Islamophobic incidents

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This article is about recent events. For information about historical persecution, see Persecution of Muslims.

The following is a list of a number of recent incidents characterized as inspired by Islamophobia by commentators. Note that "Islamophobia" became a popular term in ideological debate in the 2000s, and may have been applied retrospectively to earlier incidents.

Incidents and conditions by country[edit]


Mass grave where events of the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims unfolded
Burial of 465 identified Bosniaks in 2007.
Main article: Bosnian Genocide

In the 1990s, the Bosnian Genocide and Kosovo War, both of which involved the "mass murder of innocent Muslims," have been linked to Islamophobia.[1] In Bosnia, Christian Serb and Croat militias carried out genocidal attacks on the Muslim Bosniak community. According to the ICRC data on the Bosnian Genocide, "200,000 people were killed, 12,000 of them children, up to 50,000 women were raped, and 2.2 million were forced to flee their homes."[2] Many attacks on religious buildings and symbols took place in towns such as Foča, where all of the town's mosques were destroyed. On 22 April 1992, Serbs blew up the Aladža Mosque and eight more mosques dating from the 16th and 17th centuries were damaged or completely destroyed.[3]


In 1989, 310,000 Turks left Bulgaria, many under pressure as a result of the communist Zhivkov regime's assimilation campaign (though up to a third returned before the end of the year). That program, which began in 1984, forced all Turks and other Muslims in Bulgaria to adopt Bulgarian names and renounce all Muslim customs. The motivation of the 1984 assimilation campaign is unclear; however, some experts believe that the disproportion between the birth rates of the Turks and the Bulgarians was a major factor.[4] During the name-changing phase of the campaign, Turkish towns and villages were surrounded by army units. Citizens were issued new identity cards with Bulgarian names. Failure to present a new card meant forfeiture of salary, pension payments, and bank withdrawals. Birth or marriage certificates would be issued only in Bulgarian names. Traditional Turkish costumes were banned; homes were searched and all signs of Turkish identity removed. Mosques were closed. According to estimates, 500 to 1,500 people were killed when they resisted assimilation measures, and thousands of others were imprisoned or sent to labor camps or were forcibly resettled.[5]


Halima Mautbur, from the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations called an attack on a hijab-wearing Muslim woman "an Islamophobic incident".[6]


The Uyghurs are an ethnic minority from Xinjiang in northwest China. Uyghurs face religious persecution and discrimination at the hands of the government authorities. Uyghurs who choose to practice their faith can only use a state-approved version of the Koran;[7] men who work in the state sector cannot wear beards and women cannot wear headscarves.[8] The Chinese state controls the management of all mosques, which many Uyghurs claim stifles religious traditions that have formed a crucial part of their identity for centuries.[9] Children under the age of 18 are not allowed to attend religious services at mosques.[10]

However, the suppression of the Uyghurs has more to do with the fact that they are separatist, rather than Muslim. China banned a book titled "Xing Fengsu" ("Sexual Customs") which insulted Islam and placed its authors under arrest in 1989 after protests in Lanzhou and Beijing by Chinese Hui Muslims, during which the Chinese police provided protection to the Hui Muslim protestors, and the Chinese government organized public burnings of the book.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20] The Chinese government assisted them and gave into their demands because Hui do not have a separatist movement, unlike the Uyghurs,[21] Hui Muslim protestors who violently rioted by vandalizing property during the protests against the book were let off by the Chinese government and went unpunished while Uyghur protestors were imprisoned.[22]

Different Muslim ethnic groups in different regions are treated differently by the Chinese government in regards to religious freedom. Religious freedom is present for Hui Muslims, who can practice their religion, build Mosques, and have their children attend Mosques, while more controls are placed specifically on Uyghurs in Xinjiang.[23] Since the 1980s Islamic private schools have been supported and permitted by the Chinese government among Muslim areas, only specifically excluding Xinjiang from allowing these schools because of separatist sentiment there.[24]

Although religious education for children is officially forbidden by law in China, the Communist party allows Hui Muslims to violate this law and have their children educated in religion and attend Mosques while the law is enforced on Uyghurs. After secondary education is completed, China then allows Hui students who are willing to embark on religious studies under an Imam.[25] China does not enforce the law against children attending Mosques on non-Uyghurs in areas outside of Xinjiang.[26][27]

