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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12 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, police are saying they will prosecute a man who used eighty photographs of Muslim women to create a fake ‘women for sale’ website in 2021, meanwhile in the UK, residents of the town of Stockport are horrified after a pig’s head was thrown onto to the roof of the local Muslim community centre and mosque in what police are calling a hate crime, and in Germany, a Muslim organization in Hanover has petitioned for the police to investigate the vandalization of twenty five gravestones belonging to Muslim children. Our recommended read of the day is by Shree Paradkar for Toronto Star on the research uncovered by a new four year study led by Wilfrid Laurier professor Jasmin Zine, on a Canadian ecosystem consisting of media outlets, social media influencers, and others, that have all contributed to systemic Islamophobia. This and more below:


10 Dec 2022

A four-year study has mapped out ‘The Canadian Islamophobia Industry’ | Recommended Read

What connects a book titled “How Baby Boomers, Immigrants and Islam Screwed My Generation”, a tweet with two women wearing sweatshirts labelled “Deus Vult”, a meme of a Trojan horse labelled “Infiltrating From Within” and public warnings about the “Great Replacement”? It’s not merely that a thread of Islamophobia weaves through them all. It’s that the thread is supported by a well-funded and orchestrated matrix, as uncovered by a new report titled “The Canadian Islamophobia Industry: Mapping Islamophobia’s ecosystem in the Great White North.” Wilfrid Laurier professor Jasmin Zine likens the four years she and a group of graduates spent investigating the networks of hate and bigotry that purvey Islamophobia to playing whack-a-mole. Her recently released 240-page report based on a four-year study unveils an ecosystem that comprises media outlets and Islamophobia influencers, white nationalist groups, fringe-right pro-Israel groups, self-professed “Muslim dissidents,” think-tanks and their designated security experts, and the donors who fund their campaigns. Discussions about Islam often surface in the aftermath of violence — whether by those in the name of Islam or by those in the name of Christianity and whiteness. But hate simmers in the background the rest of the time, gaining steam among the 300 or so hate groups that have blossomed across the country like poisonous mushrooms. Propagations of an us-versus-them rhetoric show up in memes, in anti-Trudeau conspiracy theories and in connection to Muslim women wearing hijabs, niqabs and burqas. Crusader imagery is a popular symbol for these groups. Repeatedly circulating the idea of Islam as an existential threat primes people to accept blatantly anti-Muslim policies, including heightened surveillance of Muslims in the name of “counter terrorism.” And a law to ban head coverings by Muslim women, as Quebec did, under the guise of banning all items of overt religiosity. read the complete article

United States

11 Dec 2022

Mosque leaders join CAIR-NJ to denounce anti-Muslim harassment

There was a rally of solidarity Sunday in response to leaders from four New Jersey mosques saying their congregations have been harassed. For the past few weeks, a truck displaying an anti-Muslim images and messages on a digital screen has been driving past mosques in Piscataway, Edison, North Brunswick, and Fords. On Sunday, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations joined leaders from those Islamic centers and law enforcement in solidarity. They said hate is on the rise. "Year by year, we're seeing an increase. Last year, we broke 100 for the first time and year to date we're passed 150 now," said Dyaa Terpstra, operation coordinator for CAIR-NJ. read the complete article

11 Dec 2022

Florida Teacher Fired for Allegedly Disrupting Muslim Students in Prayer, Accusing Them of 'Magic'

A teacher in Florida has been fired after a viral TikTok video allegedly showed her disrupting Muslim students during prayer. Franklin Academy Charter School, which has five locations in southern Florida, announced in a statement on Thursday that school leadership was aware of the "very troubling TikTok video" and that they "do not tolerate discriminatory behavior in any form." "While we do not discuss personnel matters, we can share that the teacher in question is no longer a member of the Franklin Academy staff," school officials added in the statement. In the video, which has been viewed more than 7.3 million times since it was posted on Thursday, three students can be seen taking part in worship, one of five sacred prayers a day for those who live by the Islamic faith. Noise from a bustling hallway can be heard as a door opens and the faceless teacher enters what appears to be her office. "Hold on, this my office and y'all doing all this magic," she can be heard yelling at the group. She then continues to shout and blow a whistle at the students before her legs can be seen walking through them, nearly stepping on one student's hand. "I believe in Jesus, so I'm interrupting the floor," she says before asking someone off-camera: "And why are they in my office? Who told them to come in here?" read the complete article

