MONITORING AND COMBATING ISLAMOPHOBIA

A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

REPORTS

Hijacked by Hate

Executive Summary

Anti-Muslim bigotry is a common and widespread feature of our country’s mainstream cultural and political landscape. However, it is important to remember that Islamophobic attitudes and policies are propagated by special interest groups with deep sources of funding. This decentralized group of actors is known as the Islamophobia Network, a close-knit family of organizations and individuals that share an ideology of extreme anti-Muslim animus, and work with one another to negatively influence public opinion and government policy about Muslims and Islam.

To provide a better understanding of how the Islamophobia Network operates, this report maps the flow of funding from charitable organizations to anti-Muslim special interest groups, and their negative impact on public life.

The report finds that the Islamophobia Network has been drawing upon mainstream American philanthropic institutions for financial and political support for years.

CAIR Researchers have found 1,096 organizations responsible for funding 39 groups in the Islamophobia Network between 2014 and 2016. The report also reveals the total revenue capacity of the Islamophobia Network during this period to have reached at least $1.5 billion.

As this report demonstrates, many of these anti-Muslim groups, usually considered marginal or fringe, are in fact funded by mainstream American charitable organizations such as Fidelity Charitable Fund, the National Christian Charitable Foundation, and the Jewish Communal Fund.

While some funds and foundations are ideologically aligned with the interests of the Islamophobia Network, most mainstream foundations are more than likely being exploited or used by donors who seek to anonymize their contributions to anti-Muslim special interest groups. This report allows stakeholders to determine whether they are directly or indirectly connected to the Islamophobia Network. By mapping the flow of funding from charitable organizations to anti-Muslim advocacy groups, and their negative impact on public life, this report asks, “Should the American philanthropic community divest from the Islamophobia industry?”

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Key Recommendations

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Civil Society Organizations

Undertake educational initiatives to learn what constitutes Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Familiarize staff and stakeholders with major actors and influencers in the Islamophobia Network and the major philanthropic organizations responsible for supporting it.

Conduct an audit of funding sources, institutional partners, and programming relationships to ensure that your organization is not directly or indirectly connected to the Islamophobia Network.

Review funding sources to determine whether those funding your organization are also supporting the Islamophobia Network.

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Philanthropic Institutions

Undertake educational initiatives to learn what constitutes Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Familiarize staff and stakeholders with the major actors and influencers in the Islamophobia Network.

Conduct an audit of your grantmaking procedures to determine whether your institution intentionally or unintentionally supported the Islamophobia Network.

Implement policies and procedures to ensure that funds are not diverted to hate groups.

Implement policies and procedures to ensure that the programs and activities of your grantees align with your donor interests, stakeholder values, and the public good.

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Interfaith Communities and Religious Institutions

Undertake educational initiatives to learn what constitutes Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Familiarize staff and stakeholders with the major actors and influencers in the Islamophobia Network.

Conduct an audit of stakeholder institutions, funding sources, and programming partners in order to ensure that your network is not directly or indirectly supporting Islamophobic activities.

Design and implement faith-based programs dedicated to marginalizing hate speech and anti-Muslim bigotry in local communities.

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Methodology

The empirical data on the Islamophobia Network’s financial information was acquired through a thorough review of thousands of pages of publicly available tax filings, in addition to searchable databases, namely GuideStar and Foundation Directory Online.

First, the tax filings for each anti-Muslim organization identified in CAIR’s 2016 Islamophobia Report, Confronting Fear, were acquired through Guidestar. The tax Form 990 is publicly available online approximately two years after filing. Therefore, in 2018, the most recently available forms would be those dated for 2016. Additionally, the Form 990 only contains information about who the organization gives money to. It does not show who the organization receives money from. Thus, each organization was subsequently searched on the Foundation Directory Online database to determine the funding channels to the organization. This revealed an entirely new set of organizations who appeared to be funding anti-Muslim hate groups. Each of these newly discovered funding organizations was then searched on both GuideStar’s directory — to acquire the tax filings — and in the Foundation Directory Online to continue to track links among funding channels and hate groups. To ensure the accuracy of the compiled database generated through this process, five months after the initial collection process each data point was reassessed and modified if necessary. This was done by searching each of the 39 anti-Muslim hate groups in the FDO, and cross-checking each group’s funders, and the unique amount each funder gave in 2014, 2015, and 2016. If the amount of money listed in the FDO was lower than what existed in CAIR’s database, the value was cross-checked with the funder’s tax returns, and the discrepancy was resolved. Any newfound funder was added to CAIR’s database, and in turn searched on FDO to find any other groups they may have funded. This cyclical system ensured tighter verification. If a discrepancy arose between entries in the FDO and data in the Form 990, the latter was used because it was the primary source material. Through this exhaustive manner, the research revealed an enormous web of anti-Muslim organizations connected to a wealth of funding sources, both fringe and mainstream.

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Introduction

It was a simple declaration, as ignorant and dangerous as it was ominous:

“I think Islam hates us… it’s radical but it’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate because you don’t know who is who.”

With these few short words to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on prime-time cable news, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump exemplified just how normal Islamophobia has become in mainstream American political and cultural discourse.

By suggesting that Islam and Muslims constitute an existential threat to American society, Trump provided a ‘permission slip’ for scores of individuals and institutions to target American Muslim families, houses of worship, and institutions with unfettered rage. Since 2016, FBI statistics support studies by CAIR, the ACLU, and a range of other research and advocacy institutions that anti-Muslim violence and Islamophobic attitudes are dramatically rising across the country.

One need not dig too deep into recent memory to recall horrific stories of attacks against average American Muslims. In 2017, two Portland men were fatally stabbed defending two teenage girls from a self-described white-nationalist. In 2019, a woman was violently assaulted in an emergency room; a child in Minnesota took his own life after months of being physically attacked at school simply for his faith. In addition to the hundreds of stories we know about, there are hundreds more that are undoubtedly unheard and unreported every year. Many of these incidents are a direct consequence of the hostile climate created by the discriminatory Muslim Ban, the unconstitutional anti-Shariah legislation movement, and the other forms of institutionalized racism aimed at Muslims and the faith of Islam.

Anti–Muslim animus and Islamophobic messages are now pervasive features of our country’s mainstream political, legal, educational, and media landscapes because these ideas are perpetuated by organizations and institutions with deep and extensive sources of funding and deliberate political agendas.

Collectively, CAIR has produced a series of reports since 2011 that has exposed the nature of the Islamophobia Network. It has detailed and analyzed the institutions, personalities, and funding channels that are responsible for spreading fear and lies about Muslims, Islam, and their place in American society.

This 2019 Islamophobia report, Hijacked by Hate, is the successor of those documents and provides the greatest insight thus far into the way in which anti-Muslim institutions have pervaded American mainstream institutions. It should come as no surprise to readers to find prominent sensationalist and conspiratorial actors, such as Brigitte Gabriel of ACT for America or Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum, among the loudest voices of the Islamophobia Network now operating in the American public sphere with impunity. This study reports the unsettling finding that the Islamophobia Network has been drawing upon reputable American philanthropic institutions for financial and political support for years, often unbeknownst to donors, civil society organizations, and the general public. This report will demonstrate that many of these anti-Muslim groups, which would typically be considered marginal or fringe, are in fact funded by mainstream American charitable organizations such as Fidelity Charitable Fund, the National Christian Charitable Fund, and the Jewish Communal Fund.

These findings then beg the question: “Should mainstream American philanthropists fund organizations that promote fear, hate, and conspiracy theories about Muslims and Islam?” Furthermore, if donors and recipients knew they were contributing to, and drawing from, the same pool of resources that fuel anti-social Islamophobic institutions, would they remain silent?

To provide a clear understanding of the way the Islamophobia Network operates, and to illustrate its danger to the fabric of our democratic principles, this report organizes its findings into three interrelated sections:

  1. Funding Sources (funders)
  2. Anti–Muslim Organizations (funded)
  3. Impact on Society

This structure allows readers to identify actors in the Network according to their particular role and their influence on public discourse. Simply, groups that fund anti-Muslim racism and groups that are funded to then perpetuate and promote anti-Muslim racism. Admittedly, there is a slight overlap between these categories. For example, some foundations exist solely for the purpose of funding Islamophobic activities, so they may be considered both funders and perpetrators. It is most often the case, however, that funding sources of anti-Muslim bigotry are also deeply invested in providing assistance to a range of mainstream American community service organizations. The distinction between funder and funded illustrates the path from the revenue source to the societal impact.

Despite the overwhelming flow of funding that supports the Islamophobia Network and its deep embeddedness in American philanthropic, cultural, and political institutions, there are promising signs that the tide of anti-Muslim bigotry may actually be receding. Foremost is the public outrage expressed by a wide swathe of the American public against the Muslim Ban after it was signed as an executive order on January 27, 2017. For weeks, tens of thousands of average Americans, along with seasoned activists, civil society leaders, and public dignitaries, gathered at airports across the country to help protect travelers that might be affected by the discriminatory act. This act of collective resistance signaled that anti-Muslim networks could no longer act with impunity. Many American were no longer willing to overlook overt discrimination against American Muslims. Even as portions of the Muslim Ban were ultimately considered legal by the Supreme Court in the summer of 2018, awareness about the depth and breadth of Islamophobia’s impact on society has become an important component of interfaith solidarity, democratic organizing, and community activism against the Trump administration’s countless attacks against civil and human rights.

