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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14 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In Germany, authorities registered over 660 Islamophobic crimes in 2021 with many crimes likely unreported due to German Muslims lacking trust in the reporting itself, meanwhile in the U.S., a record number of Muslim Americans (150) have run for elected office so far this year, surpassing the record in 2020 which was 71, and in the UK, the National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) has labeled British counter-terrorism practices and policies Islamophobic, calling for updates to language and protocol. Our recommended read of the day is by Claire Donnelly for The Mirror on a new book that sheds light on the actions of Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson), whose film series used the backdrop of a child sex abuse scandal to spread his own anti-Muslim views. This and more below:

United Kingdom

14 Nov 2022

Exclusive: Tommy Robinson and his followers targeted victims of Telford child abuse scandal | Recommended Read

The child abuse scandal in Telford, Shropshire, rocked the country to its core when the scale of the horror was revealed. Over a 30-year period, more than 1,000 young people were groomed and raped – with a recent report finding victims were systematically failed by police and other authorities. But, as a new book reveals, the survivors’ suffering didn’t end there, with members of far-right groups trying to hijack their experiences for their own ends. Among them is Stephen Lennon – otherwise known as Tommy Robinson – whose film series The Rape of Britain sought to exploit the case to promote his own anti-Muslim rhetoric. While it would be easy to say Lennon should be ignored, his dangerous activities need to be explored in the cold light of day, which is why we are serialising the new book Tommy: Politics. Drugs. Sex. Money., by Nick Lowles. Here, in the first part of our extract from his book, he says Lennon “zeroed in” on the Telford case and details how two of the right-wing leader’s followers even began relationships with some of those affected. The far right had zeroed in on Telford for several years, hoping to highlight and exploit the unfolding tragedy for their own political ends. To them, grooming was a ­consequence of how Muslim men viewed young white women. Of course, it was a very myopic view, with many ignoring abusers within their own ranks and wider society at large. But as part of a rallying cry to “protect our girls”, it proved a powerful recruiting tool for the far right. Lennon and his cronies took up with the cause in the guise of offering help to the victims." read the complete article

14 Nov 2022

Sisterhood FC: football club for Muslim women breaks barriers – photo essay

Founded in 2018, Sisterhood has doubled in size to almost 100 players, allowing its members to enjoy playing football without anyone querying their Muslim dress code or asking why they refrain from socialising in a pub after their games. “It’s a football club for Muslim women to come and feel free and relaxed and be able to play in their attire,” Kamara Davis, 30, said. She converted to Islam at 17 and felt that she would never play soccer again because it seemed incompatible with the religion’s traditional dress. But when she heard about Sisterhood, she jumped at the chance to join. “Honestly, it just feels so good, it’s like a release. It feels really nice when I am able to shoot the ball with power,” Kamara said. The club also offers a chance to Muslim women to enjoy a break from traditional roles that many say are expected of them. So she set up the club as a way to reconcile the interest in playing sport among many Muslim women and their adherence to their faith. To underscore the point, Sisterhood’s club badge features the image of a hijab, which was barred by soccer’s world governing body Fifa on safety grounds in 2007. The ban was only relaxed in 2012, with the hijab fully permitted in 2014. read the complete article

14 Nov 2022

Muslim cops label counter terrorism policing 'Islamophobic'

Counter-terrorism policing has been labelled Islamophobic by the National Association of Muslim Police. And it is now calling for the scrapping of the term 'Islamist' after claiming it unfairly stigmatises Islam. Alex Gent, Chairman of NAMP, also says Islamophobia remains an issue in wider UK policing. The group cited cases where Muslim officers had been referred to Prevent wrongly by their own colleagues after religious pilgrimages or following conversions to the religion. NAMP is now publicly calling for an update of policing and counter terrorism terminology, with Islamist replaced by 'anti-western extremism' or something similar. It has also raised concerns about the disproportionate number of Muslims being referred to the counter terrorism programme - with the West Midlands among the highest. "The majority of the Muslim members in West Midlands Police and nationally (in police) completely disagree with the terminology (Islamist) because it tarnishes the entire Muslim community, by saying 'you're attached to terrorism, your ideaology is attached to terrorism'. It marginalises the Muslim community." read the complete article

