Canada's 'Islamophobia industry' gone transnational, report shows

World
Wed, 26 Oct 2022 8:27 GMT
Canadian networks that influenced and funded Islamophobia "has become a transnational sector" as the "industry" carved out a $1.5-billion market in the U.S. alone, a recent study in Canada revealed.
Canada's 'Islamophobia industry' gone transnational, report shows

Canadian networks that influenced and funded Islamophobia "has become a transnational sector" as the "industry" carved out a $1.5-billion market in the U.S. alone, a recent study in Canada revealed.

Canada-based Jasmin Zine, a professor of Sociology, Religion and Culture, and the Muslim Studies Option at Wilfrid Laurier University carried out the four-year study.

The market is coordinated by 39 U.S.-based organizations, Zine and her team concluded the 127-page report.

"Islamophobia networks are transnational. They're not just in Canada or the United States. A lot of funding for this industry comes from the U.S., and some of the studies there show it's a $1.5 billion market in total. Some of this support is promoting anti-Islamic propaganda," Zine told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Noting that they were unable to do the same research done in the U.S. to Canada because they were not allowed access to the documents needed, Zine said support to the "Islamophobia industry" has also found its support in Canada.

She further noted the transnational ties among actors influencing Islamophobia in Europe and elsewhere, adding that such ties also "strengthen the power of these networks and allow them to spread their disinformation and misinformation far more widely."

Citing her report, Zine affirmed that "media outlets" are one of the major actors in the "Islamophobia industry."

She said the "media outlets and Islamophobia influencers" in Canada contribute to "far-right media forums and use social media platforms to professionalize and monetize their propaganda and bigotry."

Zine continued by explaining that the "foot soldiers" are another major actor of the "Islamophobia industry," saying they are "far-right, white nationalist, and neo-Nazi groups and the agitators behind them who are active in promoting anti-Muslim hate online and through public protests and demonstrations."

"Soft-power groups ... leverage influence by promoting anti-Muslim campaigns to achieve specific political, ideological, and religious goals that drive Islamophobic subcultures," she said, adding that they also "engage in coercive tactics such as bullying, harassment, and intimidation to silence those who oppose them."

There are also "native informers," who are "Muslim dissidents and ex-Muslims who play the role of authoritative interlocutors, creating and validating Islamophobic narratives and conspiracy theories."

"They provide the 'political cover' for Islamophobic campaigns," she added.

The two other major actors are "think tanks and designated security experts" as well as "political figures and influencers."

Think tanks and designated security experts "create a 'cult of expertise' to promote Islamophobic conspiracy theories that brand Muslims as potential radicals and national-security threats," according to the report.

On "political figures and influencers," the report said "the players in the Islamophobia industry are strengthened and enabled by politicians who authorize Islamophobic narratives and policies that promote anti-Muslim sentiments as part of the wider ecosystem that primes the ground for Islamophobic racism to take root and spread."

Zine stressed that "the industry is a term that's been used to represent the orchestrated organized nature of Islamophobia groups that have come together and are working in concert to orchestrate controversies to create propaganda to organize campaigns that promote Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism."

Noting that the Canadian Islamophobia industry has taken root in the country, Zine said that such industry has resonance in Canada such as some policies "that promote Islamophobia like Bill 21 in Quebec, which, you know, prohibits religious attire in the public sphere that has specifically targeted Muslim women security policies that through which Muslims have been considered potential radicals and terrorists."

"These policies and practices lead to an environment where Islamophobia can take root. We've seen in Canada the deadly consequences of this when we look at Jan. 29, 2017 attack on a mosque in Quebec City, and then last year 2021 on June 6, the attack in London, Ontario, that killed four members of the Pakistani Canadian Muslim family, who were out for a walk when evening and were mowed down by a truck and both of these attacks took place at the hands of white nationalists," she added.

According to her research, there are nearly 300 far-right and white supremacist groups active in Islamophobic incidents. Zine noted that she will attend the International Islamophobia Conference to be held by Ibn Haldun University in June 2023 in Istanbul and present her report there as well.

DailySabah-AA

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