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
25 Oct 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, an Islamic center has issued a statement saying that Labour party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, “gravely misrepresented” them in a social media post following his visit to the center, meanwhile in India, the government appears to be cracking down on pro-Palestine protests while at the same time pro-Israel rallies, organized mainly by Hindu right-wing groups have taken place across the country with no issue, and in the United States, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump says he will ban immigrants who “don’t like our religion” from the country. Our recommended read of the day is by Priyanka Shankar, Pranav Dixit and Usaid Siddiqui for Al Jazeera on how social media users from around the world are noting that posts containing hashtags like “FreePalestine” and “IStandWithPalestine” as well as messages expressing support for civilian Palestinians killed by Israeli forces are being hidden by the platforms. This and more:


Are social media giants censoring pro-Palestine voices amid Israel’s war? | Recommended Read

Maddens is one of the hundreds of social media users who are accusing the world’s largest social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube and TikTok – of censoring accounts or actively reducing the reach of pro-Palestine content, a practice known as shadowbanning. Authors, activists, journalists, filmmakers and regular users around the world have said posts containing hashtags like “FreePalestine” and “IStandWithPalestine” as well as messages expressing support for civilian Palestinians killed by Israeli forces are being hidden by the platforms. Some users have also accused Instagram, owned by Meta, of arbitrarily taking down posts that simply mention Palestine for violating “community guidelines”. Others said their Instagram Stories were hidden for sharing information about protests in support of Palestine in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Some also reportedly complained about the word “terrorist” appearing near their Instagram biographies. In a post on X on October 15, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone blamed the reduced reach of posts on a bug. The BBC reported that Meta apologised for adding the word terrorist to pro-Palestinian accounts, saying the problem that “briefly caused inappropriate Arabic translations” has been fixed. Civil rights groups aren’t buying the platforms’ denials. This month, 48 organisations, including 7amleh, the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement, which advocates for digital rights of Palestinian and Arab civil society, issued a statement urging tech companies to respect Palestinian digital rights during the ongoing war. read the complete article

Why India is leading the pro-Israel disinformation campaign online

In the wake of Israel's war on Gaza, brought about by the unexpected attack by Hamas on the 7th of October, a curious trend has emerged on social media. In the past two weeks, Indian right-wing accounts - many of which depict the Indian flag side by side with the Israeli one - have voiced some of the most staunch support for Israel online, and are among the leading producers and amplifiers of anti-Palestine disinformation. These pro-Israel advocates also make their presence felt on the streets of India, where rallies are organised in support of Israel, expressing unwavering support even in the face of controversial events such as the Al Ahli Hospital bombing, the deadliest attack of this war, which killed over 470 Palestinians. Right-leaning accounts in India have attributed the strike to Hamas rather than Israel, despite evidence pointing to Israel's responsibility. In Israel’s war on Gaza, there has been a surge of disinformation and fake news on social media, amplified by platforms like X (formerly Twitter), particularly focused on spreading anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic claims. Experts have observed that right-leaning Indian accounts are significantly boosting the Israeli narrative to South Asian audiences, a demographic not easily reached by Western media. This phenomenon could have real-life implications for India’s Muslim community, with violent Islamophobic sentiment already widespread. In India, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has forged strong connections with Israel, both on the political and social levels. Essa explained that Hindutva, the ideology and movement of Hindu nationalism, shares Israel's approach to confronting 'terrorists’ - referring to the perception of Muslims in both countries. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Lib Dem Hina Bokhari claims she received Islamophobic abuse during ward surgery - 'I won’t let hatred win’

A London assembly member (AM) has said she “won’t let hatred win” after claiming she was subjected to Islamophobic abuse from a member of the public. Liberal Democrat AM Hina Bokhari, who is Muslim, said she received the abuse while holding her ward surgery in West Barnes, where she is also a councillor. Ms Bokhari had previously raised the issue of Islamophobic graffiti being sprayed on a bus route in her borough of Merton. Posting on X, she wrote that while this had been resolved by Transport for London (TfL) and the Met Police, when a lady found out she was Muslim while holding her surgery “she listed all the reasons we were evil to my face”. Ms Bokhari told LondonWorld the incident was isolated, describing everyone else as “incredibly kind and friendly as always”. She added: “But with recent tensions, I am sadly not surprised that one resident decided to say such horrid and hateful things. “It is not right that anyone in London faces Islamophobia or antisemitism at any time and communities in London should not bear the brunt for events happening in the Middle East that are completely out of their control. “As one of the first Muslim women elected to the London Assembly in 2021, I went into politics to break glass barriers for Muslim women in the UK. I won’t let hatred win and I passionately believe we have far more in common than divides us.” read the complete article

