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
17 Dec 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, hundreds of students from Fairfax High School in Virginia walked out in protest Thursday morning to show their support for a student they say was attacked in an Islamophobic incident, meanwhile, a representative for Myanmar’s Rohingya community has testified in an Argentine court as a part of an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity by the Asian country’s military rulers, and lastly the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill to “crack down on the Chinese government’s genocide targeting Uyghur Muslims, sending the measure to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.” Our recommended read of the day is by Ryan Grim for The Intercept on New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer’s recent claims (without providing evidence) that the human rights organization founded by Jamal Khashoggi is linked to Al Qaeda—accusations that are “false, baseless, and derive from Islamophobic, racist, and anti-Muslim tropes.” This and more below:

United States

17 Dec 2021


REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER, a New Jersey Democrat, attacked the organization founded by Jamal Khashoggi on Monday as linked to Al Qaeda, echoing allegations that Saudi officials have leveled to muddy the waters around the state-sanctioned butchering of the Washington Post journalist. In a speech at Rutgers University, Gottheimer criticized the school for hosting Khashoggi’s organization for an event. “At another event, the same group hosted Democracy for the Arab World Now, DAWN, whose officials have connections to Al Qaeda and Hamas networks,” Gottheimer said. “Hamas sympathizers, or others with ties to other terrorist organizations involved in 9/11, have no place on college campuses. Associates of Palestinian Islamic jihad have no place on this college campus. I know we all believe that hate has no home here. It’s time we all practice what we preach.” During his speech, Gottheimer also claimed that at an earlier protest organized by the Working Families Party, somebody had shouted “Jew!” at him. A review of video of the event provided by the Working Families Party suggests that Gottheimer is either lying or appears to have misheard the protesters. The claims by Perry and Gottheimer that Omar and Khashoggi have links to terrorist organizations were offered without evidence, though both are likely referring to connections to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, a prominent advocacy group in Washington that is routinely criticized by Saudi Arabia and its allies for having ties to terror networks. Perry had previously introduced an amendment to Omar’s legislation punishing CAIR, and Khashoggi’s group has links to people with ties to CAIR. Nebulous terms like “networks” and “links” make it easy to claim connections between Middle East figures and terrorist groups while simultaneously draining these claims of meaning. That task was made easier in the wake of 9/11, when the FBI designated countless Islamic charities as potential fronts for financing terror groups, meaning that anybody connected with those charities in any way could then be said to have “links” to Al Qaeda. read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

Guantanamo Hasn't Made Us Safer

A recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on closing Guantanamo Bay prison coincided with Congress' approval of a $778 billion military budget that no one asked for: it was, in fact, $25 billion more than the Commander-in-Chief had requested. Our current "defense" budget costs taxpayers more than $2 billion a day, or $7.7 trillion over the next decade. Contrast that with proposed infrastructure spending over those same ten years, and you get a good picture of Congress' priorities: $7.7 trillion for the military, and $3.5 trillion for infrastructure—a figure certain to decline. We spend more on the military than the next 11 nations combined, including China, Russia and India. Which brings us to Guantanamo. The Senate hearing, which featured panelists ranging from military generals to Colleen Kelly, a 9/11 family member, affirmed that the prison and military tribunal system chosen to try those suspected of war against the US has been an utter and abject failure, wasting taxpayer dollars and resulting in only two convictions in 20 years. We've spent $6 billion since opening the prison, and currently spend $13 million per prisoner, per year, to keep it open. Today, there are 39 detainees in Guantanamo, and after two decades, more than two-thirds of them have never been charged with a crime. Thirteen have been recommended for transfer but haven't been released. And twelve are in a military commission system in which only two have been convicted. In contrast, the stateside Department of Justice has successfully prosecuted nearly 1,000 individuals on terrorism related charges in that same period of time. Kelly, a 9/11 family member who, with me, co-founded September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, noted that 20 years after the event that took the lives of both our brothers, no one has been held accountable. We support the idea of plea agreements for those remaining at Guantanamo like KSM, with admissions of guilt taking the death penalty off the table and replacing it with life in prison, a measure that would provide some amount of accountability and resolution. You might find testimony from members of the military surprising: they did not mince words about the need to close Guantanamo immediately. read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

