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
10 Nov 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, written materials found by police following the June killing of a Muslim family in London, Ont., indicate the alleged attacker was influenced by the gunman who took 51 lives at two New Zealand mosques in 2019, meanwhile in India, lawyers and journalists are among dozens of people being investigated by police over posts on social media about anti-Muslim violence, and in the United States, Nida Allam, who made made headlines in March 2020 when she became the first Muslim woman to win elected office in North Carolina, announced on Monday that she will run for Congress. Our recommended read of the day is by Sian Norris for Byline Times on how Operation Luxor, the 2020 raids conducted by the Austrian government targeting Muslim academics, religious leaders, and activists, was heavily influenced by Lorenzo Vidino, an academic who has promoted a number of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories including the far-right Great Replacement theory. This and more below:


10 Nov 2021

Austrian Government Anti-Muslim Raids INSPIRED BY ADVOCATE OF Racist Great Replacement Theory | Recommended Read

Experts’ sharing far-right conspiracy and with links to neoconservative groups were consulted in the run-up to traumatic raids against Muslim families in Austria a year ago, a report reveals today. The Operation Luxor raids, which took place in the Central European country on 9 November 2020, targeted 70 homes and mobilised 930 officials including police officers and special unit agents. The raids were overseen by Interior Minister Karl Nehammer. In the intervening 12 months, no one affected by the raids has been charged for any offence. Nine of the raids have since been deemed unlawful. Counter-terrorism expert Dr Maria Norris told Byline Times: “The fact that experts with clear links to the far right were consulted in regards to a counterterrorism operation affecting Muslims is deeply concerning, but not at all surprising. Unfortunately, there is a strong overlap between right-wing Islamophobic beliefs and many of the assumptions underpinning modern counterterrorism policy across Europe.” The report, authored by CAGE and ACT-P, shines a light on how the Austrian state cited “experts” with links to far-right views before launching the raids. These included Lorenzo Vidino, who was referenced 35 times in the Luxor arrest warrants. Vidino is well-known for promoting “conspiracy theories about the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and the United States” and is on record advocating the Great Replacement theory. The baseless far-right conspiracy posits that white people are being replaced in the Global North by rising, mostly Muslim, migration. In 2005, when asked if Europeans were witnessing “the end of Europe” by FrontPage magazine – the far-right publication of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black activist David Horowitz – Dr Vidino described how “Europe as we knew it 30 years ago is long gone. Demography doesn’t lie: in a couple of decades non-ethnic Europeans will represent the majority of the population in many European cities and a large percentage of them will be Muslim.” Vidino’s publications have been cited by the anti-Muslim blogger “Fjordman,” whose texts Norwegian white nationalist and mass murderer Anders Breivik copied into his manifesto. Breivik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. In the ideological reasoning for the Luxor raids, the State Prosecutor relied heavily on Vidino as an “expert witness.” read the complete article


10 Nov 2021

The silent epidemic: Islamophobia, communal trauma and mental health in Muslim communities

But beyond the news reports, the impact of Islamophobia on greater society – particularly on the mental health of Muslims both individually and as a community –seems to largely be neglected. Ayo Olatunji, a final year medical student at UCL and community worker who works to fight against Islamophobia, racism and discrimination describes the impact of Islamophobia as causing “deep searing lines of trauma within Muslim communities, in that constantly having to be on guard they can’t deal with this trauma.” This trauma can manifest within individual actions in various ways, with studies showing how people who routinely experience harassment or are victims to hate crimes feel a need to “discard their religious identifiers (e.g., the hijab or headscarf for Muslim women, the turban for Sikh men) or cease attendance at their places of worship.” The trauma of dealing with hate crimes, or even everyday microaggressions is not just limited to individuals but impacts communities at large. “The biggest thing it does is that it takes away the feeling of security. When security is lacking, people develop anxiety around mundane daily activities, like taking a walk. This anxiety can seep into parenting behaviours and can be passed on to young children as well. It might also trigger rumination and regret about the decision to immigrate,” says Israa Nasir, founder of Well.Guide, a mental health platform focused on transforming the way we talk about mental health, taking it from a place of shame to a place of empowerment. But when it comes to talking about solutions to these harms, it because all the more difficult when dealing with them under to context of the stigmas through which mental health is perceived in many Muslim communities. read the complete article

