The Clarion Project
|Motto||Challenging extremism, Promoting dialogue|
|Tax ID no.||20-5845679|
|Mission||To educate people about the inherent dangers of Islamic extremism, provide a platform for moderate Muslim voices, and motivate people to take an active stand against those who want to deny others their basic human rights.|
The Clarion Project (formerly Clarion Fund, Inc.) is a New York City-based, independently funded, nonprofit organization founded in 2006 whose stated mission is to "educate people about the inherent dangers of Islamic extremism, provide a platform for moderate Muslim voices, and motivates people to take an active stand against those who want to deny others their basic human rights." With its main focus on what it calls "the most urgent threat of radical Islam." The group has been involved in the production and distribution of films such as Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, The Third Jihad, and Iranium. The Clarion Fund had their films shown at venues such as the Hudson Institute, Heritage Foundation, Library and Archives Canada, and Fox News Channel.
- 1 Origins and affiliations
- 2 Advisory Board
- 3 Featured Experts
- 4 News analysis website
- 5 Films produced by The Clarion Project
- 6 Criticism
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Origins and affiliations
The organization was founded by Canadian-Israeli film producer Raphael Shore. According to Clarion Fund's incorporation papers, it is based at the same address as Aish Hatorah, a pro-Israel organization. The three founders of The Clarion Fund are or were full-time employees of Aish HaTorah. Raphael Shore, the leader of The Clarion Fund was but is no longer a full-time employee of Aish HaTorah. Clarion Fund initially denied its ties to Aish Hatorah, which were first discovered by an IPS investigation in 2007.
The International Relations Center reports that the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) was Clarion's distribution partner for the Obsession DVD. EMET's advisors include former Israeli ambassador Yoram Ettinger, a former chair at the Ariel Center for Policy Research.
In December 2010, the organization announced an advisory board including:
- Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, and President of the Center for Security Policy
- Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy
- Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum and founder of Campus Watch
- Dr. Harold Rhode, Former Foreign Affairs Specialist at the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment and Senior Advisor at the Hudson Institute
- Ryan Mauro – Clarion Project’s National Security Analyst. He is frequently interviewed on top tier television channels and AM radio stations.
- Dr.Tawfik Hamid - an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one-time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of the Islamic terrorist organization al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri, who later became the second in command of Al-Qaeda. Hamid recognized the threat of radical Islam and the need for a reformation based upon modern peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic core texts. He is currently a Senior Fellow and Chair of the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.
- Raymond Ibrahim - an expert on the Middle East and Islam, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely-published author, he is best known for his book, The Al Qaeda Reader.
- Soeren Kern - a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.
- Clare Lopez – Regular contribution on clarionproject.org and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 20 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
News analysis website
The Clarion Project website is the premiere news analysis site focusing on the threats of Islamic extremism. It features analysis, alternative Muslim voices, blogs and videos, and promotes progressive Muslim organizations. Additionally, the site streams content, hosts webinars and acts as a social networking tool to bring people together around this critical issue.
Films produced by The Clarion Project
Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West (2006)
In September 2008, the group gained attention by distributing free copies of the film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, produced and co-written by Shore, by mail and in newspaper supplements. The Fund has reportedly sent 28 million DVDs to at least 70 newspapers in the United States to place at the doorstep of newspaper subscribers. The DVDs were distributed almost exclusively in swing states. The DVD's website www.radicalislam.org endorsed John McCain in September 2008, before being pulled down.
The movie starts with a disclaimer:
- "This is a film about radical Islamic terror. A dangerous ideology, fueled by religious hatred. It's important to remember most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror. This is not a film about them. This is a film about a radical worldview, and the threat it poses to us all, Muslim and non-Muslim alike."
Despite this statement, the DVD's content was controversial. The film features Walid Shoebat, who, according to the Huffington Post, said "Islam is the devil." NPR called the DVD inflammatory. The film draws parallels between Nazi Germany and monolithic Islam, according to Willamette Week. News & Record, a newspaper that refused to distribute the DVD, called it "fear-mongering and divisive."
Allegations of McCain support
McCain's policies seek to confront radical Islamic extremism and terrorism and roll it back while [Barack] Obama's, although intending to do the same, could in fact make the situation facing the West even worse.
The Huffington Post referred to the distribution as a "propaganda campaign". The National Public Radio received complaints from listeners who said the DVD seemed like a partisan message in favor of McCain.
The group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint against Clarion Fund, Inc. CAIR alleges that the free distribution of the documentary Obsession was designed to help John McCain win the presidential election. CAIR also claimed that Obsession is intended to foster hatred of Muslims. Because they are a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, the Clarion Fund is not legally permitted to intentionally influence voters.
Clarion Fund director of communications Gregory Ross, later acknowledged that the article "crossed the line" and would be removed. The Clarion Fund has denied that it endorsed any candidate, and asserts that they are a non-partisan organization.
