Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Founded in 2003 by the controversial Muslim-American activist Zuhdi Jasser, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a right-wing advocacy group that describes itself as the “most prominent American Muslim organization confronting the ideologies of political Islam.”[1] Despite having close relations with a network of anti-Islamic groups in the United States, the AIFD is “frequently touted by conservative media as embodying a moderate Muslim perspective.”[2]

As of early 2015, AIFD’s website listed one staff member, Jasser.[3] It also had three board members: Samir Abdelkhalek, a student at the U.S. Military academy; businessman Arif Humayun; and Manda Zand Ervin, a contributor to neoconservative groups like the Center for Security Policy and the Gatestone Institute.[4]

AIFD aims to “intellectually and morally invalidate the Islamist (Muslim supremacist) belief system.” The group argues that the “primary threat to America is from both violent and non-violent Islamists.”[5]

AIFD also seeks to influence the policy debate, stating on its website that it works to “formulate principled positions on specific areas of American foreign and domestic policy as they relate to the vital national interests of the United States and the principles of freedom.”[6]

It is vocal in its support for Israel, stating on its website: “We specifically stand in support and unqualified recognition of the state of Israel and its right to exist behind secure borders as do all free nations. (While as Muslims and American citizens we will take stands on many diverse foreign policy issues, we feel that the recognition of Israel has proven to be one of the litmus tests for Islamist demagoguery).”[7]

AIFD’s founder and president, Zuhdi Jasser, regularly appears on outlets like Fox News, where he delivers far-right talking points about Islam and Muslims. One observer has said of Jasser’s work: "So how is it possible for someone who claims to be a devout Muslim to be an active participant in helping the promotion of anti-Islam sentiment? Therein lies Dr. Jasser's value to this multi-million dollar machine—to play the role of the 'good Muslim.'"[8]

AIFD’s main activity appears to be to publicize Jasser’s interviews and publications, which generally smear the work of leading Muslim civil society organizations. A key target of his attacks has been the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).[9]

Funding

Jasser and AIFD have received criticism for their close association with a number of hawkish and anti-Islamic individuals and organizations. In 2014, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) revealed that between 2010 and 2012, AIFD received $45,000 from the Abstraction Fund, which has also funded Islamophobic groups like Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, and Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy.[10]

AIFD has also received funding from the Daniel Pipes-led Middle East forum, as well as the Alan and Hope Winters Family Fund, which has donated to an array of anti-Islamic groups and also gave AIFD $45,000 between 2010 and 2012.[11] The Klarman Family Foundation, the charitable organization of “pro-Israel” billionaire Seth Klarman that is the primary funder of the hawkish Israel Project, also donates to AFID.  In its 2011 report "Fear, Inc.," the Center for American Progress (CAP) noted that AIFD had received funding from the William Rosenwald Family Fund, which has given millions to anti-Muslim organizations.[12]

The funding AIFD has received from these Islamophobic groups has spurred CAIR to call for an official investigation into Jasser’s membership on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.[13]

In its 2012 Form 990, AIFD reported $340,000 in revenues.[14]

Share RightWeb

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Sources

[1] AIFD, “About Us,” http://aifdemocracy.org/about/.

[2] Craig Harrington, “Right-Wing Media Attack Ben Affleck For Challenging Islamophobia,” Media Matters, October 7, 2014,http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/10/07/right-wing-media-attack-ben-affleck-for-challen/201057.

[3] AIFD, “Founder/President,” http://aifdemocracy.org/about/staff/founder-president/.

[4] AIFD, “Board Members,” http://aifdemocracy.org/about/board-members/.

[5] AIFD, “Foundational Values,” http://aifdemocracy.org/about/foundational-values/.

[6] AIFD, “Foundational Values,” http://aifdemocracy.org/about/foundational-values/.

[7] AIFD, “Foundational Values,” http://aifdemocracy.org/about/foundational-values/.

[8] Zuhdi Jasser, "The Mainstream Media: Islamist Facilitators," Real Clear Politics, April 20, 2007,http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/04/the_mainstream_media_islamist.html.

[9] Zuhdi Jasser, "The Mainstream Media: Islamist Facilitators," Real Clear Politics, April 20, 2007,http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/04/the_mainstream_media_islamist.html.

[10] CAIR, “'Religious Freedom' Rep Funded by Same Group that Backs Islamophobes,” February 11, 2014, http://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12374-religious-freedom-rep-funded-by-same-group-that-backs-islamophobes.html.

[11] Conservative Transparency, “American Islamic Forum for Democracy,” http://conservativetransparency.org/recipient/american-islamic-forum-for-democracy/.

