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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14 Oct 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In Canada, the the Peel District School Board (PDSB) in Ontario has passed a motion to adopt an anti-Islamophobia strategy, which will include mandatory training for all staff, while in the United Kingdom a man accused of terrorism offences had three copies of a livestream of the 2019 Christchurch mass shooting in New Zealand on his phone, and in France the growing popularity of far-right, anti-Muslim pundit Eric Zemmour demonstrates that the country’s political discourse is moving further to the right. Our recommended read of the day is by Sam Biddle for the The Intercept on Facebook’s secret blacklist of “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations,” which disproportionately categorizes Muslim-related organizations as “terrorist.” This and more below:


14 Oct 2021


As with other attempts to limit personal freedoms in the name of counterterrorism, Facebook’s DIO policy has become an unaccountable system that disproportionately punishes certain communities, critics say. It is built atop a blacklist of over 4,000 people and groups, including politicians, writers, charities, hospitals, hundreds of music acts, and long-dead historical figures. The list and associated rules appear to be a clear embodiment of American anxieties, political concerns, and foreign policy values since 9/11, experts said, even though the DIO policy is meant to protect all Facebook users and applies to those who reside outside of the United States (the vast majority). Nearly everyone and everything on the list is considered a foe or threat by America or its allies: Over half of it consists of alleged foreign terrorists, free discussion of which is subject to Facebook’s harshest censorship. The DIO policy and blacklist also place far looser prohibitions on commentary about predominately white anti-government militias than on groups and individuals listed as terrorists, who are predominately Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Muslim, or those said to be part of violent criminal enterprises, who are predominantly Black and Latino, the experts said. While labels like “terrorist” and “criminal” are conceptually broad, they look more like narrow racial and religious proxies once you see how they are applied to people and groups in the list, experts said, raising the likelihood that Facebook is placing discriminatory limitations on speech. read the complete article

14 Oct 2021

Facebook criticised over 'terror' list that overwhelmingly features Muslim groups

A leaked list of individuals and organisations branded "dangerous" by Facebook has been criticised for appearing to focus disproportionately on Muslim groups. Facebook's Dangerous Individuals and Organisations policy (DIO) was formulated after criticism from governments and activists that the platform was being used by militant groups, the far-right and other "extremist" organisations to promote their ideologies. As part of its new Community Standards, Facebook imposed a ban on “organisations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity”. Part of the DIO involved a list of more than 4,000 people and groups, including politicians, writers, banks, charities, hospitals, musicians and even dead historical figures. The list, which was published by the Intercept on Wednesday, is split between groups and individuals, and divided into categories of "terror", "crime", "hate", "militarised social movements" and "violent non-state actors". The overwhelming majority of groups and individuals referenced in the "terror" category have an Islamic ideology or background in a Muslim-majority state. The "terror" list is composed of both non-state militant groups, such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and state-affiliated organisations, such as Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) and the Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company. By comparison, far-right groups and American anti-government militias are placed in the "hate" and "militarised social movements" categories, respectively. Speaking to the Intercept, Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security programme, said there appeared to be double standards at work. “The lists seem to create two disparate systems, with the heaviest penalties applied to heavily Muslim regions and communities,” she said. read the complete article

14 Oct 2021

Politicians, journalists and lawyers to put war on terror ‘on trial’ at people’s tribunal

Politicians, lawyers and journalists are to put the war on terror “on trial” at a people’s tribunal next week, ahead of Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing. The second round of hearings of the Belmarsh Tribunal will see left-wing figures including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, veteran anti-war activist Tariq Ali and Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa “hold the US accountable for its war crimes.” The Belmarsh Tribunal seeks to hold the US to account for 21st-century crimes uncovered by Wikileaks, including atrocities in Iraq and the use of torture in Guantanamo Bay. Tribunal members, who will convene for the first time physically on October 22 at the Convocation Hall, Church House, Westminster, argue that it should be the US government that is put on trial and not Mr Assange. “Wikileaks exposed crimes of US empire in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond,” said Mr Corbyn, who is also a Progressive International council member. “At the Belmarsh Tribunal we will turn the world the right way up, placing crimes of war, torture, kidnapping and a litany of other gross human rights abuses on trial. “The perpetrators of these crimes walk free, often still prominent public figures in the US, UK and elsewhere. They should be held accountable for the lives they destroyed and the futures they stole.” read the complete article

14 Oct 2021

Winter Olympics: IOC says China human rights ‘not within’ remit

A senior member of the International Olympic Committee has swatted aside suggestions that China should be challenged over its human rights record before the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. IOC Vice President John Coates on Wednesday rejected calls from rights groups and US lawmakers for the IOC to postpone next year’s games and relocate the event unless China ends what the United States has deemed continuing genocide against Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups. When asked about the treatment of the Uighur minority in China, he said the body has no mandate to act. “We are not a world government. We have to respect the sovereignty of the countries who are hosting the games,” Coates told an event in his native Australia. read the complete article

United States

14 Oct 2021

Maplewood police open inquiry of hijab incident, as teacher says it was a misunderstanding

