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Ken Isaacs

Factsheet: Ken Isaacs

Published on 19 Apr 2018

IMPACT: Ken Isaacs is the current U.S. nominee for director-general of the International Organization for Migration at the United Nations. Prior to his nomination, Isaacs was a Vice President at Samaritan’s Purse, an Evangelical Christian charity organization with a history of proselytizing while distributing government-funded humanitarian relief. Isaacs has tweeted inflammatory, anti-Muslim content, and has retweeted anti-Muslim content by Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney.

Ken Isaacs is the current U.S. nominee for the post of director-general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the United Nations (UN). Isaacs is one of three nominees for the post. On June 29, 2018, IOM members will vote on the appointments. The successful candidate will need the support of two-thirds of its members. IOM’s mission is to “assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management” and to “uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.”

According to his personal website, Isaacs has 34 years of experience with providing “emergency humanitarian and development assistance across the globe.” From 2004 to 2005, Isaacs served as director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Since 2006, Isaacs has served as Vice President of Programs and Government Relations at Samaritan’s Purse, a “nondenominational evangelical Christian organization” that seeks to provide “spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world” and to “promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Isaacs previously worked at Samaritan’s Purse, from 1988 to 2004. Isaacs his currently on an official leave of absence from Samaritan’s Purse, pending his confirmation.

The current President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse is Franklin Graham, whom the Center for American Progress’ (CAP) Fear Inc. report identifies as a part of the “echo chamber” of the “Islamophobia network.” Graham has made various public statements disparaging Islam. In an interview that took place shortly after the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001, Graham described Islam as a “very evil and very wicked religion.”

Samaritan’s Purse has been criticized for its linking of charity and humanitarian relief with Christian evangelizing, and particularly for doing so with U.S. federal funds. According to its 2016 tax forms, Samaritan’s Purse received $31,888,704 in government grants. The organization has also been criticized in the past for its Operation Christmas Child, a program that seeks to “show God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world” and to “share the good news of Jesus Christ.”

Prior to setting his Twitter account private, Isaacs had published numerous anti-Muslim tweets. In June 2017, responding to the London Bridge attack, Isaacs tweeted: “If you read the Quran you will know ‘this’ is exactly what the Muslim faith instructs the faithful to do.”

In March 2017, Isaacs tweeted a link to an article titled “What Countries Look Like Before And After Islam [PHOTOS].” The article begins: “So we need more Muslim migrants here in the US? We really need people that want Sharia law here in our country?”

In July 2016, Isaacs tweeted an image of a doll alongside what appears to be a body lying in the street, captioning it, “#Islam is not peaceful.” In September 2016, Isaacs tweeted: “fun fact. All #Islamic #Terrorist literally follow #Islam” and “Islam is 7th century violence and bullying.”

In November 2015, in response to a tweet arguing that “Equating ISIS to Islam is not only wrong, but insulting to the Muslims who make up the vast majority of the terrorists’ victims,” Isaacs stated: “Let’s see millions of Muslims around the world marching to denounce Jihad, ISIS, and terrorism!”

According to reporting in the Washington Post, in the fall of 2015, Isaacs criticized then-President Obama’s stance on Syrian refugee aid, posting on Twitter: “Refugees are 2 grps. Some may go back and some can’t return. Christians can never return. They must be 1st priority.” Michael Frost, a Christian missiologist from Australia and university lecturer, has criticized Isaas’ position of prioritizing the resettlement of Christian refugees.

According to undated screenshots of his Facebook page, Isaacs wrote, “[T]hat the national security priority of the United States is climate change is a joke.” According to reporting in the Washington Post, both the United Nations and the State Department (which nominated Isaacs for the position) have cited climate change as a “driving force” behind migration.

Isaacs has retweeted content by leading proponents of anti-Muslim rhetoric. Isaacs retweeted a December 2017 tweet by Robert Spencer, which stated: “‘Islamophobia’ is a smear term designed to intimidate people into fearing to oppose jihad terror.” According to reporting by CNN in March 2018, Isaacs also retweeted anti-Muslim content by Frank Gaffney, in addition to inflammatory anti-Muslim content by various Twitter accounts.

Isaacs has apologized for his anti-Muslim statements, according to reporting in February 2018 in the Washington Post. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert also provided comment that the State Department would continue to support Isaacs’ nomination.

Last updated April 12, 2018