Hui Muslims who are employed by the state are allowed to fast during Ramadan unlike Uyghurs in the same positions, the amount of Hui going on Hajj is expanding, and Hui women are allowed to wear veils, while Uyghur women are discouraged from wearing them and Uyghurs find it difficult to get passports to go on Hajj.[28]

Hui religious schools are allowed a massive autonomous network of mosques and schools run by a Hui Sufi leader was formed with the approval of the Chinese government even as he admitted to attending an event where Bin Laden spoke.[29][30]

"The Diplomat" reported on the fact that while Uyghur's religious activities are curtailed, Hui Muslims are granted widespread religious freedom and that therefore the policy of the Chinese government towards Uyghurs in Xinjiang is not directed against Islam, but rather aggressively stamping out the Uyghur separatist threat.[31]

Tensions between Hui Muslims and Uyghurs arise because Hui troops and officials often dominated the Uyghurs and crush Uyghur revolts.[32] Xinjiang's Hui population increased by over 520 percent between 1940 and 1982, an average annual growth of 4.4 percent, while the Uyghur population only grew at 1.7 percent. This dramatic increase in Hui population led inevitably to significant tensions between the Hui and Uyghur populations. Some Uyghurs in Kashgar remember that the Hui army at the Battle of Kashgar (1934) massacred 2,000 to 8,000 Uyghurs, which causes tension as more Hui moved into Kashgar from other parts of China.[33] Some Hui criticize Uyghur separatism and generally do not want to get involved in conflict in other countries.[34] Hui and Uyghur live separately, attending different mosques.[35]

Uyghur views vary by the oasis they live in. China has historically favored Turpan and Hami. Uyghurs in Turfan and Hami and their leaders like Emin Khoja allied with the Qing against Uyghurs in Altishahr. During the Qing dynasty, China enfeoffed the rulers of Turpan and Hami (Kumul) as autonomous princes, while the rest of the Uyghurs in Altishahr (the Tarim Basin) were ruled by Begs.[36] Uyghurs from Turpan and Hami were appointed by China as officials to rule over Uyghurs in the Tarim Basin. Turpan is more economically prosperous and views China more positively than the rebellious Kashgar, which is the most anti-China oasis. Uyghurs in Turpan are treated leniently and favourably by China with regards to religious policies, while Kashgar is subjected to controls by the government.[37][38] In Turpan and Hami, religion is viewed more positively by China than religion in Kashgar and Khotan in southern Xinjiang.[39] Both Uyghur and Han Communist officials in Turpan turn a blind eye to the law and allow religious Islamic education for Uyghur children.[40][41] Celebrating at religious functions and going on Hajj to Mecca is encouraged by the Chinese government, for Uyghur members of the Communist party. From 1979-1989, 350 mosques were built in Turpan.[42] Han, Hui, and the Chinese government are viewed much more positively by Uyghurs specifically in Turpan, with the government providing better economic, religious, and political treatment for them.[43]


The Hui people have had a long presence in Qinghai and Gansu, or what Tibetans call Amdo, although Tibetans have historically dominated local politics. The situation was reversed in 1931 when the Hui general Ma Bufang inherited the governorship of Qinghai, stacking his government with Hui and Salar and excluding Tibetans. In his power base in Qinghai's northeastern Haidong Prefecture, Ma compelled many Tibetans to convert to Islam and acculturate. When Hui started migrating into Lhasa in the 1990s, racist rumors circulated among Tibetans in Lhasa about the Hui, such as that they were cannibals or ate children.[44]:2, 5, 10, 17–20 On February 2003, Tibetans rioted against Hui, destroying Hui-owned shops and restaurants.[45] Local Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders led a regional boycott movement that encouraged Tibetans to boycott Hui-owned shops, spreading the racist myth that Hui put the ashes of cremated imams in the cooking water they used to serve Tibetans food, in order to convert Tibetans to Islam.[44]

