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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04 Aug 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Australia, former senator Fraser Anning has been ordered to remove internet content vilifying Muslims after a Queensland tribunal found he breached anti-discrimination laws. Remarking on the growing trend of policing women’s attire around the globe, Shada Islam writes that while female athletes have drawn praise from feminists all across Europe for fighting back, the solidarity dries up quickly when Muslim European women are involved. In Austria, a court ruled that the raids by Vienna police last year were unlawful for using a disproportionate amount of force against Muslim activists and academics. Our recommended read of the day is by Hibaq Farah on Mona Haidar, a Yemeni-Lebanese image-maker, who hopes to make sure that the vision of hijab-wearing women goes beyond checkbox diversity. This and more below:


03 Aug 2021

Photographer Mona Haidar illuminates the vast scope of Muslim women’s existences

Collaborating with real-life friends, the image-maker and stylist articulates a vision of hijab-wearing women that goes way beyond ‘checkbox diversity.’ “As hijab-wearing women, we are rarely afforded our own stories within the fashion industry. How are we considering the art Muslim women want to produce beyond the Orientalist stories we are often met with?” Mona Haidar asks me over Zoom. Despite the fashion industry pledging to be more diverse, Muslim women say this attempt to appeal to the Muslim demographic—specifically, to hijab-wearing women—is falling short. Whilst the number of hijab-wearing women on magazines and runways is increasing, Muslim women have criticized the lack of intention behind the styling of hijab-wearing models. Haidar emphasizes the amount of work that needs to be done beyond putting hijab-wearing models on runways. Often, she says, tokenism only creates further problems: “It is dehumanising, in a way, to only ever be asked to share your experience as a Muslim woman—this almost suggests that your existence is only valuable when your visual identity is presented in a palatable, reductive, and distilled form.” The absence of visibly Muslim women in the fashion industry, until very recently, has made Haidar feel excluded from this space. But, she says, lazy attempts at representation can be no less harmful. “Visually, it is often hijab-wearing women who are representatives of Islam, and so Muslim women bare the brunt of all these depictions—or lack thereof—in the fashion industry,” Haidar explains. “Our identities have been politicized and people so regularly project their own narrow ideas of Muslim women onto them. Our stories are constantly being told by people outside of our community looking in.” Haidar is not afraid to call out the fashion industry for its tokenistic practices. For her, fashion is guilty of participating in ‘checkbox diversity,’ failing to understand the wide scope of Muslim women’s existences. Haidar puts this down to Islamophobia in Western media, which, she says, “has undoubtedly played a huge role in the alienation and oppression of Muslim women, both in fashion and beyond.” read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
03 Aug 2021

Rights activists urge Morocco not to extradite Uyghur man to China

Moroccan human rights activists on Tuesday urged Rabat not to extradite a Uyghur man to China, citing fears he might face arbitrary detention or torture. Yidrissi Aishan has been held at a prison near Casablanca after being arrested on an Interpol notice filed by China after arriving last month from Turkey, where he lives. China has accused him of terrorism and he faces an extradition hearing in Morocco, his lawyers said, saying the charges against him lack evidence. Aishan, 34, lives with his wife and three children in Turkey where he has residency status on humanitarian grounds, Amnesty international said last week, urging his release. He was active in a Uyghur diaspora newspaper in Turkey that denounced what it called atrocities against the Muslim minority in China, said Safeguard Defenders, a rights group. China has been rebuked by international rights groups for its crackdown on Uyghurs, described as subject to arbitrary mass detention, indoctrination and torture. U.N. experts estimate at least a million Uyghurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in northwest China’s Xinjiang region. read the complete article

31 Jul 2021

Uyghurs Are Facing Abuse In Camps In China. The U.S. Congress Is Trying To Address It

Scott Simon talks with Democratic Congressman Thomas Suozzi of New York about the new bipartisan caucus he's co-founded to bring attention to the plight of the Uyghurs. The largest coordinated human rights abuse campaign of the 21st century is how Congressman Thomas Suozzi characterizes the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghurs. Over 1 million members of the Muslim minority group are believed to be held in China, often under brutal conditions. Mr. Suozzi, a Democrat, is a co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Uyghur Caucus, which was formed this week, and he joins us now. Congressman, thanks so much for being with us. SUOZZI: The American people and the world community need to know that these are crimes against humanity. These are - this is genocide that is taking place in the Xinjiang region - people in forced labor camps, forced sterilization, sexual abuse. It goes on and on. read the complete article

