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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24 Oct 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate an alleged vehicular assault on a Palestinian-American man as a hate crime, meanwhile at the UN, fifty-one member countries have issued a joint declaration condemning the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity committed against Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic communities, and lastly, Mohammad Yasin, a Labor party MP for Bedford, was stopped and aggressively questioned prior to boarding an Air Canada flight “because his name was Mohammad.” Our recommended read of the day is by Jasmin Zine for The Conversation on how disinformation campaigns online spreading Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian tropes and conspiracy theories “instil fear and moral panic about the Muslim presence,” which is “used to justify acts of oppression.” This and more below:


How Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism are manufactured through disinformation | Recommended Read

Repetition is how lies gain traction. The more exposure to specific ideas and tropes that may be false claims, the more likely it is that this misinformation becomes understood as real. A plethora of fake news circulates on the internet and social media. Unlike misinformation, which refers to false or inaccurate information, disinformation campaigns deliberately spread propaganda to create fear and suspicion. Through media outlets and co-ordinated networks, Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian tropes and conspiracies are circulated. Eventually, they become regarded as social facts, especially in times of war, conflict and heightened political tensions. During these fraught times, the ability to authorize wholesale violence relies on circulating dehumanizing tropes and “scare stories.” This targeted propaganda frames entire populations as deviant “folk devils,” responsible for crimes and social problems. This then creates moral panics, used to justify acts of oppression. The ubiquity of Islamophobia has led to generalized stereotypes of Muslims and Palestinians (including those who are not Muslim) as being prone to violence and terrorism. When these racist narratives are espoused by politicians, they falsely equate the support of Palestinian people with support for terrorism and instil fear and moral panic about the Muslim presence in this country and elsewhere. Public belief in the vilifying narratives of violent Muslims can become second nature to people who watch biased news reports on mainstream media and a variety of social media platforms that circulate anti-Muslim narratives. read the complete article

UN Member Countries Condemn China’s Crimes Against Humanity

Fifty-one United Nations member countries have issued a joint declaration condemning the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity committed against Uyghurs and other Turkic communities, and calling on Beijing to end its systematic human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. The cross-regional statement, delivered to the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee by Britain’s Deputy Permanent Representative James Kariuki on October 18, said: “Members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang continue to suffer serious violations of their human rights.” The statement quoted the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ damning August 2022 report on Xinjiang, which concluded that the abuses were so severe and widespread that they “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” The UN report corroborated the findings of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others regarding mass detention, torture, cultural persecution, forced labor, and other serious rights violations against Turkic Muslim communities in Xinjiang. The statement’s signatories include Britain, the US, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Eswatini, Liberia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Fiji, Nauru, Palau, and others. read the complete article

MP stopped from boarding Air Canada flight as ‘his name was Mohammad’

An MP was stopped from boarding a flight to Canada with other members of parliament “because his name was Mohammad”, the Commons heard on Monday. Mohammad Yasin, Labour’s MP for Bedford, was due to fly to Canada with other MPs from the Commons levelling up, housing and communities committee when he was delayed for questioning “for a considerable period” at airports in both countries last week. Clive Betts, the chair of the committee, said the incident was unacceptable because of its “racist and Islamophobic nature”, and that he would write to the Canadian high commissioner in the UK. He added that his colleague was asked if he was carrying a knife or any other weapon and where he was born when he was taken aside by officials from Air Canada. Yasin then underwent similar questioning from officials on his return trip to the UK, MPs were told. Betts went on to say Yasin “has received apologies from the parliamentary secretary to the Canadian minister for immigration and Air Canada” but “given the racist and Islamophobic nature of these challenges”, he plans on “writing to the Canadian high commissioner”. read the complete article

United States

‘I Love You. I Am Sorry’: One Jew, One Muslim and a Friendship Tested by War

On this late afternoon of Oct. 15, the war between Israel and Hamas was well underway as Hasan and Hodos sat on parched grass at a bustling park 6 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. A circle of Jews and Muslims surrounded them. Everyone on hand was part of NewGround, a nonprofit fellowship program that has helped more than 500 Los Angeles Muslims and Jews learn to listen, disagree, empathize with one another — and become friends. Hasan, whose family roots run through the Palestinian territories, runs NewGround. Hodos, once a resident of Israel, has been her associate director since 2020. The two women can recall details of the long, brutal history of clashes and wars pitting Israel against its neighbors to the north, east and south — and how those clashes sent fearful shock waves through Los Angeles, a city with one of the nation’s largest populations of Muslims and Jews. “But it’s never been this bad,” they said, practically in unison, during a recent interview at a Los Angeles cafe. Never have they worried like this about death and destruction in the Middle East sparking antisemitic or Islamophobic violence in the United States. Never have they fretted like this about their work and their words being misinterpreted and misunderstood. Never had they held this much dread, or found this kind of hopeful, grounding solace in the interfaith bonds their labor has created. Hasan and Hodos are more than co-workers. Their close friendship signals that the ties that bind adherents of Judaism and Islam can remain strong, even as the war pitting people of their faiths against each other rages. read the complete article

