You may have not noticed it, but in the years since 9/11 a recurring cast of characters has emerged in nearly every discussion about Islam. Funded primarily by a few foundations, these commentators push erroneous facts and generalized narratives about Muslims on cable news networks, in best-selling books, at well-attended rallies, and on their own highly-trafficked websites.
Our own Nathan Lean discusses this network promoting Islamophobia in an interview entitled, “Islamophobia is a Lucrative Industry,” which was published in the Fair Observer on March 19, 2015. He explains:
The Islamophobia “industry” is not like the automobile industry: There are no large companies, conglomerations, CEOs or assembly lines. But it is an industry in a more organic sense. A network exists — one that connects dozens of individuals and groups on several different continents.
Major foundations with tens of millions of dollars (Donor’s Capital Fund, Scaife Foundation, Bradley Foundation, etc) donate money to think-tanks and pseudo-scholarly organizations and projects (Clarion Project, Middle East Forum, Horowitz Freedom Center, Center for Security Policy, etc) that reflect the donors’ ideological bent.
These organizations and projects rely on a handful of self-proclaimed experts on Islam, the Middle East, terrorism, national security and related fields, [including] Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Zuhdi Jasser, Steven Emerson, Frank Gaffney, etc. These individuals manufacture narratives about Muslims and Islam — threat of sharia law in the United States, supposed influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, etc — that are disseminated to bloggers and activists such as Pamela Geller, Brigitte Gabriel [and] Walid Shoebat, who are paid hefty salaries to propagate them.
Read more of Nathan’s interview, which also discusses the Charlie Hebdo massacre and issues of free speech, with The Fair Observer.