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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14 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, cricket player Azeem Rafiq, who talked about his experiences of racism within the English cricket community, has been forced to flee abroad following numerous threats and attempted attacks against him, meanwhile in Canada, Muslims are on edge again following a recent attack in which an imam was allegedly assaulted during a morning prayer service in Toronto, and in India, London based freelance journalist Manasa Narayanan interviews local Muslims in Jahangirpuri, India on the role that social media has played in stoking anti-Muslim violence within their community. Our recommended read of the day is by Monia Mazigh for Ottawa Citizen on how numerous reports have revealed the anti-Muslim prejudice in the selection, execution and outcomes of audits carried out by the Candian Revenue Agency (CRA). This and more below:


13 Dec 2022

Mazigh: Why is the Canadian government still targeting Muslim charities? | Recommended Read

A few months ago, I wrote in the Citizen about “biased” audits conducted by the Review and Analysis Division (RAD) of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), a division responsible for the agency’s counter-terrorist financing mandate. I noted how multiple independent investigations of CRA’s practices support the concerns expressed by Muslim charities in Canada over the past few years. In 2020, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and the University of Toronto Institute of Islamic Studies released separate reports revealing anti-Muslim prejudice in the selection, execution and outcomes of CRA audits. Responding to these troubling findings, some Muslim groups called for a moratorium on the audits, and insisted on a complete review of the systematic Islamophobia allegations by the National Security Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA), an independent expert review body for all national security and intelligence activities. It is worth noting that much of this is tied to the Department of Finance’s 2015 National Risk Assessment (NRA) framework, which instructs national security agencies to view Muslim-like groups, and racialized communities in general, as the highest risk of terrorism financing — very clearly creating a fertile ground for targeting Muslim-led charities. Despite being aware of this problematic framework and acknowledging systemic racism in the CRA during the 2021 National Summit on Islamophobia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau selected the Taxpayer’s Ombudsperson to conduct an investigation into the allegations. It’s no secret that the Ombudsperson has limited access to information, no legislative power over the CRA, and lacks security clearance. Yet the government took this approach. Now it’s December 2022, and where are we with this issue? On the one hand, Muslim charities have been alleging systemic discrimination and disproportionate audits, while on the other hand, the CRA is denying and shifting blame. read the complete article

13 Dec 2022

Assault in Toronto mosque highlights alarming rise of Islamophobia in Canada

Canadian Muslim groups are raising concerns about a recent attack in which an imam was allegedly assaulted during a morning prayer service in Toronto. The Islamic Foundation of Toronto said on Monday that an intruder had entered the mosque and disrupted the dawn prayer by assaulting the imam before "two brave congregants quickly held him back and called 911". However, the centre said there was not enough information to know what the motivation of the attack was. "We understand that this is a difficult and scary time for our community. We must stress, however, that we simply do not have enough information to assess what led to this incident," the Islamic Centre said. Toronto police are investigating the matter and have yet to charge the individual. The police said on Twitter that it "investigates all potential hate crimes fully" and that if charges are laid, it will provide an update to the case. The imam, Yusuf Badat, released a statement on Monday saying that he and many of his congregants remain "traumatized, in fear and very worried" after the incident. read the complete article


13 Dec 2022

Over $19 million of UBC’s endowment invested in companies tied to Uyghur genocide

UBC has $19.32 million of its $2.8 billion endowment invested in companies connected to the Uyghur genocide. The Uyghurs are a mostly Muslim ethnic minority who live in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, China. Several countries and human rights groups, including the US, Canada and the UK have accused the Chinese government of committing human rights violations and genocide through the imprisonment of Uyghurs in ‘re-education camps’ — allegations the Chinese government has denied. According to UBC’s Investment Management Trust’s (IMANT) 2021 Public Endowment Equities Report, as of December 31, 2021, UBC has $14.28 million invested in Tencent Holdings Ltd and $5.04 million invested in Alibaba, two companies whose technology has been used by the Chinese government to target Uyghurs. read the complete article

13 Dec 2022

How a British special forces raid went wrong, and a young family paid the price

When British special forces raided a family home in Afghanistan in 2012, they killed two young parents and gravely wounded their infant sons. A BBC investigation has revealed that special forces command didn't refer the incident to military police and it was never investigated, until now. In Afghanistan, a family is still trying to heal. SAS operatives were already suspected at the highest levels of UK Special Forces of illegally killing Afghan men who had surrendered and been detained, and later covering up the killings with fabricated reports. A BBC Panorama investigation published earlier this year revealed that one SAS squadron killed 54 people in suspicious circumstances in one six-month tour. The pattern led one of the highest-ranking special forces officers in the UK to warn in a secret memo to the head of special forces that there could be a "deliberate policy" in effect to kill detainees, "even when they did not pose a threat". read the complete article

