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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26 May 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, two teenage sisters say a man yelled racial slurs and slapped one of them outside the fast-food restaurant in St. John’s where they work, meanwhile in the United Kingdom, Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden said officials have focused on updating the party’s complaints procedure and updated a new safeguarding policy in response to a damaging report on Islamophobia within the party, and in France, the administrative court in the Alpine city of Grenoble has suspended the council’s decision to allow Muslim women to wear them. Our recommended read of the day is by Niha Masih for the Washington Post on how “Hindu nationalists have laid claim to several high-profile mosques, arguing they were originally Hindu temples, with their demands, which Muslims see as an attempt to erase their history from the country, gaining traction under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.” This and more below:


26 May 2022

The mosque at the center of India’s battle over religious identity | Recommended Read

The 17th-century mosque in Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city, has emerged as the latest flash point in the escalating struggle between India’s Hindu nationalists and its Muslim minority. After a controversial court survey claimed to find the relic of a Hindu deity on its premises, the area was sealed by the court and large prayer gatherings were banned. For decades, Hindu nationalists have laid claim to several high-profile mosques, arguing they were originally Hindu temples, or holy sites desecrated by Muslim emperors hundreds of years ago. Their demands, which Muslims see as an attempt to erase their history from the country, have gained traction under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. “This is all a political ploy,” said Ateeq Ansari, a 66-year-old businessman who has prayed at the mosque for decades. “The beauty of this country — its diversity — is now being tarnished.” The efforts to reclaim Muslim places of worship aren’t primarily about litigating the past, experts say. “For Hindu nationalists, there is no place for Muslims in India’s future except as oppressed, second-class citizens whose rights are routinely denied,” said Audrey Truschke, a professor of South Asian history at Rutgers University. The new legal momentum in the Gyanvapi case has led to fears of street violence, like the kind that engulfed the country 30 years ago after a Hindu mob razed a 16th-century mosque in the city of Ayodhya. In the riots that followed, 2,000 people were killed. It was the movement against the mosque in Ayodhya that catapulted Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or the BJP, onto the national political stage in the early 1990s. Now, a grand temple is being built at the disputed site, which Hindus believe to be the birthplace of the god Ram. The ruling in Varanasi set off a spate of similar petitions across the country laying claim to other historic and religious sites built by Muslim rulers. Even the Taj Mahal — the white-marbled mausoleum built by a Mughal emperor as a monument of love for his queen, and India’s most popular tourist destination — has not been spared. read the complete article

26 May 2022

Gyanvapi mosque dispute becomes a religious flashpoint in India

For nearly three centuries, Muslims and Hindus in India’s northern Varanasi city have prayed to their gods in a mosque and a temple that are separated by one wall. Many see it as an example of religious coexistence in a country where bouts of deadly communal violence are common. That coexistence is now under threat due to a controversial court case. A local court earlier this month began hearing a petition filed by a group of Hindus that seeks access to pray inside the Gyanvapi mosque compound, arguing it was built on top of the ruins of a medieval-era temple that was razed by a Mughal emperor. The petitioners say the complex still houses Hindu idols and motifs, a claim that has been contested by the mosque’s authorities. The legal battle is the latest instance of a growing phenomenon in which Hindu groups petition courts demanding land they claim belongs to Hindus. Critics say such cases spark fears over the status of religious places for India’s Muslims, a minority community that has come under attack in recent years by Hindu nationalists who seek to turn officially secular India into an avowedly Hindu nation. “The idea to bombard the courts with so many petitions is to keep the Muslims in check and the communal pot simmering,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a political analyst and commentator. “It is a way to tell Muslims that their public display of faith in India is no more accepted and that the alleged humiliation heaped on them by Muslim rulers of the medieval past should be redressed now.” read the complete article