The Third Jihad: Radical Islam's Vision For America (2008)
"Third Jihad" in the title refers to, according to the film makers the rise of Islamic terrorism (the film makers claim that Arab spread throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa in the seventh century, then the Turkish push into Constantinople and Southeastern Europe in the fifteenth century, were the first and second jihads).
In 2011, The Third Jihad was shown to over 1,489 NYPD officers over the course of three months to a year of police training. The use of the video was initially minimized by Police Academy officials, but the extent of its use was uncovered after a request under New York's Freedom of Information Act.
Clarion Fund has been criticized for its close ties to Aish Hatorah, a Jewish educational organization. According to Clarion Fund's incorporation papers, it is based at the same address as Aish Hatorah, a religious organization.
- "501 c(3)". Department of treasury.
- Choi, Robert (2007-07-27). "letter" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. Center for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved 2008-10-10. "...we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code."
- "Clarion Fund: National Security Through Education". New York City: Clarion Fund. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- "Documentary Portrays Islamic Extremists' Call to Arms Against the Free World". Fox News. 3 November 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- Berman, Daphna (2007-06-28). "'Obsession' stokes passions, fears and controversy". Haaretz. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- "Obsession - Radical Islam’s War Against the West - The Filmmakers". Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- Gharib, Ali; Clifton, Eli (2008-09-24). "Neo-cons, Ex-Israeli Diplomats Push Islamophobic Video". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- [dead link]
- "A dangerous Obsession". Asia Times. 2008-09-26.
- Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton. "Neo-cons, Ex-Israeli Diplomats Push Islamophobic Video". Inter Press Service.
- "Clarion Fund". Right Web. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- "Clarion Fund Announces Advisory Board". 23 December 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- Stakelbeck, Erick (December 26, 2013). "Brotherhood Supporters Advising Obama Admin?". CBN. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
- 'Radical Islam' video angers South Florida Muslims[dead link], September 16, 2008 Miami Herald. URL retrieved 2008-09-16.
- Shimron, Yonat (2008-09-13). "Controversial film on Islam delivered nationwide". The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina: The McClatchy Company). Retrieved 2008-10-29.[dead link]
- Mitchell, Greg; Strupp, Joe (2008-09-13). "Newspapers Deliver Millions of 'Terror' DVDs to Subscribers -- In 'Swing States'". Editor & Publisher (Nielsen Business Media). Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- "Terrorism: Looking for context". The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Florida). 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-10-09. "The documentary, Obsession, a DVD contained in this newspaper last Sunday, begins with a disclaimer. 'This is a film about radical Islamic terror.'"
- Mesh, Aaron (2008-10-01). "Obsession". Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon: Willamette Week Newspaper) 34 (47). Retrieved 2008-10-09. "'It's important to remember,' a title card warns in the first minute, over the sounds of ominous ululating, 'most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror.'"
- Miller, H Bruce (2008-09-30). ""Obsession": Springing a September Surprise?". The Source Weekly (Bend, Oregon: Lay It Out Inc). Retrieved 2008-10-09. "The opening sequence contains a cautionary note: 'It is important to remember most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror.'"[dead link]
- ""Obsession" DVD Raises Concerns Over Propaganda". WFOR-TV (Miami, Florida: CBS Television Stations). 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-10-09. "At the beginning of the film, it points out 'It's important to remember, most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror.'"
- Robinson, John (2009-09-21). "Why we didn't distribute "Obsession"". The Editor's Log. Greensboro, North Carolina: Greensboro News & Record. Retrieved 2008-10-09. "fear-mongering and divisive"
- Ose, Erik (2008-09-12). "Pro-McCain Group Dumping Twenty Eight Million Terror Scare DVD's In Swing States". North Carolina: Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- "Some Answers On Clarion, And Still Some Questions". National Public Radio.
- "DVD on radical Islam offends Lemoyne recipient". The Patriot-News.
- "CAIR Asks FEC to Probe Anti-Muslim DVDs Sent to Swing States". CAIR. 2008-09-23.
- Gharib, Ali (2008-09-19). "Anti-Islam Film Targets "Swing States" Voters". Washington: Inter Press Service News Agency. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- Ian Wilhelm (30 September 2008). "Advocacy Group under Fire for DVD". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- Davis, James (2009-06-30). "Film Review: The Third Jihad". Newsvine. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- "About The Third Jihad". New York: Clarion Fund. 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- Powell, Michael (2012-01-23). "In Police Training, a Dark Film on U.S. Muslims". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
- Posner, Sarah (2010-05-05). "Clarion Fund Claims Times Square Bombing Attempt Proof of 'Coordinated Jihad Against Western Values'". Washington: religion dispatches. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- "About the Film". Retrieved 23 January 2011.