United Kingdom

13 Dec 2022

The Online Footprint of the Dover Migrant Centre Terrorist

On 30th October 2022, a man threw petrol bombs at a migrant centre at Western Jet Foil in Dover, England. The attack caused two minor injuries. One eyewitness stated the man was “running around with his arms in the air and shouting”. Another described him as “laughing”. As he drove away, he reportedly told nearby coach drivers who were waiting to transport migrants: “Do you know what you’re doing? Your children should be raped and killed!”. Moments later, police found his body in the same car at a nearby petrol station. Leak attached one end of a cord to a metal pole and tied the other end around his neck; an inquest stated he died of asphyxiation. The firebomber was Andrew Leak, a 66-year-old from Buckinghamshire. He is believed to have acted alone and without affiliation with any extremist group. Counterterrorism police initially said the attack was “likely to be driven by some form of hate-filled grievance, though this may not necessarily meet the threshold of terrorism”. An update on November 5th stated that Leak’s digital media devices suggest an “extreme right-wing motivation”. Following the attack, the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) archived part of Andrew Leak’s online digital footprint, comprised of his YouTube account (with 12 videos uploaded, six playlists created, and 114 subscriptions), Facebook profile (for 2021 and 2022), Pinterest profile, and three Twitter accounts (with posts in 2014, 2015, and 2022). Leak’s digital footprint suggests he held far-right sympathies since at least 2014. His first known Twitter account, @andyleak63, was created in December of that year. Leak’s first tweet was: “I love the world”. That was followed by “is (sic) time to intern all radical Muslims” and tweets about grooming gangs and Islamic extremists in the UK. Of the 59 accounts he was following, all but one were mainstream. The exception was the far-right British National Party (BNP) Twitter account. read the complete article

13 Dec 2022

Cricketer Azeem Rafiq has '24/7 security' and quits Britain after racism row

Cricketer Azeem Rafiq has been forced to flee abroad after blowing the whistle on racism gripping the sport, he revealed today. Thirteen months after he gave heartbreaking evidence to MPs probing vile abuse in English cricket, Rafiq told how he had moved overseas and had “24/7 security” with three bodyguards provided by the sport’s domestic governing body. He also recalled how a man holding toilet roll was seen defecating in Rafiq’s garden amid a backlash against his allegations about racism he suffered when he was at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. “The last year has been pretty challenging at times,” the Pakistan-born spinner, 31, told the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. “The impact has been quite great on me and my family.” His family “has been the target of abuse, threats and attacks”, he said. read the complete article

United States

13 Dec 2022

Biden forms inter-agency body to combat antisemitism, Islamophobia

The Biden administration on Monday formed a new inter-agency body to combat antisemitism, amid reports of an uptick in antisemitic rhetoric. The agency will be led by the White House Domestic Policy and National Security councils, and will consult with community leaders, government officials, lawmakers, and activists as it drafts a national strategy to tackle antisemitism and Holocaust denial, the White House said in a statement. “This strategy will raise understanding about antisemitism and the threat it poses to the Jewish community and all Americans,” the statement said. According to the press statement, the agency will also counter Islamophobia, though it wasn’t directly mentioned in the introduction or conclusion of the statement. Middle East Eye reached out to the National Security Council to see what focus the new agency will place on countering Islamaphobia but didn’t receive a reply by the time of publication. Like antisemitism, anti-Muslim rhetoric has long existed in the US, where Muslims are five times more likely to experience police harassment because of their religion, compared to those of other faiths, a study by Rice University shows. read the complete article


13 Dec 2022

Social Media’s Role in the Violence in Jahangirpuri, India

Last June I was in the north-Delhi locality of Jahangirpuri in India. Some weeks prior to that, religious violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims in the area. Mobs attacked each other, pelted stones, bottles and even burnt down vehicles. Nine people were injured. One officer was shot. When I visited, almost a month and a half had passed, and I expected it would have returned to a state of normalcy. Yet when I arrived, physical remnants from the tragic day were still quite visible: destroyed and abandoned shops, a shattered car and torn down compounds. But it wasn’t deserted– far from it. The scene was one of resilience; of people trying to build back up, but stuck in an in-between place. Many locals were still very bitter– towards the police, their ‘othered’ neighbours and, it turns out, me. They regarded me as a representative of a media system that they believe had failed them. There was also the looming presence of the state, embodied by the fairly heavy police presence camped in the area. As a documentary filmmaker, I set out with three main questions. I wanted to find out what had unfolded on that day, what did people come to think of it, and, importantly, what was the role of social media in shaping their views? The ecosystem of religious hate in India is a complex one. There is hate from the top-down; the continuous propagation of a narrative to the Hindu majority that asserts the Muslim minority is a threat. This is linked to various shades of hate, ranging from attempts of otherization to outright incitement of violence against Muslims. But anti-Muslim sentiment also flows in an unpredictable, more decentralized manner through WhatsApp– characterized by historical grievances, careless forwarding of misinformation, and disinformation planted by state actors – all cemented together with the authoritarian voices from above that reinforce imagined fears. It is a recipe for hate where the prime ingredients are nationalism, religion and fanaticism. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 Dec 2022 Edition


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