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CAIR report claims Jewish funders supporting ‘Islamophobia Network’ – American Politics

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A new report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations has accused “mainstream American charitable organizations, such as Fidelity Charity Fund, the National Christian Charitable Foundation and the Jewish Communal Fund” of funding anti-Muslim groups.

Jewish Communal Fund, according to its website, does not itself distribute funds, but manages $1.9 billion in charitable assets for 3,900 client funds. 

The report, “Hijacked by Hate,” claims that more than 1,096 mainstream foundations funded 39 groups in what it calls the “Islamophobia Network” between 2014 and 2016, allowing the revenue capacity of this network to reach at $1.5 billion.

“Islamophobic attitudes and policies are propagated by special interest groups with deep sources of funding,” the report explains in its executive summary. “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.”

Among the organizations CAIR claims are anti-Muslim are CAMERA, The Lawfare Project, MEMRI and the Gatestone Institute.

CAMERA, (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) is an American nonprofit. According to its website, CAMERA is “devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.”

The Lawfare Project provides pro-bono legal services to protect the civil and human rights of the Jewish people worldwide, including in cases of antisemitism and terrorism.

MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) is based in Washington, D.C. and distributes English translations of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto, and Turkish media reports.

The Gatestone Institute is a right-wing think tank. 

The report also names the Adelson Family Foundation among anti-Muslim funders.

The authors of the report include Nihad Awad, founder and executive director of CAIR, and Zainab Arain and Abbas Barzegar, research and advocacy managers at CAIR.

The organization has been at the center of controversy. CAIR was founded following a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia of the US Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, which the Department of Justice has described as a covert organization established to support Hamas.

Further, In 2007, CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case that found Holy Land Foundation responsible for siphoning over $12 million to Hamas. A 2009 ruling by US District Court Judge Jorge A. Solis determined that CAIR is Hamas.

The CAIR website denies the above allegations and says the group is focused on combating “stereotyping and defamation.”

The CAIR report blames President Donald Trump for the spread of anti-Muslim hatred. 

“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,” according to the report. “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.”

While the authors of the report claim that Islamophobia is “firmly entrenched in American cultural and political institutions” and therefore should not be expected to end anytime soon, they also note that there has been an “increasing boldness and hubris of the Islamophobic actors in mainstream spaces,” which has led to greater condemnation of their actions.

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, the CAIR report points out. 

These two Muslim women are Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, both of which have come under fire for making anti-Israel and antisemitic statements. A petition launched on Change.org by the nonprofit organization Stop Antisemitism asked that US Attorney General William Barr and special antisemitism envoy Elan Carr to “take a deep look” at CAIR and its support for these two congresswomen.

In February, Omar tweeted that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel. 

Most recently, Tlaib commented in an interview that after the Holocaust, the Jews were awarded a consolation prize — the establishment of Israel — at the expense of those already living there.

The report states that “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.”

CAIR offers interfaith communities and religious institutions ideas for how to diminish anti-Muslim hate, including undertaking educational initiatives to learn what constitutes Islamophobia and designing and implementing faith-based programs dedicated to marginalizing hate speech. 

Following the publication of the report, Bradley Martin, a writer for the Middle East Forum, which was also named a member of the Islamophobia Network, condemned its content, claiming it to be alarmist and inaccurate.

“The FBI actually reports that the percentage of religiously-motivated hate crimes that target Muslims has dropped 6% from 2016,” Martin writes. “With this report, CAIR seeks to bully critics of radical Islamism into submission by conflating anti-Muslim bigotry with any legitimate concerns about Islamist extremism — to the detriment of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”


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