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
03 Jun 2021

Today in Islamophobia: A new bill in the U.S. (Keeping Our Promise Act) could restore the visas lost by those diversity visa lottery winners barred by the Muslim travel ban, as in Austria, backlash against a new Muslim monitoring project continues to rise, and rights activists continue to urge the international community to relocate the 2022 Olympic Winter Games due to China’s imprisonment and genocide of Uyghurs. Our recommended read of the day is by Steve Inskeep on CNews, a French news network accused of pushing a far-right agenda. This and more below:


02 Jun 2021

French News Channel, Referred To As French Fox News, Gains In Popularity

In France, a news channel that sometimes plays up fears and conspiracy theories is becoming more popular. It's accused of pushing a far-right agenda and throwing fuel on France's culture wars. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports on what is sometimes called the French Fox News. ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Eric Zemmour is the star of CNews. The far-right commentator is an adept debater with deep historical knowledge. But his incendiary anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant diatribes have earned him hate speech condemnations from France's audiovisual authority and French courts. Last September, he launched into unaccompanied young migrants. ZEMMOUR: (Through interpreter) They're thieves, assassins, rapists. That's it. We have to send them back, every one of them. They should not be here. BEARDSLEY: After a previous offense in 2018, Zemmour was fined and fired. But then CNews rehired him. That's significant, says sociologist Eric Fassin. ERIC FASSIN: CNews knows that racist speech and incendiary speech sells. And this ultraright buzz, I think, is today how it works in the media in France, just like it worked and has worked in the U.S. for many years. BEARDSLEY: CNews is owned by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, who Fassin calls the French Rupert Murdoch. Bollore's formula for success is financial as well as political. He has slashed costs by cutting back on reporters. read the complete article

Our recommended read for the day


03 Jun 2021

Transatlantic Islamophobia: PEGIDA before and during the pandemic

The acronym PEGIDA has been associated with grassroots anti-Islam protest for some years. In fact, the group – full name ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the (Christian) West’ – is one of the largest examples of sustained far-Right protest in western Europe in recent decades. What is less known is that local PEGIDA chapters have emerged outside Europe – in Canada, for example. Most PEGIDA offshoots were not as successful in drawing support as the original group in Dresden, partly because they were often outnumbered by leftist counterdemonstrators. Nevertheless, its rapid spread suggested that PEGIDA “came to stay”, as its founders like to say. Contrary to the expectations of most political and media commentators, PEGIDA’s capacity to mobilise sympathisers during the pandemic and associated lockdowns, when the right to public assembly was severely restricted or forbidden, was barely disrupted. Since May 2020, in particular, PEGIDA has returned to active street protests against multiculturalism and “liberal elites” in Germany. We conducted an in-depth qualitative study of the rhetoric employed by PEGIDA chapters on both sides of the Atlantic between autumn 2019 and spring 2020, in public protests as well as on online platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Telegram. We wanted to find out whether PEGIDA exemplifies a new type of transnational far-Right movement in the context of COVID-19. We took the beginning of the pandemic as a potential turning point, one that would strengthen transnational narratives on the state, globalisation and the need for radicalisation. What we found is that, in transitioning to a pandemic-informed discourse, there are similarities in all these areas between PEGIDA Dresden and PEGIDA Canada. This suggests that we can talk about a consistent transatlantic far-Right ideology, which is principally characterised by anti-Muslim hatred that builds upon anti-Islam conspiracy theories. Even though PEGIDA on both sides of the Atlantic continued its focus on Islam and Muslim minorities as threats, this time such communities did not appear as merely cultural or economic threats, but as health threats and core actors in a global conspiracy. read the complete article

