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
13 Oct 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Austria, Sebastian Kurz has been forced to resign amid a corruption scandal but Farid Hafez writes that the “nominee for his succession, a loyalist career diplomat, is not likely to change anything that allowed the ‘System of Kurz’ to take grip of the country,” meanwhile in India, the forced evictions of families in Assam continue and those evicted have been left to fend for themselves without any medical aid, drinking water and other basic amenities, and in the United States, a military spouse and anti-war on terror activist discusses the worrying levels of surveillance that have only increased in the war on terror years. Our recommended read of the day is by Hafsa Lodi for the Independent on the hypocrisy of American feminism noting that “Non-religious American women who march topless in protests are applauded for their feminism, while women of faith who cover their hair are deemed intrinsically un-feminist.” This and more below:

United States

13 Oct 2021

American feminism doesn’t include Muslim women – and especially not their hijabs | Recommended Read

I sit down to write this just after moderating a panel discussion about the policing of Muslim women’s bodies. Our conversation went over the hour as we lamented the different ways in which visibly-Muslim females still fall victim to Orientalist narratives that deem us “oppressed”. There was so much ground to cover that we didn’t even get a chance to talk about the latest injustice in our community. Hijabs are already banned in various places across Europe and Canada: earlier this year, the EU Court of Human Rights upheld a law allowing companies to ban their employees from wearing hijabs at work, and a Quebec court upheld most of a law that prevents government workers from wearing hijabs. The French Senate voted in favor of banning hijabs on women under the age of 18, prompting the #handsoffmyhijab campaign on Instagram. Western feminism has been historically selective and deceptive. Non-religious American women who march topless in protests are applauded for their feminism, while women of faith who cover their hair are deemed intrinsically un-feminist. As we campaign against enforced veiling in Afghanistan in the name of liberty and freedom, violations of Muslim women’s body autonomy are all too frequent on our own soil. read the complete article

13 Oct 2021

Make No Mistake –– The US War on Terror Is Far from Finished

IN THE LAST chapter of his first book, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, Spencer Ackerman reminds his readers of Bernie Sanders’s June 2019 assertion: “There is a straight line from the decision to reorient U.S. national-security strategy around terrorism after 9/11 to placing migrant children in cages on our southern border.” But Ackerman takes the analysis further in both directions, charting a path from Timothy McVeigh’s April 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City to the insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. The first major work to consider the War on Terror in its entirety, Reign of Terror documents the last 20 years of state-sponsored violence at a blistering pace, creating a near-constant cycle of recollection and frustration for the reader. Ackerman’s real achievement is a commitment to scale, an expansiveness that encourages readers to see the long view. Calling other people barbarians empowers a worldview that enables the abuse of state power, one in which “we” must do whatever it takes to protect against “them.” Ackerman exposes this kind of thinking without succumbing to it. By fighting an amorphous concept like terrorism, domestic political rivals “would never be able to agree on when it could be won.” Ackerman portrays such imprecision not as a bug but as a feature, perhaps the defining feature, of the War on Terror. This war could therefore never be stopped, and politicians who attempted to limit it could be called weak. read the complete article

13 Oct 2021

I Lived Through the US Military’s Culture of Surveillance

I know what it means to be watched all too carefully, a phenomenon that’s only grown worse in the war-on-terror years. I’m a strange combination, I suspect, being both a military spouse and an anti-war-on-terror activist. As I’ve discovered, the two sit uncomfortably in what still passes for one life. In this country in these years, having eyes on you has, sadly enough, become a common and widespread phenomenon. When it’s the government doing it, it’s called “surveillance.” When it’s your peers or those above you in the world of the military spouse, there’s no word for it at all. Terrorism can be anywhere. That’s the message repeatedly conveyed to me by my military community since the war on terror began. In these years, a chilling, if unspoken, corollary to that thought developed: anyone whose lifestyle and viewpoint the military did not agree with or approve of was a danger. Of course, American Muslims have been disproportionately affected by the government’s dramatic increase in surveillance. According to The New York Times, US intelligence officials estimated that “anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 Al Qaeda terrorists” in the United States had come under FBI surveillance in the year after the September 11th attacks, based overwhelmingly on their ethnic and religious identities. Such individual investigations almost invariably led nowhere. The unease I felt that first time I got a critical text from a higher-ranking military wife wasn’t faintly comparable to what a Muslim-American husband might have felt when the FBI knocked on his door and took him away for interrogation. Still, believe me, it does feel awful to be alienated from the community you’ve spent much of your life trying to contribute to—as a wife, a human-rights activist, and a therapist. read the complete article

