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
22 Apr 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In France, Emmanuel Macron visited Saint-Denis, a multicultural commune in Paris’s northern suburbs, in a last-ditch attempt to win the support of a diverse and working-class community, meanwhile in India, “bulldozers are being used to demolish the country’s long-cherished ideals of religious harmony and peaceful co-existence,” and as the UK Prime Minister visits India, journalist Peter Oborne states that Johnson should “raise concerns about India’s treatment of Muslims, highlight them publicly and report back not just to the British parliament but also to the international community.”  Our recommended read of the day is by Sheikh Saaliq and Omer Farooq for AP on “saffron pop,” a genre of incendiary songs favored by Hindu nationalists that openly call for the killing of Muslims and those who do not endorse “Hindutva.” This and more below:


22 Apr 2022

In India, hate-filled songs are a weapon to target Muslims | Recommended Read

The frenzied fury against Muslims began with provocative songs played by Hindu mobs that called for violence. It ended with Muslim neighborhoods resembling a war zone, with pavements littered with broken glass, charred vehicles and burned mosques. Soon groups of Hindus and Muslims began throwing stones at each other, police said. By the time the violence subsided, the Muslims were left disproportionately affected. Their shops and homes were looted and set ablaze. Mosques were desecrated and burned. Overnight, dozens of families were displaced. “Our lives were destroyed in just one day,” said Hidayatullah Mansuri, a mosque official. It was the latest in a series of attacks against Muslims in India, where hardline Hindu nationalists have long espoused a rigid anti-Muslim stance and preached violence against them. But increasingly, incendiary songs directed at Muslims have become a precursor to these attacks. They are part of what is known as “saffron pop,” a reference to the color associated with the Hindu religion and favored by Hindu nationalists. Many such songs openly call for the killing of Muslims and those who do not endorse “Hindutva,” a Hindu nationalist movement that seeks to turn officially secular India into an avowedly Hindu nation. They [Muslims] fear that hate music is yet another tool in the hands of Hindu nationalists to target them. “These songs make open calls for our murder, and nobody is making them stop,” said Mansuri. read the complete article

22 Apr 2022

In India’s battle for Hindu supremacy, the bulldozer is its newest weapon

In a macabre twist, bulldozers in India are being used to demolish the country’s long-cherished ideals of religious harmony and peaceful co-existence. Backed by the might of a state that is seemingly vindictive against the minority Muslim community and ungrudgingly executed by supine officials, bulldozers deployed across many parts of the country to raze properties are tearing apart India’s social fabric one brick at a time. The template for the demolitions, as witnessed recently in the state of Madhya Pradesh and then this week in the capital Delhi, is vicious but quite straightforward. The principal idea behind the demolitions is to portray the strength of those in power and “punish” the so-called rioters. It helps the BJP appease its core Hindu base when those being punished turn out to be overwhelmingly Muslim. read the complete article


22 Apr 2022

Macron courts Muslim vote in last-minute visit to Paris banlieue

Emmanuel Macron is wooing disaffected left-wing voters and warning them against abstaining in Sunday’s presidential election runoff by spelling out just what a victory for his far-right rival Marine Le Pen would mean for France’s Muslim community. The president-candidate on Thursday visited Saint-Denis, a multicultural commune in Paris’s northern suburbs, in a last-ditch attempt to win the support of a diverse and working-class community that heavily backed veteran left-winger Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of the election on April 10. With far-right candidates Eric Zemmour and Le Pen stigmatizing France’s Muslims, Mélenchon emerged as their defender, denouncing a rampant “anti-Muslim sentiment” in the country. Ahead of Sunday’s runoff vote, many of Mélenchon’s supporters are hesitating between staying home, casting a blank ballot or voting for Macron. After promising to do more for disadvantaged neighborhoods, he slammed Le Pen’s proposal to reserve social housing for French people, accusing his opponent of wanting to exclude foreign citizens from social housing. As an example, he said, “a young Moroccan lady who has two children, who works at the hospital, who was applauded every evening during the pandemic … with Madame Le Pen’s program, we will take away her social housing and her family benefits.” “It’s a program of discord,” Macron told reporters, accusing Le Pen of “mixing up terrorism, insecurity, immigration, Islam and Islamism all the time.” This week, Le Pen stressed she was not planning to expel foreign citizens as her proposal would not apply retrospectively. The president was given a mixed reception, with some groups singing anti-Macron chants — borrowed from the Yellow Jackets movement — and others cheering him on. read the complete article

