By Katie Gjertson
MNA Political Coordinator
Nurses are active in their communities and members of lots of different organizations, faith groups, and non-profits. Two MNA partners groups, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) and ISAIAH are powerfully working to fight back against the racism, Islamophobia, and the rise of hate groups in Minnesota.
Late last year, ISAIAH and CAIR-MN released a report titled “Minnesota’s Anti-Muslim Propaganda Mill.” The research project exposes the complex network of relationships behind the financing, production and distribution of hate and fear-mongering propaganda–specifically anti-Muslim propaganda in Minnesota. The report also details the policy agenda of those affiliated with these groups, notably an anti-union agenda.
“Minnesota’s Anti-Muslim Propaganda Mill” details the two main organizations that control or have close ties to four different online, and mostly anonymous blogs that regularly publish anti-Muslim content in Minnesota: The Freedom Club and the Center for the American Experiment. Both organizations have notable board members from the Minnesota business and legal community. In fact, Vice Presidents of both General Mills and Comcast sit on the board of directors of the Center for the American Experiment, a group that produces radical anti-Muslim, anti-Somali, and anti-black propaganda.
Additionally, the Freedom Club and the Center for the American Experiment are fundamentally anti-union. The Center for the American Experiment is the force behind two right-to-work campaigns in Minnesota: the MNPCA, a shadowy group that is behind PCA (Personal Care Attendant) decertification legislation and a campaign to encourage teachers to drop their union in the wake of the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision. The Freedom Club also undertook extensive polling in 2011 to measure Minnesotan’s response to right-to-work legislation and was also a main force behind the 2012 marriage amendment and the 2012 voter ID amendment.
All Minnesotans, no matter the color of their skin or the religion they observe, want similar things, including security, safety, health, and access to good jobs and education. Unfortunately, the groups exposed by this report are actively working to try to divide us based on fear and hate. This report is an important step in exposing exactly who is behind hate groups, who sadly seem to be on the rise in Minnesota. Only once a light is shed on the specific people, where the money is coming from, and their agenda, can we effectively chart a course to thwart hate.
The full report is available here: https://isaiahmn.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/The-Propaganda-Mill.pdf.