Fairfax High School students stage walkout to support student they say was target of Islamophobic attack

Hundreds of students from Fairfax High School in Virginia walked out in protest Thursday morning to show their support for a student they say was attacked in an Islamophobic incident. A petition calling on Fairfax school administrators to do more about the incident, which happened Tuesday, has garnered more than 3,600 signatures. Reagan Wise, a student at Fairfax High School, told WTOP that a male student pushed a female student to the ground, took off her hijab, beat her up, “and then the guy who did it did not face any trouble and is currently still threatening other students.” The petition says that the female student was left exposed without her hijab and that “an ambulance was called into the school for a panic attack when they really should have been told this was an assault.” read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

Top employee of a Muslim non-profit secretly shared information with Islamophobic group

The Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has fired one of its top leaders after discovering that he was covertly sharing information about the organization to a prominent anti-Muslim group. The organization announced that its longtime executive and legal director, Romin Iqnal, had admitted to leaking information to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a Washington DC-based non-profit group that according to the Islamophobia Network, uses “unsubstantiated threats that portray Muslims as dangerous to accrue funding”. Its founder, Steve Emerson, a journalist and self-proclaimed expert on Islamic and Middle East terrorist groups has, according to the Islamophobia Network, a reputation “for fabricating evidence to substantiate his ravings about Muslim extremism”. In an analysis by the Georgetown University– based Bridge Initiative, which studies Islamophobia, Emerson was described as having “a history of promoting falsified information and conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims”. Emerson has previously made false claims that there are “no-go zones” in the United Kingdom and that the Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by an Arab because it had a so-called “Middle Eastern trait”. He has also said that American Muslim civil rights organizations are “infiltrating” Congress and the media. read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

Muslim Women In Politics: Part Two

In this continuation of a conversation from the last episode, host Yasmin Bendaas explores the challenges of being a Muslim woman in today's political landscape with Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam and grassroots organizer Leila Ali of Muslim Women For. They discuss how their activism is influenced by their faith, the burden of representing the entirety of the Muslim community, and what their message is for young Muslims who also want to step into politics. read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

U.S. Senators Cory Booker, Ben Cardin, and Bernie Sanders Introduce Legislation to Create Special Envoy to Monitor and Address Islamophobia

On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Combating International Islamophobia Act, legislation that would require the Department of State to establish a Special Envoy for tracking and combatting Islamophobia globally. The creation of the Special Envoy will also help lawmakers and other government officials better understand anti-Muslim hatred and violence, allowing for the development of a comprehensive strategy that will establish U.S. leadership in addressing Islamophobia worldwide. read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

House members want Lauren Boebert removed from assignments over Islamophobic comments

Around Thanksgiving, a video of conservative Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert went viral. In it, she described Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar, a Muslim, as a terrorist. Now, some Democratic Congress members want Boebert to be removed from her committee assignments. Colorado Public Radio's Caitlyn Kim reports. Some Republicans have denounced Boebert's rhetoric, but McCarthy has not acted against her, arguing that Boebert has apologized. Frustrated progressives in the House last week introduced a resolution to remove Boebert from her committee assignments. More than three dozen Democrats have signed on to the measure, including DeGette. Meanwhile, Boebert has been uncharacteristically quiet about the resolution. She did say in a statement the day it was introduced that she's aware, quote, "some people did something." Colorado's other Republican Congress members, including Ken Buck, oppose the idea. read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

Who is Romin Iqbal? Former head of CAIR-Ohio was working with an anti-Muslim group

