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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26 Jul 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In France, the government has adopted the anti-separatism bill, which activists claim disproportionately targets the country’s Muslim community — the largest in Europe, meanwhile in India, the death of photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, a local hero known for exposing shortcomings of the Indian government, became a moment of discord as the silence of India’s Prime Minister left India’s Muslim community feeling estranged and unacknowledged for their contributions to Indian society.  In Canada, Muslim women express fear amid a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes targeting visibly Muslim women. Our recommended read of the day is by Inigo Alexander on how a surge in Islamophobic hate crimes in Spain is not only attributed to the influence of the far-right Vox party, but is deep-rooted by the timeless anti-Muslim discourse of right-wing, center, and progressive parties. This and more below:


24 Jul 2021

Spain: Wave of Islamophobic hate crimes sweeps south of the country

In the early hours of 7 July, local worshippers headed to the Ibn Arabi mosque for their morning prayer, to be greeted by the gruesome sight of a decapitated pig’s head, with a knife still plunged into it, at the doorstep. On the walls they found messages reading "No to Islam" and "Stop the invasion," and a large Spanish flag bearing the statement: "Spain's sovereignty is non-negotiable". "I was really shocked, I couldn't imagine that hatred could reach such extremes," says Sabah Yacoubi, president of the Association of Moroccan Immigrant Workers in Murcia and one of the first to sound the alarm on the attack. "I've lived in Murcia for 22 years, and there have been very few cases [of Islamophobic hate], but I don't understand what's been going on lately. We have to stop this or the situation is going to worsen." There is cause for concern for Yacoubi and her fellow Muslim residents in Murcia, who form around 90,000 of the 1.5 million people in the region. The attack on the mosque in Cabezo de Torres is the latest in a series of Islamophobic and xenophobic attacks that have swept Murcia over the past month. In recent years, the far-right party Vox has emerged as a strong political force in Spain, and in Murcia in particular. In the 2019 general election, Vox won 28 percent of votes in Murcia - the highest-polling party - and it now rules the region in a coalition government, alongside the conservative People's Party and centre-right Ciudadanos. Many believe the surge in Islamophobic hate crimes in Murcia can be attributed to the influence Vox now holds in the region. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


24 Jul 2021

Outrage as France adopts 'Islamophobic' anti-separatism bill

While the bill says it is designed to preserve France's "republican values", it has an overbearing impact on aspects of education, social and religious life, women’s rights, establishment and management of religious associations. It bans polygamy or forced marriages, issuance of virginity certificates, making places of worship more transparent and proscribing political meetings in a religious building, among others. Activists say the bill has already affected the Muslim community, with large waves of Islamophobic acts being reported across the country. Critics argue the bill singles out France's Muslim community - the largest in Europe. The bill may have to pass through the Constitutional Council - the highest constitutional authority which has the right to overrule provisions of approved bills. read the complete article

24 Jul 2021

How France's Anti-Separatism Bill fits into wider Islamophobic persecution

After months of wrangling the French parliament passes a draconian piece of legislation that many see as targeting the county's Muslim community. Today France has taken one step closer towards tyranny and persecution. After the French President Emmanuel Macron announced in October 2020 the Anti-Separatism Bill and after months of discussion, the Parliament has finally adopted the law. The Anti-Separatism Bill is a piece of legislation that the French government claims is aimed at fighting "Islamists extremism" which still needs to go to the Constitutional Council before Macron signs the Bill into law. Many French Muslims say the law limits religious freedom and unfairly targets them. The bill will seek to create a submissive Muslim community while reinforcing an oppressive Republic. Obviously, to avoid the accusation of Islamophobia, the bill does not mention by name Islam or Muslims but, as Emmanuel Macron stated when he announced the reform, "what we need to tackle is Islamist Separatism", a strong indicator if one was needed that the bill is aimed explicitly at the Muslim community. If referred to the Constitutional Council, some dispositions of the bill, especially the one regarding home-schooling, could be struck down. Still, the overall backbone of the bill won't be affected. It would be a significant mistake to believe such a major piece of legislation will have no concrete consequences, disconnected from a broader plan which renders France's Muslim population to a second class status. read the complete article