[12] Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton, “Group linked to Israeli lobby, neocons releases another Islamophobic film,” Electronic Intifada, May 20, 2009,http://electronicintifada.net/content/group-linked-israeli-lobby-neocons-releases-another-islamophobic-film/8246.

[13] CAIR, “'Religious Freedom' Rep Funded by Same Group that Backs Islamophobes,” February 11, 2014, http://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12374-religious-freedom-rep-funded-by-same-group-that-backs-islamophobes.html.

[14] Guidestar, 2012 Form 990, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2012/710/940/2012-710940051-09e2a78a-9.pdf.

Share RightWeb

American Islamic Forum for Democracy Résumé

Contact Information

Website: http://aifdemocracy.org/

Founded

2003

Mission(as of 2015)

“AIFD seeks to engage in the war of ideas against the ideology of political Islam or Islamism by bringing awareness and education to the general public through writings, media interviews, and public forums.”

Staff(as of 2015)

  • Zuhdi Jasser: Founder and President

Fellows(as of 2015)

  • Arif Humayun
  • Ahmed Vanya

Board Members(as of 2015)

  • Samir Abdelkhalek
  • Arif Humayun
  • Manda Zand Ervin

Related:

American Islamic Forum for Democracy News Feed

Iran is starting to feel the pressure over US sanctions: American Islamic Forum for Democracy president - Fox BusinessWe need to take sides within the house of Islam: Muslim reformist - Herald SunIlhan Omar calling Stephen Miller a white nationalist is beyond ignorant: Zudhi Jasser - Yahoo FinanceIlhan Omar should be removed from Foreign Affairs Committee: American Islamic Forum for Democracy president - Fox NewsDeroy Murdock: The defeat of ISIS is another Trump promise made, kept ... and nearly ignored by the liberal... - Fox NewsThe Egyptian Brotherhood goes to Washington :: Islamist Watch - Middle East ForumMichigan Private School Linked To Iran And Hezbollah Propaganda, Report Says - The Daily WireTrump to Designate Iran Revolutionary Guard as Terrorist Organization - The Epoch TimesPopulists Win Dutch Elections - theTrumpet.comMedia Once Again Falsely Conflates Neo-Nazis and Critics of Islam - FrontPage MagazineHow a controversial Muslim figure helped ignite the controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar's 9/11 comments - Religion News ServiceAmerican Muslim Urges Religious Reformation, Separation of State and Mosque - The Epoch TimesDr. Zuhdi Jasser on terror threats facing the United States - Fox NewsOvercoming fears of 'making noise,' US Muslims step into civic life - Religion News ServiceReformist slams American Muslim politician’s gibes - Australian Jewish NewsIran: US Sanctions Will Bring Pain, But Is That The Final Answer? – OpEd - Eurasia ReviewFollowing election, American Jewish groups mixed over Netanyahu's win - Sun SentinelMEF Defends the Right to Discuss Islam in Europe - Middle East ForumISIS wife begging for US return ‘willing to pay her debts,' lawyer says; critics say ‘jihadists have no space’ - Fox NewsLiberal US Jewish groups bemoan Netanyahu's victory as 'undermining' Israeli democracy - JNS.org

Right Web is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The Right Web Mission

Right Web tracks militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

The new government will, once again, be the most right wing in Israel’s history. But this time, the length of the new government’s tenure will depend more on Netanyahu’s legal troubles than on the political dynamics of the coalition.


Given such a dismal U.S. record on non-proliferation, why should North Korea trust U.S. promises of future sanctions relief and security guarantees in exchange for denuclearization? If anything, the case of the JCPOA has demonstrated that regardless of its pledges the United States can reinstate sanctions and even bully private multinational companies to divest from Iran.


As Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman clamor for a war against Iran, they seem to have conveniently forgotten the destruction and mayhem wrought by the American invasion of Iraq 16 years ago.


President Trump’s announcement that he would recognise Israeli sovereignty over the western part of the Golan Heights destroys the negotiating basis for any future peace between Israel and Syria. It also lays the groundwork for a return to a world without territorial integrity for smaller, weaker countries.


The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure mandating the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Saudi/UAE-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The vote marks the first time since the War Powers Act of 1973 became law that both chambers of Congress have directed the president to withdraw American forces from a conflict.


The Trump administration’s failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran and North Korea begs the question what the US president’s true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail.


In the United States, it’s possible to debate any and every policy, domestic and foreign, except for unquestioning support for Israel. That, apparently, is Ilhan Omar’s chief sin.


RightWeb
share