09 Dec 2022

California Trains Cops, Prison Guards With Anti-Muslim Video

The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), which sets the minimum selection and training standards for California law enforcement, produced the video in 2009. Hatewatch viewed the 109-minute video after receiving it from a source close to law enforcement. The video portrays a misunderstanding of Islam and Black Islamic communities that experts say was prevalent among law enforcement in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Rife with errors and misconceptions about Islam, the film features an accused grifter who paints a dire image of the “growing, not dissipating” threat posed by Islamic extremists. The video’s entire premise appears to be based on a single case from 2005 involving four suspects. Hatewatch obtained POST’s documentation related to the video through an information request. Documents show that POST sent the video to 769 separate mailing addresses in 2010, including police departments, community colleges and law enforcement training facilities. It is unclear how many officers underwent the course on DVD. Hatewatch reached out to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSD), the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Academy and others on their use of the video. Only SDSD and the LAPD responded. SDSD information officer Amber Baggs confirmed to Hatewatch the video is still available on POST’s learning portal. Baggs also said the “San Diego Sheriff's Department does not use any training video titled ‘Radicalization.’” read the complete article

09 Dec 2022

Muslim community sees rise in bias incidents

New Jersey’s Muslim community has been the target of an increasing number of bias incidents. Over 100 cases of anti-Muslim discrimination this past year have been tracked by the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR. In recent weeks, four Islamic centers in the state were visited by a truck displaying anti-Muslim messages. Security footage provided by the Council show the truck displaying a digital billboard with photos from 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. One of the incidents occurred at the Muslim Center of Middlesex County. The Council’s New Jersey chapter is calling for local law enforcement in Piscataway and the FBI to investigate. Selaedin Maksut, the group’s executive director, said “while everyone — even bigots — has the right to free speech, no one has the right to target religious minorities, especially at their houses of worship, with acts of perceived intimidation and harassment.” read the complete article


09 Dec 2022

Tesla, Volkswagen, and GM might be using metal from factories linked to forced Uyghur labor, researchers say

Many of the world's largest car manufacturers may be linked to the forced labor of Uyghurs, a Muslim minority group based in Xinjiang, China, according to new research from Sheffield Hallam University. Tesla, Volkswagen, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Stellantis — which includes brands like Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep — were found to be at high risk for exposure to steel and aluminum processing factories that employ forced Uyghur labor, the researchers say. After reviewing a trove of corporate and news reports, state media, and other publically available documents, the researchers said they found that at least thousands of Uyghurs have been forced to work in metal-processing factories in accordance to China's 'Made in China 2025' and poverty reduction policies. In its 2021 human rights report, the Biden Administration called China's treatment of the Uyghurs "genocide." Carmakers use steel and aluminum from China — which subsidizes production in the Xinjiang region — to create car frames, wheels, brakes, and bodies, according to the researchers. They are also tied to Chinese manufacturers that produce copper and nickel, as well as tires, interiors, batteries, and windshields for cars, researchers said. read the complete article

09 Dec 2022

Uniting for Uyghurs at the United Nations

After six years of genocide, hope is hard to come by for us Uyghurs. We found some in August when the outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, released the report we’d long been awaiting. She officially concluded that China’s violations against Uyghurs in Xinjiang may constitute crimes against humanity. The finding let us dream that the U.N. was finally ready to take meaningful action. Instead, a motion to discuss the findings was unceremoniously defeated in the U.N. Human Rights Council in October by a vote of 19-17, with 11 abstentions. But there may be renewed momentum now, with a joint statement from 50 nations, led by Canada, demanding action against China’s atrocity crimes. As the world marks tomorrow’s International Human Rights Day with its theme of “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All,” there are several ways the international community can – and must– press ahead. read the complete article

09 Dec 2022

US announces programme to resettle Rohingya refugees

The United States has announced a new programme to resettle "the most vulnerable Rohingya refugees", and the first group of these refugees has already started the journey to the U.S. " The U.S. government is very pleased to establish, in coordination with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other resettlement countries, a resettlement program for the most vulnerable Rohingya refugees," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Julieta Valls Noyes said on Thursday. Noyes also touted U.S. support for the Rohingya, saying that Washington has given more than $1.9bn to "affected populations in Burma, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the region, for Rohingya and their host communities". The announcement by the U.S. would pave the way for further resettlement of members of the persecuted community to other countries. Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing Myanmar en masse since 2017, at the start of the country's most recent army crackdown against the minority group. In August 2017, Myanmar's military forced 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, in a campaign the UN described as "genocidal". read the complete article


12 Dec 2022

China protests shine light on limits of Uyghur solidarity

Their deaths in a fire triggered China's biggest protests in generations, but few people seemed to know the victims were Uyghur families torn apart by Beijing's crackdown in Xinjiang. For the protesters, those who died in the fire were martyrs of zero-Covid. But AFP interviews with relatives of the victims show they felt the fire was only the latest tragedy to strike their community. Abdulhafiz Maimaitimin, a Uyghur who left China in 2016 and now lives in Switzerland, lost his aunt Qemernisahan Abdurahman and four of her young children in the fire. Her husband and son, along with Maimaitimin's father, were arrested by Chinese authorities in 2016 and 2017. Maimaitimin and his family believe they were spirited into a sprawling network of detention centres where China has been accused of detaining more than one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities. After allegations by Washington and others of genocide, a United Nations report said in August that torture claims were credible and that the detentions may constitute crimes against humanity. read the complete article

