America’s Muslim Zionists

The name sounds benign enough: the American Islamic Congress (AIC).

The mission appears equally harmless, if somewhat vague:

We believe American Muslims must take the lead in building tolerance and fostering a respect for human rights and social justice. We work to change the discourse within both the American Muslim community and in the broader American Society. AIC advocates for the American Muslim community, meeting with leaders on Capitol Hill and government agencies and collaborating with NGOs and campaigns.

The reality, however, is very different. The AIC is not what it seems.

An investigative report by the author Max Blumenthal, published in Electronic Intifada, exposes the shocking truth that the AIC is funded by the most fanatical section of the Israel lobby in the United States.

According to Internal Revenue Service 990 information filings, the AIC is funded largely by a pool of right-wing donors responsible for bankrolling key players in America’s Islamophobia industry, from Charles Jacobs to Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism and Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum. These same donors have pumped millions into major pro-Israel organizations, including groups involved in settlement activity and the Friends of the IDF, which provides assistance to the Israeli army.

Among the AIC’s most reliable supporters is the Donors Capital Fund, which has provided at least $85,000 in funding since 2008. Donors Capital was among the seven foundations identified in the Center for American Progress’s 2011 report Fear Inc. as “the lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America.” Another foundation singled out in the report, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, has donated $325,000 to the AIC between 2005 and 2011.

We must confess, hitherto we had paid little attention to the AIC, having assumed that it was one of the plethora of docile and ineffectual Muslim or Arab organizations in the US. However, we share the shock of journalist Issandr El Amrani, who wrote a blog post that alerted us to Blumenthal’s article in Electronic Intifada. Writing in the Arabist, he says:

I was shocked to read about the funding behind AIC that Max uncovers, I had simply no idea, having thought AIC was funded by Muslim Americans or, perhaps, Gulf countries. It turns out the most fanatic wing of the Israel lobby has a big role in it.

The moral of the story is this: never take anyone or anything at face value, irrespective of the label they adopt.

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