Those defending civil rights in the courts were accompanied by others operating in cultural and political spaces. During the height of the Trump campaign’s radically anti-Muslim rhetoric, the American public lauded Ibtihaj Muhammad, the Olympic fencer who won a bronze medal in the 2016 summer games, proudly wearing her headscarf. Time Magazine named her among their 100 most influential people list, Barbie created a doll in her likeness, and, as a testament to changing times, Hillary Clinton, who had returned campaign money donated on behalf of the Muslim community during her 2000 senatorial bid, publicly praised the first American-Muslim female Olympic medalist. After the 2016 election, many American cultural institutions affirmed American Muslim identity as an expression of solidarity and resistance against the Trump administration. High profile events such as New York Fashion Week began to center Muslim women’s fashion and even Roseanne Barr, a racist and anti-Muslim bigot in her own right, attempted to address the plague of Islamophobia on her short-lived revival on prime-time television.

Perhaps most tellingly, the traditional political landscape has shifted significantly to embrace American Muslims. The Democratic Party featured Khizr Khan, a Gold Star father, as a keynote speaker during its 2016 convention. Since that time, two American-Muslim women, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, have been elected to Congress, Representative Andre Carson of Indiana enjoyed an easy reelection to his House seat, and former Representative Keith Ellison became the country’s first Muslim Attorney General.

In fact, as a joint CAIR, MPower Change, and Jetpac report discovered, 131 out of the 276 Muslims that ran for public office between 2016 and 2018 were elected or appointed. Collectively, American Muslim candidates were able to raise over $16 million for their campaigns. This rapid and enthusiastic rise in American Muslim political activism is a poetic response to Trump’s Muslim Ban: he did not want Muslims coming to the United States — they entered the halls of Congress and state legislatures across the country. New political research has also shown that anti-Muslim bigotry can be a liability for candidates — the majority of those that run on such platforms may suffer at the polls.

In addition to the noticeable positive changes in the cultural and political landscape — even in the midst of the mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry in the White House — another promising sign that the Islamophobia Network industry is facing popular backlash is the flourishing range of research and advocacy being done to combat its insidious impact on society. For example, the Carter Center brought the discussion of anti-Muslim discrimination to the forefront of policy-maker concerns through a year-long study. From 2017 to 2018, Dr. Houda Abadi surveyed experts and practitioners on best practices and strategies to tackle the global phenomenon of Islamophobia. The University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University now have fully established Islamophobia studies centers, headed by Dr. Hatem Bazian and Dr. John Esposito respectively, dedicated to bringing together thought leaders, scholars, and practitioners to develop applied and comparative research agendas on the pervasive and fluid nature of the problem. University of Arkansas professor Khaled Beydoun’s book, American Islamophobia, made significant headlines as greater audiences needed access to the historical context and racial dynamics of the once fringe but now mainstream anti-Muslim discourse dominating the public sphere.

A striking series of studies have now peeled back the layers of institutional funding and political patronage that support Islamophobic rhetoric in the public sphere.

The most troubling, perhaps, of these reports were the revelations that the San Francisco Jewish Federation, the Los Angeles Jewish Community Foundation, and New York’s Jewish Communal Fund all support far-right, xenophobic networks that, in part or wholly, vilify Muslims and perpetuate Islamophobia in the public arena. Likewise, in 2018, the local chapter of CAIR in Minnesota (CAIR-MN) and ISAIAH-MN, an interfaith advocacy group, released a troubling report demonstrating a direct linkage between anti-Muslim rhetoric in local political and media contexts and the executive boards of powerful corporations such as Comcast and General Mills.

The Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) also documented the various corporate interests that systematically fund politicians who espouse anti-Muslim views as part of their profit-driven logic.

These studies are all part of a growing movement among journalists, scholars, and non-profit practitioners that aims to map out funding channels and political relationships of the ever-expanding Islamophobia Network.

Hijacked by Hate adds to this growing momentum to dismantle the Islamophobia Network’s impact on society by providing a comprehensive outline of the relationship between mainstream philanthropic and charitable institutions and the main actors responsible for fueling anti-Muslim bigotry in the political and cultural landscape.

This report outlines the funding channels and political connections of the Islamophobia Network in order to:

  1. Expose the network’s embeddedness within mainstream American philanthropic institutions whose missions are antithetical to xenophobia and social polarization.
  2. Provide readers with background on the political ambitions and profit-oriented interests of the Islamophobia Network as well as their impact on society.
  3. Provide advocates information that can be used to strategize, organize, and advocate more effectively to counter anti-Muslim and Islamophobic misinformation campaigns.

The information and analysis provided in this report, coupled with the growing movement across the country to combat racism and xenophobia in all forms, will help fundamentally alter and impair the landscape of Islamophobia funding.

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What is Islamophobia?

In a climate of rising anti-Muslim hate, there is a pressing need for a robust definition of the term Islamophobia. As a civil rights organization, CAIR seeks to define Islamophobia in a way that also facilitates advocacy to counter the hate and prejudice.

In short, Islamophobia is anti-Muslim racism.

At length, Islamophobia is a fear, hatred, or prejudice toward Islam and Muslims that results in a pattern of discrimination and oppression. Islamophobia creates a distorted understanding of Islam and Muslims by transforming the global and historical faith tradition of Islam, along with the rich history of cultural and ethnic diversity of its adherents, into a set of stereotyped characteristics most often reducible to themes of violence, civilizational subversion, and fundamental otherness. Islamophobia must also be understood as a system of both religious and racial animosity that is perpetuated by private citizens as well as cultural and political structures.

Contemporary Islamophobia is shaped and reinforced through popular culture and news media and is often legitimized by state policies. As such, anti-Muslim racism occurs at both individual and institutional levels, and can take many forms. At private and local levels, Islamophobia may manifest as physical attacks or harassment against those perceived to be Muslim, or through damage to mosques and Islamic centers. Anti-Muslim racism on the part of government structures often emerges in the creation and enforcement of anti-Muslim laws and policies that directly or indirectly lead to the curtailment of Muslim civil rights and civil liberties. This includes, for example, the unconstitutional Muslim Ban, anti-Shariah legislation, surveillance practices, and a host of other national and foreign policy measures. While there is an ongoing debate between academics and practitioners over a final definition of Islamophobia as a term, it should be noted that in 2018, the All Party Parliamentary Group (AAPG) in the UK officially adopted a definition of the term grounded in the concept of structural racism discussed here, signaling the importance of tackling the subject at the highest levels of government. They defined it as, “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

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Identifying Islamophobia

An organization or individual is considered a part of the Islamophobia Network if it does any of the following or if it funds, partners with, or presents individuals or groups that:

  1. Allege that Islam and Muslims are inherently or uniquely violent, misogynistic, inferior, intolerant, primitive, static, authoritarian, homophobic, manipulative, self-righteous, devious, or that Islam is the antithesis of civilization.
    • Speaking about “brutal Islamic terrorism” in his presidential nomination acceptance speech, Trump said “I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
  2. Allege that Islam is an existential threat to the U.S. and/or the “West” and that Muslims, or their representative institutions, are part of a plot to overthrow the “West” or America.
    • Trump stated, “Islam hates us.”
  3. Support unequal treatment under the law for Islam or Muslims.
    • Ayaan Hirsi Ali suggested that the U.S. Constitution be amended to allow for discrimination against Muslims. Guy Rodgers of act for America said, “Muslims should be treated differently because their legal system is inherently flawed.”
  4. Allege that violent groups which falsely and perversely claim a religious cover possess the correct understanding of Islam.
    • The National Security Strategy released in December 2017 states, “Jihadist terrorists such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida continue to spread a barbaric ideology…These jihadist terrorists attempt to force those under their influence to submit to Sharia law.”

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Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents

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Bullying

In Minnesota, 15 year-old high school freshman Jacob Letourneau-Elsharkawy took his life after suffering repeated incidents of extreme bullying. His mother, Faith Elsharkawy, said, “When [Jacob] was in a room, he brightened it up with his contagious smile, his laughter, and wonderful energetic personality.” She later added, “He was a classic comedian. He could make you have belly-roaring laughs that brightened your day. He had a big heart and would stand beside you through thick and thin.”

Jacob began being targeted in 8th grade when his mother started to wear a headscarf. He didn’t hide his religion, defending the Muslim faith against offensive statements and answering questions from his friends about his beliefs. He then reported being called “terrorist” and other derogatory terms, in addition to repeated aggravated acts of physical assault. In one incident, he was physically forced into a locker, which resulted in him getting a concussion. In another, he suffered a broken collarbone and a concussion when he was shoved violently into a metal door frame. On Nov. 9, 2017, Letourneau-Elsharkawy was taken to the hospital after he was assaulted again on a school bus, suffering yet another concussion and more than 100 contusions.

After school administrators failed to effectively address months of verbal and physical abuse, Jacob took his own life on April 29, 2018.

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Attacking Mosques

Flames engulfed the Victoria Islamic Center in Texas in the early morning hours of January 28, 2017. The arson completely gutted the mosque, leaving behind an empty shell of a building.

