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
31 Jan 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., an investigation carried out by the local prosecutor’s office in New Jersey has found that the inclusion of a bulldozer as a float in a New Jersey town last August during an India Day rally was an act of bias, meanwhile in Finland, the National Police Board has come out with a statement saying that burning a copy of the Quran or any book considered sacred would violate religious peace in the country, which is a punishable offense in the country, and The Council of Europe has released a new report finding that Muslims in Denmark are increasingly depicted, including by politicians of different political parties, as a threat to Danish values and culture. Our recommended read of the day is by Marsha McLeod for The Globe and Mail on a news conference held in Canada yesterday where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood behind Canada’s newly appointed representative to combat nationwide Islamophobia, Amira Elghawaby. This and more below:


30 Jan 2023

Prime Minister stands behind newly appointed special representative on combatting Islamophobia | Recommended Read

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood by his newly appointed special representative on combatting Islamophobia as the country marked the sixth anniversary of the deadly Quebec City mosque shooting, while the Quebec government and federal Conservatives called for Amira Elghawaby to step aside. Outcry over her appointment dominated headlines in Quebec. The backlash stemmed from a 2019 article co-authored by Ms. Elghawaby – a particular line of which was perceived as showing anti-Quebec sentiment. The piece opposed Bill 21, the Quebec law that bans some public servants from wearing religious symbols, such as hijabs. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Ms. Elghawaby, a human-rights advocate and journalist, pointed out that the specific sentence that has raised ire – that Quebeckers appeared to be swayed by anti-Muslim sentiment – was not her opinion, but rather, a description of a poll’s findings. After criticism was raised last week, Mr. Trudeau said he expected Ms. Elghawaby to clarify her remarks, which she did, saying she does not believe Quebeckers are Islamophobic. Mr. Trudeau said Monday he is satisfied and wants to move forward. read the complete article

Quebec government wants Amira Elghawaby to resign as federal representative to combat Islamophobia, just days into her new job

The Quebec government is calling on the federal government to withdraw its support of Amira Elghawaby, the new representative to combat Islamophobia, only four days after she was first appointed. Since her appointment on Thursday, the journalist and human rights activist has been pressured to clarify her position on Quebec's secularism law. In 2019 she wrote a column for the Ottawa Citizen where she denounced the "anti-muslim sentiment" that surrounded the adoption of Bill 21 — which bans public servants from wearing religious symbols such as hijabs. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated his support for Elghawaby on Monday. Trudeau said that over the years, she has had the opportunity to consider the impacts of various pieces of legislature on the community — part of what makes her role important. He said Elghawaby was appointed because she knows the Muslim community well and can share their concerns. In an interview with CBC's Quebec AM, Elghawaby said she has nothing to apologize for. "The article in question actually provides the context in it," said Elghawaby. "It was never meant to suggest that my opinion is that the majority of Quebecers are Islamophobic. I don't believe so. I was merely analyzing the polling numbers … [an] opinion piece is meant to cause people to think, to talk, to reflect." read the complete article


30 Jan 2023

Liberal MP calls on cabinet to back motion making room for Uyghur refugees

Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi is calling on members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet to support a motion that would urge Ottawa to make room in its refugee intake for 10,000 Uyghurs and members of other Turkic groups who have fled China and are living in third countries such as Turkey. His resolution takes its cue from Parliament’s 2021 declaration that China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs and other minorities, and it calls on the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to expedite entry into Canada of “10,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in need of protection over two years starting in 2024.” Rights groups and media reports say the Chinese government has committed grave human-rights violations against the region’s largely Muslim Uyghur population, as well as other minorities. Forced labour and forced relocation to work in other provinces, China’s critics say, is the latest stage in a government-directed effort to exert control in Xinjiang. Beijing has described the region as being infected with extremism. read the complete article

30 Jan 2023

Ex-politicians who converted to Islam in Netherlands slam double standards against Muslims

