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
26 Aug 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, newly released data from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding finds that a quarter of Muslims believe that Muslims are prone to violence, while only nine percent of the general public believe this to be true, demonstrating the prevalence of internalized Islamophobia that has possibly resulted from two decades of collective blame, meanwhile in Denmark, a government appointed commission has recommended a ban on young girls wearing the hijab at schools, and in India, protests continued in Hyderabad against a BJP lawmaker who was arrested for making blasphemous remarks on Tuesday and was released on bail. Our recommended read of the day is by Steven Zhou for the Toronto Star on how “mosques, schools, community centers, food banks, and humanitarian groups operating as charities are being embargoed by major banks and online financial services,” with those impacted wondering whether they are being treated fairly by financial institutions. This and more below:


26 Aug 2022

Major banks have been cutting ties with some Muslim organizations. This is why the process should be more transparent | Recommended Read

Imagine living your life without banking. You can’t open a checking account and you’re not allowed any credit cards. Life becomes rather complicated. Companies doing direct deposits will look at you with suspicion. So will those who pull up your mostly blank credit history. Now imagine an entire organization — a charity, for instance — that stores millions of donations in the bank. Except, one day, the bank tells them to find a new home. And a month later, their online donations processor quits on them. Now the charity can no longer function. This is exactly the scenario facing an increasing number of charities across Canada’s growing Muslim community. Mosques, schools, community centres, food banks, and humanitarian groups operating as charities that issue tax receipts are being embargoed by major banks and online financial services. This cripples the organization, which is left wondering whether they are being treated fairly by powerful financial institutions and what, if anything, they can do about it. Muslim charities depend heavily on online payment processors to handle millions in donations from the community. These transactions are handled by specific companies that work mostly with non-profits. Major Muslim organizations receive millions in donations that get stored in banks. They need these services to survive. But I recently spoke with five major Muslim organizations that have effectively been told by their banks or online donation processors to get lost. The message is usually a short letter or email: the Muslim client has exceeded the financial service’s “risk appetite.” They have a month or two to take all their money out and find a new home. Banks and other financial services get to kick them out anytime. It’s not an equal relationship. Research by the University of Toronto and the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) has already shown that Muslim charities in Canada are unfairly scrutinized by the CRA’s Research and Analysis Division, which hunts for terrorism financing (mostly among Muslims). Unfair CRA scrutiny can affect how banks see and treat their Muslim clients. Banks and financial services might refuse to serve these clients if they see them getting too much unwanted CRA attention. And there’s nothing the client can do. read the complete article

26 Aug 2022

Law 21: How will it impact your employees?

The Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) has recently released a research report exploring the impact of Quebec’s Law 21 on several religious minorities across the province. In June 2019, the Quebec government passed Law 21 to prohibit government employees in positions of authority, including police officers, prison guards, lawyers, judges, and classroom teachers, from wearing visible religious symbols while at work. The results were based on a series of survey conducted among 1,828 Quebecers, including 632 Muslims, 165 Jews and 56 Sikhs, between April and June. The report was authored by Miriam Taylor, ACS publications and partnerships director. The report revealed that “neutrality” is one of the most central values associated with Law 21. While Law 21 claims to place all religions on the same footing, the report showed that Quebecers have relatively little contact with members of non-Christian religious groups and their perceptions of these religions, their followers, and respective symbols rise in increasing order of negativity from Christianity to Judaism to Sikhism to Islam. “Negative opinions of the turban (52.1 percent), Islam (54.1 percent), and the hijab (57 percent) reach above the 50 percent mark,” Taylor wrote. “This hierarchy of negativity is amplified among strong supporters of Law 21, increasing more than 20 percent in the case of the turban (75.7 percent), Islam (75 percent), and the hijab (78.1 percent).” Moreover, the report showed that the prevalent negativity toward non-Christian religious symbols that drives support for Law 21 is directly reflected in experiences and testimonies of religious community members whose practices the Law 21 restricts. While Law 21 has been publicized as a legislation that protects gender equality, the report showed that Quebec women are “less supportive” of Law 21 than are men. In addition, they are more “cognizant” of Law 21’s potential to discriminate against other women. “This evidence of sisterly solidarity is noteworthy in the context of survey findings that identify Muslim women as among the groups most severely impacted by stigmatization (53 percent), injustice (47.2 percent), and marginalization (decline of 78.4 percent),” Taylor wrote. “In addition, women in all three religious minority communities reported more important declines in their levels of safety and freedom of expression than their male counterparts.” read the complete article

