Today in Islamophobia

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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.

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12 Apr 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, a new study conducted by a Muslim advocacy organization finds that almost half of all mosques across Britain have experienced religiously motivated attacks in the last 3 years, meanwhile in Canada, the Al Omah Mosque in Quebec was vandalized and a congregation member was assaulted by a man who stormed into the building screaming “something Islamophobic,” and in the U.S., authorities have arrested a man wanted on suspicion of carrying out a hate crime over the weekend with the targeting of the Islamic Center of Southern California. Our recommended read of the day is by Ella Cockbain for Middle East Eye on how the UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman’s comments regarding “grooming gangs,” only “fuel everyday racism and further empower the far-right, which seeks to conflate minorities and migrants with rapists.” This and more below:

United Kingdom

UK: Braverman's posturing on 'Muslim grooming gangs' is top-level gaslighting | Recommended Read

It’s been a grim week for British politics, dominated by crass posturing over "grooming gangs". The willingness to treat victims and survivors of child sexual abuse as political footballs shows a crushing lack of care. The racism on display has been unabashed. The solutions proposed have been painfully disconnected from actual needs. Ahead of upcoming local elections and quite possibly to detract from the country’s woes, it began with Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s exclusive in the Daily Mail. Announcing new policies on "grooming gangs", she insisted that such perpetrators are "almost all British-Pakistani" and their victims "overwhelmingly white girls". Prime Minister Rishi Sunak then further reinforced the myth that addressing child sexual abuse requires a narrow lens on (white) girls abused by Pakistani-heritage men. The fixation on grooming gangs is nothing new. We have had over a decade of intensively racialised and misinformative discourse in the UK, fuelled by many self-interested actors. The latest announcements fuel everyday racism and further empower the far-right, which seeks to conflate minorities and migrants with rapists. Innocent people have already lost their lives in attacks linked to this discourse, including in Rotherham and Finsbury Park. Braverman’s intervention signalled that the government was now prepared not only to suppress its own evidence when politically inconvenient, but openly to deny it. It felt like gaslighting at the highest level. read the complete article

Imams 'stabbed' and worshipers 'assaulted' as study shows a third of mosques target of religious hate

Almost half of mosques across the UK have experienced religiously motivated attacks in the last 3 years, according to research. The survey of 100 mosques - conducted by MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development) - found that 17% of mosques have faced physical abuse directed at staff or worshippers - with one reporting how an Imam had been stabbed outside the mosque entrance. The most common form of attack is vandalism, followed by theft. A number of mosques told how they had had their windows broken and their premises sprayed with racist graffiti. Overall, 35% of mosques experience a religiously motivated attack at least once a year - but just over half were satisfied with the police response after attacks. MEND have called upon the police to improve links with their local Muslim community and mosques, to implement swift action when such attacks occur. read the complete article

Muslim groups urge Suella Braverman to withdraw 'irresponsible and divisive' grooming gang comments

A number of Muslim organisations across the country have written to Rishi Sunak to express "deep concern" at what they branded "irresponsible and divisive rhetoric" from the home secretary. Among the criticism of the home secretary is that her comments around grooming gangs, which were aired in a series of interviews last week, amounted to "inflammatory and divisive rhetoric that is sensationalist and contradicts her own department's evidence". Ms Braverman's remarks were also criticised as factually inaccurate given that a Home Office-commissioned study in 2020 found that group-based child sexual exploitation offenders are most commonly white males under 30. In a series of joint letters to the prime minister, Muslim leaders from across the country have urged the prime minister to "separate himself" from Ms Braverman's comments, which they called on her to withdraw. read the complete article


Tracking the malignant racism of B’nai Brith Canada

B’nai Brith Canada (BBC) has long donned a cloak of respectability in Canadian political circles while remaining a cornerstone of the “Islamophobia Industry” in Canada. Although it promotes itself as the country’s “oldest independent Jewish human rights organization…dedicated to eradicating racism, antisemitism and hatred in all its forms,” BBC has been a prime generator of this virulent strain of racism in the Canadian political landscape since 9/11. BBC has consistently escaped scrutiny because its pro-apartheid politics and Islamophobia have always been roughly aligned with that of the government of the day. And no less visible in the public square is its CEO, Michael Mostyn. At any given moment, Mostyn can be seen in the company of policymakers warning of the dangers of antisemitism and pointing his accusatory finger at students, activists, unions, and Muslims. The primary audience for its work is the roughly 400,000 Jews who call Canada their home. BBC’s messaging to them is consistently two-fold – first, Palestinians, Muslims, and their allies, at home and abroad, are waging a relentless campaign to kill Jews and bring about a second Holocaust; and next, the State of Israel and its apartheid system must be defended at any cost. This “Islamophobia industry” was the focus of a recent study by Professor Jasmin Zine of Wilfred Laurier University. The study put BBC squarely in the center of a network of purveyors of Islamophobic hate in Canada. A glance at the following record should help us assess whether BBC deserves the scrutiny in this regard. read the complete article

