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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20 Jul 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In China, the government is asking the United Nations human rights chief to bury a highly-anticipated report on human rights violations in Xinjiang, meanwhile in the United Kingdom, journalist Peter Oborne writes that “elements inside the Tory party are once again using bigotry as a noxious weapon in the dirty war to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative prime minister,” and in France, French-Muslim women who wear the hijab are immediately vulnerable to Islamophobia. Our recommended read of the day is by Ghazal Abbasi for Open Democracy on Islamophobia in healthcare noting how “Muslim mothers whose babies died or ended up in intensive care after their concerns were ignored have spoken about feeling ‘unheard and unseen’ in UK maternity services because of their faith.” This and more below:

United Kingdom

20 Jul 2022

Islamophobia in maternity care: ‘I wasn’t listened to and my baby died’ | Recommended Read

Muslim mothers whose babies died or ended up in intensive care after their concerns were ignored have spoken about feeling “unheard and unseen” in UK maternity services because of their faith. It comes after research published last week by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Muslim Women, which interviewed more than 1,000 Muslim women in the UK and found a fifth had received ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ care when engaging with maternity services. The report was branded “heartbreaking” by the Royal College of Midwives. Some Muslim women felt they were treated inhumanely and talked down to because they looked different from white women, while Black women were particularly at risk of not being given adequate pain relief. A number said they felt bullied into having labour induced. Ayesha Khanom, a mental health specialist from Milton Keynes, told openDemocracy that her own maternity experience had “destroyed” her “mentally, as a person”. After noticing that her bump had stopped growing five months into her pregnancy, alongside other unusual symptoms, she raised concerns with her midwife to no avail. “I wasn’t listened to,” she said. “My baby daughter died as I was giving birth to her.” The APPG report is titled “Invisible” because women are not heard when they raise their concerns, said Shaista Gohir OBE, who is chief executive of the Muslim Women’s Network UK and author of the report. “They are unheard and unseen.” All three women said they worried about the maternity experiences of women who did not speak English fluently: “If there’s a language barrier present, how do you advocate for yourself when those who speak English are trying and failing to do so?” said Asifa. In the online survey, women recounted comments such as: “The midwife called my name and said very loudly ‘hope this one can speak English.’” Another was told: “Women from ‘your communities’ should know how to breastfeed.” read the complete article

20 Jul 2022

Attacks on Penny Mordaunt are fresh evidence of Tory Islamophobia

Six years ago, Tory Zac Goldsmith led one of the most bigoted campaigns in modern British history when he ran to be mayor of London. Rather than play straight, he concentrated on the religion of his Labour opponent, charging that Sadiq Khan was an apologist for “extremists” and thus unfit for office. This policy of falsely portraying Khan as the pawn of sinister “Islamist” forces came right from the top of the Tory party. Then-Prime Minister David Cameron led the way when he smeared an innocent south London imam from the Commons despatch box as a supporter of the Islamic State. So it’s no surprise that elements inside the Tory party are once again using bigotry as a noxious weapon in the dirty war to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative prime minister. When Penny Mordaunt emerged as the surprise frontrunner, her rivals on the Tory right immediately looked for ways to destroy her. In today’s Conservative Party, that means playing the Muslim card. This is the background to Monday’s assault on Mordaunt in the Daily Mail, which supports her rival, Liz Truss. The front page splash reported that Mordaunt “faced fresh questions over her judgment for meeting a controversial Muslim group - despite it being subject to a government boycott”. The story was based on significant errors of fact. The boycott, however, did not last long. Labour ministers resumed relations with the MCB within a matter of months, and the policy of engagement was continued by Cameron’s coalition government after the 2010 general election. The Daily Mail story did not mention this. Both Labour and Liberal Democrat ministers, as well as officials, continued to engage with the MCB after the so-called boycott period. In a sane and rational world, Mordaunt’s conduct would deserve praise. But there is nothing sane or rational about the Tory leadership contest. It’s a dark, murky affair disfigured by obscure hatreds and dirty tricks. The ultimate arbiters are fewer than 200,000 Tory members, many of whom subscribe to conspiracy theories about Muslims. Many read the Daily Mail. read the complete article

