Anti-Muslims Groups Have a Stockpile of $205 Million, According to Report
According to a report released on Monday, the country's top 33 anti-Muslim groups made $205,838,077 in revenue between 2008 to 2014.
The 92-page report, which was completed by researchers at UC Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender and the Council of American-Islamic Relations, found that groups like the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and ACT for America used the funds to push anti-Muslim propaganda and legislation in addition to providing trainings for law enforcement agencies. It also highlights ties between anti-Muslim organizations and several GOP presidential candidates.
Here's the breakdown of its key findings:
The report identified 74 organizations that promote anti-Muslim views. It classifies anti-Muslim organizations into two groups: inner and outer core.
Inner core groups, according to the report, serve primarily to promote prejudice and hatred toward Muslims and Islam. The Center for Security Policy, an anti-Islam group that masquerades a think tank, and the Clarion Project, an anti-Muslim film producer and distributor, are among the list of 33 organizations listed as inner core groups.
Outer core groups are organizations, foundations and television programs that engage in anti-Muslim bigotry but do not have this as their primary purpose. Some of these 41 outer core groups may be familiar: the Fox News Channel, The Glenn Beck Program, Washington Times, National Review and HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.
Nearly all GOP presidential candidates have ties to inner core groups. Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) were honored speakers at a conference hosted by anti-Muslim activist David Horowitz.
Cruz, who proposed that police forces patrol Muslim neighborhoods in March 2016, also spoke at three of anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy summits. Gaffney also was the lead advisor on Cruz's foreign policy team, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In December 2015, when Donald Trump announced his proposal for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims coming into the United States, the presumptive GOP nominee cited a poll stating a quarter of American Muslims believe that violence is justified against Americans.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice, an inner core group, as a senior advisor for his Right to Rise political action committee.
According to the report, lawmakers introduced a total of 81 bills prohibiting the adoption of Islamic jurisprudence or Sharia law between 2013 and 2015. Out of those 81 bills, 80 have been sponsored by Republicans. Many American Muslims follow Sharia law to resolve disputes, enter into marriage contracts or for guidance on halal dietary requirements. Banning Sharia law invalidates these contracts and arrangements.
American Laws for American Courts, an inner core group, provided templates and language for anti-Sharia bills. 92 percent of anti-Sharia bills have used the group's proposed language in 2013.
Ten states have already implemented anti-Islam legislation.
Attacks on mosques quadrupled from 2014 to 2015.
In 2015 alone, mosques have reported 78 incidents of vandalism and arson — not including threats made against the houses of worship. Between November and December 2015, there were 17 reported anti-Muslim incidents targeted at American mosques. To put that number in perspective, there were only 22 total reported incidents in 2013 and 20 reported incidents in 2014.
Anti-Muslim groups are providing law enforcement training.
In 2013, the Counterterrorism Caucus of Oklahoma hosted a law enforcement seminar in its House of Representatives. The seminar, titled "Iran, Hezbollah and the Drug Cartels: Counterterrorism Considerations," featured anti-Muslim speakers like William G. "Jerry" Boykin and Frank Gaffney.
In November 2015, anti-Muslim activist Walid Shoebat spoke to 60 officers at New Jersey's Ocean County Policy Academy about his perspective on Islam. According to the report, Shoebat has made inflammatory remarks about Islam and Muslims, claiming the faith to be a "fake religion of the anti-Christ" and denouncing Muslims as "inherently violent and savage."
These key findings give us one important reminder that with $205 million in hand to target a marginalized community, money doesn't just talk — it oppresses.