(New York, NY. 11/29/2018) – Following the release of the report titled, “The Shame of the UJA-Federation of New York: How Its Jewish Communal Fund Supports Anti-Muslim Hate Groups,” Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York is deeply concerned with the findings outlined in the report. It is extremely disturbing that such a well-funded and prominent organization like UJA-Federation of New York has provided more than $2 million to the Islamophobia industry.
While Islamophobia was present in the US prior to the horrific events of September 11th, the War on Terror campaign intensified and institutionalized the otherization and dehumanization of Muslims in North America. Individuals like Pamela Geller, Stephen Emerson, and David Horowitz, and organizations like the Middle East Media Research Institute, who received funds from UJA-Federation of New York, have been instrumental in the propagation of these narratives. National Muslim grassroots organizers, activists, and faith leaders, including those of New York based organizations like Majlis Ash-Shura of New York, have been victims of smear campaigns by the aforementioned parties. These campaigns have targeted the lives, careers, and educational opportunities of Muslim leaders, activists, and students in nefarious ways.
This report sheds further light on the known connection between the Pro-Israel lobby and some mainstream Jewish organizations. Especially after the launch of the War on Terror campaign, Israel has been heavily investing in the Islamophobia industry to further strengthen the Israeli narrative against Palestinians, the majority of whom are Muslim. As highlighted in the report, Israel is propagating these Islamophobic narratives in order to secure American taxpayer money for itself and to influence American foreign policy. Furthermore, the report parallels the concerns that have been expressed by many activists and faith leaders – that interfaith work is being exploited to “faith-wash” Israeli occupation and oppression against Palestinians.
Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York calls upon the Muslim community and allies to draw attention to the Islamophobia industry’s culpability in the trending rise of White supremacy in the US and the increase in Zionism normalization within interfaith organizing. When such well-funded organizations that are actively engaged in interfaith organizing are allowed to continuously use interfaith spaces to normalize the suffering of the Palestinians, then interfaith organizing becomes a subversive tool used to justify oppression.
Finally, we would like to extend our praises and gratitude to our friends, Jewish Voice for Peace–New York City, Jews Say NO!, and Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism for publishing this report and for their courage and commitment to justice. In addition, we echo their call on the Jewish Communal Fund to cut off all funding to the Islamophobia industry and to reject funds from anti-Muslim hate groups. We also call upon the UJA-Federation to cease funding Zionist and Pro-Israel hate groups that are normalizing the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.