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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18 May 2021

Today in Islamophobia: CNews, a channel that has been dubbed “France’s Fox News,” pulled ahead as the most popular news channel in France despite lead anchor having convictions for hate speech. In India, COVID-19 adds to the existing woes of Rohingya refugees, while in the U.K., an anti-racist group calls for the suspension of a Tory MP who labelled pro-Palestine protestors as “primitives.”  Our recommended read of the day is by CJ Werleman on a growing pattern of persecution facing Muslims around the globe. This and more below:


15 May 2021

MODERN HISTORY Has Robbed Palestinians & Muslims Of Friends and Allies

There’s no getting around the fact that certain geopolitical events and realities, including the United States-led ‘War on Terror’ and the bitter rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, have coalesced to make Muslims the world’s most persecuted religious minority and the most likely to be subjected to the instruments of terror and oppression at the hands of powerful nation-states, including Israel. The post-9/11 reality has been brought clearly into view as international inaction greets Israel, as its warplanes pound the Gaza Strip day-after-day, pulverizing residential and commercial buildings, and leaving entire Palestinian families incinerated or buried under the rubble. More than 200 Palestinians, including 58 children and 34 women, have been killed in this manner during the past week. These war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of international and human rights law are underwritten by the United States, which funds the Israeli military to the tune of $3.8 billion per year, and thus it’s no surprise to anyone that the Biden Administration has stuck hard to boilerplate talking points in defence of Israel’s atrocities. This is the plight of the Palestinian people, but a similar story can be told about Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang Autonomous Zone, and Muslims in Kashmir and India, all of whom who continue to suffer at the hands of powerful states under false narratives borrowed from the War on Terror’s lexicon. read the complete article

Our recommended read of the day


05 May 2021

Anti-Islam pundit leads ‘France’s Fox News’ channel

CNews, a free channel that has been dubbed “France’s Fox News,” pulled ahead as the most-watched 24-hour news broadcast in France for the first time on Monday, led by anti-Islam pundit Éric Zemmour. Zemmour, an essayist with three convictions for hate speech, was hired by CNews in 2019, when the news channel switched its format to feature evenings dominated by conservative opinion and verbal clashes. On his show, Zemmour blamed Islam for “driving France toward disaster” and accused thousands of unaccompanied minors who have migrated to France in recent years as being “thieves, murderers and rapists” who should be expelled. The 62-year-old’s anti-Islam and anti-immigration rhetoric was condemned by the state broadcasting authority but was conversely met with cheers from millions watching his evening show. As a result, he emerged as a possible leader for the “patriotic” right as an alternative to Marine Le Pen, the right-wing candidate. Thirteen percent of voters would reportedly back a Zemmour candidacy in the 2022 presidential election. Zemmour has been accused in recent weeks by several women, including journalists and a town councilor, of sexually assaulting them over the past 15 years. CNews said that it is standing behind its star broadcaster and that he would remain on the air. read the complete article

17 May 2021

Emmanuel Macron faces backlash after pulling support for candidate over Muslim headscarf

Mr Macron's centrist party withdrew support for Sara Zemmahi, a quality engineer, after she was pictured in a poster with her head covered. In France, Muslim headscarves are banned in classrooms but are not forbidden in public spaces or campaign posters. Mahfoud Benali, the lead candidate on the list for the district in the southern city of Montpellier, lashed out at Mr Macron's decision. Mr Benali said: "I'm frankly pained by the decision." While the decision has been met with anger, Stanislas Guerini, head of Mr Macron's LREM party, defended the move. He said: "We consider that ostentatious religious signs don't have their place on posters, whatever the religion." Mr Guerini confirmed the party would no longer support Ms Zemmahi, who was one of four people pictured in the campaign poster read the complete article

17 May 2021

French Mayor Hangs Israel Flag After Backing Ban on Pro-Palestinian Rallies

The mayor of Nice, France unveiled Israel's flag at city hall after supporting a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations amid rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. "Faced with Hamas' terrorism, all our thoughts and our support to Israel," Mayor Christian Estrosi tweeted on Saturday, along with a photo of Israeli and French flags standing on the building's balcony. "And all our thoughts to the #Palestinians who are only hostages of a small terrorist group, #Hamas," Estrosi said in a follow-up tweet. Estrosi also praised French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin for banning pro-Palestinian protests in Paris. The mayor further requested the French government to "take sanctions without the slightest concession" against protesters who defied the bans last weekend. "No one can consider these demonstrations as pro-Palestinian, they are pro-Hamas and therefore complicit in a terrorist movement itself partner to those who, with the Islamic State, sowed hatred and barbarism among us and in the world," he tweeted. Estrosi—a motorcycle racer turned politician who had been Nice's mayor since 2008—once banned the "ostentatious use" of foreign flags in the city. The ban, enacted during the 2014 World Cup, was widely perceived as targeting Algerian soccer fans as they celebrated the North African country's team making it to the finals. It was implemented just before Algeria faced off with Germany, a match the latter eventually won. Until earlier this month, Estrosi was a member of center-right political party Les Republicains. Before his departure, the party introduced an amendment to France's controversial anti-separatism bill allowing mayors to ban foreign flags during city hall ceremonies such as weddings. The French Senate approved the amendment in March. While it is unclear whether Estrosi supported the amendment, the mayor has advocated for President Emmanuel Macron's anti-separatism efforts, billed as eradicating radicalization on French soil but heavily criticized as targeting the country's Muslim community. Estrosi has previously campaigned against "Islamo-leftism," a term coined by right-wing activists to refer to perceived collusion between leftist academia and Islamist movements read the complete article

