(RNS) A small number of conservative foundations are propelling a handful of anti-Islamic activists who are fueling rising levels of Islamophobia, according to a report issued Friday (Aug. 26) by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
The 130-page report identifies seven conservative funders who between 2001 and 2009 gave $42.6 million to eight anti-Islamic causes, most of them headed by individuals who critics say form an organized network.

The report is the latest among recent reports by CNN, The New York Times and The Tennessean that scrutinize these organizations. Authors of the CAP report hope the public pressure will persuade donors to stop funding these groups.

“The intention of this report is simple. We want to end Islamophobia,” said Faiz Shakir, a report author.

The Donor Capital Fund in Alexandria, Va., was the single biggest funder and made the single biggest gift, $18 million, to the Clarion Fund, which in 2008 paid millions of dollars to disseminate an anti-Muslim DVD through local newspapers.

The next three largest funders named in the report were foundations belonging to newspaper publisher Richard Mellon Scaife ($7.9 million); the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation ($5.4 million); and the Russell Berrie Foundation ($3.1 million)

Besides the Clarion Fund, other funding recipients include the website http://www.jihadwatch.com; the Middle East Forum headed by academic Daniel Pipes; the Investigative Project on Terrorism headed by former CNN reporter Steven Emerson; and the Center for Security Policy, headed by Frank Gaffney, a former defense official in the Reagan administration.

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