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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03 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In France, President Emmanuel Macron’s approach to Islam and Muslims, echoes the “Muslim policies” undertaken by other authoritarian regimes, such as the UAE, meanwhile across Europe, the majority of the 28 million Muslims who reside within the EU face struggles both economic and social due to decades of false equivalencies with domestic terrorism, and in India, police in the state of Assam sealed a museum depicting Miya culture, or the culture of Bengal-origin Muslims, and arrested three persons associated with the event under the country’s anti-terror law. Our recommended read of the day is by Matthew Weaver for The Guardian on the revelation that the man who targeted a migrant center in Dover, UK with petrol bombs, had tweeted that he planned to “obliterate Muslim children” just an hour before his attack. This and more below.

United Kingdom

02 Nov 2022

Dover petrol bomb attacker said he planned to ‘obliterate Muslim children’ | Recommended Read

Andrew Leak said he planned to “obliterate Muslim children” an hour before his firebomb attack in Dover, it has been revealed, amid continuing questions about why it took police so long to treat the incident as terrorism. In his final tweet before the attack, Leak, 66, said: “We will obliterate them Muslim children [they] are now our target. And there [sic] disgusting women will be targeted mothers and sisters Is burn alive”. It was posted at 10.22am on Sunday. An hour later, at about 11.20am, Leak was photographed releasing a plastic bottle taped to a lit firework on Dover harbour’s Western Jet Foil, where dozens of people who had crossed the Channel in small boats were waiting to be processed by Border Force officers. Two people were hurt in the attack involving three petrol bombs. Leak was found dead minutes afterwards at a nearby petrol station. Leek’s final tweet was revealed in an archive of his social media postings compiled by the anti-fascist charity Hope Not Hate before they were deleted. On Tuesday, counter-terrorism police said they were now investigating the incident, after multiple calls for it to treated as an act of terror. read the complete article

02 Nov 2022

The Government Drops Plans To Provide An Official Definition of Islamophobia

With promises made over three years ago, the government has officially dropped work on a definition of Islamophobia. Over the years, many have found that the government’s reaction to such a concern has been deeply worrying, despite the rise in hate crimes against Muslims in England and Wales. For many years, Labour MP Afzal Khan has written to those in charge asking to come up with an official definition of Islamophobia. Speaking to The Independent, he said, “Their lack of action since 2018, coupled with the damning allegations made by Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani, all show that they simply do not take the issue seriously.” He also mentioned, “Year after year, British Muslims are victims of the highest proportion of religiously motivated hate crime. This trend shows no sign of abating under the Conservative government. Yet this revolving door of chaos has meant that consecutive prime ministers have failed to tackle Islamophobia and deliver on their promises.” When it comes to religious hate crimes, it is believed that Muslims are a hot target. In fact, between April 2020 and March 2021, there were 2,703 hate crimes committed against Muslims in England and Wales. What’s more, according to a tweet by Labour MP, Anneliese Dodds, ‘Hate crimes against Muslims accounted for 42% of all recorded religious hate crimes last year. The Conservatives promised to develop a definition of Islamophobia years ago. Now Michael Gove says he won’t. Another broken Tory promise.’ read the complete article

02 Nov 2022

UK: Muslim students launch campaign to disaffiliate from NUS after Shaima Dallali sacking

Muslim students doubled down on calls to disaffiliate from the UK's National Union of Students after the national body dismissed its elected president Shaima Dallali, following an investigation into allegations of antisemitism. Dallali, a Black Muslim woman of Tunisian and Sudanese descent, was elected in March to lead the national student body, although she had not taken up the post after being suspended, pending the investigation. She is the first president to be dismissed in the NUS's 100-year history. The NUS announced its decision on Tuesday night after reports began to emerge that Dallali was dismissed by the national body. A statement by her lawyers, Carter-Ruck, on Wednesday announced that Dallali is considering legal action against the decision. "Remarkably – and in keeping with her treatment throughout her brief tenure since being elected in March 2022 – the news of Ms Dallali’s dismissal had already been briefed to and published on at least two national news websites before Ms Dallali had even been informed of the decision, let alone been provided with the written reasons for it," the statement read. "She considers the process to have constituted – and that it continues to constitute – discriminatory treatment of her as a black Muslim woman and her beliefs concerning the plight of the Palestinian people," the statement said. More than a dozen organisations signed a joint letter condemning the NUS on Tuesday night for failing to protect Dallali from death threats and a "torrent of Islamophobic" abuse after being elected president of the national body. The open letter's signatories include the Muslim Association of Britain and the Finsbury Park Mosque, which supported FOSIS's calls for students to disaffiliate from the NUS. read the complete article