Starmer ‘gravely misrepresented’ meeting, say Muslim leaders in Wales

Keir Starmer has been accused of having “gravely misrepresented” a meeting with Muslim leaders in Wales, amid anger among some in Labour over his remarks on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The Labour leader visited the South Wales Islamic Centre in Cardiff on Sunday. In a statement on Tuesday evening, the centre apologised “for the hurt and confusion” caused by hosting Starmer, and said the intention was to highlight the suffering of people in Palestine. It also expressed “dismay” over Starmer’s social media post about the visit, which said: “I was grateful to hear from the Muslim community of the South Wales Islamic Centre. I repeated our calls for all hostages to be released, more humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, for the water and power to be switched back on, and a renewed focus on a two-state solution.” In response, the South Wales Islamic Centre said: “We wish to stress Keir Starmer’s social media post and images gravely misrepresented our congregants and the nature of the visit. “We affirm, unequivocally, the need for a free Palestine. We implore all those with political authority to uphold international law, and the end to the occupation of Palestine.” It comes after the Labour leader was forced to clarify remarks he made about Israel’s decision to limit supplies to Gaza. Speaking on LBC Radio, Starmer was asked whether Israel was right to respond to the attacks by Hamas with a siege of Gaza, cutting off water and power. “I think that Israel does have that right, it is an ongoing situation, obviously everything should be done within international law,” he said. read the complete article

Keir Starmer facing pressure over Gaza stance

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is to meet Muslim MPs amid tensions over the party's stance on the Israel-Gaza war. It comes after an Islamic centre visited by Sir Keir on Sunday said a statement he released after the event had "gravely misrepresented" them. Sir Keir has faced criticism since seeming to say Israel had the "right" to cut off water and energy to Gaza. He later clarified his position, saying he meant only that the country had a right to self-defence. At least 19 Labour councillors have already quit the party over the comments, while some MPs have also been critical about the position the leadership has taken. More than 30 Labour MPs, as well as former party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who now sits as an independent, have backed a call for a ceasefire in the region. However, last week Sir Keir refused to support the position, instead saying Israel had the right to defend itself. In Oxford, Labour has lost its majority on the council, after eight councillors resigned from the party. Sources within the party have confirmed to the BBC that Sir Keir is set to meet some of his own Muslim MPs on Wednesday to discuss the issue. read the complete article


Australia's top diplomat says everyone must 'stand together against Islamophobia'

The world must “stand together against Islamophobia," said Australia’s foreign minister on Tuesday. Penny Wong's remarks came after two mosques in Adelaide, South Australia were hit by arson attacks last week, a development she said left her “appalled.” "All of us, including every political leader, must stand together against Islamophobia,” Wong wrote on X. "We all have a responsibility to call out discrimination, hate speech and prejudice wherever we see it." Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government "is supporting Australian Palestinian, Muslim and other communities affected by the conflict as well as the Executive Council of Australian Jewry," she added. Ahmad Zreika, head of the Islamic Society of South Australia, said that the local community has witnessed acts of hate crimes since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict earlier this month. "There is no doubt that what is happening in Gaza and Israel, and the support of Western media and politicians for Israel, has fueled this mindset among a certain segment of people, causing fear of Islam and Muslims to increase," Zreika told local 7News. "We want the government to be mindful of their language and ensure it is balanced because bias toward Israel is going to fuel the hatred among ignorant individuals," he added. read the complete article


