Tell Silicon Valley:
STOP FUNDING HATE
Support Moderate Muslims, Not Islamists
What is the SVCF?
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) is the nation’s largest community foundation, with assets of over $8 billion. SVCF enjoys the support and collaboration of Silicon Valley's leading tech companies. Its biggest donors include:
• Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder – $1.5 billion
• Nick Woodman, CEO of GoPro – $500 million
• Jan Koum, founder of WhatsApp – $556 million
In January 2017, it emerged that SVCF was funding two Islamist organizations with long histories of ties to extremism and terror: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief. Since 2008, SVCF has given $330,524 to these two groups.
Emmett Carson, CEO of SVCF, with Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg
What's wrong with CAIR and Islamic Relief?
CAIR and Islamic Relief regularly give platforms to speakers who incite hatred against women, Jews, Christians, and the LGBTQ community.
Here, for example, is Siraj Wahhaj - a prominent hate cleric who is a former member of CAIR's advisory board and a frequent speaker at both CAIR and Islamic Relief events:
Or how about Yasir Qadhi, a Salafi cleric who regularly addresses CAIR and Islamic Relief events. Here he is advocating the murder of homosexuals:
CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. Since then, the Justice Department has banned outreach with CAIR. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates, a devout Muslim country, designated CAIR a terrorist organization. The Anti-Defamation League accuses CAIR of promoting anti-Jewish sentiment.
Islamic Relief is one of the largest Islamic charities in America and the Western world, reporting a U.S. income of about $110 million in 2014. However, it is a designated terrorist entity both in Israel and the UAE. Banks such as UBS and HSBC have closed Islamic Relief bank accounts over concerns about terrorism financing. Senior staff at Islamic Relief's USA branch have praised the killing of Jews.
Moderate Muslims Petition SVCF To Consider All Muslim Voices
July 5, 2017 | Shireen Qudosi
Americans are wonderfully generous people and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), which has over $8 billion dollars in assets and ranks as the largest community foundation in the country, is a premier example of this joyful trait.
As moderate Muslims, the undersigned appreciate that SVCF has chosen to champion Muslim interests. However, we must register our grave concern at SVCF’s choice of charities and specifically that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief have between them received donations totaling $330,524 in the period 2008-15.
These organizations are Islamist, meaning that they work in favor of a foreign law code and against Western values in three key ways:
1. Denying Plurality of Faith: Islam is a rich and diverse faith. However, CAIR and Islamic Relief work against any version of Islam except for their radical version.
2. Stifling Muslim Free Speech: CAIR engages in online harassment and media campaigns that demonize free speech and authentic dialogue.
3. Advocacy of Extremist Views: Both organizations host events featuring speakers with some of the most extreme rhetoric within American Islam. In the case of Islamic Relief, the organization gives charitably to terrorist sympathizers and enablers, including affiliates of Hamas - a foreign political group with documented evidence of supremacist views and Jew-hatred.
The Muslim-on-Muslim oppression these organizations regularly engage in goes against bedrock Western values. It monopolizes Islam by suffocating free speech through an “Islamic Inquisition” that bullies, harasses, and sometimes even seeks to ex-communicate Muslims who don’t hold their extreme views. In doing so, it blockades the natural evolution of ideas while persecuting those Muslims who dare to think boldly and bravely for themselves. This has been ongoing for 20-30 years, and continued support to these organizations expands their reach and ensure a monolith out of a faith that is deeply personal - going so far as to politicize Islam and Muslims. If SVCF truly supports “understanding and tolerance,” it would not align with such organizations.
We call on SVCF to understand the crisis we face in repudiating Islamism. We ask SVCF to transfer its donations from CAIR and Islamic Relief to those Muslims who advocate free speech for all and the right to practice Islam as individuals.
Islamist organizations like CAIR and Islamic Relief demoralize Muslims who want to break away from the system of thought Islamism has set up. They make it systematically harder for Muslims to be part of the solution in carving a new Muslim identity that acculturates and challenges extremism from within.
Finally, a word about Daniel Pipes and the Middle East Forum, who have been libeled by SVCF. When CAIR shut the door on us and our own community turned its back on us, Pipes and MEF helped us. They have been allies and friends, offering moral support and helping us build platforms, when doctrinal police infiltrated into our own community. Wrongly labeled “Islamophobes,” they and others have taken up the torch for a cause that is not intrinsically their own, then doing the work that Islamic organizations and leaders should be doing.
As Western Muslims who embrace universal values, we welcome an opportunity to work with the SVCF and offer recommendations that meet donor expectations and the needs of Muslim communities in a way that honors the pillars SVCF stands for.
Nawab Agha, American Muslim Congress, Inc., and Center for Islamic Pluralism
Chris Bilardi, Writer, Center for Islamic Pluralism
Noor Dahri, Founder, Pakistan Israel Alliance
Tarek Fatah, Founder, Muslim Canadian Congress
Farzana Hassan, Author and Women’s Rights Activist
Tahir Gora, Secretary General, The Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations
Agha Shaukat Jafri, Secretary General, American Muslim Congress, Inc.
Dr. Waqas Khan
Dr. Salim Mansur, Western University, London, Ontario
Paul Nagy, Associate Researcher, Center for Islamic Pluralism
Shireen Qudosi, Director of Muslim Matters, at America Matters
Raheel Raza, President, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow
Sohail Raza, Treasurer, Muslims Facing Tomorrow
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, Director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
Salma Siddiqui, President, Coalition of Progressive Muslim Organizations
Zana Trëndafilazezë, Creative Arts Consultant, Center for Islamic Pluralism
* Signatories support the author, content and message. Signatory alliance does not default to include support of all other signatories.
Resources and Links
Read the Middle East Forum's original press release, explaining SVCF's funding of CAIR and Islamic Relief
Sign the petition urging the SVCF to halt their funding
Read the letter signed by seven Congressmen, also urging the SVCF to halt its funding