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
09 Jul 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., Judge Zahid Quraishi became the first Muslim federal judge but during his confirmation hearing Quraishi failed to avail a perfect opportunity to demolish the lies America’s bigots have been spewing about Islam and Muslims. In Germany, the country’s Interior Ministry registered 1,026 anti-Muslim attacks in 2020, suspecting that many more have occurred but have not been reported, and Trevor Philips is readmitted to the UK Labour party despite his history of anti-Muslim comments. Our recommended read of the day is by Bob Smietana on how the anti-Critical Race Theory (CRT) movement is very similar to the anti-Sharia movement, as both movements have taken a concept few Americans understand and turned it into a boogeyman. This and more below:

United States

07 Jul 2021

Former Trump official’s God-and-country nonprofit calls CRT a threat to ‘colorblind society’

A former Trump administration official and Wheaton College graduate, Russ Vought defines racism as “personal prejudice that flows from ignorance and treating people differently as a result of that prejudice.” By contrast, he said, proponents of critical race theory see racism as a systemic problem — not an individual one — that has infected every part of society. That’s led Vought, president of the Center for Renewing America, to become a behind-the-scenes leader in the battle over CRT being fought in churches and school boards around the country. Writer, speaker and Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali sees parallels between the anti-CRT movement and the anti-Shariah movement prevalent in conservative circles. That movement painted Muslims as threats to America’s Judeo-Christian values and way of life, claiming Muslims and liberals were attempting to impose Islamic law in American schools and communities. The anti-Shariah movement, which rose to national prominence about a decade ago, focused on local politics, especially on zoning boards and community meetings where anti-Shariah activists showed up in force to oppose the construction of new mosques or alleged signs of Shariah in schoolbooks. Several states passed laws, written by anti-Shariah organizations, designed to ban Shariah or other foreign laws from U.S. courts. Presidential candidates and pastors warned of the threat of an Islamic “cultural Jihad” as the greatest threat to the American way of life. In a recent Daily Beast column, Ali argued that anti-CRT activists are drawing from the same playbook as the anti-Shariah movement. He repeated the same concerns in an interview with Religion News Service. Both movements have taken a concept few Americans understand and turned it into a boogeyman, he said. And both groups have found a news hook to rally people to their cause. For anti-Shariah activists, it was the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, a proposed Muslim community center near the fallen World Trade Center buildings in New York City, and a “mega-mosque” near Nashville, Tennessee. For anti-CRT activists, it’s the 1619 Project from The New York Times, which retold America’s founding from the date slaves first arrived in the American Colonies. Both groups have also appealed to Christians and church groups for support, said Ali, and they focus on local action by individuals and small groups. That bottom-up strategy has proved effective in the past. read the complete article

Our Recommended Read of the Day
08 Jul 2021

U.S. senator and Muslim federal judge failed with question and answer about sharia law

On June 22, America made history. The first Muslim to become an Article III federal district judge assumed his new role in New Jersey after having been a federal magistrate judge in the same court. He is Judge Zahid Quraishi, a New York-born child of immigrants from Pakistan. Earlier in the month, the Senate confirmed his nomination by President Joe Biden. However, an expedient question that Quraishi faced and his deficient answer to it during the April 28 hearings at the Senate judiciary committee left much to be desired. Here is the question in its entirety: “What do you know about sharia law?” And here is Quraishi's response: “I don’t know anything about that, chairman … I know probably less about it than you do, and I don’t know anything about it.” Really, judge? Did your parents not tell you anything about the culture they came from? To that response, Durbin said, “Good.” But realizing his gaffe, he quickly clarified, “Not good, but certainly we are anticipating criticism which has no basis in facts … your answer is solid.” But the answer was anything, but solid. Political correctness, senator? In earnest, however, Quraishi did grasp the question’s intent and said, “If the question … is whether I would apply the laws of the United States in the state of New Jersey, I can tell you, in 21 years … “I’ve never even been asked the question.” Restricting his response to that would have sufficed. But Quraishi elaborated upon it. However, his elaboration was annoyingly inadequate. Both Durbin and Quraishi failed to avail a perfect opportunity to demolish the lies America’s bigots have been spewing about Islam and Muslims. For his part, Quraishi pretended to be the “good” boy who knew nothing about sharia that America’s far-right socio-religious fanatics and their political puppets in Congress have made to look like an apparition that is waiting to seize America and turn it into a caliphate. He was probably appeasing them. He should have confronted the 800-pould gorilla in the room and said something like this: No American judge, Muslim or non-Muslim, would inject religion into his/her judicial work. Anyone who believes otherwise doesn’t understand America, the First Amendment or the Constitution. Coming from a Muslim judge, that statement would have constituted a powerful blow to America’s anti-Muslim bigots. read the complete article