In Tibet, the majority of Muslims are Hui people. Hatred between Tibeans and Muslims stems from events during the Muslim warlord Ma Bufang's rule in Qinghai such as Ngolok rebellions (1917–49) and the Sino-Tibetan War, but in 1949 the Communists put an end to the violence between Tibetans and Muslims, however, new Tibetan-Muslim violence broke out after China engaged in liberalization. Riots broke out between Muslims and Tibetans over incidents such as bones in soups and prices of balloons, and Tibetans accused Muslims of being cannibals who cooked humans in their soup and of contaminating food with urine. Tibetans attacked Muslim restaurants. Fires set by Tibetans which burned the apartments and shops of Muslims resulted in Muslim families being killed and wounded in the 2008 mid-March riots. Due to Tibetan violence against Muslims, the traditional Islamic white caps have not been worn by many Muslims. Scarfs were removed and replaced with hairnets by Muslim women in order to hide. Muslims prayed in secret at home when in August 2008 the Tibetans burned the Mosque. Incidents such as these which make Tibetans look bad on the international stage are covered up by the Tibetan exile community. The repression of Tibetan separatism by the Chinese government is supported by Hui Muslims.[46] In addition, Chinese-speaking Hui have problems with Tibetan Hui (the Tibetan speaking Kache minority of Muslims).[47]

On October 8, 2012, a mob of about 200 Tibetan monks beat a dozen Dungans (Hui Muslims) in Luqu County, Gansu province, in retaliation for the Chinese Muslim community's application to build a mosque in the county.[48]

The main Mosque in Lhasa was burned down by Tibetans and Chinese Hui Muslims were violently assaulted by Tibetan rioters in the 2008 Tibetan unrest.[49] Tibetan exiles and foreign scholars like ignore and do not talk about sectarian violence between Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims.[44] The majority of Tibetans viewed the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 positively and it had the effect of galvanizing anti-Muslim attitudes among Tibetans and resulted in an anti-Muslim boycott against Muslim owned businesses.[44]:17 Tibetan Buddhists propagate a false libel that Muslims cremate their Imams and use the ashes to convert Tibetans to Islam by making Tibetans inhale the ashes, even though the Tibetans seem to be aware that Muslims practice burial and not cremation since they frequently clash against proposed Muslim cemeteries in their area.[44]:19

Since the Chinese government supports and backs up the Hui Muslims, the Tibetans deliberately attack the Hui Muslims as a way to demonstrate anti-government sentiment and because they have a background of sectarian violence against each other since Ma Bufang's rule due to their separate religions and ethnicity and Tibetans resent Hui economic domination.[50]


Doudou Diène, in a report prepared by the UN Commission on Human Rights released on March 7, 2006, mentioned the publishing of the cartoons at the heart of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy regarding, "The development of Islamophobia or any racism and racial discrimination ..."[51]


Two mosques and one Muslim-owned business were attacked in France in January 2015

In 2008, 148 French Muslim graves were desecrated near Arras. A pig's head was hung from a headstone and profanities insulting Islam and Muslims were daubed on some graves.[52] Dalil Boubakeur, a director of a Paris mosque described the vandalism on a Mosque in Paris, France as Islamophobic.[53] On December 13, 2009, The Mosque of Castres in southern France, was vandalized in the night.[54] Swastika in black paint, "Sieg Heil" in German, "France to the French" in French, and "White Power" in English were scrawled on the mosque.[55] Additionally, a pig feet was hung on the mosque.[56]

In 2010 France banned face coverings including women wearing the niqab. The French Collective against Islamophobia reported "an explosion" in the number of physical attacks on women wearing the niqab. Kenza Drider, a protester against the law, said: "I'm insulted about three to four times a day. Most say, 'Go home'; some say, 'We'll kill you.' One said: 'We'll do to you what we did to the Jews.'... I feel that I now know what Jewish women went through before the Nazi roundups in France. When they went out in the street they were identified, singled out, they were vilified. Now that's happening to us."[57]

After the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January 2015, there were reports of attacks on mosques and Muslim citizens throughout the country.[58]


On July 1, 2009, Marwa El-Sherbini was stabbed to death in a courtroom in Dresden, Germany. She had just given evidence against her attacker who had used insults against her because she wore an Islamic headscarf. El-Sherbini was called "Islamist", "terrorist" and (according to one report) "slut".[note 1]

