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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14 May 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, a group of men with pro-Israel slogans have been accused of shouting antisemitic abuse at Jewish campers who were supporting Palestine on Saturday night in front of Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum, meanwhile in the US, the Northern California Islamic Council is calling for an investigation after a man physically assaults several volunteers helping to hang banners on a highway bridge near Menlo Park, and in France, a new book out by researchers from the University of Lille takes a closer look at why French Muslims are increasingly moving abroad. Our recommended read for the day is by Haris Zargar for Middle East Eye on how the fate of India’s 220 million Muslims seemingly hangs in the balance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi aggressively seeks a third term in office. This and more below:


Indian elections: With their future at stake, do Muslims' votes matter? | Recommended Read

As India conducts its crucial multi-phase parliamentary election, the fate of the country’s 220 million Muslims hangs in the balance. Amid increasing marginalisation, this minority community is confronted with the disquieting reality of diminishing relevance in the electoral exercise. Once a crucial voting bloc, Muslims now seem to have little strategic influence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is vying for a third term in office, has shown no inclination to entice Muslims to vote for his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On the contrary, he has fuelled his campaign with anti-Muslim hate speech, while his party members have launched tirades against the community. At a campaign rally in Rajasthan late last month, Modi referred to Muslims as “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”, while warning that the opposition Congress Party would redistribute the country’s wealth to Muslims. The BJP also published an animated video alleging that the Congress would snatch the wealth of non-Muslims and distribute it to Muslims, comparing them to “invaders, terrorists, robbers and thieves”. Days later, Modi accused the Congress of advocating “vote jihad”, an antiquated conspiracy theory perpetuated by Hindu nationalists. This appears to mark a strategic shift for Modi and his Hindu right-wing party, which had previously touted its inclusive slogan of “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (meaning “everyone’s support, everyone’s development”). read the complete article

India's ruling party is accused of incitement against Muslim minority

As India's six-weeks-long elections rumble on, the leading Hindu nationalists face allegations of incitement against the Muslim minority. This anti-Muslim rhetoric hasn't gone unnoticed in a country where speech that incites to communal hatred is illegal. That video was taken down by the BJP after it received widespread criticism online. India's election commission ordered X to take down another similar video. The police in one Indian state summoned the chief of the BJP over it. But the election commission has not punished Modi over his rhetoric. It has sent a notice of violation to the BJP's party chief. The commission asked for a response by the end of April, but the BJP has failed to do so thus far. And the BJP hasn't directly answered questions about why they're targeting Muslims like this. Raheel Dhattiwala is an expert on political violence in India. She says Hindu nationalists like the BJP use language that can trigger violence. read the complete article

Video: Being Muslim in today’s India

As India votes in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has run an especially vitriolic campaign. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speeches has demonised Indian Muslims in an attempt to consolidate Hindu votes. For many, it is the culmination of a decade of attacks, physical and rhetorical, against India’s largest minority community. In this episode of The State of the Republic, activist and author Harsh Mander discusses what life is like for Muslim citizens in India today. His guests are veteran journalist Ziya us Salam, lawyer and legal scholar Shahrukh Alam and young writer Zeyad Masroor Khan. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Racist attacks and hate crimes on rise in UK - use interactive map to see how your area compares

Racist and religiously motivated hate crimes have increased in the last year, with several charities warning that both antisemitism and islamophobia are on the rise. A new map shows the area with the highest rates from last year, during which time police in England and Wales recorded just under 77,000 crimes that were racially or religiously aggravated. These offences included assault, causing criminal damage, harassment, and causing public fear, alarm, or distress, motivated by hatred of the victim’s perceived race or religion. Charities have warned about the recent rise in antisemitism and islamophobia in the wake of the Hamas terror attack on Israel last October and the subsequent bombing campaign by the Israeli government in Gaza. read the complete article

Oxford: Men hurl 'antisemitic abuse' at Palestine protesters

A group of men with pro-Israel slogans have been accused of shouting antisemitic abuse at Jewish campers who were supporting Palestine on Saturday night in front of the Pitt Rivers Museum in South Parks Road. Freelance reporter and graduate student Madeleine Jane was on site when the incident took place. A video filmed on the scene depicts the group of men loudly yelling "Israel we love you" and chanting "free the hostages", as well as one man calling the protesters "terrorists" and saying, "I'll f***ing kill you". Another man can be heard calling the pro-Palestine activists "terrorist sympathisers". Ms Jane said the men targeted Jewish students who were part of the encampment - with community members including children meeting for a nightly vigil. She claimed the men were also aggressive towards press on site - including her - and the Doha-based media company Al Jazeera Arabic who were filming at the time. Ms Jane said she was "repeatedly approached, called a terrorist, screamed at and threatened". read the complete article