United States

26 Aug 2022

Muslims report more religion-based police harassment than any other faith community, study finds

Muslims are more likely than any other faith group to say they have been harassed by police based on their religion, according to a new Rice University study. Researchers also found Muslims of color face worse treatment by police. Muslims who are Black or of Middle Eastern or Northern African descent reported religion-based police harassment far more frequently than white Muslims. Previous studies have shown that Black communities experience disproportionate policing compared with other communities. These new findings show how being Muslim may bring additional scrutiny by law enforcement within communities of color. Thirty-nine percent of Middle Eastern or Northern African Muslim adults and 23 percent of Black Muslim adults reported religion-based police harassment whereas just .1 percent of Muslim adults who identify as white said they’d been harassed, according to the survey of more than 4,000 U.S. adults, including Muslims, Christians, Jews, atheists and followers of other religions. “We see profound overlaps between religion and racial identities and we know that from these findings, that this relationship can can also shape the relationship that these individuals have with institutions like law enforcement,” said the report’s author, Jauhara Ferguson, a graduate student studying sociology at Rice. Her research also found that Black and Middle Eastern or Northern African respondents of all religious backgrounds were more likely to report police harassment based on religion, regardless of their beliefs. read the complete article

26 Aug 2022

Dining with a purpose: Restaurant serving refugees' recipes helps immigrants start new lives in the US

Located in the enclave of Little Ethiopia, Flavors From Afar is a restaurant that defies categorization, with a menu that changes monthly to feature dishes from the homeland of a refugee or immigrant chef. It's the vision of Meymuna Hussein-Cattan. Her parents fled Ethiopia in the 1970s and met in a refugee camp in Somalia, where she was born. Her family resettled in California's Orange County when she was 3, and she knows firsthand how meaningful native dishes can be. "For all refugees -- and immigrants -- food is a sense of self preservation," she said. "As long as you preserve those family recipes, it really instills a sense of rootedness (and) feeling connected to your cultural upbringing." In many ways, Hussein-Cattan achieved the American dream. She was the first woman in her family to graduate from high school, the first person to earn a master's degree and she is now a United States citizen. But much of her life was colored by her experience as a refugee. "There was a lot of beauty, but at the same time, there were shadows -- anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim," she said. "From a very young age I was aware that I'm different. So, being able to connect with anyone was ... my superpower." For more than a decade, Hussein-Cattan has used her superpower to help newcomers to the US. She and her mother created the Tiyya Foundation in 2010, which now provides free programming, resources, and support to more than 200 families of refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers each year. Two years ago, she opened her restaurant to provide opportunities to immigrant chefs, celebrate their cultures and help fund her nonprofit. read the complete article

26 Aug 2022

‘This is not my Edison’: Officials Condemn Parade Bulldozer

The Edison Township Council This week denounced the spectacle of a bulldozer during the Indian Independence Day celebration last weekend. Several members of the Indian-Muslim community in Edison as well as representatives from Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC-NJ), American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Council on American Islamic Relations-New Jersey (CAIR-NJ), and Edison’s Human Relations Commission appeared at the meeting to voice their concerns regarding the symbol of Muslim hate at the parade. A bulldozer with a portrait of Yogi Adityanath, the Hindu nationalist chief minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh, joined the the march on Aug. 14, referring to his inhumane use of bulldozers to destroy Muslim and Christian houses, businesses, and places of worship. Also included in the parade was Sambit Patra, who was the Grand Marshall of the India Day parade. He is the spokesperson of the divisive political party BJP in India, and is known to spew hate and further the mission of the RSS ideology; which is hate and oppression of the minorities such as Lower Caste Hindus (Dalits), Christians and specifically Muslims in India. Joseph A. Coyle, Council President of Edison, also voiced his disgust with the acts that took place on Aug. 14, acknowledging the divisive international politics is causing in Edison and expressing reproach for the parade from all parties. “I would not have participated in the parade had I known [about the bulldozer]. I would have walked right off the street. And I’m sure I speak for every council member and any official in Edison or the state of New Jersey,” said Coyle. read the complete article

26 Aug 2022

Islamophobia remains steady in the US, but why do some Muslims share the sentiment?