22 Apr 2022

A vitriolic election campaign marked by anti-Islam narratives has left many French Muslims feeling marginalized

This year, the month of Ramadan coincides with the presidential elections in France, the climax of a campaign that has been marked by anti-Muslim vitriol on a scale not seen for decades. As France goes to the polls for the presidential run-off on April 24, many French Muslims like Latreche have been facing a difficult question: Do these would-be presidents really represent my interests? Considering the candidates who entered the race, the answer for many is no. Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate who will challenge incumbent Emmanuel Macron in Sunday's final round, lists "eradicating Islamist ideologies" from France as her second manifesto priority. Even Macron found time in his only campaign rally before the first round vote to highlight the threat of Islamists and Muslim "separatists" in France, entwining France's motto of "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" (liberty, equality, brotherhood) with another favored French Republican value: Laicité (secularism). "What's really scary with this upcoming election is that most of the (top) candidates simply rely on programs based on stigmatization of minorities, on the erosion of our most basic rights and freedom," Latreche, a law student, said ahead of the first round. With the "normalization of Islamophobia, we directly face the consequences," added Latreche, who is also a vocal activist for the civil liberties of young Muslim women. The French political landscape this year is vastly different from just a few elections ago. With the country's traditionally heavyweight center-left and center-right forces struggling, the political extremes have profited. Strasbourg's Grand Mosque -- the largest in France -- sits tucked discreetly away on a riverbank in the eastern border city. Many of the worshipers there say they don't feel represented by any of the dozens of candidates who competed for the presidency in the first round. "We're constantly being marginalized, excluded from society and then being told that we're not taking part in society," said Latreche. Being refused agency and choice over her own life and contribution to society, she felt, inevitably had a negative effect on her mental health and that of her friends, she added. As he entered for evening prayers, Wagner Dino expressed dismay at the choice of candidates. "There is no one who presents himself, who really has the necessary parameters to put everything in place, to have a France united with Muslims," he said. read the complete article

22 Apr 2022

France election 2022: Culture wars fail to hit home in Le Pen’s Calais heartland

Calais in particular, which has made headlines with migration stories for decades, has become synonymous with Europe's failed asylum system. The town is also part of the northern heartland of Marine Le Pen, whose seat is an hour away. The far-right presidential candidate's 2022 campaign has, once again, tapped into France’s nervous relationship with immigration and secularism. After an election campaign fought by most candidates on “culture war” issues like Islam and migration, it is exactly the type of response you might expect in Calais. Le Pen, who has also vowed to remove birthright citizenship, only give French citizens access to welfare benefits, and process asylum requests outside of Franc, got nearly 40 percent of the vote in Calais in the first round of the presidential election in early April. This was a slight increase on the 2017 election and almost the same as her score across the Pas-de-Calais region, which her party, National Rally, has come to dominate. But most locals in the town are far less angry at the displaced than the “culture wars” would lead you to believe. Standing at the bar of a betting shop-cum-cafe, Marcel, a 65-year-old with faded tattoos on his forearms and lifelong Le Pen voter, feels no hostility towards the groups of young men who walk around town and sit talking on benches in parks. He described them as "unfortunate… they left because it’s war”. Why is he voting Le Pen? To save his pension. read the complete article

22 Apr 2022

Why France’s Election Matters For All Of Us | The Mehdi Hasan Show

A far-right, Putin-praising, Islamophobia-spewing, anti-immigrant and nationalist-views pushing candidate is getting another chance at becoming president. And, no, Mehdi is *not* talking about Donald Trump. Former French ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud and French legal scholar Rim-Sarah Alouane join Mehdi to discuss France's Marine Le Pen and the mainstreaming of extremist views in global politics. read the complete article

