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
29 Jun 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, authorities arrested Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of India’s leading fact-checking website Alt News, who “has long been in the crosshairs of Modi’s BJP for his organization’s relentless debunking of fake news and false claims mostly pushed by India’s Hindu supremacist groups,” meanwhile in the United States, Dean Naylor, a former Muscatine County jail administrator who was fired over his anti-Muslim and anti-gay writings, is now suing the county, alleging he is the victim of discrimination, and in Australia, a woman had her hijab torn off in a violent brawl outside a Northern Territory football stadium over the weekend. Our recommended read of the day is by Basit Mahmood for Left Foot Forward on how “it’s now been more than three years since the Tory government pledged to come up with its own working definition of Islamophobia, yet still we’ve had nothing.” This and more below:

United Kingdom

29 Jun 2022

Over 3 years ago the government promised its own definition of Islamophobia. So where is it? | Recommended Read

It has at times felt like an incredibly lonely struggle for British Muslim communities. Trying to get the government as well as many prominent journalists and newspapers to pay attention to Islamophobia, which is having a devastating impact for communities up and down the country, has proved incredibly difficult. For far too many, when it comes to the list of concerns about the current corrupt and incompetent government, Islamophobia and prejudice against Muslims isn’t considered to be anywhere near the top. This despite the fact that Muslims have been the target of almost half of recorded religious hate crimes, according to a Census 2021 report from Home Office. In the last few days it’s also been revealed that the Metropolitan Police produced an Islamophobic document which predicted “crime and disorder” in the days after the Grenfell Tower fire. They claimed this was because “the majority of those affected are believed to be coming from a Muslim cultural background”. One of the reasons Islamophobia has been allowed to go unchecked is because of the government’s own repeated failure to take it seriously as well as its lack of commitment to rooting it out. It’s now been more than three years since the government pledged to come up with its own working definition of Islamophobia, yet still we’ve had nothing. Much like other matters concerning Islamophobia and prejudice against Muslims, the issue has been met with delay and denial – repeatedly kicked into the long grass, with senior Tories hoping it will just go away. In this, they have compliant allies across sections of the UK media, who have barely reported on the issue. read the complete article

29 Jun 2022

Teens target racist abuse at women in Muslim attire in Scotland

A woman and her friends wearing Muslim attire recently experienced racist abuse from a group of teenagers in Glasgow, Scotland. One of the victims filmed the incident and shared on Instagram that they were verbally attacked on Saturday as they were walking in Glasgow Green, a park in the east end of Glasgow. The footage shows a group of teenagers hurling racist slurs toward the victims, some of whom were wearing abayas, which are full-length garments often worn by Muslim women. “Racially attacked by horrible girls in Glasgow green yesterday, they started shouting when my friends and I were waking [sic] past,” the Instagram user wrote. "They began to make Islamophobic remakes toward my friends wearing abayas. Absolutely disappointed #peoplemakeglasgow." One of the girls can be heard saying, "Are you going to hit me with your bomb?" "Go back home, you ISIS b*tch," adds another girl, who appears to also be recording the incident. The girls can also be heard yelling "ISIS b*stard" and the n-word at the victims. "Please bomb me," says the boy, who then declares "You blood stupid" in a mock Asian accent. read the complete article


29 Jun 2022

Arrest of Indian Muslim journalist sparks widespread outrage

Police in New Delhi have arrested a Muslim journalist for allegedly hurting religious sentiment in what many slammed as the latest example of shrinking media freedom under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Mohammed Zubair, a co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, was arrested Monday evening over a tweet that police said deliberately insulted “the god of a particular religion.” Senior police officer K.P.S. Malhotra said the case was brought following a complaint from a Twitter user and Zubair was remanded in custody for one day. Journalists across India have been targeted increasingly for their work in recent years. Some have been arrested on criminal charges over posts on social media, where they routinely face threats and trolling. The Twitter accounts of some journalists and news websites have also been suspended on government orders. The incident set off a wave of outrage, with activists, journalists and opposition politicians decrying it as harassment of the media and calling for Zubair’s immediate release. “In a democracy, where every individual possesses the right to exercise the freedom of speech and expression, it is unjustifiable that such stringent laws are being used as tools against journalists,” DIGIPUB, a network of Indian digital news organizations, said in a statement. read the complete article

