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
28 Mar 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In India, many Indian Muslims and those critical of the Modi government are shocked as a man convicted of the rape of a Muslim woman in 2002 is seen sharing a stage with two BJP lawmakers during an event over the weekend in Gujarat, meanwhile in the U.S., two Muslim women who wear the hijab were sworn in last week as Superior Court Justices in New Jersey, and in Scotland, Humza Yousaf has become the country’s first ever ethnic minority and Muslim leader. Our recommended read of the day is by Jeffery Vacante in The McGill Daily on the vitriol towards Canada’s first Special Representative on Combating Islamophobia, Amira Elghawaby, and how Canada’s Bill 21 relates to the hostility surrounding her appointment. This and more below:   


The Rage Against Amira Elghawaby | Recommended Read

On January 26, Amira Elghawaby was appointed Canada’s first Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia. Controversy surrounding her appointment has turned the public’s attention once again to Bill 21, the Quebec law that bans anyone who works in the public sector in the province, including teachers and police officers, from wearing hijabs, yarmulkes, and other overt religious displays while on the job. Over the last half century, historians have shown that the reforms of the Quiet Revolution were more about challenging the power of the Catholic Church than they were about challenging Catholicism itself. If one were to follow this reading of history, Bill 21 should be regarded less as an attempt to defend the supposedly hard-won gains associated with secularism that have been achieved since the Quiet Revolution and more as part of an ongoing effort to enhance the powers of the state – and, with it, to preserve the privileges of the largely white and male leadership classes in the province. read the complete article

New study finds 'obvious gaps' in research on Islamophobia in Canadian health-care settings

A new study from McMaster University and the Muslim Advisory Council of Canada (MACC) says there are "obvious gaps" in research about the discrimination Muslim patients face in Canadian health-care settings. Tabassum Wyne, MACC's executive director, told CBC Hamilton the study came after community consultations before the 2021 national summit on Islamophobia showed Muslim people — especially women and girls — were facing discrimination in health-care settings."I experienced indirect Islamophobia within the health-care system seven years ago when I gave birth," Wyne said. "It's not right Muslim women and girls are feeling fearful when seeking medical attention ... there's a problem at hand." The analysis comes as Canada has seen a rise in hate crimes and Muslim people are among the most common targets for religion-based hate crimes, according to Statistics Canada. The study said American research showed while there were few instances of overt discrimination like assaults, over half of all Muslim patients said they were dismissed, excluded or ignored in health-care settings. The study said Muslim patients reported more negative experiences, lower quality care and feeling distrustful in health-care settings. It also found there was a lack of culturally appropriate care, with staff not considering the need for prayer spaces and halal food options, among other things. read the complete article

United States

The DHS and Its Legacy of Terrorizing Immigrants

In the last few weeks, the Biden administration has announced new border policies, proposed new asylum ban rules, considered bringing back family detention, and submitted a budget request to Congress increasing funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agencies with horrific track records of racism and abuse. In its most recent move, the Biden administration signed an agreement with Canada that would turn asylum seekers back at the Northern border. These moves are an outgrowth of Trump-era policies meant to shut down US borders. But more than that, they represent a continuation of cruel and harmful immigration policies, tracing back 20 years to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Through multiple presidential administrations representing both political parties, the DHS has targeted and criminalized Muslim, Black, brown, and immigrant communities under the guise of “homeland security,” at a cost of $1.4 trillion to taxpayers over its lifetime. Today, it is clear we must dismantle this agency that has actively harmed migrant communities at home and abroad. Instead, the Biden administration has just proposed giving ICE and CBP more money to carry out their harmful agendas. read the complete article

'Proud and historic': Two hijab-wearing women sworn in as judges in NJ

Nadia Kahf, a hijab-wearing attorney from Wayne, drew a standing-room crowd at the Passaic County Courthouse last Tuesday, as she was sworn in as Superior Court judge in the state, in an event that sparked international headlines describing her as trailblazer. That barrier was broken again the very next day when Dalya Youssef, a family law attorney who also wears the Islamic headscarf, was sworn into the Superior Court bench in Somerset County. For Muslim women, who have long faced harmful stereotypes about their religion and their role in it, having two women who outwardly show their faith in such prominent positions is deeply meaningful. “It brings a lot of pride and a lot of inspiration to my heart knowing they can practice their faith openly without compromise and continue to serve our community in such an honorable way,” said Rana Sabagh, a social services manager at a Paterson mosque, calling it a “proud and historic moment.” read the complete article


