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 Oct 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., former President and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has said that he would revoke student visas and deport pro-Palestinian demonstrators if re-elected, expanding his “Muslim Ban” rhetoric, meanwhile in India, anti-Muslim and Hindu nationalist taunts were hurled at the Pakistani national team at the Cricket World Cup, and in the United Kingdom, the advocacy group Tell Mama has recorded 200 cases between October 7 and 16 of anti-Muslim hate attacks, marking a five-fold increase over the same period last year. Our recommended read of the day is by Holly Yan, Brad Parks, Lauren Mascarenhas, and Virginia Langmaid for CNN on the funeral of Wadea Al Fayoume, a six year old Chicago area Palestinian-American Muslim boy who was stabbed 26 times by his landlord in what police are calling a hate crime. This and more below:

United States

A 6-year-old Palestinian-American was stabbed 26 times for being Muslim, police say. His mom couldn’t go to his funeral because she was stabbed, too | Recommended Read

“This incident cannot help but further raise the fears of Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian communities in our country with regard to hate-fueled violence,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. The boy’s parents are from a village in the West Bank, Rehab said. Wadea’s mother moved to the United States 12 years ago, his father moved to the US nine years ago, and Wadea was born in the US. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker was among the mourners who attended Wadea’s funeral Monday, his office said. “To take a six year old child’s life in the name of bigotry is nothing short of evil,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Every single Illinoisan – including our Muslim, Jewish and Palestinian neighbors – deserves to live free from the threat of such evil.” The family’s landlord, Joseph M. Czuba, 71, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of a hate crime and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said. According to a Monday court filing, Czuba’s wife told investigators after the incident that on October 11, he told her he wanted Wadea and his mother to move out of the home. The wife also told investigators that Czuba “believed that they were in danger and that (Shahin) was going to call over her Palestinian friends or family to harm them,” according to the filing.Shahin told authorities, according to the filing, that on October 11, Czuba also confronted her “about what was going on in the Middle East.” Shahin told authorities that on Saturday, moments before the stabbings unfolded, Czuba told her he was angry at her for what was going on in Jerusalem. “Shahin stated she responded to him ‘let’s pray for peace.’ Shahin stated Czuba gave her no chance to do anything. Shahin stated that Czuba then attacked her with a knife,” according to the filing. read the complete article

Trump, under fire for Israel comments, proposes fresh crackdown on Muslim immigrants

In addition to blocking people from entering the country based on ideological screenings, Trump said he would revoke student visas and deport anti-Israel demonstrators. He also pledged to expand his travel ban on people from Muslim-majority countries and refuse refugees. “We will implement strong ideological screening for all immigrants to the United States,” he announced Monday, according to prepared remarks. “In addition, we will aggressively deport resident aliens with jihadist sympathies.” The proposals echoed Trump’s 2016 campaign, when he seized on terrorist attacks in Europe to call for banning Muslim immigration, which turned into a ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries when he became president. The Supreme Court eventually upheld a modified version of the policy. The position Trump articulated marked the latest move in the Republican presidential race to adopt a strict posture of barring refugees from the Gaza Strip amid war in the Middle East. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said over the weekend that the United States should not accept them, adding, “If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all antisemitic.” He was referring to the Palestinian militant group whose deadly attack on Israel started the ongoing war. read the complete article

Wadea al-Fayoume: Last words of knifed US Muslim boy were 'Mom, I'm fine'

The last words of a six-year-old Muslim boy stabbed to death in a suspected hate crime over the weekend were "Mom, I'm fine", his uncle said as hundreds gathered to lay the child to rest. On Monday, the Mosque Foundation in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview was overflowing, with some paying their respects on the pavement outside. Police say Wadea al-Fayoume was attacked because he was Muslim. His funeral was held as the family's landlord appeared in court charged with the boy's murder. The 71-year-old suspect was allegedly upset about the Israel-Hamas war. Mourners came from all over the area, some from much farther away, to express their grief and anger over the killing. Wadea's mother, 32-year-old Hanaan Shahin, was seriously injured in the attack and was unable to attend her son's funeral as she is recovering in hospital. "I'm shocked but I'm not surprised," said Sadia Nawab, a mother-of-three who lives near the mosque. "We're worried about our children, and more worried about the powerless kids around the world that are in Palestine now, that are in Gaza." read the complete article

