A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

Middle East Media Research Institute

What is the Middle East Media Research Institute? 

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is a sensationalist and Islamophobic media monitor, playing a significant role in the U.S. Islamophobia Network. Although it is often associated with internet memes, MEMRI has earned a reputation for distributing selective, distorted, and inaccurate translations of Middle Eastern media. 

In a 2019 report, CAIR documented a total of $7 million in support from mainstream American philanthropic organizations going to MEMRI. The organization claims to be “independent” and “non-partisan,” despite its founder Yigal Carmon’s close ties with the Israeli government 

MEMRI’s board of advisors includes former CIA Director James Woolsey, who promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories about the Islamization of the American legal system, and Peter King, known for spearheading the Islamophobic Congressional “Muslim radicalization hearings.” 

Steven Emerson, a prolific anti-Muslim figure with a “history of promoting falsified information and conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims” previously served on MEMRI’s board of directors.  

Anti-Muslim Activities 

John Moreton of The Guardian reports that MEMRI’s translation choices almost exclusively portray Muslims and Middle Easterners negatively, perpetuating stereotypes of extremism and demonizing entire nations and communities. MEMRI has been caught mistranslating media or selectively removing context to present individuals as more politically charged or violent than they actually were. 

MEMRI often sources from fringe outlets that do not accurately represent mainstream attitudes held by Muslims and Middle Easterners. 

An academic report from the University of Leeds finds that MEMRI frames “by default the Arab and Muslim world as uniformly extremist and dangerous, and indeed … demonize[s] whole nations and communities”. 

Brian Whitaker, former Middle East editor for The Guardian newspaper, described MEMRI as “a propaganda operation,” selectively choosing translations to suit its political agenda and providing an unfair picture of Middle Eastern media as a whole. According to Vincent Cannistraro, former Chief of Operations and Analysis at the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorist Center, “MEMRI is selective and acts as a propagandist for a political point of view which follows the extreme right of the Likud.” 


MEMRI’s Islamophobic narratives gain influence through its clientele, board of directors, and advisors. The organization receives research requests from the U.S. government, military, and legislature, as well as from governments worldwide. Several former high-ranking military and national security officials, along with current professors from esteemed educational institutions, make up MEMRI’s board of directors. Individuals associated with MEMRI are also listed as prospective consultants on counter-terrorism in the Pentagon’s Countering Extremism Working Group. 

MEMRI is a favored source for high-profile Islamophobes. Prominent Islamophobe Robert Spencer refers to MEMRI as a “goldmine,” while Frank Gaffney, known for promoting conspiracy theories about the “Islamization of America,” considers MEMRI “indispensable.”  

Neo-Nazi mass murderer Anders Breivik referenced MEMRI over a dozen times in his manifesto before carrying out the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway. 

Bare Naked Islam

Bare Naked Islam is an anti-Muslim Internet blog and online community that portrays Islam as “a totalitarian political cult-like ideology.” Bannered with the line “It isn’t Islamophobia / When they really are trying to kill you,” the blog Bare Naked Islam is run by New York-based ‘Bonni’ Benstock-Intall.

Read More »

Center for Security Policy

The Center for Security Policy is a key anti-Muslim lobbying and propaganda group founded by Frank Gaffney. CSP seeks to advance anti-Muslim sentiment in both policy and society and predicates Islam as an existential threat to America. 

Read More »

Clare Lopez

Clare Lopez is an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist. The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University asserts that Lopez “promotes falsified claims about Muslims in America, particularly the notion of a Muslim Brotherhood infiltration under President Obama.” 

Read More »

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.  

Read More »

You are now leaving Islamophobia

Islamophobia provides links to web sites of other organizations in order to provide visitors with certain information. A link does not constitute an endorsement of content, viewpoint, policies, products or services of that web site. Once you link to another web site not maintained by Islamophobia, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that web site, including but not limited to its privacy policy.

You will be redirected to
in 3 seconds...

Click the link above to continue or CANCEL