Who Is Funding the Spread of Islamophobia in the US?

MJ Rosenberg argues in a recent article that,

It has been just about a decade since Islamophobia exploded in this country. That was of moment that the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit by al Qaeda terrorists. It existed prior to 9/11, but the losses that day and the general terror it inflicted upon this country made many, many Americans much more wary of Arabs and, fairly quickly, fearful of the religion the terrorists professed.

The first sign that 9/11 would be exploited to advance various agendas came from Binyamin Netanyahu, who was quoted in the New York Times as saying the attacks would be good for Israel:

Asked tonight [September 11, 2001] what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ”It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would ”strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

Netanyahu subsequently reiterated his views about 9/11, quoted here in Haaretz.

And, of course, ever since 9/11 the “pro-Israel” lobby has successfully used it to build support for right-wing Israeli policies in the United States.

But the lobby isn’t alone.

It is just one of the components of an orchestrated and well-financed effort to make Americans fear and hate Muslims and Arabs.

I have to admit, however, that until I read a report published today by the Center for American Progress (CAP), I had no idea just how orchestrated and well-financed this movement was.

(Read the whole article HERE).

* * *

The study, titled ‘Fear, Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America’ (that could be downloaded HERE) argues that the top seven contributors to promoting Islamophobia in the US are:

  • Donors Capital Fund
  • Richard Mellon Scaife foundations
  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
  • Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker foundations and charitable trust
  • Russell Berrie Foundation
  • Anchorage Charitable Fund and William Rosenwald Family Fund
  • Fairbrook Foundation

Altogether, these seven charitable groups provided $42.6 million to Islamophobia think tanks between 2001 and 2009.

According to Rosenberg, this study ‘demonstrates that a small group of self-proclaimed experts (Frank Gaffney, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and Steve Emerson) backed by a host of foundations and donors (many of which also fund the lobby) have put Islamophobia on the map. To put it simply, without these “experts,” their donors, and Fox News (their media mouthpiece) you would never have heard that a Muslim community center (the “Ground Zero Mosque”) was being constructed in New York City. And the center certainly would not have become a major news story. Nor would Republican (and even a few Democratic) candidates for president, Congress, and even village councils be called upon to condemn Islam and “Sharia Law” or face being labeled a supporter of terrorism. Nor would Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum have made hatred of American Muslims such an integral part of their campaigns.

“The amazing thing about the CAP report”, continues Rosenberg, ” is that it exposes people who try very hard to cover their tracks. It is one thing to be known for supporting AIPAC, but it is quite another to be identified with the likes of Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes, and Pam Geller, who appears in the CAP report as only a second-tier hater but whose anti-Muslim vehemence is nothing short of disgusting. (She rationalized the killing of the kids in Norway by pointing out that the camp they attended was associated with Norway’s Labor Party, which she claims is anti-Israel!)

The hate funders are particularly determined to lay low since the slaughter of 76 people in Norway in July by a self-described Christian conservative named Anders Breivik, who said that he was influenced by Robert Spencer, Pam Geller, and David Horowitz (another prominent propagandist against Muslims and beneficiary of the various anti-Islam foundations).

But CAP followed the money, went behind the innocent-sounding foundation names, and cross-referenced them. And now we have it: the hate network exposed.”

* * *

It is not surprising for me that the average American gave in to the Islamophobic paranoia following 9/11.

The tragedy is that many conservative Christians have done the same and they are totally incapable to see the contradiction between this fear based ideology and the Gospel of love that our Lord  Jesus Christ has preached.

Reading all this makes you wonder,

Who Would Jesus Hate?

M.J. Rosenberg is Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network. Previously, he worked on Capitol Hill for various Democratic members of the House and Senate for 15 years. He was also a Clinton political appointee at USAID. In the early 1980s, he was editor of AIPACs weekly newsletter Near East Report. From 1998-2009, he was director of policy at Israel Policy Forum.


Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

14 thoughts on “Who Is Funding the Spread of Islamophobia in the US?”

  1. Credeti ca voi nega vreodata ca democratia americana, cu toate hibele ei este superioara ‘democratiilor’ din tarile islamice?
    Ceea ce scrieti aici dovedeste ce spuneam eu. Ca exista islamofobie in US. Nu ca nu exista democratie. Eu n-am afirmat asta.


  2. Potrivit CNN (sorry, I don’t have Fox News handy) iata o statistica:
    “Many American Muslims feel singled out by government anti-terror policies; significant minorities have been called names or had their mosques attacked; and most say it’s harder to be a Muslim in the United States now than it was before September 11, 2001.
    And yet the vast majority say their communities are very good places to live, that Americans are not hostile toward Muslims, and that American Muslims have a better quality of life than Muslims elsewhere, the survey of more than 1,000 American Muslims has found.”

    PS- Alex are o scuza: n-a fost in America, “the land of the free”!


  3. Citesc aceste comentarii şi mă uit la filmul “A time to kill”. E un film cutremurător. O sumedenie de acori foarte buni joacă în acest film. L-aţi văzut cumva?


