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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15 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., many Republicans who ran in this year’s midterms on far-right platforms lost their races, meanwhile in the UK, a retired British police officer is reported to have sent anti-Muslim text messages to his former colleagues about the 2017 Grenfell tower fire, and in Germany, an anti-discrimination organization finds a “rise in anti-Muslim attacks as far-right groups try to exploit domestic crises to stir hatred against minorities.” Our recommended read of the day is by Nayereh Akbarzadeh for the Toronto Star on a rise in instances of vandalism and threats against Toronto-area mosques, and the link these attacks seem to have with a rise in Islamophobic misinformation associating Canadian Muslims with the policies of the Iranian government. This and more below:


14 Nov 2022

‘We realize we are not safe’: Mosques need protection as Islamophobic hate spikes | Recommended Read

For Canadians with roots and relations abroad, events unfolding beyond our shores can feel anything but foreign. Many of us in the Muslim community have felt this, as protests in Iran thrust our lives under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Our mosque in Toronto’s Thornhill area has been vandalized and threatened by people who wrongly associate us with the authoritarian regime in Iran. Islamophobic misinformation spread so widely that we had to put out a statement reiterating that we are independent and have no political affiliations. Making matters worse, media coverage of women protesting in Iran has often targeted the fashion choices of Muslim women here in Canada. Some overtly state the latter are probably forced to wear veils or head scarves. The bodies of Muslim women once again became a battleground. Meanwhile, we’ve endured non-stop harassment: insulting graffiti, ongoing protests, verbal abuse, Islamophobic rhetoric and more. Someone said online that it’s “mandatory to bomb the mosque.” The phrase “death to priests” was spray-painted onto our walls. Others compare our congregants to animals in a stable. There was even a threat to intentionally spread COVID-19 to our congregants. The York Regional Police is now looking for people behind what they call an “act of hate.” We realize we are not safe. We need to beef up our community’s security and we need it done fast. But to our disappointment, the government funding program we’ve applied to has been unhelpful and inefficient. read the complete article

United States

14 Nov 2022

Muslim Americans make historic gains in midterm elections

Nabeela Syed made history in this year’s midterms when she defeated a Republican incumbent in Illinois’s 51st District, making her the youngest member of the Illinois General Assembly and among the first Muslims elected to the state legislature. “It is so important for us to have a seat at the table, for us to have a voice in the legislative process,” Syed, a 23-year-old Indian American who is Muslim, told a local TV news reporter soon after her win. Syed recalled a conversation with a friend who had never expected to see a name like hers on yard signs in their community. To Syed, candidacies like hers are viable “if people put in the time, the effort and the money,” she said in a podcast series documenting her campaign. Syed and Abdelnasser Rashid became the first Muslims elected to the Illinois legislature. Syed is among a cohort of candidates who made history this year by becoming the first Muslim Americans to be elected to the state legislature in states including Texas, Illinois, Georgia and Minnesota. All of them are Democrats, many are women and a rising number are Somali Americans. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the 2022 midterms have been a historic election: It tracked a record-breaking 145 American Muslim candidates running for local, state and federal office, including 48 state legislative candidates in 23 states. read the complete article

14 Nov 2022

‘Mainstream and not extreme’: Far-right candidates, views rejected in key battlegrounds

Republican Doug Mastriano baselessly denied the results of the 2020 election and fought to overturn them. He had advocated a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and espoused Christian nationalist views as he ran for governor of Pennsylvania. He lost the election in a purple state by about 14 percentage points. And in Arizona, Kari Lake, among the most ardent messengers of false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, was projected on Monday to have lost the race for governor to Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. In Colorado, Rep. Lauren Boebert, who has made Islamophobic comments and has been a staunch defender of rioters in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, clung to a razor-thin lead in a surprisingly tight race. Across the country, many Republicans who ran in this year’s midterms promoting far-right platforms on issues such as abortion, elections, LGBTQ rights and other topics lost their races, even in some unexpected places where the GOP was favored to win. Many were elevated by former president Donald Trump and associated themselves with his combative movement. In post-election interviews, Democrats and many Republicans said they view these results as a decisive rejection of political extremism on the right, propelled by Trump. In the eyes of some in the GOP, this is an alarming development in a year the party expected to make large gains because of inflation, President Biden’s low approval rating and historical trends. Now, the party is reckoning with the results as it eyes future elections and policy debates. read the complete article


