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
16 Jan 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, Muslim advocacy groups are “raising concerns over the appointment of Congressman Mark Green to the chair of the House’s Homeland Security Committee, saying the lawmaker has a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric,” meanwhile in France, the Union of Mosques in France is suing the controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq for discrimination, hate speech and inciting violence in remarks to an interviewer, and in the United Kingdom, a new report from the British Muslim Civil Society finds that the “British Muslim communities are a vital part of civil society, being among the ‘most generous givers to charity’ in the UK.” Our recommended read of the day is by Pranshu Verma for The Washington Post about Raqib Hameed Naik, a Kashmiri Muslim journalist who is the founder of, a data project to track hate crimes in India that “has angered the increasingly authoritarian government of right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” This and more below:


16 Jan 2023

Tracking rising religious hatred in India, from half a world away | Recommended Read

Raqib Hameed Naik stood in his tidy American kitchen, feeling torn about his secret life. On the one hand, he was safe from the Indian government, and far from the death threats and the late-night knocks on his parents’ door. On the other hand, he was essentially in hiding, working on a scrappy secret data project to track hate crimes in India. But to grow it, he needed to go public. Naik, 29, is the founder of, one of the most robust real-time data sets of human rights abuses in the world’s largest democracy. Using video and picture evidence submitted by a network of Indian activists, along with news aggregation, the site tracks hate crimes by Hindus against Muslims, Christians and members of the lower-ranked castes. Since its founding in April 2021, it has catalogued more than 1,000 instances of violent attacks and rhetoric. (Hindutva refers to political ideology that advocates for Hindu supremacy.) It is likely an undercount, Indian political experts said. Still, the website has angered the increasingly authoritarian government of right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which critics charge promotes the idea that the Hindu majority is superior and tolerates deadly crimes against Muslims and Christians. At least 11 times, Naik said, the government or Indian law enforcement have petitioned Twitter to suspend its account or take down some of its content, one of its most important venues for publicizing its findings. As of Sunday, its Twitter account remains active. Until he agreed to an interview with The Washington Post, Naik, who is Muslim, ran both the site and its Twitter account anonymously from Cambridge, Mass., where he settled after fleeing India in 2020. read the complete article

16 Jan 2023

Is India seeing a decline in violence?

Amit Ahuja and Devesh Kapur, two US-based political scientists, differ. In their upcoming book, Internal Security in India: Violence, Order, and the State, they argue that large-scale violence has actually declined in the country. To put it more precisely, "aggregate levels of violence in India - public and private - have declined in the first two decades of this century compared to the previous two decades". For their research, Prof Ahuja, of University of California, and Prof Kapur, of Johns Hopkins University, trawled through decades of official records of a swathe of violence in public life in India: from riots to election violence; from caste to religious and ethnic violence; from insurgencies to terrorism; and political assassinations to hijackings. They found that violence in India has actually declined in many of these indicators - in some cases, substantially - during the "peak quarter century" from the late 1970s to early 2000s. read the complete article

16 Jan 2023

How Gujarat’s Khambhat Became a Hotspot for Anti-Muslim Hate

On December 8, 2022, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won elections in India’s western state of Gujarat, which paved the way for its seventh term at the helm. Breaking its own record in the previous elections, the BJP won 156 of 182 seats, garnering more than half of the popular vote in the state. But in the central Gujarat city of Khambhat, the BJP lost to the largest opposition party of India – the Indian National Congress (INC). Naushadbhai Patel, a trader from Khambhat’s Pith Bazaar said that he was relieved that the BJP lost. “All Muslims here voted for the Congress, knowing well that if the BJP came to power here again, many lives and livelihoods would be lost,” Patel explained. In November 2022, at an election rally in Khambhat, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah boasted of demolitions undertaken by the BJP in Muslim areas. By emphasizing the issue of clearing out alleged “fake mazars (Islamic shrines or mausoleums),” Shah stirred communal sentiments in Khambhat – the same city that saw extreme violence on April 10, during Ram Navami (a Hindu festival). This violence against Muslims in Khambhat and other parts of Gujarat, as well as India, was fanned by Hindu extremist organizations such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal. It resulted in massive damage to Islamic shrines, mosques, and Muslim homes. read the complete article

United States

16 Jan 2023

US civil groups raise concerns over congressional committee chair's anti-Muslim comments

