Lauren Wolfe The Atlantic

Moderate Muslims Petition SVCF to Consider All Muslim Voices


Americans are wonderfully generous people and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), which has over $8 billion dollars in assets and ranks as the largest community foundation in the country, is a premier example of this joyful trait.

As moderate Muslims, the undersigned appreciate that SVCF has chosen to champion Muslim interests. However, we must register our grave concern at SVCF’s choice of charities and specifically that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Relief have between them received donations totaling $330,524 in the period 2008-15.

These organizations are Islamist, meaning that they work in favor of a foreign law code and against Western values in three key ways:

  1. Denying Plurality of Faith: Islam is a rich and diverse faith. However, CAIR and Islamic Relief work against any version of Islam except for their radical version.
  2. Stifling Muslim Free Speech: CAIR engages in online harassment and media campaigns that demonize free speech and authentic dialogue.
  3. Advocacy of Extremist Views: Both organizations host events featuring speakers with some of the most extreme rhetoric within American Islam. In the case of Islamic Relief, the organization gives charitably to terrorist sympathizers and enablers, including affiliates of Hamas – a foreign political group with documented evidence of supremacist views and Jew-hatred.

The Muslim-on-Muslim oppression these organizations regularly engage in goes against bedrock Western values. It monopolizes Islam by suffocating free speech through an “Islamic Inquisition” that bullies, harasses, and sometimes even seeks to ex-communicate Muslims who don’t hold their extreme views. In doing so, it blockades the natural evolution of ideas while persecuting those Muslims who dare to think boldly and bravely for themselves. This has been ongoing for 20-30 years, and continued support to these organizations expands their reach and ensure a monolith out of a faith that is deeply personal – going so far as to
politicize Islam and Muslims. If SVCF truly supports “understanding and tolerance,” it would not align with such organizations.

We call on SVCF to understand the crisis we face in repudiating Islamism. We ask SVCF to transfer its donations from CAIR and Islamic Relief to those Muslims who advocate free speech for all and the right to practice Islam as individuals.

Islamist organizations like CAIR and Islamic Relief demoralize Muslims who want to break away from the system of thought Islamism has set up. They make it systematically harder for Muslims to be part of the solution in carving a new Muslim identity that acculturates and challenges extremism from within.

Finally, a word about Daniel Pipes and the Middle East Forum, who have been libeled by SVCF. When CAIR shut the door on us and our own community turned its back on us, Pipes and MEF helped us. They have been allies and friends, offering moral support and helping us build platforms, when doctrinal police infiltrated into our own community. Wrongly labeled “Islamophobes,” they and others have taken up the torch for a cause that is not intrinsically their own, then doing the work that Islamic organizations and leaders should be doing.

As Western Muslims who embrace universal values, we welcome an opportunity to work with the SVCF and offer recommendations that meet donor expectations and the needs of Muslim communities in a way that honors the pillars SVCF stands for.


  • Nawab Agha, American Muslim Congress, Inc., and Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Chris Bilardi, Writer, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Noor Dahri, Founder, Pakistan Israel Alliance
  • Farzana Hassan, Author and Women’s Rights Activist
  • Tahir Gora, Secretary General, The Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations
  • Agha Shaukat Jafri, Secretary General, American Muslim Congress, Inc.
  • Dr. Waqas Khan
  • Dr. Salim Mansur, Western University, London, Ontario
  • Paul Nagy, Associate Researcher, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Shireen Qudosi, Director of Muslim Matters, at America Matters
  • Raheel Raza, President, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow
  • Sohail Raza, Treasurer, Muslims Facing Tomorrow
  • Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, Director, Center for Islamic Pluralism
  • Salma Siddiqui, President, Coalition of Progressive Muslim Organizations
  • Zana Trëndafilazezë, Creative Arts Consultant, Center for Islamic Pluralism



* Signatories support the author, content and message. Signatory alliance does not default to include support of all other signatories. If you’d like to add your name to this petition, please email info(at) with your name, affiliation/credentials, links to your work or social media account if applicable, and your statement of support.


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