Marq Perez, 26, was convicted of hate crime and felony arson and sentenced to 24 years in prison for his attack. A person who was with Perez on the night of the fire said he was excited and “jumping up and down like a little kid” while watching the mosque burn. He also snapped “trophy photos” on his cellphone of the flames.

The community was left scared and devastated. Despite an overwhelming show of support to rebuild the mosque, a sense of wariness and fear has lingered. Where once worshipers used to pray with the door open, they must now use a code to enter the mosque.

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Travel/Immigration

Dr. Eblal Zakzok, an American citizen living in Columbus, Ohio, was a fulltime professor in Syria until 2014, when Syrian regime security forces detained, beat, and tortured him for two weeks. Dr. Zakzok and his family fled to Turkey to escape the horrific civil war and continued persecution and torture. In December 2014, while his wife and children remained in Turkey, Dr. Zakzok came to the U.S. and requested asylum. He was granted asylum and obtained a fellowship at Ohio State University where he now teaches Surveying, Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems.

Following his successful asylum application, Dr. Zakzok’s wife and three of his children were granted asylee benefits in 2016. Shortly thereafter, they traveled to the U.S. to reunite with him. His daughter Turkie was forced to remain in Turkey because she was over 21 at the time he was granted asylum, and therefore did not qualify for his asylum benefits. On August 25, 2017, Dr. Zakzok filed a petition seeking approval for Turkie, to immigrate to the U.S.

On September 24, 2017, Trump issued Muslim Ban 3.0 which bars all Syrians from entering the U.S. The Ban bars Turkie from obtaining the immigrant visa she has applied for and prevents her from being reunited with her father, mother, and other siblings. Turkie cannot obtain permanent legal residence in Turkey, and is therefore at risk of being returned to Syria, where she could face torture and/or death.

As a result of the June 2018 Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Muslim Ban, Turkie has been banned indefinitely from joining her family.

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The Anti-Muslim Mainstream: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network

It may come as no surprise to readers that well-known anti-Muslim groups, such as ACT for America or the Middle East Forum, despite once being considered fringe voices in the public sphere, have enjoyed rapid growth in funding and influence in the current political moment. What is less known and more shocking is that the Islamophobia Network is strongly supported by mainstream American philanthropic institutions.

As readers will learn in the following pages, data compiled and analyzed by CAIR researchers demonstrates that despite the well-known racist and xenophobic attitudes of Islamophobic organizations, reputable philanthropic institutions have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into the activities of the Islamophobia Network. These include household names such as Fidelity and Schwab, as well as community-centered, faith-based charities such as the Jewish Communal Fund and the National Christian Charitable Foundation. They also include lesser known and more opaque private family foundations such as the Mirowski Family Foundation Inc., which has virtually no public imprint but nonetheless contributes millions of dollars to support anti-Muslim activity. Together, the expansive funding network revealed in this report demonstrates that the Islamophobia Network cannot be considered a marginal or passing phenomenon in American society. Rather, it is a prominent and shameful institutional feature of American philanthropy.

The word ‘philanthropy’ means the practice of donating large and sustainable amounts of funding to promote the welfare of society. It comes from the Greek roots of philo- (love of) and anthropo- (human). As a nearly universal tradition of charitable giving, philanthropy can be understood as fundamentally rooted in a love for humanity. In the American tradition, the practice of philanthropy was established by groups such as the Puritans and Quakers and built upon by towering figures of American history such as Benjamin Franklin. Wealthy businessmen and industrialists such as George Peabody, Andrew Carnegie, and Julius Rosenwald (Sears) donated today’s equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars of their wealth to support institutions that continue to benefit society today.

Unfortunately, in the current political moment, this rich tradition of American voluntary charity and social service is threatened by the way the Islamophobia Network has embedded itself in mainstream philanthropic institutions.

Readers of this report will be as dismayed as its authors to learn that the same organizations that fund fundamental American institutions such as the Boy Scouts, American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army are also responsible for providing funding to anti-Muslim, Islamophobic groups.

According to CAIR’s research, a staggering 1,096 charitable institutions financed at least 39 Islamophobia Network groups between 2014 and 2016. These foundations donated various amounts and did so across a wide range: from the minuscule amount of $20 to the staggering sum of $32.4 million. The complete list of the 1,096 organizations that contribute to the funding of the Islamophobia Network are provided in Appendix I.

In the following pages, we provide profiles of 18 organizations that donated over $1 million to the network between 2014 and 2016, showing the ways in which their funding patterns consistently support mainstream charitable causes, as well as xenophobic agendas furthered by the Islamophobia Network. The organizations are divided into three categories:

  1. Donor Advised Funds
  2. Faith–Based Donor Advised Funds
  3. Family Foundations

We also provide a list of the names of 80 organizations that donated between $100,000 to $999,999 over the same period of time.

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Profile

The California Community Foundation (CCF) is, by most accounts, an exemplary philanthropic institution, responsible for supporting high impact social and human service programs throughout the state of California.

Some of its recipients include the award-winning faith-based program Homeboy Industries, which provides economic and leadership opportunities for at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated individuals on their path to reintegrating into society. CCF also provides critical support to advocacy networks responsible for tackling issues like homelessness, civic engagement, and immigrant rights, most notably those vulnerable to changes to DACA legislation.

The great work done by the Foundation, however, is undermined by its continued support for xenophobic, anti-Muslim organizations:

CCF has given money to:

American Freedom Alliance (AFA)

It publicly hands out awards to known Islamophobes such as David Horowitz, director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

AFA, a recipient of CCF funds, has given awards to:

Dutch politician Geert Wilders

His views have been identified as a threat to public safety and he has been blocked by multiple European governments from entry.

CCF has given money to:

American Center for Law and Justice

A law firm that supports anti-Muslim policies and legislation and publishes anti-Muslim propaganda.

CCF has given money to:

Concerned Women for America

Promotes the view that Islam is a not a religion, but a militant political movement, and the idea that mosques should be viewed as centers for militant political activity, rather than houses of worship.

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What is a Donor-Advised Fund?

What is a DAF?

A DAF is distinct from a private foundation or a public charity. At its core, it is a contractual relationship between the donor and the fund that guarantees donors an immediate tax write-off in exchange for their contribution with no requirement that any of the contribution be put to active charitable use.

Who has the ultimate authority?

The largest DAFs in the country are administered through the charitable arms of major investment firms such as Fidelity and Schwab. Although a donor can suggest where they would like the money to be directed, the fund has ultimate authority on how to dole out the assets as each DAF has distinct criteria regarding which organizations it chooses to fund.

Where does the money come from?

With a DAF, the contributor is frequently anonymous and thus impervious to scrutiny of their support of unsavory causes. In this way, a donor is able to mask their funding streams, making it nearly impossible to track charitable funding to its ultimate source. This lack of transparency poses a paradox: while DAFs ensure the secrecy of donor sources, they impact public life by supporting charities that serve broad human and social services.

The dark money ATM

Every year, millions of dollars are channeled through this “dark money ATM” brushed clean of fingerprints, and straight into the coffers of anti-Muslim groups.

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The Funding Channels of Hate: Where the Money Flows

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Societal Impact of the Anti-Muslim Network

Targeting communities

ACT for America stages nationwide marches against ‘sharia law.’

– CNBC headline

Abusing the legal system

On anti-Islam legislation: “If this thing passed in every state without any friction, it would not have served its purpose…to get people asking this question, ‘What is Shariah?'”

– David Yerushalmi, the author of model anti-Islam legislation and co-founder of the American Freedom Law Center

Spreading false information

“Our God is a loving God, Allah is a cruel God and they submit – Islam means submit, not love… The school system witlessly turned their classrooms into Islamic indoctrination centers.”

– Richard Thompson, president of Thomas More Law Center, is suing a New Jersey school district for teaching about Islam

Confusing & clouding the mainstream and social media

“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which, in itself, is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

– Jeanine Pirro’s on her Fox News show, “Justice with Judge Jeanine”

Special interest lobbying

“Plain and simple, if anti-Semites like Ilhan Omar and her Farrakhan fan girl colleague Rashida Tlaib are allowed to remain in Congress, the Democrat party has objectively become the party of anti-Semitism.”

– Brigitte Gabriel of ACT for America

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The Mega-Funders of Islamophobia

2014 – 2016

The eighteen largest funders of anti-Muslim hate have poured money into more than a dozen organizations.

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Funders of Anti-Muslim Bigotry

($100,000 – $999,999)

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The Top Funders of Islamophobic Activity

These are the top eighteen organization that fund Islamophobia. The data represented in the following presentation are from 2014, 2015, and 2016 since it takes two years for tax forms to become available online for public consumption.

Gives financial backing to mainstream nonprofit organizations that provide critical support to civil society, the very fiber of American democracy. It is one of the country’s largest grantmaking organizations, distributing $3.8 billion in a single fiscal year from 2016 to 2017 alone.

some mainstream recipients

Humanitarian organizations:

Advocacy groups:

The Fund’s grants range across the spectrum of charitable giving charitable giving, from disaster relief efforts, including the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, to providing funding to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the country.