22 Apr 2022

What's at stake for Muslims in the French election

France is electing a new president this weekend — and once again the culture war over Islam is front and centre. Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, has proposed a ban on Muslim women wearing headscarves in public, and she's in striking distance of upsetting Emmanuel Macron, France's current centrist president. With the debate over French identity and rampant Islamaphobia flaring up again, our guest, Rim-Sarah Alouane, a French legal scholar, says it's "draining" to feel as a French Muslim that "you are never enough." So what does this moment mean for Western Europe's largest Muslim population? And just how close is France to the brink of a far-right future? read the complete article

22 Apr 2022

Tensions over race, religion in France's presidential race

From attacks on “wokeism” to crackdowns on mosques, France’s presidential campaign has been especially challenging for voters of immigrant heritage and religious minorities, as discourse painting them as “the other” has gained ground across a swath of French society. French voters head to polls on Sunday in a runoff vote between centrist incumbent Emmanuel Macron and nationalist rival Marine Le Pen, wrapping up a campaign that experts have seen as unusually dominated by discriminatory discourse and proposals targeting immigration and Islam. With Le Pen proposing to ban Muslim headscarves in public, women like 19-year-old student Naila Ouazarf are in a bind. “I want a president who accepts me as a person,” said Ouazarf, clad in a beige robe and matching head covering. She said she would defy the promised law should Le Pen become president and pay a fine, if necessary. Macron attacked Le Pen on the headscarf issue during their presidential debate Wednesday, warning it could stoke “civil war.” But a top priority of her election program is to prioritize French citizens over immigrants for welfare benefits, a move that critics see as institutionalizing discrimination. Le Pen also wants to ban Muslim women from wearing headscaves in public, to toughen asylum rules and to sharply curtail immigration. She has gained ground among voters since 2017, when she lost badly to Macron. This time around, Le Pen has put a greater emphasis on policies to help the working poor. Islam is France's No. 2 religion, though there are no hard data on the races and religions of voters because of France's doctrine of colorblindness, which sees all citizens as universally French and encourages assimilation. Critics say the principle allows authorities to ignore deep-seated discrimination, both on the French mainland and in overseas French territories where most voters aren’t white. read the complete article

United States

22 Apr 2022

Zion woman claims she's being harrassed because she's Muslim: 'I just want them to stop'

This is a sacred time for Muslims across the world. Ramadan is in its third week and a north suburban woman had hoped to spend it in strengthening her faith, not worrying about her safety. "Stop putting your religious trash bags at my door. I am a Muslim and your trash won't change that," reads the sign on Zion resident Fahtima Abdul Fattah's door. They're directed toward the person, or persons, who she claims left anti-Muslim materials in a bag at her door at the Carmel House Apartments in Zion. "There was a lot of newspaper clippings about terrorism and suicide bombing and things like that," Abdul Fattah said. She said she discovered the most recent clippings on Monday morning. Abdul Fattah said she found similar materials at her door two other times, along with information about Christianity. This prompted her to move to a different floor of the building last year. "I don't know if this person is like stalking me to recruit me to be Christian or whatever their religion or if they're trying to do something to harm me," she said. read the complete article

22 Apr 2022

The Equity Talk: Muslim women say their voices aren't heard in the workplace. That's a massive problem corporate execs need to address.

It's Ramadan, one of the most important holy seasons for about 3.8 million Muslim Americans, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a CEO acknowledging it, save for a few exceptions. It's a period of reflection marked by fasting from sunrise to sunset and lasts from April 1 to May 1 this year. In an era when CEOs are being pressed to champion diversity and inclusion, Muslim professionals say they feel excluded from conversations about creating better workplace cultures. "I've felt that I'm competing with other women of color for that one seat at the table with other white men or white women," said Sofia Haq, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Muslim Women Professionals. "I've also sometimes felt that, as a Muslim woman, I was tokenized." Most diversity reports include data and objectives on race and gender but stop there. Muslim women, many of whom wear a hijab, say they face not just exclusion, but discrimination amid lingering Islamophobia post 9/11 and various anti-hijab campaigns in Europe and India. Multiple recent studies show Muslim women who wear a head scarf face discrimination in job interviews. At the same time, they're being asked to operate in professional settings with little consideration for their lived experiences like abstaining from alcohol or praying five times a day. This is a management failure and a missed opportunity, multiple diversity, equity and inclusion consultants say, but CEOs have an opportunity to reframe conversations around inclusion to include faith. "I think a lot of leaders and a lot of managers think diversity, equity, and inclusion is race and gender. If it's really cutting-edge, it's also about sexual identity and orientation. But getting into religion, that's something that people and organizations shy away from," said Soumaya Khalifa, the CEO of diversity and inclusion consultancy Khalifa Consulting. "Inclusion needs to be part of the DNA of an organization." In the latest installment of The Equity Talk, diversity consultant Khalifa and nonprofit founder Haq, both of whom are Muslim, shared their insight on how CEOs and managers can do better by this growing community. read the complete article


