Unmasking the New Lines Institute and Its Sinister Allegiances

The recent release of “Genocide in Tigray” by the New Lines Institute has ignited significant controversy. Media outlets such as Al Jazeera, ABC, and the Globe and Mail have heralded it as a groundbreaking independent investigation into allegations of genocide, lending it an aura of unprecedented importance. However, a deeper look reveals a dark twist.

In a previous note, Abren Editorial refuted the report made by the New Lines Institute, as a replay of debunked claims and misjudgments on Ethiopia. It was important to first disprove the claims solely on their merit, but now we take things a bit further, to explore the controversial background and history of the New Lines Institute itself.

Beneath the guise of independence lies a harsh reality. An examination of the report and its institutional ties reveals a significant discrepancy with its claims of impartiality and expertise. Many of the supposed experts and founding members have close affiliations with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), an organization linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and allegations of supporting terrorism.

report by the National Review in 2010 exposed, following the 911 terrorist attacks and the resulting war on terror, IIIT had been demonstrated by the Justice Department to be an unindicted coconspirator with extremist Islamic groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

The unsettling agenda and shadowy origins of the Washington D.C.-based New Lines Institute unveil darker truths

According to a report Kyle Shideler, Director and Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at the Center for Security and Policy, “Previously known as the Center for Global Policy (CGP), the now rebranded “New Lines Institute” has emerged as a newcomer in Washington D.C.’s think-tank scene, presenting itself with a polished image akin to numerous others in the capital”. CGP positioned itself as the first independent, non-partisan American think tank dedicated to the intersection of U.S. foreign policy and Muslim geopolitics.

Senior Fellow David Reaboi from the Center for Security Policy highlighted the revelation, commenting, “It turns out that the ‘new’ Center for Global Policy is actually the International Institute for Islamic Thought—an organization associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, considered one of the most dangerous and subversive groups.”

Moreover, at the time, Ahmed Alwani, the founder and president of New Lines Institute, also held the vice-president position at IIIT, as detailed on their website. His background includes a presidency at Fairfax University of America, the institution funding the contentious report.

However, Fairfax University of America has faced severe credibility challenges, coming under scrutiny from local regulators and nearly facing closure. Originally named Virginia International University, it has been categorized as a private university in Virginia. The U.S. National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity recommended withdrawing its accreditation due to insufficient oversight. Official statistics from the U.S. Department of Education paint a bleak picture, with only 153 students enrolled between 2020 and 2021, and the university’s Twitter account having a mere 13 followers.

Anonymous comment by a former employee reveals Fairfax University as a fraud with an oppressive work culture and incompetent management

Despite public perception, operating affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States are neither uncommon nor illegal. For instance, in February 2012, Donald Trump accused President Obama’s administration of allocating significant funding to support the ‘Arab Spring’ and the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in Egypt. Trump continued his criticism later that year, alleging Obama’s intentions to allocate further millions to the Muslim Brotherhood to foment the Arab Spring revolution, which later turned out to be an Arab Winter, leading to multiple seemingly intractable infernos in Libya, Yemen, and Syria.

While direct evidence of collaboration between the U.S. government and New Lines has not been substantiated, the group acknowledges receiving funding from government offices. Characterizations along these lines have also been made. Last month, a report by alternative Mint Press stated, “With their quiet admission of U.S. government funding, New Lines joins an ever-growing list of organizations like Graphika and Bellingcat that present themselves as independent but receive funding from the government. The article, goes on to say, ‘Worse still, New Lines has been at the forefront of attacking and demonizing the few dissenting voices in American foreign Policy’.

The New Lines Institute’s historical affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood network does not automatically suggest that every scholar there is a member of the Brotherhood, or that they are fully aware of this affiliation. However, the institutes’ repeated attempts to rebrand itself following media revelations, coupled with efforts to mislead people about the true nature of their connection with IIIT, raises significant doubts and undermines confidence in the group’s initiatives.

Given its shady history and multiple deception attempts, it is not extraordinary for the New Lines Institute to accept payment to produce a dubious report. Indeed, its latest claim that the now ended war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region constituted a “Genocide” is absurd. Not only are the merits of that story unsubstantiated, but the storytellers themselves have grave shortcomings, compromising their objectivity. The New Lines Institute is yet another addition to a long list of cons claiming to be experts on Ethiopia.

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