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
23 Nov 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Poland, the right-wing nationalist government’s “exclusion zone means that no-one can see how rough the Polish authorities have been with the migrants who have made across the border,” meanwhile in France, Jewish communities are deeply divided over the far right journalist Éric Zemmour, a proponent of the theory of the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory, and in India, the BJP in Kerala has demanded that the state government ban the “halal system” and halal boards at restaurants. Our recommended read of the day is by Jules Darmanin and Maïa De La Baume for Politico on France’s recent criticism against FEMYSO, a network of Muslim youth associations two French ministers dubbed an “Islamist association that is attacking France.” This and more below:


23 Nov 2021

French government protests EU commissioner meeting with ‘islamist’ NGO | Recommended Read

Two French ministers on Monday called out the European Commission over a meeting between Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli and FEMYSO, a network of Muslim youth associations they dubbed an “Islamist association that is attacking France.” The association met with Dalli last Wednesday to discuss “The situation of young Muslims in Europe and the challenges experienced as a result of stereotyping, discrimination and outright hatred,” Dalli tweeted. According to its website, FEMYSO took part in preparatory work for the Council of Europe’s anti-discrimination campaign focusing on hijabs, which was pulled after protests from the French government earlier this month. FEMYSO was created in 1996 and has participated in initiatives from the European Commission and the Council of Europe for several years. It received three grants between 2010 and 2016, according to a 2017 written response from the Commission. According to the Commission, FEMYSO “is not a member of the consortium implementing the [hijab campaign] and has not received any European funds as such.” A spokesperson in Dalli’s cabinet said that Dalli met with FEMYSO on November 18 “upon their request.” “The Commissioner spoke about the European Commission’s commitment to address racism as indicated in the Anti-Racism strategy, including its impacts on Muslims,” the spokesperson said. French Secretary of State for Europe Clément Beaune said the meeting was “abnormal.” He retweeted a tweet claiming FEMYSO is a “sockpuppet of the Muslim Brotherhood. Lorenzo Vidino, director of the program on extremism at George Washington University who has been working on the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, told French news outlet Marianne that FEMYSO is an “offspring” of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, a group linked with the Muslim Brotherhood. The association has denied ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. FEMYSO president Hande Taner said in an email that Vidino is carrying out “biased research with the sole aim of conducting a witch hunt against Muslims.” read the complete article


23 Nov 2021


Now enshrined in law, the anti-separatism bill is the latest salvo in a centuries-old battle between the French state and organized religion. Pushed through by the government of President Emmanuel Macron, it was designed to put even more official weight behind the idea of laïcité, a term that loosely translates as “secularism” but is significantly more complicated and politically charged. Everyone knows about “Liberté, egalité, fraternité.” But it is laïcité that defines the most ferociously contested battle lines in contemporary France. The term has come to express a uniquely French insistence that religion, along with religious symbols and dress, should be absent from the public sphere. What it sometimes means is freedom from religion. At a time when religion-fueled terrorist attacks continue to traumatize France, laïcité has become inextricably tangled with questions of national identity and national security. The anti-separatism bill became law in July under the name Confirming Respect for the Principles of the Republic. It places stricter controls on religious associations (many mosques in France are funded from abroad) and gives the state broad authority to temporarily shut down any house of worship if there is a suspicion that it is inciting hatred or violence. It puts tighter restrictions on asylum seekers. It denies residency permits for men who practice polygamy and gives state officials more power to block a marriage if they believe a woman is being coerced into it. It also bans doctors from providing women with virginity certificates, a practice linked to some religious marriages. The Senate, with its right-wing majority, had proposed further amendments, later dropped, that would have banned women from wearing burkinis (a garment that allows women to swim while dressing modestly) in public pools, and from wearing headscarves when accompanying students on school trips. French law already forbids the wearing of what it calls “ostentatious” religious symbols in public primary and secondary schools, including headscarves, yarmulkes, and large crosses. Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian leaders have denounced the new legislation, saying that it restricts freedom of association. (France’s Jewish community, traumatized by hate crimes and anti-Semitism, has largely kept its head down, though some of the organized leadership has supported the legislation.) Scholars and historians generally condemned the measure as a needless overhaul of existing laws and a muscular encroachment of state power into matters of religion. read the complete article

