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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06 Oct 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) expressed profound alarm at the 9% increase in religious hate crime offences since this time last year following the newly released hate crime statistics by the Home Office, meanwhile in France, the decision by the government to bar it’s athletes from wearing the hijab continues to draw strong condemnation from international human rights and advocacy groups, and in Poland, a coalition of 7 Muslim NGOs called attention to Quran burnings and called for an end to state-sponsored Islamophobia at a conference dedicated to fostering dialogue on human rights across Europe. Our recommended read of the day is by Khaled Shalaby for the Middle East Eye on the greater London Islamic community’s reaction to the recent vandalism and burning of the Al-Falah Institute in Hayes, West London. This and more below.

United Kingdom

UK: Muslim community 'in mourning' after London Islamic centre set on fire | Recommended Read

A Muslim community in west London is in a state of shock and disbelief after an Islamic cultural centre frequented mainly by women was targeted in an apparent Islamophobic attack. The Al-Falah Institute in Hayes was initially broken into on 26 September, with intruders smashing in the front door. Upon inspection, staff found that donation boxes had been forced open and the centre had sustained some interior damage. According to the organisation, police were contacted about the break-in but were told officers were too busy to respond. Later that night, the centre's security company notified the local fire brigade that a fire had been set off, after the CCTV cameras went blank. Staff and community members told Middle East Eye that the blaze was started when copies of the Qur'an were brought together in a room and set alight. John McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, slammed the incident, calling it "a disgraceful criminal act of vandalism." "We can't be sure there was a racial motive, but at the same time we have to take this possibility seriously. We are a multicultural community and we take real pride in the way our community lives in harmony together. So this has come as a real shock. Whatever the motive for this attack was, we won’t let it defeat us." read the complete article

‘GB News, Grooming Gangs and Suella Braverman’s Racialised Tropes’

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel lauded GB News as “the most successful, most dynamic, no-nonsense news station” at this year’s Conservative Party Conference. This cosy relationship between an ‘independent’ news channel and politicians from a country’s governing party was best exemplified when Patel’s successor, Suella Braverman, launched what can only be described as a racial slur against British Pakistanis. “A win of sorts” was how one anchor on GB News described Braverman’s new taskforce designed to crackdown on so called ‘grooming gangs’, first announced in a column in the Mail on Sunday in April. The Centre for Media Monitoring (CFMM), which analyses coverage of Muslims in the media, found that Braverman’s claim, that almost all groomers were British Pakistanis, was false. The newspaper last week published a correction, which on the face of it is a remarkable occurrence given the office of the politician who wrote it. But the story of Braverman’s incendiary claim and its correction still leaves many questions – particularly around the shortcomings of Britain’s media regulators, which continue to allow Islamophobia largely unchecked. GB News may now be under pressure for its presenters and coverage, but its regular diet of launching attacks on Muslims has gone unpunished. While the report by the Centre for Media Monitoring shows this one channel standing out for its hate, it should be remembered that the conveyor belt of Islamophobia in the media started not with GB News. The Home Secretary’s column and the subsequent media reaction suggests that the tolerance for this sort of rhetoric remains undimmed and unchecked. read the complete article

Muslims targeted: MCB Reacts to Alarming Home Office Stats on Hate Crimes Against Muslims (England and Wales)

Today, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) responded to the Home Office’s latest hate crime statistics (England and Wales), expressing profound alarm at the 9% increase in religious hate crime offences, from 8,602 to 9,387, in the year ending March 2023 – the highest number of religious hate crimes since the time reporting began. Of particular distress is that as of March 2023, where the perceived religion of the victim was recorded, 2 in 5 of all religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims. As such, 39% of all religiously motivated hate crimes (3,452 offences) targeted Muslims, making Muslims the most targeted faith group. Indeed, official Home Office statistics documenting hate crime in England and Wales confirm that Muslims have remained consistently, and especially, vulnerable to religiously motivated hate crime offences; in the year ending March 2021, 45% of all recorded religious hate crime offences in England & Wales were targeted against Muslims, and in the year ending March 2019, 47% of all recorded religious hate crime offences in England & Wales were targeted against Muslims. read the complete article


'We should be proud that we're here' — Hamilton marks Islamic Heritage Month with a new campaign

