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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17 May 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the Netherlands, anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders and three other party leaders have agreed on a coalition deal that veers the Netherlands towards the far-right, meanwhile in the United Kingdom, the Met police have charged a man with multiple counts of racially aggravated criminal damage after a series of anti-Muslim incidents last October and November, and in the United States, Professor Khaled Beydoun notes that the campus protests across the country and pro-Palestinian demonstrators are increasingly cast as antisemites, which is false and puts their lives in danger. Our recommended read of the is by Natasha Lennard for The Intercept on how professors and academics who speak out in support of Palestine and students protesting in support of Palestinians are losing their jobs.

United States


Many scholars committed to Palestinian liberation can no longer do their jobs. That’s because many of the professors most supportive of Palestine don’t have jobs anymore. This is nowhere truer than in the Gaza Strip — where all 12 universities have been reduced to rubble, and more than 90 professors have been reported killed during Israel’s assault on the territory. The gravity of what United Nations experts warn could amount to U.S.-backed “scholasticide” has no equivalent on American soil. Yet Israel’s attempted eradication of intellectual life in Gaza echoes far beyond the territory, with U.S. universities ensuring that some professors vocal in their support of Palestine can no longer do their jobs either. Since the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza, academics in fields including politics, sociology, Japanese literature, public health, Latin American and Caribbean studies, Middle East and African studies, mathematics, education, and more have been fired, suspended, or removed from the classroom for pro-Palestine, anti-Israel speech. read the complete article

UCLA Report of Task Force on Anti-Palestinian, Anti-Muslim, and Anti-Arab Racism

On behalf of the UCLA Task Force on Anti-Palestinian, Anti-Muslim, and Anti-Arab Racism, we submit this report documenting the racism and violence directed at Palestinians, Muslims, Arabs and anyone, including Jews, who express opposition to the war in Gaza and in defense of Palestinian rights. Our Task Force was convened and charged to report to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Dr. Darnell Hunt. While we were not tasked with producing a report, the violence against our students has occasioned this action. The racism and violence we document includes not only long-standing incidents of harassment and punitive actions taken against faculty and students for their support of Palestinian rights but the recent violent attacks from counter protesters on the Palestine Solidarity Encampment, the university’s utter failure to protect the students under attack, and the violence perpetrated by police who at the administration’s behest cleared the encampment by injuring, detaining and arresting peaceful protesters. Finally, the administration has yet to grant student protesters amnesty, offer to cover medical expenses for the injuries they sustained at the hands of counter protesters and the police, and protect their fundamental right to engage in peaceful protest. In this report we describe the racism and violence directed at Palestinians, Muslims, Arabs and defenders of Palestinian human rights, including many Jews, and we narrate our Task Force’s attempts to bring the racism and violence to your attention, efforts that have largely been ignored. read the complete article

Characterizing Pro-Palestinian Protesters as Antisemitic is a ‘Dangerous Conflation’

As campus protests raged across the country and pro-Palestinian demonstrators were increasingly cast as antisemites, Khaled Beydoun feared the characterization was a disservice not only to Muslim students but also to their Jewish peers. As an associate professor of law at Arizona State University and a scholar of the First Amendment, religion and national security, Beydoun was frustrated by what he saw as discussions of antisemitism overshadowing clear demonstrations of Islamophobia. He also disagreed with how the two prejudices were pitted against each other. “To understand Islamophobia and the way it developed in the United States, you have to understand how antisemitism developed,” he said. “Once you see these two forms of bigotry as essentially arising from the same rotten core, you’re able to demystify the idea that they’re oriented against one another.” Beydoun, a Muslim himself, has used his 2019 book—American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear,—and his academic and social media work since, to chart the historic roots and legal implications of Islamophobia in the U.S. Inside Higher Ed spoke with Beydoun about his view on campus protests, and how he links them to widespread discrimination against Muslims that was inflamed after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The conversation, edited for length and clarity, follows. read the complete article

Biden Administration Issues Title VI Reminder Amid Campus Protests

In a May letter to schools, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights provided concrete examples of their obligation to prevent discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The letter specifically calls out discrimination based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics including actions that target people who are (or are perceived to be) Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian, Hindu, or Palestinian. It comes amid a wave of pro-Palestinian campus protests and a rise in reports of antisemitism and islamophobia at U.S. colleges. “I continue to be deeply concerned by the repeated reports of antisemitic and anti-Israeli, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian harassment on our campuses and in our communities,” wrote U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in the letter to schools. “These incidents are abhorrent, period. There is nothing more important than making sure students feel safe on campus.” read the complete article