United States

17 May 2021

American Muslim groups boycott White House Eid celebration

White House event meant to mark a Muslim holiday attracted condemnation and boycotts from some Democrats and American Muslim groups in the context of growing violence in the Middle East. The White House hosted a virtual celebration on Sunday (May 16) to mark Eid al-Fitr, an important holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. The world’s Muslims observed the holiday on Thursday. In open letter from the Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition, signed by some 60 members of the Democratic Party, pushed back against the timing and fanfare of the event. “In lieu of flowers or condolences for martyred Palestinian children, or even a White House Eid celebration, we request the United States recognize dignity rights worldwide. A first step in recognizing our humanity would be to not allow a policy of mass slaughter in the sacred Islamic month of Ramadan,” read the open letter, whose signees included former Democratic National Convention delegates, precinct captains for the party and other party officials, including representatives from over a dozen states. A number of other Muslim leaders and organizations, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, boycotted the event. A high-profile protest event, “Eid with Palestine: A Protest of the White House Eid Event,” attracted a number of prominent speakers, including pollster James Zogby and political activist Angela Davis. read the complete article

17 May 2021

Parler Names George Farmer as CEO as It Returns to Apple’s App Store

Parler LLC on Monday named prominent U.K. conservative George Farmer as its new chief executive and said that its social network has returned to Apple Inc.’s App Store, the company’s latest steps to rebuild its business months after the U.S. Capitol riot. Mr. Farmer joined Parler in March as operating chief and previously worked in financial services for a decade, the company said. He is married to Candace Owens, a conservative author and commentator known for being a loyal supporter of former President Donald Trump. In 2019, Mr. Farmer was an active financial supporter and candidate for the U.K.’s Brexit Party, according to Parler. read the complete article

17 May 2021

Biden Administration Clears 3 Guantánamo Detainees for Release

The Biden administration has approved three detainees at Guantánamo Bay for release to countries that agree to impose security conditions on them, including the oldest of the remaining wartime prisoners, lawyers and United States government officials said on Monday. The approvals raised to nine the number of the 40 detainees currently at the wartime prison who have been approved for transfer to other countries. But it is unclear where the three men will go, or when, in part because the State Department has to make diplomatic and security arrangements with countries to take them. Some of the other detainees who have been cleared for release over the years have been waiting for a decade for another country to agree to take them. In some instances, countries are asked to continue to jail the detainees or put them on trial. In most cases, they are asked to prevent them from traveling outside the country for at least two years. Among those who have been granted approval is Saifullah Paracha, 73, of Pakistan, who was captured in Thailand in 2003. In addition to being the oldest of the detainees, he has also been described as among the sickest there, with heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. read the complete article


17 May 2021

Without Access to Vaccines or Medicines, COVID Adds to Rohingya Refugees' Woes

Salimullah, who came to India in 2012, has been trying to keep his family and others at the camp calm. For people in the camp that houses 270 Rohingya refugees, who are largely dependent on informal employment, the pandemic has meant they are diving into their little savings. “At least five people here are showing COVID-19 symptoms, but they don’t have money to get tested or even reach the testing centres,” explains Salimullah. A majority of the refugees at the camp are now unemployed, depending on the bare minimum that they have managed to receive from private individuals who donate when they can. Naeema* wears a tattered mask as she leaves her tenement to borrow Rs 50 rupees from Amina, to buy a sachet of ORS. Her husband is experiencing diarrhoea, she explains. With a runny nose and dismayed eyes, she clenches the Rs 50 note, hoping it will treat her husband’s COVID-19 symptoms. Many families in the camp are surviving only by borrowing from small amounts from neighbours, one day at a time. While they have been receiving poor-quality ration from United Nations High Commission for Refugees facilities, there has been no effort to treat those who may be ill. A refugee at a Rohingya camp in Faridabad, Ismail runs a small shack selling groceries. He has been drinking warm water to avoid the infection, he says. In a camp of 80 refugees, he says four have been showing symptoms that match those of COVID-19. “There is fear among us, we are scared to go out to buy medicines. What if someone deports us? Catches us without a reason? We have no one to defend us!” He adds that certain pharmacies insist on prescriptions even for the sale of fever medication. More than 6,500 Rohingya refugees were recently detained in Jammu, and 150-170 of them were under the threat of deportation at a time when the Myanmar’s government stood dethroned by a military coup. This incident, amid the global pandemic, had further added to the already existing issues in the lives of these refugees who have been fleeing genocide. read the complete article

