WASHINGTON DC, USA: Anti-Muslim groups in the United States have amassed millions of dollars in anonymous donations funnelled through charitable funds and family foundations, a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) revealed.
The Islamophobia network has extended its tentacles to the halls of power in Washington.
American philanthropic organisations, including mainstream foundations, have funnelled millions of tax-free dollars to anti-Muslim groups influencing public opinion and government policy all the way up to the White House, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights group said in a report on Monday.
“The money was used to support anti-Muslim legislation and policies, conduct anti-Muslim lobbying, distribute false and defamatory information to mainstream media and on social media, and run public campaigns promoting conspiracy theories,” according to CAIR.
The report also highlighted the growing financial power of 39 prominent Islamophobic organisations, which CAIR said included the Middle East Forum, David Horowitz Freedom Center and Clarion Project.
“Between 2014 and 2016, these 39 anti-Muslim organisations enjoyed access to at least $1.5bn through various sources, including private donations, membership fees, and investment vehicles,” the report said.
Of that sum, $125 million was donated by unidentified contributors – and that money exchanged hands through charitable institutions, including faith-based foundations.
CAIR research and advocacy manager Zainab Arain said the report draws a connection between “mainstream American philanthropy” and a so-called Islamophobia network.
CAIR defined that network as a decentralised group of organisations and individuals that “share an ideology of extreme anti-Muslim animus” and work together to encourage negative public opinion and government policies towards Muslims and Islam.
“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 shameful institutional feature of American philanthropy,” Arain said in a statement.
Indeed, the anti-Muslim groups scrutinised in the report include organisations with powerful connections, such as the Gatestone Institute, a far-right think tank that was headed by National Security Adviser John Bolton from 2013 to 2018.
CAIR-DFW Acting Executive Director Ekram Haque said: “Islamophobia in the US today is a well-financed hate lobby pouring in millions of dollars to vilify and marginalize American Muslims.”
The report also pointed out that a number of members of the Islamophobia network have deep connections to the White House and involved in fuelling anti-Muslim sentiment and bigotry in politics and society.
Sheldon Adelson, Jewish-American casino magnate and the largest financial contributor to Trump’s election campaign, has become one of largest private donors of anti-Muslim groups as part of hardline, pro-Israel agenda.