$1,845,000

Gives grants to 34 anti-Muslim groups, the largest number among any identified donor.

top anti-Muslim recipients

more than $800,000

more than $615,000

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

$430,000

The Executive Director of the Lawfare Project, Brooke Goldstein and author of the book Lawfare: The War Against Free Speech: A First Amendment Guide for Reporting in an Age of Islamist Lawfare:

Islamophobia… is a contrived term that was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood with the sole purpose of stigmatizing those who are engaged in dialogue about militant Islam.”

Issues of public concern and national security include the imminent threat of militant Islam.”

Founded in 1999, it has administered $10 billion in grants since its inception across a number of sectors.

some mainstream recipients

$2,800,000

It granted millions of dollars to eighteen anti-Muslim groups.

top anti-Muslim recipients

nearly $1,200,000

Middle East Media Research Institute

An Israeli propaganda outfit co-founded by a former Israeli military intelligence officer that provides selective, absurd, and intentionally biased translations of Arabic language news.

almost $840,000

more than $670,000

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Founded in 1997. It is consistently ranked as among the largest DAFs in the United States. It currently controls $8.5 billion in assets and has administered $7.7 billion in donations since its inception.

some mainstream recipients

Educational institutions:

Health and human services:

Boy Scouts of America

$2,709,500

Gives grants to anti-Muslim groups.

top anti-Muslim recipients

close to $1,500,000

Center for Security Policy

Responsible for commissioning the now discredited, anti-Muslim poll that Trump used to justify the Muslim Ban.

$820,000

Their pseudo-documentary Obsession that was distributed freely to key swing states during the 2008 presidential election.

$389,500

Based in Virginia, DonorsTrust and its supporting organization Donors Capital Fund* were founded in 1999 out of the fear among right-leaning donors that their charitable family foundations might end up in the hands of those who would not fund right-wing causes. Since its founding, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into influential right-wing think tanks and lobby groups like American Enterprise Institute, State Policy Network, and Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

$6,000,000

DonorsTrust is also an associate member of the State Policy Network, a web of rightwing groups across the country that act as incubators of conservative strategy at a state level. Their strategies include proposals to reduce the wages of government workers, eliminate school voucher schemes, oppose Medicaid, and rally against efforts mitigate climate change. DonorsTrust also bankrolled the lawsuit that led the Supreme Court to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act. It also granted more than $6 million to over a dozen anti-Muslim groups.

top anti-Muslim recipients

$4,000,000

over $400,000

Center for Security Policy

over $300,000

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Donors Capital Fund is a 509(a)(3) organization, supporting Donors Trust, a 501(c)(3). According to the IRS, a supporting organizations is organized, operated, and controlled in the public interest. “It is one means by which a charity can avoid classification as a private foundation, a status that is subject to a more restrictive regulatory regime.”

The largest Jewish donor advised fund in the country. It describes itself as “dedicated to the welfare and security of the Jewish community at home and abroad”.

some mainstream recipients

Donated extensively to food pantries & Jewish Community Centers, particularly in New York.

$3,200,000

Gives grants to 31 anti-Muslim groups.

top anti-Muslim recipients

close to $500,000

Middle East Media Research Institute

$110,000

American Freedom Defense Initiative

Led by the bigot Pamela Geller and is responsible for virulent anti-Muslim ads in public spaces.

..

..

The Jewish community’s funding of anti-Muslim hate groups has caused controversy following a series of troubling reports that the San Francisco Jewish Federation, the Los Angeles Jewish Community Foundation, and New York’s Jewish Communal Fund all support far-right, xenophobic networks that, in part or wholly, vilify Muslims and perpetuate Islamophobia in the public arena.

Funds a wide swath of Christian churches regardless of denomination, including Protestant, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, and Lutheran. Averaging a $1 billion annual revenue between 2014 and 2016, the Foundation is the eighth largest charity in the country.

some mainstream recipients

Health organizations:

Advocacy Groups:

$15,000,000

It is the second largest funder of anti-Muslim hate in America, pouring more than $15 million into the anti-Muslim industry over a three-year period.

top anti-Muslim recipients

biggest sum of $13,000,000

A Religious Right lobbying group that aligns itself with nativist and Islamophobic idealogies. It uses its radio arm, American Family Radio, to perpetuate misinformation across 33 states.

nearly $1,000,000

American Center for Law and Justice

A law firm led by Jaw Sekulow, Trump’s private attorney, that supports anti-Muslim policies and legislation and publishes anti-Muslim propaganda. In 2017 the ACLJ filed a supporting court brief in defense of the Muslim Ban.

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A family-controlled charity founded in 1988 by Jay Sekulow. CASE has no public website and its board comprises four members of the Sekulow family, namely his sons, Logan and Jordan, and his wife, Pam.

$32,000,000

Jay Sekulow co-established the anti-Muslim constitutional law firm the American Center for Law and Justice with televangelist Pat Robertson.

top anti-Muslim recipients

more than $32,000,000

American Center for Law and Justice

A law firm that supports anti-Muslim policies, like the Muslim Ban, and publishes anti-Muslim propaganda.

$500,000 each year

Law and Justice Institute (LJI)

LJI has no employees and Sekulow is listed as president. In turn, LJI paid $500,000 each year to Pat Robertson’s Advocacy Services.

..

Between 2011 and 2015, CASE paid millions of dollars to Sekulow’s family and to businesses they own or co-own. This supports his family’s extravagant lifestyle of multiple homes and trips in corporate jets.

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Billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson established the private, tax-exempt, Adelson Family Foundation with his wife Miriam in 2007. Adelson is the chairman and owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corp, which owns and operates properties in Las Vegas, including the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino. The Adelsons are Republican party mega donors. They contributed $20.4 million to support Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and were subsequently appointed as finance vice-chairmen of Trump’s inaugural committee.

some mainstream recipients

$6,100,000

The Foundation was created to strengthen and benefitthe State of Israel and the Jewish people.” It is also, by far, the largest private donor to anti-Muslim groups whose work is geared towards negatively influencing media portrayals of Muslims and Islam.

some anti-Muslim recipients

$4,500,000

Middle East Media Research Institute

An Israeli propaganda outfit that provides selective, absurd, and intentionally biased translations of Arabic language news.

$1,000,000

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

..

$300,000

Endowment for Middle East Truth

An Israel lobby group in D.C. that was founded by Sarah Stern in 2005, who previously worked at the Zionist Organization of America and the American Jewish Congress.

The Abstraction Fund is a national, tax-exempt private family foundation run by an heir of the Sears-Roebuck fortune, Nina Rosenwald. Rosenwald builds upon her grandfather Julius Rosenwald’s remarkable legacy of philanthropy — he served as a key bulwark of Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, and provided critical assistance to Jewish refugees fleeing Europe for the United States.

$3,200,000

Nina Rosenwald has used the Abstraction Fund to fuel some of the country’s most vitriolic, paranoid, and toxic anti-Muslim institutions. The Abstraction Fund’s primary beneficiary is the Gatestone Institute, which she founded and where she serves as president.

some anti-Muslim recipients

$1,870,000

An anti-Muslim hate group of which Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton served as chairman.

$742,000

..

..

The Fund has fueled an “alliance between the pro-Israel mainstream and the Islamophobic fringe” that ranks among the most disturbing examples of the way in which American philanthropy is institutionally connected to the Islamophobia Network.

The Bradley Foundation is a private, Wisconsin-based tax-exempt family foundation with a stated mission to “protect the principles and institutions of American exceptionalism.” It is one of the chief funders of the right-wing, supporting groups such as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Hudson Institute, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is a network of right-wing corporate lobbyists.

some mainstream recipients

$1,800,000

The Foundation consistently provides financial support to groups that create and spread conspiracy theories, false information, and stereotypes that disparage Islam and Muslims.

top anti-Muslim recipients

$765,000

$110,000

..

American Islamic Congress

..

ALEC writes model state legislation that includes policies that restrict voting rights, dismantle environmental regulations, buttress corporate power and profits, privatize the public school system, and reduce workers’ rights. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, from 2001 to 2009 Bradley “doled out nearly as much money as the seven Koch and Scaife foundations combined.”

The MZ Foundation provides financial support to groups including the Zionist Organization of America and the Central Fund of Israel. It is a California–based foundation founded by real estate magnate Myron Zimmerman in the 1990s with the purpose to fight anti-Semitism and advance pro-Israel advocacy.

$2,092,500

Since 2012, Zimmerman has contributed more than $1.5 million to fund Israeli settlements in the West Bank region.

some anti-Muslim recipients

$187,500

..

$225,000

$180,000

Investigative Project on Terrorism

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The MZ Foundation boasts its aggressive support for organizations dedicated to misinforming the public about Islam and Muslims such as the Gatestone Institute, the Lawfare Project, and ACT for America.

A private tax-exempt foundation established by the late Eugene Grant, a twentieth century pillar of New York’s real estate investment community. Grant was most known for his long-time holding of St. John’s Terminal, an old freight terminal near Greenwich Village in Manhattan that will likely serve as Google’s newest office space in NYC in the near future. Eugene Grant, along with his wife Emily, also served as a pillars of New York’s philanthropic community.

some mainstream recipients

Boy Scouts of America

Brooklyn Academy of Music

$1,400,000

The bulk of the Foundation’s grants are directed primarily to Zionist Jewish groups and American and Israeli universities. Fitting into a pattern of other Zionist philanthropic networks, this pro-Israeli advocacy is coupled with a column of anti-Muslim and Islamophobic patronage. Eugene Grant was a founding member of the Board of Regents of the Center for Security Policy, a well-known far-right hate group, whose founder Frank Gaffney was banned from traditional conservative platforms.

top anti-Muslim recipients

$1,100,000

Center for Security Policy

..