'They were scared for their lives': Montreal mosque vandalized during Ramadan

A member of the Montreal mosque that was vandalized Sunday as people prayed inside says the suspect stormed into the building screaming "something Islamophobic." Mohamad Jundi says a young member of the community was verbally assaulted and threatened outside the main entrance before the suspect smashed the glass door at the Al Omah Mosque located on Saint-Dominique Street downtown. "He came behind, and he was carrying a metal shovel in his hand. He threatened this individual," said Jundi, the mosque's head of security, who says he was called to the scene after the incident. It happened around 5 a.m. as about a dozen people prayed inside during the holy month of Ramadan, said Jundi. The suspect threw the shovel on the ground, chased the young man and tried to hit him with another object, said Jundi. The young man was able to get inside safely and close the door. That's when the suspect found a concrete block and smashed the glass door, said Jundi. "He entered the main hall and started screaming," he said. "He was screaming in French, but we didn't get what he was screaming about." Jundi says he will speak to other members who witnessed the incident to find out exactly what was said, “but right now we know he was verbally abusing these guys, there was something Islamophobic.” read the complete article

Justin Trudeau won’t keep his word to protect a Canadian Muslim

Early on, Trudeau made it plain that his pursuit of “sunny ways” was meant to be a tangible alternative to the dark, calculating modus operandi of his immediate and hard-hearted predecessor, Stephen Harper. The irony, of course, is that – despite his signature pledge to restore optimism and faith that government could and should do the right thing for the right reasons – Trudeau has, as prime minister, fuelled the kind of corrosive cynicism he has long bemoaned. More recently, Trudeau has broken his word to Hassan Diab, a Canadian husband, father and teacher who has, for almost 15 years, been the target of myopic French prosecutors more interested in vindictiveness than the truth. Last week, Diab went on trial in France in absentia in connection with a bombing outside a Paris synagogue 40 years ago. The trial is expected to last three weeks. Diab’s fate will be decided by five French judges who have heard testimony from prosecution witnesses that, taken together, has amounted to a predictable rehash of already discredited conjecture and subterfuge designed to implicate Diab. Zealous French prosecutors began to train their crosshairs on Diab in November 2008. That’s when agreeable Canadian police arrested the sociologist and part-time university lecturer in Ottawa pending an extradition hearing. Diab was jailed for four months without charge. Throughout this Kafkaesque ordeal, Diab has insisted on his innocence. The facts back him up. But it is happening again, and Trudeau and his callous government have done nothing to stop the blatant persecution of a Muslim Canadian. Instead, they have abandoned Diab to wolves set on convicting a Canadian to satisfy a stubborn strain of Islamophobia that infects France and the blind antipathy of pressure groups in search of a scalp rather than justice. Trudeau’s rhetoric about ensuring a stop to the state-sanctioned injustice visited on Diab year after grinding year is just that – hollow rhetoric. read the complete article

Muslim groups pledge to monitor Quebec ban on school prayer spaces

Muslim groups are speaking out against the Quebec government’s intention to ban prayer spaces in public schools, saying they will monitor how the Education Department enforces its new rules. In response to reports that at least two Montreal-area schools had reserved spaces for Muslim students to pray, Education Minister Bernard Drainville promised last week to prohibit schools from doing so. The minister, however, said he wouldn’t ban prayer altogether; students who wanted to pray should do so “discreetly” and “silently,” he told reporters. The National Council of Canadian Muslims said Monday it would keep tabs on how the government enforced the ban on prayer spaces, adding that it would “take action” if the rights of students were violated. Drainville’s position hardened over a 24-hour period last week. His first response to the reports of school prayer spaces was to announce that schools could not privilege one religion over another and that they had to ensure the spaces respected gender equality. But he quickly changed his mind after the Parti Québécois called for stronger measures, suggesting Drainville’s original conciliatory stance would encourage more schools to open up prayer rooms. read the complete article



Vice President Kamala Harris wrapped a historic tour of Africa last week, where she positioned the U.S. as a reliable and trustworthy security and economic partner. This week on Intercepted, host Murtaza Hussain is joined by investigative reporter, Nick Turse, to discuss his latest reporting on U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Africa. Since the war on terror was launched, the U.S. government’s ventures in Africa have been more focused on military aid than economic support. Harris’s trip comes after a decade of China investing in infrastructure and critical resource mining throughout the continent and the administration’s concerns over the growing influence of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group. But America’s 20-plus years of counterterrorism support in the region hasn’t resulted in better security. In that time, terrorist groups have risen and U.S.-trained African officers have attempted at least nine coups, eight of which were successful. Hussain and Turse discuss the impact of U.S. military involvement and the influence of other foreign powers. read the complete article

United States

Man arrested in suspected hate crime at Islamic Center of Southern California, police say

A man wanted for a suspected hate crime at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Koreatown has been arrested, authorities confirmed. Investigators say Carlos Moran, who is believed to be homeless, wrote anti-Islamic hate words on several pillars at the mosque on Vermont Boulevard. The incident happened early Sunday morning, during the holy month of Ramadan. The Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday said Moran was taken into custody overnight. The 43-year-old is now facing a felony vandalism charge with a hate crime enhancement. His bail was set at $85,000. The latest hate crime numbers in Los Angeles County have risen to the highest level in 19 years. In 2021, it jumped 23% from the previous year, according to the county Commission on Human Relations. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 12 Apr 2023 Edition


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