On Monday, the first day of the Islamic holy season of Ramadan, the Hamas-linked anti-Israel Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a report condemning mainstream charities and philanthropic groups for allowing donors to contribute to conservative organizations CAIR and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have accused of being “hate groups” comparable to the Ku Klux Klan. This is particularly rich, as CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror-funding case involving the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
The report, “Hijacked by Hate: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network,” lists “philanthropic foundations, many of them mainstream, that were used by anonymous special interest donors to funnel almost $125 million to anti-Muslim hate groups between 2014 and 2016.” CAIR found 1,096 organizations funding 39 groups they accused of fomenting “anti-Muslim hate,” to the tune of $1.5 billion.
The funders include Fidelity and Schwab Charitable as well as faith-based charities such as the Jewish Communal Fund and the National Christian Charitable Foundation. CAIR followed the lead of the SPLC in accusing various conservative organizations of being “hate groups,” including ACT for America, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the Center for Security Policy, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and others. The SPLC is currently struggling with a racism and sexual harassment scandal that dealt a critical blow to its credibility.
CAIR National Research and Advocacy Manager Zainab Arain claimed that the report aims to “make it easy auto identify connections and empower decision makers to make informed choices about who they partner with.” In other words, the report aims to blackmail charitable foundations into blacklisting conservative organizations on the spurious grounds that they are terroristic “hate groups.”
“It is our hope that with sustained action, institutional collaboration, and dedicated will, a community of progressive and mainstream allies will emerge to push the Islamophobia Network back to the fringe of our society, where odious and incendiary speech belong,” CAIR National Research and Advocacy Director Abbas Barzegar said.
In addition to slandering and blacklisting conservative groups, the report brands Trump “the Anti-Muslim Hydra,” without explaining the use of the term “hydra.” This invective may suggest Trump’s administration is a monster, which grows three more heads for every severed head, or it may link the Trump administration to the fictional organization Hydra from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an organization which was too radical even for the Nazis.
To their shame, some of the charitable foundations said they took the report “very seriously.” Schwab Charitable told NPR that its direction of funding is done by individuals and does not “reflect the values or beliefs of Schwab, Schwab Charitable or its management.” Even so, the fund insisted that it “does not condone hate groups and we take concerns about illegitimate activity by grant recipients seriously.” It encouraged people to contact the IRS or state charity regulators if the “anti-Muslim hate groups” broke any laws.
Fidelity Charitable told NPR it took the report “very seriously,” adding that “if there are concerning reports identified regarding a specific charity, and Fidelity Charitable determines [that] grants to an organization are not used exclusively for charitable purposes, Fidelity won’t approve grants to that organization.”
CAIR did not respond to a request for comment about whether or not charities have decided to blacklist any organizations due to the report.
Some of the organizations accused of being “anti-Muslim hate groups” responded to the report with disdain.
“I don’t read what I consider to be enemy propaganda,” Frank Gaffney, founder and executive chairman for the Center for Security Policy, told PJ Media. “This is a political warfare campaign being waged against my organization and others by an entity that we know was founded by a terrorist organization called Hamas for the precise purpose of waging political warfare, influence operations, and providing fundraising for that terrorist organization Hamas.”
Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamist political party and terrorist organization founded by the Muslim Brotherhood to destroy the State of Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.
CAIR’s founder Nihad Awad and co-founder Omar Ahmad were previously involved with the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), a group described by the FBI as “intimately tied to the most senior Hamas leadership,” and participated in an October 1993 meeting in Philadelphia with Hamas sympathizers and officials of the Holy Land Foundation, which raised $12 million for Hamas.
CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, and wiretap surveillance captured proof that CAIR’s mission was to assist “Sister Samah,” its founder’s somewhat opaque code-name for Hamas. CAIR opened its first office with a $5,000 grant from the Holy Land Foundation.
The United Arab Emirates designated CAIR a terrorist group in 2014. The State Department designated Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997. The U.S., Israel, and the European Union have shut down organizations that funnel money to Hamas.
Other organizations branded “anti-Muslim hate groups” along with the Center for Security Policy also responded by pointing out CAIR’s terror ties.
“The UAE designated terror group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has been using their allies in the far-left media to attack and slander our organization for years now,” Thomas Hern, national grassroots director at ACT for America, told PJ Media. “Their newest report is just more recycled and debunked claims compiled into a fresh new document in an attempt to raise money off their base and silence those who disagree with them.”