As Islamophobia in the United States has remained steady in recent years, internalised Islamophobic sentiments have risen from within the Muslim American community, according to newly released data from the Institute for Policy and Understanding. The new American Muslim Poll released on Thursday found that a quarter of Muslims believe that Muslims are prone to violence, while only nine percent of the general public believe this to be true. One fifth of Muslims, meanwhile, agree with the sentiment that Muslims are less civilised than other Americans - only five percent of the general American public shares this view. Similarly, 18 percent of Muslims agree with the idea that Muslims are partly responsible for acts of violence committed by others. While it's unclear why such a large segment of the Muslim American population holds these views, researchers at the ISPU say decades of mass media and propaganda in the US equating Muslims with extremism may have played a role. According to the polling, younger Muslims - between the ages of 18 and 29 - were found to agree more with the sentiment that Muslims are prone to violence than older age groups. "These findings suggest the internalized Islamophobia that has possibly resulted, in part, from two decades of collective blame since the 9/11 attacks," the report said. "Americans who have lived the majority of their lives after 9/11/2001 in a country that has demonized their identity in popular culture, news media, political rhetoric, and in policy. Research suggests that this kind of steady drumbeat of bigoted ideas and state actions have a detrimental impact on the target group’s self-image and mental health." The ISPU's research also found that, since 2018, Islamophobia among white Muslims rose dramatically, adding that "further research is needed to explain why there has been such a large increase in Islamophobia among white Muslims". read the complete article

26 Aug 2022

Tempers flare as Indian organisers refuse to apologise for bulldozer in New Jersey town

The Indian Business Association (IBA) will not issue an apology for bringing a bulldozer to an Indian Day Parade earlier in August, a representative of the organisation has told Middle East Eye, in a saga that has turned the spotlight on the rising role of Hindu nationalism in the US politics. Speaking on the sidelines of a marathon four-hour Township Council meeting in Edison, New Jersey, on Wednesday night, in which presentations were made by more than a dozen residents from the town, the chairman of the IBA, Chandrakant Patel, told MEE that his organisation would not be apologising for the incident "because it had not done anything wrong." "This is a prejudiced complaint. The bulldozer only represents the demolishing of illegal structures on government land (in India)," Patel said. Over the past few years, bulldozers have become a symbol of hate in India, in a trend where authorities use the machines to demolish the homes of Muslim activists under the pretext of the structures being illegal. Both the UN as well as several international human rights groups have called the practice an act of collective punishment. Patel's comments is only the latest installment in a story that began on August 14 when hundreds of Indian Americans walked through the streets of Edison to celebrate India's 75th independence Day. Over and above the usual festivities at the parade, organisers serenaded Sambit Patra, spokesperson of India's ruling right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as it chief guest at the event. Organisers also had a bulldozer, decorated with posters of India's PM Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, an especially incendiary Islamophobic politician in India - known as "Baba Bulldozer" - roll through the streets of the town as part of the rally. Indian Muslims said they were particularly aggrieved that the IBA, already suspected for harbouring Hindu nationalist sentiment, would bring these symbols of hate right to their doorstep in Edison. Likewise, organisations like the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) have demanded action be taken against the IBA. read the complete article


26 Aug 2022

From Bilkis Bano to Zakia Jafri, the media needs to ‘keep the pot boiling’