23 Nov 2021

French Jews divided over Éric Zemmour

Jewish communities in France are deeply divided over the far right journalist Éric Zemmour, a proponent of the theory of the ‘great replacement’. With Zemmour shortly expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency, French Jewish community leaders have been saddened to discover that many of their members would be prepared to vote for him. Whether or not Zemmour’s popularity proves to be a flash in the pan, it’s a wake-up call: the extent of Islamophobia and support for Israeli policies amongst French Jews can no longer be ignored. The lawyer and politician Patrick Klugman used the 6th of October edition of his ‘opinion column’ on RCJ Radio, the community radio station of the Fond social juif unifié [Unified Jewish Social Fund], to express concern about Zemmour’s racist rhetoric, his anti-Arab and anti-Muslim stance and the growing number of of French Jews giving credence to his ideas. According to Klugman,‘There is nothing, beyond his birth,’ to link ‘the hero of the French extreme right’ with Judaism. Serge and Arno Klarsfeld echoed Klugman’s words In Le Monde on 11 July 2021, imploring French Jews to ‘distance themselves from the extreme right.’ read the complete article


23 Nov 2021

Are Uyghurs Slowly Disappearing From Xinjiang?

In November 2021, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide published its new report “To Make Us Slowly Disappear”: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs, providing their assessment of the situation of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The report concludes that the Chinese government may be committing genocide against the Uyghurs. Furthermore, according to its findings, the Chinese government is failing in its legal obligation to prevent the crime of genocide. Among others, the report confirms that publicly available information indicates that the Chinese authorities have caused serious mental and bodily harm to members of the Uyghur community through “the forced sterilization of Uyghur women; the forced placement of IUDs; the detention of members of the Uyghur community; the physical abuse of detainees; the forced separation of Uyghur families, including children, whether by transfer or detention; and the forced labor extracted from Uyghurs held in detention as well as those recently released or otherwise not detained.” Further, the report indicates the use of rape and sexual violence as yet another way of causing serious or bodily harm upon the members of the community. The report further identifies several ways the community is subjected to measures intended to prevent births within the group, including: “forced sterilization of Uyghur women, and the forced or otherwise coerced implantation of IUDs in circumstances where they cannot be removed without surgical intervention approved by the state.” These methods are said to be leading to the slow disappearance of the community from Xinjiang. read the complete article

23 Nov 2021

Xinjiang footage sheds new light on Uyghur detention camps

A 20-minute video featuring more than a dozen detention facilities in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has offered fresh evidence and renewed the discussion around China's large-scale crackdown on ethnic minorities in the region. The video was filmed by a Chinese man named Guanguan, who went to Xinjiang after reading a series of articles from US news outlet BuzzFeed News, indicating the locations of several detention centers in the region. His video, which was originally posted to YouTube in October, has attracted the attention of researchers and academics who have been focusing on China's large-scale crackdown on ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. Alison Killing, an architect who worked with BuzzFeed News to create a map of satellite images of the camps, said the new information from the video confirms what they believe to be happening in Xinjiang. "When you are working with satellite images, you are always relying on other sources of information to corroborate what you are looking at," she told DW. "It can be on-the-ground videos, which is what we see here." Other forms of corroboration that researchers like Killing rely on include interviews with former detainees and information from journalists who visit the detention facilities. She added that Guanguan's video helps to confirm whether many facilities are prisons or detention centers. Rayhan Asat, a Uyghur human rights lawyer and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Strategic Litigation Project, said the unfiltered video footage adds to the ongoing documentation of the crackdown that is taking place in Xinjiang and "defeats the state propaganda and disinformation of 'Happy Uyghurs.'" read the complete article


23 Nov 2021

It’s not just Belarus that’s ruthless – border crisis exposes Poland’s cold anti-migrant policy

