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
26 Jul 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, journalist Peter Oborne writes that it’s time for the Equalities Commission to investigate Islamophobia inside the Conservative Party, given the party has failed to take any tangible steps to address it, meanwhile in Denmark, there’s been yet another incident of anti-Muslim hate speech, as far-right protesters set fire to copies of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, in front of the Egyptian and Turkish embassies, and in India, the leader of Assam is spreading dangerous conspiracy theories against the already marginalized and discriminated Miya Muslims, accusing them of hiking the prices of vegetables. Our recommended read of the day is by Nadda Osman and Alex MacDonald for Middle East Eye on how Muslim organizations in the UK are calling attention to the double standards when it comes to their bank accounts being closed without explanation, in stark contrast to the widespread media coverage and outrage over the closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account. This and more below:

United Kingdom

Nigel Farage: UK Muslim charities criticise lack of interest in their bank account closures | Recommended Read

Muslim faith-based charities in the UK are calling out the double standard when it comes to their bank accounts being closed, in the wake of the ongoing media furore over the closure of Nigel Farage's Coutts bank account. Earlier this month, the closure of the former UK Independence Party leader's bank account was widely covered in the media, with the high net-worth private bank Coutts apologising to the Brexit campaigner for closing his account over his views that the bank said did not "align" with its values. However, key figures in Muslim faith-based charities say that they have long faced bank closures, with no explanation, which in turn hinders their efforts to help impoverished communities, especially those in remote regions. Due to bank account closures, a number of international and smaller charities based in the UK have faced challenges in fundraising and delivering aid to destitute regions and areas where natural disasters have struck. While Farage received a 40-page report regarding the closure of his Coutts account, many Muslim charities and public figures say they have not received the same explanation for their account closures. Fadi Itani, the CEO of the UK-based Muslim Charities Forum, says that charities have been facing bank closures for over two decades and are often "over-policed" by banks and their policies. The widespread media coverage of Farage’s bank account closure compared to the minimal coverage of Muslim organisations that have suffered closures has also sparked criticism. “Muslim organisations do not get as much coverage in the press in which there are the same underlying issues…it seems the public attitude and sympathy to the Muslim cause was just scarce, with no real ongoing mainstream interest or support campaigns, as we see now with Farage,” said Itani. read the complete article

Tories have failed to act on Islamophobia. Time for Equalities Commission to investigate

The party has become too close for comfort to Viktor Orban’s Fidesz of Hungry, the German far-right party AFD, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud of Israel or Narendra Modi’s BJP of India. Contemptuous of the rule of law. Populist. Flirting with the far right. Often contemptuous of minorities and, in particular, deeply hostile to Muslims. In short, it is a party of bigots. There was also a massive problem with Islamophobic bigotry among the Tory grassroots, as the Muslim Council of Britain proved beyond doubt in 2020 when it provided a list of more than 100 cases involving party members, councillors and officials. They had made disgusting statements about Muslims, calling for them to leave the country, making provocative insults about the Prophet Muhammad, and peddling malicious lies. Three years ago, pressure began to mount for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate Islamophobia inside the Conservative Party. In what looked like an attempt to head it off, the Conservatives responded by commissioning a supposedly independent report into Islamophobia (and other forms of discrimination) within its ranks, conducted by Professor Swaran Singh of the University of Warwick. More than two years after his report dropped on the desk of the Tory party, he finds that party officials are taking “forever” to focus on his recommendations. Singh makes excuses for the Tories, noting that the party has been through turmoil for the last few years. These excuses do not carry weight - just imagine the mockery that Labour would have faced if it had used such an excuse over antisemitism allegations. In truth, the Singh report shows that the Tory party - whether under Boris Johnson, Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak - has proven itself to be incapable of dealing with the Islamophobia that now poisons public life in Britain. The poison of Tory Islamophobia is especially important because the party is in power, and its hostility towards Muslims repeatedly feeds into public policy. read the complete article


'Hatred against Muslims in Europe threatens coexistence'

