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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11 Nov 2019

Today in Islamophobia: As India’s Supreme Court comes to a decision on the Ayodhya holy site, ruling faces mixed reactions from Muslim Indians. Thousands in Paris, France march against Islamophobia, while the Vision NZ political party in New Zealand declares a ban on the construction of new mosques and other foreign buildings of worship. Our recommended read of the day is an opinion piece by Nesrine Malik citing the difficulty of discussing Islamophobia in British politics, especially amongst the Conservative Party. This, and more, below:

United Kingdom

11 Nov 2019

Recommended Read | When it comes to Islamophobia, Tory eyes are still wide shut

Trying to talk about Islamophobia in British politics today – never mind seeking to hold anyone accountable for it – is an endeavour perpetually condemned to this state of invisibility. This was helpfully illustrated on Saturday by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, who appeared on the Today programme to explain why the Conservative party was not holding an inquiry into Islamophobia. Asked about Sayeeda Warsi’s tireless campaign against Islamophobia in her own party, Hancock glibly allowed that “I like Sayeeda” – but noted that “there are others who take a more balanced approach” to what is apparently a subject demanding great nuance. The erstwhile inquiry – once promised by Boris Johnson himself – has now been jettisoned in favour of a sort of “All Lives Matter” approach, which will not look specifically into Islamophobia, but examine “all types of prejudice”. What Hancock and the Conservatives see when confronted with reports of anti-Muslim hate is not Muslims themselves. They see personal hysteria, or political correctness – exaggeration, or “humbug”, in Johnson’s own words. Their inner eyes, as Ellison put it, look right past the reality. Warsi, a Conservative peer who has worked in race relations for three decades, is Tory Islamophobia’s invisible woman. The leaders of the Conservative party have decided that the perception that the Conservatives have a problem with Muslims – whether real or imagined – is one they can live with. The decision to pull the Islamophobia inquiry in favour of a vague look into “all types” of prejudice isn’t a sign that the party thinks this problem doesn’t exist; it’s an indication that they think it’s a problem they can afford to have. read the complete article

Recommended Read
11 Nov 2019

Tory minister accused of ‘whitesplaining’ Islamophobia to senior Muslim Conservative Sayeeda Warsi

Matt Hancock sparked a row when he claimed other Conservatives took a “balanced” view on the issue of anti-Muslim hate in Tory ranks, compared with former chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. Lady Warsi, who was the first female Muslim to attend cabinet, has been campaigning for a full independent inquiry into Islamophobia. However, the prime minister said the Conservatives would be conducting a “general investigation into prejudice” – stopping short of Lady Warsi’s calls for an independent probe. Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well look, I like Sayeeda, she has a particular view on this. There are others who take a more balanced approach.” Lady Warsi posted on Twitter: “Oh @MattHancock Thank you for ‘whitesplaining’ this to me. “I’m so glad I have colleagues like you who can educate me even after my 30 years of experience of work in race relations. Thousand apologies sir”. read the complete article

11 Nov 2019

Muslim women ‘fear for their safety’ after Boris Johnson scraps Islamophobia inquiry

British Muslims say they fear that ‘hate crime and anti-Muslim racism will go unchallenged’ after the prime minister went back on his pledge to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. Dr Siema Iqbal, co-founder of Advancing Voices of Women against Islamophobia, said it sent out a clear message that Muslims ‘did not matter’, which she found ‘upsetting’. Dr Iqbal told ‘Boris Johnson’s refusal to investigate the very real issue of Islamophobia, experienced by Muslims throughout the country, and fuelled by himself and members of his party, comes sadly as no surprise to many British Muslims but is totally unacceptable. read the complete article

11 Nov 2019

Judge slams council after three Muslim children were ‘fed bacon sandwiches while in foster care’

MUSLIM children were fed bacon sandwiches when they were taken into foster care, a court has heard. The three siblings — all under 16 — were removed from their parents over concerns about domestic violence in the family home. They were placed with non-Muslim foster carers who gave them bacon sandwiches and bacon and eggs for breakfast. Their carers allegedly told them: “If we make bacon, you eat it.” The father accused the council in Yorkshire of “playing God” with his children by ignoring their Islamic faith. And Judge Angela Finnerty said she “shared the abhorrence of the parents”. The mother added: “I have never used my culture throughout all these proceedings but there is a limit to my patience.” She also told a social worker the council “don’t like Muslims, they don’t want Muslim kids to be raised as Muslims by Muslim parents”. The foster parents said the children were Westernised and had turned their backs on religion. read the complete article


