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
23 Aug 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, an eighth-grade student in Massachusetts, received a uniform violation for wearing a hijab, with administrators citing a school policy that states hijab can only be worn after students submit a letter from a “member of the clergy,” meanwhile this week marks five years since the brutal campaign of violence meted out at the hands of the Myanmar military against Rohingya Muslims, and activists warn that the plight of the Rohingya “is fast becoming a pressure cooker that no one seems inclined to take off the stove,” and in India, a lawmaker from the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has been arrested for making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad. Our recommended read of the day is by Samir Sweida-Metwally for The Conversation on his study into low employment amongst British Muslims, noting that he found no association between so-called “socio-cultural attitudes” and the likelihood of Muslims being unemployed or inactive; instead his findings lend support to the “overwhelming evidence from field experiments that suggests discrimination is a significant barrier to Muslims looking for work.” This and more below:

United Kingdom

23 Aug 2022

‘Muslim culture’ is routinely blamed for lower levels of employment – but my research shows this is not what is behind the problem | Recommended Read

People who identify as minority ethnic are at a disadvantage in the labour market compared to the British white majority. They are more likely to earn less, be outside of the labour force, be unemployed and remain unemployed for longer. Research also shows that Muslims are worse off than any other religious group relative to white British Christians. Academics refer to this fact as the “Muslim penalty”. Importantly, the Muslim penalty remains even after accounting for factors that are likely to affect employment, such as education, age, region of residence, English language proficiency and health. The existence of a Muslim penalty does not in and of itself indicate that discrimination is taking place. Some therefore argue that so-called “cultural norms” are at play – that Muslims, and particularly Muslim women, are less likely to be working because the values of their own communities hold them back. These purported norms include a unique “taste for isolation” and a commitment to “traditional gender roles”. But investigating a decade of data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study – one of the largest surveys of its kind, which gathers information on the socio-economic situation and cultural contexts from around 100,000 people – I did not find this view to be supported by the evidence. In other words, my study found no association between so-called “socio-cultural attitudes” and the likelihood of Muslims being unemployed or inactive. What then is driving the Muslim penalty? Survey analysis like mine cannot prove discrimination is at play, but my findings lend support to the overwhelming evidence from field experiments that suggests discrimination is a significant barrier to Muslims looking for work – even if it is not the only driver of such disparities. read the complete article


23 Aug 2022

India's top court to hear petition reversing release of gang-rape convicts

India's Supreme Court will hold a hearing on a petition challenging the release last week of 11 men convicted of gang-raping a pregnant Muslim woman during Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 in the western state of Gujarat. Last Monday, authorities in the Panchmahals district of Gujarat released the men after considering the time they had served after their conviction in 2008 and their behaviour while jailed. However, critics contend that their discharge contradicts the government's stated policy of uplifting women in a country with numerous, well-documented instances of violence against them. The Court verbally agreed on Tuesday to hear a Public Interest Litigation petition to reverse the state's remission order freeing the men, Kapal Sibal, an attorney representing a group of women seeking the reversal, told Reuters. The women include Subhashini Ali, an Indian politician and member of the Communist Party of India, Revati Laul, an independent journalist, and Mahua Moitra, a member of parliament form the opposition Trinamool Congress Party, Sibal said. The petition holds that the men must serve their full life sentences. read the complete article

23 Aug 2022

Indian lawmaker arrested for derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad

A lawmaker from the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has been arrested for making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad, which sparked large protests in Hyderabad city in India's southern Telangana state on Monday night. According to Hyderabad police, Thakur Raja Singh, the BJP member of the state Legislative Assembly, was arrested on Tuesday morning after multiple cases were registered against him in different locations in the city. "We have apprehended him. Further details will be shared soon," Joel Davis, a senior police officer in Hyderabad said. On Monday, Singh released a video showing him making derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad. Subsequently, protests broke out in different parts of Hyderabad on Monday night, with protesters demanding action against him. read the complete article

23 Aug 2022

Portrait of a modern Indian Muslim woman: Bilkis Bano and the criminal justice system

