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
20 Oct 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, the country’s special representative for combating Islamophobia, Amira Elghawaby, is warning against allowing the Israel-Hamas war to become a catalyst for the stereotyping of Muslim Canadians, meanwhile in the U.S., an Islamic day school in Bridgeview chose to close and switch to remote learning on Friday after receiving what its principal called a “threatening hate letter,” and right-wing media in the U.S. has flooded the airwaves with dehumanizing rhetoric against Palestinians according to reporting done by The Huffington Post. Our recommended read of the day is by the Associated Press on how the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been forced to cancel plans to hold its 29th annual banquet at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington due to bomb and death threats targeting the hotel on account of the event. This and more below:

United States

Major US Muslim group cancels Virginia banquet over bomb and death threats | Recommended Read

A national Muslim civil rights group said Thursday it is moving its annual banquet out of a Virginia hotel that received bomb and death threats possibly linked to the group's concern for Palestinians caught in the Israel-Hamas war. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, canceled plans to hold its 29th annual banquet on Saturday at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The group, who has used the hotel for a decade, will imove the banquet to an undisclosed location with heightened security, the group's statement said. “In recent days, according to the Marriott, anonymous callers have threatened to plant bombs in the hotel’s parking garage, kill specific hotel staff in their homes, and storm the hotel in a repeat of the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol if the events moved forward,” the statement said. A separate banquet planned for Oct. 28 in Maryland also was cancelled and will be merged with Saturday's event, CAIR said. The threats came after CAIR updated banquet programming to focus on human rights issues for Palestinians. The group has started an online campaign urging members of Congress to promote a ceasefire in Gaza. “We strongly condemn the extreme and disgusting threats against our organization, the Marriott hotel and its staff," CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, who is Palestinian American, said in a statement. “We will not allow the threats of anti-Palestinian racists and anti-Muslim bigots who seek to dehumanize the Palestinian people and silence American Muslims to stop us from pursuing justice for all.” read the complete article

Battle against hate: Violence, bigotry toward Palestinian Americans spiking across US

Palestinian Americans are seeing two fronts in the Israel-Hamas war: One is the bloodshed in the Middle East. The other is emotional backlash from bigotry and hate in the U.S. A U.S. Department of Justice hate crime investigation into the fatal stabbing of a 6-year-old Palestinian American Muslim boy in Illinois is one of several incidents of alleged hate being directed at Palestinian Americans, allies and people who look like them since the war began. Among them: In Dearborn, Michigan, police arrested a man last week for saying in a Facebook post that he wanted to gather people to "hunt Palestinians," according to a screenshot of the post Dearborn police shared with The Detroit News. On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles called on the University of California, Los Angeles to open an investigation after a group of people intruded on a webinar, threatened to tear the heads off Palestinian supporters, calling them terrorists. On Sunday morning, a person approached a Sikh teen wearing a turban on a New York City bus and said, “We don’t wear that in this country and take that mask off.” The suspect then punched the 19-year-old in the back of his head, face and back multiple times, police said. He also tried to forcibly remove the man's turban, before fleeing on foot. In Oregon, the Islamic Society of Greater Portland said community members have faced threats in recent days, which have been reported to law enforcement. American Muslims for Palestine executive director Osama Abu Irshaid told USA TODAY his team is facing a myriad of fears and forms of grief, as they mourn familial losses, the collective mourning of human loss, and mounting fears of violence fueled by anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim bigotry in the U.S. read the complete article

Chicago-area man charged with hate crimes for threatening Muslim men

A suburban Chicago man has been charged with two hate crimes for allegedly verbally abusing and threatening to shoot two Muslim men, a prosecutor said Thursday. Larry York, 46, of Lombard, was denied pretrial release during a court hearing Thursday, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said. York confronted the victims and cursed at them Tuesday night at an apartment complex, where one of the victims had gone to meet a friend, Berlin said. While one man was seated in his car waiting for his friend, York initially approached him and asked the victim what he was doing there and began swearing at him and telling him he didn’t belong in this country and to leave, Berlin said. York punched the man’s car window and walked to the lobby of the building, where the second victim was leaving an elevator. York began swearing at the second man and threatened to beat him, Berlin said. A short time later, while one of the men sat on a bench outside the building, York again approached the men and twice lifted the opposite end of the bench, causing the seated man to fall to the ground, the prosecutor said. York also allegedly told the men that he called four of his friends to come over and shoot the two men. read the complete article

Chicago area Islamic day school closes Friday after receiving "hate letter"

An Islamic day school in southwest suburban Bridgeview chose to close on Friday and switch to remote learning after receiving what its principal called a "threatening hate letter." Tammie Ismail, principal of the all-girls Aqsa School, wrote to parents that the school received the letter through the mail on Thursday. She said she immediately informed Bridgeview police, the Cook County Sheriff's Office, and Illinois State Police about the letter. Ismail told CBS News Chicago by phone Thursday night that the school convened an emergency meeting of Islamic schools in the area as soon as they received the letter to alert them. Ismail's school is also increasing security. "The letter itself was very violent," Ismail said, adding the person who wrote it referenced the hate crime and stabbing death of Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, in Plainfield Township. The letter was "applauding his killing," Ismail said, and called the man accused of the killing a "national treasure." She said it was riddled with racist, anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim language, and discusses killing Muslims and Palestinians. "I do feel a lot of the rhetoric used in this letter echoes a lot of the really hateful rhetoric that some media outlets have put out," Ismail said. "It dehumanizes Muslims and Palestinians in particular. Because when you dehumanize people, then terrible things happen because then you see them as the 'other.'" read the complete article

