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
19 May 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In India, under the Hindu nationalist government of PM Narendra Modi, Muslims are being vilified and evicted from their homes, with their freedom of religious expression stifled, meanwhile in the United States, Fox News has barely discussed the Buffalo gunman’s self-confessed motivations for targeting and killing Black Americans, which is revealing considering Fox’s Tucker Carlson has popularized the great replacement conspiracy theory, and in Canada, the public safety minister says the racism and white supremacy behind the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., are alive and well in the country. Our recommended read of the day is by for MSNBC who argues that it’s hypocritical of Dr. Mehmet Oz to slam his GOP opponent, Kathy Barnette, for her anti-Muslim comments, but still accept the endorsement from former President Donald Trump, whose “hate-filled comments directed at Muslims have done more than just gin up fear and mistrust; they played a role in inciting a massive spike in hate crimes” against the community. This and more below:

United States

19 May 2022

Where was Oz's disgust at Islamophobia when he was seeking Trump's endorsement? | Recommended Read

Oz’s possible electoral success in fact triggers disgust and contempt — and not because he is a Republican. The source of this derision comes from his hypocrisy. Last month, I wrote for MSNBC about how, despite Trump’s history of hate for Muslims, from calling for a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” to dangerous lies that Muslim Americans in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 terrorists (and worse), there was Oz in the closing months of Trump’s 2016 campaign, welcoming Trump as his special guest on his show. There, Oz showcased the warm fuzzy side of a well-documented bigot for the daytime television audience. In that 45-minute episode, Oz playfully joked with Trump, took questions from the audience, and vouched for Trump’s health. What Oz did not raise was the fact that Trump’s hate-filled comments directed at Muslims had done more than just gin up fear and mistrust; they played a role in inciting a massive spike in hate crimes against our community in 2016. It’s hard to argue that Oz, the son of Turkish immigrants who are proud Muslims, doesn’t know that anti-Muslim bigotry is wrong, especially when it comes from a politician. This was even harder to argue when we saw, in the closing days of his current campaign, Oz slam one of his GOP opponents, Kathy Barnette, after media reports surfaced of her long history of anti-Muslim tweets. An outraged Oz told the Associated Press that Barnette’s anti-Muslim bigotry was “disqualifying,” saying, “It’s reprehensible that she would tweet out something that is defamatory to an entire religion.” To Oz, a handful of her tweets were “disqualifying” to be a senator, whereas a tsunami of anti-Muslim hate from Trump was apparently not. Every minority community has highly visible people who do not represent the mainstream views of that community. We can debate why they have made that choice. But in the case of Oz, we know why: It’s because it helped him politically. read the complete article

19 May 2022

The Buffalo attack – An analysis of the manifesto

“The truth is my personal life and experiences are of no value. I am simply a White man seeking to protect and serve my community, my people, my culture, and my race.” These words were written in a manifesto which was posted online before an 18-year-old gunman went to a grocery store in Buffalo, New York and opened fire on citizens in the parking lot, and then within the store. Terrorism is a method of communication where the attack target, brutality, and timing are strategically designed to send a message. Self-proclaimed terrorists like the Buffalo shooter also use their manifestos to develop and deliver strategic communications around the attack and the motivations behind them. In an age where communication technologies dominate the production, consumption, and exchange of ideas, the instantaneous sharing of manifestos, now combined with livestreaming of the actual attacks, necessitates a thorough reflection and understanding of these shared elements of several recent attacks. Not only is the online content and material important to understand, but also the racialised and ‘othering’ content within which the shooter used to justify the attack. In this Perspective, we consider the Great Replacement Theory the shooter discusses, the use and inclusion of memes, and the racialised content expressed in his manifesto. By examining this content within the manifesto, it helps us better understand the broader context and specific factors that motivated this perpetrator. read the complete article

19 May 2022

Fox News suddenly goes quiet on ‘great replacement’ theory after Buffalo shooting

