$206 Mn. to Hate Groups to Promote anti-Muslim Sentiment

[ 0 ] June 25, 2016

by JUAN COLE for INFORMED COMMENT on JUNE 22, 2016:

Juan Cole

Juan Cole

The UC Berkeley Center for Race and Gender and the Council on American Islamic Relations have jointly produced a new study on hatred of Muslims in the United States.

As The Guardian notes, it finds 74 organizations promoting hatred of Muslims in the US, with 33 of these institutions having been founded and having their primary purpose the spread against this religious group. Those 33 have had access to $208 million from donors in the past 8 years.

The report’s top 4 key findings:

    • Key Finding 1: Seventy-four (up from sixty-nine in 2013) groups are identi- fied as comprising the U.S. Islamophobia network.
    • Key Finding 2: The U.S.-based Islamophobia network’s inner core is cur – rently comprised of at least thirty-three groups whose primary purpose is to promote prejudice against, or hatred of, Islam and Muslims.
    • Key Finding 3: Between 2008 and 2013, inner-core organizations had access to at least $205,838,077 in total revenue.
    • Key Finding 4: An additional forty-one groups whose primary purpose does not appear to include promoting prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims, but whose work regularly demonstrates or supports Islamophobic themes, make up the network’s outer core.

As The Guardian notes, the end result of the activities of groups like Abstraction Fund, Clarion Project, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Middle East Forum, American Freedom Law Center, Center for Security Policy, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Jihad Watch and Act! for America, is an increase in attacks on mosques and attacks on Muslim individuals.

Some of them, such as the Middle East Forum, are part of the Israel lobbies, and apparently they believe the best way to go on keeping Palestinians stateless and without rights is to convince Americans that all Muslims are wicked and deserving of any abuse visited on them by the Likud Party. But that Jews should be assiduously spreading hatred of a religious minority is past shameful (and also very unwise, since once you get white people hating one exotic religious minority, they may go after others; and we’ve seen some of this blowback among the Trumpists).

Another key finding (no. 7):

“In 2015, there were 78 recorded incidents in which mosques were targeted; more incidents than ever reported in a single year since we began tracking these reports in 2009. Incidents in 2015 have more than tripled compared to the past two years ”

To underline that the report focuses on hate speech, it carries a caveat:

“Caveat: Questioning Islam or Muslims is Not Islamophobia:
It is not appropriate to label all, or even the majority, of those who question Islam and Muslims as Islamophobes. Equally, it is not Islamophobic to denounce crimes committed by individual Muslims or those citing Islam as a motivation for their actions.”

The report advises Muslims to get involved in high-profile philanthropic work and in politics and community service– to demonstrate that they are actively helping people in their community. (Many already do, but the high percentage of first-generation immigrants in the community, perhaps half, leads to their being shy about sticking their heads up, or to their not knowing avenues for fruitful involvement).
It also advises Americans that they need to realize that being prejudiced against Muslims is just as bad as being bigotted toward Jews or toward African-Americans.

If we had 33 influential organizations funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars whose express purpose was to spread hatred of Jews, there’d be a big outcry. But this is no different.

There has also been a rash of anti-Muslim legislation in state legislatures, all of which is either redundant or will eventually be struck down as unconstitutional. (The cookie cutter laws forbid the use of Islamic law in the US court system, which hasn’t, like, ever happened). The legislation is just to mark millions of Muslim Americans as second class citizens.

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Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. His most recent work is The New Arabs: How the Wired and Global Youth of the Middle East Is Transforming It (Simon & Schuster, June, 2014). Other books include Engaging the Muslim World (Palgrave Macmillan, March, 2009, rev. 2010) and he also recently authored Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Informed Comment is his blog. This post originally appeared in Informed Comment. 

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Category: Americas, Middle East and North Africa, Muslim Life & Culture, Politics & Current Events, Religion, US 2016

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