31 Jul 2021

EU court wants to ban religious political symbols

Two years ago when I came to the UK, I was able to enjoy the freedoms of the western society. Here I am able to practice my faith freely without having the fear of persecution. However the recent news about banning religious symbols in the EU proved me wrong - now the hijab my religious symbol is being questioned. I wonder is the EU court aware that banning Muslim women’s hijab or any other religious symbols of other faiths promotes inequality. And also what is benefit of such a law? This law actually reminds me of the persecution I have faced in Pakistan. In the west where a woman is given the power to chose and decide her way of life then she should also hold the right to decide how she wants to practice her faith - be it uncovered or covered. From my personal experience the Hijab has never been a restriction in my life - I am able to pursue my studies, practice sports and take part in my day to day freely. On the other hand if my hijab was to be banned - my freedom will be taken from me, as I won’t have the choice to cover myself and be myself. read the complete article

03 Aug 2021

The Far Right’s New-Old War on Women

From the Trumpists who attacked the US Capitol to far-right populists in Europe, insecurities about women are a major ideological motivation that often goes underappreciated. Mainstream conservatives, in particular, should be wary of the role that gender issues play in opening the door to extremists. After all, far-right politicians have been saying for decades that “our country” is being taken away from “us.” Here, “our country” is imagined to be a white, Christian nation that is increasingly threatened by Islam. Muslims, it is said, are immigrating in increasing numbers and having more children, supposedly to “replace” the rightful inhabitants of the “homeland.” Yet alongside these nativist conspiracy theories about the “Great Replacement,” one also finds an open admiration for the traditional masculinity supposedly promoted by Islam. Hence, white supremacists at the deadly Charlottesville rally in 2017 chanted “white sharia now!” Ultimately, the real problem for many on the far right is liberalism, and particularly the liberation of women from laws and social norms enforcing male domination. In the eyes of its enemies, liberalism does not just mean openness (or at least porousness) and flexibility; what they find threatening is its questioning of traditional authority, especially patriarchal authority to make decisions about women’s bodies. We must recognize that the ideological and emotional appeal of the far right is not reducible to a single element such as hatred of Islam. Far-right parties can be flexible in which of their hate objects they emphasize, while still keeping white Christian supremacy, misogyny, and militant anti-liberalism closely intertwined. This mixture, in any shape or form, should be unacceptable to decent center-right parties. read the complete article

31 Jul 2021

Burkinis and 'soul caps' - policing Olympic women back in fashion

Forget football, hockey and cricket: policing what women wear at work and at play is the world's most popular sport. It always has been. But the sexist and racist obsession with how women cover their head and their bodies has reached new heights in the summer of 2021. Partly it's the season. As women head to the beach or swimming pools across Europe, some daring to wear the much-feared burkini, there's the traditional explosion of anger at Muslim women's assault on the "European Way of Life". Partly it is the Olympics where women athletes have grabbed the spotlight and represent over 50 percent of team members from Canada, China, Australia, Britain and America. And partly it is good, old-fashioned pre-electoral Islamophobic muscle-flexing as French and other European politicians try to win votes by taking swipes at their allegedly separatist Muslim citizens, with special venom directed at women who wear the much-hated headscarf. Whatever the reason, trying to instruct women on what to wear is the world's all-time favourite obsession. Above all, it transcends bitter political divides. Democrats and autocrats, liberals and illiberals, progressives and conservatives may disagree on everything else but they share a common fixation on determining women's sartorial choices. read the complete article


03 Aug 2021

Fraser Anning ordered to remove Facebook and Twitter posts that tribunal found vilified Muslims

Former Australian senator Fraser Anning has been ordered to remove 141 pieces of content from the internet after a Queensland tribunal found he breached anti-discrimination laws by vilifying Muslims. The material was mainly shared on Twitter and Facebook, much of it while he was a senator for Queensland between 2017 and July 2019. It includes memes, links to interviews featuring Mr Anning, calls to ban Islam in Australia, and criticism of an AFL training camp for young Muslims. Mr Anning has also been ordered to remove a press release issued on the day of the Christchurch massacre which blamed Muslim immigration for the bloodshed. The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) found Mr Anning breached state laws that ban the incitement of hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule on the grounds of religion. read the complete article