08 Jul 2021

Biden Legal Team Divided on Scope of Rights of Guantánamo Detainees

The Biden administration legal team is divided over whether the government should say that detainees at the American naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have due process rights under the Constitution, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. The Justice Department is set to file a brief by Friday night that is supposed to take a position on that question for a case involving a 53-year-old Yemeni man, Abdulsalam al-Hela, who has been held without charge or trial at the wartime prison since 2004. During the Trump administration, the department had argued to an appeals court panel that he had no due process rights. The case is now before the full Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Legal scholars and lawyers for other detainees — including those charged at a military commission — have closely watched the case because it has squarely raised a legal and human rights issue that years of litigation over Guantánamo have yet to answer. Lawyers in national security roles across the executive branch are said to have been arguing for weeks over what the brief should say. Some Justice Department officials — including career government lawyers who have spent years under administrations of both parties defending Guantánamo detention policies in court — are wary of taking a position that could make it harder to win such cases. read the complete article


08 Jul 2021

Muslims face increase in online attacks in Europe

Anti-Muslim sentiment and antisemitism have become an everyday occurrence in Germany. The country's Interior Ministry registered 1,026 anti-Muslim attacks in 2020. It is suspected that many more have occurred but have not been reported. This is not a purely German phenomenon, says the Council of Europe'sSpecial Representative on Antisemitic and Anti-Muslim Hatred, Daniel Höltgen. He has been following up on reports from Muslim associations in eight European countries. The results are not comprehensive, he cautions, but they are the basis for further research and need to be followed up by authorities in the respective countries. The victims describe online hatred and threats to be just as real as everyday discrimination and verbal attacks on the streets. says Höltgen. Increasingly coarse and brutal language, unveiled threats to life and limb, calls for racist violence have all become facts of daily life for Muslims, he says. "These are criminal actions. This has nothing to do with the right to free speech," says Höltgen. Höltgen has found out why the majority of hate speech is not reported: The victims either don't know who to report it to or simply believe reporting it is pointless and won't really make a difference. The majority of postings are made anonymously, which allows users to post racist and even dangerous comments without having to fear real repercussions. "The inhibition threshold is lower and lower, more and more just seems acceptable, and that is very worrying," says Höltgen. The Council of Europe's Special Representative says the internet is too much of a legal vacuum and it encourages copycat perpetrators. read the complete article

09 Jul 2021

EXCLUSIVE U.S. set to add more Chinese companies to blacklist over Xinjiang

The Biden administration is set as early as Friday to add more than 10 Chinese companies to its economic blacklist over alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang, two sources told Reuters. The U.S. Commerce Department action will follow its announcement last month adding five other companies and other Chinese entities to the blacklist over allegations of forced labor in the far western region of China. The additions to Commerce Department's Entity List are part of the Biden administration's efforts to hold China accountable for human rights violations, the sources said. read the complete article