Blinken meets US leaders of Jewish, Arab, Palestinian-American groups amid war

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday separately met US leaders from the Jewish as well as Arab and Palestinian-American communities amid war in the Middle East between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the State Department said. Blinken's community outreach comes amid fears and warnings of a rise in Islamophobia, antisemitism and anti-Palestinian threats and hate speech in the United States due to the war in the Middle East. President Joe Biden called on Americans to denounce such sentiments in an Oval Office address Thursday night. Blinken on Monday "strongly condemned racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, and anti-Palestinian incidents," and "underscored that hate has no place in America or anywhere else," the State Department said. read the complete article

Experts fear hate, extremism on social media amid Israel-Hamas war

The impacts of the war between Israel and Hamas are compounding in the United States, as hateful online rhetoric has homeland security experts concerned about the spread of extremist ideologies in the U.S. Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities are fearful, and law enforcement agencies are on high alert amid the heightened tensions worldwide. Online misinformation about the war and these communities is top of mind for many homeland security experts, who say it's playing a big part in inciting extremism, violence and hate. Individuals who are "angry" and "disaffected" are often targets for online misinformation campaigns that blend ideological beliefs with personal grievances, Cohen said. Hateful messages can spread quickly online, landing in front of unsuspecting viewers who may not initially even realize they're engaging with anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian or antisemitic content, according to former DHS official and ABC New contributor Elizabeth Neumann. "It sows grievance, and it creates a moral justification for some form of hostile action against the outgroup -- whoever that is, it could be Muslims, it could be Jews. Anybody that the disinformation is about, it kind of creates that moral justification that violence is necessary," Neumann said. The Department of Homeland Security has warned that more and more antisemitic and Islamophobic hate attacks have been occurring in the U.S. since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, including the stabbing of a 6-year-old Muslim boy and his mother in Illinois. read the complete article

Muslim teen girl called ‘terrorist,' attacked while riding subway to school: Police

A Muslim teen girl was attacked while riding the New York City subway to school in what police are investigating as another possible hate crime attack based on the victim's faith. The 16-year-old was aboard a southbound 5 train approaching Union Square around 9 a.m. Wednesday when a man sat down next to her, according to police. The man told the girl "you’re a terrorist, you don’t belong here," before pulling on her hijab she was wearing. Another female passenger intervened to help the girl, a police source with direct knowledge of the investigation said. The man ran off and police are still searching for him. No arrests have yet been made, and police are investigating it as a possible hate crime. Burhan Carroll, of the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) in New York, said the organization has been "flooded with calls lately, requests for assistance." The group said it has several first hand accounts of the uptick in Islamophobia. "People are scared. They’re very frightened just to go about their daily business," said Carroll. read the complete article

Community leaders call out anti-Muslim graffiti at South Philadelphia mosque

Elected officials and members of the United Muslim Masjid came together Monday to denounce Islamophobic graffiti that was written on the outside of a South Philadelphia mosque last week. The vandal, who remains at large, scribbled the messages early on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 19, on the glass doors and windows of the United Muslim Islamic Center. The perpetrator wrote that Muslim men and women are “stupid and dumb” and “eat crabs,” and “read your Torah” was also featured in the graffiti, said Qasim Rashad, amir of UMM. Anti-Muslim sentiments were also graffitied onto an unrelated senior center on the same block of Point Breeze Avenue, according to police. Salima Suswell, executive director of Emgage Pennsylvania, a Muslim civic engagement organization, said she has seen “a rise in anti-Muslim and Islamophobic rhetoric that is reminiscent of post-9/11″ over the past two weeks. read the complete article

Amid Israel conflict, increased Islamophobia, Springfield Islamic center considers safety

As fighting continues in Israel and anti-Muslim sentiments rise nationally, the Islamic Center of Springfield, Missouri, is increasing its security and has had to change how it approaches community projects. "The Islamic Center has received some veiled and not-so-veiled threats since the events in the Middle East. Thus, while we grieve for the loss of life of innocent people on the other side of the globe, we also have to contend with safety concerns of our own community here," the ICSM board said in a statement to the News-Leader. Extra-duty officers with the Springfield Police Department are providing additional patrols at the center on East Division Street. In addition to being hurtful, stereotypes associating Americans with groups involved in the current conflict based on their faith or heritage are often inaccurate, said Dr. David Romano, a professor of Middle East Politics at Missouri State University. "The people in our community here who have lineage, family in the region, they’re a diverse lot. You shouldn’t assume anything about their politics or their sympathies just because they have family in Palestine or Israel. The only thing you can safely assume is that they’re worried about their family, whichever side they’re on," Romano said. "A lot of them are on edge. Both communities could use some reassurance from others. Be there for them, listen. Don’t accuse them of being a representative of one political organization or another." read the complete article

CAIR-Cleveland Seeks Hate Crime Probe After Vehicular Assault on Palestinian-American by Driver Shouting ‘Kill all Palestinians,’ ‘Long live Israel’

The Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate an alleged vehicular assault on a Palestinian-American man as a hate crime. On Sunday afternoon,an individual in a dark SUV reportedly hit the 20-year-old victim while he was walking on Cook Road on the border of Olmsted Falls and North Ridgeville. The victim of the reported hit and run said he was walking home from eating lunch when a car slowed down and rolled down the window. The driver of the car allegedly started yelling at him using anti-Palestinian statements like “Kill all Palestinians,” “Long live Israel,” as he swerved his car to intimidate the victim. The driver then allegedly turned around and hit the man while shouting “DIE!” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 24 Oct 2023 Edition


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