'People don't necessarily recognise it as a crime - but we feel it'

Greater Manchester saw some of the highest rates of racial and religious hate crimes recorded across the country last year. But despite historically high levels across the country, some communities fear many incidents are still not being reported to police. In total, 5,520 hate crimes were recorded in Greater Manchester last year - around 3 per cent less than the year before. However, at 333.2 incidents per 100,000 people, Manchester saw the second highest rate of hate crimes recorded in England and Wales in 2023. Most of these incidents are classed as 'racially or religiously aggravated public fear, alarm or distress'. However, nearly 1,000 racially or religiously aggravated assaults were also reported in Greater Manchester last year, with 197 of these incidents resulting in injury. It comes as several charities have warned of a rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and Israel's subsequent military operation in Gaza. Muslim groups have also spoken of a spike in anti-Muslim hatred sparked by the conflict in the Middle East. But some have raised concerns that many incidents of hate crimes towards Muslims are not being reported, blaming a lack of 'confidence' in the police. read the complete article

Rishi Sunak seeks to target the 'extremists weaponising hate'

Extremists are “weaponising” Islamophobia and anti-Semitism to divide and undermine British society, Rishi Sunak said in a keynote speech on Monday. Mr Sunak warned that extremists were exploiting current global conflicts “to divide us”, in an hour-long appearance at the Conservative-supporting Policy Exchange think tank, in which he warned the UK faces “some of the most dangerous yet most transformational” years the country has known. “People are abusing our liberal democratic values – the freedom of speech and right of protest – to intimidate, threaten and assault others,” he said. “To weaponise the evils of anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim hatred in a divisive, ideological attempt to set Briton against Briton.” read the complete article

United States

Muslim advocacy group calls for investigation of Menlo Park assault on pro-Palestine activists

A Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is calling on law enforcement to investigate a reported assault last week on two pro-Palestinian advocates in Menlo Park. On May 5, two pro-Palestinian volunteers with the Northern California Islamic Council were hanging banners calling for peace in Gaza on the Ringwood highway overpass over Highway 101 in Menlo Park. An unidentified man approached them and began physically and verbally harassing them and throwing their belongings over the fence on the bridge, according to a statement by the Bay Area chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations. As seen on a video published on the organization’s YouTube channel, the unknown man pulled down one of the banners while accosting the volunteers, yelling and shaking his finger in their faces. The man grabbed the shirt of one of the volunteers and pushed them, then took one of the volunteers’ backpacks and threw it off the bridge onto the highway below. The man also attempted to throw down one of the banners — easily more than 10 feet long — onto the highway. CAIR’s Bay Area chapter said that this was the third assault against Bay Area pro-Palestinian banner-hangers reported to them since the start of the war in Gaza. According to the organization’s 2024 civil rights report, the organization received the highest number of complaints of anti-Muslim hate in 2023, with almost half the complaints coming in the last three months of the year. read the complete article


New book looks into why French Muslims leave their country: 'Here, I'm an Arab; in Austria, I'm a Frenchman'

After noticing some of their former Muslim students take the Eurostar to leave for London for good, researchers Olivier Esteves, Alice Picard and Julien Talpin decided to take a closer look at why French Muslims were moving abroad. Their "survey of the French Muslim diaspora" was recently published under the title La France, Tu l'Aimes Mais Tu La Quittes ("France, Loving It But Leaving It"). In an interview with Le Monde, Esteves, an English professor and specialist in English-speaking cultures and societies at the University of Lille, presents the main conclusions from the survey he co-directed. What we wanted to understand was "why" these French Muslims were leaving their country. And why is that? Their main goal is to escape an"Islamophobic atmosphere." In our interviews, respondents very frequently mentioned the hostile media and political discourse toward Islam and Muslims. This climate was exacerbated in the wake of the 2015 attacks and led to a marked acceleration in the number of people leaving. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 May 2024 Edition


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