Progressive Muslim challenges incumbent in US Congress over Gaza policies

Imraan Siddiqi, the son of Indian immigrants to the US, has been involved in civil rights most of his life -- from seeing racial inequality in the South to the post 9/11 era to the Muslim ban under the last administration. But he says it was the US support for Israel's ongoing war on Gaza that made him want to run for Congress. As executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in the state of Washington, Siddiqi has been inundated with reports of anti-Muslim bias since Israel's war on Gaza began in October (he is taking a sabbatical from his position at CAIR to run for office). In addition, he was living in a district where the representative, Kim Schrier, a Democrat, was not vocally advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza. "I wasn't anticipating running in 2024, but the situation in Gaza has impacted our community. This is a moment where people of conscience all over the world are standing up," Siddiqi told The New Arab on Wednesday, the day his campaign officially launched. read the complete article

Unmasking counterprotesters who attacked UCLA’s pro-Palestine encampment

A young man in a white plastic mask beats a pro-Palestinian protester. Another in a maroon hoodie strikes a protester with a pole. A local instigator pushes down barricades. Law enforcement stood by for hours as counterprotesters attacked the pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA on April 30, which erupted into the worst violence stemming from the ongoing college protests around the country over Israel’s war in Gaza. While a criminal investigation is underway into the assaults that occurred at UCLA, the identities of the most aggressive counterprotesters have gone largely unknown. A CNN review of footage, social media posts, and interviews found that some of the most dramatic attacks caught on camera that night were committed by people outside UCLA – not the university students and faculty who were eventually arrested. Many at the scene appeared dedicated to the pro-Israel cause, according to social media and their own words that night. The violent counterprotesters identified by CNN, which included an aspiring screenwriter and film producer and a local high school student – were joined by unlikely allies, several of whom are known throughout southern California for frequenting and disrupting a variety of protests and public gatherings. read the complete article

United Kingdom

UK police charge man after attack of Palestine mission in London

British police charged a man with multiple counts of racially aggravated criminal damage today, after a series of anti-Muslim incidents last October and November at the office that serves Palestinian interests as well as mosques and businesses in the capital, Reuters reports. In a statement the Metropolitan Police said: “Detectives investigating a linked series of anti-Muslim incidents at the Palestinian Mission in Hammersmith, as well as mosques and businesses across west London, have charged a man.” Police said Jonathan Katan was arrested last November after red paint was thrown or sprayed at a number of different locations on 11 occasions between 16 October and 18 November. Katan, 61, from Ealing in west London, was charged with 11 counts of racially aggravated criminal damage, and two other offences relating to hate crime, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. He is due to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court tomorrow read the complete article


India grants first citizenships under new law criticised for discriminating against Muslims

India granted citizenship to the first batch of people under a contentious new law that has been criticised for being discriminatory against Muslims. The citizenship was granted to 14 people on Wednesday amid the ongoing general elections, even as anxious people living in Bangladesh-bordering states continued to protest the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Implementing the CAA had been one of the key manifesto promises of prime minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before the last general elections in 2019. The government said federal home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handed over the Indian citizenship certificates as recipients gave an oath of allegiance, after their documents were verified. The home ministry did not provide any details regarding their identities. read the complete article


Unmasking counterprotesters who attacked UCLA’s pro-Palestine encampment

Anti-Muslim Geert Wilders and three other party leaders agreed on a coalition deal early on Thursday that veers the Netherlands toward the far right, capping a half year of tumultuous negotiations that still left it unclear who will become prime minister. The “Hope, courage and pride” agreement introduces strict measures on asylum seekers, scraps family reunification for refugees and seeks to reduce the number of international students studying in the country. “Deport people without a valid residence permit as much as possible, even forcibly,” the 26-page document says. Wilders cried victory on what he called “a historic day,” claiming he had made sure the three other coalition parties, including the one of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, had accepted the core of his program. “The strictest asylum policy ever,” Wilders exulted. “The Dutch back at No. 1,” he added, insisting his campaign theme how immigrants and asylum seekers had all too often been granted preferential treatment over others. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 17 May 2024 Edition


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