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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30 Mar 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, a new study shows that roughly half of all Muslims ages 16-24 have faced Islamophobia at some point in their lives with females were more likely than males in a social setting at (53%) and (41%) for men by comparison, meanwhile in the U.S., the Senate voted on Wednesday to repeal the resolution that gave a green light for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, an effort to return a basic war power to Congress from the White House, and in India, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has widened his company’s crackdown on users critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party’s policies. Our recommended read of the day is by Rabia Ali for Anadolu Agency on how local activists and researchers in Austria are noting that Muslim women wearing the headscarf in the country face more anti-Muslim hate and discrimination than men. This and more below: 


In Austria, women wearing headscarves face more anti-Muslim racism than men, says activist | Recommended Read

Muslim women wearing the headscarf in Austria face more anti-Muslim hate and discrimination than men, according to a local activist working against Islamophobia. “The most victims we have are women who wear the hijab. … Because of the hijab, because of the visibility of the hijab, a lot of women face more anti-Muslim racism,” Munira Mohamud, an activist working at an Austrian NGO, Dokustelle, told Anadolu. According to the organization which documents anti-Muslim hate crimes and racism, over 1,000 Islamophobic incidents were reported last year in the country, with women being the majority of victims as compared to men. The details of the organization’s findings of 2022 are to be released in May, while the 2021 statistics showed that women, with 69.2%, were also subjected to Islamophobia more than men. According to Mohamud, anti-Muslim sentiments are increasing everywhere, and that countries in Europe are influencing each other. “It's not only an Austrian problem but it's a European problem as a whole.” She underlined that politicians in Austria have spoken of considering France’s approach towards Muslims, seeing it as an "inspiration" on how to deal with the minority community in the country. read the complete article

United States

Hayat: Overcoming America's Islamophobia remains a work in progress

March 15 marked the anniversary of terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 51 people were killed. The date is now observed by the United Nations as an international observance of combating Islamophobia. Islamophobia is the fear of, hatred of, or prejudice against the religion of Islam or Muslims in general. In some contexts, it is a fear of Muslims as violent in a quest for geopolitical power. The U.N. Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief stated in 2021, “Widespread negative representations of Islam, fear of Muslims generally (not just “Muslim” extremists and terrorists) and the security and counter-terrorism policies have served to perpetuate, validate and normalize discrimination, hostility and violence towards Muslim individuals and communities.” Discussion or even mention of presence of discrimination makes people uncomfortable and may lead to the denial of existence of such behaviors among majority. Prejudice is universal; minorities harbor it too. It may have many forms: gender, ethnicity, faith, socioeconomic status, political and ideological differences. I believe only way to deal with this is to address it openly. read the complete article

US Senate votes to repeal measure that gave go-ahead for 2003 invasion of Iraq

The US Senate voted on Wednesday to repeal the resolution that gave a green light for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, an effort to return a basic war power to Congress from the White House 20 years after an authorization many now say was a mistake. Iraqi deaths are estimated in the hundreds of thousands and nearly 5,000 US troops were killed after George W Bush’s administration falsely claimed Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. “This body rushed into a war,” said the Virginia senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat who has pushed for years to repeal the powers, adding that the Iraq war has had “massive consequences”. If passed by the House, the repeal would not be expected to affect any current military deployments. But lawmakers in both parties are increasingly seeking to claw back congressional powers over military strikes and deployments and some lawmakers who voted for the Iraq war now say that was a mistake. “Americans want to see an end to endless Middle East wars,” said the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, adding that passing the repeal “is a necessary step to putting these bitter conflicts squarely behind us”. read the complete article

United Kingdom

Almost half of young Muslims have faced Islamophobia, polling suggests

Almost half of young Muslims have experienced Islamophobia at work, in shops and restaurants or in education settings, new polling has suggested. The survey results have been described as “extremely concerning” and “especially prescient” because they come in the same week as Scotland’s first Muslim leader was voted in. Humza Yousaf of the Scottish National Party is the first person from an ethnic minority background to be the nation’s first minister. The survey findings for Hyphen, an online publication specialising in news, culture and lifestyle about Muslims in Britain and Europe, show “much more needs to be done by employers and educators on tackling Islamophobia in public life”, editor Burhan Wazir said. Some 49% of the latter grouping said they have experienced Islamophobia in a school, university, or another education setting, 47% have done so in a social setting, while 44% of those with jobs said they have faced it in the workplace. read the complete article

