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
06 Sep 2022

Today in Islamophobia: In the United Kingdom, “the way Shamima became so vilified, the way she was stripped of her Britishness; and how she has to prove her Britishness in every interview is proof that society and our Government doesn’t truly see Britishness and Muslimness as compatible, and never will,” meanwhile the outgoing UN human rights chief released her report on China concluding that the government had been “committing long-running human rights abuses against Uyghur and other ethnic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, likely to the level of crimes against humanity,” and in India, the Supreme Court asked whether a student can exercise her private religious right to wear a hijab in a school which adheres to a dress code. Our recommended read of the day is by The New Arab on a report from a Netherland-based watchdog on hate speech on Facebook in India, which revealed “extensive fan page networks using Facebook to widely amplify hate speech and calls to violence and genocide against Indian Muslims.” This and more below:


06 Sep 2022

How Facebook is implicated in India's Islamophobia epidemic | Recommended Read

On July 14, the same day that Meta unveiled its human rights report from 2020-21, a Netherland-based watchdog released its study of hate speech on Facebook in India. The study revealed “extensive fan page networks using Facebook to widely amplify hate speech and calls to violence and genocide against Indian Muslims." Netherland-based watchdog The London Story (TLS), which monitors misinformation and hate speeches, released “Preachers of Hate: Documenting Hate Speech on Facebook India” in response to Meta’s report which failed to release its full report on the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) in India. The global social media platform released only a four-page summary of the full report, with the summary broadly condoning its own behaviours, moderation and policies. In a series of tweets, the TLS slammed Meta for hiding Facebook’s human rights impact in India. Talking to The New Arab, Dr Ritumbra Manuvie, Executive Director at The London Story, described the summary as “a cover-up", noting that “the summary report simply underlines Meta’s indifference towards minorities in India”. The TLS report, which monitored 634 pages on Facebook as of April 2022, found that Meta has failed to act against hate content and hateful actors targeting minorities in India. read the complete article

06 Sep 2022

Supreme Court asks whether the right to wear hijab can be exercised in a school with a dress code

The Supreme Court on Monday asked whether a student can exercise her private religious right to wear a hijab in a school which adheres to a dress code. "You may have a right to wear a hijab, but can you wear that right to school?" a Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia formulated the substantial question of law on a batch of petitions filed by students from Karnataka who were prohibited entry into their classrooms for wearing hijab. They have challenged a Karnataka High Court decision that wearing a hijab is not an essential practice of Islam. "The practice may be essential or it may not be essential. The question here is whether in a government institution, you can insist on carrying on your religious practice… because the Preamble to the Constitution states we are a secular country," Justice Gupta observed orally. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, for one of the students, said the students did not defy the dress code. They just wanted to wear a hijab in addition to their uniform. "But can't the uniform be worn in a manner consistent with an individual's choice of her belief and morality… Can a government put students to the pain of banning them from their classrooms, which is like capital punishment for students, just because they are extra clad," senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, also for the students, argued. Mr. Hegde said students could wear hijabs of a colour consistent with their uniforms. "Can you deny them education on the ground that they are overdressed? he asked. read the complete article

06 Sep 2022

Overcoming hiring bias: Towards substantive equality in employment for Muslim women

In Part I, I focused on the criminal justice system’s workings in the Bilkis Bano case. In Part II, we covered the world of digital crimes and how Muslim women are targeted. In the next two parts, I turn away from crimes towards indicators of development, that is, employment and education. In this part, I question how equal are the spaces of employment and education for Muslim women. The falling women’s labour force and specifically the representation of Muslim women in labour force has negative effects on the country’s economy. Business and economics research think-tank McKinsey Global Institute suggests that India is losing out on USD 770 billion in its Gross Domestic Product by not advancing women’s equality. There is a need to restructure Indian labour force in terms of gender parity; and visibilise Muslim women in the workforce to benefit India economically. Muslim women face intersectional discrimination on the axes of gender and religion within employment. Many studies, articles and reports blame the low representation of Muslim women on internal factors – religious conservatism, low rates of literacy, or family-based restrictions. However, I urge that the discrimination is not limited to internal factors alone, but extends to societal stereotypes, stigma and prejudice relating to Muslim women which effects their chances of employment. A recent study by non-profit organization LedBy Foundation showed the systemic bias present in hiring. read the complete article

06 Sep 2022

Gorakhpur: 'Muslim-Sounding' Wards Renamed as Part of Delimitation Exercise

A draft delimitation order issued by the Gorakhpur Municipal Corporation has changed the “Muslim-sounding names” of around a dozen wards, prompting a sharp reaction from leaders of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress. The changing of names was part of the delimitation exercise under which the number of wards went up to 80 in Gorakhpur, with several of these named after iconic personalities and freedom fighters. A senior official said on Saturday, September 3 that people can file their objections within a week and after their disposal, the delimitation will be approved. Samajwadi Party leader and Ismailpur (which has been changed to Sahabganj) corporator Shahab Ansari charged that changing of names is an attempt at polarisation. Ansari said the party will hold a meeting in this regard on Sunday and a delegation will meet the district magistrate to raise the objection on Monday. Gorakhpur, the home town of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, will now have 80 wards. read the complete article

