The people whose job it is to spread Islamophobia
- Rebecca Davis
- 31 Aug 2011 (South Africa)
The rise of Islamophobia in the United States is attributable to the work of a handful of well-resourced groups and people, a new report has found. It claims that over $42 million has been allocated by seven foundations to five people responsible for generating anti-Islamic sentiment. By REBECCA DAVIS.
This is one of those reports that make you start believing in the existence of groups like the Illuminati, because it clearly illustrates how much influence can be wielded by a small number of people who receive enough funding. Researchers Eli Clifton and Wajahat Ali from the Center for American Progress released their 140-page study on Friday. They trace the source of rising Islamophobia in the USA to "a small, tightly networked group of misinformation experts guiding an effort that reaches million of Americans through effective advocates, media partners, and grassroots organising".
Clifton and Ali define Islamophobia as “exaggerated fear, hatred and hostility toward Islam and Muslims”, which they found increasingly prevalent in the USA today. They did not, however, find evidence of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to spread anti-Islamic feeling. Rather, they have identified seven foundations that have spent $42.6 million on an anti-Islamic crusade, with the money largely financing the work of five "experts" responsible for generating and disseminating false facts and proposed anti-Muslim legislation. These include Frank Gaffney at the Centre for Security Policy, David Yerushalmi at the Society of Americans for National Existence and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch. They in turn recruit the services of right-wing bloggers like Pamela Geller, who has suggested Muslims should be banned from military service, and Brigitte Gabriel, who argues that to be Muslim and a loyal American is a contradiction in terms.
You can read the full report here, but prepare to be chilled by its findings. DM
- New report maps the roots of Islamophobia, on Salon.
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