The Fight Over MSNBC’s Cave-in to Islamophobia

In the wake of the Hamas massacre and Israel’s new bombing campaign in Gaza, a prelude to a pending ground war, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic violence is flaring up all over the world. The situation resembles the days and weeks after 9/11. While public officials like President Joe Biden have rightly condemned anti-Semitic exploitation of the conflict, the political elite has been more muted on the dangers of Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism. As war fever rages, the need to stand up to racism and bigotry in any form is paramount. Unfortunately, a major media outlet that is putatively liberal, the cable news network, MSNBC, cowered for a few days in the face of Islamophobia. On Friday in Semafor, Max Tani reported, MSNBC has quietly taken three of its Muslim broadcasters out of the anchor’s chair since Hamas’s attack on Israel last Saturday amid America’s wave of sympathy for Israeli terror victims. Tani added, “Some staff at MSNBC have been concerned by the moves, feeling all three hosts have some of the deepest knowledge of the conflict. Tani also documented intense debate, sometimes including incendiary accusations that reporters who called for contextual reporting were guilty of being terrorist apologists, on MSNBC’s internal Slack channel. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that in removing these Muslim Americans from hosting duties for a week, MSNBC was sending a signal that their religious identity made them ill-suited to be representatives of the network. This may be a subtle form of bigotry, but it is still bigotry. read the complete article

Anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim attacks on rise in NJ amid Israel-Gaza conflict, advocates say

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, Palestinians in the Tri-State area are standing up and addressing the rise in anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim bigotry since the war started. They want people to know the terrorist views of Hamas do not represent the views of all Palestinians and they want the hate to end. The community says it is being targeted both at home and abroad. One mother in New Jersey said she has three kids stuck in Gaza and she doesn't know if they are dead or alive and she hasn't heard from them in days. "Palestinian lives are not lesser than any other lives," said Basma Bsharat with the Palestinian American Community Center. Palestinian Americans and Muslims in New Jersey have suffered an increase in attacks, both physical and verbal, since the start of recent hostilities in Israel and Gaza, advocates say. "Every day we sit waiting on our phones to see if our friends and our family are alive," Executive Director of the Palestinian American Community Center Rania Mustafa said. Supporters say the targeting of Palestinian and Muslim people has been echoed by politicians at every level who have turned their backs on the Muslim community. "Words matter, and yours words as elected officials have shaped a twisted narrative that has dehumanized and even demonized the Muslim and Palestinian community," Executive Director of CAIR-NJ Selaedin Maksut said. read the complete article

Israel-Palestine war: Anti-Muslim incidents in US revive post-9/11 fears

Last week, Aliyah was walking home from a protest wearing an abaya, a long black garment covering her body. She had a Palestinian flag painted on each of her cheeks. As she got closer to her house in Queens, New York, a man looked at her and spat. “Get out of here,” he shouted. Aliyah proceeded to walk the two-block distance to her house as fast as she could, she then entered her home and quickly locked the door. She had never been so terrified in all of her life. In her 24 years of living in New York, she had never experienced such hatred. “These are the stories I heard from my parents. People calling them names. Cursing. Changing their seats on the train. After 9/11, this is what my parents told me,” Aliyah, who didn’t want her full name used, told Middle East Eye. “My parents went through all that all those years ago. They kept me safe and protected,” she said. “But now it’s happening again.” While there are no concrete numbers at the moment, the number of anti-Muslim incidents in the US seems to be on the rise, following the war that broke out between Palestinian armed groups based in Gaza and Israel on 7 October. According to Chris Habiby, the national government affairs and advocacy director at The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the organisation has seen a high number of anti-Muslim incidents since the war erupted. He explained that one of the biggest contributors to that is the “rhetoric we are seeing from politicians and the media.” “This is an issue that has, and will continue to, impact Arab Americans broadly, regardless of their religion,” he said. “What we are seeing is at a maximum similar to what we saw after 9/11, more likely worse because of the rhetoric coming from all sides of the political spectrum.” read the complete article

