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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02 Sep 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United States, a man has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for his multiple attacks targeting Muslims, including a drive-by shooting at a mosque in Indiana in 2020, meanwhile in France, an article published by Europe 1 radio channel reported that several French Muslim personalities have been tracked and listed by French intelligence for their political opinions, and in Denmark, over 55 percent of respondents to a new poll say they do not want the country to ban the hijab at schools. Our recommended read of the day is by Helen Davidson for the Guardian on the key findings from the outgoing UN human rights commissioner’s latest report, which finds that China has committed “serious human rights violations,” against Uyghur Muslims. This and more below:


02 Sep 2022

Five key points from the UN report on Xinjiang human rights abuses | Recommended Read

China has committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province that could amount to crimes against humanity, the outgoing UN human rights commissioner has said in a long-awaited and damning report. The top line of the UN high commissioner for human rights (OHCHR) report is that the commissioner’s office found credible evidence of torture and other human rights abuses that were likely to be “crimes against humanity”. The report was highly critical of the Chinese government’s anti-extremism doctrine, which underpins the crackdown. It said the laws and regulations were vague and ill-defined, open to individual interpretation, and blurred the line between indicators of concern and suspected criminality. Both categories also contained a copious number of benign acts classed as extremism despite having no connection to it, such as having a beard or a social media account. Such indicators may simply be “the manifestation of personal choice in the practice of Islamic religious beliefs and/or legitimate expression of opinion” it said. Accusations of extremism could result in people being referred to detention facilities at multiple stages along the investigative process by police, prosecutors or the courts. read the complete article

02 Sep 2022

Potential ‘crimes against humanity’ in China’s Xinjiang, UN says

China’s detention of Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang may amount to “crimes against humanity”, the United Nations human rights office said in a long-delayed report that was finally published late on Wednesday. The 45-page report (PDF) called on Beijing to immediately release “all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty”, clarify the whereabouts of those whose families have been unable to locate them and undertake a “full review” of its laws on domestic security and repeal all discriminatory laws. The document, published 13 minutes before UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet’s term ended, came four years after a ground-breaking report from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that revealed that more than one million people were being held in a network of detention centres across Xinjiang. The government of the United States as well as parliaments in the United Kingdom, Canada and France have since labelled China’s treatment of the Uighurs as “genocide”. Bachelet’s report makes no mention of the word “genocide”, but concludes that “serious human rights violations have been committed” in Xinjiang “in the context of the Government’s application of counter-terrorism and counter-‘extremism’ strategies”. “The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups … may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity,” it said. read the complete article

United States

02 Sep 2022

Northville woman files civil rights complaint against Costco for discrimination, harassment

A Northville woman who works at Costco has filed a state civil rights complaint against the corporation, alleging she was discriminated against, humiliated and harassed while working at two Livonia locations. Wafa Aziz, 44, has worked at Costco since November 2018. From the beginning of her time working at the Haggerty location in Livonia, her general manager showed visible signs of being prejudiced toward her, Aziz said. Her manager would ignore her when Aziz said good morning and made comments about keeping Aziz around for the minority numbers, she said. "They view me differently," Aziz said. "They see what I wear on the outside but they don't view me as a human being." Aziz wears a hijab, and she said her manager mocked the hijab, spread rumors about her and suggested Aziz couldn't hear while wearing her hijab and didn't understand her job duties, Aziz said. She also filed falsified documentation to discipline Aziz, depriving her of higher-paying opportunities and leading to a suspension, she said. read the complete article

02 Sep 2022

Tennessee anti-Muslim activist, Christian Zionist sparks controversy by saying U.S. ‘founded on Torah’

A Christian Zionist with a history of anti-Muslim activity who belongs to the Tennessee State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission has stated she thinks the United States is a country “founded on the Torah.” Laurie Cardoza-Moore is the founder of “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations,” (PJTN), a Christian Zionist organization that, per its website, aims to shape education for “Christians and Jews.” According to PJTN’s website, its mission is centered around “antisemitism” perpetrated by “the enemies of Israel.” “All around the country, schools are banning literature related to the Holocaust, trying to re-write history about Israel, pushing Critical Race Theory, and labeling parents as ‘domestic terrorists,’” PJTN writes on their website. In an Aug. 27 speech at the Nashville Women’s Conference, Cardoza-Moore claimed that she had worked with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to, she said, make the Hebrew Bible a requirement in Florida public schools. It was in that speech that she mentioned her belief that the Torah occupies a central place in American culture. Cardoza’s anti-Muslim activities have included a statement in 2020 that she believes 30% of Muslims are terrorists, and her ill-fated efforts in 2010 to fight the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. read the complete article

