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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12 Oct 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, Muslim MP Apsana Begum was forced to flee a conference following a torrent of Islamophobia abuse against her, which was sparked by misinformation spread on social media by Tory MP Greg Hands, meanwhile in Canada, police are looking for a man who allegedly painted hate symbols on the front of a mosque in Toronto, and in the United States, CAIR Chicago is reporting a spike in hate messages against the Muslim community, with “calls, emails and social media comments ranging from people yelling anti-Muslim insults and classic Islamophobic tropes, to threats of violence and gloating at the death of civilians in Gaza.” Our recommended read of the day is by Phil Carpenter for Global News on increasing Islamophoic harassment in Canada, including a viral video that shows one woman telling another woman, who had a Palestinian flag on her car, that she should be “raped and dragged through the streets in front of your kids.” This and more below:


Emotions high in Montreal between Israeli, Palestinian supporters, with some lashing out | Recommended Read

A Montreal woman was caught on camera this week insulting someone for flying a Palestinian flag from a car in the city. Global News is protecting the identity of both women, but in the video from Tuesday the woman in the car can be heard telling another filming she should be sexually assaulted. “You should be raped and dragged through the streets in front of your kids,” the woman is heard saying. The video has since gone viral. Asmaa El Mouden, a Muslim woman in Montreal who wears a head scarf, says she was saddened by the video. “I got even more concerned and scared for myself, my family members, my friends, for other people,” she explained. This is just one in a number of incidents of people lashing out against Muslims and Jews since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, say community groups. According to the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), Islamophobia, even on university campuses across the country, has surged. “Doubled,” insisted NCCM Quebec Community engagement officer Yasser Lahlou. “It has actually doubled in the past few days, yes.” read the complete article

Man wanted after 'hate symbols' painted on east Toronto mosque

Toronto police are investigating after a man allegedly painted “hate symbols” on the front of a mosque in the city’s east end. The incident happened last Friday at about 7:30 p.m. at Madinah Masjid at 1015 Danforth Ave., just east of Donlands Avenue. Police described the suspect as approximately 30-years-old with short hair and tattoos on his left forearm. read the complete article

United States


In a heated exchange during a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting on Wednesday, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., allegedly made an off-color remark to another member during a broader discussion on Muslim clerics attending Jewish events that “stunned” his colleagues, according to three sources with knowledge of the meeting. In Wednesday’s caucus meeting, according to two sources, a member discussed wanting both Jewish and Muslim constituents to feel comfortable attending events to support each other, and that they had heard Muslim clerics did not attend a vigil on Tuesday night in their district. Sitting in the back of the room and speaking to another attendee, Gottheimer made a remark. Some present thought he was responding to comments from the front of the room and saying Muslim clerics felt guilty. Gottheimer’s comment left many in the room stunned, according to a member in the room. According to two sources with knowledge of the meeting, Gottheimer was heard saying, “It’s because they’re guilty.” A Democrat in the room said that, after making his remark, Gottheimer could be seen having an animated discussion about it with Rep. Greg Casar, D-Texas. read the complete article

CAIR-Chicago Reports Spike in Hate Messages, Community Concerns Received After Outbreak of Mideast Violence

The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today reported a spike in hate calls/emails, and community concern outreach since the outbreak of violence in the Middle East. CAIR-Chicago says the volume of hate messages – dozens per day over the past few days – rivals that received following the 9/11 terror attacks or the announcement of Trump’s “Muslim ban.” The calls, emails and social media comments range from people yelling anti-Muslim insults and classic Islamophobic tropes, to threats of violence and gloating at the death of civilians in Gaza. Other calls from community members include instances of harassment that reference the situation in Israel and Gaza and complaints of letters and statements being sent from employers (hospitals, banks, law firms, and other private and public institutions, and in some cases even schools), that express one-sided empathy, share support links for Israel, but have nothing to say about the long-standing Palestinian suffering, or more pertinently, the crunching of the already debilitating siege and the carpet bombing that is claiming hundreds of civilian lives as we speak. CAIR-Chicago reported yesterday that one local community member lost six family members in night raids that dropped a bomb over their home as they slept in their beds. read the complete article


China has sentenced Rahile Dawut to life in prison and would like the world to forget her. We must not

I last saw Rahile Dawut in 2016, at a conference we’d organised in Hong Kong. We sat in a sunny precinct, drank coffee, and enjoyed a rare moment of calm before the gathering storm. She was detained in 2017, and this week we have confirmation, via the US-based Dui Hua Foundation rights group, that Dawut has been jailed for life by China for “splittism”: a deliberate attempt to split the Chinese nation. She was not a critic of the regime; her work was entirely apolitical. She was an internationally respected scholar, a professor in the region’s top university, and she was leading several government-funded research projects on Uyghur intangible cultural heritage. Dawut spent 25 years researching the religious traditions and expressive culture of her people. Following a groundbreaking PhD on Uyghur pilgrimage sites, she published prolifically in Uyghur, Chinese and English. Over the past six years, the sacred shrines have been destroyed, and the people who visited them detained for “re-education” in the camps, or given long prison sentences on spurious charges of “religious extremism”. It’s clear that Dawut’s “crime” is her research: the same painstaking work to document Uyghur heritage that was previously officially approved and supported by government grants. Dawut has become a powerful symbol of the devastation of Uyghur culture and society, but she is just one individual among many. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Islamophobic attack forces Labour’s Muslim MP, Apsana Begum, to flee conference

Muslim female Labour MP, Apsana Begum, has been forced to flee the Labour conference after being subjected to a torrent of Islamophobic abuse and due to concerns over her safety. The attack on Begum is said to have been sparked by misinformation spread by a Tory MP, Greg Hands, over her support for Palestine. According to Novara Media, Hands, who is Chair of the Tory party, wrote to his Labour counterpart, Anneliese Dodds, on Monday, demanding that Begum have the whip withdrawn. He claimed that the MP for Labour and Limehouse 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 at the Labour conference. Citing the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, Hands claimed that the PSC is anti-Semitic and urged Labour not only to remove the pro-Palestine organisation but also to discipline Begum. The letter to Dodds has been shared on the social media platform X. Hands’ letter unleashed a torrent of misogynistic and Islamophobic abuse at Begum, both online and offline, Novara Media reported. 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


Why India supports Israel

The brutal assault by Hamas on Israeli civilians and Israel’s intense retaliation on Gazans is being exploited by online rightwing factions in India to perpetuate their own nationalist anti-Muslim propaganda. Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s close bond has often been described as a ”bromance,” writes Kavita Chowdhury for The Diplomat. India historically did not consider itself an ally of Israel, and diplomatic relations were not established until 1992 because many anti-colonial Indian leaders sympathized with the Palestinian cause, viewing their struggles as a consequence of British imperialism. But that resistance changed in 2014 with the election of Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party and its Hindu nationalist followers champion “Israel’s exclusionist policies toward Palestinian Muslims. They also want India to mirror the Israeli model of a muscular military state, Chowdhary argues. Rightwing Hindu groups and trolls are flooding social media with misinformation about the fighting in Israel and Gaza, branding themselves as the ”digital champions" of Israel, according to regional Indian newspaper Siasat Daily. Several posts showing old footage of ISIS attacks and beheadings were purported as Hamas’s attacks on Israel and used to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment in India. “It’s a concerning development that amplifies the polarizing tactics employed by these groups, which can have severe implications for communal harmony and national unity,” a former sociology professor told the paper. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 12 Oct 2023 Edition


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