Attacks against Islam's holy book, the Quran, are hate crimes, said some former far-right politicians who converted to Islam in the Netherlands, adding that Muslims are subjected to double standards, Anadolu News Agency reports. Former politician, Arnoud van Doorn, who left the extreme right-wing Freedom Party in the Netherlands and converted to Islam, told Anadolu that he finds leader of Pegida – an Islamophobic movement – Edwin Wagensveld's action against the Holy Quran "outrageous". On 23 January, Wagensveld in The Hague shredded some pages from a copy of the Holy Quran and then burned them. This is a situation that hurts and humiliates Muslims, Van Doorn said, noting: "It is very strange that this is allowed, especially in times of polarisation in the Netherlands. The State should bring ethnic groups together instead of constantly humiliating and marginalising an ethnic group." He underlined that the action should be considered hate speech in the entire EU. "As you know, there are double standards against Muslims. If you burn the Israeli flag, it becomes anti-Semitism; if you burn the rainbow flag, it is hate speech. They are all provocative, they are all criminal offenses. But if you burn the Quran, harm it or make fun of it in any other way, then that is freedom of expression," he said. read the complete article

30 Jan 2023

Council of Europe criticises Denmark for creating room for anti-Muslim acts

Hate speech in Denmark benefited from "police protection" under "the name of freedom of expression," said the latest report of the Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission ECRI. The report was released on Monday amid furore over recent Islamophobic acts by Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan, leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, who burned copies of the Quran in both Denmark and Sweden. "As regards hate speech, ECRI regrets to note that Muslims in Denmark, including guest workers and persons who have been granted asylum, are increasingly depicted, including by politicians of different political parties, as a threat to Danish values and culture," said the ECRI's 2022 Denmark report. "In the worst manifestation of this trend, one political party has made it its main political platform to advocate the 'cleansing' of Muslims and to threaten, scorn and insult Muslims and Black people in their own neighbourhoods, with almost no counter speech following from other politicians, and often under police protection provided in the name of freedom of expression," it stated. read the complete article

30 Jan 2023

Myanmar: Military junta using fire as a weapon, Rohingya refugees fleeing Bangladesh

This week on The Observers, we focused on Myanmar, where it's been two years since the military junta seized power, ousting the country's democratically elected leaders. The coup d'état sparked widespread protests and a fierce opposition movement manned by the People's Defence Forces and local militias. But the junta is responding with force, using every weapon at their disposal to crush dissent -- even fire. They've been accused of burning down entire villages to cut off supplies to resistance fighters and stamp out morale. We spoke to one of their analysts to learn more about how fire has been used as a weapon of war. Next, we followed the plight of the Rohingya people, who have been exiled from their home country of Myanmar, taking refuge in Bangladesh. Since the end of last November, many have tried to leave on boats, no longer able to stand living in the sprawling camps at Cox's Bazar. The boats are hoping to reach Malaysia, but many find themselves with nowhere to turn if Malaysia or other neighbouring countries don't take them in. read the complete article

United States

30 Jan 2023

Ilhan Omar says GOP wants her off Foreign Affairs committee because she’s Black and Muslim

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is claiming a Republican-led push to boot her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee is rooted in racism and Islamophobia and meant to appease bigots in the House GOP conference. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has pledged to force a vote on removing her from the influential panel, where she has held a seat since she was first sworn in as a member of Congress in 2019. Ms. Omar, who came to the US as a child refugee from Somalia and is one of just two Muslim women in Congress, said on Sunday that the House speaker’s actions are motivated by revenge and bigotry, during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union programme. “It is politically motivated,” Ms Omar said. “In some cases, it’s motivated by the fact that many of these members don’t believe a Muslim, a refugee, an African should even be in Congress, let alone have the opportunity to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee”. Ms. Omar also pointed to Mr McCarthy’s defence of other GOP representatives who were previously criticised for making Islamophobic comments about her, such as Representative Lauren Boebert, who once suggested the Minnesota congresswoman could be a suicide bomber. read the complete article

