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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10 Jun 2021

Today in Islamophobia: The UK government has rejected MPs proposals to prevent companies sourcing goods made by Uyghur slave labour in China, as American beef producer JBS will pay up to $5.5 million to settle a lawsuit that stated the company discriminated against employees by denying them bathroom breaks and disciplining them more harshly than other workers because they were Muslim, immigrants from Somalia, and Black. In India, Facebook stands accused of allowing an anti-Muslim Facebook group to continue to operate despite a supposed ban by the company for violating user agreement policies concerning hate speech. Our recommended read of the day is by 


09 Jun 2021

Canada has an Islamophobia problem — and conservatives are at the root of it

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that “Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities,” the unfortunate reality is that there are many communities in Canada where anti-Muslim bigotry is already firmly rooted. Those roots seem particularly deep within Canada’s conservative movement. When the federal government tabled a motion to condemn Islamophobia in 2017 in the wake of the horrific Quebec City mosque shooting that killed six people and injured 19 others, all but one participant in the Conservative leadership race (Michael Chong) at the time voted against it. Future leaders Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole openly criticized the motion, while former ministers Kellie Leitch and Chris Alexander appeared at a rally organized by Rebel Media and described by the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt as a “hateful free-for-all against ‘political correctness.’” That rally took place at Canada Christian College, the institution run by Charles McVety, who just happens to be a political ally of Ontario Premier Doug Ford. McVety makes no secret of his disdain for Islam and those who practice it, and he’s reportedly argued that “we know that Christians and Jews and Hindus don’t have the same mandate for a hostile takeover.” Maxime Bernier, who nearly won the previous Conservative leadership race, has a history of making Islamophobic remarks, including a baseless claim during the 2019 federal election that “Islamist extremists” had infiltrated Canadian politics. Yes, Conservative MPs have (mostly) stopped appearing on Rebel News, and they’ve (mostly) stopped repeating the most egregiously anti-Muslim theories and language. But they have yet to truly step forward and denounce those they flirted with so recently, from their furious reaction to the federal government’s $10.5-million settlement with former child soldier (and Guantanamo Bay detainee) Omar Khadr to the proposed “barbaric cultural practices” hotline floated by Stephen Harper in the 2015 campaign. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
09 Jun 2021

As a Family Is Mourned, Canada Grapples With Anti-Muslim Bias

Along with grieving, the deaths have prompted anger and demands for government action against bigotry and violence toward Muslims. “Even after this, there are still people saying that Islamophobia doesn’t exist,” said Mohamed Salih, a member of London’s City Council. “The challenge and a reality we must face is that far too often in our city, there is Islamophobia. It’s something we’ve known for far too long.” On Tuesday night, the province of Ontario temporarily lifted pandemic rules banning large gatherings to allow thousands of people to gather for a memorial outside the London Muslim Mosque to remember the Afzaal-Salman family. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended. At the vigil, held in hot and humid conditions, Mr. Trudeau said Canadians had again broken their pact to look out for one another when it came to their Muslim members. “Islamophobia is real. Racism is real,” Mr. Trudeau said. “We must stand together and say no to hatred.” Several speakers at the vigil talked about their fears of attacks and harassment. They urged others not to back down by removing their hijabs or shaving off their beards. Several speakers characterized the killings as an act of terrorism. Mustafa Farooq, the chief executive of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, called on the government to hold an emergency national summit on ending Islamophobia. Mr. Trudeau and other politicians promised to follow up with actions but offered no specific plans. read the complete article