‘Empire strikes back’: Diversity at height of UK politics praised

When Humza Yousaf became Scotland’s new leader this week, the world of British politics entered a new era of diversity. With Pakistani-origin Yousaf in charge at Holyrood and Rishi Sunak, whose ancestors hail from India, leading at Westminster, it could be said that the United Kingdom is blazing a new trail in post-colonial history. “The empire strikes back,” tweeted Jelina Berlow-Rahman, a human rights lawyer in Glasgow, after Yousaf’s victory. Berlow-Rahman, the daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, sees the moment as one of triumph which fuelled pride in her own parents, who worked hard to give their children a better start in life. “It’s harder for people from an ethnically diverse country to prove themselves and integrate, especially when they’re from a visible minority,” she told Al Jazeera. From across the political divide, Foysol Choudhury, the Bangladesh-born Labour member of the Scottish Parliament, said that Yousaf’s rise to power is a proud moment for the South Asian community. “I know how difficult it is to be a minority and to go into politics,” he said. “It’s something to be celebrated. I’m really proud of him.” To make a difference, Yousaf should stand up for his own ideas, he said. read the complete article


How Ontario is combatting Islamophobia — and what more needs to be done

A recent report by the Angus Reid Institute sheds light on the diverse views that Canadians hold toward Islam and Muslims. The report, which surveyed Canadians across the country, found that 36 per cent of Canadians outside of Quebec have a negative view of Islam, compared with 56 per cent within Quebec. However, there are some promising and encouraging data points that suggest the potential for positive change in attitudes toward Islam and Muslims in Canada. One significant finding in the report was that younger Canadians are more likely to have a positive view of Islam and Muslims than are older Canadians. Statistically, we know that diverse, racialized, and minority populations have been growing in Canada over the past two decades. Therefore, younger Canadians are more likely than older ones to know Muslims within their classrooms, communities, and workspaces. Normalized experiences of everyday interactions help to eradicate conceptions of fear and othering that may arise from not knowing who Muslims are. read the complete article

Ramadan highlights how workplaces can better support Muslim employees

The moment turned “very magical” when a colleague, who Waseem said “did not fit the identity of what we think Muslims look like,” excitedly shared that they were marking Ramadan too and had given up coffee more than a week ago. The encounter was a reminder of the camaraderie that can develop in an inclusive office, but Waseem and others know that feeling and the supportive atmosphere enabling such conversations is still lacking in many workplaces. Although Islam was Canada’s second most practised religion in 2021 with 1.8 million Muslims in the country, many who practice the faith find they still face challenges in the workplace. For some, there’s a lack of accommodation, support and mindfulness during Ramadan, one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar, when those fasting do not eat or drink anything between dawn and sunset. Others face difficulties when stepping away for prayers five times a day, a cornerstone of the religion. “Islamophobia, anti-Islamism and just sort of anti-Muslim sentiments generally just seem to be somewhat left out of the broader diversity, equity (and) inclusion conversation within many workplaces,” said Sarah Saska, co-founder and chief executive of consultancy Feminuity. read the complete article


UK Labour aims to declare China’s treatment of Uyghurs ‘genocide’

The U.K. Labour Party will pursue legal routes toward declaring China’s crackdown on Uyghur Muslims a “genocide” if it wins the next election, the shadow foreign secretary has announced. David Lammy said that if Labour formed the next British government, he would “act multilaterally with our partners” to seek recognition of China’s actions as genocide through the international courts. China has detained Uyghurs at camps in the northwest region of Xinjiang, where there have been allegations of torture, forced labor and sexual abuse. The Chinese government claims the camps carry out “re-education” to combat terrorism. China’s actions have already been branded genocide by the U.S. State Department, and as potential crimes against humanity by the U.N. But successive Conservative governments in the U.K. have resisted using the term, saying it is up to international courts to declare a genocide. read the complete article

