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
28 Jul 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, amid the widespread media coverage regarding the closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account, Muslim individuals and organizations are calling attention to their own experiences of having bank accounts closed with little acknowledgement or coverage, meanwhile in Sweden, the country’s Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, has said that he is “extremely worried” about the consequences if more demonstrations go ahead in which the Qur’an is desecrated, and in India, the anti-Muslim movie, “The Kerala Story” has helped promote the “love jihad” conspiracy theory, which plays a central role in Hindu nationalist politics and has led to specifically stringent laws focused heavily on sexuality and marriage. Our recommended read of the day is by Brendan J. Lyons for the Times Union on a judge’s order to release three of the four defendants in the “Newburgh Four” case, one of the many cases of entrapment in the post-9/11 period, where the FBI paid an informant to lure vulnerable individuals into what the judge described as “an F.B.I.-orchestrated conspiracy.” This and more below:

United States

In searing rebuke of FBI, judge orders release of three ‘Newburgh Four’ terrorism defendants | Recommended Read

A federal judge has ordered the “compassionate release” from federal prison of three people whom she described as “hapless” and “easily manipulated” petty criminals who were convicted 14 years ago in a controversial terrorist plot in which the FBI relied on an informant with a lengthy criminal record and a history of lying. The defendants — Onta Williams, David Williams and Laguerre Payen — were lured into the Justice Department’s sting case along with co-defendant James Cromitie and convicted of taking part in a fictitious plot to plant bombs manufactured by the FBI at a synagogue and community center in Riverdale. Cromitie was cast as the ringleader in the government’s case. Defense attorneys in the case had focused much of their efforts on picking apart the government’s star witness, Shahed “Malik” Hussain, who had been enlisted by the FBI after the 9/11 attacks to infiltrate mosques in New York and other states to identify potential terrorists. At one point during the trial of the “Newburgh Four,” as they were known, the defendants’ attorneys pressed the judge for perjury charges due to his inconsistent answers. Hussain is apparently in Pakistan but has deep ties to the Capital Region. He was the FBI’s primary informant in the similar anti-terrorism case in Albany that led to the convictions of Yassin Aref, an imam, and Mohammed Hossain, a pizzeria owner — both Muslim immigrants. read the complete article

What the right-wing extremists won’t tell you about immigrants

Housing shortages, a ready supply of drugs leading to more overdose deaths and a lack of jobs are tough issues that impact tens of millions of Americans. Solving these and other problems will require focused efforts to adjust public policy and turn the tide. But extremists, including some of those bidding for top leadership positions in our country, all too often blame immigrant “invaders” coming to “replace us.” Scapegoating is a tried and true formula for shifting blame and attention. Riling up anger against immigrants, even when the facts tell a very different story, weaponizes Americans’ deep-seated fears and feeds zero-sum nativism. Scapegoating immigrants also distracts from the need to work together to solve these very serious issues — and causes deep harm to the more than 45 million immigrants who call this country home. What many more of us need to do is contest the anti-immigrant rhetoric with our own strong, confident and resonant pro-immigrant narratives that connect to a larger aspirational story of our country’s pluralism and diversity. The good news is that the case for immigration and immigrants is clearer than ever. We know that it can appeal to both hearts and minds — and that the public is supportive, since a 2023 Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans say immigration levels should either stay the same or increase. read the complete article


Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of China

This submission highlights Human Rights Watch’s concerns regarding Chinese government human rights violations. The Chinese government has committed crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang since 2017. Under its “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism,” the Chinese government has targeted what it calls the “ideological virus” of Turkic Muslims. These ideas include what authorities describe as extreme religious dogmas, any non-Han Chinese sense of identity, and relationships with people abroad. Under this campaign, authorities are responsible for offenses committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against a population. This includes mass arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, mass surveillance, cultural and religious erasure, separation of families, forced returns to China, forced labor, and sexual violence and violations of reproductive rights. As many as a million people had been arbitrarily detained in political education camps, pretrial detention centers, and prisons at the height of the crackdown. Official figures as of September 2022 suggest that an estimated half-million people in Xinjiang remain incarcerated in the region’s prisons as part of this crackdown. read the complete article

Let the Tragedy in My Homeland Be a Lesson

About seven years ago, people around me started disappearing. It began slowly, quietly. The editors of a well-known literature textbook were suddenly nowhere to be found. A friend of mine left for work and never came home. My family and I are Uyghurs, and at the time we were living in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China. The political situation in our region had been growing gradually more tense for several years, but still, we hoped and assumed that these disappearances were isolated incidents. Pretty soon, however, the scope of what was happening became terribly clear. Since 2017, the Chinese government has carried out a program of mass internment in my homeland. In that time, over one million people — Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities — are estimated to have been placed in concentration camps referred to as “re-education centers.” For those who have never been through something like this, our tragedy is probably difficult to imagine. A decade ago, I couldn’t have imagined it myself. When catastrophe came for us, it crept up so gradually that at first we couldn’t see it for what it was. That’s how it often comes. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Nigel Farage row: When it comes to bank access, Muslims are less equal than others

