Last week, Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report titled, Fear, Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.
CAP is a “nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all.” The report describes how the Islamophobia Network is divided and financed.
The first group that the report looks at is the funders. The authors list the top seven foundations and donors who provide money to keep Islamophobic groups in business. However, the authors are quick to point out that it is not possible to say with complete certainty that these donors are aware of the nature of the work undertaken by the groups to whom they provide money.
The top seven funders (with total donations from 2001-2009):
- Donors Capital Fund ($20,768,600)
- Richard Mellon Scaife foundations ($7,875,000)
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $5,370,000)
- Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker foundations and charitable funds ($1,136,000)
- Russell Berrie Founation ($3,109,016)
- Anchorage Charitable Foundation and William Rosenwald Family Foundation ($2,818,229)
- Fairbrook Foundation ($1,498,450)
The next group is what the report calls the Islamophobia misinformation experts. This is a list of five men who act as the go-to guys when a political or academic debate arises. This group provides the basis of many of the arguments used by other Islamophobes. These men are (with quote):
- Frank Gaffney, former junior member of President Reagan’s administration. Founder of Center for Security Policy, annual salary of $300,000. “I don’t hold myself out as an expert on Sharia Law… but I have talked a lot about that as a threat”
- David Yerushalmi, legal counsel for many in the Islamophobia Network. Founder of Society of Americans for National Existence and author of sample anti-Sharia legislation. “[A] discussion of Islam as an evil religion, or of blacks as the most murderous of peoples”
- Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum. He has a degree in medieval Islamic history from Harvard (1973). Launched Campus Watch to monitor professors and academics who do not share his beliefs. Anders Breivik cited Pipes and the Middle East Forum 18 times in his manifesto. “[A]vailable evidence suggests Obama was born a Muslim”
- Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch and Stop Islamization of America. Jihad Watch and Spencer were cited 162 times by Anders Breivik in his manifesto, the most of any individual. Spencer has been discussed on this blog before here, here and here. “[T]raditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful,”
- Steven Emerson, founder of Investigative Project on Terrorism. A former journalist for CNN, Emerson has a non-profit organization and a for-profit organization. Monies are transferred from the non-profit to the for-profit, where Emerson is the sole employee. A ranking AP editor in Washington said, “We would be very, very, very, very leery of using Steve Emerson.”
These are the launch pads for the Islamophobia Network. The first set of groups provides the money needed to set-up and sustain the groups who attack and vilify Islam and Muslims. The second set of individuals is attempting to give an air of academia and respectability to the attacks. This group uses misinformation and false facts to promote their beliefs and hide it all behind their extensive educations. Yerushalmi is a lawyer who attended Arizona State, Emerson, Spencer and Gaffney all hold Masters Degrees from Brown, University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins respectively and Pipes has a Doctorate from Harvard.
This group of five men provide the other areas of the Islamophobia Network, like the grassroots organizations and politicians, with the information that is then used to further vilify Islam. They are not the largest part of the Islamophobia Network but they may well wield the most power.