The Bosphorus serial murders took place between 2000 and 2006. The police discovered a hit list of 88 people that included "two prominent members of the Bundestag and representatives of Turkish and Islamic groups".[59]


In May 2010, a mosque in the West Bank was destroyed in an arson attack.[60] In previous months, other mosques had been attacked; some were vandalised with Hebrew graffiti and other mosques have been destroyed or damaged by arson in the past.[60] In June 2010, there were further acts of vandalism against mosques by Israelis. In northern Israel the walls of mosques were spray painted with the Star of David as well as messages such as "There will be war over Judea and Samaria" and "This structure is marked for demolition."[61]


Since then, India has seen violent incidents involving both the majority Hindu population and the Muslim population in a series of communal riots, one of which was the Bhagalpur riots of 1989, which has led to the death of 900-1000 Muslims and leaving 50,000 displaced.[62] Recently, India has also seen tensions between Hindus and Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat violence; In response to the Godhra train burning, the nationalist party Vishva Hindu Parishad had organized protests that had immediately turned violent.[63] After days of rioting and violence, it was estimated that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 2500 injured and 223 missing.[64]


Under the reign of President Suharto during the New Order (Indonesia), Islamists were suppressed, and religious Muslims were actively persecuted by the Indonesian government. Several Christian Generals who served under Suharto like Leonardus Benjamin Moerdani actively persecuted religious Muslims in the Indonesian military, which was described as being "anti-Islamic", denying religious Muslims promotions, and preventing them from praying in the barracks and banning them from even using the Islamic greeting "Salaam Aleikum", and these anti-Islamic polices were entirely supported by Suharto, despite Suharto being a Muslim himself, since he considered political Islam a threat to his power.[65][66][67][68] The Christian General Theo Syafei, who also served under Suharto, spoke out against political Islam coming to power in Indonesia, and insulted the Qur'an and Islam in remarks which were described as Islamophobic.[69][70][71][72][73][74]


The anti-Buddhist actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan (the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan) was used as a pretext to commit violence against Muslims in Myanmar by Buddhist mobs. Human Rights Watch reports that there was mounting tension between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Taungoo for weeks before it erupted into violence in the middle of May 2001. Buddhist monks demanded that the Hantha Mosque in Taungoo be destroyed in "retaliation" for the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.[75] Mobs of Buddhists, led by monks, vandalized Muslim owned businesses and property and attacked and killed Muslims in Muslim communities. This was followed by retaliation by Muslims against Buddhists. Human Rights Watch also alleges that Burmese military intelligence agents disguised as monks, led the mobs.[76]


Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, two sequential attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011 that killed 77 people and wounded at least as many, is described as a 32-year-old Norwegian Islamophobic right-wing extremist. In a manifesto, he describes opposition to what he saw as an Islamisation of Europe as his motive for carrying out the attacks.[77]


Further information: Moro people

The Muslim Moro people live in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and southern provinces, remain disadvantaged in terms of employment, social mobility, education and housing. Muslims in the Philippines are frequently discriminated against in the media as scapegoats or warmongers.[78] This has established escalating tensions that have contributed to the ongoing conflict between the Philippine government, Christians and Moro people.

There has been an ongoing exodus of Moro (Tausug, Samal, Islamized Bajau, Illanun, Maguindanao) to Malaysia (Sabah) and Indonesia (North Kalimantan) between the last 30 to 50 years, due to the illegal annexation of their land by Christian Filipino militants such as the Ilaga, who were responsible for massacres of Muslim villages from the 1970s to the late 1990s. This has changed the population statistics in both countries to a significant degree, and has caused the gradual displacement of the Moros from their traditional lands.


See also: Islam in Russia

Due to the large activity of the Islamic Chechens in organised crime and terrorism many Russians (including authorities) have associated Islam and Muslims with terrorism and domestic crimes.[79][80][81][82]

In 2007, a video was released on the internet of a Tajik and a Dagestani immigrant being beheaded in response to the beheading of 6 Russian soldiers done by the Chechens.[83]

Sri Lanka[edit]

The 1990 expulsion of Muslims from Sri Lanka was an act of ethnic cleansing[84][85] carried out by Tamils of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization in October 1990. In order to achieve their goal of creating a mono ethnic Tamil state[86][87] in the North Sri Lanka, the LTTE forcibly expelled the 75,000 strong Muslim population from the Northern Province.[88] The first expulsion was in Chavakacheri, of 1,500 people. After this, Muslims in Kilinochchi and Mannar were forced many to leave their homeland. The turn of Jaffna came on 30 October 1990; when LTTE trucks drove through the streets ordering Muslim families to assemble at Osmania College. There, they were told to exit the city within two hours.