August 15, 2022 will be remembered. Not for the flag-waving or declarations made by the prime minister from the Red Fort, but for the fact that, on this day marking 75 years of India’s independence, 11 men convicted of a heinous crime were granted remission from their life sentences. Even as the prime minister spoke of women’s safety and empowerment, his home state of Gujarat released these 11 men from Godhra sub-jail. The crime for which they were convicted is horrific, even in the retelling today. Worse still, the survivor, Bilkis Bano, is now condemned to relive it. Yet, as these men emerged from jail, they were greeted with sweets and garlands by members of the prime minister’s party, the BJP. The fact that we remember this case is because it is emblematic of the horrific communal violence that took place in Gujarat, where Muslim women were the targets of the most repulsive acts of sexual violence and assault. We remember it, but not because the media continued to report it. Some journalists did persist but after 2019, when the Supreme Court asked the Gujarat government to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation to Bilkis, the media lost interest. The only reason it is still remembered is because of this woman’s singular courage and determination to continue her fight for justice with support from civil society organisations. Clearly, this is a story that has not yet ended, not just in terms of legal challenges to the release of the convicts but also the renewed fear in Muslims in a state that is heading for an election. For them, the memories of 2002 have not faded. read the complete article

26 Aug 2022

Protests continue in Indian city after lawmaker held for blasphemous remarks gets bail

Overnight protests continued in Hyderabad city in India's Telangana state against a lawmaker belonging to the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) who was arrested for making blasphemous remarks on Tuesday and was released on bail. Thakur Raja Singh, the BJP member of the state Legislative Assembly, was apprehended on Tuesday morning after multiple cases were registered against him as protests broke out at several places in the city on Monday night demanding his arrest. On Monday, Singh released a video showing him making blasphemous comments. Late on Tuesday night, Singh walked out of jail after a local court granted him bail. Abdul Kader Saani, the caretaker of a shrine in Hyderabad, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that protests again broke out after the BJP leader was released. He said protests continued for the whole night at several places in the city and remained peaceful. “The only demand of everyone is that strict action should be taken against him. He repeatedly makes derogatory remarks against Islam,” Saani said. Moulana Muzaffar Hussain Khan, another cleric based in Hyderbad, told Anadolu Agency that the release of Singh was not a good development. “His statements are aimed at disturbing the communal harmony here. When he was arrested, everyone was satisfied. But, he got bail within hours and people again took to the streets,” he said. read the complete article


26 Aug 2022

Danish commission says government should ban hijab at schools

The commission argues that wearing the hijab marks our Danish Muslim girls as being different from other Danish girls, broadcaster DR reports. The conclusion was reiterated by Christina Krzyrosiak Hansen, head of the commission and Social Demoratic mayor for the municipality of Holbæk. “When you are a little girl and go to elementary school, you should be allowed to be a child. If you then, when you are adult, later in life decide you want to wear a head scarf – doing it of your own free will – we won’t get involved,” Hansen told news wire Ritzau. “We think that, as such, is fine. But we must talk openly about what is happening. There can’t be anyone who believes that in eight-year-old girl puts it on herself,” she said. The hijab ban as recommended by the commission would apply at private schools and free schools as well as public elementary schools. Hansen rejected the suggestion such a ban impinges on religious freedom, which is guaranteed by Denmark’s constitution. The Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) oppose a potential hijab ban, pointing out there’s no indication it would increase equality but could further stigmatise women who choose to wear the hijab later in life. “We think it looks difficult to fight social control with social control,” Social Liberal leader Sofie Carsten Nielsen said. “After all, that’s what this would be, if you forbid some girls to wear certain clothes. That is also a control that the state exercises,” she said. read the complete article


26 Aug 2022

Bob Rae calls on UN human rights chief to publish long-promised Uyghur report

Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae is calling on the UN's human rights chief to publish a long-anticipated report on China's alleged human rights violations against its Muslim minority Uyghur population in Xinjiang. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Thursday the commission is "trying very hard" to fulfil her pledge to publish the report before her term ends on August 31. She said that she is under "tremendous pressure" from all sides. Bachelet told reporters that she needed time to integrate new information from her May visit to China's Xinjiang region and to review Beijing's input on the unpublished report. "There's no excuse for not getting it out. The only person that controls that is her. It's her report," Rae told host Vassy Kapelos on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Thursday. "I don't think there's any question at all that the Chinese have been making very strong representations but I don't know under what process a human rights commission would say we're going to allow the perpetrators of this injustice — of this genocide — we're going to allow them to comment and see the report and review it and then get their feedback on it before we publish the report." read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 Aug 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results