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
27 Mar 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In Denmark, the far-right anti-Muslim group Patriot Gar Live posted images on Facebook of its supporters carrying banners with Islamophobic messages as they burned a copy of the Quran and the Turkish flag outside the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen, meanwhile in Canada, a train and light rail company in Ottowa apologizes after a staff member said a Muslim was “bothering” customers by praying at the station, and lastly, today is Muslim Women’s Day, and many advocates are stressing the importance of acknowledging how structural issues – such as racism, Islamophobia, and homophobia – intersect with misogyny. Our recommended read of the day is by Rowaida Abdelaziz for Huffington Post on a new report showing the degree to which many American financial institutions discriminate against Muslims, and what impact this may have for those celebrating the month of Ramadan. This and more below:

United States

Payments Denied, Flagged And Scrutinized: The Harrowing Experience Of Banking While Muslim | Recommended Read

A quarter of the American Muslim population has faced hurdles while banking in the United States, according to a report released last week by the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), a nonprofit that provides research about American Muslims. Challenges included not being allowed to open an account, having an account suspended or closed, and having payments subjected to extra scrutiny. The study further found that Muslims were twice as likely as the general population to have issues with business and nonprofit accounts. The holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims partake in fasting and increased charity, started this week, and Muslim Americans are worried that discrimination from financial institutions could hurt businesses and charities in their community during this critical time. “It’s important for folks to understand that Islamophobia isn’t just a rude comment at the grocery store,” said Dalia Mogahed, the ISPU’s director of research. “It is inflicted on the community by the state and by institutions, and one form of that that we’re digging into here is financial institutions.” The study found that nearly all Muslims — 93% — who reported facing challenges with financial institutions experienced an issue with a personal account. Among this group, people were most likely to be turned down when trying to open a new personal account (44%), followed by having a personal account suspended or closed (33%). read the complete article


Congress revisits approval for Iraq invasion, recalling change of heart on Vietnam

In the coming weeks, both chambers of Congress are expected to debate and vote on a bill repealing the authority that Congress gave President George W. Bush to use force against Iraq. It has been more than half a century since Congress repealed a similar resolution. That was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964, which had allowed then-President Lyndon Johnson to escalate the conflict in Vietnam. That war ultimately cost more than 55,000 American lives and many times that many Vietnamese lives, destabilizing the entire region. We will return to that precedent in a moment. For now, Congress is focused on the fallout from its decision to greenlight a war with Iraq in October 2002. The U.S. and its allies invaded and occupied Iraq the following March. It was 20 years ago this month. There was no declaration of war against Iraq, although the Constitution gave that power to Congress in its Article I. Congress has not declared war on anyone since 1942, nor has any president asked it to. But there have been long and bloody wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq – not to mention hundreds of strikes using drones, missiles and "special forces" (the exact number is not known). By repealing its 2002 authorization for the war in Iraq, Congress may hope to reassert more control on the war-making decisions of the executive branch. That is the goal, at least, of many on Capitol Hill. read the complete article

Rohingya campaigners condemn Myanmar’s ‘opaque’ repatriation plan

The Myanmar military’s “pilot project” to repatriate about 1,000 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh has been met with scepticism, with rights campaigners calling it a “PR campaign”. Last week, a delegation from Myanmar visited the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district – home to more than 1 million Rohingya – to interview potential candidates for their return as early as next month. Nearly 800,000 Rohingya fled their homeland in Myanmar in 2017 after a brutal military crackdown during which thousands of the ethnic Muslim minority were killed, raped and their properties torched as part of a scorched-earth campaign. Tens of thousands of the persecuted Rohingya took shelter in Bangladesh before the 2017 crackdown that the United Nations said was carried out with “genocidal intent”. In a 2018 report, the UN called for army chief Min Aung Hlaing, and other generals, to face genocide charges. The Rohingya left in Myanmar suffer segregation and widespread discrimination as well as having their citizenship revoked. Rights groups say the measures amount to apartheid. “We see this move as a PR campaign. If the junta genuinely wants to repatriate the refugees, they already have a list of more than 800,000 refugees from past years and could have revealed their plan earlier,” Nay San Lwin, co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition, told Al Jazeera. “This decision to repatriate just 1,000 refugees seems to be an attempt to ease pressure from China and other countries,” he said. read the complete article

Like a war zone’: Congress hears of China’s abuses in Xinjiang ‘re-education camps’

