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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29 Dec 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, analysts say “far right” is an “imperfect term, and does not capture the complex ideologies, including some that overlap with the anarchist left, that have fueled recent attacks,” meanwhile hundreds of Rohingya refugees who had been stranded at sea for weeks are crying for relief after washing up on the shores of Indonesia’s Aceh province this week, and in the United Kingdom, a team of Muslim hikers continued their annual tradition of a hike on Christmas day despite online racial abuse following pictures of the hike from last year. Our recommended read of the day is by Alain Gabon for Middle East Eye who says that the world has now entered “the era of scientific Islamophobia, characterized by a dramatic increase in creative and effective methods, techniques (both old and new), tools (including legal tools) and anti-Muslim and anti-Islam strategies.” This and more below:


29 Dec 2022

How Islamophobia has entered a new phase - using these 10 strategies | Recommended Read

It is well documented that Islamophobia has become a major ideological position that increasingly shapes domestic and international policies of western and other states, as well as popular perceptions of Muslims and Islam. Evidence can be found in various media, official and independent data, NGOs, personal testimonies and abundant academic research over the past three decades. Western Islamophobia, in particular, has extremely deep historical roots that go back to at least the Crusades and the colonial conquest and administration of Muslim-majority populations. The extensive legacy of both periods, which lasted centuries, persists in today’s cultures and societies. But in the past few decades, the fear and distrust of Muslims has evolved into a fundamental resentment and hatred of Islam. This hostility was dramatically boosted by the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent securitisation of Muslims both in the West and in other parts of the world. The impact of the global "War on Terror" is far-reaching, with domestic, "counter-radicalisation" and "counter-extremism" policies that have proliferated all over the world, including in Muslim-majority societies. More than two decades later, the "clash of civilisations", "great replacement" and "Eurabia" theories have become mainstream. More recently, Islamophobia has entered a new phase, characterised by a triple process: convergence and crystallisation (the different Islamo-paranoid governments, parties, movements and forces that were isolated are now coming together); horizontal/geographic expansion; and intensification/vertical penetration affecting more and more areas of life, including the most intimate (the family, parental educational choices, freedom of faith and consciousness, etc). We are now in what may be called the era of scientific Islamophobia, characterised by a dramatic increase in creative and effective methods, techniques (both old and new), tools (including legal tools) and anti-Muslim and anti-Islam strategies. read the complete article

29 Dec 2022

Undressing the ‘bisht’: How the historical Arab garment debunked misconceptions

Argentina striker Lionel Messi approached to his teammates on the award podium while carrying the World Cup trophy and donning the traditional Arab bisht, an iconic moment that will undoubtedly be etched in the books of history and be remembered as the pinnacle of his career. The black garment, lined with a gold design and known locally as a ‘bisht’, was draped onto the World Cup champion by no other than Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. For the Arab hosts of the region’s first World Cup, the gifting of the bisht was a symbolic a part of Arab culture to honour guests. Many rushed online to express the significance behind the amir’s decision to dress the World Cup 2022 winner in bisht at the first such major event in the Arab region. The move is seen as a means of sharing the culture – and the geopolitical importance of the World Cup game – with the world, along with paying homage to a superstar player in what will indeed be remembered as the crowning achievement of his career. As the black garment hugged the superstar player on stage, in what seemed to many as a warm gesture of honour, the moment became tainted by racist and Islamophobic sentiments that had already been following Qatar since the start of the World Cup. ‘Euro-centric supremacy’ was recently put under the spotlight by Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwa Al Khater, who shared a tweet to remind critics that the graduation gown, shared universally, stems historically from the Arabian cloak. Al Khater hit out at critics for being unable to comprehend how a Muslim tradition could be so universally accepted, in turn highlighting the global phenomenon of Islamophobia. read the complete article

29 Dec 2022

Risking death at sea, Rohingya Muslims seek safety in Indonesia

Crying with relief after a traumatic 40-day voyage to Indonesia in a leaky boat, Rohingya Muslim Fatimah bin Ismail held a mobile phone with shaky hands as she made a video call to relatives. The 19-year-old was among 174 surviving Rohingya in the overloaded wooden fishing boat when it washed up on the shores of Indonesia's Aceh province this week. Around 200 had been on board, fleeing poverty and persecution, when it set off across the Indian Ocean from Bangladesh on Nov. 21. The Rohingya are a Muslim people from mainly Buddhist Myanmar, where they have long suffered repression. Since a crackdown by Myanmar's military in 2017, around 800,000 have been forced into Bangladesh, UN authorities estimate, but thousands have fled increasingly desperate conditions in refugee camps there. Many try to get to Muslim-majority Indonesia, where the UN refugee agency says nearly 500 Rohingya have reached land in the past six weeks, or to Malaysia. read the complete article

United States

29 Dec 2022

How to fight domestic terrorism? First, officials have to define it.