The United States Faces a Test on Guantánamo Bay in Geneva

In January 2002, the first men were forcibly transferred to Guantánamo Bay from Afghanistan, shackled, diapered, blindfolded, and thrown into “dog cages.” One of the first commands issued by President George W. Bush was that the Geneva Conventions—which dictate the rights of those detained and the obligations of the detaining power—would not apply to the new detention camp. This directive came as a shock to the officers on the ground—including then-commandant of the prison, Mike Lehnert, who had been trained on international humanitarian law. In fact, the U.S. government chose to imprison “War on Terror” detainees at Guantánamo Bay specifically because the base was the only place fully under U.S. control where the government could argue that neither domestic nor international legal protections for detainees applied. Over nearly 22 years, the United States has been pressured to change this position by legal challenges and international outcry, particularly following the torture of detainees at Guantánamo. Progress has been slow and almost imperceptible. And still, the government continues to argue that detainees are subject to a unique legal regime excluding most of the rights guaranteed by domestic or international law. This week in Geneva, the United States will again be forced to explain that position. And as a long-time attorney for detainees, who has fought violations at Guantánamo for a decade, I will be present to challenge the U.S.’s use of Guantánamo as a “legal black hole.” read the complete article


Indians slam ‘unapologetic Islamophobia’ aimed at Pakistan’s cricket team

It started with deafening boos when Pakistan captain Babar Azam took his turn to speak after the toss in the middle of the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad and carried on long after India had inflicted another heavy loss on their neighbours in the ICC Cricket World Cup. The Pakistani cricketers were at the receiving end of incessant hostilities from the crowd during their match against the hosts at the world’s biggest cricket stadium, named after India’s prime minister and leader of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in his hometown. As the match got under way, and with Pakistan fans effectively banned by the Indian authorities, the partisan nature of the crowd became evident as any boundary scored by the Pakistani batters was met with pin-drop silence. When Muhammad Rizwan – Pakistan’s hero in their run chase against Sri Lanka earlier last week – walked back to the pavilion after his dismissal, the crowd surrounding the walkway mockingly greeted him with chants of “Jai Shri Ram [Hail Lord Ram]”. The Hindi-language chant has emerged as a war cry by Hindu far-right groups and is often used in a derogatory manner against the country’s Muslim population. Indian sports writer Karthik Krishnawamy termed the crowd’s behaviour “unapologetic Islamophobia” and urged the Pakistan Cricket Board to file a complaint against it. read the complete article

The language being used to describe Palestinians is genocidal

Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, set the tone as he spoke about how far to assign guilt for the worst single atrocity against Jews in his country’s history. “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. This rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved, it’s absolutely not true. They could’ve risen up, they could have fought against that evil regime,” said Herzog. In the UK, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Jake Wallis Simons, took a different tack in generalising guilt by writing that “much of Muslim culture is in the grip of a death cult that sacralises bloodshed” before deleting his tweet after a backlash. Ariel Kallner, a member of the Israeli parliament for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, had the answer. He demanded a repeat of the mass expulsion of Arabs in 1948 known to Palestinians as the Nakba or Catastrophe. The dehumanising language spilling out of Israel and from some of its supporters abroad is of a type heard at other times and places that helped create a climate in which terrible crimes take place. Those who led and carried out the Rwandan genocide often cast it in the language of Tutsis as outsiders and interlopers, and the killing as an act of self-defence. If we don’t do it to them, they will do it to us. Tutsis were debased as “cockroaches”, a word also invoked by a then chief of the Israeli defence forces to describe Palestinians. Other Israeli political, military and religious leaders have at different times described Palestinians as “a cancer”, “vermin”, and called for them to be “annihilated”. They are frequently portrayed as backward and a burden on the country. read the complete article