02 Nov 2022

Macron’s ‘French Islam’ echoes repressive policies of Gulf regimes

Amid an ongoing controversy over religious attire in public schools, French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a strategic speech at the Grand Mosque of Paris last month to commemorate its centenary. After retracing the mosque’s history, Macron delineated its overarching vision of an Islam “faithful to the values of the Republic”. Referencing these alleged “values” has become a prerequisite among the French political establishment when addressing Islam and Muslims. This vaguely defined reference conceals a deeper political meaning: that Islam, in order for it to be tolerated, must conform to the state’s guidelines. The “values of the Republic” have become boundaries delimiting the political space within which Islam and French Muslims must operate - a space that only recognises political submission. According to Macron, Islam must be “compatible with the Republic”. Indeed, incompatibility indicates a clear form of “separatism”, a concept the president began using two years ago when he introduced a bill to combat “radical Islamism”. The notion of separatism points to Muslims’ forbidden territory: political dissent and religious freedom. In other words, French Muslims’ religiosity must earn the state’s stringent stamp of approval. The anti-separatism law, adopted by parliament last year, has dramatically curtailed Muslims’ fundamental rights within civil society. Framed around the need to protect national security, the French republic and secularism, the Islamophobic state has since 2018 launched more than 26,000 investigations targeting everything from Muslim businesses, to schools, to mosques. It has permanently or temporarily shut down more than 800 facilities, and seized more than €55 million ($55m). The crackdown has affected numerous well-respected Muslim organisations, such as the Collective Against Islamophobia in France and the charity BarakaCity. read the complete article

United States

03 Nov 2022

We’re Watching White Anxiety Turn Into Violent Rage

While many during those first few years wanted to tout America’s new status as “post-racial,” Black and brown America knew the truth. While his election wins in both 2008 and 2012 were indeed historic, the whitelash that had been brewing since the advent of birtherism and the Tea Party would soon manifest itself in an upending of all that “post-racial” hope. That’s when Republicans nominated the anti-Obama—a man who ramped up racial anxieties rather than speaking to them with compassion and nuance—Donald J. Trump. Trump is (and always has been) a caricature of white privilege and white resentment. A silver spoon heir to a multimillionaire, whose failures in business were repeatedly bailed out by Daddy, he somehow conned people into buying his image as the savior of poor white America. He rebuffed political norms and embraced the “good old days” of unapologetic racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia—all while embracing white nationalism and fetishizing the American flag. While the Obama era made us believe in our better angels and our better selves—Trumpism had a substantial portion of white America believing that their rejection of equity and inclusivity is some perverse form of patriotism. While Obamaism was about multiculturalism and the abundance of this country’s offerings, Trumpism emphasized scarcity—the idea that America’s bounties are zero sum, and that white Americans needed to stake their claim to what is theirs alone, what they are owed, and who they should hate and fear encroaching on “their America.” But this didn’t start with Trump. Many white Americans have been fed a very purposeful lie that began in kindergarten, one that instilled a belief in their excellence and benevolence. They learned from the time that they could read and write that white people discovered this country and turned it into something the world bowed to and held up as a beacon. read the complete article


02 Nov 2022

Iranian Feminism and “All These Different Kinds of Veils”

For the past two months, following the detention and death of Mahsa Amini, a twenty-two-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, protests have shaken the Islamic Republic of Iran. The regime of Ayatollah Khamenei has so far been unable to stamp out the dissent, which has focussed particularly on the fact that women in Iran are forced to wear a covering for their hair. (Amini was arrested for apparently revealing too much of hers.) To talk about the state of the protest movement, and the fissures in Iranian society, I recently spoke by phone with the anthropologist Homa Hoodfar, a professor emerita at Concordia University in Montreal. Her work has ranged across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, and Iran, with a special focus on the place of women in Muslim societies, and on the politics of the veil. Our conversation, edited for length and clarity, is below. We discussed what is unique about the recent protests in Iran, what her experience in prison taught her about the Iranian regime, and how a theocratic government may have inadvertently weakened the connection between Iranians and Islam. read the complete article