In the midst of the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, several incidents of violence occurred. One of the most violent instances of the time was the gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family. On March 3, 2002, five-month pregnant Bano, on the run along with her family, was stopped by a mob of men. The communal violence ended with heinous crimes – Bano was gang-raped and left for dead, her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter was murdered by bashing her head open on a rock, and seven of her family members were murdered. Recovering from the physical and emotional trauma of this incident, Bano started criminal proceedings against her rapists. It was only two years later, in 2004 that the accused were arrested. Due to the risk of witnesses being harmed and evidence being tampered, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004. Of the men accused in the Bilkis Bano case, 11 were sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court on charges of conspiring to rape a pregnant woman, murder and unlawful assembly under the Indian Penal Code. Most of the convicts were known to Bilkis Bano, and had purchased milk from her family. It took the justice system six years to convict the accused in 2008. In 2017, after almost a decade, the Bombay High Court, not only upheld the convictions of the 11 accused, but also convicted some of the people in power such as policemen and doctors for not performing their duties and tampering with evidence. In 2019, the Supreme Court also awarded Bano compensation, the first of its kind awarded to a victim of the 2002 riots. This conviction, which took over a decade to come to fruition, was short-lived. In April this year, Shah, one of the convicts, filed a plea in the Supreme Court that he was in jail for 15 years and four months without remission. The Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to consider the issue of remission for his sentence under the 1992 Gujarat Remission Policy. The state government formed a committee and took a “unanimous decision in favour of remission of all the 11 convicts in the case.” All 11 men, who were convicted in 2008, were released on August 15, when India celebrated its 75th year of independence. read the complete article

United States

23 Aug 2022

White feminism is blind: A case study into the mess that is Bette Milder

On July 5, 2022, in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Bette Midler photoshopped an image of members of the supreme court in beards and turbans, with the female justices in all black burqas — suggesting the Supreme Court’s atrocious step backward into time reflects Islam and the mindset of Muslim people. Midler’s tweet links the members of the court to her Western Oriental imagination of Muslim people — an overgeneralized land of ignorant and indistinguishable masses of black burqas and long, grey beards. This is quiet ironic since women in Islam have always had autonomy over their own bodies and do have higher access to abortion in comparison to American women, now that the ruling has been overturned. In other words, banning abortion in accordance with a pro-life movement wouldn’t be an Islamic decision — it is a reflection of American Christian nationalism. This decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a strictly American one — meanwhile, other societies around the world offered and continue to offer women their reproductive rights. Such is the case of Muslim women offered rights in Islam. It would be factually incorrect to suggest that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is something one could expect as an Islamic ruling when in reality, taking autonomy and rights away from women regarding their own bodies is a history that roots itself in European Christendom. Midler actively perpetuates an Islamophobic, Orientalist and fabricated idea of what a Muslim is — that Muslims are a homogeneous group of Arabs who are barbaric and stand against the rights of women. By comparing an American issue to this Oriental imagination of what a Muslim is, Midler contrasts the idea of the western feminism as being inherently forward-thinking, to female empowerment in other societies as inherently regressive and backwards — even though Islamic law was never a determinant for American society nor the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. If that doesn’t scream a lack of self-awareness, then nothing will. read the complete article

23 Aug 2022

Suspect charged with the third of the 4 killings of Muslim men that rattled Albuquerque

A man in custody on suspicion of killing two Muslim men in Albuquerque has been charged with the murder of a third man, authorities announced Monday. Muhammad Syed, 51, now faces murder charges in the case of three of four fatal shootings of South Asian men that rattled the city's Muslim community. Syed was charged earlier this month with the July 26 killing of Aftab Hussein, 41, and August 1 killing of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27. He is now accused of killing Naeem Hussain, 25, who was shot as he sat in the driver's seat of his white 4-Runner in a parking lot in the city on August 5, Albuquerque police said in a news release. He had earlier in the day attended the funeral services for Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, the police said. The latest murder charge comes after detectives found surveillance video showing a gray Volkswagen sedan "fleeing the scene" following Naeem Hussain's shooting, according to the release. It added that Syed is also "considered the prime suspect" in the killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, which happened on November 7, 2021. read the complete article

23 Aug 2022

To wear the hijab in this US school, you need a letter from 'clergy'

An eighth-grade student in Malden, Massachusetts, received a uniform violation for wearing a hijab. According to the school policy, a hijab can only be worn after students submit a letter from a “member of the clergy". The incident occurred on 18 August, the first day of classes at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School (MVRCS). The eighth-grade student received a school uniform compliance form which stated that an aspect of the uniform was out of compliance. The uniform infraction? The reason, it said, was the “hijab”. In a post that has gone viral, the student's sister said the young girl came home crying “and in a horrible emotional state refusing to go to school tomorrow”. Her sister wrote that ten years ago when she herself was in the fifth grade, she was forced to stay in the detention office until her parents obtained a letter from a religious leader saying that “this was a part of the Muslim religion for Muslim women to dress modestly”. On the school's website under the "about us" section, there are two photos that show girls wearing the hijab. According to CAIR-Massachusetts executive director Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, many girls have come forward after this incident to say they had gone through the same thing in past. "They have come and said, 'We've all been required to do this and many of us have discipline infractions in our file'," Amatul-Wadud told MEE. "So we're looking at globally addressing what the students have been dealing with. Just because you can ask for the student to provide an [accommodation letter] doesn't mean you should and we think they should immediately eliminate that policy today." read the complete article


