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21 Jun, 2016

Casino baron donated US$1.2 million to fund anti-Muslim hatred in U.S. – Report

WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/20/2016 – Jewish casino baron Sheldon Adelson’s Family Foundation has been identified as one of 33 groups, institutions and individuals which provided or “enjoyed access to” at least US$205 million to “spread fear and hatred of Muslims” in the United States between 2008-13.

A report published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Center for Race and Gender at University of California (UC) at Berkeley, discloses that the Adelson Family Foundation, founded in 2007 to “strengthen the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” awarded $1,225,000 to U.S. Islamophobia Network groups between 2011-2013. This includes $375,000 to the Endowment for Middle East Truth, $750,000 to the Middle East Media and Research Institute and $100,000 to Charles Jacobs’ Massachusetts-based Americans for Peace and Tolerance.

The report, titled “Confronting Fear,” names Fox News commentators, so-called think-tanks, websites, research centres and many other groups funding a network which is spreading lies and conspiracy theories and “has effectively supported undermining the Bill of Rights for all Americans to achieve the goal of vilifying Muslims.”

More information about Mr. Adelson’s extensive casino interests in Las Vegas, Macao and Singapore can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Adelson

Another group identified is the Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld Foundation, named after the former U.S. Secretary of Defense.

The report will open up a clear window of opportunity for watchdog groups and universities worldwide to seek reverse accountability and start tracing the supporters and financiers of Islamophobic institutions, media and individuals in Asia, Europe and Africa.

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Dr Nihad Awad

In an introductory message to the report, Mr. Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR, says, “Islamophobia has unfortunately moved from the fringes of American society to the mainstream.

“Viable contenders for the office of the presidency have suggested unconstitutional policies such as banning all Muslims from the United States or suggesting that a Muslims could not be president of the United States. Elected officials in 10 states have enacted legislation designed to vilify or otherwise target Islam.

“In at least two states, the way school text books are selected was changed because some activists wrongly believe that introductory religious courses that teach children Islam’s five pillars are “indoctrination” and “proselytization.” Islamophobic groups have enjoyed access to at least $205 million to spread fear and hatred of Muslims.”

Mr. Awad noted that in just November-December 2015 alone, 34 incidents were reported of mosques being targeted by vandals or those who want to intimidate worshippers. “This is more incidents than we usually record in an entire year,” he said.

He adds, “This report makes a case that those who value constitutional ideals like equal protection, freedom of worship, or an absence of religious tests for those seeking public office no longer have the luxury of just opposing the U.S. Islamophobia network’s biased messaging.

“The strategy outlined in this report is an evolution from the opposition-centric strategy CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia has pursued since we published Legislating Fear in 2012.

“The proposed strategy focuses instead on changing the environment. Islamophobia and groups that promote bias will likely always exist, but the current environment that grants anti-Islam prejudice social acceptability must change so that such bias is in the same social dustbin as white supremacism and anti-Semitism.”

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Prof. Evelyn Nakano Glenn

In her message, Prof. Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Director, U.C. Berkeley Center for Race and Gender notes that the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) was set up in 2008 to work with scholars and community organizations in “building strong partnerships and leading new projects focused on the study of Islamophobia.”

She adds, “Since 2008, IRDP has organized annual conferences at UC Berkeley, convening scholars from around the world who are leading cutting edge research on how Islamophobia is produced, structured, and deployed, and how it influences policies and political discourse. Researchers have also detailed the ongoing impact of Islamophobia on Muslim communities in the Bay Area, the U.S., and globally.

These annual conferences have had an important impact on the global community of scholars studying Islamophobia, and researchers and universities around the globe have reached out to IRDP to collaborate and learn from its model. These connections have led to rich partnerships and opportunities for the IRDP to co-host symposia and conferences in Europe, North Africa, Canada, and the Middle East.”

Prof Glenn cites the 2012 launch of the Islamophobia Studies Journal, the first peer-review academic journal in the U.S. with a primary interdisciplinary focus on Islamophobia. The journal has become a central resource for scholars to widely share and review innovative thinking in Islamophobia Studies. Additionally, IRDP continues to support students to build online communities that analyze current events and their intersections with issues related to Islamophobia.”

The latest “Confronting Fear” report documents the negative impact of Islamophobia in America, including:

* Anti-Islam bills became law in 10 states.

* At least two states, Florida and Tennessee, have passed laws revising the way they approve textbooks for classroom use as a direct result of anti-Islam campaigns.

* In 2015, there were 78 recorded incidents in which mosques were targeted. In both November and December of 2015, there were 17 mosque incidents reported during each of these months, numbers almost equivalent to an entire year’s worth of reports from the previous two years.

* Two recent phenomenon – “Muslim-free” businesses and armed anti-Islam demonstrations – raise deep concerns.

“The 2016 presidential election has mainstreamed Islamophobia and resulted in a number of un-constitutional proposals targeting Muslims,” Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia is quoted as saying in a CAIR media release. “‘Confronting Fear’ offers a plan for moving anti-Muslim bias back to the fringes of society where it belongs.”

“The work of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at UC Berkeley is enriched and inspired by the partnership and the hard work undertaken jointly with CAIR to produce another annual report that exposes the bigotry-producing industry in America while providing opportunities and strategies on how best to reclaim an open, democratic and religiously-inclusive society,” Dr. Hatem Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley, is quoted as saying.

Dr Bazian added: “The hope is that this report and others like it will provide the needed grounding for communities across the country to use for effective engagement with policy makers, educators, civil society leaders, and media outlets. Education and applied research is the best avenue to uplift and bring about a social justice transformation in society and this report is a step in that direction.”

The report presents a four-point strategy designed to achieve a shared American understanding of Islam in which being Muslim carries a positive connotation, and in which Islam has an equal place among the many faiths that together constitute America’s pluralistic society.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

The Center for Race and Gender (CRG) is an interdisciplinary research center at the University of California, Berkeley that fosters explorations of race and gender, and their intersections. CRG cultivates critical and engaged research and exchange among faculty and students throughout the university, between the university and nearby communities of color, and among scholars in the Bay Area, in the U.S., and around the globe.

Video: Full CAIR News Conference Announcing Release of ‘Confronting Fear’ Report

Confronting Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the U.S. 2013-2015

Video: CAIR ‘Confronting Fear’ Report Reveals Funding of Islamophobic Groups in America

SEE: 2013 Islamophobia Report Legislating Fear

SEE ALSO: CAIR’s Islamophobia Monitor