US charities funnelled more than $105m to 'anti-Muslim' groups, new report claims
Nearly three dozen charities and foundations funnelled more than $105m to "anti-Muslim" organisations, according to a new report by a major US Muslim civil rights group.
The report, published on Tuesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), found that between 2017 and 2019, 35 of the largest charitable institutions and foundations it reviewed had poured $105.8m into a network of 26 groups that have been known to peddle anti-Muslim sentiment.
"It is no secret that the Islamophobia Network remains hyper-active and well-funded," Huzaifa Shabaz, Cair's national research and advocacy coordinator, said in a statement.
"Today, more than ever, the philanthropic community must establish clear policies to prevent funds from going to hate groups and implement educational initiatives for staff and board members to help them understand the extent of anti-Muslim bigotry."
The financial data was obtained through each charitable institution and foundation's publicly available tax documents for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
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Fidelity Charitable, one of the organisations mentioned in Cair's report, told Middle East Eye that its "grants are recommended by donors who have donor-advised fund accounts at Fidelity Charitable".
"These do not reflect the views of or represent an endorsement by Fidelity Charitable, a cause-neutral independent public charity," the spokesperson said, adding that it ensures grants are only given to charities cleared by the Internal Revenue Service.
A previous report by Cair found that 1,096 organisations were responsible for funding 39 so-called Islamophobic groups between 2014 and 2016, with those groups having revenue of at least $1.5bn.
The Muslim civil rights group defines the Islamophobia network as a decentralised group of organisations and individuals that "share an ideology of extreme anti-Muslim animus" and work together to encourage negative public opinion and government policies towards Muslims and Islam.
Its latest report helps to add to the decades-long money trail tracking the funding of anti-Muslim sentiment in the country, and further shows the connection between this network of Islamophobic groups and mainstream, prominent American philanthropy.
The report comes on the heels of a major scandal last month, when an executive director at one of Cair's state chapters was fired for reportedly sharing information about the organisation to "a known anti-Muslim hate group".
Several weeks later, Cair announced that it found another informant, who had been spying on an unidentified mosque in the US.
The news sent shockwaves throughout Muslim communities across the country, who had already been reeling from the past two decades of being the subject of US government surveillance, including the use of informants.
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