American Islamic Congress
Following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, “a diverse group of American Muslims” came together to found the American Islamic Congress (AIC) in order to “combat negative stereotypes and to provide an American Muslim voice in speaking out against extremism and terrorism.” In service to this mission, AIC focuses on Advocacy, Engagement, Education, and Student Programs to promote moderate Muslim voices and combat extremism within Muslim communities both domestically and abroad. The organization is ostensibly non-partisan, and has accepted government funding from both the Obama and Bush State Departments.
However, the organization is also funded by a number of far-right donors that regularly contribute to the Islamphobia movement. Those donors include the Donors Capital Fund, which the Center for American Progress described as one seven organizations that form “the lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America” as well as the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which is a top conservative donor. In 2012, the organization received over $3 million in grants and spent approximately $3.3 million, including $36,000 in outgoing grants. At the end of the year, the organization had $191,585 in net assets.
The group’s founder, Zainab Al-Suwaij, who also serves on the Board of Trustees at Freedom House, spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention defending the invasion of Iraq. A Washington Post profile detailed her close relationship with “neoconservative policy wonks,” as well as Zudhi Jasser’s position on AIC’s board; Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy is also a celebrity among hawks, has backed a “congressional inquiry into the radicalization of Muslims” and has defended “a controversial New York City police surveillance program that would target Muslim Americans.” One scholar noted that “Zainab Al-Suwaij is obviously very popular with those that think there is something fundamentally wrong with Islam.”