11 Nov 2019

Thousands march against Islamophobia in Paris

“Yes to criticism of religion, no to hatred of believers”, “Stop Islamophobia” and “Co-existing is crucial,” read some of the signs held aloft at the demonstration, as marchers set off from the Gare du Nord train station in the French capital on a rainy Sunday afternoon. “Solidarity with veiled women”, some in the crowd chanted. French media on Sunday evening estimated the number of participants in Paris at around 13,500. The rally – held at the initiative of a number of left-wing political organisations including the New Anticapitalist Party and groups including the Collective Against Islamophobia in France – was called for by the left-leaning daily Libération in an editorial on November 1, four days after a man attacked a mosque in Bayonne and amid the flare of renewed debate over Muslim women wearing the veil in public establishments like schools. But the march drew criticism from the far-right National Rally party (formerly the National Front), which accused organisers of forming an alliance with “Islamists”. It also spurred divisions among political parties on the left. Some critics questioned “the very definition" of Islamophobia, said FRANCE 24’s Alison Sargent, reporting from the march in central Paris. Some say “that they feel 'Islamophobia' means that you are not allowed to criticise Islam as a religion". read the complete article

11 Nov 2019

France, secularism and hijab paranoia

The debate over Muslim women wearing the veil has been reignited in France after a mother was verbally abused last month by a far-right politician during her son's school trip to a regional assembly. The politician demanded the woman remove her headscarf or leave. Politicians are now examining a proposed law that would ban parents from wearing religious symbols on school trips. The legislation has little chance of passing, but it has put the issue of French secularism, embodied in the principle of "laicite", firmly back in the spotlight. Critics see a worrying trend where laicite could enter more areas of French society. "We are witnessing a transformation of 'laicite' into a legal monster that it was not aimed to be when the law was implemented," said human rights researcher Rim-Sarah Alouane, who focuses on religious freedom and civil liberties. "We have religious freedom at stake, but also constant harassment and targeting of a part of our population," she added. read the complete article


11 Nov 2019

Hindus allowed to build on disputed holy site, India's Supreme Court rules

India's Supreme Court on Saturday granted Hindus permission to build a temple at the centuries-old Ayodhya holy site, ending one of the country's most politically charged land disputes. The 2.77 acres, previously claimed by both Hindus and Muslims, was the site of a 16th-century mosque demolished by right-wing mobs in 1992 in Ayodhya, a town in the state of Uttar Pradesh. But in a unanimous decision, India's top court ruled Saturday that a Hindu temple to the god Ram could be constructed at the site, while giving Muslim representatives a separate 5 acres of land in the town. To settle the ownership claim, the Supreme Court was asked to consider ancient texts, a 500-year-old diary written by a Mughal emperor, travelogues from medieval merchants, as well as colonial-era surveys and archeological records. The destruction of the Babri Masjid mosque by Hindu extremists in 1992 sparked some of the worst violence seen in India since independence, with more than 2,000 people killed in nationwide rioting. Dozens of temples and mosques were also targeted in a series of revenge attacks by Hindu and Muslim mobs. read the complete article

11 Nov 2019

As Hindus rejoice, Muslim reaction mixed over Ayodhya verdict

A 16th-century mosque, known as Babri Masjid, had been at the site until December 6, 1992, when it was destroyed by Hindu mobs. The country later witnessed some of the deadliest religious riots since independence, in which thousands of mostly Muslim Indians were killed. On Saturday, five judges led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also directed the Indian government to allot five acres (two hectares) of land to Muslims to build a mosque, and acknowledged that the demolition in 1992 violated the rule of the law. The Supreme Court directed the government to form a committee within three months to lead the construction of the temple. Some congratulated each other on the streets as others chanted "Jai Shree Ram" (Hail Lord Ram), a religious slogan that was politicised in the early 1990s during the Ram Temple Movement, which led to the demolition of Babri Mosque. Reactions among the Muslim community in Ayodhya were mixed. Some welcomed the decision, others rejected it, and there was a feeling of resignation - that Muslims had no choice but to accept the court's decision. read the complete article

