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
11 Nov 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In India, for five weeks now protesters led by Hindu organizations have been disrupting Friday prayers that Muslims have been offering for over a year at the site, meanwhile new evidence submitted to the International Criminal Court alleges that Chinese officials are operating in foreign countries to have Uyghurs deported back to China by creating visa problems and coercing them into becoming informants, and in the United States, the Republican who defeated New Jersey’s state Senate president last week has “committed to renouncing” hate speech amid criticism of old tweets he posted expressing Islamophobia. Our recommended read of the day is by Joseph Hammond for Religion News Service on this year’s municipal elections, which saw successful campaigns in Michigan, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania put Muslims in key local offices. This and more below:

United States

11 Nov 2021

Muslims win office in US municipal elections in 2021 | Recommended Read

In Dearborn, Michigan, where the mayor once promised to do something about the city’s “Arab problem,” Abdullah Hammoud, a Lebanese American Muslim, was elected this month to fill that post. In New York, Bangladeshi American Shahana Hanif became the first Muslim woman on the City Council. Boston, where Muslims number fewer than 80,000, also got its first Muslim member of the City Council. Every election cycle in recent years seems to see historic firsts for Muslim Americans. This year, three years after the first Muslim women were elected to Congress, successful campaigns in Michigan, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania put Muslims in key local offices. Hammoud is one of three newly elected Arab American Muslim mayors in the Detroit suburbs. “Never shy away from who you are,” said Hammoud, who currently sits on the state Legislature in Lansing. “Be proud of your name, be comfortable in your identity, because it’ll take you places if you work hard, you’re passionate and you inspire people.” Election Day also saw two Muslims win office in New Jersey. Shama Haider, a former Tenafly councilwoman, become the first Muslim elected to the state Legislature. Haider was an opponent of Pakistan’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and at one point served as a secretary for the first lady of Pakistan, Begum Nusrat Bhutto. Haider immigrated to the United States in 1977. Haider has vowed that she doesn’t want to be known as the “token Muslim woman” in the Legislature but, rather as an effective legislator. New Jersey currently has more Muslim officials than any other state. Haider’s victory is all the more notable following the election night upset of the state’s Senate president, Steve Sweeney, by little-known Republican challenger Edward Durr. While many of the new Muslim officials are the product of natural cycles of maturing immigrant communities and civic engagement, others continue to be inspired by discrimination and anti-Muslim bias. read the complete article

11 Nov 2021

Progress? Next NJ Legislature may include two Muslims, and author of anti-Islam posts

Shama Haider of Tenafly notched a milestone in New Jersey politics last week, becoming the first Muslim to win a seat in the state Legislature. Soon, she may not be alone in that historic feat: Sadaf Jaffer, the former Montgomery Township mayor, now leads in a close state Senate race in Central Jersey. Yet while Muslims cheered the groundbreaking rise of the two women, both Pakistani Americans, they also learned that another candidate surrounded by even more fanfare had written bigoted comments about Islam online. Republican Ed Durr, who beat the powerful Democratic leader of the state Senate, denigrated the religion followed by more than 300,000 state residents as a "cult of hate" and "false religion" in social media comments that gained attention after his upset win. In New Jersey, home to more Muslims in elected office than any other state, Durr's words sparked a storm, leading the trucker from Gloucester County to apologize. He is scheduled to meet with Muslim leaders on Wednesday, said Jacqueline Vigilante, the Gloucester County GOP chair. Muslim wins to elected office and the quick apology from Durr might appear to signal progress for a population that has long faced Islamophobic sentiment in politics, especially in the 20 years since the Sept. 11 attacks. read the complete article

11 Nov 2021

Ferndale police sued for allegedly violating civil rights of Muslim woman

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city of Ferndale on behalf of a Muslim woman after an encounter with the Police Department earlier this year. CAIR-MI, a national civil rights and advocacy organization for Muslims, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against Ferndale for allegedly violating the civil rights of Helana Bowe after a traffic stop June 21. According to a press statement released by CAIR-MI and the complaint filed in court, Bowe was at a traffic light on Eight Mile Road in the city when she was pulled over by a Ferndale Police Department patrol vehicle for allegedly having an expired license plate tag. During her conversation with the officer, Bowe stated she had a Taser on her person that she carried after she had been mugged at a nearby Meijer. She was subsequently taken into custody. The release and complaint state that at the department, Bowe was taken to get her booking photo done. Bowe and CAIR-MI are alleging that officers disregarded Bowe’s request to wear her hijab in her photo. read the complete article