29 Jun 2022

Indian court allows police to quiz Muslim journalist over 2018 tweet

An Indian court on Tuesday gave police four days to question a prominent journalist over a 2018 tweet they described as "highly provocative", in a case that has strained relations between the country's majority Hindu population and large Muslim minority. Mohammed Zubair, a co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News and vocal critic of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was arrested on Monday after an anonymous Twitter user lodged a complaint with authorities over the four-year-old post. Earlier this month, Zubair, who is Muslim, drew attention to an incendiary remark about Prophet Mohammad made on TV by a spokesperson for Modi's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). With about half a million followers on Twitter, Zubair's tweet about the comments went viral. The BJP suspended the spokesperson for anti-Islam remarks and expelled another official in a bid to defuse domestic and international outrage. On Tuesday, Zubair appeared in a trial court in New Delhi. His lawyer said the case bordered on the absurd, because Zubair had used satire from a Hindi-language movie in his 2018 tweet and there was no evidence that he had hurt religious sentiments among Hindus. read the complete article

29 Jun 2022

Indian government bulldozes scores of Muslim homes amid anger over Prophet remarks

For someone who had her home recently demolished, Afreen Fatima sure puts on a brave face. Last week, the 24-year-old Indian activist’s house was one of a series of demolitions of Muslim properties carried out by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party across various states in India. “My house was not razed to punish me or my family alone, but to make a statement to the entire [Muslim] community that you won’t be spared,” Afreen says with a discernible sense of calm. While the authorities razed her house on the pretext of it being an “illegal structure”, the act is widely seen as a retributory measure by the government for protests carried out by the Muslim community against the insulting comments directed at Prophet Muhammad by BJP spokespersons. Despite the BJP suspending its spokespeople, Muslim citizens in the country have continued to be treated severely. At least 2 Muslims have been killed by police, and hundreds have been arrested under stringent laws. Many houses of the Muslims have also been bulldozed for being “illegal properties”. “How can our house be illegal if we have been paying taxes for the last 20 years? Our house was demolished because Muslims of the area protested. We weren't involved but even so, can’t Muslims in India protest?” Afreen asked. This is not a one-off affair. In the last few months, the ruling BJP party has bulldozed dozens of houses and shops belonging to the Muslim community across various Indian states in what it terms “anti-encroachment” drives. Experts are drawing parallels between these incidents to the punitive demolitions carried out by the Israeli state as collective punishment against Palestinians. read the complete article

29 Jun 2022

Arrest of Journalist in India Adds to Press Freedom Concerns

The detention of Mr. Zubair, journalists and activists said, is part of a broad crackdown on critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party’s Hindu nationalist worldview. It was even more jarring, they said, because Mr. Modi had just joined leaders of the Group of 7 countries in Germany in committing to free and independent news media. “This is extremely disturbing because Zubair and his website Alt News have done some exemplary work over the past years in identifying fake news and countering disinformation campaigns, in a very objective and factual manner,” the Editors Guild of India, a journalists’ group, said in a statement. His release is “necessary to buttress the commitments” Mr. Modi made at the G7 meeting, it read. Mr. Zubair has been a vocal critic of Mr. Modi’s government, using Twitter to condemn Hindu activists and monks calling for the killing of Muslims. Recently, Mr. Zubair highlighted comments made by an official of Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party that some considered insulting to the Prophet Muhammad. Mr. Zubair, the Editors Guild said, was summoned by the police on Monday in relation to a case from 2020, from which a court had granted him immunity. But he was arrested, the group said, in connection with a criminal investigation that began earlier this month after the complaint from the anonymous Twitter user. “The allegations by police are factually wrong,” Vrinda Grover, a lawyer for Mr. Zubair, said during a bail hearing at a court in New Delhi on Tuesday. “It is coherent malicious targeting.” read the complete article

29 Jun 2022

Who is Mohammed Zubair, Indian journalist arrested by Modi gov’t?

Police in India’s capital New Delhi have arrested a Muslim journalist for allegedly hurting religious sentiment in what critics say is the latest example of declining press freedom in the country under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of India’s leading fact-checking website Alt News, has long been in the crosshairs of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for his organisation’s relentless debunking of fake news and false claims mostly pushed by India’s Hindu supremacist groups. Zubair, who has more than half a million Twitter followers, was probably the first journalist to share a clip of the TV debate on a news channel in which the now-suspended BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma made the comments against the prophet. While he did not name Sharma or tag her handle in his tweet, he questioned the news channel, its anchor and the network’s owner for allowing the incendiary remarks. “I was more angry [with] the news anchor because they gave platform to her. After she uttered those words, they didn’t even stop her. I felt very bad, which is why when I tweeted, I didn’t mention Nupur Sharma’s name or her Twitter handle but was furious with the anchor and the news channel,” Zubair told Al Jazeera during a telephonic interview last week. As the controversy snowballed into a major diplomatic crisis, many BJP supporters demanded Zubair’s arrest by running the hashtag #ArrestZubair on Twitter. Earlier this month, police charged the 39-year-old journalist for calling some far-right Hindu monks “hatemongers”. The monks had made inflammatory statements about Muslims and at least one of them had called for a “genocide” of the minority community. read the complete article

