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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15 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Qatar, artists and musicians try and break down stereotypes as the international press, both before and during the World Cup, has continued to reinforces stereotypes of their country, meanwhile in India, the anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh ignited new energy among young Muslim women, who are now taking part in social justice movements across the country, and in the U.S., a new audio drama looks at anti-Muslim bias after 9/11 and how it only takes one person in power spewing vitriol to bring about violence. Our recommended read of the day is by Amira Elghawaby for The Toronto Star on how the Morocco men’s national soccer team shattered both records and stereotypes at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This and more below:


14 Dec 2022

Morocco’s soccer team is shattering both records and stereotypes at the World Cup

One of the most iconic images of the FIFA World Cup may just turn out to be of Moroccan midfielder Sofiane Boufal dancing joyfully with his hijab-clad mother on the pitch after his team’s surprising victory against Portugal on Saturday. Beyond pulling on the heartstrings of football fans worldwide, scenes of players planting kisses on their mothers’ foreheads, or kneeling in prostration after goals, are offering the world images of Muslims that are often missing from Hollywood portrayals and the evening news. “As a Muslim who is born and raised in the West where we are always the villain, seeing a Muslim team with the entire world watching, including the West, people here in America, and then seeing the player dancing around with his mom who’s wearing hijab. My heart melted,” shared TikTok influencer Subhi Taha. There are justifiable and necessary criticisms of Qatar’s human rights record on a range of issues that deserve to be called out. Yet many observers have nonetheless pointed out that some detractors may be influenced by decades of the vilification of Muslims, even centuries of orientalist narratives casting Muslims as the dangerous “Other.” Furthermore, the scrutiny and censure of Qatar, the first Muslim country to host a World Cup, has exceeded the condemnations against other countries where records are abysmal. Yet, what the World Cup in Qatar has demonstrated is that people who are often typecast or marginalized can turn back the lens and showcase their humanity on a global scale not often available to them. read the complete article

14 Dec 2022


While men belonging to a certain status are the majority in most academic spaces and have created a notion of “default” identity within the sphere, it’s important to note that just because their perspective is present in abundance doesn’t make it a universal truth. This default identity has pushed women’s issues and involvement as secondary and extraordinary. When we hear the terms sheikh, qazi, or Islamic scholar, we quickly think of a long-bearded man with a luxurious robe. Speaking of Islamophobic/gender bias outside the realm of religious discourses, the academic world has been historically embedded with imperialistic and colonial practices; the practices of silencing the “othered” communities and passing down the “culture” of stereotyping. Such exclusivity has hiked the phenomenon of unconscious stereotyping. This phenomenon often becomes difficult to point out, leading to invisibilized gender discrimination to the extent that it actually seems to be not relatable, especially in current times where people easily disregard gender inequalities and their prevalence in academia. Seeing from the intersectional feminist spectrum, communities across nations are fighting through various issues simultaneously. The Western concurrences, not to exclude the “privileged” feminists, both historic and contemporary, have been obsessed with their White savior complex to “liberate” Muslim women. Meanwhile, they continue to terrorize the entire Muslim diaspora. These intersectional overlaps have impelled Muslim women to the extremes of vulnerability and disempowerment. The ongoing debates on gender empowerment have raised questions about the identity of a Muslim woman, her religious and academic authority, along with her involvement in scholarships and activism. Muslim women academicians are still under-represented in their careers due to the barriers coming from their personal and professional lives making them prone to exclusion, discrimination, and aggression. read the complete article

16 Dec 2022

International high school students express pain from global conflict through art

Students of the London International Academy are sharing reflections on global culture and politics through the school's annual International Art Exhibition. The show opened Tuesday at the private boarding high school in downtown London, Ont. Students from all over the world are showing off paintings, drawings, photographs and films that express their innermost thoughts and feelings relating to personal experiences as well as ongoing current events. "Everybody says a picture is worth a thousand words, and it is the truth," said Abeera Atique, art educator and IB diploma program co-ordinator at London International Academy. Kazakhstani students Yaroslava Sokolova, 17, and Dana Ongdassyn, 17, took to the canvas to share pride in their cultures. Ongdassyn's work also addresses Islamophobia. She painted an image of a friend who took her own life after experiencing prejudice in France. "I tried to portray her with [my] eyes because we were close," said Ongdassyn, "and I tried to portray her and me together because we've been through a lot of stuff together." read the complete article

