Saturday, June 25 2016

'Fear Inc: Exposing the Islamophobia Network in America'


Further to the superb report by Spinwatch, ‘The Cold War on British Muslims’ on the financing behind and political orientation of think tanks that encourage counter-subversive policies against British Muslims, the Center for American Progress has published a report uncovering the “relatively small, but interconnected group of individuals and organisations [who] spread anti-Muslim fear and hate in America.” 

Wajahat Ali, lead researcher for the report, explains in an article on the Guardian’s Comment is Free section:

“After a six-month-long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released a 138-page report, "Fear Inc: Exposing the Islamophobia Network in America", which for the first time reveals that more than $42m from seven foundations over the past decade have helped empower a relatively small, but interconnected group of individuals and organisations to spread anti-Muslim fear and hate in America. I, along with co-authors Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes and Faiz Shakir, expose this network in depth, categorise it, trace the money trail to the donors, name the players in the network, connect the dots between them, and uncover the genesis of several fictitious threats such as the current "anti-sharia" fear sweeping the nation, as well as the protests of neighbourhood mosques as alleged "Trojan horses" and incubators of radicalisation.”

The report outlines five categories which define the network; its activities and its enablers. These are:

The money trail: a list of seven funders who have given nearly $43m to anti-Muslim organisations and thinktanks.

The Islamophobia scholars and policy experts: five individuals and their respective organisations that act as the central nervous system responsible for manufacturing the fictitious memes and fear-mongering talking points about Muslims and Islam.

Grassroots organisations and the religious right: new and existing activist networks and mainstream popular religious personalities disseminate these messages to their constituents and elected officials. The organisation Act! For America relies upon Frank Gaffney's anti-sharia memes and promotes this fictitious threat through their 573 national chapters and 170,000 members worldwide. Currently, 23 states are in process of considering anti-sharia bills.

The media enablers: the mainstreaming of this fringe, extremist rhetoric is aided by media allies in network TV (Fox News), radio (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck), online magazines (World Net Daily, Front Page Magazine) and the Islamophobia blogosphere (Jihad Watch), which give Islamophobe talking-heads an influential pulpit to broadcast their misinformation.

The political players: finally, these talking points end up as soundbites and wedge issues for politicians and, specifically, several 2012 Republican presidential candidates, such as Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, who all have jumped on the manufactured, fictitious "anti-sharia" bandwagon.

You can download the report, Fear Inc., here.

You can read an earlier report published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), ‘Same Hate, New Target’ which offers a ‘who’s who’ of American personalities promoting anti-Muslim sentiment in the US, here.

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 August 2011 14:38

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