26 Jul 2021

The Population Myth

Muslims are again in the thick of a furious debate in India. The controversy over Muslims’ divorce procedures has still not worn out when the theory of a Muslim population bomb has been reignited. The antiMuslim lobby has cherry picked several findings from population statistics that suit them to bolster their claims that Muslims pose a population threat. A common myth perpetuated by the anti-Muslim brigade is that in the long run Muslims will outnumber Hindus. There have been multiple posts expressing concern that the Indian Muslim population will expand to 925 million and the number of Hindus will decrease to 902 million by 2035. Why does the overpopulation myth continue to persist, even though it is typically nowhere near the epidemic that its proponents would make us believe? It is true that the global Muslim population is growing. But it is not growing at the same speed across regions. And the trope seems to be making more noise not where Muslim populations are actually growing the fastest ~ like sub-Saharan Africa – but in places where they are culturally distinct minorities. Commentators seem more focused on ringing political alarm bells than on presenting facts. The reality is that there is no threat of takeover by any religious group, but there is a danger of intolerance that threatens the very fabric of society. We are not witnessing a clash of civilizations, but a clash of cultures fostered by those who portray Islam as a monolith. They see religious and cultural diversity solely as a threat rather than as a potential source of strength and enrichment. read the complete article

23 Jul 2021

Modi Rejected an Indian Hero

Danish Siddiqui deserved to be an Indian hero. An immensely talented photojournalist raised in a segregated Muslim neighborhood in New Delhi, he became the first Indian to win a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. Siddiqui’s death was covered as a national story, and there were ceremonial condolences from a few government representatives. But the loudest response was the silence of India’s Twitter-savvy Prime Minister Narendra Modi—and some of his supporters took that as a signal to besmirch Siddiqui’s work and life. A moment of potential solidarity thus became a moment of discord, with India’s Muslim community feeling estranged and unacknowledged for their contributions to the Indian society. Siddiqui rose to the stature of a local hero for his critical work within India. He routinely exposed the shortcomings of the Indian government. In 2019, his images crushed the false narrative that students protesting in New Delhi against an anti-Muslim citizenship law were instigating violence. It was Siddiqui again who took the photo of an unarmed Muslim man being beaten by a Hindu mob in Delhi as the capital was engulfed in Hindu-Muslim riots. Most prominently, Siddiqui was among the first to shoot images of crematoriums packed with pyres of Hindus who died of the coronavirus this summer. His footage and photographs revealed the extent of the crisis unfolding in India and brought the world’s attention to it. read the complete article


23 Jul 2021

‘Forcing women out of clothing is just as violent as forcing them into it’

Norway’s women’s beach handball team being fined for wearing shorts instead of bikinis is the latest example of sexism in sport. But the lack of outrage for Muslim and racialised female atheltes should not escape us. The thought of a woman’s bodily agency being compromised should be enough to enrage the public. But for Muslim and racialised women, exclusion and forced uncovering have been a reality for a very long time. Misogyny has been the root cause of these policies being created by powerful men in the boardroom who opine and decide what women shall wear. There are so few women on international governing body executive committees, and that fact manifests from policies and regulations that force women to wear clothing they do not want to, or they are sidelined. I am a sports journalist who has written for years on lack of uniform accommodation, hijab bans in particular, in sports. My work is informed by my belief that hijab bans are a result of incompetent and unqualified men making decisions about women’s bodies and clothing, and it is connected to power they wield. It is a combination of misogyny, classism and xenophobia. I am not upset that people started to care about Norwegian women athletes' lack of choice. It is indeed egregious, and part of a wider system of sexism in sport. But the lack of outrage for Black and Brown women in sport does not escape me. read the complete article

23 Jul 2021

Bipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games

The bipartisan congressional commission responsible for monitoring human rights in China is calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the 2022 Beijing Winter Games and find a new location for the international event, citing China’s reported human rights abuses. In a letter sent Friday to IOC President Thomas Bach, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the chair and co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, specifically cited China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority in pressing the IOC to postpone the Games. The U.S. under the final days of the Trump administration declared China’s alleged actions, including reeducation and forced labor camps in the Xinjiang region, a “genocide.” “No Olympics should be held in a country whose government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, which was also signed by former chairs and current ranking members Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). read the complete article

United States

25 Jul 2021

Advocacy group publishes mid-year report highlighting spike in anti-Muslim crimes and bias

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has released a mid-year report highlighting serious cases of anti-Muslim incidents that occurred in the United States during the first seven months of 2021. The organization decided to release a mid-year "snapshot report" because of a spike in May and June, Robert McCaw, CAIR's government affairs director, told CNN. The report, published Wednesday, highlights 38 of the hundreds of anti-Muslim bias incidents documented by the organization this year, CAIR said in a news release. The incidents include hate crimes, harassment, school bullying, discrimination and hate speech. "This report serves as a reminder of the severe nature of Islamophobia and what needs to be done to combat it in the United States and around the world," Huzaifa Shahbaz, CAIR's national research and advocacy coordinator, told CNN. CAIR documented a spike in anti-Muslim incidents in May and June, including four at mosques in May alone. Those cases involved vandalism, harassment towards women who wear hijab or headscarf and an attempted stabbing, Shahbaz said. read the complete article