Hate speech and racism against Muslims in Europe have increased significantly, threatening coexistence in societies, the head of Hamad bin Khalifa Civilization Center in Copenhagen, Denmark said. “The phenomenon of hatred against European Muslims has become a topic of discussion in most European media and has been acknowledged by some government departments,” Abdul Hamid Al-Hamdi told Anadolu. He went on to say: "This was evident when the German Ministry of Interior published a report concluding that the Muslim minority in Germany is the most vulnerable to racial discrimination and hate speech." In late June, the ministry released a report prepared by the Independent Expert Group on Hostility to Muslims, which stated that a third of Muslims in Germany suffer from hostility due to their religion. Around 5.5 million Muslims live in the European country. Commenting on the report, Al-Hamdi said: "This report may be specific to Muslims in Germany only, but the scene is almost the same across the European continent." Regarding the manifestations of racism in Europe, Al-Hamdi stated that it takes various forms, starting with individual cases where Muslims encounter difficulties in obtaining housing or work due to their names, appearance, or origins. Veiled women have become particularly vulnerable to racism, facing offensive speech and harassment. "Racism has reached higher levels than before, with the rise of far-right parties in most European countries adopting an anti-Muslim approach,” he said. read the complete article

Qurans burned outside Egyptian, Turkish embassies in Denmark

A small group of far-right protesters set fire to copies of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, in front of the Egyptian and Turkish embassies in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen. Tuesday’s anti-Islam demonstration in Copenhagen by a far-right, ultra-nationalist group called Danish Patriots followed Quran burnings the group staged on Monday and last week in front of the Iraqi embassy. Two such incidents have also taken place in neighbouring Sweden over the past month. Iraq’s foreign ministry on Monday called on authorities of EU countries to “quickly reconsider so-called freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate” in light of the Quran burnings. Turkey on Monday said it strongly condemned what it called a “despicable attack” on the Quran and called on Denmark to take necessary measures to prevent this “hate crime” against Islam. The Egyptian foreign ministry on Tuesday summoned Sweden’s charge d’affaires to condemn the desecration of the Qurans. Denmark’s government has condemned the burnings as “provocative and shameful acts” but said it does not have the power to block non-violent demonstrators. read the complete article


Rising tomato prices: The latest weapon against Muslims in India

“Who are the people who have increased the prices of vegetables now?” Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of the northeast Indian state of Assam asked rhetorically when speaking to reporters about the surging cost of vegetables in state capital Guwahati — and indeed, around India. Sarma then answered his own question with a straight-faced lie. “It is Miya sellers who are selling vegetables at higher rates,” he claimed, referring to Assam’s Bengali-speaking Muslims, who have lived in the state for generations but are accused by Sarma’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its Hindu right-wing ideological allies of being illegal Bangladeshi migrants. It is of course the El Nino weather phenomenon, causing droughts in some places and floods in others, that scientists have blamed for disruptions in food production, and spikes in vegetable prices across India. And there is of course no evidence of Miya Muslims — or any other community — artificially hiking prices. Yet as outlandish as Sarma’s claim was, it was in keeping with a string of increasingly bizarre and unsubstantiated but conspiratorial and dangerous allegations that he has laid at the doorstep of a community that has long been othered in Assam. And it’s part of a broader pattern of villainising Muslims across India ahead of 2024’s national elections — though, in Assam, the roots of this bigotry run deeper than the relatively recent rise of the BJP. read the complete article


Silencing Muslim voices: France's authoritarian security state

On 24 July, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom issued an alarming policy briefing on religious freedom concerns in the European Union at large. Amongst the many countries discussed, one features most prominently: France, especially in regard to its treatment of Muslims. The country is mentioned for restrictions on religious attire, legal treatment of so-called sects, the infamous anti-separatism law, which aims to enforce "French values," and newly-imposed provisions fining religious leaders exorbitant sums of money, threatening to close their places of worship if they provoke people to undermine French law. Meanwhile, various intellectuals and civil rights groups have warned of the increasing anti-Muslim tendency within the French government. The UK-based civil rights group CAGE, which was one of the few shedding light on France's systematic obstruction policy on Muslims, documented how the French government created 101 units nationwide to monitor Islam and Muslims, placing 23,996 Muslim organisations and businesses on a secret blacklist and under strict monitoring, closing 672 Muslim-owned organisations and businesses and seizing €45,572,000. When recently, CAGE's campaign director, Muhammad Rabbani, attempted to travel to France following the fatal police shooting of the teenager Nahel Merzouk, which lead to massive protests all over the country, he was detained in Paris for almost 24 hours and sent back to London. The government's ministry of interior declared that "given the particularly high terrorist threat, his presence on national territory would constitute a serious threat to public order and the internal security of France." The ministry further accused Rabbani of being part of a "radical Islamist movement" and "spreading slanderous words" about "supposed 'Islamophobic persecution' and mass surveillance by western governments, including France." In other words: the critique of France's policies is retaliated with an entry ban. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 Jul 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results