13 Oct 2021

The Imperative to Support Muslim Students

Sadaf Jaffer recently completed two terms in Montgomery Township, N.J., serving as the first Muslim mayor in the United States. Now a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University, on Sept. 11, 2001, she was a freshman at Georgetown University, where she could see the Pentagon burning from campus. “I remember just a sense of fear, certainly among the Muslim students, about not wanting to be alone around campus,” she told USA Today. Just two years before, in 1999, Imam Yahya Hendi became the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University -- the first full-time Muslim chaplain at any college in the United States -- where he says the “intensity and magnitude” of the job picked up after Sept. 11. “Sometimes you go home in tears,” he said in 2017, when he was still guiding Georgetown students facing discrimination for being Muslim almost two decades later. “Sometimes it’s been very exhausting.” Muslim students, in fact, encountered a spike in anti-Muslim sentiment and hate crimes on campus during the Trump administration, as President Trump signed what would become known as the Muslim ban and attempted to revoke F-1 visas for international students taking online classes in fall 2020. In the 20 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, which Americans memorialized just last month, strides have been made to make college campuses more inclusive to minoritized students. However, research suggests that higher education institutions have not done enough to address the distinct challenges that Muslim students continue to face. Broad efforts to promote diversity and inclusion have simply not been adequate. Intentional and focused initiatives on behalf of Muslim students are necessary to ensure they enjoy a safe and supportive campus experience. read the complete article


13 Oct 2021

Ajlan Gharem explores Islamophobia and transparency with cage-like mosque

The traditional mosque is reimagined in fence-like steel wire in Saudi Arabian artist Ajlan Gharem's Paradise Has Many Gates installation, which has been awarded the V&A's Jameel Prize. The award honours the best contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition, and this year went to Gharem's dome-topped touring installation. Gharem created the work out of chicken wire to recall imagery of refugee detention centres and border walls, and invoke associated feelings of anxiety. At the same time, he wanted to explore the implications of making the mosque literally transparent and open. He believes Paradise Has Many Gates can help to demystify Islamic prayer for non-Muslims, while also presenting a challenge to political and religious authority, which thrives in secrecy. read the complete article

13 Oct 2021

'Don’t speak for us': How mainstream media misrepresents Muslim women

Television, newspapers, magazines, and every other form of media bombards the world with faith stereotyping that is shaping societal expectations – images of Muslim women that perpetuate unrealistic, banal and limiting perceptions are the norm. Most Muslim women are often victims of a presumptive but widely prevalent depiction that views them as subservient, subjugated or in need of rescue, which in turn leads to a gloomy narrative regarding their agency. As a practising Muslim woman who is proud of her identity, these naive and clichéd narratives are as galling as they are wearisome. Frequently, Muslim women find themselves defending their faith and reinforcing an accurate representation and perspective which they believe is critically important in helping others understand Islam and change harmful misconceptions. In the report The Mainstream Misrepresentation of Muslim Women in the Media, author Megan A. Mastro highlights the unilateral Western view of Muslim women in American society, wherein Muslim women are “portrayed and viewed with a relatively singular set of heuristics.” Mastro attributes this to Westerners’ lack of awareness and direct interactions or relationships with women who practice Islam and thereby lacking context and sensitivity. She reaffirms that the popular Western discourse which claims Muslim women need ‘correction’ or ‘saving’ conforms to ‘traditional Western liberalism.’ This, she believes, eventually confines a Muslim woman’s ability to express herself authentically, wherein "she is caught between her identity as a feminist woman and a Muslim woman. In order to be taken seriously in either sphere (as a feminist or as a Muslim), many in Western audiences require that she reject one of the two as unjust." read the complete article


