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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28 Jul 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Europe, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling that made it legal for employers to discriminate against Muslim employees who wear the hijab, meanwhile, in Morocco, Uighur activists fear that Yidiresi Aishan, who highlighted China’s ongoing abuses targeting Uighur Muslims, will be extradited to China following an Interpol red notice. In the United States, the New York Police Department arrested and charged Naved Durrni in regards to three anti-Muslim attacks in Queens. Our recommended read of the day is by Dr. Myriam François on France’s new “anti-separtaism” law and how it will further entrench Islamophobia in the country. She highlights the testimonies of threeFrench Muslim women on their experiences of institutional Islamophobia and fears for the future. This and more below:


27 Jul 2021

‘I felt violated by the demand to undress’: three Muslim women on France’s hostility to the hijab

The government claimed a minority of France’s estimated 6 million Muslims were at risk of forming a “counter-society” and the bill was designed to tackle the dangers of this “Islamist separatism”. It is meant to safeguard republican values, but critics, including Amnesty International, have raised serious concerns that it may inhibit freedom of association and expression, and increase discrimination. The new law, say critics, will severely affect the construction of mosques, and give more discretion to local authorities to close local associations deemed in conflict with “Republican principles”, a term often wielded against Muslims specifically. But one of the most controversial points is extending the ban on women wearing headscarves in public sector roles, to private organisations that provide a public service. Further amendments were tabled prohibiting full-length swimsuits (“burkinis”), girls under 18 from wearing the hijab in public, and mothers from wearing hijabs on their children’s school trips. These were subsequently overturned, but the stigma they legitimise lives on. “We are seeing a justification of a breach of freedom and fundamental rights in the name of security – a weaponisation of secularism,” says the French legal scholar Rim-Sarah Alouane. “It’s a deformed legal monster, which aims not only to contain Muslims but to erase them from the public sphere.” On Friday the bill was passed by the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament. Its effects have already been felt by an embattled minority fearful that their existence is being recast as a danger to the Republic, just as the far right are preparing for a presidential runoff. Here, three Frenchwomen talk about their experiences of institutional Islamophobia, and their fears for the future. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


27 Jul 2021

The CJEU’s ruling on hijab exposed Europe’s hypocrisy

Earlier this month, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) issued a scandalous ruling which practically made it legal for employers to discriminate against their Muslim employees in workplaces across Europe. In a July 15 decision, the court declared that companies in the European Union can legally ban their female Muslim employees from wearing a headscarf under certain conditions. The case was brought to the Luxembourg-based court by two women in Germany who were suspended from their jobs after they started wearing the hijab, a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion. The ruling not only added to the ever-growing concerns over the safety, freedoms and rights of European Muslims but also once again revealed the EU’s hypocritical approach to human rights, religious freedoms and equality. The court’s verdict, however, did not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Europe’s gradual descent into Islamophobia. Indeed, a systemic effort to demonise, marginalise and even criminalise Muslims has been under way in Europe for many years. While anti-Muslim sentiment has long been growing in Europe, the CJEU’s ruling still marked a significant turning point in the EU’s relationship with Muslims. By allowing companies to ban their Muslim employees from wearing headscarves, the court institutionalised, legalised and justified anti-Muslim discrimination in European workplaces. read the complete article

28 Jul 2021

Morocco authorities arrest Uyghur activist at China’s request

Moroccan authorities have arrested a Uyghur activist in exile because of a Chinese terrorism warrant distributed by Interpol, according to information from Moroccan police and a rights group that tracks people detained by China. Activists fear Yidiresi Aishan will be extradited to China and say the arrest is politically driven as part of a broader Chinese campaign to hunt down perceived dissidents outside its borders. Aishan, a 33-year-old computer engineer and father of three, has been based in Turkey since 2012, where he worked as a web designer and activist and has residency papers, according to friend and colleague Abduweli Ayup. Aishan worked on a Uyghur diaspora online newspaper and assisted other activists in media outreach and collecting testimonies of abuse in China’s Xinjiang province. After repeated arrests in Turkey, Aishan left Istanbul for Casablanca on the evening of 19 July, Ayup said. Aishan called his wife on Saturday and said he was being deported, according to Ayup, who is in touch with Aishan’s family. read the complete article

28 Jul 2021

EU hijab ruling marks a shameful new low for civil liberties in Europe

The recent ruling by the EU's highest court allowing businesses to ban the hijab from being worn by employees is yet another episode in Europe's long-running saga of enshrining Islamophobic practices in law. It's almost surreal to read that the justification for institutionalised Islamophobia is the protection of so-called neutrality. Are we supposed to believe that a piece of clothing is a barrier to neutrality? Why is deciding not to wear the hijab a more "neutral" decision than deciding to do so? Gender, race, ethnicity, and age all contribute to a person's identity, and these characteristics are hardly devoid of history, political assumptions, or associations. They all elicit encourage behaviours and responses from colleagues, customers or clients. Neutrality is simply impossible when we are socialised to ascribe profound political meanings to a wide array of physical and behavioural traits. It seems only right that a court of law should have some understanding of this. read the complete article