06 Sep 2022

India: Twitter, Facebook and the appeasement of Hindu extremists

A whistleblower complaint by ex-Twitter security chief Peiter Zatko, revealed last week, includes alarming allegations that the Indian government forced the social media platform to hire government agents who had access to sensitive user data because of Twitter’s weak security structure. While Zatko’s allegations have not yet been verified, the reference to "government agents could be related to the draconian internet regulations enacted by the Indian government in February 2021. These rules - triggered partly by Twitter’s clash with New Delhi over demands that it remove accounts in support of anti-government protesters - require large social media companies to employ Indian citizens in three government-mandated positions, including a law enforcement liaison. The new rules make one of those officials - the chief compliance officer - criminally liable if he or she, for example, does not follow a court order to identify the “first originator” of messages that undermine the “sovereignty” of the Indian state. That these employees must be Indian citizens who physically reside in the country and face the possibility of arrest is why critics have dubbed such rules "hostage-taking laws". They compel local employees to partake in the censorship of voices hostile to those in power. But Zatko’s allegations go beyond the very public attempts at censorship by India, which led the world in internet shutdowns in 2020. India’s Hindu nationalist government has been clamping down on public expression, especially by Muslim minorities and dissident voices. If that is indeed the case, and if the Indian government has access to sensitive user data such as phone numbers, IP addresses and direct messages, it could use Twitter as a surveillance tool to target dissidents and other vulnerable groups. For foreign companies seeking access to India’s massive consumer market, appeasement of the country’s Hindu nationalist networks is now part of the cost of doing business. While Twitter has pushed back against many of New Delhi’s demands, Facebook has been more brazen, with some of its staff allegedly colluding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government long before the 2021 internet rules. In 2020, a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that Facebook executives in India rejected banning Hindu nationalist politicians who use the platform to make explicit calls for violence, fearing that it would jeopardise the company’s business prospects. India has the world’s largest number of Facebook users, and its platforms, including WhatsApp, have been deployed by Hindu nationalist extremist networks for mob violence. read the complete article

United Kingdom

06 Sep 2022

NCA officer unfairly sacked after offensive Muslim remarks

A National Crime Agency (NCA) officer who made offensive remarks about Muslims was unfairly sacked, an employment tribunal has found. Abbey Brooke made the comments at a training session led by Abrar Javid, a Muslim community leader in Rotherham. The tribunal said the intelligence officer's conduct had contributed to her dismissal. But it found the dismissal was unfair due to procedural failures during the NCA disciplinary process. Ms Brooke was awarded over £6,500 in compensation. The tribunal heard that in 2020 the NCA summarily sacked Ms Brooke for making the remarks during a training session in Sheffield which was examining best practice for arresting suspects and searching homes where Muslim women were present. The NCA found that Ms Brooke said words to the effect: "If I was in their country I wouldn't expect an English-speaking Christian officer to be on the search. In their country they wouldn't expect this so why should they expect it here? She had also used the phrase: "They can always go home". The tribunal did not rule on whether she had made those particular remarks, which she denied, but did find she had made comments which others had found racially offensive. read the complete article

06 Sep 2022

Shamima Begum was a victim – but she’s been used as a pawn by this Government

When I think of what happened to Shamima Begum, I can’t help but feel like it embodies the way Muslims in Britain, even children born and bred here, will forever be second-class citizens. From the very first news coverage of her and two friends fleeing to Syria in 2015, to the stripping of her citizenship at the hands of Sajid Javid, to the latest allegations that she was trafficked by a double-agent working for ISIS and the Canadian Government, it proves that we are never quite British enough. Our Britishness is always conditional – ready to be taken away at any moment. Shamima came to encapsulate a problem wracking the minds of counter-terror police across the country and the press ignited a fear that Muslim communities were full of silent supporters of ISIS, ready to pledge their allegiance to the caliphate and jump on a plane to Syria at any given moment. That we were all enemies waiting to strike. As David Cameron put it, a silent majority who ‘quietly condone’ extremism. The name Shamima became a racist slur thrown at visibly Muslim women and girls on the street. At the time, I couldn’t help but feel as though the Government, society and the media had lost sight of the fact that Shamima was a British child when she was groomed online. Teenagers do naïve things all the time, especially if they are already vulnerable or disenfranchised. People with British passports do horrific things on a daily basis – murders, rapes, assaults. But the way Shamima became so vilified, the way she was stripped of her Britishness; and how she has to prove her Britishness in every interview – through arbitrary signifiers like wearing make-up, tank tops and talking about Subway sandwiches, as though the more ‘western’ she appears, the less of a threat she will seem – all of this is proof that society and our Government doesn’t truly see Britishness and Muslimness as compatible, and never will. In this country, even the lives of our children are collateral damage to be offered up to the unstoppable Islamophobia machine that churns endlessly around us – it’s in our media, our foreign policy, our everyday lives. Shamima and her friends were used as pawns, played by our Government – who allegedly later found out what had happened to her and were reportedly asked by Canada to help cover it up – to advance anti-Muslim sentiment. read the complete article