Trial of Uyghur film-maker to begin in China this week

A Uyghur film-maker who was arrested in Beijing earlier this year will appear on trial in Xinjiang on Wednesday. Ikram Nurmehmet, 32, was taken from his home by Chinese authorities on 29 May and flown to Ürümqi, Xinjiang’s capital, where he is being held in pre-trial detention on unknown charges, according to his supporters. Known for portraying Uyghur protagonists in his work, Nurmehmet has directed many short films, some of which have been selected by film festivals in China and abroad. One film, Elephant in the Car, tells the story of a Han Chinese woman sharing a taxi with two Uyghurs. “His work always focuses on Uyghur people’s real lives, not in a propaganda way,” a source close to Nurmehmet said by phone over an encrypted messaging app. “He’s one of the young Uyghur directors who engages with Chinese society the most, but unfortunately in the end it [led] him being arrested." A month before his arrest, Nurmehmet had received a call from Xinjiang authorities requesting his return to Ürümqi to investigate the loss of his identity card. He refused and hung up. Later, his mother told him a childhood Uyghur friend he had once hosted while studying in Turkey had allegedly been detained, and warned that Nurmehmet might be under suspicion by association. Before moving to Beijing, Nurmehmet had spent six years studying film-making at the Marmara University in Istanbul. Maya Wang, the associate director in the Asia division at Human Rights Watch, said Uyghurs with any connections to Islam, central Asia or the Middle East were automatically under suspicion of terrorism from Chinese authorities. Many were rounded up during a campaign of “collective punishment” and imprisoned arbitrarily without trial. read the complete article

United States

Kansas City's Islamic community is seeing an increase in Islamophobia and acts of hate

Since the war between Hamas and Israel began over two weeks ago, members of Kansas City's Islamic and Palestinian communities say they have experienced hate at an increased rate. Many say that they are concerned for their safety. Dr. Moussa Elbayoumy, who serves as the chairman of the board for the Kansas chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said those kinds of events are incredibly painful for members of that community, who have grown increasingly concerned about their safety. "There is a lot of fear. A lot of people are afraid to go to work," says Elbayoumy. "Some mothers are afraid to send their children to school, and they don't know what to do." read the complete article

Trump Says He’ll Ban Immigrants Who ‘Don’t Like Our Religion’

Donald Trump has long been painting a picture of what he’ll do to the United States should he win back the White House next November. His plans include everything from pulling America out of NATO, as Rolling Stone reported on Monday, to a sweeping, multi-faceted crackdown on immigration — which he elaborated on during a campaign speech in New Hampshire. “I will implement strong ideological screening of all immigrants,” the former president vowed. “If you hate America, if you want to abolish Israel, if you don’t like our religion (which a lot of them don’t), if you sympathize with jihadists, then we don’t want you in our country and you are not getting in.” The First Amendment is widely interpreted to ensure the separation of church and state, and screening immigrants over their religious beliefs would appear to stand in pretty clear violation of the nation’s founding principles. It’s of little concern to Trump, who has made abundantly clear that his first term in office was only a warm-up for the anti-immigrant measures he’s ready to implement if he’s reelected. Rolling Stone reported in May that Trump is also planning on expanding the Muslim ban he instituted during his first term in office. read the complete article

Why Biden is 'persona non grata' for many Arab and Muslim Americans

After President Joe Biden's primetime address from the Oval Office where he announced he was requesting that Congress pass $105 billion in aid predominantly to Israel and Ukraine and expressed his dedication to bringing home hostages, some Arab and Muslim Americans described feeling "dumbfounded" and "disheartened." "He doesn't even mention the U.S. citizens in Gaza. It's unbelievable," Chicago-area resident Nabil Alshurafa told ABC News. Alshurafa's mom, Naela Elshorafa, is one of 500-600 U.S. citizens that the State Department estimates are in Gaza. Alshurafa says there was a major focus and effort to get citizens out of Israel. "You have the U.S., sort of sending U.S. citizens to get out of Israel on a cruise ship with food and Wi-Fi. And then the other citizens on the other side of the border, the Palestinian Americans, who are also U.S. citizens and worthy of life, they're starving and dodging bombs. Why are we treating one class of citizens differently from another?" "It felt like Muslim blood was cheap. All lives are not equal in the eyes of the Biden administration. There's more precedent given to Israeli lives than there are to Muslim lives," said Niala Mohammad, director of policy and strategy at the Muslim Public Affairs Council and former senior policy analyst for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. read the complete article

