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Executive Editor: Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Chronology of Islam in America (2019)
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Anti-Muslim hate is driven by politics, not faith
May 1: Anti-Muslim attitudes are influenced by a host of factors, from personal and national politics to how much a person knows about Islam itself — but not one’s own religious affiliation, according to the Washington DC-based Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) in Washington, D.C. The ISPU annual poll found that Muslims remain the most likely group to report experiencing religious discrimination. The ISPU’s annual Islamophobia Index, which measures the public’s endorsement of five negative stereotypes about U.S. Muslims, inched upward from 24 in 2018 to 28 in 2019. American faith communities differ greatly in their attitudes toward Muslims, with Jews scoring the lowest in anti-Muslim sentiment, while white evangelicals score the highest. More than half of Jews — the group most likely to know a Muslim personally — report having favorable views of Muslims, but just 20% of white evangelicals — the group least likely to know a Muslim — hold positive views of Muslims. Unfortunately recent depictions of Muslims, from President Trump’s demonization of Muslims to media coverage that links Islam with terrorism,have counteracted any progress Americans have made toward understanding Islam, said John Esposito, director of the Bridge Initiative, a Georgetown University-based Islamophobia research project that partnered with the ISPU to produce the Islamophobia Index. “You’ve got a president who’s saying ‘Islam hates us’ and putting in a Muslim ban, and you’ve got members of his administration who also have that kind of attitude,” Esposito said. “On top of that, you have disproportionate media coverage of what a small minority of extremists are doing, versus what the vast majority of Muslims around the world are doing. All those things feed this attitude in the country.”Despite their grim treatment, the poll found that 33% of Muslims surveyed still reported feeling optimistic about the country’s general trajectory. Indeed, Muslims appear more satisfied with America’s direction than any other faith group or unaffiliated Americans surveyed, despite low rates of satisfaction with Trump’s performance as president. Researchers attributed Muslims’ upbeat views to historic gains made by Muslim candidates during the midterm elections. “The survey was right after two Muslim women were elected to Congress, and I think that historical event had boosted the sense of optimism among Muslims, even though they’re the most likely to disapprove of the president’s performance,” ISPU director of research Dalia Mogahed explained. [Religious News]
US charities fund fringe Islamophobia network
May 6: American philanthropic organizations, including mainstream foundations, have funneled tens of 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.bIn a report called Hijacked by Hate: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) documented how 1,006 charitable foundations provided nearly $125 million to 39 anti-Muslim groups between 2014 and 2016, the dates of the latest publicly available tax filings. "Anti-Muslim animus and Islamophobic messages are now pervasive features of our country's mainstream political, legal, educational, and media landscapes because these ideas are perpetuated by organizations and institutions with deep and extensive sources of funding and deliberate political agendas," CAIR said in the report, adding that the 39 anti-Muslim groups it identified had combined financial resources of $1.5 billion. "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.
Tentacles in the White House
Some private funds and foundations, many on the evangelical and Zionist far-right, are ideologically aligned with the Islamophobia network's efforts to fuel anti-Muslim bigotry in politics and society. And a number of members of the Islamophobia web have deep connections to the White House, which under President Donald Trump has at times stoked anti-Muslim sentiment. Jewish-American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the largest financial contributor to Trump's campaign, has through his foundation become one of largest private donors of anti-Muslim groups as part of hard-line, pro-Israel agenda. Sears Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, an ardent Israel advocate, has used her tax exempt Abstraction Fund to funnel $3.2 million to anti-Muslim groups, including nearly $1.9 million to the conspiracy theory peddling Gatestone Institute, which she founded and for which she serves as president. US National Security Adviser John Bolton was formerly chairman of the Gatestone Institute.Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE), a family-controlled charity founded by Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, a Messianic Jew, has donated $32 million to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Founded by Sekulow and televangelist Pat Robertson, ACLJ spreads anti-Muslim propaganda and provided legal support for the Trump administration's 2017 Muslim travel ban. Similarly, Stephen Miller, Trump's senior policy adviser and architect of hard-line immigration policies, is a disciple of David Horowitz, whose Freedom Center has received millions of dollars from charities supporting its fear mongering of Muslims. "The real scary thing is that this is the first time the executive branch, the White House, has come to fully embrace this Islamophobia network," CAIR's Director Research and Advocacy, Abbas Barzegar, told DW. "Before you might have seen these actors in the media, lobbying, or at the grassroots level, but now they are shaping policy. They are coming from same Islamophobic pool."
