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
28 Sep 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In India, a disabled Muslim man was lynched in Delhi’s Sundar Nagari area for allegedly consuming prasad at a temple, with several people detained by police in connection to the killing, meanwhile in Canada, it’s the third week of court proceedings in the trial of Nathaniel Veltman, a man accused of intentionally running over four members of a Canadian Muslim family in 2021, and lastly, the European Parliament hosted an event today featuring a number of former Guantanamo detainees on the need to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Our recommended read of the day is by H.A. Hellyer and Rim-Sarah Alouane for The National on France’s recent ban on the abaya in public schools and how France should take a note from how Britain managed a similar situation back in the early 2000s with far more equitable outcomes. This and more below:


Observers of France's abaya ban should look to Britain for a sensible example | Recommended Read

The recent banning of the abaya in France’s public schools has become the new bete noire for some politicians in the country. It’s not the first time the French state has waded into discussions around the display of religion. But curiously, there is a precedent for discussions around the abaya in Europe in recent years – notably in the UK. Contemporary France’s new laicite has taken an illiberal turn. It has been used to impose various restrictions, possibly fuelled by an increasing hostility towards the visibility of French Muslims and Islam in particular, and religion in general. Contrast that with the UK, and its own “abaya” case, more than 20 years ago. In 2002, a British student in a community that had a large Muslim population had begun to wear a jilbab – similar to the abaya, in that it was a single and usually fairly loose coat-like garment that covered the abdomen and legs. The student claimed religious motivations, and the school rejected the wearing of it, as it was against the school’s uniform. The student took the school to court on religious freedom grounds, and the case eventually went to the House of Lords, which serves as the highest court of appeal. She lost the case. On the face of it, there are parallels between this episode in the UK and the situation in France two decades later. But there are significant differences. In the British case, there was a genuine effort to identify ways and avenues to provide for religious freedom, as well as balance what the wider community saw as the need for communal harmony. The very idea of such dress codes is to promote a sense of community and inclusivity, while reducing the distraction of fashion and differences of clothing for young people. read the complete article

Islamophobia conference in Qatar to 'confront' issue

An international conference on Islamophobia hosted by Georgetown University in Qatar will confront the problem in all its forms and explore the causes behind the recent surge in anti-Muslim hatred. Themed "Global Histories and Practices of Islamophobia", the two-day event will bring together a host of scholars, activists, policymakers, and journalists. During the event, participants will engage in insightful conversations, pose critical questions, and explore the intellectual roots of manifold dimensions of prejudice against Muslims and Islam. The international conference will feature prominent voices against Islamophobia, including Ebrahim Rasool, founder of the World for All Foundation, and theorist Anne Norton along with several other scholars. The planned conference has been welcomed by the Qatari Foreign Ministry. "As part of its foreign policy agenda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently undertaking a series of initiatives on anti-racism, including Islamophobia," said Khalid Fahad Al Khater, Director of Policy Planning at the Foreign Ministry, who will address a high-level roundtable discussion during the event. "As such, it welcomes this conference as a timely intervention to draw the world's attention to this critical issue." read the complete article

UN criticises France’s ban on its Olympic athletes wearing headscarves

The UN has weighed in on France’s debate about secularism and women’s clothing, saying women should not be forced to abide by dress codes, after the French government said athletes representing France would be barred from wearing headscarves during the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. “No one should impose on a woman what she needs to wear, or not wear,” Marta Hurtado, a spokesperson for the UN’s human rights office, said on Tuesday after she was asked whether the ban met the UN’s criteria on human rights. Her remarks came after France’s minister for sport, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, highlighted the government’s commitment to secularism and its opposition to the display of religious symbols during sporting events. read the complete article

European Parliament to host milestone event on closing Guantánamo

The European Parliament is to host a first of its kind event on September 28 titled Close Guantanamo. Hosted by MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, the event will hear expert testimonials from former Guantanamo Bay prisoners Moazzam Begg, Mansor Adayfi and Lakhdar Boumediene, with the urgent call for the closure of the notorious U.S. prison, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, who recently conducted a groundbreaking visit to Guantanamo will also feature at the event. Her report, released in June, starkly illuminates an ongoing regime that inflicts “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” [1] on detainees, potentially meeting the legal threshold for torture. The event emphasises the urgent need for transparency of the crimes committed at Guantanamo Bay, accountability for those responsible for such crimes and justice for the prisoners who have been abused and tortured. read the complete article


Disabled Muslim man eats prasad at Delhi temple, tied to pole, beaten to death

A disabled Muslim man was lynched in Delhi's Sundar Nagari area for allegedly consuming prasad at a temple in the area on Tuesday. Several people were detained in connection with the incident, police said. A video of the incident, widely shared on social media, shows the youth identified as Muhammed Israr, appealing to the crowd for help as he cries in pain. However, the mob continued to attack him. According to the complaint filed by the victim's father, Abdul Wajid, he found his son lying outside his house on Tuesday evening with injury marks all over his body. Israr told his father that a group of youngsters accused him of stealing, tied him to a pole, and thrashed him with sticks. It was one of his neighbours who brought Israr to his house after the assault. He also provided details about the attackers to his father. read the complete article