Hern sent PJ Media a CAIR Exposed infographic that lists seven employees and members of the Muslim group who have been arrested for terrorism. The graphic also notes three incidents where the Muslim group supported terrorists or terrorism: In 1998, the group demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as “the sworn enemy,” on the grounds that it was “offensive to Muslims”; In 20016, the group coordinated demonstrations in support of Hezbollah and “resistance” groups fighting U.S. forces in Iraq; In 2001, a CAIR leader defended Hamas’s targeting of Israeli citizens.
As for the claim that ACT for America is an “anti-Muslim hate group,” Hern responded to the SPLC’s accusation along those lines last October. ACT for America works with reformist Muslims to combat Islamist activity and radical Islamic terrorism. He noted that Brigitte Gabriel, ACT for America’s president, works frequently with Australian reformist Muslim Imam Mohamad Tawhidi, who was once a senior cleric in Iran. ACT for America also condemned the horrific mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The ACLJ also shot back against accusations that it is an “anti-Muslim hate group.”
“The work of the ACLJ is grounded in defending the U.S. Constitution and protecting all Americans from threats – foreign and domestic,” the organization told PJ Media. “For years, CAIR has consistently opposed commonsense national security measures designed to protect America from terrorist attacks. The ACLJ filed amicus briefs in defense of the President’s national security proclamation which suspended entry of persons from eight countries with terrorism concerns. That proclamation was then upheld by the Supreme Court.”
The ACLJ rejected the “Hijacking Hate” report, warning about the Muslim group behind it.
“CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group known for its anti-Israel positions, was named by the U.S. government as part of a network of groups known to be supporting Hamas, declared to be a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State in 1997. CAIR has been cited by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for using its network of supporters to promote an ‘anti-Israel agenda,'” the organization added.
The ACLJ also mentioned the Holy Land Foundation case, and the fact that the foundation was charged with providing “financial support to the families of Hamas terrorists, detainees, and activists, as reported by National Review. CAIR was, in fact, among the more than 300 unindicted co-conspirators of the Holy Land Foundation named by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation case.”
The ACLJ again cited the ADL, which reported that “CAIR’s anti-Israel agenda dates back to its founding by leaders of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas affiliated anti-Semitic propaganda organization. While CAIR has denounced specific acts of terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, for many years, it refused to unequivocally condemn Palestinian terror organizations and Hezbollah by name, which the U.S. and international community have condemned and isolated.”
Gaffney also defended the Center for Security Policy from claims that it is an “anti-Muslim hate group.”
“I helped to found the center 31 years ago, to defend our country against all enemies foreign and domestic, as I swore an oath to do,” Gaffney said. He argued that the center has documented a number of enemies within the U.S., “vigorously, conscientiously, and with great effect.”
Many of the enemies the Center for Security Policy unmasks “are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Sharia supremacist organizations. And I consider those to be part of the threat we’re facing domestically and need to be understood as such, especially when one is considering charges that they’re leveling or that their allies like the Southern Poverty Law Center have been leveling, which are at their core about silencing us.”
“They can’t rebut the factual information we’ve developed, they are seeking to deny us platforms, visibility, and now funding. Because we are a problem with respect to their agenda of taking down our country,” Gaffney argued. He warned that “sharia supremacists” would wipe out modern concepts of human rights, especially for women, homosexuals, Jews, and Muslims who disagree with the reigning form of Islam.
Many Muslims fight back against Islamism and the efforts to impose Sharia (Islamic law) by government force. Like ACT for America, the Center for Security Policy gladly works with reformist Muslims.
“There aren’t as many Muslim reformers who are willing to be visible and active in combatting Muslim Brotherhood front organizations as I would like, but yes we do work with those we can find and those who are willing to put their head above the parapets,” Gaffney told PJ Media. “M. Zuhdi Jasser is a longtime friend of mine.”
Gaffney lamented that “most Muslims who don’t want to live under Sharia any more than the rest of us do and who aren’t interested in imposing it on anyone else are terrified to take a public position to that effect, because the Sharia supremacists will call them apostates, which is a capital offense. At best they could be ostracized from their community, at worse they could be murdered.”
The Center for Security Policy founder noted that once Americans know the “Hijacked by Hate” report is coming from an organization tied to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, they should reject it out of hand. “To the extent that people continue to give CAIR credibility at all, it’s a damning indictment of the news organizations that do that,” Gaffney said. “They’re not doing their own due diligence. If they did, they’d find out that the SPLC is a hateful, racist, bigoted organization — sexist, to boot — according to its own employees — and that CAIR has been proven in federal court to be an arm of Hamas.”
Unfortunately, many companies like Apple, Amazon, and even MasterCard have partnered with the SPLC or used its “hate group” accusations to blacklist conservative organizations. It seems as though the philanthropies in the CAIR report will not blacklist these groups so quickly, but they need to understand that the sources behind this report are not to be trusted.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.