Four-year study maps Canada’s orchestrated Islamophobia industry

A four-year study uncovers the well-funded and orchestrated Islamophobia movement and its effects on Canada.

The 240-page report, titled “The Canadian Islamophobia Industry: Mapping Islamophobia’s ecosystem in the Great White North,” outlines the key players in the Islamophobia industry and their “ideological breeding ground for anti-Muslim bigotry.”

The study sheds light on groups and individuals — from around the globe but mainly in the US — who work together to create conflicts, spread false information, and promote conspiracy theories.

“This phenomenon is unique to Islamophobia,” writes the report’s author Jasmin Zine.

“Other forms of racism and oppression do not have coordinated networks and industries behind their propagation. And yet, Islamophobia is a form of discrimination, prejudice, and racism that operates with impunity despite its deadly consequences in Canada and globally.”

The report says the Islamophobia industry comprises of media outlets; political figures; far-right, White nationalist groups; Islamophobia influencers and ideologues, pro-Israel, fringe-right groups; Muslim dissidents and ex-Muslims, think tanks, security experts, and the donors who fund their campaigns.

“These individuals, groups, and institutions comprise a network that supports and engages in activities that demonize and marginalize Islam and Muslims in Canada,” says Zine.

White nationalist terror in Canada has specifically targeted Canadian Muslims, for example, the mosque killings in Québec in 2017 and in Ontario in 2021.

Industry relies on dissidents and ex-Muslims

Zine identifies various actors, including dissidents and ex-Muslims, and their roles in the industry, noting that some have ties to far-right organisations and extremist individuals who intentionally target Muslims and vilify Islam.  

“The Islamophobia industry draws heavily on the views and writings of the confrontational voices of self-proclaimed Muslim dissidents, reformers, and ex-Muslims, lauded as authoritative interlocutors on Islam and Muslims,” says Zine

She adds: “Along with Muslim dissidents, ex-Muslims offer anti-Muslim hate groups and media outlets sensationalized individual testimonies that support the wholesale vilification of Muslim faith and culture and prop up Islamophobic ideologies and conspiracy theories.”

“Their claim to fame is based solely on what they present as their personal stories, which has allowed them to gain some measure of notoriety and public attention.”

Mapping the Islamophobic networks

The report says mapping these networks and their agents, influencers, and donors is “like a game of whack-a-mole” — when groups and individuals promoting Islamophobia are identified, others emerge.

“The cycle will continue so long as anti-Muslim hate is allowed to proliferate and can be monetized and leveraged for political ends. “

The report adds that despite the violent and fatal attacks against Muslims in Canada and, in the global context, the genocide and oppression of Muslims in places like Myanmar, China, India and Palestine, there is “yet to be a watershed moment that could stem the planetary tide of anti-Muslim hate, violence, and bigotry.”

Zine says the report is dedicated to the victims of the deadly Islamophobic attacks in Canada.  

“The tragedy of their deaths is a call to action for government, policy-makers, educators, media, and all people of conscience to find ways to amplify the concerns raised here and to seek tangible and sustaining solutions to challenge this global scourge.”  

“The Muslim community and its allies must work to engender social movements and to enact dedicated advocacy and powerful lobbies to combat the formidable and lucrative business of Islamophobia, its industry and purveyors, and the underlying conditions that allow its ecosystem to thrive before more tragedies arise.”

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