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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27 Apr 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, the Toronto District School Board has voted unanimously to implement an anti-Islamophobic strategy after a number of students and parents expressed concerns, meanwhile in the United States, after a religious group on the campus of Wayne State held anti-Islamic signs and stomped on the Qur’an in an act of hate, the administration says it “can’t do anything about it, because it’s a public university,” and in the United Kingdom, a report by the government faith advisor finds that Muslims are being marginalized in an number of areas of British life, “including by being made to feel they frequently have to renounce terrorist acts.” Our recommended read of the day is by Hande Taner for the EU Observer on the targeted campaign of vilification that alleged the organization she founded, Forum of Europe Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, and how such defamatory allegations have a devastating impact on European Muslim youth. This and more below:


27 Apr 2023

A New Yorker piece finally reveals why our NGO was mercilessly smeared | Recommended Read

The article in The New Yorker was entitled 'The dirty secrets of a smear campaign'. Much of it wasn't relevant to our organisation, but then I saw a section that piqued my interest. The section outlined how a Swiss PR agency called Alp had paid a freelance writer for a series of articles to disseminate the narrative that the Forum of Europe Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO) — my organisation — was a terrorist-recruiting branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. For years we have been attacked, through articles and tweets that had the exact same narrative citing the same academics. Naturally we released public statements outlining the fact that these claims were defamatory and counterfactual. We reached out to these publications, asking for a correction or a right of reply — but none of these were granted. These defamatory campaigns must not be seen as a victimless crime. There is a devastating impact of defamation on minority youth. As Muslim youth, we are a significant part of the European population, but are constantly vilified and questioned about our identity and allegiance. Any European with historic sensibility should be particularly sensitive to a European religious minority being identified, vilified and questioned about its allegiance. read the complete article

United States

27 Apr 2023

Muslim students at Wayne State University fear for safety after Islamophobic incident on campus

A confrontation on campus has left Muslim students at Wayne State University fearing for their safety. They say last week members of a religious group - known to travel the country targeting people of other faiths - were on the Campus of Wayne State, holding Anti-Islamic signs. But what happened next left students feeling not only deeply offended but fearful for their safety. "One of them grabbed the Quran and started stomping on it," said Mahmoud Muheisan, a senior at WSU. The Quran is the holy book of Islam. Muslims consider the desecration of the Quran as an act of hate. And even after Mahmoud Muheisan, a philosophy student, grabbed the Quran from one of the men, he says the hatred didn't end there. "They called us devil worshipers, ignorant and prideful," said Muheisan. "You went to the Dean, what did the Dean say?" asked Faraz Javed, 7 Action News reporter. "We can't do anything about it, because it's a public university," said Muheisan. But Mahmoud doesn't believe that statement coincides with past events. "Two years ago, a group of far-right individuals came, and they had swastika windmills," said Muheisan. Following that incident, WSU Dean sent an email. The University condemned the action, and Wayne State University Police removed the group from campus. read the complete article

27 Apr 2023

In competition with Chinese Communist Party, anti-Asian rhetoric only divides America

For so many in the United States and around the world, our stories embody the American dream. As an immigrant from India and a descendant of Chinese immigrants, our experiences represent what Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders see as possible in the American dream. Competition can bring out the worst in us. An us-versus-them mentality has led to tragedies of our past: the lynchings of Chinese workers in the 1800s; incarceration camps of Japanese Americans during World War II; the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man who was killed in 1982 by those who blamed Japan for job losses; surveillance and xenophobic backlash against Muslim, Sikh, Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian Americans after 9/11; and more than 11,500 anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents since the beginning of COVID-19. Our communities have seen through our own country’s history what can happen when unchecked rhetoric fans the flames of prejudice. Our government surveilled Muslim communities and mosques after 9/11, and now we must ensure that the civil rights of Chinese Americans are not eroded in the name of national security. We cannot allow history to repeat itself, and it is imperative that we learn from our past to ensure the safety of our communities today. read the complete article

27 Apr 2023

4 Muslim legislators condemn Star Tribune editorial cartoon; publisher apologizes

Responding to criticism from four DFL Muslim legislators about a recent Star Tribune editorial cartoon they described as racist and Islamophobic, the newspaper's publisher apologized Wednesday. "I'm sorry that the Star Tribune published it," CEO and publisher Steve Grove said in a statement. "We will work harder to do better as an organization to ensure we're holding ourselves and our community accountable in constructive ways that speak to our values of respect and integrity." The four legislators, along with many allies, including Attorney General Keith Ellison and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, held a State Capitol news conference to condemn recent vandalism at mosques. After the news conference, the legislators issued the written statement that focused criticism on the Star Tribune. The cartoon at issue was published Sunday in the Star Tribune's opinion section, which is run separately from the news department. It was the first editorial cartoon published from recently hired cartoonist Mike Thompson. It featured an image of a man grousing to a woman that the recently amended noise ordinance allowing the Muslim call to prayer at any time would make Minneapolis "too noisy." In the second image, the same couple stood inside a home while four masked assailants fired guns. read the complete article