08 Jul 2021

UK government urged to hold China ‘to account’ over Uighurs

A group of influential British lawmakers have urged the government to take tougher action against China over its treatment of minority groups, including a partial Winter Olympics boycott and cotton trade ban. In a report following a months-long inquiry, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday recommended exploring the feasibility of an International Criminal Court probe into the alleged crimes against Uighur Muslims and others in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang. The cross-party committee, led by Conservative politician Tom Tugendhat, said in a report that the “atrocities” being committed in Xinjiang “represent an international crisis of profound urgency, making it unconscionable for any civilised government to look the other way”. It called on the government to accept MPs’ view – expressed in a symbolic April vote – that minority groups there are suffering genocide and crimes against humanity, and take stronger action “to bring these crimes to an end”. The cross-party group wants Britain to use every diplomatic lever to pressure Beijing to allow international observers – in particular the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – access to Xinjiang. It also backs a fast-track asylum process for those fleeing persecution in the region, forming a coalition of “sanctuary states” with Western allies. read the complete article

08 Jul 2021

Why Pakistan is ignoring China's oppression of Uighur Muslims

Endorsing China's narrative on the Uighur crisis, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan recently emphasized that he supports all of Beijing’s policies in the Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang. “Because of our extreme proximity and relationship with China, we actually accept the Chinese version,” the Pakistani premier stated last week, upholding close ties between both countries on the 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). Satisfied with the Chinese government narrative after being briefed by Chinese officials, Khan assessed that the actual conditions in Xinjiang were very different from what the Western media and governments describe. Only recently, Islamabad had risked trade ties and the prospect of foreign investment from the European Union (EU) when Khan launched a war of words with French President Emmanuel Macron last year. Although considered by some as a brave stance in defense of Muslims worldwide at a time when the country was under economic pressure, Islamabad remains stubbornly silent about the documented oppression of Uighur Muslims. And it is not the only Muslim country to adopt this stance. In fact, this is exactly what every country with deep strategic and economic ties with Beijing has done. Several Muslim countries, and this includes some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states too, have a focal role in China's mega-project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Having major trade ties and business links with Beijing, these countries are not expected to diverge from the Chinese position on political issues. In the past, China-Pakistan ties were focused mainly on defense and political issues, but it was the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) established in 2013 that cemented economic relations. Currently, not only does Islamabad have strategic ties with Beijing, but the flagship corridor of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) passes through Pakistan. read the complete article

United Kingdom

08 Jul 2021

Trevor Phillips’ readmission is further proof of the Labour Party’s Islamophobia problem

Renowned anti-racist campaigner Trevor Phillips has been readmitted into the Labour party despite alleged Islamophobic comments. As a Muslim living in the UK, who is aware of the Islamophobia that exists here, the decision doesn’t surprise me. However, it does risk further alienating Muslim voters. Even before he was reinstated, the Labour Muslim Network was reporting “unprecedented dissatisfaction” with Labour among Muslim communities, and this latest news follows a poll which found that nearly half (44 per cent) of Muslim members don’t believe the party has done enough to tackle Islamophobia. However, it’s not just voters that are unhappy with the decision. Muslim Labour MPs Apsana Begum and Zarah Sultana have publicly expressed their discontent. Sultana said: “Anything less than a full apology before readmittance makes a mockery of the idea Labour takes Islamophobia seriously.” Begum described his readmission as “an insult” to her community. The party may claim to stand with Muslims, but it’s hard to believe this. Just last year, Labour leader Keir Starmer was asked to return donations from a property developer accused of Islamophobia. According to The Guardian, David Abrahams had tweeted that Muslim culture was inherently violent and suggested Muslims have mixed loyalties (the tweets have since been deleted). More recently, a senior Labour official suggested in the Daily Mail that Muslim voters were anti-Semitic. read the complete article


08 Jul 2021

Removal of makeshift memorial at site of London, Ont. vehicle attack begins

Mayor Ed Holder says a permanent memorial is in the works, but in the interim, the makeshift memorial at the site of the vehicle attack in London, Ont., is being dismantled. The city says representatives of the Afzaal family, members of the London Muslim Mosque and city staff began removing the items placed at the corner of Hyde Park and South Carriage roads on Wednesday. Salman Afzaal, 46, Madiha Salman, 44, Yumna Salman, 15, and Talat Afzaal, 74, were killed in the June 6 attack. The only survivor was Fayez Afzaal, 9, who sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries. Police have referred to the attack as a hate crime and say the Muslim family, out for an evening walk, was targeted because of their faith. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Jul 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results