20 Jul 2022

Forde report highlights racism, Islamophobia and 'toxic hostility' within Labour Party

A damning report commissioned by the UK’s Labour Party into its own management practices has concluded that a “racist, sexist and otherwise discriminatory culture” is undermining its efforts to promote itself as being “in the vanguard on diversity and inclusion”. The long-delayed Forde Inquiry report, which was published on Tuesday, also found that allegations of antisemitism within the party were “treated as a factional weapon” by both officials in Labour’s party headquarters and in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership office. The report said a factional conflict between the left and the right of the party had reached a level of intensity not seen prior to Corbyn’s leadership between 2015 and 2020, resulting in a “toxic mutual hostility”. A WhatsApp “echo chamber”, the report said, had amplified factional hostility and the messages’ “undoubted overt and underlying racism and sexism” had exposed “serious problems of discrimination in the operation of the Party”. It also cited concerns raised within the party that the attention paid to the surge in cases relating to antisemitism meant it was “operating a hierarchy of racism or of discrimination with other forms of racism and discrimination ignored”. It cited evidence submitted by party members and staff complaining that racism, sexism and Islamophobia were not taken as seriously within the party on a local or national level. The report called on Labour to address concerns about both antisemitism and Islamophobia through a "broader ethical anti-racism training programme alongside education on other protected characteristics". read the complete article

United States

20 Jul 2022

CNN’s White House correspondent has record of anti-Arab bigotry

A journalist with an anti-Arab and Islamophobic history is working as the chief White House correspondent for CNN. She covered President Joe Biden’s recent trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, though apparently did not cover the president’s visit to Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. I began emailing that journalist, Kaitlan Collins, on Wednesday of last week with my concerns about CNN’s coverage and whitewashing of the apartheid reality faced by Palestinians. She did not respond. Then, Thursday afternoon following yet another email to Collins, I learned that she previously worked for The Daily Caller, a far-right publication where she wrote anti-Arab and Islamophobic click bait. Collins has previously apologized for homophobic tweets she made while she was in college at the University of Alabama. But I have found no apology for her anti-Arab and Islamophobic views from her time at The Daily Caller. In 2014, she wrote an article for The Daily Caller’s entertainment section titled “Ice bucket challenge hipsters: These Guantánamo detainees did it first.” There she made light of the agony Arab and Muslim Guantánamo Bay detainees were subjected to when waterboarded. Finding humor in American torture of detainees, Collins wrote that “there are the hipsters who did” the ice bucket challenge – pouring ice water on one’s own head – before everyone else. “These Guantánamo Bay detainees were certainly first to do the ice bucket challenge, and it’s high time they got their due.” For her readers, Collins also made light of the suffering of Syrian refugees in a mash-up of misogyny and anti-Arab racism. Writing for The Daily Caller in 2015, she suggested that US governors might be more inclined to admit these refugees if they saw these “Syria-sly hot” photos of Syrian women. It’s extraordinary that Collins has managed to jump-start her career from promoting anti-Arab and Islamophobic sentiments for The Daily Caller to covering an anti-Palestinian president for CNN. read the complete article

20 Jul 2022

'My hijab makes me powerful': The Yemeni-American teen whose painting will hang in the US Capitol

Sally Almaklani was initially hesitant to enter the congressional art competition, having painted just two formal artworks in her entire life. Encouraged by a teacher, who recognised her potential, she eventually did take part. The theme was Women’s History Month and while many of her classmates chose to draw famous Black women like Michelle Obama and Rosa Parks, Almaklani decided to paint a Muslim woman instead. Her inspiration for the image came from a photograph of a woman she saw on the image sharing site Pinterest. “I saw this beautiful Muslim girl. And it was a real girl. It wasn't drawn, it was a real girl,” 16-year-old Almaklani told Middle East Eye. “And I was like ‘Oh my God, she is so beautiful.’ I fell in love. I was like, I need to draw her on my canvas, like right now. So I drew her.” Her resulting painting of a Black hijab-wearing Muslim woman standing proudly in front of a background emblazoned with sunflowers and the phrase “My Hijab Makes Me Powerful” in Arabic won the selection for the 14th congressional district of New York. The district is represented by Democrat Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, who shared the image to her 1.4 million followers. “I have selected this artwork because of its striking visuals and the artist’s counter-narrative on hijab: that as a tool of self-expression, hijab can empower young women,” Ocasio-Cortez told Middle East Eye. “The artist’s rendering of a radiant young Muslim woman compellingly counters Islamophobic stereotypes against the hijab,” she added. read the complete article

