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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06 Oct 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, Fadwa Hammoud becomes the first Arab-American Muslim woman to argue at the U.S. Supreme Court, meanwhile a former Facebook employee turned whistleblower reveals how the social media giant “promotes global division and ethnic violence,” and in Canada, Quebec’s elections commissions says it doesn’t have the power to do anything after a fringe Quebec City municipal party’s platform describes Islam as a “cancer.” Our recommended read of the day is by Noah Berlatsky for The Independent on how a North Carolina congressman invokes white Christian nationalism, “a virulently intolerant and xenophobic movement obsessed with purity and power,” in order to keep winning elections. This and more below:

United States

06 Oct 2021

Christian nationalists like Madison Cawthorn invoke Biblical Jews to disguise their pure antisemitism | Recommended Read

Cawthorn and the religious right often claim to be defenders of the Jews. But the video makes clear Cawthorn’s not-very latent imperial agenda. For Cawthorn, Jewish people are either virtuous subjects of white Christian nationalism, or they are recalcitrant anti-Christians in need of subjugation. In the Trump era, white Christian nationalist rhetoric has become more and more openly violent and apocalyptic, and Cawthorn’s is more violent and apocalyptic than most. “It’s time for us to stand up and declare boldly that, as men and women of faith, we have a duty to stand against tyranny... It is time for the American Christian church to come out of the shadows...” he rants. Cawthorn and white evangelical Christian nationalists often present themselves as engaged in a holy war for American Christian values. They’re fairly open about what that means for some religions; a solid majority of white Evangelical Christians supported Trump’s Muslim ban. But when it comes to Jewish people, Christian nationalists are less forthright. White Evangelicals often refer to their support for “Judeo-Christian values”, suggesting they are fighting for Jewish traditions as well as Christian ones. And Evangelical Christians have been extremely supportive of Israel. When you look closer at Christian nationalism’s support of the Jews, though, the support looks less like support and more like thinly veiled co-optation. “Judeo-Christian values” is a relatively young term, one meant to use the weight of Jewish history to legitimise a conservative Christian agenda. It also neatly erases the fact that for 2,000 years, Christian values have included persecuting Jewish people. Similarly, support for Israel among white evangelicals is fueled by antipathy to Muslims and by end-time prophecies which suggest that Jews need to be gathered in the Middle East to bring about the millennium – at which point they will be converted or sent to damnation. read the complete article

06 Oct 2021


It began with care for the spiritual needs of one student and culminated in the dedication Thursday of the Muslim Prayer Room at Mount Mary University, a private, liberal arts university in Milwaukee, founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1913. “It is wonderful that we could create this space and use it to meet the spiritual needs of Mount Mary students,” said MMU president Dr. Christine Pharr to leaders of the Milwaukee Muslim community, MMU students, faculty and staff, and reporters from local news media who gathered to inaugurate a room dedicated to Muslim prayer. “Some may be curious about why a Catholic University would create a Muslim prayer room but I think that answer lies in our mission,” she continued. “Mount Mary is a university that welcomes all; those of other faith traditions or of no faith tradition. In the words of Pope Francis, ‘Catholics and Muslims are both descendants of the same father, Abraham. He encourages us to practice our mission of fraternity and (sorority) as we walk together as brothers and sisters of one human family.’ read the complete article

06 Oct 2021

Religions for Peace made history with its new leader. Then came historic challenges.

In August of 2019, Azza Karam became the first woman and first Muslim to be appointed secretary-general of Religions for Peace, replacing William Vendley, who had led the international interfaith organization and worked for peace across Africa and Asia for more than half of the group’s 49-year history. Her historic appointment would not be a topic of conversation for long. Within a few months of her taking over, the world was in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic and the staggering death toll and global recession it sparked. This year, the U.S. pullout of Afghanistan brought on political chaos in that country, with ripples around the world. Karam spoke to Religion News Service’s Eric J. Lyman during the first Religions for Peace conference held at least partially in person since the 2019 edition where she was appointed. The former senior adviser to the European Union and the United Nations talked about how her childhood in Egypt prepared her for her role and how religious leaders can confront hot-button topics like peace in Afghanistan and coronavirus vaccine hesitancy. read the complete article

