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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09 Nov 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In France, a cartoonist’s depiction of Qatari football players as terrorists sparks an outrage from the international community on social media, meanwhile in India, a complaint has been filed against the makers of a new Bollywood film, which portrays the southern state of Kerala as a “terrorist state,” and in the U.S., far-right Republican incumbent Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has a history of making anti-Muslim comments, has defeated her opponent to retain Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Our recommended read of the day is by Steve Rukavina for CBC News on the court challenge to Quebec’s secularism law, a law passed in 2019 which prohibits public workers from wearing religious symbols at work. This and more below:


08 Nov 2022

Muslim women most affected by Quebec's secularism law, Court of Appeal hears | Recommended Read

As the court challenge of Quebec's secularism law — commonly known as Bill 21 — continues this week before the Quebec Court of Appeal, groups contesting the law argued Tuesday Bill 21 overwhelmingly discriminates against Muslim women. The Quebec government and several civil liberties groups are presenting arguments about a Superior Court decision last year, which upheld most — but not all — provisions of the law. Enacted under the Coalition Avenir Québec government in June 2019, the secularism law prohibits public school teachers, police officers, government lawyers, a host of other civil servants and even some politicians from wearing religious symbols at work. The province pre-emptively invoked the constitutional notwithstanding clause when drafting the legislation, in order to protect it from potential court challenges. Perri Ravon, the lawyer representing the English Montreal School Board, argued Tuesday that Bill 21 was designed to target one group in particular: Muslim women who wear the hijab. "The expert evidence in this case accepted by the trial judge establishes that Bill 21 is likely to increase the prejudice faced by Muslim women more than any other group," Ravon told the panel of three judges. Ravon noted that in the EMSB, eight people have lost jobs or been denied employment due to Bill 21. All were Muslim women. read the complete article

08 Nov 2022

Hanes: Women's groups bring a valued voice to the legal battle against Bill 21

Since Quebec adopted its controversial law on secularism, protecting women’s rights has been touted by Premier François Legault’s government as one of the primary justifications for forbidding public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious garb. But as the constitutionality of Bill 21 is debated before the Quebec Court of Appeal this week, two women’s groups have joined the challenge, arguing that it has in fact had the complete opposite effect. The Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ) and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), which are scheduled to plead their case Tuesday, contend that Bill 21 fails to consider the intersectionality of rights. Its disproportionate effect on Muslim women who wear the veil undermines rather than reinforces guarantees of gender equality set out in the Quebec and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — which the groups also insist can’t be set aside in the first place by the pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clause. “We do not agree with the way the law was made, because it prevents women from having a real choice. The liberty to choose is part of our fundamental freedoms,” said Nathalie Léger, a lawyer and spokesperson for the two groups on this matter. “In a case of discrimination, the intention is not important. We’re not asking, ‘Did the government have the objective to undermine the rights of Muslim women?’ That’s not what’s important — it’s whether it has that effect.” read the complete article


09 Nov 2022

‘The Kerala Story’: Calls to halt release of controversial Bollywood movie about conversions to Islam

A complaint has been lodged with India's federal ministry of information and broadcasting against an upcoming contentious Bollywood film for allegedly portraying Kerala as a "terrorist state". The teaser of The Kerala Story released earlier this month claims that nearly 32,000 women from the southern state of Kerala, now run by the communist party, converted to Islam and joined the Islamic State in the last decade. Aravindakshan BR, a Tamil Nadu-based journalist, has written to the federal ministry and India's film certification board chairperson Prasoon Joshi to place a ban on the film unless the makers provide evidence against their claim. read the complete article

09 Nov 2022

Gyanvapi: Verdict on plea seeking ban on entry of Muslims on November 14

A fast track court in Varanasi on Tuesday deferred judgement on the maintainability of a plea seeking a ban on the entry of Muslims inside the Gyanvapi Masjid complex. The verdict will now be delivered on November 14. People familiar with developments said the verdict was deferred as the judge was on leave. This case was filed by the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh (VVSS) in 2022 seeking a ban on the entry of Muslims on the Gyanvapi premises. The body also sought possession of the premises in order to worship a structure -- found earlier this year during a court-ordered survey -- that Hindu groups say is a shivling. Muslim parties have said that the structure is a part of an old ceremonial fountain. There are seven cases related to the Gyanvapi mosque and its premises that are pending in various courts. In the most prominent case, being heard in Varanasi district court, a group of five Hindu women are demanding the right to regularly worship idols and deities installed within the mosque complex. read the complete article

United Kingdom

08 Nov 2022

Islamophobia Awareness Month: Why defining and opposing anti-Muslim hate is necessary