The report finds that mainstream American philanthropic institutions — ones that typically support the likes of reputable organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army and Doctors Without Borders — are also financing anti-Muslim groups "often unbeknownst to donors, civil society organizations, and the general public." "Most mainstream foundations are more than likely being exploited or used by donors who seek to anonymize their contributions to anti-Muslim special interest groups," the report states.Through so-called donor advised funds (DAF), donors can make anonymous charitable contributions and receive an immediate tax deduction, then recommend grants to preferred charities over time. Grant recommendations are generally subject to review by the DAF according to their own criteria. Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable have funneled $8.7 million and $5.7 million, respectively, to anti-Muslim groups, while mainstream faith-based DAFs (so-called donor advised funds), like the National Christian Foundation and Jewish Communal Funds, have donated $15.7 million and $3.2 million, respectively. [Deutsche Welle]
Tennessee DA Who Called Islam ‘Evil,’ Compared Muslims to Members of KKK
May 28: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today filed a formal complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee against Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott over a series of anti-Muslim social media posts.In his Facebook posts, Northcott stated: Islam is an evil belief system. To deny that their religion teaches hate is also a denial of the truth. Practicing Muslims must kill anyone who doesn't accept their lie. Muslims are evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system and are no less evil because they don't act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system. To be Muslim is no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc. I will not be cowered into pretending that their belief system is legitimate or one of peace. We are fools if we don't recognize this and protect ourselves, our families, our communities and our country from succumbing to this present and growing threat. Take a look at what is happening in Europe and see if you want that for America.Northcott also stated that Constitutional rights do not apply to non-Christians: There are no Constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the Constitution. If you don't believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect. In addressing the inherent conflict of interest in his ability to carry out the duties of Tennessee Coffee County District Attorney and holding Islamophobic views, Northcott posted: I will not be silenced by implications that I am not and cannot [sic] do my job correctly if I don't agree with you. If I have to remain silent and not give a defense of the Gospel, I don't want my job. That said, clearly, I am not required to make that decision because I didn't give up my God given right to freedom of religion or speech when I took office. [CAIR]
San Francisco Bay Area holds Al Quds Day rally
May 31: Fremont, California, joined 16 other cities around the United States to stage Al Quds rally to express solidarity with the Palestinians. Al Quds Day, officially called International Quds Day, is an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan that was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians. The Fremont rally participants gathered at the Lake Elizabeth Park and began march towards Peso Padre/Stevenson crossing where religious and civil advocacy leaders addressed the rally. Rabbi Dovid Feldman from Neturei Karta International flew from New York to attend the Fremont Rally. Rabbi told the rally that we have gathered here today to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people who are suffering for the last 70 years. “They are being killed, oppressed and displaced from their land.” About the sufferings of the Gaza people who are under siege for the last 10 years, Rabbi Dovid Feldman said he personally visited Gaza. He is an eye witness to what is going on in Gaza. “It is said, it is catastrophic, it is naqba.” Neturei Karta Jewish group believes that the true Jews are against dispossessing the Arabs of their land and homes. According to the Torah, the land should be returned to them. Neturei Karta opposes the so-called "State of Israel" not because it operates secularly, but because the entire concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to Jewish Law. “The world must know that the Zionists have illegitimately seized the name Israel and have no right to speak in the name of the Jewish people!” According to Neturei Karta, “Jews are not allowed to dominate, kill, harm or demean another people and are not allowed to have anything to do with the Zionist enterprise, their political meddling and their wars…. The true Jews remain faithful to Jewish belief and are not contaminated with Zionism.” [AMP Report]