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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29 Jun 2021

Today in Islamophobia: The families of individuals killed by US drone strikes in Yemen have appealed to the UK government to address its involvement in the killings, as the first public inquiry concerning Islamophobia in Scotland reveals that anti-Muslim sentiment has escalated in the country. In the United States, Senator Marsha Blackburn boasts about receiving an “award” for her work on behalf of international religious liberty, but has a history of repeatedly stoking Islamophobia in the United States. Our recommended read of the day is by Aysha Tabassum featuring an interview with Professor Amarnath Amarasingam of Queen’s University on the concerning rise of the far-right and Islamophobia in Canada. This and more below:



27 Jun 2021

‘Unfortunately, we’ll probably see more of these [events]’: Professor talks Islamophobic attack in London

The Journal sat down with Amarnath Amarasingam, Assistant Professor in the School of Religion, to discuss the context of the London attack. “Unfortunately, we’ll probably see more of these [events],” Amarasingam said. For him, it appears that movements across the far-right—whether or not they openly call for violence—hold anti-Muslim sentiment in common. While it’s still unclear to the public whether the perpetrator of the London attack has any ties to extremist or far-right organizations, this kind of sentiment is widespread regardless. “It kind of creates a ripe environment for increased hate crimes, as well as more large-scale attacks.” The London attack is part of a greater pattern of Islamophobia in Canada that, according to Amarasingam, may worsen if left unaddressed. Part of this work should come from defining Islamophobia itself and forming a national database to register Islamophobic hate crimes. Regardless of the language used to describe it, the far-right movement in Canada is thriving and growing. Amarasingam feels we should have a more open national conversation about what that means and how it’s rooted in “white grievance.” In his interviews in the past with white nationalists, Amarasingam has noticed a reoccurring concern with demographic shifts, as immigrants begin forming a larger proportion of Canada’s population. He thinks that white Canadians, in particular, should consider why many view these demographic shifts as inherently negative and why that may lead to hostility towards Muslims. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day
28 Jun 2021

'People don't feel safe': Calgarians gather at City Hall to condemn Islamophobia and rally for action

A group gathered outside city hall Sunday evening to condemn Islamophobia and call on all levels of government to act against the recent surge of hate-motivated attacks in Calgary and across the country. “I go for walks with my family but there are some days my family is scared to go on walk,” said Khawaja, spokesman for Voice of Oppressed YYC. “People don’t feel safe. The sisters in St. Albert were attacked Wednesday by a knife-wielding man who yelled racial slurs at them while knocking one unconscious, according to St. Albert RCMP. The Muslim man in Saskatoon received 14 stitches after he was stabbed, taunted and had his beard cut by attackers Friday morning. Khawaja is calling on all levels of government to toughen the laws for hate crimes and protect racialized communities. Imam Syed Soharwardy said he wants to see concrete steps from governments to manage the rise in hate-motivated attacks. “Law enforcement needs to take this seriously, and those committing these heinous crimes should be brought to justice,” said Soharwardy. “Our girls are frightened . . . Women are getting attacked openly and they are getting attacked verbally. This needs to be stopped.” read the complete article

28 Jun 2021

Muslim Man Stabbed, Has Beard Cut as Assailants Yelled About His Clothing, Religion

Muhammad Kashif said he was attacked in an alley early Friday morning in Saskatoon, Canada. He said he was near his parked car when another car drove up behind him. "They attacked... on my back with a knife or something," Kashif told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. "Using F-word and saying 'Why you are here? We don't like you are Muslim, why are you wearing this dress?'" "And then one guy held my hands and the other guy cut my beard," he added. Kashif said he recognized one of the attackers as someone who had previously verbally abused him. He said he was stabbed in the arm and knocked unconscious after being hit over the head with a cane he carries around for walking. When he regained consciousness, Kashif said his attackers were gone and so were his keys and phone. He eventually flagged down a car driving by and had the driver call authorities. Kashif was taken to a local hospital where he received 14 stitches to close the wound on his arm and police came to take a statement from him. read the complete article

25 Jun 2021

Canadian Muslims are forced to balance faith, safety after anti-Islamic attacks

Discrimination against women who wear a hijab isn’t new, but Ms. Chaudhry and others say they are more fearful as Islamophobia and attacks against Muslim women increase across the country. They say they are navigating between their safety and their faith. A spokesman at an Edmonton mosque says he’s been having more conversations with women who are trying to find ways to be more vigilant against attacks. “There’s been an increase [in conversations about] ‘How do [I] continue to be who I am and what are some supports that we can put in place for me to continue to be?’ ” said Jamal Osman, vice-president of the Muslim Community of Edmonton Mosque. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with other brothers as well. Their wives, their daughters, their mothers have been exposed to various expressions of hatred. But we’re not going to sit idly by and continue to be victimized.” Ms. Chaudhry said wearing the hijab is a form of worship in Islam. It signifies modesty and beauty. She made the difficult decision to remove hers in 2016 after twice being assaulted. In the first case, a man ripped off her hijab when she was shopping. In the second, a man came from behind and tried to close a door on her hand as she unloaded groceries in her car. Ms. Chaudhry said she wants to wear her hijab, but her experiences and reports of violent attacks on Muslim women – including at least 10 in Edmonton in the past six months – continue to deter her. read the complete article