22 Apr 2022

China urges Sweden to 'respect Muslim beliefs' despite its genocide against Uyghurs

China has criticised Sweden over a recent incident in which a far-right politician reportedly burned the Quran, with Beijing urging the Scandinavian state to 'respect' Muslim beliefs. The Chinese foreign ministry's comments came in response to Danish-Swedish far-right leader Rasmus Paludan's plans to organise several Quran-burning rallies in Sweden during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The US, France, and other countries recognise China's repression - which includes mass detention, forced abortions, and torture - as a genocide of Uyghurs. China’s statement comes despite its ongoing repression of Uyghur Muslims in the western part of the country, where it is accused of incarcerating over a million Uyghurs in what has been called an attempt to wipe out their religion and culture. read the complete article

22 Apr 2022

India's Muslims face genocide. But don't expect Boris Johnson to mention it

We’ve not read a word from the British press about Modi’s systematic, organised, murderous persecution of India’s 200 million Muslims. And I’d be astonished if we hear a word on the subject. On Wednesday, Johnson arrived in Gujarat, Modi’s political base. He announced new India investment deals in science and technology. A routine exchange of political favours. But the British prime minister courteously made no reference to the Gujarat pogrom, which left more than 1,000 dead 20 years ago, with Modi accused of fanning the violence. If this terrible event had been an isolated episode, fair enough. But it has gone on to set the pattern for Modi’s premiership. In the eight years he has been Indian prime minister, Modi has repudiated the multi-faith India embraced by the nation’s founding fathers, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Remember that Modi has been a member of the Nazi-influenced Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), out of which his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has grown, since he was a boy. Under his leadership, a terrifying anti-Muslim narrative has emerged. Modi’s BJP follows a Hindu nationalism that sees India’s 200 million Muslims as foreigners and invaders. The Indian government is seeking to alter the demography of India’s Muslim-majority state, Jammu and Kashmir, by encouraging Hindus to move there. The state has been under a dense military occupation for decades; most Kashmiris do not wish to be part of India. In August 2019, Prime Minister Modi revoked Kashmir’s historical semi-autonomous status. That same year, Modi’s Citizen Amendment Act excluded Muslim refugees from citizenship. Arundhati Roy wrote that Modi was enacting “India’s version of Germany’s 1935 Nuremberg Laws, which deprived Jews and other minorities of their citizenship rights”. To be fair, Boris Johnson is in India to bring home a trade deal, and he cannot afford to jeopardise that cherished prize. Nor can we reasonably expect the United Kingdom to solve all of the world’s problems. Nevertheless, in high-profile negotiations of this sort, I think it is fair to expect a British prime minister to raise concerns about India’s treatment of Muslims, highlight them publicly and report back not just to the British parliament but also to the international community. read the complete article


22 Apr 2022

Muslim community calls on Ontario leaders to commit to Our London Family Act after election

Local Muslim community leaders have penned a letter calling for all Ontario provincial parties to commit to passing the Our London Family Act within 100 days of the Ontario election. The Ontario New Democrats tabled the new legislation back in February to address Islamophobia and other forms of hate less than a year after the attack in London, Ont., last summer. The Our London Family Act, or Bill 86, addresses calls from Muslim leaders to take concrete, meaningful action to combat Islamophobia in Ontario. The motion from the NDP failed to pass in March before the legislature dissolved ahead of the June 2 election. Following this decision, 11 Muslim organizations, including The National Council of Canadian Muslims and the London Muslim Mosque, signed a joint letter to Premier Doug Ford and all other provincial party leaders to commit to passing the bill in a set timeframe. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Apr 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results