On 4 August 1990, Tamil militants massacred over 147 Muslims in a mosque in Kattankudi.[89][90][91][92] The act took place when around 30 Tamil rebels raided four mosques in the town of Kattankudi, where over 300 people were prostrating during prayers. The LTTE later apologized (during the 2000 peace talks) for this act and asked the Muslims to return, but very few Muslims have taken up the offer.[93]


Main article: Islam in Tajikistan

Mosques are not permitted to allow women in, only state controlled religious education is approved for children and long beards are banned in Tajikistan.[94][95]

In Tajikistan, Mosques are banned from allowing Friday Prayers for younger than 18 year old children.[96][97][98][99][100][101][102][103][104][105][106][107][108][109][110][111][112][113]

The government has shut down Mosques and forbids foreign religious education.[114] From the beginning of 2011 1,500 Mosques were shut down by the Tajik government, in addition to banning the hijab for children, banning the use of loudspeakers for the call of prayer, forbidding mosques from allowing women to enter, and monitoring Imams and students learning an Islamic education abroad, having sermons in the Mosque approved by the government and limiting the Mosque sermons to 15 minutes.[115] Muslims experienced the most negative effects from the "Religion Law" enacted by the government of Tajikistan, curtailing sermons by Imams during weddings, making the "Cathedral mosques" the only legal place for sermons to be given by Imams with sermons not being allowed in five-fold mosques, the five-fold mosques are small mosques and serve a limited number of people while the medium and big mosques are categorized as Cathedral mosques, girls who wore the hijab have been expelled from schools and hijabs and beards are not permitted on passport photos.[116] Mosques have been demolished and shut down by the Tajikistan government on the excuses that they were not registered and therefore not considered as mosques by the government.[117] Tajikistan has targeted religious groups like Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Christians, and Muslims who try to evade control by the government, synagogue, churches, and Mosques have been shut down and destroyed, only a certain amount of mosques are allowed to operate and the state must approve all "religious activity", in which younger than 18 year old children are not allowed to join in.[118] Buildings for religious worhsip for Johovah's Witnesses, Protestant Churches, the Jewish Synagogue, and Muslim mosques have been targeted, destroyed, and shut down and prayers are forbidden to take place in public halls, with severed restrictions placed on religion.[119] Tajikistan forced religious communities to re-register with the government and shut Mosques and Churches down which refused re-registration in 2009.[120] Churches, a synagogue, and mosques have been destroyed by the Tajikistan government.[121] Government approval is required for Tajiks seeking to engage in religious studies in foreign countries and religious activities of Muslims in particular are subjected to controls by the Tajikistan government.[122] State control has been implemented on Islamic madrasahs, Imams, and Mosques by Tajikistan.[123] A list of sermon "topics" for Imams has been created by the Tajikistan government.[124] Towns are only allowed to have a certain number of mosques and only religious buildings sanctioned by the government are allowed to host religious activities, schools have banned hijab, religious studies in private have been forbidden mosque religious services are not allowed to admit children and non registered mosques have been closed.[125][126][127] Religious matters are banned for under 18 year old childrenPublic buildings do not allow beards, schools ban hijabs, unregistered mosques are shut down, and sermons are subjected to government authority.[128] Only if "provided the child expresses a desire to learn" can a family teach religion to their own children, while the Tajik government banned all non-family private education.[129] Islam and Muslims have been subjected to controls by the Tajikistan government, the states decides what sermons the Imams give, the government discharges the salaries of Imams and there is only a single madrasah in Tajikistan.[130]

Jehovah's Witnesses have been declared illegal in Tajikistan.[131] Abundant Life Christian Centre, Ehyo Protestant Church, and Jehovah's witnesses have accused Tajikistan of lying about them not being declared illegal at a Warsaw OSCE conference for human rights.[132]

Among increasingly religious Tajiks, Islamic-Arabic names have become more popular over Tajik names.[133]