$250,000

Investigative Project on Terrorism

..

It is astonishing to think that a philanthropic and civil-society stalwart such as Eugene Grant would taint his legacy by supporting organizations responsible for some of the most toxic, anti-social elements of contemporary American political discourse.

Founded in 2011 by Dan Wilks and his wife, Staci. Wilks is a Texan billionaire who made his fortune with his brother Farris from the fracking boom in the early 2000s. Both brothers, with their wives, operate independent foundations that avidly and primarily fund right-wing politicians and Republican Party committees.

$1,200,000

anti-Muslim recipients

One of today’s most powerful Religious Right organizations, with its radio arm, American Family Radio, broadcasting from stations in at least 40 states, and affiliated activists groups promoting its message through various fronts. AFA leadership and officials have used these platforms to spread misinformation and propaganda such as:

Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam.”

Islam is clearly the religion that Satan is promoting to be the counterfeit alternative to Christianity.

The threat to our freedoms comes not from radical Islam but from Islam itself.”

..

The Wilkses gave $15 million to a Super PAC backing then-Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz in 2016. In 2012, a report found that 70 percent of Republican legislators in Montana received contributions from the brothers.

Evolved from the Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation, established in 1962, and the Kathryn W. Davis Foundation, established in 2004. The Foundation has funded many mainstream American institutions.

some mainstream recipients

$4,200,000

The Foundation’s CEO, Abby Spencer Moffat, is also a Trustee at the right-wing organization The Heritage Foundation. It is therefore not surprising that the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation spends considerable resources on bolstering national security networks going so far as to launch the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, a private graduate program designed to prepare future leaders of the intelligence and defense policy making establishment. Given the Foundation’s priorities, it has given almost $1.2 million to half a dozen anti-Muslim groups in the U.S.

top anti-Muslim recipients

$430,000

Center for Security Policy

$250,000

Investigative Project on Terrorism

A private tax-exempt family foundation established in 1997. The Foundation has no public presence and does not provide any mission statement on its financial documents. Over the years it has funded an array of causes, including health services and various Jewish and pro-Israel groups.

some mainstream recipients

$1,100,000

some anti-Muslim recipients

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

A group mired in criticism for systemically attempting to misinform the American public about Islam, Muslims, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which it is most concerned with. Among camera’s more embarrassing indulgences was its coordinated attempt to infiltrate Wikipedia’s editorial process to achieve its advocacy goals for which it was publicly censured.

Established by the late entrepreneur Newton Becker in 2006, the California-based Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust is a private, tax-exempt charitable foundation possessing millions in revenue.

$1,100,000

top anti-Muslim recipients

nearly $800,000

Middle East Media Research Institute

A neoconservative lobbying group founded with the goal of pushing an aggressive and Islamophobiawar on terror” policy in Washington D.C.

over $300,000

A California-based, private, tax-exempt entity founded in 1995. According to its tax filings, the president, secretary, and treasurer of the Foundation is Rosalba Schimmel, the wife of millionaire Stephen Harold Schimmel. There is little other publicly available information about the Schimmels or the Foundation. It funds a large network of Christian organizations, networks, and churches across the country.

some mainstream recipients

$5,850,000

Created to strengthen and benefitthe State of Israel and the Jewish people.” It is also, by far, the largest private donor to anti-Muslim groups whose work is geared towards negatively influencing media portrayals of Muslims and Islam.

some anti-Muslim recipients

$1,000,000

Christian Broadcasting Network

CBN is a powerful amplifier of anti-Muslim conspiracies and lies, with founder Pat Robertson repeatedly calling Islam aviolent religionand a political ideology.”

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The Islamophobia Network: A $1.5 Billion Marketplace

The detrimental impact of Islamophobia on American political discourse and culture has become a subject of increasing interest in mainstream media and intellectual and research circles. Established anti-Muslim groups, such as the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Center for Security Policy, promote anti-Muslim bigotry in the public sphere under the guise of protecting national security, defending Israel, or preservingAmerican culture.” Along with other multi-million-dollar organizations, these groups are flanked by a host of online magazines, radio shows, digital media, “independent” experts, and small think tanks. While some groups are dedicated primarily to anti-Muslim activity, others couple their Islamophobic agenda with far-right political agendas.

Together, this array of organizations has come to be known as the Islamophobia Network, a powerful, decentralized, and informal coalition of actors that successfully influences local elections, state legislation, and federal policy.

Between 2014 and 2016, these 39 anti-Muslim organizations enjoyed access to at least $1.5 billion through their collective organizational financial capacity. This funding is derived from multiple sources such as private donations, membership fees, and investment vehicles. This section provides data about the overall financial capacity of the Islamophobia Network by analyzing its total revenue capacity through a list of each organization’s revenue between 2014 and 2016. We also provide examples of the way in which these groups use this funding for public and policy impact, as well as personal profit.

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Money in Action

This $1.5 billion has flown into politics, media, law enforcement, educational institutions, lobbying groups, and other industries to advance anti-Muslim and anti-Islam animus in America.

The 18 largest financial supporters of anti-Muslim hate have given:

The following four anti-Muslim hate group profiles demonstrate the promulgation of Islamophobia through the various avenues mentioned above. Each profile illustrates the flow of money from the eighteen largest funders of hate to the anti-Muslim group, and from the group to its specific Islamophobic programs, policies, or actions.

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)

The ACLJ is an anti-Muslim constitutional law firm established by televangelist Pat Robertson and lawyer Jay Sekulow.

The ACLJ used $34,000,000 to:

  1. Fight against Islam being taught in public schools in Tennessee and Georgia, in 2015. It deemed it “outrageous” for schools to teach that the three Abrahamic faiths worship the same god. Teaching about the five pillars of Islamic faith — belief in one god, daily prayer, giving to charity, fasting, and pilgrimage to Makkah — was said to be “indoctrination.”
  2. In 2017 ACLJ came out in full support of the discriminatory Muslim Ban. It filed multiple briefs at various levels of the judiciary to support the Ban and urge the courts to implement it as is.

Gatestone Institute

Gatestone Institute is a misinformation creation and dissemination group that functions as a clearinghouse for far-right rhetoric on Islam, Muslims, and national security. It funnels its money to promote lies and misinformation and publish original commentary that positions Islam and Muslims as threats to Western society.

Gatestone used $2,200,000 to:

  1. In 2018, it featured stories that claimed that themostly Muslim male migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East” in Germany were fueling amigrant rape crisisand thatMuslim mass-rape gangswere transforming the United Kingdom intoan Islamist Colony.
  2. In 2017, it warned of a looming “jihadist takeover” of Europe leading to a “Great White Death.”
  3. In 2016, Gatestone collaborated with The Rebel, a Toronto-based online media outlet, to produce 12 fearmongering videos that featured prominent anti-Muslim activists, such as Daniel Pipes who is the founder of the anti-Muslim hate group, Middle East Forum. Topics for the videos included “the dangers of the Islamization of the West” and “Will Europeans succumb to Islamization, or will they rise to fight radical Islam and hold onto Western values?” Such inflammatory and false stories are distributed widely by Gatestone through the group’s social media platforms and its media allies, including Breitbart News. Many of these fake pieces have also filtered into mainstream U.S. politics.
  4. One of Gatestone’s most widely promoted lies has been about “no-go zones” in Europe. Gatestone claimed these were spaces where Muslim immigrants had constructed a parallel society in which local police could no longer enforce the state’s law. This lie percolated into the 2016 Republican primary — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz cited it in an op-ed, then-Gov. Bobby Jindal cited it in a London speech, and Donald Trump repeated it in his statements. The lie served to drum up fear, distrust, and hate of Islam and Muslims during the entirety of the 2016 presidential election cycle.

Center for Security Policy (CSP)

The Center for Security Policy is a key anti-Muslim lobbying and propaganda group.

CSP used $1,900,000 to:

  1. In 2015, it organized four National Security Action Summits in Nevada, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa — all critical primary states — to prepare and execute xenophobic and Islamophobic talking points for the upcoming presidential election. A number of anti-Muslim GOP candidates attended, including Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson, who is now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  2. Further strengthening its ties to presidential candidates, in September of 2015, CSP co-sponsored an anti-Iran rally in Washington, D.C. where it invited Cruz and Trump to speak. CSP also invited act for America president, Brigitte Gabriel, who took the stage to amplify the demonization of Muslims. Shortly thereafter, candidate Trump cited a junk CSP poll as justification to call for a Muslim Ban, a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States on December 7. CPS had commissioned The Polling Company, led by Kellyanne Conway who now serves as Counselor to Trump, to conduct the poll in June of that year.
  3. In addition to advancing anti-Muslim positions and policies in conjunction with Republican candidates and officials, CSP also engaged in anti-Muslim law enforcement training. CSP worked with disgraced former FBI agent John Guandolo to hold a 7-hour briefing for Arizona law enforcement at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Training Facility in Phoenix in July of 2015. John Guandolo is founder of Understanding the Threat, a training group known for providing anti-Islam instruction for U.S. law enforcement officials, and has made statements such as America “is at war with Islam.”

