The Middle East Forum research center has revealed that the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has donated a total of over $330,000 to two extremist organizations: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief.
The Philadelphia-based Forum contacted SVCF with evidence of the extremist links of CAIR and Islamic Relief, but received no response. The Middle East Forum is now publicly calling for an immediate and permanent termination of SCVF's funding of these organizations, and has started a nationwide campaign to this end.
The SVCF is the country's wealthiest community foundation, with more than $8 billion in assets. It has enjoyed positive press coverage during its 10-year history, but has also come under some criticism. Worst of all, the MEF states, is its flowing generosity to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief.
MEF says it privately contacted SVCF last month with evidence of the extremism of CAIR and Islamic Relief, including the bigotries and prejudices of its officials and speakers. SVCF officials essentially "refused to discuss the matter," MEF reports, but rather "engaged in a flurry of ad hominem attacks on the Forum."
It is "unconscionable that such a leading institution as SVCF, which claims to support 'understanding and tolerance,'" should help organizations that rely on ignorance and hatred," the Forum declares. "To be precise, CAIR and Islamic Relief have a long history of providing platforms to speakers who denigrate and threaten women, Jews, Christians, the LGBTQ community, and Muslims belonging to minority sects."
As examples, the Forum cites regular speakers at the two organizations' events who have rationalized honor killings or said that men may beat or rape their wives. "It should not be politically divisive," the Forum states, "to state that these ideas are incompatible with SVCF's self-proclaimed commitment to diversity and tolerance."
SVCF did say that CAIR is in "good standing with [U.S.] federal agencies," but the MEF counters that the FBI and the Justice Department have blacklisted CAIR since it was named an unindicted co-conspirator during a terrorism financing case in 2008. Both CAIR and Islamic Relief are designated as terrorist groups in the United Arab Emirates, while the Anti-Defamation League has said that CAIR promotes anti-Jewish sentiment.
By funding them, MEF charges, SVCF is "legitimizing Islamists as leaders of American Islam," enabling them "to speak on behalf of ordinary Muslims."
"If the foundation really wants to put its money where its mouth is," the MEF concludes, it should fund moderate Muslim-American groups working to fight Islamic extremism, and spread the message that intolerance need not be tolerated when doing charitable work with Muslims.