20 Jul 2022

New poll reveals Muslims in NYC dealing with increased racism, threats at early ages

A new report from the Muslim Community Network reveals that between 2019 and 2022, 76 percent of Muslims in New York City witnessed a hate crime and 49 percent were victims of such acts. The report surveying 200 Muslims intended to shed more light on the challenges they face living in the city. The report revealed that hate crimes can happen as early as elementary school. Out of 116 Muslims surveyed in 2019, the researchers found that 43.5 percent of 10 to 18-year-old respondents said they experienced or witnessed a hate crime. Those numbers increased in the first half of 2022 with nearly half, 49 percent, saying they were victims of a hate crime, and 76 percent said they had witnessed a hate crime. The polling from 2022 included 100 people. "People pulling off students' hijabs, spitting on someone, mostly verbal abuse, calling someone a terrorist,” advocacy program manager Ajifanta Marenah, said. The Network hopes the poll will help convince the city council to reintroduce and pass Resolution 1257, which would allow the department of education to introduce religious diversity courses in the school curriculum. read the complete article

20 Jul 2022


Ms. Marvel gave fans an origin story for Kamala Khan, the first Muslim superhero in the MCU. Throughout the show’s six episodes, we meet her friends, family, and community and witness her relationships with all of them. Thankfully, Ms. Marvel broke away from many harmful and frankly inaccurate Muslim and Pakistani stereotypes to provide a story that gets representation right. Media often portrays Muslim women as oppressed by their religion and struggling with their identity. One of the most prevalent examples of this stereotype is the Muslim hijabi girl or woman whose oppression is symbolized by her hijab, which we see in shows like Elite and Bodyguard. Nakia, who is hijabi, is secure in herself with the hijab, not in spite of it. And Kamala is very secure in who she is, too. She is not shown to be chafing under “oppressive” religious beliefs or practices. In Ms. Marvel, Kamala’s religion is present; however, it’s not a source of inner turmoil or struggle. Instead, it is simply a part of her identity. In addition to stereotypes about Muslim women, there is the tired trope of Islam being associated with extremism. Ms. Marvel avoids this quite well through its characters. Aamir, Kamala’s brother, expresses dedication to his faith from his very first appearance when he’s making dua (prayer). His faith is a part of who he is as a kind, loving man. And just because it’s a big part of his identity, it doesn’t mean he’s more prone to extremist acts than anyone else. read the complete article


20 Jul 2022

EXCLUSIVE: China seeks to stop UN rights chief from releasing Xinjiang report - document

China is asking the United Nations human rights chief to bury a highly-anticipated report on human rights violations in Xinjiang, according to a Chinese letter seen by Reuters and confirmed by diplomats from three countries who received it. United Nations High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has faced severe criticism from civil society for being too soft on China during a May visit and has since said she will refrain from seeking a second term for personal reasons. But before she leaves at the end of August, she has pledged to publish a report into the western Chinese region of Xinjiang. Rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against Xinjiang's Uyghur inhabitants, including the mass use of forced labour in internment camps. China has vigorously denied the allegations. The letter authored by China expressed "grave concern" about the Xinjiang report and aims to halt its release, said four sources - the three diplomats and a rights expert who all spoke on condition of anonymity. They said China began circulating it among diplomatic missions in Geneva from late June and asked countries to sign it to show their support. The report is set to address China's treatment of its Uyghur minority. A team of rights experts began gathering evidence for it more than three years ago but its release has been delayed for months for unclear reasons. read the complete article

20 Jul 2022

Islam in China must be 'Chinese in orientation,' adhere to socialism, Xi Jinping says in Xinjiang visit