Palestinian American woman whose son was killed in apparent anti-Muslim attack in Illinois urges people to 'pray for peace'

The Palestinian American woman whose 6-year-old son was fatally stabbed in what authorities have described as a hate crime in a Chicago suburb said she harbors no hatred, but believes in the pursuit of justice. The statement, issued through the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was Hanaan Shahin's first public comments since she was stabbed more than a dozen times and her son, Wadea Al-Fayoume, was stabbed 26 times on Oct. 14 in an attack investigators have said was carried out by their landlord. Authorities have tied the stabbings to the violence in Israel and Gaza. Investigators said Joseph Czuba, 71, singled out the mother and son at their home in Plainfield Township because of their faith. Ahmed Rehab, the CAIR chapter's executive director, said Tuesday that he met with Shahin for a couple of hours on Monday. “We spent most of our time together listening to her recounting stories of how smart and funny her boy was, and how he cared for the planet and always liked to join her in prayer,” he said in a statement, adding that she said: “He was my best friend.” He said he asked her whether she had a direct public statement she wanted him to convey, and, “she only had this to say, with sad eyes that betrayed that polite, weary smile that hardly parted her stitched face: 'Just pray for peace.'" read the complete article

Muslim parents say LAUSD ‘pro-Israel’ statement made their kids targets

In response to concerns about bullying and insensitivity against Muslim students brought on by the Israel-Hamas war, Los Angeles schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho on Tuesday issued a statement affirming campuses as nurturing, inclusive spaces and said the district was “committed to providing a safe learning environment, free from bullying, discrimination, and harassment.” Earlier in the day, school board President Jackie Goldberg had strongly urged Carvalho to send out a clear message after Muslim parents complained during a public meeting that district statements were unfairly one-sided in support for Israel, which came under Hamas attack on Oct. 7. On Oct. 7, in the immediate wake of the Hamas incursion, Carvalho posted on social media: “We stand with Israel. We stand in unity with the UN and many other nations in repudiating the recent attacks.” The first sentence was entwined with the Star of David in the colors of the Israeli flag. The first version of the post said “United States” instead of “United Nations,” but this was withdrawn and revised. The parents, who estimated that about 500 district families have ties to the Gaza Strip, said the statement made their children targets. “We are very worried for the safety of our children,” parent Sumaya Bezrati said during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. “We are documenting case incidents coming from our LAUSD family and they are pouring in.” After hearing from eight other parents, Goldberg directed Carvalho to emphasize that “no student be harassed based on their ethnicity, their religion, their race, their culture, the country of origin, their immigration status, that we will not tolerate any kind of discrimination.” read the complete article


Pro-Israel rallies allowed in India but Palestine solidarity sees crackdown

Israel’s relentless bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip and killing of nearly 6,000 people – a third of them children – in two weeks has outraged people across the world, triggering mass protests and a call for an immediate ceasefire. However, in India – the first non-Arab country to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), but now seen closer to Israel and its biggest benefactor, the United States – some pro-Palestine protesters reported being targeted by the government. Less than a week after the Gaza assault began, police in Hamirpur district of India’s most populous Uttar Pradesh state were looking for Muslim scholars Atif Chaudhary and Suhail Ansari. Their alleged crime: putting a WhatsApp display photo that said: “I stand with Palestine.” The two men were charged with promoting enmity between social groups. Ansari is under arrest, while Chaudhary is on the run, according to the police. In the same state, governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), four students of the Aligarh Muslim University were booked by the police after they took out a pro-Palestine march on the campus a day after the Gaza assault began on October 7. However, when the Hindu far-right group Bajrang Dal took out a pro-Israel march in the same Aligarh city, raising slogans such as “Down with Palestine, Down with Hamas”, no action was taken against them by the authorities. In the national capital, New Delhi, there have been several examples of people being detained during rallies organised by student groups, activists and citizens for solidarity with the Palestinians since October 7. Meanwhile, pro-Israel rallies, organised mainly by Hindu right-wing groups, were seen across India, while many on social media offered their services to the Israeli forces. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 25 Oct 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results