Updated 7:13 p.m.
The liberal Center for American Progress released a report Friday that it says maps the financial infrastructure for a group of writers and activists who have successfully raised concern about Islam in recent years.
The report argues that almost $43 million from seven charitable groups since 2001 has served as a main driver of campaigns that include: the opposition to the Islamic center near Ground Zero; proposed state laws banning judges from considering Islamic or foreign laws in U.S. courts; and more broadly, a rise in conservative politics and, in particular, of anti-Muslim rhetoric.
The report, titled “Fear, Inc.,” aims to “end Islamophobia,” said one of its authors, Faiz Shakir, who is also a CAP vice president.
“This isn’t playing games. We want to end Islamophobia. If we want to do that, we have to identify motivators of this hate industry, marginalize them and demand they be held accountable,” Shakir said.
It was too early Friday to tell what the report’s impact could be, but its authors warned that anti-Muslim rhetoric could grow with the presidential campaign revving up. Candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman have spoken publicly about what they see as a threat not from specific Muslims but from “sharia,” the Islamic system of justice that has no agreed-upon interpretation.
The subjects of the report immediately responded that it was misleading and did not address the dangers of radical Islam.
Among the subjects was author and Stanford University fellow Daniel Pipes, who said the report places too much blame for anti-Muslim prejudice on people like him and not enough on Muslim leaders who don’t sufficiently condemn Islamism, or the notion that Islam is inseparable from government.
“The report makes no distinction between those who are anti-Islamic and those (like me) who are anti-Islamist. I am not against the religion of Islam but am very much against the political ideology of Islamism, which I see as the third great totalitarian movement after fascism and communism. This lack of distinction points to the intellectually shoddy premise of the report,” Pipes said.
Robert Spencer, another subject of the report, said the financial picture it gives is misleading because it lumps together various organizations over time.