As we enter Islamophobia awareness month with the ironically timed news that Michael Gove, the reappointed Communities Secretary, has dropped the government’s efforts to define Islamophobia, and therefore their broader effort to combat anti-Muslim hate, Muslims in particular need to ask themselves what narrative backdrop they are living against and what character our identities are being shoehorned into. Overwhelmingly, a society in which anti-Muslim hate crime – which last year made up 42% of increasing religious hate crimes in the UK - has no name, will reveal more about whose truths are prioritised. The effort to define and recognise the ubiquity of anti-Muslim sentiment in British life is itself a victim to the fallacious metanarrative of free-speech. But in a world where the author of our stories – and the very act of defining and labelling - wields great power, what can we learn from what is erased from our national vocabulary? Understanding the role of the Muslim in the formation of national identity very much involves reading between the lines and what has been left unsaid. The latest research into coverage of Muslims in mainstream media found that 60% of online media articles associate Muslims and Islam with negative aspects or behaviour. Often times these reports are revealed to be fabricated, such as high-profile media scandals involving schooling, family and health. The conceptual Muslim in public imagination serves to cleanse dominant norms and identities, by acting as a sponge for society’s most acute worries. The fictive, symbolic figure of the Muslim as barbaric is used in contrast to enhance rational, secular humanism. The Muslim as rapist to divert from issues concerning sexual morality in wider society. The Muslim as terrorist, serving to distract from the existential crisis facing Western Imperialism. And of course, the Muslim as stateless, to compound citizenship, identity and belonging at a time where public disquiet around national borders and identity is most frantic. read the complete article

09 Nov 2022

Islamophobia is the government’s biggest scandal

At its heart is a very basic question of equality: whether the government is committed to rooting out discrimination against people because of their faith and race. The scandal is the rampant Islamophobia in the Conservative party and the manner in which it has been allowed to go unchecked. At times, the struggle to get others to sit up and notice has felt incredibly painful and lonely for British Muslim communities, even in “quieter news days” before the pandemic. We’ve seen a Muslim former minister, Nus Ghani, allege that she was sacked because of her faith; we’ve seen Conservative party MPs retweet far-right bigots like Tommy Robinson. One Tory MP invited a speaker into parliament who praised the Rohingya genocide; councillors who posted racist and Islamophobic statements online were quietly reinstated, while the party continues to insist that it has a zero-tolerance approach towards Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry. The shameful way in which the Tories have failed to deal with Islamophobia is proof that the party cannot be trusted to deal with the matter on its own. It knows that there will be little outcry over the government’s failure to tackle anti-Muslim prejudice among the sections of the powerful right-wing press that regularly subject Muslim communities to negative and sensationalist reporting. The Conservative party is being let off the hook by some of those whose purpose it is to hold power to account, while it continues to insist that there’s nothing to see. read the complete article


08 Nov 2022

To deter genocide, the UN must call it by its name

August’s much-anticipated, and highly critical, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report on the Chinese Communist Party’s horrific atrocities toward the Uyghur people demonstrated the fallacy of “never again.” Beyond local protests and high-level platitudes, China has been allowed to continue its “crimes against humanity” with impunity, at the same time evading a damning and embarrassing, but much-deserved, Human Rights Council debate about the ongoing situation in Xinjiang. This is in large part due to the report refraining from using the word “genocide” in regard to the Uyghurs, an ethnic minority who have lived in the western stretches of China for more than six centuries. Pressure from the People’s Republic of China, including against the U.N. representatives themselves, ensured the report remained ambiguous, despite its text pointing to evidence confirmed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and others who have been unafraid to use the “G” word to the Chinese Communist Party’s face. read the complete article

08 Nov 2022

‘Racism’: Qataris decry French cartoon of national football team

A cartoon by a French newspaper depicting Qatari footballers as terrorists has sparked outrage on social media, with users calling out its “blatant Islamophobia” and “racism”. The caricature was published by Le Canard enchainé in its October issue, which focuses on Qatar and its role as the FIFA World Cup 2022 host. The image depicts seven bearded men with “Qatar” written across their chests above big numbers. They appear to be chasing a football in the sand while carrying machetes, guns and rocket launchers. One wears a belt laden with explosives. Five are wearing blue robes and two are wearing black shirts and pants with balaclavas covering their faces. Five men in white robes are drawn on the sidelines, looking on. “Le Canard Enchaîné published a despicable cartoon showing its blatant racism and hatred of Islam,” one user wrote in Arabic on Twitter. “They describe Qatar as an authoritarian emirate and its national team as terrorists.” Hamad Al-Kawari, a minister of state and the president of Qatar’s National Library, called on France to show a “little sportsmanship”. “Even caustic satire is welcome!!!” he tweeted in French. “But the Canard Enchaîné decided to resort to lies, hatred and grudges to attack Qatar and denigrate it.” read the complete article

United States

09 Nov 2022

Marjorie Taylor Greene projected to win reelection in Georgia

CBS News projects incumbent Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green has easily defeated her Democratic challenger Marcus Flowers in the race for Georgia's 14th Congressional District. If reelected, Greene's committee assignments are expected to be restored after the House in February 2021 voted to strip her of them because of controversial remarks she made on social media. Before she was elected, Greene posted several right-wing conspiracy theories and shared videos with antisemitic and anti-Muslim sentiment. She expressed support for violence against Democratic leaders in Congress. She "liked" a Facebook post that challenged the veracity of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Another video captured her confronting Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor David Hogg. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 09 Nov 2022 Edition


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