The Tajik government has used the word "prostitute" to label hijab wearing women and enforced shaving of beards, in addition to considering the outlawing of Arabic-Islamic names for children and making people use Tajik names.[134][135][136][137][138][139][140] Tajikistan President Rakhmon (Rahmon) has said that the Persian epic Shahnameh should be used as a source for names, with his proposed law hinting that Muslim names would be forbidden after his anti hijab and anti beard laws.[141]

The black colored Islamic veil was attacked and criticized in public by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.[142]

The Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan has been banned by the Tajik government.[143]

United Kingdom[edit]

The English Defence League organises demonstrations against Islamism, but has been criticised for targeting Muslims in general.

In March 2006, Jamia Masjid mosque in Preston was attacked by gangs of white youths using brick and concrete block. The youths damaged a number of cars outside the mosque and stabbed a 16-year-old Muslim teenager.[144] On July 6, 2009, the Glasgow branch of Islamic Relief was badly damaged by a fire which police said was started deliberately, and which members of the Muslim community of Scotland allege was Islamophobic.[145]

In 2005, The Guardian commissioned an ICM poll which indicated an increase in anti-Muslim incidents, particularly after the London bombings in July 2005.[146][147] Another survey of Muslims, this by the Open Society Institute, found that of those polled 32% believed they had suffered religious discrimination at airports, and 80% said they had experienced Islamophobia.[148][149] In July 2005, a Muslim man, Kamal Raza Butt, was beaten to death outside a corner shop in Nottingham by a gang of youths who shouted anti-Islamic abuse at him.[150]

On the 26 August 2007 fans of the English football club Newcastle United directed anti-Muslim chants at Egyptian Middlesbrough F.C. striker Mido. An FA investigation was launched[151] He revealed his anger at The FA's investigation, believing that they would make no difference to any future abuse.[152] Two men were eventually arrested over the chanting and were due to appear at Teesside Magistrates Court.[153]

In January 2010, a report from the University of Exeter's European Muslim research centre noted that the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes has increased, ranging from "death threats and murder to persistent low-level assaults, such as spitting and name-calling," for which the media and politicians have been blamed with fueling anti-Muslim hatred. The Islamophobic incidents it described include: "Neil Lewington, a violent extremist nationalist convicted in July 2009 of a bomb plot; Terence Gavan, a violent extremist nationalist convicted in January 2010 of manufacturing nail bombs and other explosives, firearms and weapons; a gang attack in November 2009 on Muslim students at City University; the murder in September 2009 of Muslim pensioner, Ikram Syed ul-Haq; a serious assault in August 2007 on the Imam at London Central Mosque; and an arson attack in June 2009 on Greenwich Islamic Centre."[154][155] Other Islamophobic incidents mentioned in the report include "Yasir, a young Moroccan," being "nearly killed while waiting to take a bus from Willesden to Regent's Park in London" and "left in a coma for three months"; "Mohammed Kohelee," a "caretaker who suffered burns to his body while trying to prevent an arson attack against Greenwich Mosque"; "the murder" of "Tooting pensioner Ekram Haque" who "was brutally beaten to death in front of his three year old granddaughter" by a "race-hate" gang; and "police officers" being injured "during an English Defence League (EDL) march in Stoke."[156]

An academic paper by Katy Sian published in the journal South Asian Popular Culture in 2011 explored the question of how "forced conversion narratives" arose around the Sikh diaspora in the United Kingdom.[157] Sian, who reports that claims of conversion through courtship on campuses are widespread in the UK, says that rather than relying on actual evidence they primarily rest on the word of "a friend of a friend" or on personal anecdote. According to Sian, the narrative is similar to accusations of "white slavery" lodged against the Jewish community and foreigners to the UK and the US, with the former having ties to anti-semitism that mirror the Islamophobia betrayed by the modern narrative. Sian expanded on these views in 2013's Mistaken Identities, Forced Conversions, and Postcolonial Formations.[158]

United States of America[edit]

A protester at a counter-demonstration against the September 15, 2007 anti-war protest in Washington, D.C.