U.S.-based minority advocacy groups blocked on X in India

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), two U.S.-based non-profits that frequently criticise Indian political leaders’ record on minority and caste rights issues in India, have had their accounts on X withheld in India, with the blocking taking place on Sunday. X is the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. A message on the platform says that their handles were suspended following a “legal demand”. read the complete article


Australian parliament unites to condemn hate speech including antisemitism and Islamophobia

The Australian parliament has united to condemn “all forms of hate speech” including antisemitism and Islamophobia, with the prime minister declaring that the country must not succumb to the “forces of division”. As the death toll mounted in Israel and Gaza and concerns grew about spillover tensions in Australia, Anthony Albanese said Hamas should be unequivocally condemned for committing “mass murder on a horrific scale”. The prime minister recognised Israel’s right to defend itself, but he also urged the Netanyahu government to “operate by the rules of war” amid increasing expectations of an imminent ground operation in Gaza. The four Greens MPs voted against the motion because they had not succeeded in adding a line also condemning “war crimes perpetrated by the state of Israel” and seeking “an end to the state of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories”. read the complete article


China's Re-education Camp 'Graduates' Trapped in Forced Labor in Xinjiang

A new report from a leading expert on the Chinese government's policies in the Xinjiang region reveals a new program that combines "re-education" with forced labor, aimed at erasing the cultural identities of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. The article is the latest from German anthropologist Adrian Zenz, whose past work shed light on the internment of some 1 million people in Xinjiang camps between 2017 and 2019. The camps were part of the "medicine" prescribed by Chinese President Xi Jinping for the "disease" of splittism after a spate of terrorist attacks. Many detainees were reportedly victims of extreme neglect, torture, and rape. Today, the "reform" and "labor" components are kept largely separate, with detainees first placed in skills classes before being trained for a job and finally moved to a long-term labor placement under the watchful eye of the state. These persons, who the government has dubbed "graduates," must accept such job "opportunities" or face punishment. The focus has shifted from keeping detainees out of the public eye to integrating them into the broader society. Though the main aim is political, Zenz says Beijing also hopes to reap some economic gains as well. Studies indicate this focus on training yields more highly productive workers, many of whom are put to work for private companies far from the training centers. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Five-fold increase in anti-Muslim cases to Tell MAMA between October 7 and 16

Tell MAMA has recorded 200 cases between October 7 and 16, marking a five-fold increase over the same period last year (37 reports), as of 1 pm today. As our previous bulletin made clear, “The nature of many offline cases sent to our service is often overtly racist – targeting Arab and Palestinian communities with dehumanising slurs, anti-Muslim slurs or in some cases targeting their homes, or when speaking Arabic in public, as well as targeting Asian and Muslim communities.” The following cases came into Tell MAMA between October 7 and October 16: 81 offline cases – (8 assaults, 11 threatening behaviour, 5 vandalism, and 57 cases of abusive behaviour). Cases occurred in areas like London (49), Greater Manchester (13), Lancashire (5), South Yorkshire (3), West Yorkshire (4), Derbyshire (2) and Birmingham (5). 119 online cases – consistent with last week, a majority of which contained dehumanising anti-Muslim language and tropes, equating communities with terrorism and violence. read the complete article

Islamophobic graffiti plastered all over South London bus stop

Islamophobic graffiti has been seen plastered across bus stops amid a rise in hate crimes since last week. The reports come following the worsening of the situation between Israel and Palestine. Hina Bokhari, a Liberal Democratic London Assembly Member, says she reported on the graffiti she spotted in her area, New Malden. "It was really upsetting when the woman contacted me, the first thing she said was my kids have seen it, and having to explain these kind of words to young children is really difficult." Speaking to MyLondon, local resident, Mariam, 38, said: "Feeling disappointed, disgusted and shocked at having seen this hateful graffiti and the lack of police response. Had to get our local councillor and MP involved as I didn't feel it was being taken seriously. "Many other Muslim women locally that I have spoken to are feeling vulnerable and under threat, and we would just like it removed immediately so as not to normalise this hate within the local community. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 17 Oct 2023 Edition


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