18 May 2021

Indian mosque bulldozed in defiance of high court order

A local administration in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has defied a state high court order and bulldozed a mosque, in one of the most inflammatory actions taken against a Muslim place of worship since the demolition of the Babri Mosque by a mob of Hindu nationalist rioters in 1992. The mosque, in the city of Ram Sanehi Ghat in Uttar Pradesh, had stood for at least six decades, since the time of British rule, according to documents held by its committee. On Monday, police and security services moved into the area and cleared it of people, then brought in bulldozers and demolished the mosque. Debris was then thrown into a river. Security services have been deployed to prevent anyone coming within a mile of where the mosque stood. read the complete article

United Kingdom

17 May 2021

Call for Tory MP to be suspended after labelling Muslim pro-Palestine protestors "primitives"

An anti-racism organisation has urged the Conservative Party to suspend one of their MPs following a tweet describing Muslim pro-Palestinian protestors as "primitives". In a now-deleted tweet showing a video of demonstrators clashing with police in London yesterday, Michael Fabricant, the Tory MP for Lichfield, wrote: "These primitives are trying to bring to London what they do in the Middle East." Despite immediately receiving criticism for the post, Fabricant initially refused to take it down - and even attempted to justify by saying: "Whether they are Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, their behaviour is primitive and should not be seen in the UK". The anti-racism organisation, Hope Not Hate, described Mr Fabricant's tweet as "clearly racist" - and, in a letter to the Tory Chief Whip, Hope Not Hate called for the Lichfield MP to be suspended. read the complete article

17 May 2021

Girlguiding charity apologises as audit uncovers racism and Islamophobia

Girlguiding, the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women, has apologised after an external audit uncovered alarming instances of racism and Islamophobia among girl guides and staff. The probe, which took evidence from over 200 members, staff, parents and carers, revealed instances of discrimination that saw young people of colour being called racial slurs and a Muslim girl being asked remove her hijab during a trip. Racialised “jokes” and micro-aggressions such purposefully mispronouncing names and touching people’s hair have all been cited as common, offensive experiences by staff members within the organisation, as well as dressing up in native American head-dresses. In another instance, a girl aged under 7 was told by another child that she didn’t want to hold her hand because she ‘is dirty’ and her parent reported feeling “too worried about backlash” to raise this with the leader. The same girl was kicked by another using a racial slur towards her, the audit found. In light of the audit, the charity has now launched a new plan to enhance diversity and inclusion that includes action-points such as implementing new training for volunteers and staff on race-equity and recruiting a network of inclusion advisors to support and advise volunteers on the ground. Girlguiding has also begun to compile its first annual ethnicity pay gap report for our staff, committing to taking action to address any disparities, which will be published next month. Some ethnic minority staff told auditors that white staff only greet other white staff when coming in the room and ignoring their non-white colleagues, while other employees within the external communications team told the auditors that they have experienced resistance when wanting to post things around LGBT+ inclusion or Islamic holidays. read the complete article


17 May 2021

Video suggests alleged victim of assault by pro-Palestinians was with members of U.S.-designated terror group

New footage shows a group of what appear to be Palestinian supporters seen walking in one direction as another group approaches, with at least one of whom is armed with what looks like a bat or stick. The scuffle continues as a car alarm blares in the background. "You're a tough guy!" shouts one of the men from what appears to be the pro-Israeli side. Seconds later a scuffle breaks out with members of the two groups trading blows as more bats or sticks come into view. Approximately 20 seconds into the video, a man in a blue and white striped shirt enters the frame holding what also appears to be a bat, raising it and seemingly swinging. It's unclear if anyone is struck. The man in blue then appears to put his hand in his pocket and retrieve something as a man wearing a Palestinian flag yells, "Put the knife down!" Someone appears to strike the man in blue in the face as the group heads out of view. At least one person involved in the scuffle also appears to be wearing a shirt emblazoned with the logo of the Jewish Defence League, a group labelled a right-wing terrorist group by the FBI in the U.S., but not listed as such in Canada. On Monday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims called on Toronto police to investigate the possible involvement of the JDL, saying numerous politicians, commentators and journalists "were quick to jump to conclusions based on initial footage, without waiting for an independent investigation." "While we all have a role to play in standing against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and any forms of violence on our streets, it is critically important for our political leaders and media to be diligent in reporting and commenting accurately," the group said in a tweet. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 18 May 2021 Edition


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