When our Finsbury Park mosque’s bank account was unjustly closed in 2014, there was little public concern or acknowledgement, even though we tried everything to highlight the issue. But when Nigel Farage, a figure known for his divisive views on British Muslims and other minorities, faced a similar fate, it sparked a national uproar, raising questions about political bias and the unequal treatment of individuals. The issue is not whether one agrees or disagrees with Farage’s views, but rather the fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law for all individuals, regardless of their political beliefs or religious identity. Bank accounts should never be weaponised to punish people based on their opinions, religious affiliations or political stances, as long as those expressions are lawful. Let’s also take a moment to highlight the countless individuals and organisations, particularly within the Muslim community, who have faced similar injustices and had their bank accounts closed with little acknowledgement. Their stories deserve to be heard, and their rights demand protection.The closure of our mosque’s bank account had severe and far-reaching consequences. Financial operations became an uphill battle, as we struggled to maintain our day-to-day operations. Paying staff salaries became a challenge, and the disruption of standing-order donations resulted in a significant loss of much-needed income. Beyond the financial strain, the closure of our bank account dealt a blow to our reputation for no justifiable reason. It caused unwarranted damage to the image of the mosque, undermining the efforts we had tirelessly invested in rebuilding and repositioning ourselves as not just a place of worship, but a community centre for all. read the complete article


Swedish PM ‘extremely worried’ as more apply to burn Qur’an

The Swedish prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, has said that he is “extremely worried” about the consequences if more demonstrations go ahead in which the Qur’an is desecrated, amid growing Muslim anger at a series of attacks on Islam’s holy book. Attacks on the Qur’an in Sweden and Denmark have offended many Muslim countries, including Turkey, whose backing Sweden needs to join Nato – a goal of Stockholm’s after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Kristersson told the Swedish news agency TT that further requests had been filed with police for permission to hold protests where desecration of the Qur’an was again planned. “If they are granted, we are going to face some days where there is a clear risk of something serious happening,” he said. “I am extremely worried about what it could lead to.” Denmark and Sweden have said they deplore the burning of the Qur’an but cannot prevent it under rules protecting free speech. Sweden has accused other countries – such as Russia – of manipulating the crisis to damage its interests and its effort to join Nato. “In some countries there is a perception that the Swedish state is behind, or condones, this. We don’t,” the Swedish foreign minister, Tobias Billström, said on Thursday. “These are acts committed by individuals, but they do it within the framework of freedom of speech laws,” he said. read the complete article


‘The Kerala Story’: How an Indian propaganda film ignited violence against Muslims and challenges to interfaith marriage

A controversial low-budget Indian feature film The Kerala Story, about a discredited anti-Muslim conspiracy theory, has been causing a political storm, going all the way to India’s Supreme Court. The movie has helped circulate the idea of “love jihad,” a right-wing conspiracy theory that Muslim men are predators and out to marry and steal Hindu women. “Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory that claims Muslim men are converting Hindu and Christian women to Islam. Allegedly, the men feign love, get the women pregnant and eventually traffic them. The motive? To increase the Muslim population of India, perpetuate fanaticism and ultimately establish an Islamic state. There is no such thing as a “love jihad” and an investigation by India’s National Investigation Agency has said there is no evidence of “love jihad” taking place. The idea of “love jihad” is both current and historical with notions coming from Indian and Hindu nationalism as well as 19th-century British colonial narratives. Both streams constructed Muslim men as hypersexual and hyperaggressive. Today, it’s not just The Kerala Story that has circulated the “love jihad” myth. Reportage in Hindu nationalist media continues to make headlines. Love jihad’s centrality to Hindu nationalist politics has led to specifically stringent laws focused heavily on sexuality and marriage. read the complete article


Sinead O’Connor’s Muslim identity missing in obituaries, some fans say

As musicians, politicians and fans remember Sinead O’Connor, some Muslims are disappointed that the Irish singer and lifelong activist’s religious identity is not being highlighted in tributes. O’Connor, whose chart-topping hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” helped her reach global stardom, converted to Islam in 2018. Since her death was announced, Muslim fans of the superstar have said her conversion to Islam, a cornerstone of her identity, was inspiring, but that some media reports had failed to note her religious beliefs in obituaries. One social media user said imagery of the singer without the hijab points to the glaring lack of Muslim reporters in newsrooms. Others, like the US-based author Khaled Beydoun, lamented what he called an outright “erasure” of her identity. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Jul 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results