30 Jan 2023

A handful of Republicans may save Ilhan Omar's committee seat

A handful of Republicans could save Rep. Ilhan Omar’s, D-Minn., seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee as Speaker Kevin McCarthy tries to fulfill his promise to eject her over what he described as antisemitic remarks. McCarthy is meeting with holdouts Monday in an effort to persuade them to vote for his resolution to give Omar the boot over her repeated comments against Israel that she has since apologized for. Last week, McCarthy unilaterally removed Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., from the House Intelligence Committee, a select committee, citing national security concerns. However, the Foreign Affairs Committee is a standing committee, meaning a full House vote is needed for McCarthy’s resolution to remove Omar. In the tightly divided House, McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes to pass the resolution without any Democrats, and Reps. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Ken Buck, R-Colo., have so far signaled they will vote against it. Additionally, Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., is recovering at home with an injury, giving McCarthy zero wiggle room. His office declined to comment when reached by Fox News Digital. Mace told Fox News on Friday that booting Omar from her committee amounts to a form of "cancel culture." read the complete article

New Jersey prosecutors conclude that bulldozer at India Day was a 'bias incident'

The inclusion of a bulldozer as a float in a New Jersey town last August during an India Day rally was an act of bias, a joint investigation by the local county's prosecutor's office and police department has found. Local Muslim activists welcomed the findings that stop short of initiating criminal charges against the organisers of the event that prompted national outrage and called on US politicians to be more proactive in halting the rise of Hindu nationalism in the US. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said last August that the local police department had received complaints that a bulldozer, emblazoned with posters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, a politician in India known for his anti-Muslim tirades, had been used as a float during an India Day parade. "The complainants reported that the float was an offensive and Islamophobic endorsement of the divisive practice of using heavy machinery to demolish homes of alleged criminals, protestors, and rioters in India. This brand of 'bulldozer politics' has been criticized as disproportionately targeting religious-minority communities in India," the statement read. "As a result of its investigation, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has concluded that the incident was properly reported and classified as a bias incident," the statement added. read the complete article


30 Jan 2023

India: Soundtrack of hate

Sandeep Acharya is a popular musician. Millions of users stream his songs online, and thousands of fans attend his concerts. He belongs to India's Hindutva music scene — an Islamophobic scene that has been on the rise in India. Hindutva pop is often played when Hindu groups rally in India. Some songs have even sparked violence and riots. read the complete article


30 Jan 2023

Muslim family faces racial attack in Germany

A Muslim family was attacked by seven men in the East German town of Merseburg, public broadcaster MDR has reported. The attack took place Saturday evening as the Muslim family was walking on the street pushing a stroller. The suspects, aged between 19 and 33 years, first racially insulted the family and then physically attacked them. According to police, passers-by got involved and used irritants against the attackers, injuring four of them. read the complete article


31 Jan 2023

Finland would not allow burning of Quran: police

Police in Finland has said the public burning copies of Islam's holy book, the Quran, would not be allowed in the country, local media reported. The National Police Board said burning a copy of the Quran would likely violate religious peace, which is a punishable offence in Finland, said media reports, citing the Finnish News Agency STT. The public burning or other desecration of a book held sacred by a religious community would be met with police intervention, added the police. In response to a question from Anadolu Agency on whether they would adopt a similar approach, the Swedish Foreign Ministry reiterated its position on burning a copy of the Quran in the name of freedom of expression. read the complete article


27 Jan 2023

Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City

In 2014, in the wake of ethnic violence in Uyghur and Turkic Muslims communities, the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) began a targeted campaign of ethnic and religious repression which resulted in the detention as many as one million Uyghurs, Kazakh and other Turkic Muslims in concentration camps. These actions, and the question of their legality under international law, have subsequently become a major point of discourse in the field of international politics. A growing body of scholarship has attempted to understand the ideologies that motivated these human rights abuses, and to describe the means by which the Chinese party-state has carried them out. Darren Byler’s (2022) Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City makes a vital contribution to this collection, analyzing China’s actions through a framework Byler calls “terror capitalism.” Byler’s intimate ethnographic observations—conducted in Urumchi from 2014 to 2018—reveal not only how China’s drive for capitalist modernization undergirds the racial and economic hierarchies that the so-called “People’s War on Terror” has mobilized to build and maintain structures of oppression, they also foreground the human stories of the Uyghur, Kazakh and other Turkic and Muslim people ensnared by the campaign. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 31 Jan 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results