As details of the Buffalo mass shooting emerged over the weekend, much of the media focussed on the shooter’s self-stated motivation: his belief in “great replacement” theory, the racist notion that white Americans are being deliberately replaced through immigration. Over at Fox News, however, there was barely any mention of the white gunman’s alleged reasoning for opening fire at a supermarket, killing 10 people and wounding three more, in a predominantly Black area. The absence of coverage of the motive was revealing, given Fox News’s most popular host, Tucker Carlson, has pushed the concept of replacement theory in more than 400 of his shows – and has arguably done more than anyone in the US to popularize the racist conspiracy. Fox News, according to Oliver Darcy, a media correspondent for CNN, “largely ignored” the fact that the shooter had been inspired by replacement theory. Darcy searched transcripts from Fox News’s shows, and found one brief mention, by Fox News anchor Eric Shawn. As Americans absorbed news of the shooting and struggled to understand why it had happened, it seemed a glaring omission. But given Carlson and his colleagues’ promotion of the theory, which has been unchecked by Fox News’s top executives, experts see the network as being left in a bind. Great replacement theory, or white replacement theory, states that a range of liberals, Democrats and Jewish people are working to replace white voters in western countries with non-white people, in an effort to achieve political aims. It is not a new concept. But Carlson has led the charge in reintroducing it to mainstream rightwing thought. In April a New York Times investigation found that in more than 400 hundred of his shows Carlson had advanced the idea that a “cabal of elites want to force demographic change through immigration”. In a monologue on his Monday night show, Carlson did not directly address replacement theory. He claimed the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto was “not recognizably leftwing or rightwing: it’s not really political at all”, despite the rambling document referencing a number of rightwing conspiracy theories. read the complete article

19 May 2022

The Racist 'Great Replacement' Conspiracy Theory Explained

In some periods of American history, paranoid narratives of “white extinction” have appeared to exist only on a radical fringe of racist political movements. In other periods, some of the nation’s highest political officeholders have repeated these ideas, leading to forced sterilization programs at the state level and a racial quota system becoming federal immigration law for four decades. No longer on the fringe, such narratives now have currency among some of the most powerful and influential actors in right-wing media and politics. The “great replacement” theory is inherently white supremacist. It depends on stoking fears that a non-white population, which the theory’s proponents characterize as “inferior,” will displace a white majority. It is also antisemitic. Some proponents of the “great replacement” do not explicitly attribute the plot to Jews. Instead, they blame powerful Jewish individuals such as financier and philanthropist George Soros or use coded antisemitic language to identify shadowy “elites” or “globalists.” Along with invocations of the “great replacement” narrative, the online screed believed to have been written by the man charged with the Buffalo shootings included copious false assertions about the intellectual inferiority and inherent criminality of Black people and false, antisemitic allegations of wide-ranging Jewish conspiracies against whites. The attack in Buffalo is not the first time that the narrative has been linked to racist violence in recent times. The suspect accused of a mass murder at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018 and the killer behind an attack at a mosque and a community center in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019 each cited the “great replacement” theory. So did the suspect in the August 2019 attack on a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and the individual who opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, California, and set fire to a mosque in Escondido, California, in 2019. The alleged Buffalo shooter not only cites the “great replacement” in his online writings but appears to have lifted passages wholesale from the Christchurch attacker, whose manifesto took “The Great Replacement” as its title. The accused El Paso attacker also directly referenced the Christchurch attacker’s screed. read the complete article


19 May 2022

Ontario NDP, Liberals would bring in law to fight Islamophobia, other hate if elected