Testimony to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom

The commission’s focus on religious freedom in India is welcome and timely. Over the last decade there has been an undeniable increase in the number and frequency of attacks against religious minorities in India, especially Muslims and Christians. This increase appears to stem largely from the 2014 election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As the commission has previously documented, BJP leaders and affiliated groups across India have a long track record of stigmatizing religious minority communities, making divisive, hate-filled remarks against Muslims around state and national elections, and insinuating that non-Hindu Indians are a threat to national security and to the “Hindu way of life.” Divisive political discourse by the BJP has increased since 2014 and served to further normalize violence against minorities, especially Muslims. BJP leaders have also embedded prejudices into government agencies and formerly independent institutions, such as the police, institutionalizing impunity and further empowering supporters of the BJP to threaten, harass, and attack religious minorities. The BJP government has adopted several laws and policies that systematically discriminate against Muslims and stigmatize critics of the government. read the complete article


Cause of death for 4 Muslim family members hit by truck in London, Ont., was 'multiple trauma,' jurors told

The cause of death for the four members of a Muslim family who were killed after they were struck by a pickup truck in London, Ont., on June 6, 2021, was "multiple trauma." At the trial of Nathaniel Veltman, 22, jurors in Ontario Superior Court in Windsor were told Wednesday that lawyers for the defence and prosecution agree on how the Afzaals died and that the accused drove the truck that struck them. The courtroom was silent during a reading-in of the facts by Sarah Shaikh, one of the prosecutors. It's the third week of proceedings in what is expected to be an eight-week trial. Veltman told police after his arrest that he targeted the family because they were Muslim, a determination he made because they were wearing traditional Pakistani clothing, according to earlier evidence presented at the trial. Prosecutors allege he was motivated by far-right ideology and planned the attack. read the complete article

Inside Canada’s Growing Islamophobia Problem

While a single gunman orchestrated the fatal attack in Sainte-Foy, it was not an isolated event. Before that evening, the mosque had faced at least seven different hate crimes, including the delivery of a severed pig’s head during Ramadan in 2016. Mere months after the shooting, a defaced Quran arrived in the mailbox. In 2019, a man allegedly spewing anti-Muslim hate attacked someone near the entrance. Across Canada, other public, violent acts of Islamophobia would continue to take place. Following the attack in London, Ontario, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights commissioned a study on Islamophobia and violence against Muslims in Canada. A full report is expected this fall, but early research indicates that anti-Muslim sentiment is widespread and the issue is even worse than statistics suggest. These findings reveal what Muslims in the country have known for decades: Canada has an Islamophobia problem. Part of addressing an issue is acknowledging that there is one. Therein lies the conundrum: Half of Canadians don’t believe Islamophobia is an issue, according to a March 2023 study by Angus Reid Institute. Those most likely to view Islam negatively are also most likely to say there is no problem, the study found. A National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) report in 2022 also found that more Muslims have been killed in targeted hate crimes in Canada over the past five years than in any other G7 country. And Statistics Canada reported a 71 percent jump in hate crimes against Muslims in 2021, noting that these figures only reflect hate crimes reported to the police. read the complete article

United States

US city reaches settlement with Muslim men over police Islamophobia incident

The city of Detroit has reached a settlement with three Muslim men who filed a lawsuit against two police officers, following an incident three years ago where one officer was recorded on body cameras making statements such as: "Muslims lie a lot" and "Muslim men are paedophiles." "We hope through this settlement, that the Detroit Police Department would be more willing to not only go through (anti-bias) training but that their officers will internalize that training in dealing with the large Muslim population of Detroit," Dawud Walid, the Council on American–Islamic Relations (Cair) Michigan director, told The Detroit News on Tuesday. The incident took place on 26 September 2020, following a 911 assault report in which Khalil Muhammad called 911 to report that a woman who lived in his house had attacked him and his two friends with a hammer and destroyed his property. According to the lawsuit, Muhammad told police the woman had needed a place to stay after being released from a mental health facility. When Detroit Police Department (DPD) officers Donald Owens and Nathaniel Mullen arrived, they first spoke with the woman outside the house and she told the officers at a certain point that the men she was staying with were Muslims. Owens made the Islamophobic comments after hearing this, the lawsuit says. According to body-worn camera footage reviewed by The Detroit News after the lawsuit was filed, Owens told another officer after speaking to the woman: "Muslim men are paedophiles," "Muslims lie a lot ... they control them ... like, they feel like ... you don't have a say if you're a woman." read the complete article


France’s abaya ban risks isolating Muslim students, experts say

Since September, several young women have been sent home from school for wearing various long dresses, including an open kimono. Others have reportedly been told to wear belts to “show off their curves”, instead of loose robes. France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim minority, a community of about five million people. “There is clearly a discriminatory element. It is such a blanket ban that can be applied so broadly,” Rim-Sarah Alouane, a French expert on constitutional law and religious freedom, told Al Jazeera. “How do you distinguish between an abaya and a maxi dress? You profile the person. If he or she is a Muslim, there is a de facto suspicion.” Supporters of laicite see it as a way to separate church from state, but critics argue that it has become an indirect form of discrimination. Many teachers and activists said the abaya ban is being used to detract from broader issues in France’s education system, including unequal salaries and a significant shortage of teachers, particularly in under-privileged neighbourhoods. According to a recent survey of 508 schools, nearly half of schools lacked a teacher at the start of this school year. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Sep 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results