14 Dec 2022

The Morocco vs. France World Cup Semifinal Is About Far More Than Soccer

Whether or not Morocco beats France, the country has in one sense already won as the first African and Arab country to make it to the semifinals in the World Cup’s 92-year history. The fact that Morocco faces its former colonial master has infused the match with added resonance. For many North Africans in France, deciding which side to back is no simple choice—and indeed, some believe they should not be forced to choose at all. “When I’m in France, I’m 100% French. When I’m in Morocco, I’m 100% Moroccan,” says Benjamin El Jaziri, 69, owner of L’Atlas, a Moroccan restaurant on Paris’s Left Bank, which has served traditional couscous and tajine dishes since El Jaziri bought the large space in 1991. Over strong black coffees on a frigid Tuesday night, El Jaziri, who has lived in Paris since 1974, stood leaning on the restaurant’s wooden bar counter, discussing who he will cheer for on Wednesday. “Above all, it’s one’s roots that count, so I will support Morocco,” he says, before hesitating. “But it’s really difficult to say. I’m Franco-Moroccan.” In fact, even the act of hyphenating one’s ethnicity—as Americans do—is considered taboo by many in France, where the question of national identity remains deeply sensitive. France’s national education system, and indeed some of its laws, are geared toward subsuming ethnic identity—a principle around which far-right groups have built support for years. Since 2011, women have been banned from wearing hijabs in French schools and public buildings. While the law applies to all overt signs of religion, French Muslims widely regard it as targeting them. About half of France’s national team, called Les Bleus (the Blues), are the offspring of immigrants from West and North Africa. The heavily Muslim suburbs around Paris and other cities, or banlieues as they are known, have spawned a remarkable number of soccer stars. That includes France’s megastar forward Kylian Mbappé, 23, whose father is from Cameroon and whose mother is Algerian; he was born and raised in the poor Paris suburb of Bondy. Even the Moroccan coach Walid Regragui, 47, was born in a town south of Paris, and the majority of his players were born in Europe of Moroccan parentage. read the complete article


15 Dec 2022

Protests ended, but Shaheen Bagh’s young Muslim women have been launching daily mutinies

When 25 women from Shaheen Bagh went to protest the hijab ban in Karnataka colleges earlier this year, the police were ready with a deployment three times the size of the demonstrators. They kept a tight watch on the women. That’s the alarm that just the name of Shaheen Bagh sets off even today. The landmark anti-CAA protests by Shaheen Bagh ended almost three years ago. But what has largely gone unnoticed is how the protests fueled a new energy among young Muslim women in the neighbourhood, sparking a million small mutinies every day – from hijab to menstruation to resisting bulldozers. These mini-revolutions have flown under the radar of headlines mostly focused on Shaheen Bagh leaders arrested on UAPA charges. “The Shaheen Bagh movement is not over yet. It is still going on and is alive in us. Raising our voice against wrong is Shaheen Bagh,” said Taiyyaba Razique, a 30-year-old doctor, with pride. She is part of a group of 10 residents of Shaheen Bagh who are fighting for better civic amenities, educating young girls on menstrual hygiene, and holding skill development workshops for the youth. They keep abreast of national events and mobilise quickly to lend their voice, like in the case of the hijab protest. The women and their families are shunned and stigmatised. Most are denied job opportunities, and others are facing financial ruin. And the police are always watching. read the complete article

United States

14 Dec 2022

Nabeela Syed: First Muslim woman elected to Illinois General Assembly at age 23

A young woman born and raised in Palatine made history during midterm elections. Nabeela Syed was elected as State Representative of the 51st District at age 23. She is one of the youngest people to be elected into the Illinois General Assembly and she is the first Indian-American and Muslim woman to take the seat. read the complete article

14 Dec 2022

Horror audio drama ‘Quiet Part Loud’ explores fear and hatred in post-9/11 America

Audio dramas — as old as the radio but long sidelined by television — have been slowly coming back over the past two decades, riding the podcast trend back to wider popularity. Currently, what are essentially fiction podcasts are incubators for cutting-edge sound design and storytelling, often in the horror genre. One that’s worth mentioning is “Quiet Part Loud,” a compelling listen on Spotify about Rick Egan, far-right radio host, who was once at the top of his field. On air, he was racist and xenophobic, but he had a great number of followers whom he called “Crusaders” — think the wars of the Middle Ages between Christians and Muslims — and his voice carried a great deal of power. “Quiet Part Loud” tells Egan’s story from the vantage of 2009, eight years after he has lost his show and his following in the months after 9/11, when he identified three Muslim boys from Staten Island as a terrorist sleeper cell waiting to strike New York City’s subway system. In the following episodes, the drama details how fear becomes hatred, how it only takes one person in power spewing vitriol to bring about violence, and how evil feeds on the fear humankind creates. read the complete article


14 Dec 2022

‘We Are Not Perfect People—Like Any Other People’: Qatar’s Art Scene Wants to Break Down Stereotypes Amid a Controversial World Cup

Indeed, it’s been a headlining World Cup—not just because of thrilling matches and what they symbolize to the countries playing and watching, but also because it is one of the most controversial editions in its history. The event has been subjected to a near-constant western media backlash against Qatari politics, the repression of Qatari women, LGBTQ+ rights, and rules around alcohol. Another major issue has been migrant worker deaths, which according to official state counting, range between 400 and 500 people over the last decade (some maintain that the number is higher). The issue has catalyzed Qatar to overhaul its labor system radically. In Europe, some officials have been arrested for taking bribes from Qatar. Yet allegations of corruption, oppression, and deadly working conditions have caused troubling responses, too, in some cases. In early November, a cartoon by a French newspaper Le Canard Enchainé depicted Qatari footballers as terrorists, sparking outrage on social media, with some users calling out its “blatant Islamophobia” and “racism.” Members of its art scene had been hoping for a different outcome: dialogue. “If your house is made out of glass, you don’t throw stones at others,” Qatari businessman, art collector and patron Tariq Al Jaidah told Artnet News. “To the people, whoever they may be, who bad-mouth Qatar and the region, we are not perfect people—like any other people.” Much of the criticism from the West, say some members from Qatar’s rapidly developing art scene, is misleading and reinforces false stereotypes of a country whose residents say is not as regressive as much of the international media coverage has made it out to be. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 15 Dec 2022 Edition


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