03 Nov 2022

Never-ending Islamophobia in Europe

Around 25 million Muslims live in the European Union, with 28 members. The majority of the people there have ended up unemployed due to the misperceptions and prejudgments about European Muslims, who are considered a “threat” to European societies and their domestic security because of an increase in radical activities and attacks by a fringe minority. Most Muslims are living in and advocating peace but the fact that these attacks are perpetrated by so-called “Muslims” is the lifeline for Islamophobia, plus, it is also evident that non-Muslims carried out terrorist attacks in Europe. This kind of hatred against Muslims, which is rapidly increasing, leads to many devastating consequences and hate crimes against Muslims. One tragic example of this is the Islamophobic terrorist attack in New Zealand’s Christchurch, which led to the mass killing of over 49 innocent Muslims. The world has witnessed genocide against Muslims in Syria, Palestine, India and in many other countries around the world so far. The global community must understand that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam and the stigma attached to Muslims only makes things worse. read the complete article


02 Nov 2022

The United Nations is failing the people of Myanmar

Ukraine has shown that the United Nations can act in a crisis. Unfortunately, the same does not apply to a comparably dire situation in a country on the other side of the world: Myanmar. In February 2021, the leader of Myanmar’s military, senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, staged a coup aimed at installing himself as head of a new military government. His actions — in blatant violation of the constitution — ignited a nationwide revolution that now aims to overthrow military rule once and for all and establish a peaceful federal democracy. The Security Council has not voted on a single resolution on Myanmar, not even in response to the continuing abuses perpetrated against the Rohingya. Min Aung Hlaing’s genocidal attacks on Rohingya communities in 2017 forced three-quarters of a million people to cross the border into Bangladesh, where they now populate the world’s largest refugee camp, with no prospects of returning home as the crisis in Myanmar worsens. It is true that any Security Council resolution demanding action to help end Min Aung Hlaing’s attack through targeted arms embargoes and targeted sanctions, and to hold him accountable for international crimes, may well be vetoed by Russia or China. But for other members of the Security Council to not even try is, quite simply, a gross dereliction of duty. read the complete article


02 Nov 2022

The Strange Death of the Uyghur Internet

EKPAR ASAT, FOUNDER of one of the most popular Uyghur-language websites, started his career as many tech entrepreneurs do: In 2007, he turned his college project into a successful news site and forum called Bagdax. In early 2016, however, Asat was swept up in a mass detention campaign, alongside a reported 1 million members of Uyghur and other Turkic minorities, after returning from an entrepreneur leadership program organized by the US State Department. Within a year, Bagdax and other popular Uyghur websites—such as Misranim, Bozqir, and Ana Tuprak—permanently stopped updating. And they weren’t the only ones. As Beijing’s crackdown in the Xinjiang region unfolded, the vast majority of independent Uyghur-run websites ceased to exist, according to local tech industry insiders and academics tracking the online Uyghur-language sphere. “It’s like erasing the life work of thousands and thousands of people to build something—a future for their own society,” says Darren Byler, assistant professor of international studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and an author of several books on China’s treatment of Uyghurs. Many of the people behind the websites have also disappeared into China’s detention camp system. Developers, computer scientists, and IT experts—especially those working on Uyghur-language products—have been detained, according to members of the minority living abroad. read the complete article


02 Nov 2022

Muslims Face Terror Charges in India’s Assam for Setting up Museum

In late October, the police in the northeast Indian state of Assam, which shares borders with Bengali-speaking Bangladesh and the West Bengal state of eastern India, sealed a humble museum depicting Miya culture, or the culture of Bengal-origin Muslims, and arrested three persons associated with the event. The arrested were booked under India’s anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. This episode emerged as a new entry in a long list of alleged persecution of Muslims, a religious minority in India who comprise 14.23 percent of India’s population according to the last census in 2011. Persecution of religious minorities has surged since 2014 when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in India. Assam, where ethnic conflict between Assamese-speaking and Bengali-speaking populations is not new, is at present ruled by the BJP. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 03 Nov 2022 Edition


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