MONITORING AND COMBATING ISLAMOPHOBIA

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American Constitutional Rights Union

What is the American Constitutional Rights Union (ACRU)? 

The American Constitutional Rights Union (ACRU) is a legal organization that has advanced anti-Muslim statements, briefs, and lawsuits.  

The organization’s anti-Muslim content primarily originates from their media wing, “ACRU Commentary,” which posts op-eds and shares content from far-right sites. According to a 2022 CAIR report detailing philanthropic funding for anti-Muslim groups, it was revealed that ACRU received over $800,000 in grants between 2017 and 2019 from mainstream charitable institutions. 

Founded in 1999 as the “American Civil Rights Union” as a conservative counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACRU self-proclaims its mission as “protect the God-given rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution.” 

Anti-Muslim Activities 

The ACRU’s board features people known for advancing anti-Muslim rhetoric. 

ACRU’s Executive Director, Col. Allen West, advanced an unfounded claim on ACRU’s commentary page that narco-terrorists south of the US border are facilitating the illegal migration of ‘Islamic Jihadists’ into the United States. A top counterterrorism official from the Department of Homeland Security rejected allegations of ‘attempted infiltrations along the southern U.S. border,’ stating that “there is no evidence to back [the allegations] up.” 

Board member J. Kenneth Blackwell labeled the Islamic tradition as “a totalitarian way of life” and suggested that the First Amendment does not apply to Muslims.  

Following his time at the Department of Justice, policy board member J. Christian Adams asserted that “the Obama Justice Department is not just tolerating, but actively aiding the assertion of Islamic law in the U.S. and the primacy of Sharia over U.S. law.” He appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference alongside prolific anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller in 2012 for a panel titled “Islamic Law in America, How the Obama Justice Department Is Selling Us Out.” 

During the Obama presidency, the organization claimed that President Obama provided aid and support to radical branches of Islam, citing the administration’s purported attempts to grant Osama Bin Laden a burial consistent with Islamic tradition as evidence of its support for Islamic terrorism. 

Influence 

As a legal organization, the ACRU primarily engages with the public through the cases it takes on and the issues it prioritizes. Board members, such as J. Christian Adams, occasionally make appearances on news organizations like Fox News to discuss legal matters.  

In 2018, the ACRU filed an amicus brief in support of former President Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban 3.0’ executive order for the Supreme Court case Trump v Hawaii. The Biden administration revoked the executive order on “discriminatory” grounds. 

American Freedom Defense Initiative

The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) is an Islamophobic hate group led by Pamela Geller. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies the organization as an anti-Muslim hate group. At one time, SPLC considered Geller “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.”  

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American Freedom Law Center

The American Freedom Law Center, Inc. (AFLC) is an anti-Muslim law firm co-founded and co-led by David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise.   The center often acts as the Islamophobia Network’s legal counsel and has represented Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy and Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative.  

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Appearing as a key witness supporting Rep. Peter King’s anti-Muslim hearings in March 2011, Jasser criticized Muslim organizations for informing communities of the fundamental constitutional right to have counsel present during interactions with law enforcement.

American Islamic Forum for Democracy

American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is an anti-Muslim lobby group founded by Zhudi Jasser. Under Jasser’s leadership, AIFD has allied itself with institutions and legislative efforts that attempt to limit Muslims’ access to enumerated freedoms in the Bill of Rights.

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Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) is a Boston-based lobby group founded by Charles Jacobs that proliferates misinformation and conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslim-Americans. It is dedicated to undermining mainstream Muslim institutions and promoting Islamophobia within the media. 

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Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter, a conservative media personality, has gained notoriety for her unabashed Islamophobia. Her influence extends to the social media platforms, where she boasts over 2 million followers on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

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