United States

26 May 2022

Meet the 'Replacement Killers' groomed by Trump and Tucker

Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson have convinced millions of Americans they need to kill or be killed: If conservative whites don’t act now, they will be wiped out and replaced by Black Lives Matter mobs, criminal immigrants, Islamic terrorists, and deviant gays. This is the great replacement conspiracy animating the GOP. It’s an apocalyptic vision of sinister elites plotting to replace whites with subservient and subhuman people. Trump, Tucker, and other Republican firebrands have galvanized a white-rage minority against an existential threat that is everywhere so anything is permissible from banning Mexicans, refugees, and trans people, to voter suppression, election theft, and deadly coups. As a result, Trump’s followers think most Americans are the devil incarnate. But most Americans aren’t simply going to disappear. So far-right extremists are taking cues from Trump, who acts like a strongman and endorses violence with sadistic glee. They have carried out massacres against people he demonizes: Blacks, Jews, Asians, Muslims, and immigrants. Terrorism is inherent to Trumpism because he is an avatar of white backlash. Every time Blacks have made gains, there has been a violent white reaction: Reconstruction, the great migration, the Civil Rights movement, Obama’s election, Black Lives Matter. Trump rose to political prominence by spreading the racist birther conspiracy that Obama was not born in the United States. Then he doubled down on GOP smears that Obama is a Muslim Manchurian agent, personally responsible for terror attacks like the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2015. This thinking, combined with Trump-bashing Obama and Democrats for letting in criminal hordes who kill regular Americans, is great replacement in all but name. He plants the idea in the minds of his followers there is a plot to replace whites with inferior people. Tucker then feeds the conspiracy, having mentioned great replacement in 400 shows. Trump’s red-cap MAGA movement weaves together various strands of vicious reactionary politics — racism, Islamophobia, nativism, transphobia, misogyny. The explosion of far-right violence is cut from the same cloth. The killers attack different groups that Trump demonizes, but more and more they justify massacres by pointing to great replacement. read the complete article

26 May 2022

Canadian ice hockey star responds to racist and Islamophobic abuse after win

Canadian ice hockey star Nazem Kadri has received death threats and Islamophobic abuse on social media following an accidental collision with another player in the second round playoffs of the Stanley Cup. Kadri, who plays for Colorado Avalanche, received a deluge of abuse on Saturday after he was involved in a collision in Game Three which led to the injury of St Louis Blues starting goalkeeper Jordan Binnington. Following the collision, for which he was not penalised, Kadri received a flood of abuse on social media which his wife shared on her Instagram page following Game Four, on Monday. "Great game tonight, very proud of Nazem. But I want to shine light on what the last 48 hours has looked like for us as a family," Kadri's wife wrote on top of screengrabs of messages from apparent Blues fans. The messages included death threats and derogatory comments about Kadri's Muslim faith. "This behavior doesn't belong in sports, or anywhere. If you are not condemning racism, then you are tolerating it," she wrote. Kadri was booed every time he touched the puck in Game Four at St. Louis, where there was a heightened police presence due to the situation. The NHL told the Associated Press news agency that it was working with the St Louis Police Department to implement enhanced security measures at the arena and in the team hotel. "People need to be aware that this stuff still happens and it's hurtful. It's hurtful," he said. "At the end of the day I'm a good hockey player and I just try to provide for my team and try to put all of that aside. I just worry about some people that maybe aren't as mentally tough as I am and have to go through that scrutiny and that criticism. So I want to do the best I can to help." read the complete article


26 May 2022

Niqab bans boost hate crimes against Muslims and legalize Islamophobia — Podcast

Last year, as a Muslim Canadian family took their evening stroll during lockdown in London, Ont., a white man rammed his pickup truck into them. Four of the five family members were killed. The incident sparked horror and outrage. But the truth of the matter is anti-Muslim sentiment has been on the steady rise in the 20 years since 9/11. According to a report from July 2021 by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, more Muslims have been killed in Canada in targeted attacks and hate crimes than in any other G7 country. Our guest on today’s episode of Don’t Call Me Resilient says that instead of deterring anti-Muslim hate, Canadian laws are actually making it worse — in essence, legalizing Islamophobia. Natasha Bakht is an award-winning legal scholar who has spent the past five years researching the rise in anti-Muslim attitudes in North America. She is a professor in the faculty of law at the University of Ottawa and the author of In Your Face: Law, Justice, and Niqab Wearing Women in Canada. In her book, Natasha explores the stories of niqab-wearing women who have faced discriminatory laws. read the complete article

26 May 2022

Muslim teenage sisters call out racist attack in St. John's

Two teenage sisters say a man yelled racial slurs and slapped one of them outside the fast-food restaurant in St. John's where they work. Asmahan and Malak Al Salloum say they were on a break from their part-time jobs at the Mary's Diner on Torbay Road around 9 p.m. on May 6 when a man started yelling at them. "He was telling us, 'I don't know what you're up to' and 'Why are you here?'" said Malak, who is in Grade 9. Asmahan is graduating from high school this year. The sisters say they were targeted because they're Muslim. They, and a friend who was with them at the time, wear hijabs. "He told me … 'Shut up, you Black,' and then said the n-word, and that's when I got mad," said Malak. Malak says she started yelling back, worried that he might attack the other two girls. A video taken by one of the girls shows the man getting up close to Malak's face and slapping her. She says she then threw her iced coffee at him. "He came over to hit me again, so I punched, because I had no idea what's going on," said Malak. After that he backed off and walked away, say the girls, who then called the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. The girls say officers took a statement but haven't been able to identify the man or lay charges. read the complete article

