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
21 Jul 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a team of Democratic representatives have written to the Secretary of State calling on him to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia, as instances of anti-Muslim hate crimes continue to rise worldwide. Meanwhile, in China, Uighur women who escaped the ongoing repression in their occupied homeland describe the abuse, harassment, and torture they faced back in Xinjiang, and in Canada, a Muslim family politely asked a man to keep his dog on a leash per the park rules to which the dog owner responded, “go back to where you came from.” Our recommended read of the day is by Basit Mahmood on the British Conservative Party’s reluctance to deal with Islamophobia, if not happy to dabble in Islamophobia for an electoral gain. This and more below: 

United Kingdom

20 Jul 2021

Why the British government is in no hurry to define Islamophobia

Remember when the British Conservative Party pledged to come up with its own “working definition of Islamophobia”? You’d be forgiven if you don’t, given that it was more than two years ago. Much like other matters concerning Islamophobia and prejudice against Muslims, the issue has been met with delay and denial - repeatedly kicked into the long grass, with senior Tories hoping it will just go away. In this, they have compliant allies across sections of the UK media, who have barely reported on the issue. The APPG definition of Islamophobia was widely accepted by other major political parties, including Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Conservatives. Even senior police chiefs who had initially expressed skepticism over fears the definition could undermine efforts to combat extremism, later urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to adopt it, saying they had been reassured it would not hinder their work. It’s been more than two years since the government pledged to come up with its own definition, yet none has materialised. I asked the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government earlier this month if there had been any update; a spokesperson told me that work on the definition had been “paused”. Yet, for all of its proclamations and promises to do something about Islamophobia - an issue that has received barely a fraction of the coverage it deserves, and one that concerns equality for millions of our fellow citizens - the Conservative Party appears reluctant to deal with the issue, if not happy to dabble in Islamophobia for the purposes of electoral gain. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


20 Jul 2021

Canadian Muslim rights group unveils 61 ways to fight Islamophobia

Among 61 recommendations listed in a report by the National Council of Canadian Muslims range from the creation of hate crime units to an anti-Islamophobia plan for the education system. A national Muslim advocacy organisation in Canada has released a raft of recommendations aimed at tackling Islamophobia in in response to a rise in hate crimes targeting the country’s Muslim community. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) issued 61 recommendations in a report released on Monday, calling for action at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. The NCCM states that more Muslims have been killed in hate attacks in Canada than any other G7 country in the last five years. Among the recommendations are calls for a federal anti-Islamophobia strategy by the end of the year, which includes a clear definition of Islamophobia, funding for anti-Islamophobia research and public education campaigns. It included designating a national support fund for survivors of hate-motivated crimes, which would cover expenses incurred by survivors, such as medical and/or mental health treatments; preventing profiling and mass surveillance of Muslim communities through Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) reforms; and anti-bias training for government officers and judges. NCCM also recommended an investigative study into the failure of national security authorities to deal with white supremacist groups in Canada. read the complete article

20 Jul 2021

'Mom, he's following us, run!' - Hamilton imam fears for family after man charged with hate crime

Imam Kamal Gurgi says he was leading an evening prayer at the Hamilton Downtown Mosque when he saw multiple missed phone calls from his wife. And he says what she told him when he called back frightened him. "She said, 'A man was trying to kill us,'" he said in an interview on Friday afternoon. It was supposed to be a routine trip to the Shoppers Drug Mart in the Ancaster Meadowlands for his wife, 62, and daughter, 26. The women were wearing hijabs, walking through a parking lot around 9:30 p.m. ET last Monday when police say they were almost hit by a vehicle pulling out of a parking spot. Gurgi says his wife pulled their daughter out of the vehicle's path. Police say the situation escalated, with the driver using racist slurs toward the Muslim community. The women ignored him and walked away, Gurgi says. "And then my daughter turned her head around ... and she said, 'Mom, he's following us, run!' " Police say the man allegedly drove after them in his truck as Gurgi's wife and daughter fled. Police have arrested a suspect, 40-year-old Vince Licata of Cambridge, Ont., and he appeared in court earlier this week. Gurgi says his wife and daughter are still shocked. "They are still frightened, afraid to go out alone," he said. He says he has been leaning on his faith to help him persevere. The Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton (MCGH), which includes all of the local mosques, issued a statement comparing the incident to a recent attack in London, Ont., where four members of the same family were killed. read the complete article

20 Jul 2021

Ottawa Muslim family shaken after being told ‘go back to where you came from’ over dog-leash argument

