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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22 Sep 2021

Today in Islamophobia: In France, a new poll finds that Eric Zemmour, a far-right anti-Muslim pundit, would obtain 11% of votes in the first round of the April ballot, meanwhile in the United States, congressional Democrats are punching back at GOP senators for blocking President Biden’s nominee for deputy administrator of the SBA, who if confirmed would be the highest-ranking Muslim American in the Biden administration, and overseas Uyghurs continue their struggle for information on relatives who have been detained and imprisoned in China’s network of concentration camps. Our recommended read of the day is by Neel Madhav for Al Jazeera on how Muslims in the state of Bihar in India are growing worried following a recent court order and additional administrative actions pertaining to ‘illegal migrants’. This and more below:


22 Sep 2021

‘Outsider narrative’: Muslims in India’s Bihar fear Assam repeat | Recommended Read

On August 29, a public notice surfaced, signed by the Superintendent of Police of Siwan, a district in India’s northern state of Bihar, asking people to report “suspected illegal migrants, especially Bangladeshis” to the nearest police stations. Three days after the public notice, the District Magistrate of Kishanganj, another district of Bihar, issued a letter to the District Public Relations Officer, ordering the development of a mechanism for people to report “illegal” migrants and create awareness around the issue on “an urgent basis”. This was done to implement an order by the state’s high court issued on August 18, which asked the state government whether it had a concrete plan to build a detention centre to house “suspected illegal migrants”. The court order and the subsequent administrative actions on its implementation have worried the residents of Bihar, especially its 17 million Muslims. There are concerns that such steps could be a way of implementing a “backdoor NRC” or National Register of Citizens, like the one in the northeastern state of Assam where, in 2019, the state published a list of people it considered to be citizens, rendering some 1.9 million excluded people virtually stateless. read the complete article

United States

22 Sep 2021

Dems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee

On Tuesday morning, Republicans on the Senate Small Business Committee skipped out on a meeting convened to advance Dilawar Syed’s nomination for deputy administrator for the SBA for the third time since his confirmation hearing in April. Republicans say they are boycotting the nominee over Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans being given to Planned Parenthood affiliates. GOP senators have also previously criticized his ties to a Muslim advocacy group. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) accused Republicans of a “dereliction of duty.” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) accused Republicans of “screwing” over the American people. And Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) called GOP critiques “baseless, unfair and frankly Islamophobic.” read the complete article

22 Sep 2021

New podcast examines Muslim American life after 9/11

A new podcast seeks to engage with the myriad ways life has changed for Muslim-Americans since September 11, 2001. In seven roughly hour-long episodes, host Shahjehan Khan looks at the negative and positive ways Muslim life in America has changed in the last 20 years. “ King of the World “ — a translation of the host’s name was officially launched in February, but Khan, a veteran podcaster, has dreamed for years of working on a project to capture Muslim American’s experience after the 9/11 attacks. read the complete article

22 Sep 2021

From 9/11 to 1/6 :The War on Terror Supercharged the Far Right

The past few years have witnessed an explosion of far-right violence and the normalization of the extremist ideas that drive it. In the United States in 2019, 48 people were killed in attacks carried out by domestic violent extremists, 39 of which were carried out white supremacists, making it the most lethal year for such terrorism in the country since 1995. In 2020, the number of domestic terrorist plots and attacks in the United States reached its highest level since 1994; two-thirds of those were attributable to white supremacists and other far-right extremists. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the rise of violent jihadism reshaped American politics in ways that created fertile ground for right-wing extremism. The attacks were a gift to peddlers of xenophobia, white supremacism, and Christian nationalism: as dark-skinned Muslim foreigners bent on murdering Americans, al Qaeda terrorists and their ilk seemed to have stepped out of a far-right fever dream. Almost overnight, the United States and European countries abounded with precisely the fears that the far right had been trying to stoke for decades. But it wasn’t just the terrorists who gave right-wing extremists a boost: so, too, did the U.S.-led war on terrorism, which involved the near-complete pivoting of intelligence, security, and law enforcement attention to the Islamist threat, leaving far-right extremism to grow unfettered. read the complete article


22 Sep 2021

French Far-Right Pundit Surges in Polling for Presidential Race

A far-right television pundit is consolidating his position as a contender for France’s election next year, potentially complicating life for front-runners like President Emmanuel Macron. Eric Zemmour, who has yet to officially declare his candidacy, would obtain 11% of votes in the first round of the April ballot, according to a weekly Harris Interactive-Challenges survey. It’s bad news for Le Pen because it’s more proof that Zemmour could divide her support base. But the risk for Macron is that someone more mainstream and moderate gets into the run off, making him vulnerable. Zemmour has been convicted three times for hate speech and inciting racial violence. Zemmour’s media visibility has increased dramatically over his latest book, “France Hasn’t Finished Speaking Yet,” in which he rehashes the anti-Islam views he’s known for -- he says Muslims seek to colonize France in the name of Allah and describes a Paris suburb with a large immigrant population as a “foreign enclave.” The pundit is also developing a following among some right wing groups online. read the complete article