United States

11 Nov 2022

The Midterm Results Show Muslim Americans Are No Longer on the Fringe of U.S. Politics

Muslim Americans won at least 83 seats across local, state, and federal midterm elections as of Thursday morning, according to an analysis by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil rights and advocacy group, and Jetpac, a nonprofit focused on increasing Muslim political representation in the U.S. Almost 150 Muslim Americans had run this year for office, including 51 state legislative candidates across 23 states. This year’s wins surpass the prior record of 71 that CAIR and Jetpac counted in 2020; they have been tracking this data for the last six years. The victories for Muslim Americans like Islam help lay out a roadmap to greater federal representation. “Today’s state legislator is tomorrow’s member of Congress,” says Mohammed Missouri, executive director of Jetpac. “It’s definitely a pipeline.” He points out that Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Keith Ellison all served in their state legislatures before scoring a congressional seat. “They didn’t come out of nowhere… they spent years building community trust… and then when they decided to run for Congress people knew who they were.” Today, Most Muslims skew heavily Democrat—particularly since many Republicans have supported policies that harm the Muslim community, including sweeping surveillance programs and religious profiling. All four of the Democrats elected to Congress to date have been Democrat, even as some Muslims have also felt mistrust toward the party. read the complete article

12 Nov 2022

US Muslim organisations see bright future for community's candidates

Looking at the long-term prospects of political leaders in their community, organisers with Muslim groups see a bright future for Muslim candidates. "What I think we're seeing is a lot of people running for office at lower levels," Mohamed Gula, executive director at Emgage-Action, a Muslim advocacy group, told The New Arab. "We're seeing more and more of us winning at the state level. That's how it really all started." This year saw around 150 Muslim candidates on a general election ballot, the largest number to date, according to Jetpac, a group that trains Muslims to run for public office. Of those, the number of winners is around 90, which breaks the previous record of around 70 general election wins, reached in 2020. This election cycle has seen 16 additional Muslim state lawmakers who are going to join nearly 30 who are currently in office. Many of these 16 were the first in their state, including states and districts without large Muslim communities, a sign of successful cross-community campaigning. "I think we're seeing a real political maturity in the American Muslim community," said Robert McCaw, government affairs director at CAIR, who was part of the live event. "We've gone from the place of fear or marginalisation to active involvement in political campaigns, hoping our voices will be represented by those offices that we were volunteering for to saying: you know what? I'm gonna run for office myself." He expects that in 10 years people will be talking about a lot more Muslims holding public office, including more at the national level, as many of the current local and state officials move up in the ranks. read the complete article

13 Nov 2022

Georgia candidate makes history as first known Muslim and Palestinian woman elected to state House

Ruwa Romman remembers the sadness she felt as an 8-year-old girl sitting in the back of a school bus watching classmates point to her house and erupt in vicious laughter. “There’s the bomb lab,” they jeered in yet another attempt to brand her family as terrorists. On Tuesday, the same girl – now a 29-year-old community organizer – made history as the first known Muslim woman elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, and the first Palestinian American elected to any office in the state. As an immigrant, the granddaughter of Palestinian refugees, and a Muslim woman who wears the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, the road to political office hasn’t been easy, especially in the very Christian and conservative South. “I could write chapters about what I have gone through,” Romman told CNN, listing the many ways she’s faced bigotry or discrimination. “All the times I am ‘randomly’ selected by TSA, teachers putting me in a position where I had to defend Islam and Muslims to classrooms being taught the wrong things about me and my identity… it colored my entire life.” But those hardships only fueled her passion for civic engagement, especially among marginalized communities, Romman said. read the complete article