06 Sep 2022

‘Our people are still trapped’: Uyghur exiles demand action on abuses

Last Wednesday, as Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, finished her term and released a long-awaited report on abuses in Xinjiang, Dawut was protesting alongside other Uyghur exiles in Washington DC. “The report was all we could think about,” she said. “We were eager to find out about how reflective it would be about what has happened to our people. Any kind of crime you can think of is happening to Uyghurs.” The 45-page report was published years after the world first learned of a huge crackdown on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, including mass detention, re-education, and religious and cultural oppression. From the time of receiving the first notifications to publication, the report took half a decade to compile. It determined that the Chinese government had been committing long-running human rights abuses against Uyghur and other ethnic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, likely to the level of crimes against humanity. The report demolished Beijing’s counter-terrorism framework, which it used to justify the crackdown, and found credible evidence of torture and assault, mass arbitrary detention, forced medical procedures and “credible indications” of coerced family planning, including forced sterilisation. Victims and rights groups had feared a watered-down report more in line with the statement delivered immediately by Bachelet after a highly orchestrated and controversial visit to Xinjiang. But instead it was – within the confines of the UN’s cautious language – damning. China’s government, which had praised Bachelet’s post-visit statement as informed and truthful, furiously dismissed the investigative report as smears and lies. The UN report added little to what is already known, but the fact that it came from the world’s leading human rights body, of not one government but hundreds, gave relief and hope to many victims. read the complete article

06 Sep 2022

The Muslim meme: An unadulterated appreciation for life

For Muslim families, the meme holds a unique place in shared digital spaces. Islamic memes are wholesome spectacles of delight. Surrealist kitsch comes closest to describing it. Think technicolour, romantic aesthetics, meets 80s style, amateur graphics. Depending on which of the many Muslim cultures they hail from, these can take on slightly different variations. Commonalities include mawkish sentiments, and a non-ironic, jaunty aesthetic which privileges romanticism, idealism and classical ideas of beauty and order. They speak of a wholesome visual language, devoid of the cynicism of Western visual culture and with a much more direct relationship to its subjects – there are no pretexts, subtexts or wider contexts. No pretensions of ‘high’ or ‘low’ culture. No critical engagement. Just sheer, unadulterated appreciation of life’s more fanciful things. With a sprinkling of internalised racism. Their claim to authentic Islamic values vary – often created by a generation of technologically ‘savvy’ Muslims from all corners of the Muslim globe, many have a tenuous claim to genuine Islamic scripture or philosophy. Their democratised nature means they are more reflective of Muslim culture, rather than true Islamic creed. The ‘Islamic meme’ as a term is itself a misnomer. In a world where Muslim culture is broadly vilified, they exemplify the joyous nature of the Muslim experience and our ability to laugh through it all. Receiving a funny meme contains that little bit of warmth - it reminds me that I’m part of something much greater than just myself, a religion and culture that binds and unites us, and that gives me a beautiful sense of belonging and a reassuring sense of solidarity. read the complete article


06 Sep 2022


For the first time in its history of publication, the August 2022 issue of Vogue France featured two Somali women on the cover — and the first hijabi, in spite of France’s hijab ban. This is the first time in over 100 years of its publishing history that there is finally a hijabi on the cover of Vogue France. For a country that has over a million Muslims living within its nation and has the largest Muslim population in Europe, it is about time! The hijabi woman is none other than Ugbad Abdi, a Somali American model. When she was younger, she lived in a Kenyan refugee camp until she was nine, when her family eventually immigrated to the United States and settled in Iowa. Abdi was spotted by a modeling agency in her teen years, where she encountered Mona Tougaard, a Denmark Somali woman, who is the woman on the cover with her. Abdi has worked for luxury brands like Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Chole. She comments that the hijab hasn’t hindered her modeling career and she is actively sought out by top brands. This is despite France’s hostility towards hijab, as France is a country that bans women from wearing hijabs, burqas, and even the burkini from being worn at many pools and beaches. For a country that repeatedly bans Muslim women who wear veils of any kind from participating in society, this photoshoot and cover is a big deal. It is the first time that the country has shown a hijabi on a fashion cover. Might this mean that the tides are hopefully turning towards the hijab having wider acceptance in France? Headscarves have long been a part of couture fashion. We see them used on the runaways or within fashion magazines. What makes Ugbad Abdi different is that she is a woman who actively wears a hijab and practices Islam. She isn’t wearing the hijab to be fashionable — although she is obviously highly fashionable. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 06 Sep 2022 Edition


Enter keywords


Sort Results