23 Aug 2022

Bulldozer used in Edison’s India Independence Day Parade seen as Islamophobic

There are calls for an apology from the Indian Business Association over a symbol some say is Islamophobic. A bulldozer was seen at the India Independence Day Parade in Edison two weeks ago. It was decorated with images of the Indian prime minister and another leader and was used in the parade. Some say that the bulldozer symbolizes the demolition of Muslim homes in India. “As someone that is Muslim, I find this terrorizing and harassing and so does the Muslim community across New Jersey,” says Azra Baig, of South Brunswick. “What's happening in India with bulldozers - people's homes, people's businesses are being bulldozed. People are being killed just because of their faith.” The Edison Town Council says that it will look into the situation. “Bringing international politics to the downtown streets of Edison, on Oak Tree Road, is just wrong. It’s just dead wrong,” says Edison Council President Joseph Coyle. “We will look into this. I'll ask my colleagues and the mayor to look at the permit process of parades and see where we can put restrictions.” read the complete article

16 Aug 2022

Who Will Champion the Rohingya?

As we mark five years since the brutal campaign of violence meted out at the hands of the Myanmar military, I remember a Rohingya mother of six who said, “The military were brutally killing Rohingya and burning our houses… now, we live here in the refugee camps. It is five years of living in distress…” The plight of the Rohingya – persecuted in Myanmar, living in containment in Bangladesh, trafficked and living illegally in Malaysia and elsewhere – is fast becoming a pressure cooker that no one seems inclined to take off the stove. The approach to assistance in Bangladesh, the only country to open its borders and offer sanctuary to now over 1 million Rohingya, is increasingly unsustainable, with funding harder to secure. Five years on, the humanitarian response must transition from a minimum provision of emergency services to one better suited to a long-term resettlement reality. read the complete article

23 Aug 2022

Andrew Tate has substantial links with far right, campaigners warn

Andrew Tate has substantial connections with the far right which means the influencer is a danger to young men and teenage boys, campaigners have warned. Hope not Hate, a campaign group, argued the 35-year-old self-avowed “success coach” has routinely been accused of misogyny but his links to the far right are far less well-known. New research conducted by the organisation, which is calling for Tate to be removed from social media platforms, suggested the public is less aware of his “long history of racist statements, homophobia and links to the organised far-right”. It comes as Meta banned Tate from Facebook and Instagram on Friday for infringing its rules, while TikTok banned him on Monday for breaching the video-sharing platform’s policies. Hope not Hate notes Tate recently stated he had spent time with Tommy Robinson “untold times”, referring to the former English Defence League leader as being a “solid guy” with a “good heart”. While in a separate interview from 2022 unveiled by the charity, Tate states: “If you look at Tommy Robinson, he is doing his very best to protect England from Islamisation.” Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Lennon, is a British activist known for his Islamophobic and far right views. read the complete article


23 Aug 2022

Calgary Muslim festival sees alleged anti-Muslim sentiment

At a Calgary festival celebrating Muslim heritage, a man in a Knight’s Templar costume arrived - the outfit inspired by the Crusades - a military campaign fought between Christians and Muslims. Jillian Code reports. read the complete article

23 Aug 2022

Muslim women wearing burkinis barred from pool in Canada

A Muslim mother and her daughters wearing burkinis had not been allowed to swim at a water park in Canada. Mother Halima Jelloul, her husband and two daughters booked a room at the Lilac Resort in Winnipeg, capital of the southern Manitoba province, on Friday, CTV News reported. The family was told that they could not enter the pool as they were wearing burkinis, full-body women's swimsuits covering everything except the hands, face, and feet. "About 10-15 minutes, the owner approached us and said that due to the burkini me and my daughter were wearing we aren't allowed on the waterslide,”Jelloul said. "My daughters were crying. It wasn't really a pleasing moment for us, so I had to check in with my daughters to see if they were okay and wanted to stay or leave," she said. The family was given permission after the inspector stated that it was not against public health rules to enter the pool or water park with a burkini. However, the family chose to leave. Dan Manaigre, the resort's owner, said he approached the family because he didn't know what a burkini was and thought it was streetwear — a major public health violation if worn in a pool. "I want to apologise to the family because I just didn't know," said Manaigre. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Aug 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results