United Kingdom

27 Apr 2023

UK politicians stigmatising Muslims over Islamist terrorism, report finds

Senior politicians must stop stigmatising Muslims by making them feel responsible for Islamist terrorism, according to a report that aims to reset the government’s approach to dealing with religious groups. Muslims are being marginalised in a number of areas of British life, according to the report by the government’s faith adviser, Colin Bloom, including by being made to feel they frequently have to renounce terrorist acts. Bloom also urged ministers to develop sharia-compliant student loans to help more Muslims into university, and to conduct an outreach programme to increase their representation in the armed forces. The comments are part of a sweeping review of the government’s interactions with faith groups at every level of society. Bloom’s comments on Islam provide some of the most eye-catching parts of the report, however, providing a marked contrast with the tone of much of the government’s recent messaging on Islamist terrorism. Bloom warns in the report: “Islamist extremism, Islamist-inspired terrorism, and the support of terrorist and extremist organisations … are as repulsive to mainstream British Muslims as the acts of Anders Breivik are to mainstream British Christians. If no effort is undertaken to relieve this situation, sadly many British Muslims will struggle to feel fully accepted and integrated within society.” read the complete article

27 Apr 2023

'We are deserving of being here': How the Sundance hit 'Polite Society' transforms Muslim women into action heroes

When writer/director Nida Manzoor broke into U.K. television in the early-2010s, she hoped to speak for a population that had largely been overlooked by the media: young British Pakistani women like herself who proudly embraced both cultures. But she quickly learned that she was expected to follow conventional narratives about the wives and daughters of Muslim families that were being presented on TV across the pond. "Early on in my career, I was asked to write about forced marriages and honor killings, as though those were our only narratives as Muslim women," Manzoor tells Yahoo Entertainment. "It made me angry, because my truth was never those things. I felt like, 'I'm so over this: I want to show our stories with joyfulness and nuance. A lot of that anger and frustration fueled by my own art — it made me swing big." Manzoor's first big swing was the acclaimed Channel 4 series, We Are Lady Parts, about an all-female Muslim punk band that belted songs like "Bashir With the Good Beard" and "Voldemort Under My Headscarf." (The show is streaming in the U.S. on Peacock.) Now, she's taking another turn at bat — on the big screen this time — with Polite Society, the story of two Muslim sisters that plays as a rollicking mash-up of Bollywood wedding comedies with martial arts movies, body horror yarns and even a dash of The Great Muppet Caper. And once again, it's a project that British film companies initially tried to fit into a more familiar box. "There were certain executives who asked, 'Can you make it a white family?' or 'Can it be a forced marriage?'" Manzoor recalls. "As if the only stories about Muslim women that can be told have to have some trauma element to them. But I was always like, 'Nah nah nah — I'm gonna do something wild here.'" read the complete article


27 Apr 2023

Muslims in Netherlands face structural discrimination

Muslims are "structurally" discriminated against by banks and financial institutions in the Netherlands, mostly as a result of the law to stop money laundering and terrorism funding, according to the national coordinator against discrimination and racism. Rabin Baldewsingh told Dutch daily Trouw on Thursday that he recei ves extra signals from Muslims who were discriminated against, especially during Ramadan due to obligatory almsgiving in Islam and collection of charity money to help the less fortunate. "Then they are bombarded by compliance departments of banks who designated them as suspects of money laundering or terrorism,” Baldewsingh said. "Then they must demonstrate how they got that money before the transaction is processed." He called for an investigation into this. read the complete article


27 Apr 2023

TDSB unanimously passes motion to create anti-Islamophobia strategy

The Toronto District School Board has voted unanimously to implement an anti-Islamophobic strategy after a number of students and parents expressed concerns. In the motion that was put forth, trustees noted that hate crimes against members of the Muslim community have been on the rise in Canada and have had a significant impact on students who identify as Muslim, not only in TDSB schools but in the broader community. “This new strategy will set an example of targeted universalism as we recognize everyone benefits from TDSB’s target removal of systemic barriers faced by the most disadvantaged communities,” said Liban Hassan, the trustee who brought the motion before the board. “Reducing these barriers and disparities leads to a better education system for all TDSB students.” Trustees who spoke in favour of the motion noted there were still hurdles to overcome in the broader community at large. “Islamophobia is not just experienced in our schools, but our students are impacted by what they see in the media, what they see in the news, how they are being portrayed in movies, how their parents are treated at their workplaces – all of these system issues contribute to it,” said trustee Neethan Shan. The TDSB is now the second school board in the province to take on this task, joining the Peel public school board which adopted a strategy of their own, making them the first school board in Canada to create a detailed plan to dismantle Islamophobia. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 27 Apr 2023 Edition


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