United States

03 Aug 2021

Study finds the American mosque increasingly a melting pot of Islamic traditions

The American mosque is becoming more American. At least according to Ihsan Bagby, who has authored a report for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding based on a a new survey of American mosques. The report, conducted every 10 years, found American Sunni mosques are increasingly a melting pot of traditions, blending various schools of Islamic jurisprudence or madhabs. In many ways this pluralistic approach indicates a return to tradition. Even, for example, in regard to the roles of men and women. Findings in the report suggest the American mosque is reviving certain leadership positions for women in the mosque that, while common in the earliest days of Islam, have fallen out of practice. In America, a number of factors have likely influenced mosque practices. The new report notes in particular engagement in politics as well as increased use of English in the daily life and practices of the community. In the institute’s 2000 survey, 53% of American mosques used English as the primary language for the jumah sermon; that compares with 72% today. The report also noted 51% of the mosques surveyed hosted a politician for a visit or talk. This is a higher level of political engagement than Christian churches, according to Bagby. read the complete article


04 Aug 2021

Islamophobia report is right: Scotland isn't the oasis of tolerance it likes to think it is

Scotland is often viewed as a more progressive, welcoming country than its southern neighbour for example, but as a British Muslim woman living in Scotland for the last 10 years, I am acutely aware of the struggles Muslims like myself must face on a daily basis. As someone who wears the hijab, I have faced numerous instances of discrimination, and I know many other Muslims in Scotland who have been impacted by Islamophobia on the streets, and in work and school settings. So it came as no surprise to read that the report found over 75 percent of Muslims in Scotland have faced Islamophobia, and that some experience it on a regular basis. The report highlights the fact that Islamophobia in Scotland has escalated and calls on all political parties to adopt a "no tolerance" approach to tackling it. The Muslim community in Scotland - which has been battling Islamophobic abuse for years - would surely have benefitted from such a study years ago. When speaking to Muslim women for a recent investigation into Islamophobia, many told me they were the ones who were reprimanded when they spoke out about abuse in work settings. It is an unacceptable state of affairs, but many Muslim men and women feel they do not have access to equal opportunities when it comes to the world of work and progressing in their careers in Scotland. read the complete article


31 Jul 2021

National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM): Taking Stock After the Islamophobia Summit

In the lead up to the Summit, in consultation with Canadian Muslims from coast-to-coast, we released a series of 61 recommendations to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments calling for specific commitments to combat Islamophobia, supported by dozens of consultations, hundreds of submissions, and many major and diverse institutional supporters. We note that numerous other organizations and individuals have put forward important ideas and recommendations that ought to be considered as well. However – we must note that a number of other recommendations were not satisfactorily dealt with. For example, we remain disappointed that the federal government continues to refuse to being involved in the legal challenge to Bill 21 in Quebec, as per Recommendation 29. It is impossible to challenge systemic discrimination in Canada without taking a strong stance against what is clearly state-sanctioned second-class citizenship. Furthermore, we know that addressing Islamophobia and hate involves all levels of government and all parties. We would have liked to see a greater role for municipalities, provinces, and other actors to addressing these challenges in the Summit. More is clearly needed to address the challenges in front of us. We have also heard a number of concerns around process and timing – for example, we heard about the challenges of only allotting six hours to discuss the dozens of recommendations and concerns around systemic Islamophobia and violence faced by diverse Canadian Muslims. We are cautiously optimistic that more change will follow – and as we engage with various levels of the government across Canada, we will not stop until change comes. read the complete article


04 Aug 2021

‘Disproportionate force by police on Muslims during raid unlawful’

An Austrian court ruled on Thursday that raids last year in which police used a disproportionate amount of force against Muslim activists and academics under the pretext of fighting terrorism were unlawful. Graz Higher Regional Court spokesperson Elisabeth Dieber told reporters that the complaints of nine people whose homes were raided by the police on Nov. 9, 2020 on the grounds that they provided financial support to terrorism and had relations with terrorist organizations were justified by the court. Dieber said the raids were not lawful. The court also touched on the prosecution's accusation that the people were members of Palestinian resistance group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and underlined that the Muslim Brotherhood is not considered a terrorist organization in Austria. Vienna police on Nov. 9 raided 60 addresses and detained 30 Muslim activists and academics in an operation dubbed "Operation Luxor" on charges of "establishing a terrorist organization, financial support for terrorism, organized crime formation and money laundering." The police using disproportionate force against people well known to the public and treating them as terrorists led to reactions from various groups. Many non-governmental organizations, journalists and writers called for the issue to be urgently clarified. Excessive police force during the raids has left its mark on the members of a family that were subjected to violence by the security forces. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 04 Aug 2021 Edition


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