Muslim advocacy groups are raising concerns over the appointment of Congressman Mark Green to the chair of the House's Homeland Security Committee, saying the lawmaker has a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric. Green, a physician, Iraq War veteran and former GOP state senator in Tennessee, is set to lead the committee after being selected by House Republicans earlier this week. Muslim organisations, however, have stated the lawmaker is unfit to serve on the committee, given his previous statements on Muslims and the Islamic faith. “Rep. Green’s well-documented history of hate speech against Muslims, LGBTQ people, and immigrants made him unfit to be Secretary of the Army, and that history makes him unfit to chair the House Homeland Security Committee,” Sumayyah Waheed, senior policy counsel at Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights group based in Washington, told the Huffington Post. “As chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Mark Green is a threat to Muslims - especially to those that live at the intersections of the communities he has gleefully attacked for political gain.” At a 2016 meeting of the Tea Party - a conservative political movement within the Republican Party that began in 2009 - Green told an audience that he did not want public school students in Tennessee to learn about Islam. During that meeting, one audience member said that “we need to take a stand on the indoctrination of Islam in our public schools”. To which Green responded, “I agree.” “We have to teach the history of the Ottoman Empire, Mecca, Medina, and all of the assault of Islam out into the Levant and North Africa, and Constantinople,” he said, using the phrase “Muslim horde” to describe the spread of Islam. “But, when you start teaching the pillars of Islam, when you start teaching how to pray as a Muslim, that is over the top and we will not tolerate that in this state.” In 2015, during his time as a Tennessee state senator, Green also called for a ban on Syrian refugees entering his state. read the complete article

16 Jan 2023

CAIR says Hamline University teacher is not Islamophobic

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Friday (Jan. 13), saying an art history instructor at Hamline University did not act with bigoted intent when she showed a 14th-century painting of the Prophet Muhammad in a class last semester. The statement, issued as “the official position” of the national organization, counteracts remarks made by its Minnesota chapter’s executive director, who said the classroom viewing of the painting was Islamophobic. That’s also the view taken by university administrators who said showing the painting was “undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic.” The university canceled instructor Erika López Prater’s contract to teach another class in the spring semester after a student filed a complaint, engulfing the university in a firestorm over academic freedom and Islamic representational art. “Based on what we know up to this point, we do not see evidence that the former Hamline University Adjunct Professor Erika López Prater acted with Islamophobic intent or engaged in conduct that meets the definition of Islamophobia,” the CAIR statement said. read the complete article

16 Jan 2023

The Prophet Muhammad Wouldn’t Have Flipped Out Over a Painting

A painting? That’s it? Without intending disrespect or blasphemy, as a practicing Muslim I’d like to think that’s how the Prophet Muhammad would respond to the latest controversy surrounding the use and depiction of his image. As reported in The Daily Beast last week (and later in The New York Times), at Hamline University—a small, private university in Saint Paul, Minnesota—a Muslim student objected when adjunct professor Erika Lopez Prater showed a 14th-century painting of the prophet in her global art history class— but only after the professor had given students numerous opportunities to raise concerns or ask to be excused from this particular presentation. After the fact, a single Muslim student, later joined by several other Muslim students at the university, complained to the university administration about the professor creating an Islamophobic environment. Most Muslims believe it is blasphemous to show pictorial representations of the prophet, even though there is disagreement of opinion among the community of 1.8 billion Muslims globally. In a matter of weeks, Hamline rescinded Professor Prater’s offer to teach the following semester. About a month after the lecture, an all-employee email was sent describing the classroom exercise as “undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful, and Islamophobic.” We don't know what Prophet Muhammad would say, but Muslims speak, and we can listen to them. In my WhatsApp chats, my Muslim friends just shook our heads in disbelief when we read about the controversy and immediately sided with Professor Prater. The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Muslim-American organization, issued a statement of support for the professor and urged “the university to reverse its decision and to take compensatory action to ameliorate the situation.” Muslim-American professors, including those who take their Islamic faith seriously and adore the Prophet Muhammad, are among the 13,000 signatures on a petition to support Prater. read the complete article

16 Jan 2023


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has vowed to bar Democrats Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and Ilhan Omar from serving on House committees. The threat, which McCarthy repeated this week, is retaliation for Democrats having removed Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia from their committee assignments in 2021 for highly inflammatory statements, including about Omar. The putative reasons for Omar’s prospective committee ban are a little more hazy. A refugee from Somalia and the first African-born member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Omar is a frequent target for members of the GOP. Republicans have often claimed Omar, who has represented Minnesota’s 5th District since 2019, is an anti-Semite. But Omar said she believes McCarthy wants her off committees because she’s Muslim. “I do not actually think that he has a reason outside of me being Muslim and thinking I should not be,” Omar told HuffPost. “If you look at the comments from Republicans, it’s precisely for only that reason.” For years, Republicans have targeted Omar and espoused conspiracy theories about her, while shrugging off egregious behaviors and comments from members of their own party, such as when Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) repeatedly described Omar as a terrorist who might blow up the Capitol. read the complete article

16 Jan 2023

Exposing the reality about anti-Asian hate in politics

Anyone in Obama’s orbit who courted controversy, including his longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright, was thrust aside. And the metastasized lie that Obama shared the same religion as his father, stepfather and other members of his extended family was contested with such intensity, it was clear voters on both sides of the political aisle equated Muslims with a threatening foreignness and depravity. To prove Obama was not in any way affiliated with “those people,” his volunteers even kept two women in hijab from sitting behind the then-Democratic presidential candidate at a rally in Detroit. Much has changed since that summer of 2008. There are two Muslim women who now walk the halls of the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and the hijab-wearing Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Here in our state, two Muslims — Abdelnasser Rashid and Nabeela Syed, a young progressive of Indian descent who covers her hair — were just sworn into the Illinois General Assembly. But while the racial, ethnic and religious makeup of our elected officials inches toward reflecting the country’s diversity, the terrorizing push-back sanctioned by Donald Trump and other right-wing leaders has become normalized zealotry, fueled by violence and ignorance. read the complete article