10 Nov 2021

US Holocaust Museum says China boosting Uyghur repression

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum says it has compiled evidence of increasing government repression against Uyghur Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region. In a new report released Tuesday, the museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide says there is now “a reasonable basis” to believe that previously alleged crimes against humanity versus the Uyghurs are growing amid a concerted campaign to hide their severity. “The Chinese government has done its best to keep information about crimes against the Uyghurs from seeing the light of day,” said Tom Bernstein, the chairman of the museum’s Committee on Conscience. “The Chinese government must halt its attacks on the Uyghur people and allow independent international monitors to investigate and ensure that the crimes have stopped.” The report, which cites witness testimony, publicly available information from dissidents and accounts provided by human rights groups, expands on the museum’s March 2020 findings that the Chinese Communist Party had persecuted, unlawfully imprisoned and otherwise severely deprived Uyghurs of their physical liberty. The new findings include allegations of forced sterilization, sexual violence, enslavement, torture and forcible transfer. The U.S. government has already determined that China’s actions against Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslim and other minority populations amount to genocide. read the complete article

10 Nov 2021

COP26 Is Silent on Human Rights in China

To many Uyghurs and Tibetans in exile, a July letter sent by several climate, environmental, and anti-war organizations to the Biden administration confirmed their worst suspicions—that the climate and environmental movement did not care about them or their causes. “That made us upset,” said Omer Kanat, director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project. “We felt they were sacrificing Uyghurs to convince China to come to the table for climate change.” The letter—in which CODEPINK, an organization pushing genocide-denying content, joined environmental organizations Friends of the Earth, the Union of Concerned Scientists, 350 Action, Earthworks, and the Sunrise Movement—argued U.S. President Joe Biden’s confrontational approach would harm climate change action. It made no mention of the reason for some of that confrontation—the situation in Xinjiang, Tibet, or Hong Kong—implicitly making the argument that silence on human rights was an acceptable cost for climate action. Yet, there’s no mention of human rights abuses in Tibet, Xinjiang, or Hong Kong by the NRDC, Greenpeace, or Friends of the Earth’s websites or social media. The NRDC, 350 Action, and Friends of the Earth International declined to speak with Foreign Policy about their positions on human rights issues in China, while Sunrise Movement didn’t respond to repeated attempts to reach them. Other groups were only willing to speak off the record. The one exception was the Union of Concerned Scientists, which stated they were unaware of the other signatories until the letter was released and stand behind their belief in using peaceful and diplomatic means to address global challenges. read the complete article

10 Nov 2021

Why not the freedom to choose?

The Council of Europe, a human rights body, was only trying to help. They recently launched a campaign to criticise the headscarf bans in Europe. The campaign, which appears to be a largely online initiative, involved slogans like #LetHerChoose. At least one of the graphics showed a Muslim woman as a paper doll wearing a headscarf; around her are various other outfits to choose from. Another hashtag used by the tweets called for celebrating diversity and respecting the hijab. Yet another shows a European woman of African heritage and the slogan #MyHijabMyChoice. Ever since France’s initial ban on headscarves in 2004, the country has been obsessed with the garment, with a zeal equal only to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The latter state wants to force women to wear the veil; France wants to force them out of the veil. The current moment is not any different. In the run-up to the Council of Europe’s Twitter campaign, French politicians have made the veil almost the centrepiece of their politics. Éric Zemmour, a far-right television anchor and a great favourite to challenge Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election, is one example. A few weeks ago, Zemmour visited an area around Paris that has a large Muslim population. There he got into an argument with a Muslim woman and asked her to “prove” that she was “really free” by removing the scarf in front of him. The woman did what he asked, but of course Muslim women in France can never prove that they are choosing to wear the headscarf. Zemmour got what he wanted: a viral provocative news clip that ensured that the news cycle in France was devoted entirely to him for the next week. It is not surprising, then, that even a small Twitter campaign pointing out the stupidity and racism represented by the ban would make a number of French politicians upset. A few days after the campaign began, some of them also took to Twitter. Eric Zemmour, the man who did “the headscarf stunt”, denounced the Muslim faith and called the campaign “the enemy of the truth”. Marine Le Pen, the original right-wing prima donna of the French political establishment, was not far behind. She called the campaign “scandalous” and “inappropriate”, given that the French state has been fighting for the right to denounce it. The French left, whose only point of agreement with the French far-right is a collective hatred of Muslims, also denounced the campaign. As the French criticism of the campaign gathered steam and ignited controversy, a Belgian member of the European Parliament chimed in, saying he was “shocked” and that he “would always oppose” the initiative, which used European freedoms to subjugate women. read the complete article