Middle East Forum (MEF)

Middle East Forum is an extremist policy organization founded by Daniel Pipes that advances numerous anti-Muslim and anti-Islam initiatives. One of the most pernicious is the Forum’s active lobbying for legislation that would eviscerate American Muslim civil society and leadership.

MEF used $1,500,000 to:

  1. MEF sought to advance three bills:
    • The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation. Act (S.68 and H.R.377).
    • The Naming the Enemy Within Homeland Security. Act (H.R.5823).
    • The Religious FIRE. Act (H.R.5824).

      This is a witch hunt that carries the potential to criminalize any Muslim engaged in, or even marginally associated with, the exercise of Muslim civil and political rights. This could extend to community centers, relief providers, mosques, and any number of Muslim civil activities. It plays perfectly into the hands of far-right Neo-Nazi populists who seek to “make all Muslims terrorists – not through insinuation but actually label them as such.”
  2. MEF has used its millions of dollars to attack American Muslim institutions like Islamic Relief, the Islamic Circle of North American, the Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Alliance of North America, Muslim American Society, Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim Students Association, Muslim Youth of North America, and Young Muslims. It has spread malicious lies about American Muslim civic engagement to lawmakers, media, and community and corporate foundations.
  3. Other policies on which the MEF has lobbied Congress include applying extreme vetting measures toeveryday Muslims.” It has pushed for mandatory anti-Muslim law enforcement training that paints American Muslim civil institutions as existential threats. Additionally, it has crafted a detailed proposal for the White House to launch a “Commission on Radical Islam.”

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Profiting from Hate

Several anti-Muslim bigots are building personal fortunes advancing prejudice. They have raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars through their positions of leadership in anti-Muslim groups.

The visualization on reported compensation highlights the highest grossing hatemongers. One notable anti-Muslim bigot missing in this list is Brigitte Gabriel, president of ACT for America. In 2010, Gabriel raised her own compensation 79 percent from $87,300 to $156, 473. After CAIR drew public attention to this information, act listed Gabriel’s reportable income as $0 from 2013 through 2015. In 2016 Gabriel’s reported income on ACT’s tax returns is stated to be $15,081.

Reported Compensation of Highest Grossing Anti-Muslim Hatemongers

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Anti-Muslim Organizations

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ACT for America

The largest anti-Muslim hate group in the country. ACT supports anti-Muslim policies and politicians, hosts anti-Muslim demonstrations, and advances dangerous conspiracy theories.

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American Center for Law and Justice

A prejudiced constitutional law firm established by televangelist Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow that supports anti-Muslim policies and legislation and publishes anti-Muslim propaganda.

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American Civil Rights Union

A legal organization that positions itself as the conservative alternative to the ACLU and advances anti-Muslim statements, briefs, and lawsuits.

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American Family Association

A lobbying hate group that aligns itself with nativist and Islamophobic ideologies and supports anti-Muslim policies.

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American Freedom Alliance

A lobbying hate group that develops and promotes anti-Muslim and anti-climate change misinformation.

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American Freedom Defense Initiative

A hate group led by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller and best known for its racist and hateful public ad campaigns. The primary group behind the manufactured controversy about New York’s Park 51 mosque.

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American Freedom Law Center

An anti-Muslim law firm cofounded by David Yerushalmi that develops and supports anti-Muslim legislation and acts as the Islamophobia Network’s legal counsel.

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American Future Fund

A right wing nonprofit group that runs political ads, often expressly anti-Muslim, to advocate for the election or defeat of federal candidates.

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American Islamic Forum for Democracy

An anti-Muslim lobby group founded by Zuhdi Jasser that claims to battle “Islamo-fascism.”

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Americans for America

A Colorado-based lobbying and misinformation group that facilitates anti-Muslim law enforcement trainings across the country.

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Americans for Peace and Tolerance

A Boston-based lobby group that spreads misinformation and conspiracy theories about American Muslims and Islam.

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America’s Survival

An anti-Muslim misinformation group whose website primarily promotes conspiracy theories.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation

A self-proclaimed human rights organization founded by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Islamophobic tropes and stereotypes.

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Center for Security Policy

A key anti-Muslim propaganda and lobby group founded by Frank Gaffney that develops, supports, and advances anti-Muslim animus in society and policy.

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Christian Action Network

A group that develops and spreads misinformation about Islam and Muslims through direct-mail campaigns, film, interviews, and other public and print platforms.

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Christian Broadcasting Network

The principle media platform of founder and televangelist Pat Robertson, who uses it to spread anti-Muslim prejudice, such as claiming about Islam that “it’s almost like its demonic” and “it’s a religion of chaos.”

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Christians and Jews United for Israel

A group that shares and spreads anti-Muslim content through its media platforms.

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Citizens for National Security

A Florida-based lobby and research group that advances stringent anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and lies.

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Clarion Project

A nonprofit group that creates and distributes anti-Muslim propaganda films such as Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West and The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America, to influence politics.

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Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting

A lobbying and media-monitoring group that spreads misinformation, seeks to discredit mainstream American Muslims and American Muslim organizations, and advances an anti-Islam agenda.

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Concerned Women for America

A public policy women’s group that has been actively involved in anti-Islam legislative efforts in Florida and North Carolina. CWA regularly hosts anti-Islam speakers at events.

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Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley

A grassroots anti-Muslim group based in California that makes and shares bigoted social media posts and hosts anti-Muslim speakers at events.

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David Horowitz Freedom Center

A hub of anti-Muslim lobbying, media, and misinformation that houses numerous anti-Muslim and xenophobic projects including, Jihad Watch, FrontPage Magazine, TruthRevolt.com, Israel Security Project, Discoverthenetworks.com, Students for Academic Freedom, and Individual Rights Foundation.

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Eagle Forum & Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund

A neoconservative lobby group whose representatives have been involved in anti-Muslim legislative efforts in several states.

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Endowment for Middle East Truth

A policy center and lobbying group that advances anti-Muslim misinformation.

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Facts and Logic About the Middle East

A research outfit based in San Francisco that creates and pushes anti-Muslim propaganda. It started as a chapter of CAMERA (see above) before becoming an independent group.

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Florida Family Association

A right-wing hate group that employs email pressure campaigns in an effort to compel businesses to adhere to anti-Islam viewpoints, and promotes anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.

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Foundation for Advocating Christian Truth

The organization behind the Christian apologetic website answeringmuslims.com, an anti-Muslim and anti-Islam site that spreads misinformation.

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Foundation for Defense of Democracies

A neoconservative lobbying group that advances the Islamophobic “war on terror” narrative and associated policies and practices.

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Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund

A legal group that litigates against American Muslim causes, including a school-wide anti-Islamophobia initiative.

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Gatestone Institute

A New York City-based anti-Muslim hate group that produces and disseminates anti-Muslim lies and hysteria.

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Global Faith Institute

Christian evangelical organization that creates and shares anti-Muslim media content, conspiracy theories, and misinformation.

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Investigative Project on Terrorism

A hate group that develops and spreads anti-Muslim propaganda and prejudiced content.

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Jihad Watch

A digital media platform housed within the David Horowitz Freedom Center. It is run by Robert Spencer who uses it to advance anti-Muslim propaganda.

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Lawfare Project

An anti-Muslim hate group founded by the former director of the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum that advances Islamophobic conspiracy theories and propaganda.

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Middle East Forum

An anti-Muslim policy center that produces prejudiced content, perpetuates hate speech, propaganda, and misinformation, and provides financial support to fellow anti-Muslim hate groups.

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Middle East Media Research Institute

A pseudo-research organization that selectively and inaccurately translates news and other text from Muslim-majority countries to provide justification for anti-Muslim propaganda.

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National Review Institute

A neoconservative magazine which features and publishes anti-Islam and anti-Muslim propaganda and conspiracies.

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Oak Initiative

A national organization that creates and advances bigoted anti-Muslim views.

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Proclaiming Justice to the Nations

An educational organization that peddles lies about Islamic beliefs and practices, and advances conspiracy theories.

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Religious Freedom Coalition

An advocacy organization that espouses a “clash of civilizations” narrative and spreads conspiracy theories about Muslims and Islam.

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Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE)

An anti-Muslim think tank founded by David Yerushalmi that seeks to criminalize Islam. It rebranded itself to Save a Neshama Endowment in 2015.

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Straight way of Grace Ministry

An anti-Muslim organization that demonizes and vilifies Islamic practices and beliefs, and spreads lies about Muslims in America.

….

Unconstrained Analytics

A pseudo-think tank that creates anti-Muslim materials related to national security.

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United West, aka Security Research Associates

A Florida-based organization that paints Islam and Muslims as “the enemy.”

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Impact on Politics and Law

Anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia have been a consistent feature of electoral politics for nearly a decade. In fact, continued research demonstrates that rates of anti-Muslim sentiment rise during election cycles, and not around international or domestic incidents of terrorism as many may presume.

Although Islamophobia has typically waxed and waned with the political cycle, the election of Donald Trump has opened a space for the Islamophobia Network to enter the formal halls of power.

The following pages document the connection between the Trump administration and the Islamophobia network and provide an overview of the Islamophobia Network’s state–level legislative movement.