Two women who say they experienced and eventually escaped Chinese “re-education” camps provided first-hand testimony to members of the US Congress on Thursday night, offering harrowing accounts of life in detention while urging Americans not to look away from what the US has declared a continuing genocide of Muslim ethnic minorities. Speaking before a special bipartisan House committee at the start of Ramadan, Gulbahar Haitiwaji, a Uyghur woman, said she spent nearly three years in internment camps and police stations, during which she was subjected to 11 hours of daily “brainwashing education” that included singing patriotic songs and praising the Chinese government before and after meals. The hearing was the second hosted by the newly established select committee on the Chinese Communist party dedicated to countering Beijing. Haitiwaji said detainees were punished for speaking in Uyghur, and endured routine interrogations, during which they were hooded and shackled to their chairs. On one occasion, she said, she was chained to her bed for 20 days. Female prisoners were told they would be vaccinated when they were being sterilized. In written testimony, Haitiwaji wrote that after her head was shaved, she began to feel that she was “losing my sense of self, losing my ability to even remember the faces of my family members”. read the complete article

Arab countries warn of rising Islamophobia after Quran burning in Denmark

'Burning the Holy Quran is a serious act of hatred and a manifestation of Islamophobia that incites violence and insults towards religions' Saudi Arabia on Sunday condemned the burning of a copy of the Quran and the Turkish flag by right-wing activists in Denmark. The Kingdom was joined by Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar in speaking out against the acts, saying they provoke hatred against Muslims, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. Far-right anti-Muslim group Patriot Gar Live posted images on Facebook of its supporters carrying banners with Islamophobic messages as they burned a copy of the Quran and the Turkish flag outside the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen. Turkey's Foreign Ministry denounced the incident as a 'hate crime', adding that it would never accept such 'despicable actions being allowed under the guise of freedom of speech', the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper reported. The ministry also called on the Danish authorities to take action against those responsible and to ensure that further incidents "that threaten social harmony and peaceful coexistence" do not occur, the daily added. read the complete article

If Your Feminism Doesn’t Include Muslim Women, It’s Not Feminism

Women’s History Month may be coming to an end, but we can’t end it without turning our focus to Muslim Women’s Day (Mar. 27). You might be wondering why Muslim women need their own day when International Women’s Day already exists, but carving out our own day has never been more important. Ensuring that our feminism is intersectional and inclusive of all women is arguably more urgent than ever, particularly given the continued dominance of white feminism in the West, and especially in the media. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to write my book, The Othered Woman: How White Feminism Harms Muslim Women. I wanted to look into the ways white feminism specifically excludes Muslim women through the myths and stereotypes it has created and upheld for decades. My hope is to help break down those myths, and doing my part to help and platform the work that Muslim women around the world do every single day. White feminism tends to focus on and prioritise the experiences of white, middle-class, cis women, and therefore is inherently exclusionary. It operates under the assumptions that their wants and needs for gender equality are the same for all women, and once white women make progress in society then that will open up doors for other communities of women. A problematic assumption, to say the least. This type of feminism completely neglects and ignores how structural issues – such as racism, Islamophobia, and homophobia – intersect with misogyny. But by now we know women will experience very different challenges and barriers in their lives. read the complete article

U.N. Investigators Protest to U.S. Over Health Care at Guantánamo Bay

Two months ago, seven United Nations human rights investigators sent the U.S. government a protest over health care for detainees at Guantánamo Bay that described troubling treatment of an Iraqi prisoner who is now disabled. The United States never replied, and over the weekend the U.N. Human Rights Council released the 18-page report by the experts, whose sole power is to investigate and disclose their concerns on human rights issues related to counterterrorism, the disabled and the elderly. Known as special rapporteurs, they have no enforcement authority. The report focused on the case of Abd Al-Hadi Al-Iraqi, a former commander of insurgents in wartime Afghanistan who is in his 60s. He has suffered a degenerative disease of the spine during his 16 years in U.S. custody and, despite six back and neck surgeries at Guantánamo Bay since 2017, his health is declining. The report cites descriptions of his alleged mistreatment, many of which have been contained in court filings and transcripts — notably one that occurred in September 2021, after Mr. Hadi told the medical staff of a weakening in his lower extremities. It says that, soon after he refused a nurse’s proposal to conduct a rectal exam, the senior doctor at the prison conducted a test, “directing guards to hold him upright by his shoulders and then directing them to release him to see whether he could stand.” He “collapsed immediately as he did not have the strength to hold his own body upright,” the report says. read the complete article


The Myriad Things Indian Muslims Are Changing To Survive Overt & Covert Hostility In Their Changing Country