06 Oct 2021

First Arab-American Muslim Woman Argues at U.S. High Court

Fadwa Hammoud was the first Arab-American Muslim woman to argue at the U.S. Supreme Court when she took the lectern on Tuesday in Washington. The goal, she said, is to not be the last. “When we talk about the Supreme Court bar, it’s a mirror looking down at the entire legal profession,” Michigan’s solicitor general said in a phone interview last week. “We collectively lose when our Supreme Court bar is not as diverse as our nation.” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tapped Hammoud for the top appellate post in 2019, making her the first Arab-American Muslim solicitor general in the country. A first-generation American, Hammoud was previously lead attorney in the Wayne County, Michigan prosecutor’s office. As the state’s solicitor general, she supervises all appellate activity and criminal divisions as well as the Conviction Integrity Unit. She also leads the Flint Water investigation and prosecution team. read the complete article


06 Oct 2021

What the War in Afghanistan Could Never Do

The U.S. reliance on airpower has been motivated by an attempt to strike what it believes to be enemy targets while avoiding American casualties. That reliance has also meant that, far more frequently than the U.S. acknowledges, innocent people pay the price for American security concerns. It also provides the opportunity for swift retaliation, not simply to meet military objectives but to stave off what the Journal described as “humiliation.” The Pentagon’s most recent error involves the inherent difficulties of determining who and where their enemy is. But it’s also a reflection of an American foreign policy preoccupied with “humiliation” and its avoidance. Ironically, it is this very obsession with humiliation that has led the U.S. to wage indefinite wars in pursuit of impossible objectives, employing self-defeating means. The compulsion to win grand, sweeping victories that exemplify American strength and power has prevented realistic judgments about what is achievable. Unlike the civilian casualties of the past two decades, more recent images of suffering in Afghanistan—crowds chasing planes on the runway, masses of Afghans fleeing the Taliban’s return, the hard faces of Taliban fighters as they grip their firearms—are far more readily accessible to American eyes. But there is also a detectable undercurrent of imperial narcissism—where the suffering of Afghans is primarily important because of how it makes Americans feel about not being invincible. It is sometimes difficult to discern whether people are afraid for Afghans, or are simply nostalgic for the fantasy that the United States, or the West generally, could remake whole societies through force of arms. read the complete article

06 Oct 2021

RSS, West Bengal and Duplicate Accounts: What the Facebook Whistleblower Complaint Touches Upon

Internal company documents citing “fear-mongering” content promoted by “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) users, groups and pages” form a part of a complaint filed by former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In a complaint on how the social media platform “promotes global division and ethnic violence”, lawyers for Haugen cite internal company documents to claim that “political sensitivities” prevented Facebook from categorising or providing a designation to “this group”, in what appears to be a reference to whether greater monitoring was required for RSS-connected content. Haugen, a data scientist who worked at Facebook until May 2021, has thrown the social media company into its biggest reputational crisis since Cambridge Analytica and will testify before US senators in Washington on Tuesday. Broad references to India are scattered across at least four of the eight complaints filed with the SEC. These complaints were made public by CBS News on Monday night, a day after the media organisation interviewed Haugen on Sunday night in its ’60 Minutes’ programme. The internal company documents cited by Haugen and her lawyers are linked by a common theme – namely, that Facebook officials are aware of the structural factors that cause the spread of hate speech and harmful political rhetoric on its platform. An examination of the complaints also will lead readers to a sobering conclusion: that the corporate documents and studies that are cited provide only a tantalising glimpse of what is allegedly Facebook’s own assessment of what is perhaps the most hotly debated issue of the social media age. read the complete article


06 Oct 2021

Election agency says powerless after Quebec City municipal party calls Islam 'cancer'

A fringe Quebec City municipal party’s platform describes Islam as a “cancer,” and the province’s elections commission says it doesn’t have the power to do anything about it. Quebec will hold provincewide municipal elections on Nov. 7, and Élections Québec confirmed on Monday it received a hate speech complaint regarding the political platform of the Alliance Citoyenne Québec party. Agency spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud, however, said Monday the independent office isn’t able to intervene. There isn’t a law in Quebec that addresses the content of political platforms and the agency doesn’t have the power to ban a party or candidate over accusations of hate speech, she said. “We do not look at the ideas of the parties; we act impartially,” St-Arnaud said in an interview. “There is nothing in our laws that says if a person makes statements of such nature, his candidacy is withdrawn. It is up to the voters to make their choices when the time comes on the ballot.” Neither the province’s minister responsible for fighting racism nor the municipal affairs minister responded to requests seeking comment. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 06 Oct 2021 Edition


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