In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, many residents of Middle Eastern descent and African American Muslims became victims of the initial rage at "Muslim terrorists" as the initial news stories hypothesized. KFOR-TV's coverage of the bombing informed viewers that a member of the Nation of Islam had taken credit for the bombing. Even though the network cautioned that it might be a crank call, it repeated the claim throughout the day's coverage.[159] According to a report prepared by the Arab American Institute, three days after the bombings, "more than 200 serious hate crimes were committed against Arab Americans and American Muslims. The same was true in the days following September 11."[160] There were also suggestions on the radio that all Arab Americans "be put in internment camps".[159]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, hate crimes against people of Middle-Eastern descent increased from 354 attacks in 2000 to 1,501 attacks in 2001.[161] Among the victims of the backlash was a Middle-Eastern man in Houston, Texas who was shot and wounded after an assailant accused him of "blowing up the country"[160] and four immigrants shot and killed by a man named Larme Price who confessed to killing them as "revenge" for the September 11 attacks.[162] Although Price described his victims as Arabs, only one was from an Arab country. This appears to be a trend; on account of stereotypes of Arabs, several non-Arab, non-Muslim groups were subjected to attacks in the wake of 9/11, including several Sikh men attacked for wearing their religiously mandated turban.[163] According to a report prepared by the Arab American Institute, three days after the Oklahoma City bombing (which was committed by anti-government white American Timothy McVeigh), "more than 200 serious hate crimes were committed against Arab Americans and American Muslims. The same was true in the days following September 11."[160]

Zohreh Assemi, an Iranian American Muslim owner of a nail salon in Locust Valley, New York, was robbed, beaten, and called a "terrorist" in September 2007 in what authorities call a bias crime.[164] Assemi was kicked, sliced with a boxcutter, and had her hand smashed with a hammer. The perpetrators, who forcibly removed $2,000 from the salon and scrawled anti-Muslim slurs on the mirrors, also told Assemi to "get out of town" and that her kind were not "welcomed" in the area. The attack followed two weeks of phone calls in which she was called a "terrorist" and told to "get out of town," friends and family said.[164]

While en route to Chicago, Shahrukh Khan, a well-known Bollywood actor, was held for what he described as "humiliating" questioning for several hours in Newark Airport, New Jersey because of his common Muslim surname Khan. He was released only following the intervention of the Indian embassy.[165][166]

On August 25, 2010, a New York taxi driver was stabbed after a passenger asked if he was Muslim.[167]

The Dove World Outreach Center church in Gainesville, Florida planned to burn Qurans on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Despite warning from the military leadership in the Afghan War, Terry Jones, the pastor of the centre, said it would be "tragic" if anybody's life was lost as a result of the planned Quran burning. While he added "Still, I must say that we feel that we must sooner or later stand up to Islam, and if we don't, it's not going to go away." His church's website claims to "expose Islam" as a "violent and oppressive religion;" it also displays a sign reading "Islam is of the Devil."[168]

In April 2012, various media sources reported that the Joint Forces Staff College taught an anti-Islam course. The course taught that "they [Muslims] hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you." It also proposed justified the destruction of the cities of Mecca and Medina "without regard for civilian deaths". The course was suspended after a student objected to the material.[169][170]

In early August 2012 U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) said at a town hall that radical Muslims were “trying to kill Americans every week.” Soon after his remarks several attacks against Muslims took place in his district, including an August 12 acid bomb attack on a Muslim school in Lombard, Illinois during evening Ramadan prayers and hate graffiti found on August 16 in a Muslim Cemetery.[171] There also were several other attacks of mosques with pellet guns, acid bombs, eggs, or unclean animal parts. Some incidents are being investigated as hate crimes.[172]

Incidents on aircraft[edit]

Some incidents with Muslim passengers on aircraft have given rise to the expression "Flying while Muslim".[173]