United States

29 Jun 2022

Jail official fired for anti-Muslim comments says he’s the victim of discrimination

A former Muscatine County jail administrator who was fired over his anti-Muslim and anti-gay writings is now suing the county, alleging he is the victim of discrimination. The federal lawsuit filed by former jail administrator Dean Naylor alleges that when Muscatine County fired him two years ago for his published comments pertaining to gays and Muslims, it violated his First Amendment rights related to religious expression, free speech and – in light of his use of social media to voice his beliefs – freedom of the press. He is suing the county for employment discrimination and the deprivation of his civil rights. The county has yet to file a response to the lawsuit. An assistant to Muscatine County Attorney James Barry said Tuesday that Barry had no comment on the matter. In April 2020, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported that Naylor, then the Muscatine County jail administrator and a captain with the sheriff’s department, had published online a lengthy treatise in which he called Muslims “pawns of the devil.” The story noted that Naylor had also created and posted seven related YouTube videos. read the complete article

29 Jun 2022

What does Ms. Marvel mean to the Muslim community?

The television show follows the adventures of Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a Pakistani-American teenager who develops incredible powers and finds herself pursued by supernatural bad guys, all while grappling with familial and religious obligations. Ms. Marvel has gotten a starry reception from critics and viewers who see themselves reflected in Khan and her unapologetically immigrant and Muslim family. Many however laud Marvel’s portrayal of an “ordinary Muslim”, which comes at a time when Hollywood continues to largely depict Muslim characters as targets or perpetrators of violence. Speaking to NPR, Vellani said: “I really do think this is going to kind of inspire more Muslims and South Asians to tell their story because this is one singular representation of the Muslim experience. And so I don’t think we can represent all two billion Muslims and South Asians, but it’s a start.” In this episode of The Stream, we’ll talk to guests involved in the show about the challenges and joys of making Ms. Marvel, and what the show means to the Muslim community. read the complete article


29 Jun 2022

France’s burkini ban affects all women – not just Muslims

In France last Tuesday, the country’s highest court voted to overturn a decision made in Grenoble, a city that contravened its burkini ban and permitted women to wear full-coverage swimwear if they so desired. Since 2016, burkini bans have been implemented at public pools in France, but after protests from Muslim women, Grenoble’s municipal council voted to suspend the ban last month. France’s Council of State struck down the dispute and reinstated the ban, saying that it could not allow “selective exceptions to the rules to satisfy religious demands”. The burkini, as we know it, was founded in 2004 by Lebanese-Australian fashion designer Aheda Zanetti, to provide a garment that would allow Muslim women to enjoy Australia’s beach lifestyle while adhering to their modestwear guidelines. Since then, it has become the subject of much controversy; France, for instance, which prides itself on secularism, has deemed it a symbol of religious extremism. Full-coverage swimwear, however, is not always religious — there are a multitude of reasons why women may gravitate towards burkini-style swimsuits for public pool and beach excursions. Chiara Taffarello, the Italian designer behind luxury modest swimwear brand Munamer, which participated in last year’s Dubai Modest Fashion Week, reveals that about 20 per cent of her customers are non-Muslim. “Many European ladies who have ordered a full-set burkini sometimes don’t use the head cover or even the leggings, but buy it because they need a long-sleeved top that covers up to their half-leg,” she tells The National. France’s strict swimwear policy, however, doesn’t only target Muslims; it sends a message to all women in the country that if they want to enjoy swimming publicly, they must put their skin on display — a requirement not all women are comfortable with, whether that’s due to personal preferences, skin-related medical issues that make sun exposure dangerous or plain-old body insecurities. Such stringent swimwear policies, which can come off as Islamophobic, misinterpret burkinis to be a symbol of cultural or religious patriarchy. However, bans that force women to reveal their skin in swimwear, making it more digestible to the “male gaze” —something that has influenced fashion for so long — ironically cater to patriarchal sentiments that keep the focus on women’s bodies. read the complete article


29 Jun 2022

Muslim woman’s hijab torn off in brawl outside football stadium

A woman had her hijab torn off in a violent brawl outside a Northern Territory football stadium over the weekend. Three women allegedly tore the head covering off the woman and ripped her dress down to her bra, the Northern Territory News reported. The incident is reported to have happened after a women’s premier league game between Hellenic and Port Darwin. An eyewitness described hearing screams as they left the stadium and said the incident resulted from people of opposing teams making rude hand gestures at each other which led to a physical altercation. Players were also allegedly involved in a separate altercation after the match. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 29 Jun 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results