28 Jun 2021

Toronto lawyer representing accused in alleged anti-Muslim mass killing

A Toronto defense lawyer is officially representing a London man facing multiple murder counts in connection with the June 6 hit-and run that police allege was a targeted attack on a Muslim family. Nathaniel Veltman, 20, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He made a brief video appearance Monday in the Ontario Court of Justice, where he confirmed he has hired Christopher Hicks as his defense lawyer. read the complete article


28 Jun 2021

Yemenis tell UK defense secretary of ‘immense loss’ to drone strikes

Relatives of people killed in drone strikes in Yemen have written to the defense secretary to ask about UK involvement in the killings and request that he meet them. The family members said they have suffered “immense loss” of loved ones – including children – at the hands of US targeted drone strikes and are demanding to know what part the UK has played. The US drone program has been criticized as unlawful. The extent of the UK’s role has long been the subject of concern with carefully worded denials issued by the government. The letter, from clients of the charity Reprieve, which supported them in coordinating and sending it, refers to the UK government’s fight to keep secret its policy for helping the US target drone strikes. Reprieve has been seeking full disclosure of the UK’s targeting policy, which also governs assistance provided to partners and US bases in the UK, under the Freedom of Information Act, but its attempts have so far been rebuffed. The signatories say that not only did they lose loved ones but the strikes have left a legacy of fear with “the buzzing noise above … a constant reminder that our lives could be ended in an instant, without warning”. read the complete article

28 Jun 2021

The murky Chinese surveillance company at the center of a UK health ministry scandal

The video of the former UK Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, backing into his wood-paneled office, closing the door behind him and kissing an aide, has been viewed online more than 1.5 million times in two days. Yet while Hancock has resigned, questions remain about whether the secret camera had been placed there without his knowledge. It has also emerged that the Department of Health and Social Care building in London is fitted with cameras made by the Chinese tech giant Hikvision, which produces surveillance equipment under contracts worth $290 million with the authorities in China’s Xinjiang region, and has been linked to the mass oppression of Uyghur and other Muslim minorities. Reports from the region have shown Hikvision cameras installed in “re-education camps”, where as many as a million Uyghurs are imprisoned. While the company was blacklisted by the U.S. government in October 2019 to punish China for its treatment of the Uyghurs, the economic blacklist and federal ban on the products does not apply at city and state level. During the pandemic, U.S. cities, counties and schools reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on temperature-scanning cameras, while an estimated 338,543 networks of Hikvision cameras watch over U.S. citizens. Hikvision cameras can also be found in public spaces around the UK. Around 65% of British councils currently use Hikvision technology, according to an investigation by internet research company Top10VPN, and they have purchased at least $1.3million worth of equipment over the past two years. The research company also found that the UK is the world’s fourth biggest foreign buyer of the Chinese company’s cameras, alongside those made by Dahua. read the complete article

United States

28 Jun 2021

Marsha Blackburn brags about 'religious liberty' honor after backing Muslim ban

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) boasted Sunday that she received an "award" for her work on behalf of international religious liberty. But the GOP senator has a history of repeatedly stoking Islamophobia and has pushed to discriminate against Muslim people in the United States. While Blackburn has been an outspoken critic of China's treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim groups, accusing them of "religious persecution," at home she has repeatedly promoted an anti-Muslim agenda. In December 2015, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump demanded a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." He never indicated which representatives would make that assessment or how, but Blackburn repeatedly endorsed his proposal. After the Trump administration prohibited refugees from several mostly-Muslim countries in January 2017, Blackburn not only backed his "most responsible approach," but ran ads attacking her 2018 Democratic opponent for his opposition to the "Trump immigration ban." She also was listed as a speaker for a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-Muslim extremist group and told a right-wing voter guide that "Islamic law" poses a threat to the nation and the U.S. Constitution. In 2015, she opposed teaching seventh graders about "the world of Islam" in Tennessee's public schools, calling it "indoctrination." read the complete article

28 Jun 2021

From Banning Sharia to Banning Critical Race Theory: When Bigotry Collides with a Conspiracy Theory

