What is 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.
Former United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz, has called APT’s work as “incredibly racist and unfair.” A group of 70 rabbis and Jewish community leaders in Boston published an open letter in Jewish Advocates and called upon “Mr. Jacobs to discontinue his destructive campaign against Boston’s Muslim community, which is based on innuendo, half-truths and unproven conspiracy theories.”
APT has received financing from some of the most notorious anti-Muslim organizations in the United States, including Middle East Forum. A 2022 CAIR report detailing nearly $106 million of philanthropic funding into anti-Muslim groups shows that philanthropic organizations gifted APT $80,490 in grants between 2017 and 2019.
Americans for Peace and Tolerance has pushed unfounded and misleading conspiracy theories about Boston mosques serving as the ‘hub’ of Islamic extremism in the United States.
In 2009, Americans for Peace and Tolerance strongly opposed the creation of the Islamic Society of Boston and its $15.6 million cultural center in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. The group staged protests at the mosque’s opening and suggested that the mosque’s leaders and ideology were “extremist.” They alleged the mosque was being run in support of Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood. In response to the mosque’s opening, Dennis Hale and Charles Jacobs alleged the city of Roxbury “has helped the Wahabi clerical establishment and the Muslim Brotherhood set up shop in the Cradle of Liberty.”
Nevertheless, Boston mayor Thomas Menin defended the creation of the mosque. William A. Graham, dean of Harvard Divinity School, said in response to APT’s campaign: “the phobia about [the mosque] that is generated by a lot of the fearmongers in our community is highly exaggerated.”
In 2014, APT released a documentary entitled “For the Record: The Boston Blueprint,” which the organization proclaimed was intended to expose “extreme Muslim leaders in Boston” who have “established a blueprint to radicalize and brainwash America’s kids to become fighters.” The executive producer of the documentary was Glenn Beck and his far-right media company “The Blaze.”
APT is known for its efforts to pressuring school districts in Massachusetts to adjust their curriculums to endorse anti-Muslim ideas and promote Israeli apartheid policies.
In one instance, APT launched what became a sustained attack on the curriculum of high schools in Newton, Massachusetts in 2013. APT claimed that teaching materials sought to “demonize Israel” and “glorify Islam.” To this end, the group took out misleading advertisements in prominent Boston newspapers.
According to the chairwoman of Newton’s School Committee, Ruth Goldman, campaigns by groups like APT in favor of said reforms have “created a climate of tension and fear amongst teachers.”
In 2018, Americans for Peace and Tolerance sponsored a petition to overhaul the school’s history material and oust the superintendent, claiming antisemitism on the part of the curriculum and members of the teaching staff.
APT was co-founded and is led by three directors: Dr. Charles Jacobs, Dr. Dennis Hale, and Dr. Ahmed Mansour. Each of APT’s directors have used their credentials to promote anti-Muslim sentiments.
Charles Jacobs has appeared in nationally syndicated Fox News segments and written for Breitbart News to discuss alleged ties between Boston mosques and Islamic extremism.
Dr. Jacobs attempted to discredit the concept of Islamophobia, claiming it is “a term created and employed by radical Islamists.” In an interview with Steve Bannon on Breitbart News Daily, he argued that “the left-Muslim alliance presents the greatest threat to Jewish life on this planet.”
Dr. Hale leveraged his title as an associate professor of political science at Boston College to write that Muslims instigate “outrage at ‘insults to Islam’… [in order] to induce, in infidels, a habit of deference to Islam.”
Dr. Mansour notably condoned then-Congressman Tom Tancredo’s inflammatory remarks suggesting the United States should bomb Mecca. Dr. Mansour met and Congressman Tancredo and recounted: “I told [Tancredo], if I were in his place as a congressman who cares about his people here, innocent people who may be killed by terrorist attack … I’d say the same.” Dr. Mansour promoted unfounded conspiracies on American Muslim organizations. He alleged that “the culture of CAIR is the same as Usama bin Laden, but they have two faces… Who are the moderates? You probably never heard of them, and that, they say, is part of the problem. The message of peace does not make the news.”
Dr. Mansour shares a close association with anti-Muslim figure Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, both serving as founders of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.