13 Nov 2022

‘Subaltern Hindutva’ Is Gaining Ground – BJP’s Victories in Vijayapura, Kollegal Are Proof

The recent bypoll results all over the country have once again proved the growing power of the political narrative, social engineering and “subaltern Hindutva” ideological consolidation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Sangh parivar. 1) Social and cultural patronage to the militant strata of marginalised Hindu castes; 2) Political consolidation on the Hindutva agenda with overt anti-Muslim politics; 3) Electoral representation for the most neglected but numerically important “Hindu” castes, while keeping the hegemony and domination of the ‘upper’ castes intact. The results of the elections held for the newly constituted Vijayapura City Municipal Corporation (VCMC) and the by-elections for seven wards in Kollegal City Municipal Council (KCMC), proved the efficacy of this strategy in Karnataka. read the complete article


14 Nov 2022

'Isolated and traumatised' workers subject to racist slurs call for employers to do more to stamp out bullying and harassment

When a former Indigenous employee of NSW Health complained about racist incidents in the workplace, including a colleague painting her face black at a work function and posting the image of it on the department's public Facebook page, she says she was told by a senior manager that she must be "sensitive" because of her Aboriginal heritage. When a Victorian social worker of Lebanese heritage was asked by her direct manager at work, "Why are the Lebos destroying Coburg and Broadmeadows [in Melbourne]," he was perplexed why she had taken offence and she had to explain to him why his comment was inappropriate. When a woman of Muslim faith in the public sector was asked by a colleague, "What are your cousins in the Taliban going to do next," she was traumatised but decided to remain silent to avoid further discrimination. These are just a few confronting examples of workplace racism allegations, spanning more than a decade. Research by consulting firm MindTribes and the University of Melbourne, based on 42 in-depth interviews and 188 survey responses from people working in the public sector, found that 76 per cent of respondents either witnessed discrimination, experienced discrimination, or had both witnessed and experienced it. read the complete article


14 Nov 2022

Muslims in Germany worry over surge in Islamophobic attacks

German authorities registered at least 662 Islamophobic crimes in 2021. Over 46 mosques were attacked between January and December last year and at least 17 people suffered injuries because of anti-Muslim violence. Süleyman Demir, project director at the anti-discrimination group, Inssan, said attacks on Muslims and mosques have seen a rise following the coronavirus pandemic and the situation is serious as Germany is facing economic difficulties. "The statistics have definitely increased, especially for women who wear a headscarf," Demir told Anadolu Agency (AA). German authorities recorded 152 Islamophobic attacks, while at least seven people were injured in the first six months of 2022. But that might not be the full picture because many attacks go unreported. Demir, who is leading the "Network against discrimination and Islamophobia" project at Inssan, said many Muslims do not report incidents to the police, thinking their complaints will not be taken seriously. read the complete article


11 Nov 2022

This course examines how images of veiled Muslim women are used to justify war

What prompted the idea for the course? When I was on a fellowship at the Library of Congress finishing my first book, “The Future is Feminist,” I had the opportunity to connect with other scholars. One of those scholars, historian Martha Jones, encouraged me to design a class based on my research interests. With that in mind, I designed a new freshman seminar, “Women and War.” The seminar bridges my research on gender and Islam in French colonial Algeria with my new project, a history of girlhood in the 1970s Middle East. What does the course explore? The course looks at how particular depictions of Muslim women – as veiled, oppressed, constrained and yet sexually alluring – have been used to legitimize political intervention and wars in three contexts: colonial Algeria, Iran before and after the Iranian Revolution, and Afghanistan since 2001. Why is this course relevant now? Tensions over gender and Islam reappear regularly in the news. Examples include developments in the Middle East, such as the case of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody in Iran after being detained for violating the country’s dress code. Other examples include new laws in Europe that curtail Muslim women’s right to wear a veil. Yet, these discussions are often disconnected from political and military intervention in the Middle East. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 Nov 2022 Edition


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