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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02 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, a 66 year old man accused of fire bombing an immigration processing center posted anti-Muslim rants on his Facebook page prior to the attack, meanwhile the country is also marking Islamophobia Awareness Month, as government data shows that Muslims still face the highest rate of religious hate crime in England and Wales, and at the U.N., fifty countries have called on China to uphold international human rights obligations in response to the growing persecution of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Our recommended read of the day is by Rayhan Uddin for Middle East Eye on how the Tory government in the UK has dropped plans towards establishing an official definition of Islamophobia right as the country marks the beginning of Islamophobia Awareness Month. This and more below.

United Kingdom

01 Nov 2022

UK drops working on Islamophobia definition days before awareness month | Recommended Read

The UK government has quietly dropped working towards establishing an official definition of Islamophobia, sparking criticism at the beginning of an awareness-raising month against anti-Muslim prejudice. Tuesday marked the beginning of the tenth annual Islamophobia Awareness Month, a campaign launched by British Muslim organisations in 2012. “I think there are good arguments both for and against having an official definition but the adoption of a definition which had the confidence of Muslim communities and organisations would have signalled to them that the government took the issue of Islamophobia seriously,” Khadijah el-Shayyal, a researcher at Edinburgh University with a focus on Islam in Britain, told Middle East Eye. “It could also have served as a reference point to those seeking redress against structural Islamophobia, or for those educating against it.” In 2019, after six months of consultations, the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims proposed the definition: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” It was adopted by the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, but was rejected by the ruling Tory party. Instead, the then communities secretary, the late James Brokenshire, announced the government would establish its own definition “to get a firmer grip on the nature of this bigotry and division”. “This sorry saga of the Islamophobia definition illustrates that this situation is not even about indifference from the Tories, it's about active contempt for Muslim civic engagement and activism,” said Shayyal. read the complete article

01 Nov 2022

Immigration firebombing suspect ‘posted anti-Muslim rants on Facebook’

The suspect in a firebombing attack at an immigration processing centre appears to have posted anti-Muslim rants on Facebook. He was named by police on Tuesday as Andrew Leak, aged 66 from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. Leak is thought to have thrown two or three incendiary devices at the Western Jet Foil site in Dover, Kent, at about 11.20am on Sunday before killing himself in his car in the car park of a nearby garage. Facebook posts on an account under the name of an Andy Leak from High Wycombe contain anti-Muslim sentiments and complaints about people claiming benefits if they do not speak English. One, shared on August 9, said: “The next time the job centre sanctions your money for not looking for enough work ask them about the thousands of people getting benefits cannot speak English and can not write English, how are they looking for work? Another post, on July 24, said: “All Muslims are guilty of grooming, they never spoke out because it wasn’t their daughters, f****** animals wake up up. “They only rape non-Muslims that’s a religious hate crime are you f****** stupid.” read the complete article

01 Nov 2022

Islamophobia Awareness Month: How to get involved in the annual campaign

Islamophobia Awareness Month has reached a decade of alerting people to prejudice against Muslims, and is calling for reform across policy and practice. According to police statistics, Muslims – and those who are perceived as Muslim – face the highest amount of religious hate in England and Wales. The month of awareness was co-founded by the Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) team and Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development), which empower British Muslims to engage more actively with media and politics. Now on its 10-year anniversary (#10yearson) the group is looking to tackle stereotypes, barriers between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, improve recognition of Islamophobia and develop a working definition of Islamophobia. The theme for IAM 2022 is #tacklingdenial, with emphasis on Islamophobia both visible, such as verbal and physical attacks, and invisible, such as stereotyping, exclusion and marginalisation. read the complete article

02 Nov 2022

Abuse after Muslim hikers' Countryfile appearance

The founder of a Muslim hikers' group says it has been the subject of "shocking" online abuse since appearing on Countryfile. Haroon Mota, from Coventry, took part in an outdoor arts event filmed on Scafell Pike in September for the BBC special shown on Sunday. He recruited more than 200 volunteers to take part. "If we ever needed any validation for why we exist and why we do what we do, this is why," said Mr Mota. The Muslim Hikers were among a group of several hundred who gathered at England's highest mountain for the filming of the Green Space Dark Skies project. "Unfortunately we have received an overwhelming amount of abuse online, a lot of racism," Mr Mota said. "It's something we have had before in the past and its unfortunate that it's happening again. "The reason why we set up Muslim Hikers was so we can create a community where people feel safe, a community where people can thrive... and hike confidently. "It's a shame that we receive abuse occasionally but this type of abuse only gives us the reasoning and the justifications for why we existed in the first place." read the complete article

31 Oct 2022

Suella Braverman sparks furious backlash after branding migrant crisis an 'invasion'

Under-fire Suella Braverman has sparked outrage as she warned the country is facing an "invasion of our southern coast" due to Channel crossings. Using inflammatory language, the Home Secretary, who is facing questions over her own conduct, said: "Let's stop pretending that they are all refugees in distress". Despite the Conservatives being in power for 12 years, Ms Braverman also admitted the "system is broken" and that "illegal migration is out of control". It came as the cabinet minister updated MPs just 24 hours after a man hurled petrol bombs at an aslyum centre in Manston. She also addressed claims she had ignored legal advice on hotels to house those being processed, but hit out at what she described as a "political witch hunt". read the complete article