A 99-second video posted to Ottawa’s local subreddit page captures the interaction between the Rizvi family and a man walking his dog as they meet on a path near the family’s home in the south-end suburb. Seen in frame is a small, collared dog walking freely on the path. The Rizvis, recording the scene, are heard in a debate with the dog’s owner about whether the rules about leashing his dog should apply. The dog’s owner questions whether it would make a difference if his dog is leashed or not, while the Rizvis argue the rules should apply to everyone walking a dog on the path, referencing a sign stating the leash protocol. “You know why you don’t get along with people? Because of your attitude,” the unidentified man is heard saying. Haider Rizvi, who begins ushering his parents back towards their home in the footage, says, “We’re just asking you to follow the rules. Thank you and have a good day.” The two parties begin to separate on the path until the man is heard saying back to them, “go back to where you came from." “This isn’t the first time I’ve been told to go back to where I came from. And I don’t think it’s the first time several people in my family or several of my friends have been told that. So we knew what he meant.” read the complete article

20 Jul 2021

Don't just rely on government to combat hate crime, Trudeau says at Hamilton mosque

Canadians can't rely on the government to combat hate crime — citizens have to play their part too, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at Hamilton Mountain Mosque on Tuesday morning. Trudeau said recent incidents — such as the June vehicle attack of a London, Ont., family, and more recently the alleged attack on two Hamilton Muslim women by the driver of a truck — are "unacceptable and scary." He was at the mosque gathering during the Muslim holy festival of Eid al-Adha, which began Monday. During his remarks, Trudeau also referenced homophobia, misogyny and anti-semitism as examples of hate that shouldn't be tolerated. "We need all of us — Muslim, non-Muslim — to recognize that the intolerance and hatred that exists around the world also exists in Canada," he said. But "it won't be enough just for governments to act — even a federal government. It needs to be all Canadians. "As much as the counter to that ought to be government passing another law — and we will — the counter to that should come from our communities, our cities," said Trudeau. read the complete article


20 Jul 2021

Chinese Suppliers to Apple, Nike Shun Xinjiang Workers as U.S. Forced-Labor Ban Looms

Chinese factories that supply Apple Inc. and Nike Inc. and make other products sold in the U.S. are shunning workers from Xinjiang, as Western countries increase scrutiny of forced labor from the remote northwestern region where Beijing has been accused of committing genocide against local ethnic minorities. Lens Technology Co. Ltd, a Chinese maker of smartphone touch screens and supplier to Apple and other companies, phased out Uyghur factory workers transferred from Xinjiang through a state-backed labor program last year, according to former staff and shop owners near one of its factories. The company has also ceased hiring Uyghur workers, according to current staff. Chinese mask producer Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co. Ltd., whose personal protective equipment is sold on U.S. e-commerce sites, no longer employs laborers from Xinjiang, said a company employee who didn’t identify herself before hanging up. The company decided not to renew the contracts of its Xinjiang laborers last September after reports last year alleging the use of forced labor drew negative attention, the employee said. read the complete article

20 Jul 2021

There are many things Pakistan can learn from China. One-party rule isn’t one of them.

One of PM Imran Khan’s greatest heroes is Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, the famous poet-philosopher revered as one of the founders of Pakistan. Iqbal often wrote of the Muslims of China in his verses. In one of his best-known couplets, Iqbal called for Muslim unity: “All Muslims, from the shores of the Nile to the sands of Kashgar, are united to protect the Holy Kaaba.” Kashgar is a mostly Uyghur city in China’s Xinjiang region. The Holy Kaaba is Islam’s holiest site in Mecca. In today’s Kashgar, the Chinese Communist Party is systematically destroying the society of China’s Muslims, to the extent that some of them now speak of becoming “a people destroyed.” In 1933, when a rebellion broke out in what is the Xinjiang region today, Iqbal wished success to the “revolution,” which he hoped would create “a prosperous and strong Muslim state” where Muslims would be “freed from the age-old Chinese oppression.” We often hear references to Iqbal in Khan’s speeches on the plight of Muslims around the world, whether he’s citing on Islamophobia in the West or the human rights violations endured by people in Kashmir or Palestinian territories. But when it comes to the Muslims of China, Khan has gone from claiming ignorance about the issue to more recently expressing satisfaction with the denials of Chinese officials. This is despite the fact that the human rights violations in Xinjiang affect Pakistanis directly, ranging from the Pakistani husbands fighting for the rights of their Uyghur wives to more than 600 Pakistani girls who have been sold as wives to Chinese men. read the complete article

United States

20 Jul 2021

First on CNN: Ilhan Omar leads group calling for special envoy to combat Islamophobia