02 Jun 2021

Relocate the Olympics or Condone Genocide

The world may finally be waking up to the horrors of the genocide being committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the Uyghur people in China. The parallels between the CCP’s treatment of the Uyghurs and the Nazi Party’s treatment of Jews and other minorities are undeniable, from implementing mass sterilization of Uyghur women to interning Uyghurs in concentration camps and forcing them to perform slave labor in Chinese factories. Thus far, the world’s response has eerily recalled the failed reaction to dictator Adolf Hitler’s atrocities in the 1930s and 1940s. Despite admirable efforts by the United States and other democracies to galvanize action in support of the Uyghurs, many countries and international organizations remain silent or feign ignorance on the ongoing Uyghur genocide out of concern regarding Chinese retribution. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given China the honor of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, just as it allowed Nazi Germany to host the Summer Olympics in 1936. But although the international community may not have understood the full extent of Hitler’s crimes and intentions in 1936, the CCP’s crimes against the Uyghurs and its escalating human rights abuses throughout mainland China—not to mention the destruction of civil liberties in Hong Kong—are well documented. The international community must ensure the Olympic Games does not take place in the shadow of concentration camps once again. The International Olympic Committee must relocate—and if necessary, postpone—the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. If that does not work, then there should be a diplomatic boycott of the games. There is growing bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress to not let Beijing use this global event to glorify the CCP and normalize its atrocities against ethnic and religious minorities in China. read the complete article

United States

02 Jun 2021

New Bill May Revive Diversity Visas Lost To Trump Bans

Diversity visa winners barred from immigrating to the U.S. under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the Trump administration's travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries can get another chance to reclaim their lost immigrant visas under a new bill, lawmakers said Wednesday. The Diversity Visa Lottery, which runs every year, allows 55,000 individuals from underrepresented countries the chance to move to the U.S. However, former President Donald Trump's executive orders banning travel from mostly Muslim-majority countries prevented many lottery winners from using their visas, which eventually expired. President Joe Biden lifted the ban, colloquially known as the Muslim ban, within hours of taking office, but the Keeping Our Promise Act — proposed legislation from U.S. Reps. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., and Judy Chu, D-Calif., — would restore those lost visas. "3,900 people from Muslim-majority countries won the diversity visa lottery only to be defrauded by discrimination and have their American dream stolen," Torres said during a press conference. "These 3,900 diversity visa winners have never been made whole. We in Congress have a moral obligation to do more than simply rescind the Trump 'Muslim ban.'" Individuals barred under the travel ban would have one year to reclaim the diversity visa under the proposal, if it passes. The bill would also give foreigners another year to resume the application process if their initial application was frozen due to the travel ban. read the complete article

02 Jun 2021


A Muslim woman has alleged that a Southwest Airlines flight attendant forced her to move from her seat on the emergency exit row because she “couldn't speak English” and “would bring the whole plane down in an emergency”. The American-born, bilingual passenger, identified only as Fatima, is suing the airline for religious discrimination as a result. A flight attendant allegedly told them to move, despite the sisters imploring her in English, which they both speak fluently. Fatima's lawyer, Marwa Elbially, claimed the member of cabin crew initially refused to reconsider, telling them, “It doesn't matter,” before declaring that Fatima’s sister, who was not wearing a hijab, could remain where she was but that Fatima, who was wearing one, should move. “The hardest part was keeping my composure for three hours after being insulted,” Fatima said. The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is filing a lawsuit against the carrier on Fatima’s behalf. “This young lady, Fatima, was targeted not because she did anything wrong, but simply because of the same she looks and her faith and her religious tradition,” said CAIR-DFW executive director Faizan Syed. read the complete article

02 Jun 2021

Palestinian community center in N.J. reports string of hate-fueled phone calls

The Palestinian American Community Center (PACC) said someone called nearly 10 times that morning, using “violent anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and Islamophobic rhetoric,” to attack the staff. Some of the threats made were misogynistic and made references to sexual abuse, according to the PACC. The calls started coming in around 11 a.m., employees said. A staff member recorded video of two of the phone calls, which were later posted to YouTube by the Council on American-Islamic Relations New Jersey (CAIR-NJ). Both calls include vulgar language. The caller reached out again in the afternoon, the PACC said. Staff at the PACC said the Clifton Police Department was notified about the incident and said the department sent officers to patrol the situation. Police stayed with the staff until offices closed Tuesday, the PACC said. Meanwhile, members of the PACC and members of CAIR-NJ have called for an FBI probe into the matter. read the complete article