  • On 16 August 2006 British passengers on board a flight from Malaga to Manchester requested the removal of two men of Asian descent from a plane. According to a spokesman for the Civil Guard in Malaga, "These men had aroused suspicion because of their appearance and the fact that they were speaking in a foreign language thought to be an Arabic language, and the pilot was refusing to take off until they were escorted off the plane." A security sweep of the plane found no explosives or any item of a terrorist nature. Monarch Airlines booked the men, who were Urdu speakers, into a hotel room, gave them a free meal and sent them home on a later plane. The men later responded, "Just because we're Muslim, does not mean we are suicide bombers." The Islamic Human Rights Commission blamed "ever-increasing Islamophobia" related to the "war on terror" for the incident.[174][175][176]
  • A passenger traveling to the British Virgin Islands on a plane bound for the United States from Manchester in the UK was forced off the plane prior to takeoff. The man, a British-born Muslim residing in the United States, said he was singled out because he was a Muslim pilot and was left feeling "demoralized and humiliated. I must have met the profile on the day. I have an Arabic name, I am a Muslim, I'm from Britain and I know how to fly."[177][178]
  • On 21 November 2006, six imams were forcefully removed from a US Airways flight at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport for security reasons. The event led to an outcry from Muslim organizations in America saying that what happened showed the growing prejudice against Muslims in America.[179] Investigations by the airline and police so far have reported that the airline and ground crews responded to security concerns properly in removing the men from the plane.[180] See Flying Imams controversy for more details regarding this incident.
  • In 2009 AirTran Airways removed nine Muslim passengers, including three children, from a flight and turned them over to the FBI after one of the men commented to another that they were sitting right next to the engines and wondered aloud where the safest place to sit on the plane was. Although the FBI subsequently cleared the passengers and called the incident a "misunderstanding," AirTran refused to seat the passengers on another flight, forcing them to purchase last minute tickets on another airline that had been secured with the FBI's assistance. A spokesman for AirTran initially defended the airline's actions and said they would not reimburse the passengers for the cost of the new tickets. Although the men had traditional beards and the women headscarves, AirTran denied that their actions were based on the passengers' appearance.[181] The following day, after the incident received widespread media coverage, AirTran reversed its position and issued a public apology, adding that it would in fact reimburse the passengers for the cost of their rebooked tickets.[182]

Politician-related incidents[edit]

  • CAIR and the Associated Press called United States Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) Islamophobic for his December 2006 letter stating that Rep-elect Keith Ellison's desire to use the Qur'an during the swearing in ceremonies was a threat to "the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America" and for saying "I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies."[183][184]
  • Concerning the US state of North Carolina’s position (as expressed by their attorney general’s office) in the ongoing case of ACLU of N.C. & Syidah Matteen v. State of North Carolina that the only swearing-in for testimony in court that was valid had to be on a Christian Bible (and that all others must choose to affirm), CAIR's Legal Director in Washington D.C, Arsalan Iftikhar, said “This shows there's a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment, especially here in the United States.”[185]
  • British cabinet ministers had been criticized in October 2006 for helping to "unleash a public anti-Muslim backlash" in the United Kingdom by blaming the Muslim community over issues of integration despite a study commissioned by the Home Office on white and Asian-Muslim youths demonstrating otherwise: that Asian-Muslim youths "are in fact the most tolerant of all" and that white British youths "have far more intolerant attitudes," concluding that intolerance from the white British community was a greater "barrier to integration" in the United Kingdom.[186][187]

Media-related incidents[edit]

  • A 2008 amateur shoot 'em up computer game called Muslim Massacre: The Game of Modern Religious Genocide had as its aim killing all Muslims that appear on the screen. The game's creator took down the game's download site with a statement of apology on his personal website, stating his original intention in releasing the game, to "mock the foreign policy of the United States and the commonly held belief in the United States that Muslims are a hostile people to be held with suspicion." He said this had not been understood by the wider public and that its release "did not achieve its intended effect and instead only caused hurt to hospitable, innocent people."[188] However, it later emerged that the apology was indeed fake and the original game was an act of a political statement and not of anti-Muslim sentiment.[189]
  • In September 2012 the group Stop Islamization of America, which has been labeled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center[190][191] and the Anti-Defamation League,[192] ran advertisements in the New York City subway reading "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." Several groups condemned the advertisements as "hate speech."[193] In early January 2013 a related group put up advertisements next to 228 clocks in 39 New York subway stations showing the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center with a quote attributed to the Koran: “Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.”[194] The New York City Transit Authority, which said it would have to carry the advertisements on First Amendment grounds, insisted that 25% of the ad contain a Transit Authority disclaimer.[195][196] These advertisements also were criticized.[197][198]

See also[edit]


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