Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America

by Jon Christian

The Center for American Progress’ Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang , Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir have a report out on the Islamaphobia industry that inspired Norwegian shooter Anders Breivik. It’s a little choppy in parts, but it’s an interesting look at key figures and the money trail involved in contemporary Muslim- and Sharia-panic.

It’s a decent summary of the interests that prey on gullible people who are looking for an enemy.

Geller and Spencer co-founded the organization Stop Islamization of America, a group whose actions and rhetoric the Anti-Defamation League concluded “promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam. The group seeks to rouse public fears by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy “American values.” Based on Breivik’s sheer number of citations and references to the writings of these individuals, it is clear that he read and relied on the hateful, anti-Muslim ideology of a number of men and women detailed in this report&a select handful of scholars and activists who work together to create and promote misinformation about Muslims.

While these bloggers and pundits were not responsible for Breivik’s deadly attacks, their writings on Islam and multiculturalism appear to have helped create a world view, held by this lone Norwegian gunman, that sees Islam as at war with the West and the West needing to be defended. According to former CIA officer and terrorism consultant Marc Sageman, just as religious extremism “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged,” the writings of these anti-Muslim misinformation experts are “the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.” Sageman adds that their rhetoric “is not cost-free.”

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