United States

10 Nov 2021

Nida Allam, North Carolina’s First Muslim Woman Elected, Sets Her Eyes On Congress

Nida Allam made headlines in March 2020 when she became the first Muslim woman to win elected office in North Carolina. Now, the 27-year-old Democrat and member of the Durham County Board of Commissioners has set her eyes on Washington, D.C., announcing Monday that she will run for Congress. “I hope voters see that I’m someone who’s going to hit the ground running and get to work in Congress. The issues that we’re facing right now in America need urgent response,” said Allam. “We need someone who’s going to start getting the work done right away and fighting for all North Carolinians.” If her next bid is successful, Allam would join Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as the third Muslim woman in Congress, and just the fifth Muslim overall when including Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) and former Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). Like her predecessors, Allam has faced Islamophobia during her rise in politics. But she hopes to usher in a more progressive agenda in her district by fighting against climate change and advocating for reproductive rights and a more inclusive Congress. In February 2015, her friends and fellow students Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were gunned down in Chapel Hill. The incident was initially framed as a parking dispute, despite the victims’ families insisting the killings were a hate crime. During the 2019 sentencing of the shooter, law enforcement officials walked back that framing and acknowledged the Islamophobic and hateful nature of the murders. “After we lost the Deah, Yusor, and Razan, and the way that it was immediately described as a parking dispute, that was what really triggered me,” said Allam. “Three of our brightest, best examples of what it means to be a proud Muslim American were murdered in the most brutal way and it was just pushed to the side as the parking dispute and minimized.” “We can’t stand by and not be involved in politics and not speak up, because politics affects our lives every single day. If we don’t speak up and share our own stories, somebody else is going to write it for us,” she added. read the complete article

10 Nov 2021


“When we talk about domestic violence, people automatically assume Muslim women are being controlled, especially those of us who cover their head,” Dr. Farha Abbasi said at the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition’s first mental health conference, held in Brookfield Sept. 18-19. “We hear this constantly: Is your husband or your brother or your father mistreating you? “When it comes to Muslim women, the narrative we hear all the time is that we need to empower and rescue Muslim women, even to the point that we went to war.” Dr. Abbasi, assistant professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Psychiatry and a core member of the university’s Muslim Studies Program, was a featured speaker at MMWC’s two-day conference that brought together national and local behavioral health experts to address the unique needs of Muslim patients. It was the first conference of its kind in Wisconsin. As a cultural psychiatrist who focuses on domestic violence, Dr. Abbasi decided to pursue a personal journey to understand domestic violence through the lens of her identity and religion, she said. This journey led her to separate what Islam teaches about the role of women from beliefs that have been passed on through culture that pre-dated Islam. “We need to broaden our understanding of domestic violence. It can happen to anyone. It transcends race, gender and religion. It is pervasive in our society,” Dr. Abbasi said. “We all know it is a moral, ethical and social failure from an individual to a community to society. “The United States Department of Justice defines domestic abuse as: ‘A pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.’ “There is no cookie-cutter definition,” she explained. “It is a form of oppression that could be verbal, mental, physical, sexual, emotional, social, spiritual and economic. It could be spiritual also. We have seen faith leaders become abusive. It causes fear and harm to the body, mind and spirit. “It can happen at home or outside the home. While we always hear the complaint that men can be victims, too, the numbers show that women are more vulnerable. read the complete article