09 Jun 2021

A terrorist attack in Canada and the politicians who primed it

I suspect Harper’s tardiness in penning his obligatory tweet condemning “cruel acts of racial and faith based hatred” was likely the product, in part, of his vulgar record while prime minister as the accelerant-in-chief of fomenting suspicion and animus towards Muslims he was duty-bound to have, instead, welcomed and celebrated as loyal, devoted Canadians. Once a rank politician, always a rank politician. Given his documented history of stoking Islamophobia – with the enthusiastic approval of his many confederates within Canada’s sprawling right-wing-media-industrial complex – Harper likely paused to ponder the public relations risks or rewards of denouncing this nation’s latest heinous act of Islamophobia. So, true to his calculating nature, Harper waited before sharing his typically soulless, exculpatory tweet with his equally ardent and unrepentant followers. Indeed, Harper refused to even acknowledge that the massacred four and the critically injured boy were Muslims who followed the teachings of Islam – the premeditated victims of a young, white, assassin who, somewhere, at some time, was radicalized by someone or something. Harper ended his perfunctory, unconvincing expression of sympathy for the grieving families with the suggestion that the murders were unfathomable. Clearly, Harper has not only forgotten his noxious past but has been so busy making lots of money crisscrossing the globe leveraging the rarified contacts he made while prime minister to have noticed the epidemic of enmity directed at Canadian Muslims. He also, incredibly, neglected to recall the mass murder of six worshippers during evening prayers at a Quebec City mosque in January 2017 by another young, white, radicalized assassin. read the complete article

09 Jun 2021

London terror attack: Canadians have become desensitized to violence against Muslims

Canadians have become desensitized to the vulnerability of Muslims. The racial legacies of the West — such as creating the image of the perfect Canadian — stretch through our media, education and state practices, creating a narrative of who is worthy of belonging and who is an outsider. Categorizing who gets to belong to Canada, and who doesn’t, relies on these processes and institutions. Since 9/11, Islamophobia has grown in western society and has fed into a fear of people who look Muslim. This, in turn, has produced a numbness in Canadians to the civil rights breaches brought on by government security policies. The news media catalyzed the contagious spread of anti-Muslim sentiments, while the political rhetoric brought with it heightened international security and anti-terrorism laws. Politicians have also embraced these notions and contributed to the systematic discrimination of Muslims and brown people, including those of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent. As a brown person, I have been subjected to extra security checks and questions about my “Canadianness.” I have felt the fear of being othered. As an anti-racism scholar, I am interested in how my community — and those of other groups perceived as Muslim — are surveilled and targeted by both the government and white supremacists. read the complete article

09 Jun 2021

Fear and anger in Canada after Muslim family is killed: ‘How many more people have to die?’

On Tuesday night, crowds of mourners – including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of all of Canada’s political parties – attended the vigil to honor the victims and protest against hate. Persaud, daughter of a Chinese-Filipino mother and an Indian father, said she was there because she had experienced racism in London all her life and so had all her patients – two of whom were crying in her office earlier in the day. “I’m scared for them,” she said. “I’m scared because they can’t be who they want to be out of fear.” Sunday’s attack has spread fear and sadness across Muslim and racialized communities – but there is also growing anger at the country’s failure to curb racism and Islamophobia. “Stories like this shatter people’s utopian image of what Canada is,” said Javeed Sukhera, a psychiatrist and chair of the London police board. “Denialism of racism in Canada is pathological. But how many more people have to die before politicians do something?” Conservative leader Erin O’Toole – who in 2017 joined 85 members of his party to vote against a non-binding motion condemning “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination” – and Ontario’s Conservative Premier Doug Ford – who, before the organization was banned, was photographed with members of the Proud Boys – were both booed by the crowd. “Canada has always seen itself as a multicultural society and we’ve conveyed that to the world but if this level of hate is happening here then clearly the environment doesn’t match the words,” said Mohammed Hashim, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation who attended the vigil. “Policymakers need to accept responsibility that this is an environment they have allowed to exist in Canada, whether it’s on the streets or online.” read the complete article

09 Jun 2021

These Muslim women say harassment because of their faith is constant and relentless

