What is the Clarion Project?
The Clarion Project is a non-profit organization founded by Rapheal Shore that creates, funds, and disseminates anti-Muslim propaganda to influence American politics. Formerly known as the Clarion Fund, the organization purports that its films have been seen by 125 million people globally.
Examples of anti-Muslim propaganda films released by the Clarion Project include Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West and The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America.
According to 2022 CAIR report detailing nearly $106 million of philanthropic funding into anti-Muslim groups, it was revealed that the Clarion Project received more than $2 million in grants between 2017 and 2019.
Ryan Mauro, a prominent anti-Muslim individual, serves as a ‘National Security analyst’ for the Clarion Project. Numerous actors associated with the Islamophobia network have served on the Clarion Project’s advisory board, including Frank Gaffney, Clare Lopez, Daniel Pipes, Walid Phares, and Zuhdi Jasser.
The Clarion Project has advanced several films and web-based videos, and well as daily written articles, online to spread anti-Muslim sentiment amongst its viewers.
The Project originated on the Internet as RadicalIslam.org. The former website purported that “Islamic sources make clear that engaging in violence against non-Muslims is a central and indispensable principle to Islam” and “Islam itself is a kind of fascism that achieves its full and proper form only when it assumes the powers of the state.” The webpage alleged that it is the “Islamists’ ultimate aim is conversion and domination of the West” and encouraged viewers to open local chapters of their own.
In 2006, the Clarion Project produced and distributed its first anti-Muslim titled Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. According to the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, the film “depicts Muslims as inherently violent and anti-Western, and Islam as analogous to Nazism” and includes commentary from anti-Muslim actors like “Nonie Darwish, Steve Emerson, Brigitte Gabriel, Caroline Glick, Daniel Pipes and Walid Shoebat.” Obsession was screened on Fox News later that year.
Obsession received widespread support from actors associated with the Islamophobia network.
The Adelson Family Foundation financially supported the marketing of the anti-Muslim film. An anonymous source donated $17 million for the distribution of the film during the 2008 presidential election. Writing for The Atlantic on 10/27/2008, Jeffrey Goldberg observed, “[Obsession]…is designed to make naive Americans believe that B-52s filled with radical jihadists are about to carpet-bomb their churches…” The film heavily uses translations from Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
In 2008, the Clarion Project financed The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision For America narrated by Zuhdi Jasser. The film propagates the conspiracy of “a ‘cultural Jihad’ aimed at infiltrating and undermining American society.” A New York Times article notes the film portrays “many mainstream American Muslim leaders as closet radical Islamists, and states that their ‘primary tactic’ is deception.”
Other films by the Clarion Project include Honor Diaries, Iranium, and Faithkeepers.
The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University noted that Honor Diaries promotes “the view of Islam as inherently anti-women.” The enormous importance of eradicating violence against women from all societies is undermined by the fact that the film’s executive producers are two anti-Islam activists, Ayaan Hirisi Ali and Raphael Shore.
In 2008, the Clarion Fund attracted considerable attention when allegations emerged of their efforts to influence the 2008 presidential election through the widespread distribution of 28 million copies of Obsession to voters in 14 battleground states. Investigative journalist Justin Elliot uncovered a notable $17.7 million contribution that had likely originated from Chicago-based industrialist Barre Seid, channeled through the Donors Capital Fund in Virginia according to its 2008 IRS filing.
Soon after, an investigative report by the St. Petersburg Times unveiled significant connections Clarion Fund and the Israel-based organization Aish HaTorah. The investigative report from the newspaper stated, “Clarion’s listed address matches that of Aish HaTorah International, a fundraising arm of Aish HaTorah, as per Manhattan directory assistance. Moreover, both the Clarion Fund and Aish HaTorah International share ties with a group called HonestReporting, the entity behind the production of ‘Obsession.’ This fact is corroborated by HonestReporting’s 2006 tax return, which lists the same address.”
The report continues: “Records from the Delaware Department of Corporations indicate that Clarion Fund was incorporated by Raphael Shore, Rabbi Henry Harris, and Rebecca Kabat—all three of whom have been associated with Aish HaTorah International in various capacities.” Archived webpages reveal that Clarion Project founder Raphael Shore previously had a senior post at Aish HaTorah.
In 2011, “The Third Jihad” drew significant public focus as revelations surfaced about its utilization as a training video for new recruits at the New York Police Department. The New York Times reported that documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act revealed 1,498 NYPD officers viewed the film. One NYPD officer stationed at Coney Island called the film “so ridiculously one-sided. It just made Muslims look like the enemy. It was straight propaganda.” Reacting to these disclosures, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (who participated in an interview for the film) categorized the film as “unconventional” and “problematic,” later regretting his involvement in the film.
Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, responsible for the killing of 77 people in Oslo and Utoya Island in 2011, was reportedly inspired by Clarion Project’s film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. Anders Breivik’s manifesto listed Obsession as a recommended source for “further study” and included a YouTube link to the film.