02 Sep 2022

The DA’s anti-hate task force discussed a Malden charter school’s hijab policy

The Middlesex County district attorney and community leaders met Wednesday to discuss the latest allegation of racial discrimination at Malden’s Mystic Valley Regional Charter School after a student who wore a hijab to school was told she was violating the school’s dress code, The Boston Globe reported. Despite the school receiving widespread criticism for issuing the student a citation for her headscarf, no representative from the school attended the meeting, the newspaper wrote. “As soon as I learned about this incident, I knew that our task force had to respond,” Middlesex DA Marian Ryan said at the meeting of her office’s Anti-Hate Anti-Bias Task Force. “Sadly, it’s incidents like this at the charter school several weeks ago that remind us that we need to be constantly vigilant against incidents of bias, hate, and ignorance.” On Aug. 18, the eighth-grade student was written up for a “uniform infraction,” which said that her hijab, which was misspelled as “jihab” on the form, was the reason for the citation. The Globe reported that the student’s family said she came home in tears that day, which was the first day of school for the K-12 school’s 1,600 students. The Globe also reported that school leaders have said the staff member “accidentally” gave the student a disciplinary form instead of the application to get a religious exemption. Mystic Valley has since met with Muslim community members and said it is considering making it easier for students to get religious exemptions for clothing, the Globe reported. read the complete article

02 Sep 2022

Why Use Islamophobic Rhetoric to Characterize Christian Extremism?

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer, red states have rolled out a series of ever-harsher anti-abortion laws. Islamophobia has become so institutionalized that even when an issue does not remotely pertain to Islam, as in the reversal of Roe, Americans find the need to bring up Muslims. Since the ruling, social media platforms like Twitter have been flooded with political cartoons and tweets depicting the Supreme Court justices as Muslims or members of the Taliban. Several media organizations published pieces making the same Taliban comparison, which was also echoed by liberal celebrities like Barbra Streisand and progressives including Mark Ruffalo. As a matter of fact, Islam does not condemn abortion in a clean-cut way. Like other communities in the U.S., Muslim Americans' views on abortion are diverse and divergent. Many Muslims are pro-choice — and feel justifiably frustrated when people use lazy and careless Islamophobic rhetoric to condemn Christian nationalism in the United States. It's important to address why Americans often bring up Islam when conservative legislation involving gender rights is debated in the United States. The post-9/11 era brought about a massive onslaught against Muslims in the United States and globally. "War on Terror" enthusiasts strategically crafted stereotypes that demonized Muslim men as terrorists and Muslim women as hopeless damsels in distress, in turn making military operations in Afghanistan appealing to some American liberals and progressives by casting it as necessary to "protect" Afghan women. These perceptions have consequences: Islamophobic policies enacted and supported by both liberal and conservative politicians. While it's true that institutionalized Islamophobia in the United States is more rooted in the right, liberal politicians are not immune from the influence of our often racist, Islamophobic society either. read the complete article

02 Sep 2022

Man sentenced to 12 years in prison for 2020 shooting at Indianapolis mosque, multiple attacks on Muslims

Civil rights groups are welcoming the sentencing of a man to more than 12 years in prison for his multiple attacks targeting Muslims, including a drive-by shooting at a mosque in Indiana in 2020. From May through August 2020, Jonathan Warren of Indianapolis reportedly sent multiple threats and attempted a killing multiple times, each time firing randomly into crowded areas. The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He was sentenced by US District Judge Sarah Evans Barker. In May 2020, Warren perpetrated a drive-by shooting at the Masjid E Noor Mosque during an Eid el-Fitr celebration. In June 2020, according to court documents, Warren shot his gun multiple times into the parking lot of an apartment complex, causing multiple people in the vicinity to flee in fear. Warren was then tracked down and arrested following the examination of shell casings at his crime scenes. At the time, the local group the Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network as well as the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for an investigation into a possible biased motive for these crimes. Following such incidents, CAIR points mosques to their "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety" booklet, which advises mosques on security. Hate crime rates have increased over the past several years, with multiple studies pointing to the election of former President Donald Trump as an impetus for such attacks. read the complete article