11 Nov 2021

Muslim advocacy group says GOP state senator-elect who expressed Islamophobia in tweets 'committed to renouncing' hate speech during meeting

The Republican who defeated New Jersey's state Senate president last week has "committed to renouncing" hate speech amid criticism of old tweets he posted expressing Islamophobia, a Muslim advocacy group in the state said Wednesday. State Sen.-elect Ed Durr met with Muslim community leaders in the state on Wednesday, according to Selaedin Maksut, the executive director of the state's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who told CNN that the conversation with Durr "went very well." "To be honest, I think it went very well, we got exactly what we came for," Maksut said. "He committed to renouncing that hate speech and not engaging in it moving forward." Maksut was joined by local Muslim leaders when he met with Durr Wednesday evening. They shared stories of how it felt to grow up Muslim in America, and how Durr's words have impacted them, Maksut said. Maksut said Durr apologized sincerely and committed to standing against Islamophobia and other forms of hate. Durr told local reporters after Wednesday's meeting that his discussion with Muslim leaders was "very open" and said he believes progress was made. "It's very easy to hate somebody that you don't know, but if you know them personally, and you talk to them, it's very hard to hate them, don't you think?" he said. "As I reiterated to the group inside ... I stand against Islamophobia and all forms of hate and I do commit to that. And I look forward to working with the Muslim community." read the complete article

11 Nov 2021

Country's first all-Muslim city council is elected in Michigan

A city in Michigan is apparently the first in the nation to elect an all-Muslim city council, reflecting a more racially diverse landscape in local governance. Three candidates — Khalil Refai, Amanda Jaczkowski and Adam Albarmaki — won election to the City Council in Hamtramck last week and will be joining three current members. All six identify as Muslim. Hamtramck, part of the greater Detroit area, also elected its first Muslim mayor, Amer Ghalib, to round out the city’s government. The Muslim Public Affairs Counsel, a national American Muslim advocacy and public policy organization, said it is the first and only city that they are aware of that has a full Muslim city counsel and mayor. The newly elected council members will begin their term in January, and the members say religion will not be a factor in how they govern, reported The Detroit Free Press. "It’s important to remember that although we all happen to be practicing Muslims, we are elected through the processes set forth by the United States, Michigan, Wayne County and Hamtramck,” Jaczkowski said to the Free Press. "We will all take an oath ... to protect the Constitution of the United States, and that includes the concept of separation of church and state." read the complete article

United Kingdom

11 Nov 2021

Muslim woman, 21, left 'sobbing' after 'being called a terrorist' and 'bomber' in 'Islamophobic attack'

A 21-year-old Muslim woman says she was left ‘sobbing’ after allegedly being called a ‘terrorist’ and 'bomber' in an 'Islamophobic attack' on a train. The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous and known as GD*, was on a Great Western Railway train from Bath Spa to London Paddington on October 16 when she was allegedly racially abused. The woman, who is a university student from Harrow, travelled to Bath for a day trip with three friends to celebrate her 21st birthday. However, on her journey back to London, GD said she was left ‘sobbing’ and shaking after allegedly being called a ‘terrorist’ by a train passenger. read the complete article

11 Nov 2021

The 'disgusting' hate suffered by Muslims in Walsall

Emotional Muslim councillors in Walsall have opened up about sickening racist abuse they have suffered throughout their lives. A motion calling for Walsall Council to adopt the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims' definition of Islamophobia was passed at a meeting on Monday (November 8) with a vow to combat incidents. Walsall Labour Group leader Aftab Nawaz said it was important to stand in solidarity with victims of hate in the borough as people continue to suffer abuse. Both he and his deputy Khizar Hussain revealed they have constantly been subjected to Islamophobia throughout their lives. But the motion did encounter some opposition with Walsall Council leader Mike Bird quoting MP Eddie Hughes in saying it was premature and the definition was wrong and not fully supported by Muslims. Councillor Nawaz said: "At the last meeting there was a report IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and I'd like it to be noted our group supported that. "Anti-Semitism is a horrid and horrific thing people display. Similarly, Islamophobia and Muslim hate is a disgusting thing we unfortunately see in parts of our society. "Hate crime against Muslims is very real. I have many personal stories and I'm sure colleagues from across the chamber have had experiences. "Instances of head scarves being pulled off people's heads because people don't like them. Instances where people who wear turbans are discriminated against because people see them and in their ignorance will say they are Muslims." read the complete article