Azeezah Kanji, Toronto legal academic who studies hate crime and Islamophobia says she is tired of Muslim women being asked to recount the violence they face, while "nothing fundamentally changes" to prevent that violence from happening. "This requirement that we prove our humanity over and over again by talking about our grief and our pain and our violence continues to exist," said Kanji. Meanwhile, she said, "the conditions giving rise to the fact that Muslims' humanity became something that was put into question and needed to be proven in the first place remain unchanged." Kanji joined other Muslim women on The Current to talk about how people have targeted them with hateful comments or behaviour because of their appearance and faith. For example, Kanji said people have spat on her while she is wearing her hijab in the streets of Toronto. And she's not alone in the harassment she faces. Wati Rahmat, a community activist in Edmonton, used to live in Montreal where she said she was constantly the target of inappropriate comments. People would tell her to take off her hijab or go back to where she came from. "It was constant. It was relentless," said Rahmat. She eventually moved out West, thinking things might be better, but said she still faces similar insults. Rahmat doesn't always know whether she faces microaggressions because she is Muslim, or because of the way she looks, "but definitely you feel that you're treated differently." "And especially in Alberta, the effect of it is real. I mean, like, it's dangerous," she said, citing recent attacks on Muslims in the province. read the complete article

United States

09 Jun 2021

JBS settles Muslim discrimination lawsuit for $5.5 million

The second-largest producer of beef, pork and chicken in the U.S. will pay up to $5.5 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the company discriminated against Muslim employees at a meat processing plant in northern Colorado. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit in federal court in Denver in 2010, saying JBS Swift & Company discriminated against employees at its beef processing plant in Greeley by denying them bathroom breaks and disciplining them more harshly than other workers because they were Muslim, immigrants from Somalia, and Black. According to the lawsuit, JBS prevented Muslim employees from praying and harassed them when they tried to pray during scheduled breaks and bathroom breaks. JBS also was accused of shutting off water fountains during the holy month of Ramadan in 2008, keeping Muslim Somali workers from getting a drink at sundown after a day of fasting, and from washing before prayers. According to the lawsuit, JBS managers and other employees threw meat or bones at Black and Somali employees, called them offensive names and tolerated offensive graffiti in restrooms at the Greeley plant, including the use of the N-word, “Somalis are disgusting,” “F—- Somalians” and “F—- Muslims.” JBS USA LLC, doing business as JBS Swift & Company, must pay the $5.5 million to about 300 employees who were included in the settlement, which was announced by the commission on Wednesday. read the complete article

09 Jun 2021

Muslims Are Being Murdered Across the West Thanks to Conservatives Raving About ‘Invaders’

More murdered Muslims. That’s the headline, and that’s the inevitable result of right-wing politicians and commentators spending years deliberately manufacturing hate, Islamophobia, and conspiracy theories to rile up their base and villainize Muslims as supposed “invaders” threatening this thing called “Western” (as in white) civilization. It is an empowered ecosystem that is global, growing and willing to sacrifice our kids to make its hate become “great” again. Where will it happen next time? I’m asking this question thousands of miles away in Virginia, in a WhatsApp group with fellow Muslim American friends raising their families in suburbs and asking if this could happen here. The same conversation is happening across Muslim communities in America and Europe, where Muslims have lived for decades and centuries but are still seen as visitors and foreigners. Only the details change with each new tragedy, each new remake. Anti-Muslim hate and xenophobic conspiracy theories inspire a young man to view innocent Muslims as invaders who are threatening to destroy Western civilization and freedoms due to our rising numbers, hostile religious values, and economic success. The government, media, civil society, and corporations are corrupt vessels of the “Deep State” who are aiding the country’s inevitable decline by advocating for diversity, feminism, critical race theory, and multiculturalism. read the complete article