The Maplewood Police Department has opened an inquiry into allegations that a teacher "forcibly" removed the hijab of a second grade student, the South Orange-Maplewood School District announced. The teacher, meanwhile, spoke out, calling the incident a misunderstanding. In a statement sent to The Record and through her attorney, Tamar Herman, a teacher at Seth Boyden Elementary School in Maplewood, said the student was wearing a hooded sweatshirt in place of a hijab. "Last week, I asked one of my students to raise the hood of her sweatshirt because it was covering her eyes," Herman said. "With her mask on, too, her whole face was covered. I gently got her attention by brushing up the front of her hood. The moment I realized she was not wearing her usual hijab underneath, she kept the hood on. And the learning went on." The incident gained attention last week when Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, a Maplewood native who was the first Muslim American Olympian to compete for the U.S. in a hijab, posted about the incident on Instagram. Muhammad said the student had her hijab "forcibly removed" by Herman. read the complete article

14 Oct 2021

GOP stalls pick who'd be government's highest-ranking Muslim

The nomination of a Pakistani-born businessman who would be the highest-ranking Muslim in the U.S. government is in jeopardy because Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked his confirmation. The stalemate has led to Democratic charges of anti-Muslim bias and galvanized some Muslim and Jewish organizations to condemn the delay. President Biden is so far standing behind his selection of Dilawar Syed to be deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration But the nomination has stalled as Republicans have failed to show up for committee votes, citing the agency’s payouts to abortion providers. “Mr. Syed is not responsible for those funds, so his nomination is being held hostage to a policy dispute with which he has no influence or decision-making power,” said Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance. He argued that the inaction was an “excuse for a lot of issues that have nothing to do with suitability for the position.” read the complete article


14 Oct 2021

Cambridge, Ont., mosque moves forward, gives back after vandalism

Cambridge's Baitul Kareem Mosque is moving forward after it was severely vandalized this summer, turning a negative into a positive, mosque officials say. In mid-July, the the mosque was broken into. It was ripped apart and left with about $10,000 worth of damage. The Waterloo Regional Police Service charged a 35-year-old Cambridge man with break and enter, property damage over $5,000, possession of stolen property, among other offences. Mosque officials say they have since learned that the man charged was allegedly living with a drug addiction and that he was a part of the local shelter system. And so the mosque decided it would take the hundreds of dollars in donations it had received to fix the damaged to the building, and give the money to the local shelter instead. Members of the community were encouraged to donate there as well. read the complete article

14 Oct 2021

Staff, students in this school board are learning about Islamophobia, but true test comes in real world

Over the years, Nokha Dakroub has come face-to-face with racism and anti-Islamic hate during her work as a school trustee. Among the most vivid incidents were a series of meetings at her Mississauga, Ont., school board in 2017, when protesters spewed Islamophobic comments and tore pages from a Qur'an in objection to a long-held policy granting Muslim students space at school for prayers. This month, however, Dakroub is proud of a major, pioneering step the Peel District School Board (PDSB) is taking against those very sentiments: the board passed her motion to adopt an anti-Islamophobia strategy, which will include mandatory training for all PDSB staff. "We need to continue doing work, through public education, to combat the elements of hate that exist in our society," she said. Muslim students, teachers and educational leaders are among those working to make our classrooms more inclusive, but many say that the struggle to dispel Islamophobia is only just beginning and must expand to encompass everyone. read the complete article

United Kingdom

14 Oct 2021

Fife mosque attack suspect had videos of Christchurch terror attack on phone

A man accused of terrorism offences had three copies of a livestream of the 2019 mass shooting in New Zealand on his phone, a court has heard. The iPhone belonging to Sam Imrie, 24, also had a number of images glorying the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, with words such as “Saint Tarrant” and “hail Tarrant”. White supremacist Tarrant was sentenced to life in prison without parole in August last year after two mosque shootings where he killed 51 people and injured 40 others. Giving evidence on Wednesday, Detective Constable Murray Cairns of the Edinburgh organised crime and counter-terrorism unit described the footage of the attack as “horrific.” read the complete article


14 Oct 2021

Months until presidential vote, a far-right surge jolts France

Much of the French media is not focused on Macron’s chances of becoming the first president to be re-elected since Jacques Chirac in 2002, but rather on the rise of the far right. In the latest election poll, published on October 6, two far-right figures are predicted secure 32 percent; 17 percent for Eric Zemmour and 15 percent for Marine Le Pen. Macron, individually, is still seen as the favourite, with 24 percent. Le Pen's competitor on the far right, the polemicist Zemmour, has not officially announced his candidacy, but his omnipresence on French TV channels has propelled his popularity. On September 16, Zemmour published La France n’a pas dit son dernier mot (France hasn’t had its last word), which topped the bestseller list on Amazon France, selling about 130,000 copies in the two weeks after release. The wide dissemination of his ideas, which critics consider as even further right than Le Pen’s views, has worried officials across the political spectrum. Of great concern to many, he believes French citizens with “non-French” first names should change their name and supports the so-called “great replacement” theory – the notion, also held by white supremacists in the United States, that Western populations are being “replaced” by immigrants. Zemmour has also been accused by seven women of sexual harassment and faced court many times for hate speech considered racist, Islamophobic, sexist or homophobic – but has almost always been acquitted. According to Aurelien Mondon, a politics professor who researches racism and the far right: “Zemmour is not expecting to become president, what he wants is to kind of move the discourse to the far right … He wants to win the battle of ideas.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 14 Oct 2021 Edition


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