Muslim civil rights group says incident is further evidence of need for reform in training
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called for disciplinary action to be taken against a top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official in Montana who forwarded an Islamophobic email to a Muslim attorney.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also called for a review of ICE training on issues related to Islam and the American Muslim community.
CAIR said a Muslim immigration attorney in Montana received the notorious "You Worry Me" email from that state's top U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ICE official, Bruce Norum. Norum wrote "Good read" in the forwarded message.
The Islamophobic email, the origins of which are in doubt, has been circulating on the Internet since the 9/11 terror attacks. Its contents suggest a loyalty test for Muslims and Arabs before they are granted constitutional rights.
It states in part: "I want to know, I DEMAND to know and I have a right to know, whether or not you love America. . .Do you pray in your many daily prayers that Allah will bless this nation; that He will protect it and let it prosper? Or do you pray that Allah with (sic) destroy it in one of your Jihads?"
SEE: Immigration Officer Forwards Racially Charged Email to Muslim-American Lawyer (Great Falls Tribune)
"This incident is yet another example of why our nation's security and counterterrorism agencies need to completely review and reform training and educational materials dealing with any issue related to Islam or American Muslims," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "The fact that such a senior official would re-distribute materials questioning the loyalty of American Muslims is evidence of an internal breakdown in training and suggests that an atmosphere of intolerance may be present in the agency."
Hooper said the official in question should be reprimanded and that ICE training should be reviewed and reformed.
Last week, CAIR called on American Muslims and other people of conscience to thank Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) for raising the issue of anti-Muslim training during questioning today of FBI Director Robert Mueller by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
SEE: CAIR Asks Muslims to Thank Ill. Rep. for Questions on Anti-Islam Training
CAIR had called for a "top to bottom" government review of training following a number of reports that security personnel have been trained to view mainstream American Muslims with suspicion and to view the faith of Islam itself as the source of terrorism and extremism.
CAIR Calls for 'Top To Bottom' Reform of Training on Islam
CAIR has in the past called on DHS, the Obama administration, the Department of Defense, and Congress to provide oversight for apparently widespread anti-Muslim bias in the training of law enforcement, security and military personnel nationwide.
Trainers for American military personnel have included Islamophobes such as Robert Spencer, co-founder of Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA). SIOA has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
CAIR noted the release of an 80-page report by Political Research Associates (PRA), titled "Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security," which details a systemic failure to regulate content in counterterrorism training.
Manufacturing the Muslim Menace
Washington Monthly magazine also 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
A number of recent reports have documented the growth and promotion of Islamophobia nationwide.
CAIR: Same Hate, New Target
Center for American Progress: Fear, Inc.
Southern Poverty Law Center: Jihad Against Islam
People for the American Way: The Right-Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism
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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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)