03 Jun 2021

Report: Number of mosques in US grows overall, but African American mosques on decline

Increasing numbers of African American mosques are closing, while the overall number of mosques in the United States continues to grow, according to a new report. “The American Mosque 2020: Growing and Evolving,” released Wednesday (June 2), shows key changes in Muslim demographics as they relate to places of worship. “In 2020, the US Mosque Survey counted 2,769 mosques, which is a 31% increase from the 2010 count of 2,106 mosques. Undoubtedly, the primary driving force for the increase of mosques is the steady expansion of the population of Muslims in America due to immigration and birth rate.” Nearly all (98%) of American mosques are run by their local congregations, according to Bagby. He also writes that Muslim congregations are enthusiastic members of their local communities; they are on average more likely to participate in interfaith and civic efforts than other religious groups. Despite this, the report suggests that opposition to the construction of Muslim places of worship reveals anti-Muslim discrimination is more institutionalized than other forms of religious discrimination in the United States. “The Muslim American community is a very diverse and at any given mosque, when a critical mass is reached, there is often a desire to start another mosque. This is something we have seen in many groups from Afghani-Americans to Somali-Americans. It is also a phenomenon that we find in other religious groups in America as well,” Bagby said. A number of factors are leading to the closure of African American mosques, including the death of former Nation of Islam leader Warith Deen Mohammed, who was one of the founders of the African American Sunni Muslim movement. The first wave of conversions in the 1960s and 1970s created new African American Muslim communities. A secondary wave of African American conversions occurred in the early 1990s, spurred by the influence of the film “Malcolm X,” globalization and the prominence of some Muslims in hip-hop culture. As members of the first wave get older, many African American mosques have struggled to remain open. read the complete article


02 Jun 2021

Austria’s ‘Islam Map’ aims to silence Muslims civil society, say critics

A severe backlash to a project aimed at monitoring Muslim organisations puts the Austrian government in a tight spot as it faces charges of Islamophobia. Austria's right-wing government has sought to defend a contentious "Islam map", which has sparked an outcry amongst the country's Muslim community and is increasingly drawing international condemnation. Last week the government, alongside several academic professors from the Univerisity of Vienna, launched a "National Map of Islam", which was made available on a website with the names and locations of more than 620 mosques, orgaisations and officials. Austria has a dark history of documenting the activities of its minorities. Some are now warning that the database could put the lives of Muslims in danger by exposing them to far-right extremists and fostering suspicion towards the wider Muslim community. The academic and anti-Islamophobia scholar Farid Hafez warns that some Muslim community members are worried "that since this information is now more public, they could be potentially attacked." The controversy around the map is not just that the location of Muslim organisations and mosques has been identified, Hafez told TRT World. "The addresses of private individuals in charge of some of these associations are registered under their name. There is a lot of data that is highly private that has now been made public." read the complete article

02 Jun 2021

Anger as racist signboards erected close to Vienna mosques

Racist signboards have been erected in many locations close to mosques in the Austrian capital Vienna, members of the country's Islamic community said. Following the appearance of the controversial "Islam map," signboards with images depicting a man with beard and skullcap and reading "Attention: Political Islam is nearby. See Islam Map for further info" started to appear in recent days. According to a statement by Islamic Religious Authority in Austria (IGGiO) on Wednesday, the signboards expose many mosques to attacks. The "Islam map", which shares detailed information of the country's Muslims and their institutions, should be canceled before it causes more provocation and danger, the statement said. On the other hand, various media outlets in the country reported that anti-Islam signboards might have been erected by the racist group "Identitarian," which advocates a pan-European nationalist far-right political ideology. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 03 Jun 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results