Ontario’s New Democrats and Liberals committed Wednesday to bringing in a law to fight Islamophobia and other forms of hate if elected to form government next month. Speaking to reporters in Kingston, Ont., NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said addressing racism and hate is a priority for people who have experienced hateful attacks based on their race, faith or any other part of their identities. She said she is proud of her party’s work with the National Council of Canadian Muslims in bringing forward legislation earlier this year to help address Islamophobia in Ontario. That bill, tabled in February, did not pass before the election campaign began. “There’s just too much hate out there,” Horwath said. “We have an obligation and a responsibility, leaders do, to take that on and to listen when (a)community says we don’t want to just hear the words. We want you to take action.” The legislation tabled by the NDP earlier this year — called the Our London Family Act in reference to members of a Muslim family killed in London, Ont., last year _ would have established a provincial review of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents in Ontario. The bill would also designate safe zones around houses of worship, prevent white supremacist groups from registering as societies and establish an anti-racism council that would provide input on government policies. The original bill was created with the National Council of Canadian Muslims and follows recommendations put forward by that organization. read the complete article

19 May 2022

White supremacy is a 'harsh reality' in Canada, says public safety minister

Canada's public safety minister says the racism and white supremacy behind the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., are alive and well in Canada. Ten people were killed and three wounded on Saturday, when a white 18-year-old wearing military gear opened fire at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighbourhood of Buffalo. Police described the attack as "racially motivated violent extremism" and say they are investigating a hate-filled online manifesto linked to gunman, which espouses the "great replacement" theory, a racist conspiracy that white people are being replaced by minorities. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says that kind of rhetoric has also led to deadly violence in Canada. Here is part of his conversation with As It Happens guest host Robin Bresnahan. "I mean that the kind of hatred and anti-Black racism that informed the senseless and brutal murder of innocent African Americans last week is a challenge that we face here in our own country. We've seen it in communities like Quebec City, where five years ago we saw a number of Muslims gunned down while they were praying at a mosque. We've also seen it in London, [Ont.,] where we're approaching the one-year anniversary of a Muslim family that was run over, tragically and shockingly." read the complete article

19 May 2022

Muslim women wearing hijab at work face heightened scrutiny, professional consequences

Besides her skills, qualifications and expertise, Muna Saleh has observed an additional factor that people evaluate when determining her “professionalism” – her hijab. Wearing hijab is a personal religious decision, but many Muslim women in Canada are facing undue professional consequences for exercising their right to wear what they choose. “For some people, hijab is inherently seen as unprofessional just by itself,” says Dr. Saleh, who is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at Concordia University of Edmonton. Dr. Saleh says that women who wear hijab are stereotyped as being “inherently oppressed, potentially not intelligent or capable enough to make an informed and rational decision about her body.” Shefaly Gunjal is the manager of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at Citizen Relations, a global communications and PR firm. She notes that an added challenge for Muslim women who wear hijab is that they are often the only visibly Muslim person in their workplace. Because of this, they may experience heightened scrutiny. “You kind of become the beacon of the religion, where people are bringing all of their assumptions about Muslims to you,” she says. “It can be kind of overwhelming.” Ms. Gunjal says that visibly Muslim women in the workplace may experience a “lack of power and privilege” at the intersection of race, gender and religion. This, she says, is accompanied by incorrect assumptions that take away agency. “I can tell you from personal experience that the hijab is very much a choice that I made and that I celebrated for myself, and I was really excited about it,” she says. read the complete article