Critical race theory is a sinister ideology at the core of an extremist movement that seeks to paint all White people as racist and destroy America — this is the lie that far-right demagogues are working around the clock to instill in the minds of millions of Americans. This bizarre narrative, which claims that a framework of legal and sociological analysis poses an existential threat to America, bears a striking resemblance to another conspiracy theory that has been pushed by the irrational right for years: “creeping Sharia.” The creeping sharia conspiracy originated with far-right, Islamophobic think tanks like Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (CSP), and Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT! for America, both Southern Poverty Law Center classified hate groups. Organizations like CSP and ACT are part of a well-funded and interconnected network of groups and individuals that promote anti-Muslim bigotry and spread conspiracy theories. Since 2010, 201 bills banning ‘sharia law’ have been introduced in 43 states. Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Alabama have banned sharia through the adoption of foreign law bans, which prohibit the consideration of any foreign or religious laws in rulings. Like sharia, critical race theory (CRT) is a term that has two very different meanings for two different groups of people. For those who actually study or teach it, critical race theory is a method of analyzing the ways in which race and racism influence social, cultural, political, and legal structures and institutions. It posits that racism is a socially constructed means of maintaining power for those on top of the social hierarchy as opposed to a merely individual manifestation of prejudice. To its opponents, critical race theory is a subversive ideology that condemns all white people as racists and calls for the destruction of American society. It is being taught in elementary, middle and high schools across the country, causing young people to hate America and its history. It leads to division and tension, and stokes the flames of racial hatred. Again, none of this is actually true. Although panics like the ones surrounding sharia law ten years ago and critical race theory today make little sense, they are useful tools for the far-right’s political ambitions. Through demagoguery and fear mongering, the far right was able to, in the name of preserving American freedom, pass countless pieces of Islamophobic legislation that directly contradicted the most basic tenets of the Constitution. read the complete article

United Kingdom

28 Jun 2021

Anas Sarwar: 'Islamophobia in Scotland should shame us all'

The first public inquiry into Islamophobia in Scotland has found that racism against Muslims has escalated. Verbal and physical assaults have intensified, especially on public transport, with more participants in Glasgow experiencing abuse. Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who leads the group of MSPs behind the report, said the results "should shame us all". Several recommendations have been made for the Scottish government to act upon. The report, produced by Newcastle University professor Peter Hopkins, calls for the integration of an understanding of Islamophobia into Scotland's education curriculum. It also wants to see the recruiting of more police officers from diverse communities. It asks that all political parties in Scotland adopt a "no tolerance" approach to Islamophobia. The report suggests that the Scottish government funds and supports initiatives to educate people about the damage Islamophobia does to society. And it calls on the Scottish government to instigate a full independent review. read the complete article


28 Jun 2021

On World Refugee Day, we must choose action over words to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

For the past twenty years, June 20 has provided an occasion for the global community to recognize and honor the strength, struggles, and resilience of refugees. Now, World Refugee Day must be more than words. It must be a catalyst for urgent action to address the rights of people forced to flee. Here in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees have seen four Junes come and go since they escaped genocide in Myanmar. Each year, many from among the 900,000 refugees living in Cox’s Bazar have used the day to draw attention to their situation, advocating their right to live with respect and dignity in Cox’s Bazar until they are able to freely make the decision to safely return to Rakhine in the future. The Rohingya diaspora has added to these voices, directly lobbying governments and non-government organizations around the world to share responsibility for the crisis. However, over the past four years, little has changed in the material reality of their lives. People continue to live in shelters, not homes. They live in overcrowded spaces and muddy streets, not in safe communities. Many Rohingya refugees have endured one catastrophe after another. Multiple fires have left a trail of devastation and dread; a pandemic has ripped through the fabric of communal life; families have been separated; and the coup in Myanmar has made the prospect of repatriation dangerous and uncertain. Through it all, they have had little to no influence on the decisions and events that shape the trajectory of their prolonged displacement, concurrent with sharply deteriorating conditions in the camps themselves read the complete article


28 Jun 2021

Bloodlust TV: How Zee News used pictures of Muslims to spread rumours on population growth in India

The Uttar Pradesh election is around the corner and our TV news channels are getting ready to milk the attention out of those eyeballs and feed it to their advertisers. And, of course, the assumption is that the viewers want to watch Hindus screeching “Hum khatre mein hai” – “we are in danger” – and Muslims being blamed for it. Zee News made one such attempt this week on their 5 pm “debate” program Taal Thok Ke. Other than the usual screaming, shouting and saying nonsense words, there was a fair amount of nudge nudge, wink wink indication that Muslims are the ones keeping India backward by reproducing too much. Let’s start with the imagery. These are the two title screens of the show. One asks “Kudrat Bahana Hai, Muslim Abaadi Badhaana hai?” Nature is an excuse, the aim is to raise the Muslim population? The second blares, “Nizaam-e-Kudrat ya Hindustan par Aafat?” System of nature or disaster for India? Notice how there is adarniya mukhyamantri Yogi Adityanath looking all serious on one side and, on the other side, Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rahman surrounded by a crowd of Muslims. Subtle messaging with not-so-subtle titles. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 29 Jun 2021 Edition


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