United Kingdom

26 May 2022


The majority of women of colour feel compelled to change parts of the way they look and behave at work in order to “fit in”, new research has found. The findings are outlined in a new report conducted by gender equality organisation the Fawcett Society and race equality thinktank, The Runnymede Trust. For the report, the organisations surveyed 2,000 women of Black and Asian heritage and more than 1,000 white women nationwide. Among the findings, the research revealed that 61 per cent of women of colour change themselves at work, with 37 per cent changing their language or the words they use. Meanwhile, 26 per cent said they change their hairstyle and 22 per cent even said they have changed their name. More than half of Muslim and Black African women surveyed said they had changed the clothes they wore at work. Meanwhile, a quarter of women with Indian heritage said they had changed their name. In total, 75 per cent said they had experienced racism at work, with 27 per cent suffering racial slurs. The report also revealed that such incidences are having an impact on the wellbeing of women of colour, with 39 per cent of those surveyed saying they had been impacted by a lack of progression compared to 2 per cent of white women. read the complete article

26 May 2022

Tories announce major Islamophobia rules shake-up - on day of Sue Gray report

The Conservative Party have confirmed a major shake-up to their Islamophobia complaints process - hours after Sue Gray published her damning Partygate report. Party chairman Oliver Dowden told members this afternoon officials have focused on updating its complaints procedure and updated a new safeguarding policy in response to a damaging report on Islamophobia within the party. From 2015-2020 the party's central database recorded 1,418 complaints relating to 727 incidents of alleged discrimination - an average of 237 complaints about 122 incidents a year, an independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the party noted. No action was taken in 418 incidents for reasons including the complaint being in relation to someone who was not a party member, insufficient evidence or a prior investigation. A CCHQ source told the Mirror the updated code of conduct contains a much clearer complaints process which hears all complaints made against it. The updated code clearly states that all party members must "not discriminate against, bully, harass or victimise any other person because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation". It even adds party members must not "bully or harass anyone for any reason", which was not previously in its code of conduct. read the complete article


26 May 2022

French court blocks 'burkinis' in council's pools

A French court stepped into a row over the wearing of burkinis in municipal swimming pools, suspending a council's decision to allow Muslim women to wear them. The administrative court in the Alpine city of Grenoble blocked the rule change by the council there, arguing that it "seriously violated the principle of neutrality in public service". Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin welcomed the court ruling as "excellent news" in a post on Twitter Wednesday evening. The ruling was the latest development in a long-running dispute that has set defenders of France's secular values against those arguing that a burkini ban constitutes discrimination. The all-in-one swimsuit, used by some Muslim women to cover their bodies and hair while bathing, is a controversial issue in France where critics see it as a symbol of creeping Islamisation. The governor of the Isere region in southeast France had asked the court to intervene to stop the rule change from coming into effect in June. The new rule had been championed by Grenoble's mayor Eric Piolle, one of the country's highest profile Green politicians who leads a broad left-wing coalition locally. The rule changes the council had approved would have allowed all types of bathing suits, not just traditional swimming costumes for women and trunks for men. Women would also have been free to bathe topless if they chose to. read the complete article


26 May 2022

Xinjiang Police Files Show Xi Jinping’s Personal Involvement in Uyghur Persecution

The Xinjiang Police Files, published this week by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in cooperation with a media consortium including the BBC, USA Today, ICIJ, and Der Spiegel, is an astounding treasure trove of images, documents, speeches, and spreadsheets of detainees detailing efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to wipe out all traces of identity and culture among its Uyghur population in China’s far-western Xinjiang region. One of the secret documents that the files expose is a speech given in June 2018 by Zhao Kezhi, China’s minister of public security. This document, which is marked “Classified Document, Return After Reading,” offers a naked insight into the thinking and mindset of the CCP, and its rationale for the coercive measures it has taken on the Uyghur people as well as other Turkic minorities. Equally as important, Zhao’s speech pointedly and repeatedly identifies Chinese President Xi Jinping as the origin of the policies being wrought upon Uyghurs in Xinjiang. In a speech which in English is 10 pages long, “General Secretary Xi” appears 14 times, referring always to Xi by his Chinese Communist Party title. Zhao opens by squarely identifying Xi as the primary architect and sponsor of the drive to detain without trial hundreds of thousands of people. read the complete article


26 May 2022

Has the world forgotten about the Rohingya?

The UN is demanding international support for more than one million Rohingya refugees struggling to survive in camps in Bangladesh. They were forced to leave their homes in Myanmar nearly five years ago when the military launched a crackdown against the mainly Muslim minority. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 26 May 2022 Edition


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