United States

31 Oct 2022

Court: Muslim woman’s lawsuit may proceed after theft accusation, removal from MSP plane

A Black Muslim woman's discrimination lawsuit may proceed after she was removed from her flight and accused of stealing a pair of earrings from a shop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport two years ago, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered Monday. Mariam Aromashodu, 35, an engineer heading home to Florida after working in North Dakota's oil fields, was shopping at Swarovksi jewelry store in the airport in July 2019. The store manager helped Aromashodu purchase a pair of earrings for her young daughter, showing her multiple pairs, when the manager claimed afterward that some earrings went missing. Two other white customers were in the store at the time, but when Aromashodu left to go get some snacks before her flight, the manager reported a theft to airport police and said Aromashodu stole the pair of earrings. Police took her to the store to speak with store manager Laura Wilkens, of Minneapolis, who police said had inconsistencies in her story. Police determined a theft never occurred and the earrings were never found. read the complete article

01 Nov 2022

Biden again shrinks Guantanamo’s population, creating test for GOP

The developments came roughly a month after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration is moving forward with plans to close the prison, even “appointing a senior diplomat to oversee detainee transfers.” The response from Republicans hasn’t exactly been constructive. For example, Sen. Ted Cruz, displaying the kind of policy seriousness that’s made him famous, accused the administration of wanting to “free more terrorists.” Rep. Kay Granger, top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, has also argued, “These detainees are the worst of the worst, and we need assurance that they will never be moved to the United States.” As we’ve discussed, that’s still not altogether true. Detainees weren’t sent to Guantanamo because they’re the “worst of the worst”; they were sent there because the Bush/Cheney administration wanted to hold the suspects without trial outside of the American judicial system. As for moving them to the United States, American prisons on American soil already hold plenty of terrorists. The detainees at the facility often known as “Gitmo” don’t have superpowers. Our prisons have proven more than capable of locking up the “worst of the worst.” What’s especially discouraging is how little the policy debate has advanced over the last decade. read the complete article


01 Nov 2022

UN members condemn China over abuse of Uighurs in Xinjiang

Fifty countries have called on China to “uphold its international human rights obligations” in a joint statement read out during a United Nations debate that condemned violations against Uighurs and other predominately Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang region. The statement, read out by Canada during a debate of the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee on Monday, expressed concern that China had refused to discuss a UN human rights office report which found that the treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang may constitute “crimes against humanity”. Violations in Xinjiang noted in the joint statement included mass detentions, surveillance based on ethnicity and religion, restrictions on cultural identity and religious practice, destruction of mosques and shrines, enforced disappearance, forced labour, family separations, and forced abortions and sterilisation. read the complete article

01 Nov 2022

Canada must move faster to resettle Uyghur refugees at risk of being returned to a genocide

Abdulrezzak Muhammed expressed gratitude at being able to recently host over 100 fellow Uyghurs from across Canada at the community centre he runs in Ottawa’s east-end. They were in town last Wednesday as part of a delegation urging parliamentarians to support a private member’s motion to resettle 10,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims here in Canada. “The idea for building this centre has been to provide a place to learn and to advocate on Uyghur rights,” he told me by phone. While his immediate family escaped from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region decades ago, members of his extended family are currently missing, jailed or are being held in concentration camps. Tens of thousands of persecuted individuals have escaped such fates by fleeing China and are now living in countries under extreme pressure to send them back where “they face the serious risk of mass arbitrary detention, mass arbitrary separation of children from their parents, forced sterilization, forced labour, torture and other atrocities,” according to motion M62. read the complete article


01 Nov 2022

Shortage of mosques in France: The everyday consequences for French Muslims

The Great Mosque of Paris is not only the oldest, but also one of the largest mosques in mainland France. The Hispano-Moresque building has a 33-metre-high minaret, prayer rooms with intricate decoration, not to mention spectacular gardens. We look back at how this impressive European project came to fruition. Despite the symbolism of the Great Mosque, the construction of places of worship for Muslims in France remains a dilemma. There is a lack of mosques, since projects to expand or build them can sometimes be met with a refusal by authorities, citing administrative or funding concerns. We discuss this issue and more with Chems-Eddine Hafiz, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris. read the complete article

New Zealand

02 Nov 2022

Community groups urge need to combat online hate speech at second counter-terrorism hui

Hate speech is on the rise online and community groups are concerned it will soon escalate to violence. New Zealand's second hui to counter-terrorism and violent extremism He Whenua Taurikura, wrapped up in Auckland yesterday. Speakers from a range of groups including Māori, Pasifika, Asian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and the Rainbow community, shared ideas on how to combat the threat of hate speech and radicalisation. Chairperson of the Federation of Islamic Associations Abdur Razzaq said New Zealand Muslims were subjected to extreme vitriol. "For all the metrics we have, it's getting worse, it's getting worse online and the physical space. It's not just the sheer hate but we are very concerned about the extreme hatred and the correlation with extreme violence." Razzaq said Islamophobia was particularly prevalent in schools. "Research has also pointed out that youth are particularly vulnerable with TikTok and others, Twitter is going back to the old days where they will have all the vitriol there so it is going to get worse in that sense, it is quite sad." He said hate speech legislation was only one part of the solution with a social cohesion approach imperative to bringing change. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Nov 2022 Edition


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