MONITORING AND COMBATING ISLAMOPHOBIA

A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

The Rise of American Muslim Changemakers

Islamophobia Report The Rise of American Muslim Changemakers
Islamophobia-Report-The-Rise-of-American-Muslim-Changemakers

(Updated July, 2019)

Key Findings

More Mobilization, Less Persuasion
  • Campaigns that focused on providing political access for traditionally marginalized populations resulted in a significant rise in voter turnout.
  • This newly activated political base translated into direct political support in the form of votes, finance, or in-kind contributions.
Uphill Battle
  • Most political candidates were grassroots oriented, non-institutional, and often faced opposition from established political actors.
  • This lack of institutional support required intense and early ground level organizing.
  • Engaging and activating new political bases required more financial and human resources than expected.
  • Candidates consistently reported that mosque-based communities and traditional Muslim institutions did not play an early or significant role in mobilizing campaign resources.
Message Discipline, Narrative Control
  • Candidates that made organic use of social media, digital storytelling, and video production were able to mobilize voters at community and national levels in greater degrees than those who did not.
  • Candidates reported that a strong multi-platform social media presence with consistent message discipline helped control media narratives about candidates and mitigate potentially negative coverage.
Muslim, American, Human
  • Although most American Muslim candidates reported that Trump-era Islamophobia motivated them to enter formal politics, they stated that their faith motivated their agenda, but did not define or limit it.
  • Most candidates reported that their faith values guided their social justice orientation by prioritizing human welfare and social equity.

 

Key:

  • FE: Former Elected Official
  • FC: Former Candidate

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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