Right-Wing Media Is Flooded With Dehumanizing Rhetoric Against Palestinians

On Oct. 7, Hamas militants launched a large-scale attack on Israel, taking hostages and killing more than 1,400 people. Israel quickly retaliated, launching a full-blown raid and aerial campaign that killed more than 4,000 people and displaced more than 1 million people in 10 days. Since then, right-wing media has capitalized on the attacks, stoking hostility with xenophobic and anti-Muslim rhetoric — including referring to Palestinians as “barbarian pigs,” drumming up hatred against Arabs and Muslims in the U.S., and targeting the two Muslim women who are members of Congress. It’s not clear if conservative radio was the sole factor in Czuba’s alleged turn to violence. But the dangers lurking within the trend are clear enough. Studies have found a link between hateful rhetoric and hate crimes. In 2018, researchers found that hate crimes against Muslims increased 32% in 2016, as Donald Trump was running for president and targeting Muslims with hostile and hateful language that reverberated across cable news and on social media. Some of the recent claims on right-wing airwaves are too grotesque to amplify here. Others, listed below, may give an idea of what’s being said: Eric Bolling, a host at the conservative cable news company Newsmax, said Palestinians are “addicted to violence” like an “addict is addicted to drugs.” Dan Gainor, a freelance opinion editor at Fox News, called Palestinians and Arabs “barbarian pigs” who “tried to genocide Israel” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. Charles Kirk ― the president of Turning Point USA, a right-wing organization that has promoted Christian nationalism ― said last week that “a vast majority of Muslims” don’t hold Western values but rather have a “medieval” worldview. He also referred to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) as “an active threat to the United States” who “hates this country.” Arab and Muslim groups warn that the consequences of such extreme language will likely be an increase in hate crimes. Muslim and Arab communities are on edge, bracing for more violence. read the complete article

Palestinian Americans decry negative media portrayals, fear hate crimes

Thousands of miles from the crisis in Gaza, Muslims and Palestinians in the United States are reporting a wave of Islamophobic incidents that, for many, feels terrifyingly familiar. “This is reminding me a bit of how it felt post-9/11,” Palestinian activist and policy analyst Laila El-Haddad told Religion News Service on Tuesday. In the days since Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel unleashed retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza, thousands of civilians have been killed. For some Palestinian Americans, the days have been consumed by checking on loved ones in Gaza while also taking precautions for their own safety. Meanwhile, they have watched as some who voice support for the Palestinian civilians trapped in Gaza have been condemned or received threats of their own. In Pennsylvania, a man was arrested after allegedly yelling slurs and pointing a gun at pro-Palestinian protesters. In Los Angeles, UCLA students attending a webinar on the crisis in Gaza were reportedly threatened and called terrorists by a small group of unidentified men. In Boston, the Palestinian Cultural Center for Peace was spray-painted with the word “Nazis.” And with the horrific killing of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, a Palestinian American boy stabbed inside his home in a Chicago suburb, all threats are being taken seriously. The landlord of the boy’s mother has been charged with his murder. El-Haddad blamed one-sided and sloppy media coverage for rendering such a broad and unspecified group of people the targets of anti-Palestinian sentiment in the United States. “Disinformation and inaccurate media coverage is deadly for Palestinians, and in the context of America, for Muslim Americans,” El-Haddad said. “So much of it is ingrained in Orientalism. … Palestinian becomes Arab becomes Muslim becomes ‘other.’” “We are asking for balance. So if you ask Palestinians to condemn, ask Israelis to condemn. If you talk about Jewish civilians, talk about Palestinian civilians. If you give face to a Jewish victim, give a face to a Palestinian victim. I mean, that is the least that we can do,” said Rev. Mitri Raheb. read the complete article


Footballer Benzema denies Muslim Brotherhood links after French interior minister's accusations

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin made the accusations after the reigning Ballon d'Or winner and former Real Madrid forward posted a message on social media about the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas. "All our prayers are for the inhabitants of Gaza who are once again victims of these unjust bombings which spare no women or children," Benzema wrote on X, formerly Twitter. Darmanin, speaking on the CNews Channel, alleged that Benzema "has a notorious link with the Muslim Brotherhood", a Sunni Muslim Islamist group with its origins in Egypt that is now banned by Cairo. "This is false! Karim Benzema has never had the slightest relationship with this organisation," Benzema's lawyer Hugues Vigier said in a statement. He said that Benzema was expressing "natural compassion" with "what many today describe as war crimes being committed in Gaza, but which does not detract from the horror of the terrorist acts of October 7, something not open to discussion". The lawyer added that he was planning to file a complaint against Darmanin for his comments. read the complete article


Israel-Hamas war cannot become another 9/11 moment, says anti-Islamophobia envoy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's special representative for combating Islamophobia is warning against allowing the Israel-Hamas war to become a catalyst for the stereotyping of Muslim Canadians. Amira Elghawaby, who was appointed to the new role in January, released a statement this week about the effect the war is having on members of Canada's Muslim communities. She said people are expressing fear about a "resurgence" in Islamophobia that "has troubling echoes of the past." She referred to the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when Muslims and Arabs "felt collectively blamed, stereotyped and racially profiled." Elghawaby said that locally, Muslims and Arabs "felt pressured to condemn actions unrelated to our communities" and experienced what she called "a silencing effect" when it came to community members voicing their views about human rights. Her statement said the legacy of 9/11 is "being rekindled" in the current war. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 20 Oct 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results