22 Sep 2021

France launches Islamic art shows across 18 cities to combat rising Islamophobia

“The idea is to show that Islam has been part of French cultural heritage since the Middle Ages,” says Yannick Lintz, the head of the Musée du Louvre’s Islamic department, of a bold new initiative unveiled in Paris today. The French ministers for education and culture are due to announce the simultaneous opening on 20 November of 18 exhibitions devoted to Islamic art in 18 cities. In 2020, according to the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, overall racist attacks in France decreased by 22% but those committed against the Muslim community rose by more than 50%. read the complete article


22 Sep 2021

These Muslim Artists Are Re-envisioning Prayer Rugs to Address Misrepresentations of Islam

“Sit down. Be humble,” raps Kendrick Lamar. Every day, five times a day, millions of Muslims around the world perform salat, a ritual prayer, and do just that—upon a prayer rug. They bow their head to the ground in complete prostration or sajda, submitting themselves to God as they face qibla, the direction towards the Ka’aba, an ancient sacred site in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The prayer rug, though not a necessity, marks a clean physical space and the intention to supplicate. It is treated with the utmost care, lasting a lifetime or even generations. Now, contemporary Muslim artists living in the Americas and Europe—like Saks Afridi , Baseera Khan , Abdullah M. I. Syed , Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Samira Idroos, Hamra Abbas, Mounir Fatmi, and Anusheh Zia—are upturning the traditional decorative vocabulary of the prayer rug to foster understanding of an often misunderstood and misrepresented religion. These artists nimbly negotiate the sacred and profane, plucking the prayer rug out of Oriental tradition and into decolonial theory by incorporating elements of contemporary culture like UFOs, sneakers, and hip-hop lyrics and using unconventional materials. The carpet is their medium to preserve artisanship, challenge capitalism, censorship, and patriarchy, and to, above all, firmly plant their roots in the East and the West. read the complete article

22 Sep 2021

Overseas Uyghurs struggle to locate relatives in Xinjiang prisons

Murat said she last spoke to her mother on September 10, 2018. The day after, Abbas stopped picking up her phone. Abbas disappeared six days after her sister, Rushan Abbas, a high profile U.S-based Uyghur activist, spoke on a public panel at the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank, about the unfolding internment campaign in Xinjiang. Murat and Rushan Abbas believe the events are linked, which Reuters was unable to independently confirm. Murat is one of eight Uyghur people who told Reuters they have spent years searching for information on relatives who were detained and have since been charged and imprisoned in Xinjiang. Of the eight relatives of detained Uyghurs Reuters spoke to, six were based in the United States, all of whom said appeals to the Chinese embassy in Washington went unanswered. For five of the six detained people, relatives said they have received no official information at all on the location of their loved ones or the length of their prison terms. There is no publicly available documentation on the trials or sentencing of any of the detained people on China's judicial websites, according to the relatives and Reuters' checks. read the complete article

United Kingdom

22 Sep 2021

Anti-Racist Campaign Group Raises Concerns Over Islamophobia & Nadine Dorries

The anti-racism campaign group HOPE Not Hate has written to the Conservative Party expressing concern about the newly-appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Nadine Dorries’ history of Islamophobic statements. Nadine Dorries has repeatedly taken to Twitter to make statements that some consider to be Islamophobic. Examples include responding to a promise from London Mayor Sadiq Khan to “tackle hate speech” by writing “how about ‘it’s time to act on sex abusing gangs’ instead? #TelfordGrooming #Rotherham.” Her decision to ask a Muslim Mayor to act on crimes committed by Muslim men outside of his constituency reflects a trend of asking “Muslims to answer for things that have nothing to do with them,” HOPE Not Hate tweeted. She described the hijab, niqab and burqa as forms of “medieval costume” and stated, “no progressive society should tolerate it.” As well as her statements on Islamic beliefs and dress, Dorries has used Twitter to amplify far-right content. This includes quote-tweeting the far-right activist and convicted criminal Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, otherwise known as “Tommy Robinson”. As HOPE Not Hate writes in its letter, this either “shows a sympathy for Lennon and his views or a significant lack of awareness”. Dorries similarly quote-tweeted misinformation shared by the anti-Islam Britain First political party. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 22 Sep 2021 Edition


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