09 Jun 2021

A Rose By Any Other Name: Biden Ends TVTP By Renaming It CP3

On the campaign trail, Biden promised to end the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Program (TVTP). He did… by recycling the same broken countering violent extremism framework into a new counterterrorism grant program. Under Biden’s DHS, TVTP heads to the acronym graveyard, and federal dollars will instead flow into the newly created Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3). DHS couches the new program in language about upholding civil liberties, implicitly acknowledging past issues with CVE/TVTP programs. However, the changes are more style than substance. DHS insists that CP3 won’t be used to target Muslims (though there’s no guarantee a future administration won’t change that). But changing priorities doesn’t change that the countering violent extremism framework relies on profiling – whether religious, racial, or political – to funnel certain people towards law enforcement. While it’s good news that DHS’s grants no longer consider obviously-biased markers like wearing hijab a warning sign for terrorism, CP3 suffers from the same fatal flaw as previous programs: radicalization theory. read the complete article


09 Jun 2021

Facebook Banned a Hindu Extremist Group—Then Left Most of Its Pages Online for Months

Facebook allowed a Hindu extremist group to operate openly on its platform for months, even after the company banned the group’s main pages for violating its policies. It was not until TIME pointed out a network of more than 30 pages linked to the Sanatan Sanstha—with more than 2.7 million total followers—that the social media giant followed through and purged them in April. The pages regularly shared hate speech and misinformation, largely targeting India’s Muslim minority, including Islamophobic depictions of Muslims as green monsters with long fingernails. The Sanatan Sanstha’s extended presence on Facebook, despite the ban, raises questions about how effectively the company is delivering on its commitment to root out hate speech and incitement to violence—including in India, its largest market. And as governments around the world increasingly bring more stringent regulations to bear on social media platforms, the case is also a window into how political pressure may be having an impact on the ways those platforms police extremist groups. read the complete article

Bosnia & Herzegovina

09 Jun 2021

The case has closed on Ratko Mladić. Now we must honour those who survived him

As it turned out, both appeals were refused at The Hague. In a nutshell, the verdict on Tuesday stated that what happened in Prijedor and five other cities was not genocide. But Mladić is going to spend the rest of his life in prison as a war criminal for the genocide he committed in Srebrenica in 1995. The limitations of the legal process of this kind are hard to square with the reality of our losses and what we have experienced. General Mladić did not spontaneously decide to commit genocide in July 1995, and yet all the other atrocities that took place from 1992 are not included in his sentence. This is especially difficult to process because there is evidence that in May 1992 he calmly clarified in an assembly with his political leadership, also convicted war criminals, that what they were asking him to do constituted genocide. One way to simplify what happened is to imagine that at the Nuremberg trials, the accused Nazis were convicted for atrocities in concentration camps in Poland, but not in concentration camps in Austria. They would still get the same sentence, but the question is what would be impact on survivors, and what would be political and historical consequences? From the moment the murder of 8,372 people of Srebrenica in July 1995 was legally declared a genocide, denialism became part of the Serb nationalist narrative. Genocide denial has been described as the final stage of genocide. So, this verdict marks the end of the process of international justice, but Bosnia and Herzegovina will still be held hostage by continued obstructionism and the rewriting of history: Bosnian Serb leader, Milorad Dodik, responded to yesterday’s verdict by speaking about the “myth” of genocide in Srebrenica. read the complete article


09 Jun 2021

Government rejects proposals to prevent UK companies using Uyghur slave labour

The government has rejected MPs proposals to prevent companies sourcing goods made by Uyghur slave labour in China. Responding to plans put forward by the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, the government said that the evidence points to to “a highly disturbing program of repression in Xinjiang and the world cannot simply look the other way”. However, ministers refused to commit to actions to strengthen the UK’s rules on modern slavery or to ensure that its own procurement process is not tainted by forced labour. MPs on the BEIS committee urged ministers in March to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act and provide for civil penalties for companies that do not comply. The Act requires companies with a turnover of at least £36m per year to publish annual statements detailing the risks of slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. Currently there are no penalties available for non-compliance. Nusrat Ghani, Conservative MP for Wealden and lead BEIS Committee member for the forced labour inquiry, said the government’s response was "deeply disheartening". read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Jun 2021 Edition


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