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Trump Inc. The Anti-Muslim Hydra

The Islamophobia Network is deeply integrated into the current administration and exerts enormous impact over Trump, his rhetoric, and the policies he pursues. There have been more than a dozen individuals in the Trump administration who have possessed direct links to anti-Muslim hate groups. This section seeks to flesh out and illustrate these deep-rooted connections between organized anti-Muslim bigotry and the Trump administration. It is undeniable that anti-Muslim bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination has intensified and gained greater institutional legitimacy under Trump. Although numerous anti-Muslim policies, such as Countering Violent Extremism and the Terrorist Screening Database, were firmly in place well before his presidency, the undisguised Islamophobia pumped out by this government has cracked the superficial mask of neutrality previously in place.

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Donald Trump – The 45th President of the United States

Trump’s rhetoric and policies directly support the anti-Muslim agenda and are integrated with the aims of the Islamophobia Network. In his very first speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump used the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” straight from the Islamophobia Network’s playbook. He has since used the same phrase, or a variation, innumerable times, exploiting a false and dangerous narrative about Islam and Muslims.

In August of 2017 he tweeted,

The same month he referred to a story about General Pershing shooting Muslims with pig’s blood. “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” In October he falsely claimed that the “spread of Radical Islamic terror” was responsible for an increase in UK’s crime rate. In November he retweeted a British anti-Muslim hate group three times. In addition to statement and tweets, Trump has also advanced anti-Muslim policies that advance the aims of the Islamophobia Network. The most well-known of these is the unconstitutional Muslim Ban. In his original demand for a Muslim Ban, in which he called for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” he cited a defective and inaccurate poll published by the anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy, founded by notorious Islamophobe Frank Gaffney. Gaffney is a conspiracy theorist who, among other ludicrous claims, has accused former President Barack Obama of being a secret Muslim. The poll itself was conducted by the polling company of Kellyanne Conway who now serves as counselor to the president.

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The Anti-Muslim Hydra Administration

It is distressing that when the Supreme Court ruled on the Muslim Ban on June 26, 2018, five of the nine justices ruled that the glaring anti-Muslim prejudice underlying and threading through the Ban did not matter. This is despite the fact that less than a month earlier, the Court ruled in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, arguing that the state commission’s ruling against the baker was rooted in apparent anti-religious hostility.

Trump’s anti-Muslim policies are not limited to the Muslim Ban. The administration has sought to rename the Countering Violent Extremism program to Countering Islamic Extremism, while simultaneously neglecting to address the rise in white nationalist terrorism, as acknowledged by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. This underscores several points. Not only is he advancing anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies pushed by the Islamophobia Network, Trump has also appointed anti-Muslim bigots with direct ties to the Islamophobia Network into positions of power and influence in the government. Additionally, he has personally dined with Brigitte Gabriel, founder and president of hate group ACT for America. Gabriel also claims that “we have a standing meeting at the White House once a week.”

  1. While previously couched in neutral terms, the program has in practice focused almost exclusively on American Muslim communities.
  2. The program is merely removing this faux neutrality to explicitly focus on and target American Muslims. This is despite empirical data that proves violence from antigovernment extremists is the greatest threat to the country.

The National Security Strategy released in December 2017 further evidences the reach and codification of the Islamophobia Network’s policies and language within the administration. For example, it states, “Jihadist terrorists such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida continue to spread a barbaric ideology that calls for the violent destruction of governments and innocents they consider to be apostates. These jihadist terrorists attempt to force those under their influence to submit to Sharia law.” The Strategy adopts the usage of “Sharia” in the manner that it is used by anti-Muslim hate groups – as antithetical to democracy and indicative of oppression and violence. However, Sharia is best understood as an ethical framework.

Not only is he advancing anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies pushed by the Islamophobia Network, Trump has also appointed anti-Muslim bigots with direct ties to the Islamophobia Network into positions of power and influence in the government. Additionally, he has personally dined with Brigitte Gabriel, founder and president of hate group ACT for America. Gabriel also claims that “we have a standing meeting at the White House once a week.”

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Anti-Muslim Actions & Statements by the Hydra Administration

Kellyanne Conway

Conway has worked closely with CSP. The polling firm of which she was formerly president and CEO, The Polling Company, conducted surveys for them on numerous occasions. Conway conducted a junk poll, commissioned by CSP, to falsely impugn American Muslims in 2015. Trump cited this flawed poll as justification when he first announced his plan to implement a Muslim Ban.

Fred Fleitz

Co-authored a CSP report that argued that the government should “use shariah-adherent advocacy and practices as legal premises for deportation and stripping of American citizenship.”

Stated that “the majority of Muslims and Islamic authorities… promote or at least support jihad and shariah supremacism.”

Promoted the anti-Muslim myth of European “no-go zones” — places the CSP falsely maligns as being governed by Islamic law.

Claimed that major American Muslim organizations and mosques are secretly working to advance a jihadist agenda, and that they should be “neutralized as political forces.”

Said there was a “problem” with “Muslim communities.” He continued, they are “susceptible to this radical worldview that wants to destroy modern society, create a global caliphate and impose sharia law on everyone on Earth.”

Stephen Miller

Co-drafted the first version of the Muslim Ban with Steve Bannon.

Wrote, “Wherever Muslims are found, which is in almost every country on the planet, there are adherents of the ideology of jihad.”

Launched and led the “Terrorism Awareness Project” at Duke University, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Project claimed it sought to end “the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country as it attempts to defend itself in a time of terror.” The project ran ads in several campus newspapers across the country, titled “What Americans Need to Know About Jihad.” The ads stated, “Jihad is a war against Christians.”

Wrote a column titled, “A Time to Kill,” in which he wrote, “We have all heard about how peaceful and benign the Islamic religion is, but no matter how many times you say that, it cannot change the fact that millions of radical Muslims would celebrate your death for the simple reason that you are Christian, Jewish or American.”

Stated, “[Islamic terrorists] have declared a death sentence on every man, woman and child living in this country [U.S.].”

Mike Pompeo

Issued a statement implying the Islamic Society of Wichita supported terrorism in 2016.

Appeared on Secure Freedom Radio, where he spoke of a “radical Islamic terrorist regime” and the spread of “Islamic materials” which were motivating individuals to engage in terrorist activities. He spoke about a “terrorist infrastructure” linking American mosques and other Islamic organizations.

Told a church crowd in 2014 that the “threat to America” was caused by “people who deeply believe that Islam is the way.” He depicted the “War on Terror” as an “Islamic battle against Christianity.”

Took to the House floor, after the Boston Bombing, to accuse American Muslims of being complicit in violence. He falsely claimed that Muslim leaders had not condemned the attacks. He criticized the alleged “silence in the face of extremism coming from the best-funded Islamic advocacy organizations and many mosques across America.” This purported silence, according to Pompeo, “casts doubt upon the commitment to peace among adherents of the Muslim faith” and “has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts.”

John Bolton

Served as chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based advocacy group that warns of a looming “jihadist takeover” of Europe leading to a “Great White Death.”

Heather Nauert

Mocked Muslims in a 2016 tweet that linked to a New York Times story about Muslims’ concerns over then-presidential candidate Trump. “They should meet ISIS,” she wrote.

Claimed, in 2013, that “sharia law is now changing everything” after a Minnesota YMCA announced it would host a private swim class for Muslim girls to accommodate their religious clothing requirement. The chyron on the segment used an image of two young Somali-American girls with headscarves, with the headline “SHARIA LAW.”

Walid Phares

Claims that “jihadists within the West pose as civil rights advocates.”

Served as a pseudo-expert in “The Third Jihad,” a film produced by the Clarion Project in 2008.

Jeff Sessions

Said “once again we face a totalitarian threat to the free world. This time it’s from ideological and apocalyptic Islam.”

“Theologically-based sharia law … fundamentally conflicts with our magnificent constitutional order that separates church and state, and that considers free debate and dissent the way to a better world.”

Sebastian Gorka

Claims that terror is rooted in Islam and the “martial” parts of the Quran. “Anybody who downplays the role of religious ideology…they are deleting reality to fit their own world.”

Wrote, in his book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, argues the need to recognize that the U.S.’ enemy “is not “terror” or “violent extremism,” but “is the global jihadi movement, a modern totalitarian ideology rooted in the doctrines and martial history of Islam.”

Believes religious and racial profiling “is a synonym for common sense.”

Speaking to a crowd in Florida after Trump’s election, Gorka displayed a photograph of a dead brown-skinned man on the ground next to an assault rifle. When the audience began to cheer, he yelled: “We can win now, we can win!

In an interview on Fox News, Gorka said America was a “Judeo-Christian nation” and accepting Muslim refugees would be “national suicide.”

Steve Bannon

Co-drafted the first version of the Muslim Ban with Stephen Miller.

Said, “Islam is not a religion of peace — Islam is a religion of submission.”

Referred to Islam as “the most radical” religion.

Stated that “Islam is something much darker than Hitler & the Nazis.”

Described Islam as “a political ideology” and sharia “like Nazism, fascism, and communism.

Stated, “We are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism.” Citing a nonexistent perennial battle between Christianity and Islam, he added “I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam.”

Accused mainstream media of “basically going along the lines of being Sharia-compliant on blasphemy laws,” and falsely said “Sharia courts [are] taking over Texas.”