10 Dec 2022

Uyghur Women and Forced Marriages in China

There have been several attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to promote interethnic marriage over the years, but more recently there has been a worrying trend that has seen over 1 million Chinese government officials being sent to live with single Uyghur women or those who do not have husbands. Many of these women are being blackmailed, sexually assaulted, or coerced into marriage due to concerns that their relatives may be harmed. According to a recent report from the Uyghur Human Rights Project, the extent of the situation has worsened over the years. Since 2014 the Chinese government has imposed forced interethnic marriages on Uyghur women under the guise of “promoting unity and social stability.” However, these claims of promoting unity couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the Uyghurs living abroad whom I spoke to for this story report that their female relatives have felt terrorized in their own homes after being placed in home surveillance schemes where Han men would be sent to stay with them. In addition, many Uyghur women have been coerced into these forced marriages through incentivized schemes run by the Chinese Communist Party. The heart-breaking reality is that these Uyghur women are being stripped of any agency and authority to make their own decisions about whom they want to marry. If they refuse the orders of the Chinese Communist Party, they could face dire harm imposed on them and their loved ones. read the complete article


11 Dec 2022

Germany: Islamophobia rise unchecked as Muslim children's graves vandalised

When 25 Muslim children's graves were vandalised by unknown assailants in Hanover on 22 November, Muslim Germans were left appalled that an attack of such nature had gone largely unnoticed in Germany. The chairman of the Muslim organisation Lower Saxony Schura, Recep Bilgen, condemned the attack at the Stocken city cemetery and demanded an enquiry by the police. Later that afternoon, police in Hanover said they would open an investigation, though they cited the likelihood of "animal or natural causes", as well as "personal fault". "Suspects are currently not listed in the process, likewise there is currently no concrete evidence of an Islamophobic connection," they said. But Khallad Swaid, president of the German Muslim organisation Deutsche Muslimische Gemeinschaft said the attack was just another form of bigotry against Muslims. "We feel deeply sorry for the families of the victims... The violation of graves, whether of children or adults, is one of the many disgusting forms of hatred against Islam and Muslims in our country," Swaid told Middle East Eye. Yet, Swaid believes the bigotry against Muslims that would leave a child's grave vandalised is a result of Germany's own hostile rhetoric. "It is a result of a hostile language of, especially, [the] far-right movements that have made their way into the mainstream of our society and [are] given platforms in many of our media outlets to spread their hatred against Islam and Muslims," he said. This is not the first time that Muslim graves suffer vandalism in Germany. Just earlier this year, in the city of Iserlohn, unidentified individuals knocked over 30 Muslim gravestones. read the complete article


11 Dec 2022

Sweden mosque condemns desecration of Quran in latest anti-Muslim attack

A Stockholm mosque has condemned the latest attack on its facility after a damaged copy of the Quran was left chained up and hanging outside the mosque’s entrance. Images released by the Stockholm Central Mosque of the attack last Friday show the damaged Holy book of the Muslims chained up and hanging from an iron railing outside the mosque. The mosque said it frequently experiences such threats. Tying a destroyed Quran and hanging it to the garden bars next to the mosque door is humiliating for Muslims, the mosque wrote on Facebook. “Our mosque and our congregation receive threats very widely. Racists always make a new attempt to smear those who are not like themselves,” it said. read the complete article


12 Dec 2022

Sulli Deals: Indian man who 'sold' Muslim women online to be tried

Police in India say they will prosecute a man who allegedly created an app that put up photos of more than 80 Muslim women for "sale" online last year. The announcement came after Delhi's Lieutenant-Governor VK Saxena granted permission to try Aumkareshwar Thakur, 25, in court. The open source app - Sulli Deals - had been hosted on web platform GitHub in July 2021. Mr Thakur was arrested in January 2022, but was granted bail in March. Mr Thakur, who holds a degree in computer applications, had been arrested from Indore city in the central state of Madhya Pradesh by a Delhi police team set up to investigate serious crimes. The police registered cases against him under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, India's Information Technology Act and section 196 of India's Criminal Procedure Code. Mr Thakur was arrested along with Neeraj Bishnoi, 20, who had allegedly created the Bulli Bai app which had uploaded photos of more than 100 Muslim women and was also hosted on GitHub. In both cases, there was no actual sale - the purpose was to degrade and humiliate Muslim women, many of whom have been outspoken about the rising tide of Hindu nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an accusation his party and government deny. Critics say online trolling of Muslim women has worsened in recent years in India's polarised political climate. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 12 Dec 2022 Edition


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