The Chinese government is pushing efforts to ensure that religious groups in China adhere to the socialist principles of the ruling Communist Party. President Xi Jinping reportedly gave the directive to officials during his recent four-day visit to China’s Xinjiang region, which concluded on Saturday. According to state-run Xinhua News Agency, Xi urged local officials to make "enhanced efforts" to "uphold the principle that Islam in China must be Chinese in orientation, and to adapt religions to a socialist society." Xi highlighted the importance of religious followers staying closely united with the Communist Party and the government. “China, a country with ethnic unity, is invincible and will have a bright future, and our Second Centenary Goal is bound to be achieved and so is the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Xi was quoted as saying. He also stressed strengthening different ethnic groups’ identification with Chinese culture, the nation and the Communist Party through education and guidance. read the complete article


20 Jul 2022

'Why are we the main threat?': French Muslim women lift the veil on France's Islamophobia

France has been home to the largest Muslim population in Europe for many decades, yet it remains a hostile environment for them to live in. In particular, French-Muslim women who wear the headscarf or hijab are immediately vulnerable to Islamophobia. Anissa is a 28-year-old French-Tunisian schoolteacher based in Tremblay-en-France. When she went on holiday with her husband to Picardy in the northern region of France, she immediately felt uncomfortable. “Whenever we went out and even in the supermarket, people kept staring at me.” Eventually, she and her husband decided to leave, cutting their holiday short to just one night. “I decided to go back to my town, where there are many Muslims and people of colour, and I felt much more comfortable,” she told The New Arab. Anissa is not alone in her experience. French Muslim women want to be seen and heard, but negative perceptions held by the French society make this an impossible dream. Assia is a French-Algerian writer who resides in Bordeaux. She explains that her hijab poses the biggest challenge in job interviews, where she often faces discrimination. “I show up with my hijab at the job interview, and even if I have the best qualifications, I don't get it.” Her biggest frustration is that she cannot make any claims of Islamophobia. “How do you prove you've been discriminated against because of your hijab?" she asks. “You simply can't.” Assia says, “I recently was called an Islamophobic slur in my neighbourhood, which has never happened to me before.” She adds that it didn’t feel like a coincidence and that the instance is “part and parcel of a growing normalisation of being open and vocal about hatred towards Muslims.” Anissa shares the same view: “The recent election revealed how French society sees us Muslims as a threat. It only shows how much people believe we're the main threat in France.” read the complete article


20 Jul 2022

‘Enough is enough’: On tackling Islamophobia in Canada, one year after Ontario attack

‘We can’t see more lives lost due to hate and Islamophobia’ One year after a deadly attack that killed four members of the Afzaal family in London, Ontario, MEE spoke with Fatema Abdalla of the National Council of Canadian Muslims on the growing calls for the Canadian government to tackle Islamophobia. read the complete article


20 Jul 2022

Morocco: Uyghur Activist at Risk of Extradition

One year after his arrest at Casablanca airport, Yidiresi Aishan, also known as Idris Hasan, a Uyghur activist, remains under threat of extradition from Morocco to China, where there are substantial grounds to believe that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture, 45 human rights organizations said today. After arriving in Morocco on a flight from Turkey, where he had been living with his family since 2012, Aishan was arrested on the night of July 19-20, 2021 on the basis of what is known as a red notice issued by Interpol at China’s request, “for belonging to a terrorist organization.” In recent years, China has increasingly used the Interpol red notice system to stifle dissent. On July 20, 2021, Aishan was brought before the prosecutor at the Court of First Instance in Casablanca, who ordered that he be remanded in custody in Tiflet prison, pending the decision of the Court of Cassation. Since then, he has remained detained in that same prison. On December 15, 2021, the Court of Cassation in Rabat issued a favorable opinion on the extradition request, despite Interpol’s August 2021 cancellation of the red notice issued against Aishan, on the grounds that it violated its statutes and Aishan’s filing of an application for refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Since that decision, the issuance of an extradition decree by the Moroccan prime minister is the only step separating Aishan from extradition. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 20 Jul 2022 Edition


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