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

Sign up for the Today in Islamophobia Newsletter
28 Nov 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In Australia, a terrorist slur against a Palestinian Christian child in a Sydney primary school is among hundreds of instances of Islamophobia across the country, meanwhile in China, investigative reporting conducted by the Financial Times has shown that Beijing’s crackdown on Islamic architecture extends well beyond the previously documented cases occurring in the northern Xinjiang territories, and in the Netherlands, the Guardian details the numerous racist, Islamophobic, and offensive remarks of Geert Wilders, who could become the country’s next leader. Our recommended read of the day is by Chad De Guzman and Koh Ewe for TIME on the targeted shooting of three college students of Palestinian descent who remain under intensive care in Vermont, as police arrest the suspected gunman. This and more below:

United States

Who Are the Three Palestinian Students Who Were Shot in Vermont? What We Know So Far | Recommended Read

Three college students of Palestinian descent—two of whom are U.S. citizens and the other a legal resident, according to police—remain under intensive care after a white man shot them on Saturday night in Burlington, Vermont, while visiting relatives over Thanksgiving. Kinnan Abdalhamid, Tahseen Ahmed, and Hisham Awartani, all aged 20, were shot in the front yard of a house belonging to one of their relatives after they’d returned from bowling, according to police. Two of them were wearing keffiyehs, traditional Palestinian headscarves, and were speaking in Arabic. The three men were initially identified in a joint statement by their families, which called on authorities to “conduct a thorough investigation, including treating this as a hate crime.” The suspected gunman, who authorities identified as nearby resident Jason J. Eaton, was charged with three counts of attempted second-degree murder on Monday—but the 48-year-old pleaded not guilty. U.S. President Joe Biden, who has been briefed about the shooting, said he has spoken to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger to offer support, and that additional resources will be provided to aid in the investigation of the crime. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said in a statement on Sunday, “we have reason to believe this shooting occurred because the victims are Arab.” read the complete article

White House grapples with internal divisions on Israel-Gaza

The previously unreported meeting of officials underscores how Biden’s handling of what is arguably the biggest foreign policy crisis of his presidency is dividing a White House that has prided itself on running a disciplined and united operation. The Israel-Gaza war has roiled the administration more than any other issue in Biden’s first three years in office, according to numerous aides and allies inside and outside the White House, as staffers agonize over their positions on highly emotional issues. This account of how the administration has handled the Israel-Gaza war is based on interviews with 27 White House officials, senior administration officials and outside advisers, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly to reveal internal conversations. The division inside the White House is to some degree between Biden’s senior longtime aides and an array of younger staffers of diverse backgrounds. But even top advisers said they recognize the conflict has hurt America’s global standing. Biden at times has seemed to wrestle with his own emotions regarding the war. On Oct. 25, he voiced skepticism about the Gaza death toll provided by the Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas. “I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” he said. The following day, Biden met with five prominent Muslim Americans, who protested what they saw as his insensitivity to the civilians who were dying. All spoke of people they knew who had been affected by the suffering in Gaza, including a woman who had lost 100 members of her family. Biden appeared to be affected by their account. “I’m sorry. I’m disappointed in myself,” he told the group, according to two people familiar with the meeting. “I will do better.” The meeting, scheduled for 30 minutes, ended up lasting more than an hour, according to one White House official, and ended with Biden hugging one of the participants. read the complete article

Fiery rhetoric around Israel-Hamas war stokes fears at home

Incendiary rhetoric about the war between Israel and Hamas is contributing to a stark rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism in the U.S. — and raising the risk that violent words could turn into actions. Three 20-year-old Palestinian men were shot and injured near the University of Vermont on Saturday after being confronted by a white man with a handgun while walking along a street — an incident federal authorities are investigating as a possible hate crime. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday a “sharp increase” in threats against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities across the U.S. has been recorded since the beginning of the war, which has highlighted sharp divisions in American society over the Middle East, particularly on college campuses. “There is understandable fear in communities across the country,” Garland said. In the first four weeks following Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel’s southern border, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy organization — documented a 216 percent increase over the previous year in reports of anti-Muslim or anti-Arab bias. read the complete article

Vermont shooting raises more concerns about attacks against Arab Americans

The shooting of three college students of Palestinian descent has added more fear and concern about a rise in bias, discrimination and violent attacks against Arab Americans and Muslims in the U.S. While the motive is still unclear, some groups argue officials should consider this a hate crime. William Brangham discussed more with Abed Ayoub of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. read the complete article

Trump’s ‘intolerance towards everyone’ encourages hate, Chris Christie says

Donald Trump’s “intolerance towards everyone” encourages antisemitism and Islamophobia in the US amid tensions over the war between Israel and Hamas, said Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor challenging Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. “When you show intolerance towards everyone – which is what he does – you give permission as a leader for others to have their intolerance come out,” Christie told CNN on Sunday. “Intolerance towards anyone encourages intolerance towards everyone. And that’s exactly what’s going on here.” “He says what he says, without regard to the fact that he’s perceived as a leader and that his words matter,” Christie said. This, he said, meant bigots “think you’re giving them permission be a bigot and that’s even worse than them thinking you are one”. read the complete article

Viral: Muslim Woman At American Airport Harassed By Man, Called 'Terrorist' - Report | Florida

A video reportedly shot at an airport in the United States of America has gone viral. The video purportedly shows a man harassing a Muslim woman wearing a hijab. He allegedly called her a "terrorist" and said that all Muslims hate America. Some strangers reportedly came to the woman's aid and confronted the man. He was later taken away and booked on a different flight, as per reports. The victim, identified as Salma Khan, said that police did not take her statement. read the complete article

Opinion: An anti-Muslim tirade inspires a beautiful response

After police say he repeatedly taunted an Arab immigrant food cart worker in his Manhattan neighborhood, former Obama-era National Security Council official Stuart Seldowitz was arrested last week by the New York Police Department. He now faces hate crime and aggravated harassment charges. The videos of Seldowitz’s rants — which went viral — were despicable. The former government official made vile anti-Muslim comments while jeering at the Egyptian food cart worker about the Israel-Hamas war with remarks such as, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian children, you know what? It wasn’t enough!” Tragically, these types of disturbing incidents have skyrocketed since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7. the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has documented an “appalling” rise in reported anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias incidents in the month following October 7. Overall, CAIR fielded a 216% increase in requests for help and reported bias incidents as compared to 2022. Alarmingly, it appears one such horrific incident may have occurred on Saturday in Burlington, Vermont, when three Palestinian students were shot. Two are US citizens and the third is a legal resident. And two of them were wearing the traditional Arab scarf known as a keffiyeh, according to local police. The Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee noted in a press release that they were also speaking Arabic. The question is: What can each of us do to counter the hate and make it clear that we won’t allow bigotry to become normalized against any community? One of the best responses is what we saw in New York City after Seldowitz’s hate-filled rants got widespread attention: Elected officials and neighbors came together to stand with the 24-year-old Egyptian food cart worker, Mohamed Hussein, who was subjected to the rants. read the complete article


Sydney primary school student called 'terrorist' as reports of Islamophobia, antisemitism rise

A terrorist slur against a Palestinian Christian child in Sydney is among hundreds of instances of Islamophobia as the subject of school prayers raises concern. A Christian primary school student has been called a terrorist for being Palestinian, reflecting rising Islamophobia nationwide. The case, in a western Sydney school, has sparked a letter to Christian schools urging prayers for all people harmed in the Gaza war, whether on the Israeli or Palestinian sides. Since the war broke out on 7 October, Islamophobia Register Australia has been flooded with a 13-fold increase in reporting rates, averaging more than 30 reports a week. The 227 incidents to last Friday include the harassment of worshippers at mosques, Muslim women being spat at and a large amount of verbal abuse. "But we've heard of a range of incidents that were not reported to us," executive director Sharara Attai told AAP. "This is in line with research that says Islamophobia is significantly under-reported." read the complete article


'Get Out From Here': Dutch PM Probable Geert Wilders Tells Muslims In New Viral Video

Dutch anti-Islam populist and PM probable Geert Wilders undated speech -- wherein he targets Islam and Muslims -- has gone viral. The speech is said to be after his far-right party's surprise victory in Netherlands. But HT cannot independently verify the date and location of the video. In his speech, Wilders pledges crackdown on Muslims, their mosques and Islamic centres as he brands Islam a religion of "hate and terror". read the complete article

United Kingdom

Racism: Abuse being normalised in Wales' schools - report

A new report by the children's commissioner for Wales said racist abuse happened regularly in schools and was "being normalised" by students. The Welsh government said it would "carefully consider" recommendations. He felt that not enough people were educated on hurtful and racist language, adding: "There was always something every day to be honest. "Not something as big as what I just told you but little things. People being very uneducated - whether they mean it or not." Bowen was not alone - the report highlighted cases of a Muslim girl being told "you're hiding a bomb in your scarf" and another girl being left in tears after her hijab was pulled off. Other children said they had been called a terrorist and one child was told by another that they did not want to sit by them because of their skin colour. Children said they felt racism was not taken seriously and some feared retaliation if they reported it. read the complete article