United States

27 Jul 2021

Man charged in connection with 3 alleged anti-Muslim hate crimes, NYPD says

The New York City Police Department arrested and charged a man Tuesday in connection with three anti-Muslim incidents in Queens. Naved Durrni, 30, faces charges of assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime, criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of aggravated harassment, according to the NYPD. The hate crimes took place over the course of about five weeks, according to the NYPD. read the complete article

27 Jul 2021

'Muslim-free' gun range closes in Oklahoma

Owners of an Oklahoma gun range that once claimed to be "Muslim-free" have announced that they will be selling the property after facing a lawsuit from a local Muslim resident that has lasted several years. Save Yourself Gun Club first began downsizing after the lawsuit against it closed. Leaders of a Muslim community near the gun range began celebrating the move last week. Adam Soltani, director of the Council on American Islamic Relations’ Oklahoma chapter, shared his thoughts on the closure on Facebook. “Well, well, well. What do we have here? Looks like hate does not pay after all,” Soltani wrote. “The same gun range we took to court in a federal lawsuit for banning Muslims by declaring itself a ‘Muslim-Free Establishment’ is no more." The shooting range first gained national attention in 2015 when it posted a sign stating, “This privately owned business is a Muslim free establishment!!! We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone!!! Thank you!” Raja’ee Fatihah, a local Muslim man, filed a lawsuit against the business's owners several months later, claiming that he was turned away when he attempted to shoot there, according to Star-Telegram. read the complete article


27 Jul 2021

Mosque bulldozed at Rohingya camp in Delhi

On 12 June, a fire razed all the homes at a Rohingya refugee camp in Delhi’s Madanpur Khadar area. Only the mosque, one handpump and two toilets survived the fire. While many families relocated, 16 families remained on the Madanpur Khadar land, which belongs to the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department. On 22 July, at 6 am, the UP Police and officials from the department of land records moved the tents of the 16 families to the main road adjacent to the land, and bulldozed the handpumps, toilets and mosque at the camp, according to the Rohingya refugees who stayed there. The refugees said they were given no prior notice of the demolition, and that the UP officials destroyed their mosque despite their pleas. read the complete article

27 Jul 2021

India ready to engage with Blinken on human rights: Officials

India is proud of its pluralistic traditions and happy to discuss the issue with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit beginning on Tuesday, foreign ministry sources said after Washington said Blinken plans to raise New Delhi’s human rights record. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has faced allegations it has suppressed dissent, pursued divisive policies to appeal to its Hindu nationalist base and alienated Muslims, the country’s biggest minority. Ahead of Blinken’s first trip as secretary of state, the Department of State says he will discuss India’s human rights record as well as a religion-based citizenship law enacted by the Modi government two years ago and seen as discriminatory by Muslims. India and the US are building close political and security ties to push back against China’s growing assertiveness in the region and both sides have said Blinken’s trip is aimed at further boosting cooperation. But rights activists say there is a growing climate of intolerance in India and that the US must lean on the Modi government to uphold diversity and democratic values, especially if the two countries are drawing closer together to confront an authoritarian China. read the complete article


27 Jul 2021

A one-day summit to tackle Islamophobia was never going to be enough

In other words, a national summit on Islamophobia to confront and examine harmful treatment of Muslims in Canada has been over 20 years in the making. One day was never going to be enough to unpack it all, flesh out all the ways for governments to make amends, and hold them to it. Those who expected that are understandably disappointed. Last Thursday’s summit was nevertheless successful in spurring dialogue and driving community consultations on a scale not previously seen, with dozens of roundtable, virtual meetings and hundreds of submissions from a long list of civil liberties organizations, mosque and community associations and groups. Those consultations delivered a considerable body of work, spanning a swathe of issues as disparate as reining in systemic bias at the Canadian Revenue Agency, to promoting Muslim arts, to providing innovative solutions to addressing hate, and demonstrates a coming-of-age of sorts that bodes well for the future of civic engagement and political participation. To be able to clearly articulate all that has gone wrong over the last 20 years, with suggested remedies, is itself a major win. Communities now have clear blueprints from which to demand action from all three levels of government. Gauging the summit’s success then must not only focus on the end result, which included far too few promises by the federal government. Impact lies in the process that led to it and the steps that now follow. Much of that hinges on continued public pressure, including the steady engagement of Canadian Muslims and their allies around identified priorities. This requires persistent community organizing to ensure that in every city and town, residents are talking to their local elected officials and authorities, working to advance change. Whether it’s pushing municipal councils to commit more funding towards anti-racism initiatives, or whether it’s asking the local MPP or MLA to mandate municipalities to pass bylaws on street harassment and establishing hate crimes accountability units, nothing will happen without community voices making their case. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Jul 2021 Edition


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