25 Jul 2021

Muslim women and girls bear the brunt of Islamophobic attacks in Canada

This week, the federal government hosted a virtual summit on Islamophobia in the wake of last month’s pick-up truck attack in London that left four members of a Pakistani-Muslim family dead and one critically injured. While the summit delved into growing concerns over attacks against mosques and increasing vitriol aimed at the Muslim community online, it’s Muslim women and girls that are bearing the brunt of the rise in hate-motivated abuse, says the Canadian Council of Muslim Women in its submission to the summit. Canadians’ views towards Islam and Muslims are reported to be less favourable compared to other faith communities. According to a 2017 Angus Reid Institute study, 46 per cent of Canadians had an unfavourable view of Islam – more than for any other faith tradition. Stereotypes abound of Muslim men as violent terrorists and Muslim women as oppressed, lacking agency and being voiceless, and Islam itself being a violent religion. In the face of all of this, 11 Canadian Muslims have lost their lives since 2017. Three of the four individuals who were murdered in the London Islamophobic terrorist attack were women. With a spate of hate-motivated attacks on Black Muslim women in hijab in Calgary and Edmonton, and most recently in Hamilton, with ongoing harassment and abuse of visibly Muslim women (e.g., women who dress in clothing culturally identified as “Muslim,” like hijab), murder as the ultimate result of this violent hatred is not a surprise. While we don’t know what Talat, Madiha and Yumna were wearing, they were definitely in the perpetrator’s sight. We know of several families that live steps away from where this attack occurred. As part of CCMW’s Digital Anti-Racism Education (DARE) project, we recently invited Canadian Muslim women, girls, trans and non-binary individuals to share their experiences of Islamophobia with us. Here are a few examples of what they shared with us: “I was assaulted stepping onto the bus as a stranger tried to pull off my hijab;” “The day after Donald Trump got elected, a white middle-aged man in a blue pickup truck that was driving behind me switched lanes, pulled up beside me, motioned for me to roll down my window, and when I did, he yelled ‘Go home, b….!'”; “After complaining to the Equity and Diversity Office having experienced discriminatory comments from my coworkers, I was fired under suspicious circumstances;” “I was sexually, physically and verbally assaulted on the Sky Train for wearing the hijab.” read the complete article


25 Jul 2021

Young Muslim women in Ghana feel stereotyped and judged: why it matters

Since the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, western media have consistently questioned whether being Muslim sits well with the ideals of democratic citizenship. Young Muslim males are often demonised as potential terrorists and female Muslims are singled out for critique for their dress. In France, for example, veiled Muslim women are often vilified for the explicit demonstration of their religion and failing to embrace “secular”, “republican” values. Such exclusionary practices risk alienating young Muslims. These naïve stereotypes provoked us to explore perspectives of national and religious identity in the Muslim-minority context of southern Ghana. We asked young Ghanaians what their national and religious identities meant to them, how they saw them in relation to each other, and how gender was relevant to both. We had discussions with separate groups of young males and females in higher education and senior high school. What they told us about their experiences suggests that the curriculum should be reformed to address gender and religious biases. This would mean not only changing the content of what’s taught but also how gender is enacted in the classroom. While the young women were strongly committed to their identities as Muslims and Ghanaians, they also reported being confronted with negative stereotypes that associated Islam with violence. This left them feeling judged and belittled: “They (non-Muslims) think that we are violent and they see us as trouble makers, always causing problems. Even though it is not like that, that is how they see us.” At the same time, senses of “otherness” and marginalisation were apparent not only between Christians and Muslims, but between those from different Muslim communities. This was especially the case for young women from the Ahmadi communities and those who had converted – both were regarded as not being “proper” Muslims. read the complete article

Bosnia & Herzegovina

23 Jul 2021

Bosnia’s peace envoy imposes ban on genocide denial

The top international official in Bosnia and Herzegovina has banned denial of genocide in the Balkan country to counter attempts by Bosnia’s Serbs to deny the scope of the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, Europe’s only post-World War II genocide. The killings of more than 8,000 Bosniaks by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica was declared a genocide by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court for Former Yugoslavia. But Bosnian Serb officials and neighbouring Serbia have refused to accept this. Valentin Inzko, the outgoing head of Bosnia’s Office of the High Representative, or OHR, on Friday imposed changes to the country’s criminal law, introducing prison sentences of up to five years for genocide deniers, and for any glorification of war criminals, including naming of streets or public institutions after them. Inzko set the jail terms for anyone who “publicly condones, denies, grossly trivialises or tries to justify” the genocide or war crimes committed during Bosnia’s 1992-95 international armed conflict. “Genocide in Srebrenica, war crimes and crimes against humanity … must not be forgotten or denied,” his decree read. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 Jul 2021 Edition


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