WASHINGTON – Issuing the first report documenting nterworks of Islamophobia in the US, a new US report was issued depicting a group of foundations, think tanks and bloggers as the main players behind the 10-year-old campaign to promote fear of Islam and Muslims in the US.
"It’s remarkable what a small number of people have achieved with a small group of committed and generous donors," Eli Clifton, a co-author of the report and a national-security reporter at Center for American Progress (CAP), told IPS website.
Titled ‘Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America’, the report was issued by CAP, a think tank which is close to the administration of President Barack Obama.
The 130-page report identifies seven foundations that have quietly provided a total of more than 42 million dollars to key individuals and organizations that have spearheaded the nation-wide anti-Muslim effort between 2001 and 2009.
Varying from the extreme right to Jewish family foundations, the report includes key funders related to the drive.
It also identifies what it calls "misinformation experts" for key figures who are often tapped by television news networks and right-wing radio talk shows to comment on Islam and the threat it allegedly poses to US national security.
Those figures include; Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), Daniel Pipes of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum (MEF), Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, David Yerushalmi of the Society of Americans for National Existence, and Robert Spencer of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA).
Moreover, other players included what the report calls an "Islamophobia echo chamber" consisting of leaders of the Christian Right, such as Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson, and some Republican politicians, such as presidential candidates Representative Michele Bachmann and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.
Prominent hosts on the Fox News Channel and columnists in the ‘Washington Times’ the ‘National Review’ and grassroots groups, such as ACT! For America, local "Tea Party" movements also helped to disseminate the hate message, the report says.
Interweaving elements of 9/11 fear with anti-Shai`ah campaigns and Islamic center close to 9/11 site in New York, the key player in anti-Muslim campaigns managed to spread the fear of Islam and Muslim all through the past decade.
"Together, this core group of deeply intertwined individuals and organizations manufacture and exaggerate threats of ‘creeping Shari`ah’, Islamic domination of the West, and purported obligatory calls to violence against all non-Muslims by the Quran," according to the report whose main author, Wajahat Ali, who described the group as "the central nervous system of the Islamophobia network."
"This small band of radical ideologues has fought to define Shari`ah as a ‘totalitarian ideology’ and legal- political-military doctrine committed to destroying Western civilization," the report said.
"But a scholar of Islam and Muslim tradition would not recognize their definition of Shari`ah, let alone a lay practicing Muslim."
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, US Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.
The growing anti-Muslim frenzy developed widely over past months.
Plans to build a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York, resulted in attacks on Muslims and their property.
A Republican Senator stirred uproar last March over holding a probe into what he called “radicalization” of American Muslims.
Peter King, the chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee, claimed that US Muslims are being radicalized by Al-Qaeda operatives, accusing Muslim leaders of not cooperating with law enforcement authorities in fighting terrorism.
Worse still, lawmakers in at least 13 states have introduced proposals to ban Shari`ah, introducing new terms against ‘Shari`ah’ and the scary ‘other’.
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