29 Mar 2023

The truly revealing TikTok hearing was the one that featured Uyghurs

At a meeting of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party on the subject of the ongoing genocide of Uyghur Muslims, Uyghurs with firsthand experience of Chinese technological repression testified about how TikTok and its parent company ByteDance pose a threat to Americans’ national security, privacy and human rights. Indeed, TikTok and ByteDance came up several times during this hearing because, as witnesses explained, the two issues are linked. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), the committee chairman, pointed out that Chew, during his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had declined four times to acknowledge that the Chinese government is persecuting Uyghurs. To some, Chew’s evasion might have seemed to be an innocent attempt to avoid wading into a controversial matter. But Nury Turkel, a Uyghur American lawyer who chairs the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, argued to the China committee that TikTok and ByteDance don’t criticize the Chinese government’s abuse of the Uyghurs because they are complicit. “ByteDance has a strategic partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security. That is part of their business conduct,” Turkel said. “This is what they do.” For Uyghurs, ByteDance’s danger is not hypothetical. When Chinese authorities initially built the surveillance and monitoring system in Xinjiang that preceded the re-education camps, they relied on data from Chinese tech platforms including WeChat and Douyin, ByteDance’s local TikTok version. read the complete article

In Istanbul, the last Uyghur bookshops struggle to survive

As a people subject to ongoing repression in China — or genocide, as a U.S. congressional committee heard in Washington, D.C. last week — it could appear the Uyghurs have found peace in Turkey, a space where they can preserve and even revive their language and literature. But on Tuesday, March 14, the Kutadgu Bilik bookshop was raided by the Turkish police. They dragged books out in large bags to a van parked outside. “This shop is a solution for us,” the owner, Abdulla Turkistanli, told me, a day after the police raid. “We can teach our next generations here, we can keep our culture alive.” Uyghur bookstores in Istanbul play a vital role in sustaining the culture, in giving Uyghurs across generations and continents access to their language and history. For close to a decade now, the Chinese state has been conducting a violent crackdown on its Uyghur population. This campaign, which has increased in intensity since 2017, extends far beyond China’s borders. Uyghurs in the diaspora are subject to surveillance, while their families back home are sent to re-education centers and prisons where many have been tortured and raped. Uyghur literature has also been a prime target, with dozens of renowned writers, poets, publishers and academics disappeared into the labyrinthine system of internment camps. read the complete article



TWO MONTHS AFTER teaming up with the Indian government to censor a BBC documentary on human rights abuses by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Twitter is yet again collaborating with India to impose an extraordinarily broad crackdown on speech. Last week, the Indian government imposed an internet blackout across the northern state of Punjab, home to 30 million people, as it conducted a manhunt for a local Sikh nationalist leader, Amritpal Singh. The shutdown paralyzed internet and SMS communications in Punjab. On Monday, the account of the BBC News Punjabi was also blocked — the second time in a few months that the Indian government has used Twitter to throttle BBC services in its country. The Twitter account for Jagmeet Singh (no relation to Amritpal), a leading progressive Sikh Canadian politician and critic of Modi, was also not viewable inside India. Under the leadership of owner and CEO Elon Musk, Twitter has promised to reduce censorship and allow a broader range of voices on the platform. But after The Intercept reported on Musk’s censorship of the BBC documentary in January, as well as Twitter’s intervention against high-profile accounts who shared it, Musk said that he had been too busy to focus on the issue. “In India, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media companies have today become handmaidens to authoritarianism,” said Arjun Sethi, a human rights lawyer and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. “They routinely agree to requests not just to block social media accounts not just originating in India, but all over the world.” read the complete article


30 Mar 2023

Friendship and faith: Leading Australian Muslim women discuss connection through Ramadan

According to the 2021 Census in Australia, 389,392 women indicated their religious affiliation as Islam. SBS Urdu spoke to four prominent Muslim women who acknowledged that Australia was increasingly embracing a range of different faiths despite latest figures from the Islamophobia Register Australia (IRA) which show a fourfold increase in reports of in-person incidents of anti-Muslim hate with 78 per cent of these victims being women. Pakistan-born senator Mehreen Faruqi was an Associate Professor and Academic Director MBT of the Australian School of Management at the University of New South Wales. She became the first Muslim woman to sit in any Australian parliament when she joined the NSW Parliament in 2013. Ms Faruqi became a senator in 2019 and is currently serving as deputy leader of the Australian Green Party. Acceptance of religious diversity and faith friendliness in the Australian workplace are often points of discussion. Senator Faruqi says while she appreciates Australians being more and more aware of what Ramadan means for Muslims living in Australia, she wants to see more politicians not only join in iftars and at Eid festivals but addresses the core issues faced by the community. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 30 Mar 2023 Edition


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