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March 3, 2017 6:18 am

Think Tank Calls on Silicon Valley Foundation to Halt Funding to Extremist Groups

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Outside of the UBS office in New York City. Photo: Serge Attal/Flash90.

Outside of the UBS office in New York City. Photo: Serge Attal/Flash90. – The Middle East Forum (MEF) think tank is urging the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to stop funding extremist groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief.

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) gave eight donations totaling $330,524 to these two groups, MEF’s Islamist Watch project found.

“The SVCF is the country’s leading community foundation, with more than $8 billion in assets,” Gregg Roman, director of MEF, said Wednesday. “It enjoys close partnerships with dozens of prominent tech companies. We call on the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to stop funding organizations that promote extremism. When the SVCF funds Islamist groups, it is betraying those moderate Muslims working to free their faith from the grip of extremists, who have learned to shroud their work under the guise of charitable endeavor.”

CAIR received five donations from the California-based foundation totaling $132,933, while Islamic Relief received three donations totaling $197,591, according to MEF.

“CAIR and Islamic Relief regularly give platforms to speakers who incite hatred against women, Jews, Christians and the LGBTQ community,” MEF said. 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 (UAE), a largely devout Muslim country, designated CAIR a terrorist organization. The Anti-Defamation League accuses CAIR of promoting anti-Jewish sentiments.

Islamic Relief—one of the largest Islamic charities in America and the Western world—had a U.S. income of about $110 million in 2014. 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.

In response, SVCF’s CEO Emmett Carson said in a statement, “We are proud of our support for CAIR and the work they do to enhance understanding of Muslims and Islam, encourage dialogue and protect the civil liberties of American Muslims. We stand by the grants we have made to CAIR and to Islamic Relief.”

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