The Dirty Secrets of a Smear Campaign

When Hazim Nada started Lord Energy, in 2008, he was forced to prove to each banker he met that his venture bore no connection to his father. Africa Intelligence now portrayed Lord Energy as a new incarnation of the family business. Six months after the first Africa Intelligence item, World-Check, a database that banks rely on to vet customers, listed both Hazim and Lord Energy under the risk category “Terrorism.” Five financial institutions walked away from negotiations with Nada. UBS cancelled his personal checking account—and his mother’s, too. Alp is the creation of Mario Brero, whom Le Temps has called “the pope” of Swiss investigators. Brero recast his sales pitch, talking up his ability to spread negative information instead of merely collecting it. He now described his specialty as “offensive viral communication campaigns.” When Nada first learned of the hack, “the guys” played coy about who had hired Alp to attack him. They made Nada guess. He named competitors in the oil trade. Wrong, they said. The true client was Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the ruler of the United Arab Emirates. M.B.Z., meanwhile, staked a claim to regional leadership on the notion that the U.A.E. was a modernizing force in a dangerously backward region. He regarded the Brotherhood—founded on the premise that an Islamic revival and Islamic governance could restore the Arab world’s greatness—as an embodiment of that backwardness. That is why the prospect of Arab democracy frightened him, he told Western visitors. The idea of targeting Nada appears to have originated in conversations with Sylvain Besson, the Swiss journalist for Le Temps who had previously written about Hazim’s father, Youssef. By then, the U.A.E. was paying Brero two hundred thousand euros a month to locate and attack targets across Europe, with additional fees for one-off side projects. One of Brero’s first moves after signing the U.A.E. as a client was to seek out Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University and a consultant for several European governments. Nada, like many Muslims, thought that he simply dressed up bigotry in academic language. Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, which studies Islamophobia, has described Vidino as someone who “promotes conspiracy theories about the Muslim Brotherhood” and “is connected to numerous anti-Muslim think tanks.” read the complete article

Why Doesn’t the World Care More About the Uyghurs?

“One aspect of the Uyghur genocide that has always confounded me is why outrage among the global public has been so muted,” FP’s Amy Mackinnon wrote this week. Despite her hesitancy in broaching this subject with a Uyghur human rights advocate, Mackinnon recently posed this question to Nury Turkel, who is now the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Below, you’ll find Turkel’s three possible explanations for the world’s silence, as well as more essays and reporting exploring how—and why—Xinjiang has fallen by the wayside read the complete article

UN human rights council details mistreatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees, calls for closure

The UN Sunday described the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay as “worrying” and called for the closure of the detention facility “without further delay.” The comments came in a newly released report from the UN Human Rights Council which outlined “systematic shortcomings in medical expertise, equipment, treatment, and accommodations” at Guantánamo Bay. The report was first transmitted to the UN Human Rights Council on January 11 by a group of independent human rights experts. But the report was not released to the public until this past weekend. The report specifically examined the detention of Abd Al-Hadi Al-Iraqi, also known as Nashwan al-Tamir, who is one of the last prisoners held as a part of the CIA detention program. While in prison, Al-Iraqi suffered from a degenerative spinal condition, which caused him to now rely upon a wheelchair and walker to get around. The UN experts described this as medical mistreatment. In addition to the report, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights produced a report in January detailing how seven Guantánamo Bay detainees committed suicide between 2002 and 2021. The report also detailed Guantánamo Bay’s “unparalleled notoriety” for the use of “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments” against detainees. read the complete article


India – Fighting the alleged 'love jihad'