11 Nov 2021

Chinese agents operating abroad to get Uyghurs deported, ICC told

Chinese officials are operating in foreign countries to have Uyghurs deported back to China by creating visa problems and coercing them into becoming informants, evidence delivered to the international criminal court alleges. The submission by Uyghur representatives is the third attempt to have the ICC investigate Chinese authorities for alleged crimes against humanity and genocide, including the use of forced deportations of Uyghurs from various countries back to China. Thursday’s brief was submitted on behalf of the self-proclaimed East Turkistan government in exile and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, who said the new evidence met the ICC’s threshold and included “insider witness testimony” from Uyghurs who had been pressured or forced into working with Chinese officials to have Uyghurs deported from Tajikistan, which is an ICC state party. “They can give evidence directly to the ICC about how [Chinese officials] would focus their strategies on coming into Tajikistan and getting Uyghurs detained, arrested and deported out,” said the lead lawyer for the group, Rodney Dixon QC. “So it’s first-hand testimony from witnesses who are now accessible to the ICC to be interviewed, about how Chinese officers are operating on Tajikistan soil.” Witnesses in Tajikistan accused officials of threatening people to get them to work with them or be informers, and creating “problems with visas and paperwork”. “They created a legal problem, and then used that to arrest people and ship them out in small numbers so it’s not noticeable,” said Dixon, adding that family members of people who tried to speak out were also targeted. read the complete article

11 Nov 2021

China may be committing genocide against Uyghurs, warns US Holocaust Memorial Museum

China’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population may have reached the level of genocide, according to a leading authority on the Holocaust and other mass atrocities. A report released by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Centre for the Prevention of Genocide on Tuesday highlights graphic, harrowing accounts of several detainees in the country’s detention camps and lists a number of atrocities that have reportedly been committed against the Uyghur population in China. Titled “To Make Us Slowly Disappear: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs”, the report detailed most of its evidence from leaked Chinese government documents. The Uyghurs are a Muslim ethno-religious minority group in China. There are about 12 million Uyghurs who live in the north-western region of Xinjiang, officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The US Holocaust Memorial Museum said it was “gravely concerned that the Chinese government may be committing genocide against the Uyghurs,” the report said, adding that the “seriousness of the assault” on the minority Muslim community in the region demands urgent attention. read the complete article


11 Nov 2021

In India, Muslim Claims to Public Spaces Meet Protests and Disruption

On September 29, 2021, a video of a man protesting against Muslims offering Friday congregational prayers (Namaz) on public land in Gurugram, near India’s capital, New Delhi, went viral on Twitter. This escalated into a full-scale protest at the area in a span of just 10 days, with dozens of people carrying placards and shouting slogans to protest the Muslim gatherings every Friday. For five consecutive weeks since then, protesters led by Hindu organizations like Bharat Mata Vahini have been disrupting Friday prayers that Muslims have been offering for over a year at the site. Incidentally, the public sites where the Muslims have been gathering to pray, were sanctioned to them by the local administration. Indeed, the site that faced protest was among 37 sites that the administration had finalized in May 2018, as a place for Friday congregational prayers. This decision was made after discussions with members of both communities. Local police say that Muslims have been praying here for more than a year now without disruptions. But tensions at the site have been running high for weeks, after Hindu organizations escalated the situation on November 5 by performing a Govardhan puja – rituals relating to a Hindu festival – there. Not only did the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, a Hindu right-wing group, ignite tensions by organizing the puja at the Muslim prayer site but also, it invited BJP leader Kapil Mishra to the event. read the complete article


11 Nov 2021

Campaign to promote diversity forced by France to remove image of hijab

The campaign seeks to uphold diversity and tackle hate speech and discrimination against Muslim women with headscarves - but it wasn’t even able to publish an image of a hijab. The Council of Europe has pulled posters featuring a woman wearing a hijab as part of an online campaign that was launched on October 28 to promote diversity among women and respect for Muslims with headscarves. The decision came after a widespread outcry from the French public and political figures who found the campaign and its posters that involve hijab-wearing women as ''deeply shocking.'' The online campaign, co-financed by the European Union, was the outcome of two online workshops held in September by the partnership between the Council of Europe’s Anti-Discrimination department and the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO). ''This specific collaboration was in the form of online workshops with the aim of developing together with diverse participants human rights-based narratives to counter anti-Muslim hate speech,'' Hande Taner, President-elect of FEMYSO told TRT World while indicating their long-standing relationship with the council given their work supporting minorities in Europe. The tweeted images involve various pictures of women in hijabs with slogans that read ''Beauty is in diversity-as freedom is in hijab'', and ''my headscarf, my choice''. However, the awareness campaign backfired and was condemned in France. ''It was met with backlash due to the pressure created by the poisonous narrative around Muslims online by prominent French politicians, diplomats and speakers,'' said Taner. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Nov 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results