02 Sep 2022

Intimidate, Detain, Deport: Rohingyas a Target of India's Majoritarian Politics

Rohingya refugees are constantly targeted in India by many – primarily by the right-wing forces. The principal reason for their targeting is that they are Muslims – this is a social fact. Rohingyas becoming a target of intimidation, detention, and deportation unmasks India's stance on refugees and how religion becomes a deciding factor in their mistreatment and misrecognition as "illegal." Like the floating metaphor "Bangladeshi," the term "Rohingya" is also used synonymously with an illegal immigrant. Today, any social action of Muslims – performed both in public and private – is now increasingly open to scrutiny, harm, and punishment. Both state and non-state forces perform them with impunity. We all know of multiple such non-state individuals and organisations, which openly express their necrophiliac desires of rape, annihilation, and disgust towards Muslims. Apart from these expressions of dehumanisation, and the hate and harm directed at their bodies, families, religion, clothes, and life in general, they are profiled as dangerous to society. This propensity to equate any Muslim to jihad is, of course, to a large degree, influenced by how the idea of jihadi as a Muslim terrorist was created in the West and how the discourse of 'global jihad' emerged. The way jihad is framed in such contexts by the media and others in the West certainly gave a fillip to how this discourse could be driven to its own ends in the Indian context. Jihad can be seen as one of the additional means to attack Muslims within the larger corpus of anti-Muslim hate and fields of communal Hindutva politics in the subcontinent, which borrows from multiple sources and events of the past. read the complete article

02 Sep 2022

‘No Muslim delivery person’: Food delivery app Swiggy faces backlash over customer’s request

Indian food delivery app Swiggy is facing backlash for not issuing a comment after a customer allegedly asked the service to not send a Muslim delivery personnel. The incident was brought to light by Shaikh Salauddin, national general secretary of the Indian Federation of App based Transport Workers, who tagged the app and demanded action. “Dear @Swiggy please take a stand against such a bigoted request. We (Delivery workers) are here to deliver food to one and all, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh,” Mr Salauddin said in a tweet on Tuesday. The incident took place in the southern state of Telangana where a customer lodged a request for a change of delivery personnel on the Swiggy app. A screenshot of the customer’s request was shared by Mr Salauddin in his tweet. “Don’t want a Muslim delivery person,” read the request. read the complete article


02 Sep 2022

France's intel agency tracking Muslims over their political views

Several French Muslim personalities have been tracked and listed by French intelligence for their political opinions. This was revealed in an article published on Tuesday by Europe 1 radio channel, reporting that it had obtained a "confidential note from French territorial intelligence." According to Europe 1, this document was "disseminated to a handful of senior officials, members of the government, and up to the Elysee," after it was written in mid-May, three weeks after a presidential runoff election that sealed victory for sitting President Emmanuel Macron. According to the note quoted by media outlets, the country's territorial intelligence came to the conclusion that left-wing presidential hopeful Jean-Luc Melenchon, eliminated in the first round of voting after coming in third behind Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen, would have enjoyed the "Muslim vote" in the country due to the support of so-called "Islamist influencers and activists" who "welcomed" and "relayed" his "positions." It cited numerous Muslim figures in France, including lawyer Rafik Chekkat, a member of the association Agir contre l'islamophobie (Action Against Islamaphobia - ACI) and independent journalist Siham Assbague, both described as "Islamists," in particular for having taken a stand against anti-Muslim sentiment or colonialism. In addition to Chekkat and Assbague, the note also refers to Vincent Souleymane, Hani Ramadan, and Farid Slim, all described as "preachers" or "imams" from the Muslim Brotherhood. read the complete article


02 Sep 2022

Majority of Danes reject ban on hijab at schools in new poll

Over 55 percent of respondents to a new poll in Denmark say they do not want the country to ban the hijab at schools. The topic of whether Denmark should continue to allow young Muslim girls to wear the hijab at school has come to prominence after a government-appointed commission last week recommended a ban on the religious garment at schools. The recommendation received negative feedback from educators and two members of the committee subsequently said they had changed their view and no longer agreed with the recommendation of the commission. In a poll conducted by Voxmeter on behalf of news agency Ritzau, 56.1 of respondents said ‘no’ to a ban on the hijab at schools. A significantly lower proportion of 28.2 percent said ‘yes’ to such a ban while 15.7 percent answered ‘don’t know’. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 02 Sep 2022 Edition


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