New report says taxpayer-funded trainers 'propagate dangerous Islamophobic themes'
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the Obama administration and Congress to provide oversight for what a new report says is widespread anti-Muslim bias in the training of law enforcement and security personnel nationwide.
SEE: New Concern About Bias in Counterterror Training (NPR)
Manufacturing the Muslim Menace
CAIR's request for oversight comes following the release of an 80-page report, titled "Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security," released today by Political Research Associates (PRA) that details a systemic failure to regulate content in counterterrorism training.
PRA says its report exposes the "anti-Islamic rhetoric propagated in one form or another by trainers associated with three private counterterrorism organizations with national outreach, and exposure to over 130,000 security and law-enforcement personnel."
According to the executive summary of the report: "[P]ublic servants are regularly presented with misleading, inflammatory, and dangerous information about the nature of the terror threat through highly politicized seminars, industry conferences, trade publications, and electronic media. . .a vocal and influential sub-group of the private counterterrorism training industry markets conspiracy theories about secret jihadi campaigns to replace the U.S. Constitution with Sharia law, and effectively impugns all of Islam -- a world religion with 1.3 billion adherents -- as inherently violent and even terroristic."
SEE: Manufacturing the Muslim Menace
PRA's nine-month investigation focused on three organizations -- International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association (ICTOA), a nonprofit corporation founded by New York Police Department personnel; Security Solutions International, LLC (SSI), a Florida-based company that also publishes "The Counter Terrorist" magazine; and The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI Centre), a for-profit company that functions as a training academy and speakers bureau in Washington, D.C.
The report states: "Although different from each other in many regards, all three groups, or their affiliated trainers and spokespeople, propagate dangerous Islamophobic themes and stories to personnel charged with public safety and national security."
Islampohobic themes promoted by the trainers include claiming that Islam is a "terrorist" religion, that Muslims are a "fifth column" in America, that mainstream Muslims have terrorist ties, and that Muslims seek to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law.
Possible negative outcomes of the biased training could include biased intelligence analysis, stereotyping and profiling of Muslims, unlawful searches and illegal surveillance, physical violence and hate crimes, and the chilling of free speech.
"CAIR supports the recommendations in this revealing report that focus on increased government oversight of counterterrorism training to ensure that such training is balanced, accurate and free of anti-Muslim bias," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
He added that the Washington Monthly magazine recently published a major investigative article showing similar anti-Islam attitudes by private trainers of law enforcement agencies.
SEE: How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam
Hooper noted that in 2008, the Port of Seattle dissociated itself from cooperating with SSI, one of the group's investigated by PRA, after learning of concerns about the anti-Islam bias of its presenters.
SEE: Does Course on Islam Give Law Enforcers Wrong Idea? (Seattle Times)
CAIR's New York chapter (CAIR-NY) recently called on the New York Police Department (NYPD) to investigate how a notorious anti-Muslim propaganda film came to be used in mandatory counterterrorism training.
SEE: NYPD Cops' Training Included an Anti-Muslim Horror Flick
CAIR also asked the Defense Department not to use anti-Muslim extremists to train military personnel. That request came after Robert Spencer, one of the nation's most notorious Islamophobes, published a post on his blog claiming he trained members of the "military intelligence community."
SEE: FAIR Unmasks the Smearcasters - Robert Spencer
A coalition of Muslim, Sikh, Asian-American, and other civil liberties groups called on FBI Director Robert Mueller to explain why Spencer was invited to train state and federal law enforcement officers. The letter noted that Spencer has referred to Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a "con man."
SEE: Coalition Letter to Director Mueller
CAIR made a similar request of counterterrorism and military leaders not to employ Muslim-bashers as trainers following a Washington Post investigative report on post-9/11 government surveillance, which stated: "Seeking to learn more about Islam and terrorism, some law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies."
SEE: Monitoring America (Wash. Post)
Video: CAIR Decries Anti-Muslim Police Trainers
Islam-Bashing Bigots Train Counterterrorism Agents
Last year, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) acknowledged that an anti-Islam film should not have been used in training offered to security personnel by that military law enforcement agency.
CAIR contacted NCIS after receiving a report that a three-day NCIS surveillance detection course at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., included the viewing of a propagandistic anti-Islam film.
SEE: CAIR Seeks Probe of Anti-Islam Bias in Military Training
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations