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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11 Oct 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, Lancashire’s Muslim community is saddened and deeply concerned after a severed pig’s head was found outside the site of proposed mosque, meanwhile in the US, a similarly shocking vandalism incident involving the painting of a Nazi symbol has occurred in the city of Boston as the Massachusetts chapter of CAIR is calling for the act to be investigated as a hate crime, and UK Home Secretary Suella Breverman has told police that waving or displaying a Palestinian flag in the country may be considered a criminal offense. Our recommended read of the day is by Zainab Iqbal for Middle East Eye on how New York City Palestinian advocacy groups and organizers are facing increased threats and intimidation after Mayor Mayor Eric Adams spouted inflammatory comments on his social media channels, equating pro-Palestinian supporters with terrorism. This and more below.

United States

'Does it ever end?': Muslims face Islamophobia in New York City amid Pro-Palestine protests | Recommended Read

Jannatul Ferdous Nila and two friends were on their way to a pro-Palestine protest outside the Israeli consulate in New York City on Monday, after leaving Brooklyn to take a train into Manhattan. All of them were wearing hijabs and keffiyehs. While the journey there was short, it was one they’ll remember for a long time. They were far from the protest when they exited the train station and were met by a man who stared at them and mockingly jeered, “Free, Free, Fuck you!” They chose to ignore him. Later on, a woman stopped them and called them “monsters” and “murderers” and proceeded to swear at them and said, “You guys are all terrorists! All of you!” “We kept looking down but she was still yelling as we were walking away,” Nila told Middle East Eye. Later on, a man cursed them out and yelled insults at them, calling them terrorists. “Go back to Iraq or Libya or Yemen or Pakistan or wherever the hell it is you’re from,” Nila recalled. “It was a long list of Muslim countries and I can’t remember all of them he said to us.” Still, Nila and her friends ignored him. They made sure not to make eye contact and kept walking. While they pretended to be okay, they were gripped by fear of what could happen to them. “How am I supposed to expect the streets of New York City to be safe as a Muslim woman when the mayor of the city of New York himself was spewing hateful Islamophobic rhetoric publicly on the internet and calling us terrorists?” “When the Mayor of New York City announces that Pro-Palestinian protestors are akin to extremists and terrorists, it is of no surprise that others will take licence to do the same,” Rabea Ali, the communications coordinator at the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told Middle East Eye. “These statements will inevitably lead to emboldened hate against Muslims and Palestinians in a similar fashion as Trump's Islamophobic rants.” read the complete article

Trump says he will reinstate Muslim travel ban if he is re-elected

Donald Trump says that he would reintroduce his Muslim travel ban as violence deepens in the Middle East after the brutal Hamas attack on Israel. “As president, I will once again stand strongly with the state of Israel, and we will cut off the money to the terrorists on day one,” said Mr Trump, who is leading the race to be the Republican 20204 nominee. And he told a campaign rally in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on Monday that he would “reimpose the travel ban on terror-afflicted countries.” Mr Trump imposed a similar ban on people from seven countries entering the US after taking office in 2017, and spouted anti-Muslim rhetoric during the 2016 campaign. The former president claimed during the rally on Monday that “tens of thousands of probable terrorists” had entered the US since Joe Biden rescinded the travel ban. Mr Trump claimed without providing any evidence that the “same people that attacked Israel” are entering the US through its southern border with Mexico. read the complete article

Civil rights leaders call for hate crime investigation into vandalism at Muslim institution

Massachusetts civil rights leaders are calling for a hate crime investigation after they said a sign at a Muslim religious institution in Boston was defaced with the word "Nazis." The Council on American-Islamic Relations' Massachusetts chapter said Tuesday that the vandalism happened at the Islamic Seminary of Boston and the Palestinian Cultural Center for Peace, located on Quint Avenue in the city's Allston neighborhood. In a statement to the Boston Globe, Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden called the incident "a despicable act that goes beyond simple vandalism." "It is intended to harm and vilify members of our community and we will explore all charging options — including civil rights violations — if and when an arrest is made," Hayden said, according to the Globe. CAIR noted that it was urging security precautions at houses of worship "after a surge in racist, hateful and threatening rhetoric online, as well as inflammatory comments by political leaders." Also on Tuesday, a pro-Palestine student group at Harvard University said it was postponing a vigil "due to credible safety concerns and threats against student security." A statement from the same group a day earlier, holding Israel "entirely responsible for all unfolding violence," sparked controversy, with lawmakers criticizing it and the school's response. read the complete article

Justice in the US: Where accountability goes to die

Last week Human Rights Watch published a report looking at the lack of accountability for war crimes by US soldiers in Iraq, as over 100,000 Iraqis had been detained since the invasion in 2003. The report highlights the cases of men such as Taleb al-Majli, a man detained by US forces while visiting family in Anbar province. He was one of the men held in detention at the notorious prison camp Abu Ghraib, subjected to physical, psychological and sexual humiliation by his interrogators. Conversations around accountability continue to this day. Since 2003, the US has been attempting to secure the trial, conviction and ultimately death penalty of a group of men accused of being responsible for planning the attacks on 11 September 2001 in the US. Twenty years on, after some of the worst torture to have been revealed in the process of detaining these men, we are still no close to learning the full truth of what actually happened. There has been no accountability for any crimes, and this is largely due to the extent to which torture has tainted every single aspect of the justice system.'' read the complete article

United Kingdom

Lancashire’s Muslim community ‘deeply saddened’ after pig’s head left outside site of proposed mosque in ‘hate crime’

Officers were called to reports of a racially aggravated public order offence in Mosley Street at around 2.10pm on Sunday (October 8). It was reported that a pig’s head had been left outside the former Methodist church building. Police said they were treating the incident as a potential hate crime and an investigation was ongoing to identify the individual responsible. Nadeem Ashfaq, who co-founded Light Foundation with his colleague Dr Arfan Iqbal, described the incident as “disappointing.” He said: “It is deeply sad and disappointing that in a multi-cultural and religiously diverse England, where the freedom and speech and peaceful worship is much celebrated, that a pig’s head can be left outside a proposed Mosque, with a clear intent to commit harassment and intimidation. read the complete article

Muslim MP Forced to Flee Labour Conference After Visiting Palestine Stall

The UK’s only hijabi MP has been forced to flee the Labour party conference due to safeguarding concerns, after the Conservatives spread misinformation about her support for Palestine. On Monday, Tory party chair Greg Hands wrote to his Labour counterpart Anneliese Dodds demanding that Apsana Begum, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse, have the whip withdrawn on the grounds that she had “tweeted her ‘solidarity’ with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)”. Begum had not in fact tweeted anything; instead, the PSC had thanked Begum via its own X account for her pre-arranged visit to the stall on Saturday. Hands’ letter unleashed a torrent of misogynistic and Islamophobic abuse at Begum both online and offline, some of it describing Begum as a “bitch”, “female slave” and “part of the caliphate”. The attacks, which are currently being investigated by the police, led Begum’s staff to fear for her safety. Begum decided to leave the conference on Monday. read the complete article

Waving Palestinian flag may be a criminal offence, Braverman tells police

Waving a Palestinian flag or singing a chant advocating freedom for Arabs in the region may be a criminal offence, Suella Braverman has told senior police officers. In a letter to chief constables in England and Wales, the home secretary urged them to clamp down on any attempts to use flags, songs or swastikas to harass or intimidate members of the Jewish community. Her words, which follow deadly attacks by Hamas on Israelis and a military response, will deeply concern freedom of speech advocates and members of the Muslim community. In the letter, Braverman said police should not restrict themselves to potential offences related to the promotion of Hamas, a proscribed organisation. "I would encourage police to consider whether chants such as: ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ should be understood as an expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world, and whether its use in certain contexts may amount to a racially aggravated section 5 public order offence. “I would encourage police to give similar consideration to the presence of symbols such as swastikas at anti-Israel demonstrations. Context is crucial. Behaviours that are legitimate in some circumstances, for example the waving of a Palestinian flag, may not be legitimate such as when intended to glorify acts of terrorism. read the complete article


How the BJP is using the Israel-Palestine conflict for domestic gain

Several leaders of the ruling party and Hindutva supporters have used the escalation in Gaza as an opportunity to run messaging directed at domestic politics. A cursory look at hashtags like #IslamIsTheProblem, #StandWithIsrael, #IsraelUnderAttack, #IndiaWithIsrael and #HamasTerrorists, which have trended on X since the Hamas attack, shows that the BJP’s IT Cell and its supporters are using the Israel-Palestine conflict to push ideas around communal conflict within India. The scale of this Hindutva push is so significant that a number of international commentators have remarked on how Indian accounts are putting out the most extreme anti-Palestinian messaging on the internet. This line of messaging from the BJP is expected with the Lok Sabha elections only a few months away, Observer Research Foundation fellow Kabir Taneja, told Scroll. “These things will happen more often now as national security is a marketable policy for the BJP ahead of elections,” he added. He also said that beyond the official stance of India, the BJP is always expected to back the Israeli cause as it aligns with its Hindutva ideology. “In general, conservative ideas have always sided with Israel,” Taneja said. “They would always say that the compromise in the Gaza conflict should be in favour of Israel. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Oct 2023 Edition


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