Required to pray five times daily, Muslims offering namaz in public places like trains, railway stations and hospitals have always been part of India’s religiously and culturally vibrant landscape. But with sustained attacks on the country’s largest minority and a decline in civil liberties in the eight years since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, the few civilities Muslims were extended have disappeared. To survive the descent into Hindu majoritarianism, Indian Muslims have had to change or be extremely guarded about what they eat, where they pray, and what they say, especially in a public place. Starting with the 52-year-old ironsmith, Mohammad Akhlaq, who, in September 2015, a little over a year after the BJP came to power in May 2014, was beaten to death by a Hindu mob on suspicion of eating cow meat, the lynching of Muslims in the name of cow protection has become routine. Muslims have been attacked for offering namaz in a public place (here, here, and here) and on the suspicion of carrying or consuming beef (here, here, and here). While the Hindu right wing has popularised the conspiracy theory about Muslim men luring Hindu women into marriage under false pretences, BJP-run states have wielded anti-conversion laws to make it more difficult for people of different faiths to get married. When asked about the need for such abject silence about his relationship, given that he lives in the national capital, A said, “So much venom is being spewed against Muslims. I fear that if my seniors get to know I married a Hindu woman, my promotions and salary hike may stop. You can check the social media posts of the vice presidents of multinational companies, and you will see how vicious they are.” read the complete article

‘The Modi Question’ and Questioning Modi

Seven days of incessant inter-communal violence: 1,044 dead, 223 missing, and 2,500 injured. The Gujarat riots shook the Indian subcontinent to its very core in 2002, inflicting a gash that ran deep and true in its memory. Twenty-one years later, BBC’s new documentary, India: the Modi Question unearths the ugly realities of this violence in just 59 short minutes—a history the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has painstakingly buried over the years, one silenced journalist at a time. A year before India goes to the polls to possibly elect Modi for a third term, the documentary described him as “directly responsible for a climate of impunity” that has led to anti-Muslim violence. It blames him for allowing religious violence to rage on in the state and for ordering senior police officers not to intervene. The Modi government was quick to react, placing a complete ban on the documentary and drawing scrutiny from diaspora and resident Indians alike. From blocking the documentary on YouTube and Twitter to cutting the internet at major universities, it is doing everything in its power to prevent viewing. The glaring failures of this ban, while providing a glimpse of hope, do not necessarily mean that freedom of speech in India is safe. Moreover, the criticism the government has faced in response is unlikely to prevent its continued suppression of free speech. Amidst a national sentiment that is willing to ignore or even accept the BJP’s fascist attitude toward free speech, the future of India’s democracy remains murky. The documentary ban is just one droplet in a stream of crackdowns on free speech. Be it stand-up comedy or student activism, threats to the BJP’s ultra-nationalist positions are neutralized by suppression, censorship, legal action, or an unhealthy combination of all three. The direct result of this is an environment of fear that deters people from speaking truth to power and criticizing their political leader. read the complete article


Twitter loses bid to throw out complaint by Australian Muslim group over ‘hateful’ content

Twitter has lost a bid to have a complaint by an advocacy group for Australian Muslims thrown out after they accused the platform of failing to take action against accounts that incite hatred. The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (Aman) lodged a complaint to the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) last June. They argued that, as a publisher, Twitter Australia and Twitter Inc are responsible for content posted by a far-right account that has been referred to in the manifesto of a white supremacist and mass murderer. Aman says the platform has repeatedly refused to delete the account or take down replies to its posts which refer to the Qur’an as “the terrorist handbook” and to Islam as “the most violent and sexually perverse cult”. The complaint to the commission contained 419 items, including 29 tweets it claims incited hatred and 390 comments and quotes on those tweets. Twitter Inc argued Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act does not apply to it, as the platform is “incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware in the United States”. In a decision by the QHRC, a commission officer said they could not agree that the complaint was “misconceived or lacking in substance”. “A foreign person is not immune from [the] application of Queensland legislation in respect of things that occur in Queensland,” the officer said. read the complete article


Muslim told not to pray at Canadian train station

A rail company apologises after a staff member in Ottawa said a Muslim was "bothering" customers by praying. Ahmed told the BBC of his shock at the tense interaction inside the train station in the Canadian capital. read the complete article


What does it take to survive as a Muslim in France?

If you are a French Muslim applying for a job, you are five times more likely to face discrimination than a non-Muslim. And if you are a Muslim woman donning a headscarf, you have a 1% chance of finding employment. Rights activist Yasser Louati cited those examples when he spoke to Anadolu about how life is for Muslims in France. “If you apply for housing, it takes you twice as long to get housing because you are identified either as an African, North African or a Muslim,” he said. “If you are a Muslim youngster in France, police brutality targets you first.” European Islamophobia Report 2022 co-editor Enes Bayrakli named France as one of the most Islamophobic countries last year. Activists and experts, in conversation with Anadolu, endorsed the ranking. “The cost is that you have to struggle every single day and, even if you have rights on paper, they are never granted to you,” said Louati, a Paris-based political analyst. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 27 Mar 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results