How China is tearing down Islam

Mosque demolitions and modifications have been documented in Xinjiang, the northwestern region where hundreds of thousands of Turkic Muslims have been detained, and there has been some evidence of architectural changes elsewhere. But the Financial Times has now found that Beijing’s crackdown on Islam has spread to almost every region of the country. A visual investigation based on satellite images of thousands of mosques before and after modification reveals a widespread policy of stripping buildings of Arabic features, and in some cases replacing them with traditional Chinese designs. Some have even been torn down. An analysis of 2,312 mosques once featuring Islamic architecture shows that three-quarters have been modified or destroyed since 2018. For some activists, these changes reflect a broader suppression of Islamic culture. “This is the start of the end of Islam in China,” says Ma Ju, a US-based campaigner for Chinese Muslim rights. read the complete article


Europe’s far right goes mainstream

In the 21st century, Europe’s far right is firmly ensconced in the mainstream, and reflects political attitudes no longer harbored simply by a fringe minority. The Dutch parliamentary election last week offered the clearest evidence yet of the new status quo. In a shock result, the far-right Freedom Party led by longtime firebrand politico Geert Wilders claimed 37 of the Dutch legislature’s 150 seats, more than doubling its footprint after 2021 elections. Wilders’s faction, known by the Dutch acronym PVV, now is the largest party in parliament and theoretically in position to dictate the fate of the country’s next government. The broader signal of the vote is clearer. To Wilders’s far-right and ultranationalist allies elsewhere, the PVV’s success is a confirmation of their centrality. “A new Europe is possible,” declared Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister and, like Wilders, a vocal opponent of immigration. “On issues the far right sees as most important in Europe — immigration, crime committed by immigrants, the multicultural society, the western debate on gender, more traditional views on families — many other parties have now adapted to their rhetoric,” Ann-Cathrine Jungar, a political scientist at Sweden’s Södertörn University, told my colleagues. “Far-right parties and their agendas have entered the mainstream. They are the new normal.” read the complete article


Some Palestinian and Muslim Canadians fearful 'simply for existing' as Israel-Hamas war continues

As she worries about the security of her loved ones in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Canadian Dalia El Farra is also concerned about her safety here in Canada. "I can't grieve in peace," she told The Current's Matt Galloway. "There's a constant feeling of being attacked and needing to defend myself … and just constantly trying to humanize myself and my people." It has been a difficult several weeks for Canadians with connections to Gaza. According to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry, at least 14,000 Gazans have been killed by Israeli bombardment since Oct. 7, including at least 5,500 children — figures deemed reliable by the United Nations. Among some of Israel's targets in Gaza were refugee camps and ambulance convoys. More than 50 journalists, including 46 Palestinian journalists, have also been killed. According to Israeli officials, 1,200 Israelis were killed in Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel, with about 240 taken as hostages into Gaza. Those tensions are spilling over into some of Canada's major cities. In Toronto, a man was arrested in connection with multiple hate-motivated assaults, including a Saturday morning attack on worshippers outside of a mosque. Police Chief Myron Demkiw said on Thursday there have been 17 reports of anti-Muslim or anti-Palestinian hate crimes in Toronto from Oct. 7 to Nov. 20, a 1,600-per-cent year-over-year increase, alongside a rise in report of antisemitic hate crimes. El Farra, whose work involves human rights and equity, diversity and inclusion, says she's afraid to speak up because she feels "very disenfranchised and very marginalized" in Canada. read the complete article


Offensive, hostile and unrepentant: Geert Wilders in his own words

The victory of Geert Wilders’s far-right PVV party in the Dutch elections has taken pollsters and politicians across Europe by surprise. But Wilders is no newcomer. For years he has attempted to woo voters with his brazenly anti-Islamic policies, hostility to migration and suspicion of Brussels. In the election campaign, he appeared to win over voters with a slightly softer version of his familiar rhetoric, telling one interviewer he could put his views on Islam “on ice” and declaring in a debate that he wanted to be “a prime minister for all Dutch people”. Here is a reminder of some of the most high-profile – and offensive – remarks made by the man who is now within striking distance of power in the Netherlands. In 2007, Wilders sent a letter to the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant calling the Qur’an a “fascist book”. The paper put the letter on the front page but in an editorial suggested that the PVV leader had gone too far with the comparison, which was deeply hurtful and offensive to many. Wilders said this in a 2008 interview with the Observer, at the time of creating a short film entitled Fitna, an Arabic word which means “strife”. In the film he again criticises the Qur’an as a “fascist book” and intersperses images of the September 11 attacks with quotations from the Islamic holy book. "I ask you: do you want, in this city and in the Netherlands, more or fewer Moroccans? Wilders asked this as one of a series of questions at a campaign meeting in The Hague in 2014. PVV supporters responded (as they had done to previous prompts): “Fewer, fewer, fewer”. Wilders replied: “Then we will sort that out.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Nov 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results