13 Oct 2021

‘To dehumanise, terrorise us’: Muslims evicted in India’s Assam

More than 1,000 families live crowded together in the camp, located in Dhalpur in Assam’s Darrang district, after being forcibly evicted by the government last month. A fortnight after the Assam government’s forceful eviction of Muslim villagers allegedly living on government land, the displaced people of Dhalpur – a cluster of villages on a Brahmaputra sandbar in the Sipajhar area – find themselves in cramped shanties propped up with whatever was left of their homes. The villages are being cleared to make space for a farming project by the Assam government over 77,000 bighas (25,600 acres) of land, which the evicted families say they have been living on for more than 40 years. The Gorukhuti Agriculture Project aims to set up “modern farming” and hand them over to the state’s Indigenous youths. The evicted families have been pushed to a patch of land in Dhalpur 3 and left to fend for themselves without any medical aid, drinking water and other basic amenities. read the complete article


13 Oct 2021

Sixty years after the Paris Massacre, will the French finally accept that Muslim Lives Matter?

France's Donald Trump wannabe is leading the country's Islamophobic charge by promising to ban children from being named Muhammad if he becomes president. The meteoric rise of Eric Zemmour in the polls has sent alarm bells ringing among the country's five million Muslims as they prepare to mark one of the darkest events in their community history. Few had heard of Zemmour until last month but, just like Trump, the use of inflammatory, racist and Islamophobic language targeting immigrants, Muslims and other minorities is proving to be a vote winner among French voters who will choose their next president in April next year. Exploiting the notion that Islamism simply means extremism and terrorism, Zemmour promotes the idea that Muslims and their religion are the problem in France. "There is no difference between Islam and Islamism," he told RTL, a French radio station that broadcasts across Europe. The growing popularity of the far-right politician, author and TV commentator is bad news for French Muslims who are still reeling from the closure of their biggest charity and a leading anti-racist organisation. Zemmour's ascendancy coincides with a court decision to rubber-stamp the French government's move to shut down BarakaCity, the largest Muslim charity in the country, and the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). Muslims in France are subjected constantly to negative media scrutiny, with state institutions right up to the president's office being used to target Islam. Thanks to Zemmour, it looks set to get much worse. The French media seems more than happy to pick up and amplify his hateful rhetoric. Extreme right-wing views are now mainstream on French TV, so there is little wonder that despair among the nation's Muslims is growing. It wasn't helped a few days ago when the Macron blamed Algerians for their deep-rooted hatred of France by claiming that they had falsified the history of the French colonial era. In other words, he did not want to confront French atrocities committed against Algerians throughout the 132-year occupation. read the complete article


13 Oct 2021

Austria's Sebastian Kurz is out, but his right-wing policies remain

The Austrian Chancellor was forced to resign amid a corruption scandal. But the nominee for his succession, a loyalist career diplomat, is not likely to change anything that allowed the ‘System of Kurz’ to take grip of the country. While Kurz has not been willing to show any remorse for the first few days, he has now vacated his executive chair on Saturday evening after investigative journalists from the weekly investigative magazine Falter exposed conversations in which Kurz and his close circles expressed themselves in the most condescending and insulting manner toward former party leaders whom they pushed from power to take complete control over the party. In fact, when Kurz took over the party in 2017, he seized all power by changing the party's constitution. The OVP was at a low in the polls. Today, if the suspicion is true, we know that some of these polls were reworked by Kurz's power circle, apparently in exchange for millions in media funding from the Ministry of Finance. The media made Kurz a rising star, who was supposed to help the down-and-out party of old men to rise to the top with Kurz's populist clan. But the price paid by the OVP was high: All power became centralised in the hands of the new young party leader. Kurz changed the party's design from black to turquoise and filled important posts with people who belonged to his loyalist inner circle. A Kurz loyalist and career diplomat, Schallenberg now takes over the system Kurz installed. But, moreover, Kurz does not leave altogether. He remains the party leader and even wants to become the party whip for the OVP in the national parliament. This would allow him to continue pulling all the strings together, and shows that Kurz is willing to emerge from this crisis as a leader once again. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 13 Oct 2021 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results