16 Jan 2023

'Canceling' Islamic history is a disservice to Muslim students

As a consequence of showing this image, Erika López Prater, an adjunct professor, was sacked. Now, students of this course at Hamline will no longer be exposed to a crucial aspect of Islamic civilization. Prodded by the flawed urge to accommodate “Muslim sensitivities,” school authorities that supported the student have managed to replace the dazzling historical, artistic and theological diversity of the Islamic world with a monolithic cliché. I am dismayed by this event, not merely as a scholar who has dedicated a lifetime to writing and teaching about Islam. I am offended as a practicing Muslim who loves the Persian visual tradition of illumination and miniature painting. A global understanding of Islam is impossible in absence of the Islamic art, mysticism and poetry that includes portrayals of the Prophet. Nor can I imagine my faith without such poets as Ferdowsi, Sa’di, Hafez and Rumi, although some fundamentalist and ultra-orthodox Muslims frown on them. What will happen if a student feels excluded by my inclusion of such works in a syllabus? What if I am called an Islamophobe because I do not subscribe to the blinkered version of Islam a student might have brought to college along with his or her baggage? It should not be the new rule of academia that a student’s opinions about their faith, whatever they may be, trump the scholarship of the fields, from biology to art and theology, represented by various departments in her college. Anyone who is not bamboozled by right-wing commentators knows that liberal arts colleges do not indoctrinate their students. They are not only free but actively encouraged to challenge their professors. But this is a two-way street. Undergraduates who choose liberal arts education have voted with their feet. By their choice they have agreed that they are prepared to engage in a rigorous process of self-examination. They are the ones who must acclimate themselves to the “marketplace of ideas,” not the other way around. read the complete article

16 Jan 2023

Minnesota university under fire for professor’s dismissal over showing images of Prophet Muhammad

A Minnesota university’s decision to dismiss a professor for including depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in a world art course has put the small, private school at the center of a debate over how to include controversial material in college courses while respecting students’ personal relationship to the material. Months after the images were shown in an online class, the chair of Hamline University’s Board of Trustees said Friday that the trustees were reviewing the university’s policies and its responses to both student complaints and faculty concerns about academic freedom. Also Friday, a national civil rights organization for Muslims rebuked accusations that the professor’s behavior was Islamophobic. Pushback to Hamline’s decision began with an online petition from a University of Michigan Islamic art scholar who said the painting is frequently shown and studied by art historians and grew as media reports detailed the university’s response, including one official’s email to employees describing the incident as Islamophobic. Critics included Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Middle East Studies Association, which both issued statements praising the professor for her sensitivity and commitment to teaching the variety of attitudes toward depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in Islam’s history. Islamic art experts also have noted that the image was nothing like the cartoons in the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo that led to a deadly 2015 attack. read the complete article


16 Jan 2023

French Muslim union sues nation's biggest literary star Houellebecq

The Union of Mosques in France is suing the controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq for discrimination, hate speech and inciting violence in remarks to an interviewer, the organisation told AFP on Friday. Houellebecq, whose books sell in big numbers, penned the international headline-grabbing 2015 novel "Submission" about a Muslim winning the presidency, which taps into right-wing fears over the rise of Islam. He is accused of telling an interviewer for the "Front Populaire" publication that Muslims in France should "stop stealing and being aggressive" to "ethnic" French people. The passages suggest there could be violence towards French Muslims, which he dubbed "reverse Bataclans", a reference to the 2015 attacks on the Bataclan concert hall by French and Belgian-born jihadists with links to the Islamic State group. Houellebecq has said the controversial sections would be edited out of the interview online, and in a forthcoming book in which the remarks will feature. Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the union, said in a statement "his proposal to replace them in a forthcoming book does not put an end to their dissemination and does not protect Muslims from their consequences". read the complete article

United Kingdom

16 Jan 2023

Muslim charities overlooked by policymakers, report claims

Policymakers must do more to unlock the potential of British Muslim charities, according to a new report. The British Muslim Civil Society report, released today by Mercy Mission UK, said that there need to be “stronger partnerships” between the sector and central government to better respond to society’s needs. It criticised the absence of Muslim organisations in the 16 charities that were recently awarded £1.3m through the Faith New Deal Fund. The report also called on institutions such as NCVO to publish regular religious breakdowns of non-profit organisations so that Muslim charities can better understand how they fit into the wider sector. The report said that British Muslim communities are a vital part of civil society, being among the “most generous givers to charity” in the UK. While it recognised that there is now greater collaboration between faith organisations and local authorities, it argued that “more needs to be done in developing robust public-faith sector partnerships, including at the level of national government”. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 16 Jan 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results