Among married couples of different faiths, it is often the woman who is expected to adopt her husband's religion. This is where a popular conspiracy theory comes into play: the theory goes that Muslims are trying to change the long-term demographics of India by deliberately seducing Hindu women to convert to Islam. "Love Jihad" has become a combat term. So far, such tones have been muted in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, where Ahmed and his wife live. But now politicians there are also proposing a law to "curb love jihad", as the radical Hindu politician Yogi Adityanath of the ruling BJP party called it, modelled on steps taken in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Its supporters include Chitra Wagh, leader of the BJP's women's wing in Maharashtra. Despite the fact that thousands of demonstrators, including BJP politicians, took to the streets against "love jihad" in the western Indian metropolis of Mumbai at the end of January, many people here cannot imagine such a law. Nevertheless, the Maharashtra government did set up a committee in December with the aim of keeping an eye on marriages between Hindus and Muslims. The committee is supposed to collect detailed information on couples in inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. It can also check whether women have become "estranged" from their families and offer help to parents if this is the case. read the complete article

Anger after Bilkis Bano rapist seen with ruling party lawmakers at event

One of the 11 men convicted for the gang-rape of a Muslim woman during the 2002 Gujarat riots and released last year was seen sharing a stage with two lawmakers from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The release of the convicts had attracted severe backlash and led to Ms Bano and other activists filing a plea challenging the remission granted to the convicts. Shailesh Bhatt, one of the convicts, was seen on stage with BJP MP Jasvantsinh Bhabhor and his brother Shailesh Bhabhor, a BJP state-level lawmaker, or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), at a government event in Gujarat on Saturday. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s BJP is in power in his home state Gujarat as well as at the federal level. Bhatt, 63, attended the groundbreaking ceremony of a Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board (GWSSB) project in the Dahod district, from where Mr Bhabhor was elected as MP. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Chelsea FC hosts open iftar for Muslims at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea football club hosted its first Open Iftar on Sunday, bringing Muslims together to break their fast at the Stamford Bridge stadium. The iftar was organized in partnership with the Ramadan Tent Project, a UK charity dedicated that brings communities together and expands understanding of the holy month. The event began with a speech by Dowshan Humzah, advisory board member of the charity and was followed by speeches from Daniel Finkelstein, the chairman of the Chelsea Foundation, and former Chelsea player Paul Canoville. ”We are a big community with lots of supporters from different backgrounds and we want to honor, respect and share the joy of every single fan,” Finkelstein said. “This is about saying yes to love, inclusion, community and yes to everyone who wants to be a Chelsea fan. “It’s very special to be the first Premier League club to host an Open Iftar and something we are extremely proud about.” read the complete article


Book review: Young Muslim woman’s memoir deserves respect and attention

Sara El Sayed’s Muddy People joins the current flood of early-life memoirs. El Sayed, an award-winning author and young Muslim woman with family roots in Egypt, grew up in Australia. Her memoir records that experience, with all its contradictions, family conflicts and racist micro-aggressions. El Sayed structures her text into two interwoven groups of short chapters, one group elaborating on the family and cultural rules that shaped her youth, including Don’t Touch Alcohol No Moving Out without a Husband, and Keep Yourself Intact. The second group of chapters is devoted to her immediate family, primarily her Mama, Baba and Nana, although the author’s fraught relationships with her brother Mohamed and sister Aisha also receive considerable attention. The portrait of El Sayed’s irascible, outspoken Nana (grandmother) is vivid and memorable, and gives the lie to racist stereotypes of Muslim women as passively oppressed and silent. El Sayed’s portrait of her baffled and pious Baba, which could easily have devolved into a caricature of the angry, thwarted patriarch, is instead tender and nuanced. While the tone of this book is, by and large, quiet and mild, it does deliver a lot of human interest and understated drama. At a time when Islamophobia is being promoted by too many politicians and appears far too often in the turbulent depths of the Internet, this book is a valuable corrective. read the complete article


Why Humza Yousaf's Win Is Historic for Scotland

Outgoing Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had a historic tenure as both Scotland’s first female leader and the country’s longest-serving one yet. The contest to succeed her has proven no less historic, delivering the country its first ever ethnic minority and Muslim leader in Humza Yousaf. “As immigrants of this country who knew barely a word of English, they could not have imagined in their wildest dreams that their grandson would one day be on the cusp of being the next First Minister of Scotland,” Yousaf said of his grandparents during his acceptance speech at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium. “We should all take pride in the fact that today we have sent a clear message that your color of skin or indeed your faith is not a barrier to leading the country that we all call home.” Yousaf’s victory isn’t historic for Scotland alone—he also becomes the first ever ethnic-minority leader of a devolved U.K. government. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 28 Mar 2023 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results