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is leading a group of Democratic lawmakers in calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia, as instances of anti-Muslim hate crimes continue to rise worldwide. Omar, one of three Muslims serving in Congress, is sending a letter to Blinken to make the case for why the United States needs to play a heightened role in monitoring Islamophobic incidents around the world. The group also calls on Blinken to include state sponsored Islamophobic violence in next year's annual human rights reports. The group is looking for Blinken to establish a special envoy that mirrors what the Department of State created to investigate and fight anti-Semitism. "As part of our commitment to international religious freedom and human rights, we must recognize Islamophobia as a pattern that is repeating in nearly every corner of the globe," the lawmakers write in the letter. "It is past time for the United States to stand firmly in favor of religious freedom for all, and to give the global problem of Islamophobia the attention and prioritization it deserves." read the complete article


21 Jul 2021

‘Do I say anything or do I survive?’: Muslim Australians share experiences of Islamophobia

When Mona El Baba was in high school, a teacher told her she was “too stupid” to take a legal studies class and was destined to be “another Muslim housewife”. “He said, ‘if my mum were to see you she would spit on your hijab’,” El Baba says. “I have never forgotten that”. According to a new survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission, 80% of Muslim people living in Australia have experienced some form of unfavourable treatment based on their religion, race or ethnicity. Half of all respondents had received unfavourable treatment from law enforcement, or when seeking employment. Some 29%, like El Baba, were discriminated against in a school setting. And yet despite that harassment, 74% of the 1,017 respondents said they felt Australian, and 63% said they found Australia welcoming. El Baba is now 32-years-old and the principal solicitor and founder of El Baba lawyers in western Sydney. She has experienced harassment on the basis of her religion for 20 years, since she donned the hijab at the age of 12. She also represents others who have lost work or been harassed by police due to their faith. “I find sometimes that if I have the hijab on, but I am in a different part of the city, I experience discrimination to this day,” she says. The survey was commissioned in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks, in which an Australian man shot dead 51 worshipers. Seventy-nine per cent of respondents said the terror attack made them feel afraid to be in Australia, while 60% said they were not surprised that a mosque had been targeted. read the complete article


21 Jul 2021

Tortured with rods and separated from our children: no one should have to experience what we Uighur women have

Researchers estimate that one million Uighur Muslims have been detained and put into detention camps in Xinjiang, China since 2017.Uighur women have been targeted by policies designed to stop minorities from having children, and have reportedly been abused, tortured, harassed, systematically raped in the camps and restricted from practicing their faith. In addition, many have been subjected to forced sterilisation and separated from their loved ones. China rejects these claims. Many have been too scared to speak out, but now as they feel they can no longer suffer in silence. i has spoken to three Uighur women who fled China about the discrimination they faced, and their desperation to reunite with their families. "I was born in Urumqi in East Turkestan, China and got married when I was 30. I am from a devout Muslim family and a mother of two children. My husband and I were arrested on suspicion of “extremism” as they said they had monitored us and saw that we had gone to the mosque and were praying. In China, even if we peacefully pray or read our holy book they call it extremism. In the prison I was tortured with electric rods slashed across my arms, while my legs were tied behind my back. The Chinese police hit me numerous times across the face and used their belts to hit me on the back. At that time I couldn’t stop thinking about my son and the safety of my unborn baby. I was abused, spat at and my hijab was ripped off. No woman should ever have to go through the trauma that we Uighur women have been through. I thought they would do far worse, but a relative managed to bribe them with money to let us go." read the complete article


20 Jul 2021

'Army' of Young People Will Be Created to Control Population in Muslim Areas: Assam CM

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday told the state assembly that the government was planning a “population army” that would distribute contraceptives and spread awareness on population control in Muslim-dominated areas. “Around 1,000 youths from the char chapori (riverine sand bars) will be engaged to create awareness about population control measures and to supply contraceptives. We are also planning to create a separate work force of ASHA (accredited social health activists) workers who will be tasked with creating awareness about birth control and also supply contraceptives,” he said, according to NDTV. “If population growth among Hindus in Assam was 10% from 2001 to 2011, it was 29% among Muslims,” Sarma claimed. “Owing to a smaller population, lifestyle of Hindus in Assam has become better, with spacious houses and vehicles, and children becoming doctors and engineers,” he continued. Several BJP-led states, particularly Uttar Pradesh and Assam, have recently been pushing the idea that population control is necessary through legal changes. UP has even published a draft Bill that implements a two-child policy, saying those in violation will not be granted benefits of government schemes and won’t be eligible for government jobs. As The Wire has reported, laws like this are likely to have several consequences – including a rise in female foeticide, unsafe abortions and selective targeting of communities. The “rising population” bogey has often been used by the Sangh parivar and its associates to target the Muslim community, building a false narrative that Muslims plan on becoming the majority in the country. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 21 Jul 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results