On Tuesday, members of the public, community organizations and local government gathered to mark the start of Islamic Heritage Month and Salam Hamilton, a new citywide event spotlighting Hamilton's Muslim community. "When I think about what it means to tread across these lands, to be a visible Muslim, to be in struggle with all of you in the fight against Islamophobia, I think a lot about the responsibilities that we have to each other, to our communities and to everybody else who calls this place home," Sabreina Dahab, Ward 2 public school trustee, said outside City Hall Tuesday. In an emailed statement on behalf of Greg Tedesco, a senior project manager on Hamilton's Community Engagement team, the city said the Salam Hamilton website, which features links to resources, guides and toolkits related to the Muslim community and Islamophobia will be "the main source" for the campaign's educational materials. They note it was put together with local partners and the National Council of Canadian Muslims, and will be updated to include more videos. The event's keynote speaker, Amira Elghawaby, Canada's first anti-Islamophobia representative, said that one day, marking months like this may seem quaint or unnecessary, "but we're not there yet." She noted that in recent years, Canada saw a high rate of anti-Muslim violence, such as the attack on a family in London. read the complete article

Accused White Supremacist Wrote Racist Rant Just Before Killing Muslim Family, Court Hears

A self-admitted white supremacist who is accused of killing a Muslim family by intentionally running them over with his truck penned a racist manifesto just weeks before the killings. On June 6, 2021, a London, Ontario family waiting for a light to change so they could cross the street was run down by a black truck traveling at high speed. Nathaniel Veltman, 22, was arrested nearby outside the truck where he was found wearing a bulletproof vest and military helmet. Veltman faces four counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted murder, and terrorism charges. Veltman pleaded not guilty to the charges but five weeks into the trial it's clear to see the evidence is stacked well against him. These include a lengthy interrogation interview conducted shortly after the murders in which Veltman admitted he was a white supremacist and bragged about the crimes, and now a rambling screed. The writing, the court heard, was full of anti-Muslim hate speech and indicated that Veltman hoped to inspire neo-Nazis to conduct similar attacks. read the complete article


Muslim coalition at OSCE condemn French and Swedish Islamophobia

A coalition of 7 Muslim NGOs, taking part in the Organisation for Security & Cooperation in Europe’s annual Human Dimension Conference in Poland, have condemned the mass Quran burnings in Sweden and the enforcement of the abaya ban in France. They have made an urgent call for an end to state-sponsored Islamophobia and the systematic targeting of Muslim communities throughout Europe. The conference heard statements from the participating NGOs including CAGE Austria, Perspectives Musulmanes from France, the Anti-Racist Association for Human Rights from Spain, the MRWN from the Netherlands, INSAN from Sweden and the Muslim Youth in Denmark. The 10-day annual conference, dedicated to fostering dialogue on human rights and fundamental freedoms among OSCE states and across Europe, witnessed a dedicated call to action against the rising tide of Islamophobia, asserting that rising Islamophobia across Europe are alarming manifestations of a broader issue – the systematic targeting of European Muslim communities. The coalition issued an urgent plea for an end to state-sponsored Islamophobia and the increasingly aggressive discrimination faced by Muslim communities across the continent. There was a collective call for an end to the demonisation of Muslim communities, the repealing of Islamophobic laws and legislation, the elimination of counter-terrorism policies that indiscriminately target Muslim communities and an end to the surveillance, securitisation and criminalisation of Muslim NGOs and rights activists. read the complete article

Olympic Committee’s Rights Commitments Tested in India

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is holding its 140th annual session from October 15 to 17 in Mumbai, India, where the government is expected to announce its bid to host the 2036 Summer Olympic Games in the western state of Gujarat. India has never hosted the Olympics and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes that now is the “right time.” Yet poor human rights conditions, including attacks on media freedom and lack of protections for Indian athletes, is a concern and potential barrier to hosting the prestigious global games in India. For nearly a decade, Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have adopted abusive laws and policies that systematically discriminate against religious minorities, particularly Muslims, and stigmatize opposition voices by targeting activists, protesters, and journalists with intimidation, threats, and politically motivated criminal cases. read the complete article


France hijab ban at 2024 Olympics draws international condemnation

France’s decision to bar its athletes from wearing the hijab as it prepares to host its first Olympics in 100 years is the latest in a series of government bans that have drawn international condemnation. The country, where around 10 percent of its 67 million inhabitants are Muslim, has again attracted attention with its latest decision to ban its athletes from wearing the Islamic veils effective July 26, 2024, the date the Olympic flame will be lit. The decision has triggered strong reactions and again fueled the debate on human rights violations. The Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation, a grouping that includes member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in October 2 expressed its “profound concern regarding the recent government decision to prevent French athletes from wearing the hijab at the upcoming Paris Olympics.” The federation stressed in its statement that “this ban contradicts the principles of equality, inclusivity and respect for cultural diversity that the Olympics stand for.” It came after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Sept. 29 that “there are no restrictions on wearing the hijab or any other religious or cultural attire." United Nations rights office spokeswoman Marta Hurtado expressed similar sentiments. “No-one should impose on a woman what she needs to wear or not wear," Hurtado said in a statement. “These discriminatory practices against a group can have harmful consequences,” she added. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 06 Oct 2023 Edition


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