The former leader of a prominent local Muslim civil rights and advocacy group was known as a "pillar" of the Columbus community before he was fired Tuesday and accused of sending confidential information to an anti-Muslim group. Romin Iqbal, 45, led the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Columbus and Cincinnati offices (CAIR-Ohio) for three years and worked there for 15 years. Iqbal referred comments to his attorney, David H. Thomas, with Taft Law, who declined comment on the matter. Iqbal, of Dublin, worked in the Columbus office of CAIR-Ohio in Hilliard and has been its executive director since 2018. He began working at the organization in 2006 and held various positions, often speaking with other area groups at press conferences CAIR hosted regarding Islamophobia. Acting director of CAIR-Ohio Amina Barhumi said that Iqbal is smart, a pillar of the Muslim community but also "very manipulative," according to a report filed late Monday night with the Hilliard Division of Police. Angie Plummer, executive director of Columbus-based refugee resettlement agency Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS), has worked with Iqbal for years. "It's awful," she said. "If all these allegations are true, that's extraordinary. It's hard to believe." Plummer said she feels betrayed and assumed Iqbal and she were on the same mission to try and root out Islamophobia. "I just can't make sense of it," she said. "I wish there were some explanation that would make it make sense." read the complete article


17 Dec 2021

Rohingya activist in Argentina testifies in 'genocide' case against Myanmar

A representative for Myanmar's Rohingya minority community has testified in an Argentine court as a part of an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity by the Asian country's military rulers. The court on Thursday agreed to investigate the allegations based on the principles of universal jurisdiction, which holds that some acts — including war crimes and crimes against humanity — are so horrific they are not specific to one nation and can be tried anywhere. A 2017 army crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, which the UN says could amount to genocide, has triggered an exodus of more than 740,000 members of the community, mainly to Bangladesh. "Recently they announced new orders of restrictions for the Rohingya people," Tun Khin, president of the British-based Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, told reporters outside the court in Buenos Aires ahead of the hearing. "We worry that the situation may get worse so that is very important that we push the international community seeking justice, not only this court but other cases for the international community to support." read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

Crackdown on China's treatment of Muslim minority headed to Biden's desk

The Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a bill to crack down on the Chinese government’s genocide targeting Uyghur Muslims, sending the measure to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. Despite the bill's overwhelming support, it faced a long and complicated road to final passage as its co-authors, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), encountered obstacles from the White House and the private sector. The legislation briefly became intertwined with Democrats’ unrelated domestic agenda items, as well as a GOP-led blockade on foreign-policy nominations. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act effectively bans all imports from China’s Xinjiang region, where the U.S. government has said that the Chinese Communist Party is perpetrating a genocide against the religious minority, including slave labor, forced sterilizations and concentration camps. Under the terms of the bill, companies that produce goods in Xinjiang can be granted an exception if they show proof that those products are not made using forced labor. “Many companies have already taken steps to clean up their supply chains,” Rubio said. “For those who have not done that, they’ll no longer be able to continue to make Americans — every one of us, frankly — unwitting accomplices in the atrocities, in the genocide that’s being committed by the Chinese Communist Party.” The House unanimously passed the bill late Tuesday night, and the White House has indicated that Biden will sign it. read the complete article

17 Dec 2021

US hits China with new trade curbs and sanctions over forced Uyghur labour

The United States has unleashed a volley of actions to censure China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority, with lawmakers voting to curb trade and issuing new sanctions on Beijing. The US Senate unanimously voted to make the United States the first country to ban virtually all imports from China’s northwestern Xinjiang region over concerns of the prevalence of forced labour. “We know it’s happening at an alarming, horrific rate with the genocide that we now witness being carried out,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a driver behind the act, which already passed the House of Representatives and which the White House says Biden will sign. Xinjiang is a major source of cotton, with an estimated 20% of the garments imported each year into the United States including some material from the region. Rights experts, witnesses and the US government say more than one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims are incarcerated in camps in an effort to root out their Islamic cultural traditions and forcibly assimilate them into China’s Han majority. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 17 Dec 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results