  4. De unde stiti? Ce-i in Israel stit mai bune decit noi; si ce-i in Europa. Da’ ce-i America, cum de stit mai bine? Ciudat!
    Desi nu exista xenofobie, ocazional poti vedea si reactii contra emigrantilor. Mai ales cind americanii isi pierd locurile de munca. Traditional, business-urile mici au fost dominate evrei. De-aici reactia romanilor ca tot in America e-al evreilor. Micile business-rui (moms & pops) erau detinute si de multe asociatii familiale americane-pe linga evrei care de obicei se trag treptat spre chestii mai lucrative. Ambele chestii au disparut in favoarea arabilor: caldeeni si musulmani. N-am vazut reactii, proteste, legislatie de protectie contra lor, sau sa le dea cineva foc & sa le sparga geamurile. Reactii pe moment dupa vreun atac nu dureaza. Ca dovada ca nu exista islamaofobia, decit ca exceptii. Amuzant -sau nu- California (care-i in America doar geografic) a incercat sa introduca o lege care interzice circumcizia (fiind torura), Daca erau doar evreii, avea sanse. Fiind vorba si de musulmani; “s-a retras singura rusinata”.
    Asta-i doar probaganda islamica ori anti-americana.
    Teri Jones -care-a ars Coranul- a venit sa proteste la festivalul musulman din Dearborn. Din avion a coborit in “duba politiei’. Judecatorul a admis ca pastorului baptist i se incalca drepturile constitutionale dar pacea musulmanilor e mai importanta decit Constitutia, de data asta si a fost trimis a la maison. Veniti dvs la festivalele crestine si protestati si o sa vedeti ca nu-i pasa nimanui.
    Dupa ce un psihopat de medic psihiatru -maior- a impuscat o multime de soldati in baza militara din Texas, n-a fost niciun Mohamed dat afara din armata…Au fsot comentarii acide si nimic. Nici azi nu l-au judecat pe maior… macar ca e mindru de ce-a facut si nu neaga faptele. Inutil din partea mea. Dvs ati decis: exista islamofobie si creste.


  5. Din ceea ce spuneti, este evident ca nu exista islamofobie in America. Nu este decit o inventie a railor astopra de musulmani. Ce bine ar fi sa fie asa! Dar nu e.


  6. I leave in Detori metro area. This is the city with the most muslims in the world except the muslim countries. I don’t know what they are thalking about. Pot sa va povestesc povesti de echipe sportive scolare in Deaborn -oraselul legendarului Ford- care sunt dati afara pt ca s-au rugat cu copiii crestini inaitne de meci. Colegii lor, profesori musulmani, isi conduc rugaciunile, iar elevii la fel. Ramadanul se pregateste in scoli… si nu le face nimeni nimic. Nici n-ar putea; scolile respective sunt dominate de musulmani, fiind majoritari. Hamtramick, dominat de statuia papei ioan Paul al doilea -care-a cuvintata in piata oraselului- a interzis cloptele sa bata la ora 12 am pt ca polueaza sonor. Difuzoarele moscheei nu deranjeaza pe tot mai putinii crestini atunci cind ele [difuzoare] cheama la rugaciune. N-a protestat nimeni; era inutil pt ca majoritatea in consiliul popular era musulmana. Multi negri americani sunt musulmani. Iar negrii sunt negri, se solidarizeaza indiferent de religie, Ca alb, e usor sa fii acuzat de rasism. Ca negru, ori spaniol, oriental, foarete greu. Unde lucrez eu, e un director musulman si multi angajati musulmani. Organizatii de aparare le drepturilor lor isi au sediul aici. Nu se intimpla nimic in lume ca sa nu li se ia interviu conducatorilor acestor organizatii. Orice musulman ce-i dati jos din avion e aparat din reflex de acestia care ne tot explica cauzele atacurilor sinucigase fara a se omori sa le condamne, desi “nu-s de-acord cu ele”…Mindria statului Michigan e promovarea unui director la agentia de protecte sociala (Department of Human Services) a unui musulman. Sa nu va spun ca urmare a acestei democratizari intilnesti zeci de musulmani pe ajutorarea, sociala fiind saraci si in acelasi timp fiind patroni de benzinarii -cei mai realizati- sau de Dollar Stores ori Pizza shops (e destul sa vezi ce masini au in parcare, bietii de ei). De ce? Cinstea nu face casa buna cu aceasta religie. Ca sa fiu sincer cu dvs. nici catolicii caldeeni nu stau bine cu etica de business (“niste mincinosi” -ca sa citez pe un prieten om e afaceri roman). Minciuna si razbunarea or fi chestii ce tin de obiceiurile orientale; mai stii?” Zona unde locuiesc eu este numita Bagdad City- dar emigrantii de-aici sunt caldeieni catolici. Mecanicii unde-mi repar masinile sunt libanezi suniti. Dupa mecanicul Sam -cu care m-am imprietenit- toti s-ar intelege in Orientul mijlociu daca n-ar fi evreii care-ar trebui aruncati in mare. Dr. K e sunit. A reusit la 62 ani sa-si echivaleze examenul de medic din prima incercare. Refugiat din Irac si fost educat la Londra, este un erudit si un om extrem de prietenos cu sotia mea si cu mine…la fel ca si baiatul lor, Hytem care a intrat chiar si la noi in biserica.
    Nu stiu despe ce islamofobie se vorbeste.
    PS- Pina si in Tenessee unde si iarba e crestina, li s-au facut -musumanilor- locuri de spalat picioarele in toaletele aeroportului … nu-i vorba ca si crestinii au protestat…. evident degeaba.


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