Almost no refugees are seeking to settle in Poland, which is one of the most homogeneous countries in the EU. And a glance at an atlas should show that Poland is some way off the ideal route leading from, say, Syria or Afghanistan to the most popular destination for refugees, which is Germany. And yet Warsaw has consistently been the most fiercely anti-migrant voice in the EU, with leading politicians regularly describing Muslim refugees as existential threats to their Christian ways of life. This was particularly the case in 2015, when over one million migrants crossed into the EU – mostly to Germany. This autumn, Poland has finally had to deal with migrants at its borders, even if the ones that get through are rushing westwards, to cross to the other side of the country. As an EU country, Poland can count on the other 26 member states to support its skirmish with Belarus. All have joined with Warsaw in condemning Mr Lukashenko’s “state terrorism”, as Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki describes it. But the threats on the EU’s borders mean that Poland’s rightwing nationalist government practices are ignored. Warsaw has declared a state of emergency all along its border with Belarus, a 3km zone from the frontier, where media, aid agencies and NGOs are banned. Even the EU’s border agency, Frontex, has been refused access to the area. The exclusion zone means that no-one can see how rough the Polish authorities have been with the migrants who have made across the border: they are usually thrown back into Belarus, in an abrogation of Poland’s duty under the Geneva convention on human rights to process asylum seekers who are found in their territory. read the complete article

United Kingdom

23 Nov 2021

Muslim women and boy, 3, subjected to Islamophobic rant in town centre

Two young Muslim women with a three-year-old boy are shown being subjected to Islamophobic abuse by a woman in a busy town centre. The victims were apparently targeted for their religion by the aggressive stranger who calls them ‘terrorists’ in a foul-mouthed tirade. A passer-by filmed the incident on a mobile phone as the woman yelled abuse at the trio in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, at around 11am on Friday. The perpetrator leaned into their faces as she shouted insulting remarks about their faith, and only desisted when a passer-by intervened and street wardens turned up at the scene in the town centre. read the complete article


23 Nov 2021

Bangladesh: Halt Forced Relocation of Rohingya Refugees

Bangladesh authorities should halt relocations to Bhasan Char island until freedom of movement and other rights of Rohingya refugees are protected, Human Rights Watch said today. Refugees and humanitarian workers said the authorities have already identified hundreds of families in the mainland camps to be relocated, starting imminently. “Bangladesh’s October agreement with the UN doesn’t provide a free ticket to forcibly relocate Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char,” said Bill Frelick, refugee and migrant rights director at Human Rights Watch. “On the contrary, donor governments will now be scrutinizing Bhasan Char to ensure their assistance doesn’t contribute to abuses.” Bangladesh authorities have already moved nearly 20,000 Rohingya refugees to the remote, flood-prone island, claiming that the relocations were necessary to ease the overcrowding in the Cox’s Bazar camps. Many refugees were transferred to the island without full, informed consent, and have been prevented from returning to the mainland. read the complete article


23 Nov 2021

Kerala BJP Seeks Ban on 'Halal Culture', Hoteliers Demand Action Against 'Communal' Campaigns

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala has demanded that the state government ban the “halal system” and halal boards at restaurants. In a press conference held in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, the party’s Kerala state general secretary, P. Sudheer, said, “Halal is a bad custom like the triple talaq.” The BJP’s demand to ban halal foods came amid social media campaigns against restaurants that serve such food, and a counter campaign targeting businesses with alleged RSS connections. Meanwhile the state’s opposition leaders and a leading hoteliers’ union demanded strict action against those who are involved in the spike in communal and false campaigns targeting certain hotels and restaurants. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, a senior leader of the ruling CPI(M), said that the current controversy is a product of “RSS’s efforts to divide the society”. He also said the communal campaign is aimed at polarisation among different religious communities. “This propaganda is not good for the Kerala society … [it] will not succeed here,” he said. Balakrishnan said while the Hindutva group’s divisive actions are “terrifying” in other states, the latest developments suggest “similar campaigns have been started in Kerala too”. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 23 Nov 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results