14 Nov 2022

German far right groups use domestic crises to spark anti-Muslim attacks

Germany has seen a rise in anti-Muslim attacks as far-right groups try to exploit domestic crises to stir hatred against minorities, a German anti-discrimination organisation says. “The statistics have definitely increased, especially for women who wear a headscarf,” Suleyman Demir, project director at Inssan, an anti-discrimination group, said. “We are also increasingly seeing from our community that not only men, but also women who wear the hijab and niqab are exposed to much more physical attacks like spitting, and this has actually increased significantly in recent years,” he continued. Demir warned that far-right groups are trying to exploit the ongoing economic and energy crises in the country to stir fear and hatred against minorities and Muslims. read the complete article


15 Nov 2022

A new book examines what it means to be a Muslim living in violence and exclusion in today’s India

Rehana: This is the image they have of Muslims. That they are terrorists. That they are combative [jhagadaalu]. They are all like this. But if you saw their daily life you would know that they are struggling, they are stressed, they are not like this. . . . There are Hindu terrorists too. But no one thinks all Hindus are terrorists. But they think all Muslims are terrorists. Some people are going in a wrong direction. All this is not in Islam. Even then they are doing this. They are individuals and will handle things in their individual way. Even when they go up [die]. Because Islam does not allow all this. Rehana works as a salesperson at a high-end clothing shop in one of New Delhi’s posh marketplaces and encounters prejudiced views on a daily basis. While there are many things that irritate her about Old Delhi, anti-Muslim prejudice is not part of her everyday life there. In New Delhi, customers at her shop often air their prejudices and stereotypes about Muslims in her presence, not realising that she is Muslim. For instance, a woman at her store once told Rehana she was scared of Muslims. Rehana responded, “I am a Muslim. Are you scared of me?” The woman apparently said unabashedly that she was not scared of Rehana but was scared of other Muslims. Rehana feels that the loyalty of Muslims is always questioned in India. She says that people accuse Muslims of being Pakistani or supporters of Pakistan. “I have never even been to Pakistan,” she said, “so how can I be Pakistani?” While Rehana can wear what she wants in New Delhi and has the anonymity she longs for, she has to grapple with hurtful stereotypes that make her feel out of place there. read the complete article

United Kingdom

14 Nov 2022

Retired British police officer in sickening 'Islamophobic' joke about Muslim deaths at Grenfell blaze

A retired British police officer's uncovered alleged messages about the 2017 Grenfell tower tragedy have sparked outrage, reports revealed on Sunday. The ex-sergeant – who served at Gwent police in Wales for 30 years - allegedly sent an image to his former colleague of the tower blaze which killed 72 people - including children - entitled 'The Great Muslim Bakeoff', The Sunday Times reported. The former officer also sent other racist images targeting Muslim women, the newspaper alleged. The Grenfell tragedy – which revealed widespread flaws in building regulations - was the UK's deadliest fire in a residential building since World War Two. It left 72 people dead, the majority of whom were Arab, African, and/or Muslim. read the complete article


14 Nov 2022

The veil in Iran has been an enduring symbol of patriarchal norms – but its use has changed depending on who is in power

The wide use of images of Iranian female protesters, without the headscarf, in the Western media highlights how the veil can often be seen as the single most important measure of women’s rights and well-being. Indeed, oftentimes outside of Iran, wearing a veil is seen as oppression – and its removal as emancipation and freedom. This understanding, however, fails to take into account the veil’s broader symbolism and ignores the complex history of mandatory veiling and unveiling in Iran in the 20th and 21st centuries. During the 1979 revolution, veiling became a symbol of resistance to the Pahlavi monarchy that ruled from 1925 to 1979. For many during the revolution, the veil was a symbol of authentic national identity. It was used to push back against the Westernization and erosion of Iranian values that ignited the revolution. After the Islamic Republic, led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, came to power, the veil became compulsory. Since then, certain forms of veiling – such as donning the chador, a cloaklike garment that covers the entire body and is required of women visiting a mosque in Iran – have come to be seen as signaling affiliation with or support for the Islamic Republic. read the complete article


14 Nov 2022

OPINION: Why Switzerland’s new ‘burqa ban’ law serves no real purpose

A year and a half after the March 2021 vote on face coverings, which was passed by a 51.2 percent majority, the government finally delivered its draft law to parliament for approval last month. Those caught in breach of the law, if approved in its current form, will soon face a fine of 1,000 francs.If there was a political award for irony, the vote, known as the ‘burqa ban’ would be the overall winner. At a time when all Swiss residents were covering their faces in public due to Covid, a majority of voters accepted the principle that face coverings should be banned. Not all face coverings, mind you, just face coverings worn for criminal or religious reasons. Switzerland does have a minor issue with rampages of masked people at sports events and demonstrations but, taking into account the religious focus of the organisation behind the campaign, the hooligan problem appears to have been tagged on for cynical reasons. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 15 Nov 2022 Edition


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