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.
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.
This is what is known as the Islamophobia Network.
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 on another to negatively influence public opinion and government policy about Muslims and Islam.
CAIR’s 2017 report Hijacked by Hate: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network 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.
The 2017 report demonstrated that many of these anti-Muslim groups, usually considered marginal or fringe, are in fact funded by mainstream American charitable organizations. 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 group.
The activities of these individuals and organizations that make up the Islamophobia network are documented on this website, Islamophobia.org. The listing on this website is not exhaustive, as Islamophobia is continuously transforming with new individuals and movements coming into the picture. This website exists as a resource for documenting such activities as they grow.
To learn more about the Islamophobia network, read CAIR’s Hijacked by Hate at https://islamophobia.org/reports/hijacked-by-hate/.