10 Nov 2021

New Initiative Aims to Change How Movies Portray Muslims

A new initiative to promote the inclusion of Muslims in filmmaking has been created by an advocacy group with the support of the Walt Disney Company — following a report issued this year that found that Muslims are rarely depicted in popular films and that many Muslim characters are linked to violence. The project, the Pillars Muslim Artist Database, was announced on Tuesday by the Pillars Fund, an advocacy group in Chicago. It produced the earlier report on depiction along with the University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and others. Kashif Shaikh, a co-founder of Pillars and its president, said that when the group discussed the findings, those in the industry often said they did not know where to find Muslim writers or actors. The database, Shaikh said, aims to give Muslim actors, directors, cinematographers, sound technicians and others, who could help create more nuanced portrayals, the chance to compose online profiles that can be reviewed by those hiring for film, television and streaming productions. That way, “Muslims around the country would be able to opt in and talk about their talents, talk about their expertise,” Shaikh said. “It was really meant to be a resource for studios, for the film industry.” read the complete article


10 Nov 2021

Podcast: In Last 7 Years, Muslims Have Found Co-Existence With Old Neighbours Is Near Impossible

The escalation of violence against Muslims in recent years has reached alarming levels. Along with the physical attacks, has come legislative measures by the centre and the states, including the Citizens Amendment Act and a ban on so-called ‘love jihad’ marriages. UP has seen occasional violence in the past, but what is different now is that the state is leading it, says Ghazala Wahab in this podcast discussion with Sidharth Bhatia. “This is a unique phenomena,” says Wahab, author of the book Born a Muslim: Some Truths About Islam in India. What is worse, she says, other parties in UP have stopped speaking up for the Muslims. read the complete article

10 Nov 2021

Indian journalists investigated over tweets on anti-Muslim violence

Lawyers and journalists are among dozens of people being investigated by police in India over posts on social media about anti-Muslim violence, in a case that has stoked concern about freedom of speech in the world's largest democracy. Authorities on Sunday opened a criminal investigation into the owners of 102 social media accounts under strict anti-terrorism legislation for allegedly sharing "fake news" about mob attacks on Muslims in the remote northeastern state of Tripura last month. They include several prominent Indian journalists, an Australian journalist and a law professor based in the United States. The majority of those under investigation are reportedly Muslims. It follows violence targeting at least four mosques and Muslim-owned homes and shops in Tripura as Hindu groups rallied against the killings of minority Hindus in neighbouring Bangladesh. Police said the owners of the Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts were being investigated for allegedly aiming to instigate further violence by sharing misleading visuals and text on social media. A case has been opened under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), vaguely worded legislation that allows people to be held for six months without charge. read the complete article


10 Nov 2021

EXCLUSIVE: London attack suspect was inspired by New Zealand mosque shooter, sources say

Written materials allegedly found by police following the June killing of a Muslim family in London, Ont., indicate the alleged attacker was influenced by the gunman who took 51 lives at two New Zealand mosques in 2019. Multiple sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to Global News that a large volume of ideological writings, some allegedly penned by the suspect himself, were seized during the investigation into the vehicle attack that left four dead. The written materials, which sources said were found in Nathaniel Veltman’s truck, home and computer, allegedly showed he was a follower of Brenton Tarrant, who opened fire on worshippers in Christchurch two years ago. It would be the latest attack linked to New Zealand’s worst mass murderer. A subsequent shooting in 2019 that killed 23 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, was also among those linked to the New Zealand attacks. Following the June 6 attack in London, Veltman was charged with terrorism offences for allegedly striking a Muslim family with his pickup truck, but in the five since then authorities have disclosed little about his alleged motive. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 10 Nov 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results