Drafted an outline of a documentary-style three-part movie tracing “the culture of intolerance” and the threat posed by “radical Muslims” and their “enablers among us” in America. He titled it “Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Fascism in America.

Posted headlines in Brietbart include “Political Correctness Protests Muslim Rape Culture,” “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” and “Data: Young Muslims in the West Are a Ticking Time Bomb, Increasingly Sympathizing with Radicals, Terror.”

Michael Flynn

“I don’t see Islam as a religion. I see it as a political ideology that… will mask itself as a religion globally, and especially in the West, especially in the United States, because it can hide behind and protect itself by what we call freedom of religion.”

Said, at an act event in Dallas, “Islam is a political ideology. It definitely hides behind this notion of it being a religion. And I have a very, very tough time because I don’t see a lot of people screaming ‘Jesus Christ’ with hatchets or machetes or rifles shooting up clubs or hatcheting, literally axing families on a train, or like they just killed a couple of police officers with a machete. It’s unbelievable. So we have a problem.”

Said that Islam is “like cancer. You know, I’ve gone through cancer in my own life. So it’s like cancer. And it’s a like a malignant cancer, though, in this case. It has metastasized.”

Said, in a speech to the Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, MA, “We are facing another ‘ism,’ just like we faced Nazism, and fascism, and imperialism and communism. This is Islamism, it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet and it has to be excised.”

Said, “Radical Islam is metastasizing throughout the world. What keeps me up at night is the sobering realization that evil exists. The radicalization of Islam and its barbaric cause that uses modernity to influence potentially millions around the world to join their cause should keep us all up at night.”

Said in an Al-Jazeera interview in 2016, he’s “been at war with Islam, or a component of Islam, for the last decade.”

Wrote, in a New York Post op-ed, “the Islamic world is an epic failure.”

Wrote, in his book The Field of Fight, “Sharia is a violent law that is buried in barbaric convictions.”

“Fear of Muslims is rational.”

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Legalizing Anti-Muslim Bigotry

“If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.’ … The intent of these [anti-foreign law] bills is to target a particular religion and group of people for disfavored treatment.”

– Montana Governor Steve Bullock

This section provides an overview of the Islamophobia Network’s legislation movement, which has been mostly centered around promoting anti-Shariah laws in state houses of legislation. It also includes a more recent attempt to promote a statue known as Andy’s Law, which, like the anti-Shariah movement, is intended to publicly and politically malign American Muslim institutions.

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The History of Anti-Muslim Bills Around the Country

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Anti-Muslim “Foreign Law” Legislation

In an interview with the New York Times, David Yerushalmi, anti-Muslim bigot and architect of the model anti-Muslim legislation, American Laws for American Courts, openly admitted the perverse intent behind the anti-Muslim legislation movement. “If this thing passed in every state without any friction, it would not have served its purpose,” he said. “The purpose was heuristic – to get people asking this question, ‘What is Shariah?‘”

In other words, the purpose of “foreign law” legislation is to function as a tool to foster fear of the unknown and vilify and create animosity toward an entire religious community. In addition to this, anti-Muslim legislation steals American Muslims’ constitutional rights and stigmatizes community members who chose to use private faith-based arbitrators for family disputes. This practice is comparable to that of American Jews and Catholics who opt to settle certain legal disputes with arbitrators who rely on Jewish law, also referred to as Halakha, or Catholic Cannon.

Three hate groups lead the anti-Muslim legislation movement.

  1. One, is the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA), an advocacy organization that first sponsored Yerushalmi’s discriminatory “American Laws for American Courts” model legislation. APPA’s fundamental mission is to advance legislation that demonizes Muslims.
  2. ACT for America
  3. Center for Security Policy (CSP)

In the last two years alone, ACT chapter leader Caroline Solomon from Montana testified during the 2017 Senate hearing in support of anti-Muslim “foreign law” Senate Bill 97. In Iowa, Rep. Eric Redman worked with CSP’s Chris W. Holton to introduce a series of anti-Muslim “foreign law” bills every year from 2016 to 2018.

Both anti-Muslim “foreign law” bills adopted into law in 2017 – one in Alabama and one in Texas – were also actively assisted int he process by individuals from CSP and ACT. CSP’s Col. Paul Deckert (Ret.) helped Alabama state Rep. Brandt Smith (R-District 5) present and introduce HB 1041, which included in its title “To Declare American Laws for American Courts.”

Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn’s (R-District 2) introduced anti-Muslim legislation in 2016 a second time, his first attempt having failed the year before. The language of the two acts matched 100 percent. After it became law, Flynn lauded ACT for their support, stating in a 2018 interview, “[the bill] was my number one priority because it had been offered before and gone down in flames…then the national association of ACT came back and they got 750,000 members and they selected our bill as their number one bill for promoting…and they were kind to me.”

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Republication Endorsement of Anti-Sharia Fearmongering

In November 2017, the Republican National Committee posted an online survey, “Listening to America,” that contained the following problematic questions:

  1. Are you concerned by the potential spread of Sharia Law?
  2. Do you want to see more done to stop radical Islamic terrorists from coming to our shores?

The exact survey questions also appeared in a Donald J. Trump campaign email. In the same way that it is unacceptable, wrong, and indecent for the RNC to ask Americans if they are concerned about the potential spread of Catholic canon law or Jewish Halacha, it is unacceptable to malign the religious practices of any American, including American Muslims. In 2012, the Republican National Convention adopted an amendment to their party platform, introduced by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), that supports anti-Muslim “foreign law” legislation. A similar provision remains in the 2016 party platform.

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The Anti-Muslim Network’s Support of Other Legislation

Independent organizations have identified other bills as part of the anti-Muslim legislation movement. These have also been promoted by groups in the Islamophobia Network. One such legislation is Andy’s Law, which creates a civil cause for action in incidents of terrorism and allows private individuals to sue those who may be directly or indirectly involved in the act, whether they intended to or not. The mechanism that allows for this type of civil liability come by way of the material support statute, which is already a problematic threshold given its increasing definitional and prosecutorial ambiguity in the criminal code itself. In effect, this can drag American Muslim individuals, institutions, and businesses into potential lawsuits, and exert a chilling effect on American Muslim civic, political, and commercial life.

Andy’s Law, deemed by experts as redundant and unnecessary, has already become law in seven states. The law’s redundancy is in fact rooted in its anti-Muslim agenda: already under the federal Antiterrorism Act of 1992, individuals can bring civil suits “against third-parties for injuries purportedly resulting from violence committed by terrorist groups.

These laws serve no purpose except to reinforce the notion that Islam and Muslims in general are connected to acts of international terror.

Like “foreign law” legislation, the original template of Andy’s Law itself has been drafted by the anti-Muslim hate group American Public Policy Alliance. The legislation is also promoted by act, which actively displays Andy’s Law on its state legislative webpage as a bill it is advocating. Additionally, CSP Threat Information Office Director Kyle Shideler authored an article promoting Andy’s Law in December 2014.

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The End of Islamophobia?

Islamophobia is deeply rooted in a long legacy of structural racism in the United States and Europe and, as this report has shown, is firmly entrenched in American cultural and political institutions. Therefore, it shouldn’t be expected that anti-Muslim bigotry will end anytime soon. However, it is also the case that the increasing boldness and hubris of the Islamophobic actors in mainstream spaces has led to greater visibility and condemnation of their actions. Xenophobic political thinkers attempted to implement a Muslim registration system and enforce a complete immigration ban on Muslims; the public responded in protests and the courts ruled in the favor of justice. Candidates that ran on Islamophobic campaigns did poorer than their counterparts who didn’t. A record number of Muslims ran for and were elected to public office between 2016 and 2018 and two Muslim women entered the halls of Congress in 2019. Despite signals that point to a more positive long-term future for social and cultural attitudes about Islam and Muslims in the public sphere, a tremendous amount of work needs to be done in order to curb the damage done by the Islamophobia network.

This report has provided a clear picture for stakeholders interested in helping inform their colleagues and the wider public about the complex web that makes up funding, support, and patronage of the Islamophobia Network. While various studies have pointed to aspects of Islamophobia funding, this report makes the connection between mainstream American philanthropy and the once-fringe Islamophobia Network. It does so in a way to make it easy to identify connections and empower decision makers to make informed choices about who they partner with in programming and from which financial pools they draw upon for support. While it shouldn’t be expected that the multi-million-dollar Islamophobia industry will disappear overnight, readers can anticipate that major foundations, the wider public, and the philanthropic community will not sit quietly while anti-Muslim institutions abuse American values and traditions to promote their agendas. It is our hope that with sustained action, institutional collaboration, and dedicated will, a community of progressive and mainstream allies will emerge to push the Islamophobia Network back to the fringe of our society, where odious and incendiary speech belong.

We are confident that with everyone’s help, future reports will perhaps begin to chart the decline in the Islamophobia Network’s funding power, rather than its growth as has been the case until now.

No Muslim Ban protest in Washington D.C. on February 4, 2017. (Ted Eytan/Flickr).

REPORTS

Islamophobia in the Mainstream

Executive Summary What would you do with $105,865,763? That’s how much money was poured into 26 Islamophobia Network groups between 2017-2019 to spread misinformation and

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