19 May 2022

Opinion: In the world's largest democracy, 'looking Muslim' could cost your life

When, as journalists, we prepare for a job, we think carefully about our questions, locations and equipment. But for one of us, documentary photographer Roshan Abbas, there is an added consideration -- how much of his true identity to reveal. Abbas, co-author of this article, is a Muslim man in India. A country where, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's watch, Muslims are being vilified and evicted from their homes, their freedom of religious expression stifled. It's oppression Abbas has experienced firsthand, choosing not to wear a kurta -- a loose, collarless shirt -- that might point to his identity as a Muslim, when traveling the country for work. The decision is cautionary. In public spaces, there looms a sense of uneasiness. Mob lynchings of Muslims who look visibly Muslim have arisen in the past. Likewise, Muslim women wearing hijab can face backlash and discrimination, even though there's no national ban on religious garments in public spaces. Abbas also takes care not to disclose that he attends Jamia Millia Islamia -- a Muslim university associated with student-led protests against the government. The campus has been closed on-and-off since 2019 amid a tumultuous relationship with the government. Just one example of the targeted persecution of Muslims is a controversial citizenship law granting Indian citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants, introduced by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019. Prime Minister Modi has previously suggested that people protesting against the law can be "identified by their clothes" -- a clear reference to Muslim protesters. Little wonder then, that Indian Muslims feel they have had to change how they dress, eat and speak in public. Until recently, members of the BJP hadn't outwardly acknowledged their goal of making India a Hindu nation. Othering Muslims, the country's second largest religion, has proven to be an effective strategy in the BJP's majoritarian politics. Now, India's roughly 200 million Muslims -- just over 14% of the population -- are defending their right to live. read the complete article

19 May 2022

Hindu groups file fresh petitions to stop Muslims from entering historic Indian mosque

Members of hardline Hindu groups filed petitions in a court in northern India to stop Muslims from entering a historic mosque, until the court decides on an earlier plea seeking approval to look for any Hindu relics which may be on the site, lawyers said on Wednesday. Judges of a local court in Mathura, a Hindu religious town in Uttar Pradesh (UP) state, allowed the new petitions but have yet start hearings in the 2020 case aimed at securing permission to film and survey inside the 17th century Shahi Eidgah mosque. "We suspect that Hindu symbols could be removed inside Shahi Eidgah mosque so we want the court to suspend entry of Muslims," said Mahendra Pratap, a lawyer involved in the case. This month, another local court in the state allowed a team to inspect and film inside one of the most prominent mosques in Varanasi, an ancient town, also the political constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Tuesday, the country's top court overturned a ruling imposed by a Varanasi court to limit large Muslim prayer gatherings in the Gyanvapsi mosque, but allowed the local court to continue proceedings. Members of hardline Hindu groups tied to Modi's party believe that Islamic invaders destroyed Hindu temples during their 200-year rule. Surveyors involved in the Varanasi case said they found a large relic of the Hindu god Shiva inside the Gyanvapsi mosque, but Muslim groups said that a fountainhead was being misrepresented to stir religious tension. Reports of idols found inside the mosque have further emboldened Hindu groups in western and southern states to demand searches in other mosques. read the complete article

United Kingdom

19 May 2022

Don’t tell people of colour to be ‘the bigger person’ against racism

In March this year, as I sat on a West Midlands bus, a group of people started chanted racist language and “EDL” – but I kept quiet. The following month, when I saw a boy mocking a group of Sikh men on a train, I spoke out. Both times, I was told by bystanders that I should be “the bigger person” and say nothing. Racism is an uncomfortable topic. It’s uncomfortable to witness, and uncomfortable to realise we may have partaken in racist behaviour. But it is most uncomfortable to be a victim of racism – something I know about far too well as a hijab-wearing Muslim woman from a small town in the Midlands. I’m at a higher risk of experiencing a hate crime, but people often won’t take it seriously when I call them out on their racist behaviour. They are not intimidated by me and will often assume I’m just “playing the victim” or out to cause trouble. There’s a blatant imbalance of power when a white man who is much older and physically larger than me is directing racist language towards me. One thing not to do is to tell people of colour to “be the bigger person” when it comes to racism. To say this is to say the hate crime is just part and parcel of living in the UK, it isn’t worth speaking up about, and just something they have to deal with. To say this as a white person, especially, is to remind people of colour of their “lower” place in society. However, if a white person stepped in – rather than me having to potentially put myself at further risk – the racist may recognise this person as an equal and question their own behaviour. A simple “come on mate, pack it in” from a peer can go a long way. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 19 May 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results