United States

11 Nov 2019

Muslim candidates in Michigan faced hate during political campaigns in 2018

A new report released last week by several scholars from four universities confirms the experiences that El-Sayed and other Muslim candidates across the U.S. faced during the 2018 political campaigns. Titled "#Islamophobia, Stoking Fear and Prejudice in the 2018 Midterms," the 97-page report details the hatred that 166 Muslim political candidates in the U.S. endured during the midterm elections. While the study portrayed a hostile climate for Muslim candidates, many continue to succeed. Last week, 26 Muslim candidates across the U.S. — including some in metro Detroit in cities like Hamtramck and Dearborn Heights — won local election races, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. A total of 34 Muslim candidates won in 2019. Three Muslims were elected Tuesday to Hamtramck City Council, ensuring the six-member council will remain Muslim-majority, which became so four years ago. Out of the 166 Muslim candidates examined in the study, 29 of them were in Michigan, and out of those, 10 ran for statewide and federal offices, which was the focus of the study. The study was done by professors and researchers at Washington State University, Columbia University, Western Washington University, and Pennsylvania State University, who described it as "a multiplatform study of trolls: social media, fringe media, and the real world." The study stressed that hate is found more online than in the real world for many of the candidates, and that much of the bigotry came from a small group amplified by bots. read the complete article

New Zealand

11 Nov 2019

Hannah Tamaki's Vision NZ says it will ban the construction of mosques, temples and other 'foreign buildings'

Hannah Tamaki's party Vision NZ has promised to ban the construction of new "mosques, temples and other foreign buildings of worship", if elected. "They are not us and we are not them," Tamaki said on Monday, promising no "back-room" or "behind closed door deals" with "any migrant community, including the Chinese". Since its formation, Vision NZ has repeatedly been accused of racism, which a spokesperson dismissed in October as coming from "left-wing crackpots". In a press release, Tamaki said her party would "put Kiwis first and immediately stop the phony Indian marriage scheme before proceeding to bring an immediate stop to all further mosques, temples and other foreign buildings of worship being erected in our country". "They can be us if they who choose to integrate with our Kiwi way of life and not the other way around." "I do not believe there is room in our society to allow for parallel cultures, faith or customs. read the complete article


11 Nov 2019

Why will Poland not take in any Muslims?

Poland's ultra-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) won a second term in office last month, a victory that critics fear will accelerate the country's slide towards authoritarianism. The PiS rose to power in 2015, following a campaign that focussed on social conservatism, along with a generous social spending programme. But the party's refusal to take in refugees, along with its attempts to reform the judiciary - critics say at the expense of independence - has put it at loggerheads with the European Union. Just this week, a top EU legal adviser said Warsaw broke the bloc's law by refusing to take in refugees during Europe's 2015 migrant crisis. But the PiS's Dominik Tarczynski insists his country did nothing wrong and says Poland stands by its immigration policy. "We don't want Poland being taken over by Muslims, Buddhists, or someone else ... and no one will ever force us to take Muslims, Buddhists, non-believers in huge numbers," said Tarczynski. Tarczynski says after living in the United Kingdom and the United States and experiencing life in a multicultural society, he does not see any value in it. "For me, multicultural society, it's not a value … it's not a virtue," the Polish MP said. "Christian culture, Roman law, Greek philosophers, these are the virtues for us." read the complete article


11 Nov 2019


As early as in 2013, when it was born as a split-off party from the centrist-right Partido Popular (PP), VOX advanced a nationalistic and Islamophobic agenda. From the very beginning, the party used tactics similar to those of other European radical right-wing parties, employing Islamophobic rhetoric alongside anti-feminist rhetoric and framing its racism as a defense of Spain’s ‘Christian values.’ Defending Christian values and mobilizing against the application of Islamic Law were part of its strategies from early on. Moreover, as the author of the annual report on Spain of the European Islamophobia Report, Carmen Aguilera-Carnerero, revealed in her report for 2017, VOX increased its presence in social media heavily. In the 2018 elections, the party’s platform included a proposal to close so-called ‘radical’ mosques, declared a preference for Hispanic immigrants who could be more easily integrated than Muslim immigrants. read the complete article

11 Nov 2019

Factbox: The Rise of Spain's Far-Right-Vox Becomes Third-Biggest Party

The April election was the first time a far-right party won more than one seat since Spain returned to democracy in the 1970s. Founded in 2013 by former members of the mainstream conservative People's Party, Vox is anti-Muslim, nationalist, anti-feminist, Eurosceptic, socially conservative, economically liberal, and staunchly pro-Spanish unity. It got its first foothold in office last December, winning 12 parliamentary seats in a regional election in Andalusia. Vox is aligned with the broader populist movement that has also risen swiftly in other European countries, notably Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Italy. read the complete article


11 Nov 2019

Uyghurs dancing in defiance of 'cultural genocide'

China's campaign in Xinjiang is targeting Uyghur music, religion, language and even food — but in Australia, the community is celebrating their traditions to fight back against 'cultural genocide'. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Nov 2019 Edition


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