Investigative Report: American Islamic Congress Funded by Islamophobes

WeddadyMax Blumenthal, The Electronic Intifada, 7 May 2013

On 18 April, three days after a bombing killed three and left many more wounded at the Boston marathon, a figure unknown to most Americans stepped suddenly into the national spotlight. At a nationally broadcast interfaith service addressed by President Barack Obama, a Mauritanian-born social media activist named Nasser Weddady appeared on stage as the designated representative of Boston's Muslim community. Introduced as the chairman of the New England Interfaith Council and the civil rights outreach director for the American Islamic Congress (AIC), Weddady delivered a well-received sermon referencing Jewish and Islamic scripture on non-violence.

Unlike the notable Jewish, Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Protestant religious figures chosen to speak at the service, Weddady was not an ordained clergy member, nor was he known to many members of the community he claimed to represent. In fact, he was a last-minute replacement for Suhaib Webb, a Muslim educator and imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest Muslim house of prayer in New England.

Commenting on Twitter that the office of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick "made the call" to replace him, Webb said the governor chose "Muhammad Weddady," misidentifying Nasser Weddady. When another Twitter user asked Webb who Weddady was, he responded, "No idea."

A report by the right-wing, pro-Israel website JNS.org suggested that Webb's replacement by Weddady was politically motivated ("Muslim Brotherhood-linked mosque's imam replaced as speaker at service for Boston Marathon attack victims," 21 April 2013). ...

According to Internal Revenue Service 990 information filings, the AIC is funded largely by a pool of right-wing donors responsible for bankrolling key players in America's Islamophobia industry, from Charles Jacobs to Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism and Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum. These same donors have pumped millions into major pro-Israel organizations, including groups involved in settlement activity and the Friends of the IDF, which provides assistance to the Israeli army.

Among the AIC's most reliable supporters is the Donors Capital Fund, which has provided at least $85,000 in funding since 2008. Donors Capital was among the seven foundations identified in the Center for American Progress's 2011 report Fear Inc. as "the lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America." Another foundation singled out in the report, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, has donated $325,000 to the AIC between 2005 and 2011. (Full article)