Mosques under attack: Islamic places of worship have become targets of far-right violence in the West

12 Oct 2022


Announced by the University of Pittsburgh:

In the aftermath of 9/11, there was a drastic increase in Islamophobia with countless cases of harassment and violence against Muslims in western countries. In addition to the attacks against Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim, mosques too became targets of Islamophobic violence. In the past two decades, there have been hundreds of documented cases of vandalism, arson, hate mail, shootings, and bombings of mosques in western countries. From the deadly 2017 Quebec mosque massacre to the 2019 mosque attack in Christchurch, Muslims in western countries have increasingly found their places of worship under threat. Attacks aren’t just limited to western countries as Islamic places of worship have become targets in China, Myanmar, and India.

Campaigns of intimidation and harassment are not limited to far-right individuals and groups; governments too have played a role in targeting mosques. Following 9/11 in the United States, law enforcement including the FBI carried out covert illegal surveillance operations at mosques using informants to entrap Muslims. Additionally, over the last two decades, French authorities have taken aim at indiscriminately shutting down mosques, resulting in severely impacting Muslims’ rights to freely practice their religion.

While academics and community organizations have worked to track incidents of harassment, vandalism, and violent attacks, there still remains discrepancies around documentation as many cases go unreported. Join The Bridge initiative and an international panel of experts as we discuss how mosques and Islamic organizations in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States are dealing with growing threats of violence, and the impact of these attacks on the Muslim communities around the world.


Dr. Derya Iner is a senior lecturer and research coordinator at the Centre for Islamic Studies (CISAC) in Charles Sturt University. Her research focuses on Islamophobia in Australia, women and children’s experience with Islamophobia, mosque attacks and hate motivated vandalism at Islamic institutions. Iner is the chief investigator of the Islamophobia in Australia Reports I, II and III (2017, 2019 and 2022), which drew worldwide attention in the first weeks of their release by reaching out potentially over 930 million international audiences (according to CSU’s media metrics report). The reports were also instrumental in introducing the religious discrimination bill to the parliament. Iner has a long track record of building productive and enduring relationships with non-government and government agencies. Iner also closely works with Islamic organizations to foster community-based research and solution-oriented policies. Furthermore, examining 1,000+ Islamophobia incident reports since 2014, Iner developed and refined an incident reporting tool and set protocols for data registration and verification for the Islamophobia Register Australia. Her research reports and report collection mechanism inspired other target communities to develop third-party reporting and research reports (like the Indigenous and Asian Australian communities). Iner serves as the director of Islamophobia Register Australia. Iner co-edited with John Esposito, Islamophobia and Radicalisation: Breeding Intolerance and Violence (2019). Iner’s recent publications (2022) include “Islamophobia in Australia.” In The Rise of Global Islamophobia in the War on Terror, “Expected but not Accepted: Victimisation, Gender, and Islamophobia in Australia.” International Review of Victimology; “Reflecting on Christchurch - an Australian Perspective.” Waikato Islamic Studies Review 8, no. 1: 30-47.

Allyn “Aliya” Danzeisen is the National Coordinator of the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand and previously served in various roles for the organization including leading its government engagement for the last eight years. A recognized advocate for diversity and inclusion, Aliya has extensive experience in law, education, community development, and successful youth engagement. Aliya founded a youth program for Muslim females identified as best practices in New Zealand and internationally. She has participated in five global summits, has twice been a finalist for the New Zealand Women of Influence Awards in diversity and public policy, and sits on the Kāpuia Ministerial Advisory Group. Recently, Aliya was also selected as a finalist for the Ann Dysart Kahukura Award for outstanding community leadership. Just this September, Aliya participated in the First UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism held in New York. Aliya runs a consultancy business focusing on culturally responsive approaches, youth development, and leadership. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Juris Doctor, a Master of Laws and is pursuing another degree in educational leadership. Originally from the USA, Aliya had lived in South America, the Caribbean, and Japan before coming to New Zealand in 2006.

Dalia Mogahed is the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where she leads the organization’s pioneering research and thought leadership programs on American Muslims. Mogahed is former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslim communities worldwide. With John L. Esposito, she co-authored the book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. President Barack Obama appointed Mogahed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009. She was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about U.S. engagement with Muslim communities. Her 2016 TED talk was named one of the top TED talks that year. She is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. She is also the CEO of Mogahed Consulting.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Sponsored By: 
The Bridge Initiative