possible rise to power of a far-right coalition. My first answer is a shrug: What can this opportunistic coalition amount to, with no program or culture, and which feeds on an accumulation of discontent? And what weight does it carry when placed next to our great religion, which brings together almost two billion followers worldwide, in all their diversity? Could this coalition, which is incapable of even saying whether or not it will roll back the pension reform, really be able to strike a blow at our faith? That said, there is the question of daily life. And there, we know that we could expect new regulatory measures and new policies of exclusion, with devastating consequences for people's lives. My concern is real, and I've never been so worried about the intolerance that is becoming a fact of life in France. What is painful is to see a general discourse developing in France that builds consensus by lashing out at Islam and pinning all the world's faults on the Muslim community. This discourse has taken hold everywhere, and we need to analyze it in order to combat it. read the complete article

United States

Texas woman allegedly tried to drown Palestinian-American girl, aged 3

The US’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization is calling for hate crime charges to be filed against a Texas woman accused of trying to drown a three-year-old Palestinian-American girl while saying that the child’s mother wasn’t really American. For now, the suspect in the case has been booked on counts of attempted murder and injury to a child. In a news release on Friday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) said the child’s mother wore a hijab and modest swimwear, and she was watching her children play in the shallow end of the pool when Wolf approached her. “The alleged attacker reportedly approached the mother with racist interrogations then jumped into the swimming pool and grabbed the children to the deep end of the pool to allegedly drown them,” the statement said, adding that the mother’s six-year-old son was able to escape but her three-year-old daughter was unable to do the same. “The alleged attacker snatched off the mother’s head scarf and used it to beat the mother as well as kicking her to keep her away while forcing her daughter’s head underwater,” Cair’s statement said. A bystander helped rescue the three-year-old, Cair said, with the police news release adding that the child “had been yelling for help and was coughing up water”. read the complete article

New Jersey school district apologizes for offending Muslim group with question about ISIS terror group in quiz

The Wayne Township Public Schools superintendent’s office sent out a statement to the district expressing regret over an “inappropriate” question that was asked during a quiz at Schuyler-Colfax Middle School earlier this week. The group shared a screenshot of the question, which read, “It is a terrorist organization that commits acts of violence, destroys cultural artifacts, and encourages loss of life in order to achieve its goal of global rule under strict Islamic Sharia law.” Students were prompted to choose the group from the multiple choices below, which included, “The Shining Path,” “al Qaeda,” “Islamic State,” and the “Palestinian Liberation Organization.” The image featured the “Islamic State” bubble filled in, as it was the correct answer. TWM condemned the question in the post’s caption, stating, “We have seen anti-Muslim & anti-Palestinian sentiments, teachers, and content in our schools over and over again. But we must not allow it to continue. Call and email everyone that you can.” “This is not okay on a million levels. Go. And yes. This is real,” the post added. read the complete article


Excluded by the BJP, shunned by the Opposition: Indian Muslims and the crisis of non-belonging

After Narendra Modi was sworn in for the third time as prime minister and his oversized cabinet of 71 members assembled for its first cabinet meeting at his residence, it was clear that he had taken care to include people of disadvantaged castes, tribes, minority religions and women in his cabinet. There were seven women ministers, 10 Dalits, 27 of Other Backward Classes, and five of religious minorities. Only one major minority that was conspicuously excluded from the cabinet. This was of Muslims. The numbers of people of Muslim identity nominated by even parties that were not the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 national elections were the lowest since India became a republic. The success of the BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh juggernaut driven by Modi is not just that the BJP has ensured virtually no representation of Muslims in Parliament and state legislatures. Its even greater triumph is that parties across the spectrum of the political Opposition – including the Congress – that claim fidelity to India’s secular democratic Constitution are balking at choosing Muslims as candidates to fight elections outside Jammu and Kashmir and a few other constituencies of high Muslim concentration. This is the triumph of the political project of Hindutva and it is enabled by the supine surrender to the political agenda of the BJP-Sangh by the non-BJP Opposition. read the complete article

India’s Muslims continue to face discrimination and hate following Modi’s election win

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi secured a third term, but his party lost its majority in parliament. Modi portrays himself as a strong leader of a rising nation, but his ten years in office have been marked by a fierce crackdown on dissent and India's ethnic and religious minorities. Producer Zeba Warsi traveled across northern India to report on the impact that has had on Muslims there. read the complete article


Islamophobic truck stunt shows dangers of legitimizing far-right media networks

Imagine pulling off hate as a fundraising stunt. Yet it seems that’s what Rebel “News” did this week after a truck it owns drove around the Greater Toronto Area, flashing blatant and disturbing Islamophobic messages and tapping white supremacist fears of a “Muslim takeover.” “Muslim takeover” is in scare quotes because it’s a conspiracy theory innocent of all evidence. It’s not just that what Rebel is doing is totally inappropriate for a self-described journalism organization, not just that it once again crosses lines of taste or decency and not even that it incites hate toward a group of people — Muslims — who are already maligned and have repeatedly borne the deadly brunt of this alienation in Canada. Even though, all of this is egregious aplenty. More Muslims have been killed in targeted hate-attacks in Canada than in any other G7 country. These are not random killings of people who happen to be Muslim but murders overtly based in Islamophobia. A senate report last year found more than 3,000 anti-Muslim social media groups or websites active in Canada. In addition, the Islamophobic truck stunt was linked to Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza when Rebel claimed the message was created by a group that views pro-Palestinian protests as antisemitic. read the complete article


Israel-Hamas conflict animates the reincarnated Canadian Jewish Defense League

Hamas’ 7 October terror attack on Israel and the subsequent attacks by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in Gaza have galvanised individuals linked to the Jewish Defense League (JDL), which promotes far-right, extremist pro-Israeli views and Islamophobia. This article summarises the narratives and tactics used by this group and potential concerns about their activities. The Jewish Defence League (JDL) is a far-right group whose stated goal is to protect Jews from antisemitism by whatever means necessary. The American wing of the league was previously labelled a terrorist organisation by the FBI in their ‘Terrorism 2000/2001’ report due in part to its connection to planned bombings on 11 December 2001. The Canadian JDL has not been connected with any terrorist acts and in recent decades it has been largely defunct. However, in 2021, its founders created a new organisation called Israel Now, describing it publicly as a re-branded Canadian JDL which could fight “the battle” on social media. This briefing looks at activities of Israel Now and related outfits since Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel on 7 October. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 24 Jun 2024 Edition


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