Drawing inspiration from a far-right shooter in New Zealand, the gunman who killed 10 Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket in the spring used racist, dehumanizing language in his writings, singling out Jews as the real problem to be “dealt with in time.” Nevertheless, at a congressional hearing this month on the threat of violent white supremacy, two Republican lawmakers cherry-picked a word in the Buffalo killer’s screed — “socialist” — to cast him as a radical leftist. They did not note that the shooter was referring to National Socialism, the ideology of the German Nazi Party, as Democrats and witnesses on the panel pointedly clarified. “Any sober look” at the Buffalo shooter’s hate-filled manifesto, Oren Segal of the Anti-Defamation League told the lawmakers, “would recognize that attack as clearly a white-supremacist attack.” The exchange shows the tricky role of language in the politically charged struggle over how to talk about domestic terrorism. Republican leaders portray the far left and far right as equally dangerous, an assertion contradicted by White House assessments that “the most persistent and lethal threats” to the country come from the violent right. But “far right” also is an imperfect term, analysts say, and does not capture the complex ideologies, including some that overlap with the anarchist left, that have fueled recent attacks. That fuzziness leaves room for bad-faith arguments and misinformation, miring an urgent threat in partisan point-scoring. Terrorism researchers said they had hoped that rising political violence culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol would jolt leaders into action. Instead, they say, efforts to address violent extremism have stalled over semantics and an eagerness to blame “the other side.” read the complete article

29 Dec 2022

The coming battle for the racist vote in America

It is the final show. Two demagogues are jousting for power. Each is attempting to prove to all of America’s New Nuremberg now standing atop their seats, cheering (if not outright straight-arm saluting), that it is he, not his opponent, that should be awarded the racists’ vote. On one side is a governor. He promises a refined, Ivy League-educated, more methodical racism. A new and improved version. One less vulnerable to outbursts and legal challenges but still with enough markers of klan country – a “monkey” here, a “woke ideology” there – to be admired by the “silent majority”. What is offered to the racists – what is always offered to the racists – is nostalgia. The stealing of babies and distributing them across the country without record and without any hope for their parents to find them reassembles the slave auction sites. With “family separation” the mob is treated to their own modern version of the scenes of wailing in slave quarters. Ripping babies away from migrant women while they breastfeed them mirrors the ripping of hundreds of thousands of Black children from their enslaved mothers’ arms so they could be auctioned off. Instead of selling Black babies “down river” they send Brown babies up-road as punishment and as deterrence for the “rest of them” – warning that they should never try to cross colonialism’s fictitious border. The former president will argue that he doesn’t just talk about it, he is about it. He is a “man of action”, of high energy, “manfully aware of the difficulties besetting him and ready to face them”. It was he who strode in carrying white nationalism like a banner, exciting white supremacist activists around the globe from Canada to Australia. It was he who rode in with no resistance as the American media then, as now, was no more willing or equipped to examine, recognise or even call out a national white supremacist movement than those American journalists of the 1920s who praised Adolf Hitler as a young “magnetic speaker”. A media for whom no amount of fascist saluting, of dog-whistled anti-Semitism and shouted Islamophobia, of tirades against the “foreigners” and “gender deviants”, of scapegoating colonised people, of speaking of his army and his militias, of an auditorium filled to the brim with a mesmerised, chanting crowd – an American Nuremberg rally – can offer any hint. read the complete article

United Kingdom

29 Dec 2022

There’s No Stopping These Muslim Hikers – Not Even Racism

On Christmas Day of 2021, a group of passionate Muslim hikers went to the Peak District hills to complete their long-awaited Christmas Day walk. But this was not as easy as they thought. The walk – pictures of which were posted on social media – caught the attention of many and attracted hate. From racial slurs to abusive comments, the team of hikers were not expecting such backlash for what they took part in. Fast forward to Christmas Day 2022 and the team were out again walking along the hills of the Peak District. There really is no stopping these young Muslim hikers as they assembled and headed out to be one with nature. Led by tour organiser Haroon Mota, the group covered a distance of 7 miles around Mam Tor in the Peak District on Christmas Day. Despite the racial slurs they experienced last year, Haroon and his team did not give up. read the complete article

29 Dec 2022

Government refuses to disclose whether Prevent strategy will be redacted

No 10 has refused to say if its review of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy will be redacted, amid reports it has been delayed by a row between Michael Gove and the Home Office over whether to reveal the names of suspected Islamist extremists. The Prevent review was handed over to the Home Office by William Shawcross, a former head of the Charity Commission, in the summer. Draft extracts leaked to the Guardian in May revealed it controversially argued the government has been too focused on rightwing extremism and should now crack down on Islamist extremism. However, it has not been published, with Whitehall sources saying it had been held up by disagreements over the government’s response to its recommendations. Sources said Gove was increasingly trying to get involved because of his joint responsibility for Prevent’s operation on the ground. The Times reported on Wednesday that it was delayed by a row between the Home Office, led by Suella Braverman, and Gove, with the levelling up, housing and communities secretary pushing for fewer redactions of the details of Islamist extremist organisations and individuals. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 29 Dec 2022 Edition


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