WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller calling for "swift action" to reform the agency's use of anti-Muslim instructors and Islamophobic materials during counterterrorism training.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says that recently-revealed FBI training materials teach counterterrorism agents that mainstream American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers, that the Prophet Mohammed was a "cult leader," and that Islamic charitable giving is a "funding mechanism for combat."
FBI Teaches Agents: 'Mainstream' Muslims Are 'Violent, Radical'
In its letter to Director Mueller, CAIR wrote in part:
"We are concerned by persistent reports of FBI personnel receiving biased training about Muslims and Islam. We believe that just as good training results in good investigations, biased training will inevitably result in biased investigations.
"Last year, in partnership with nine organizations and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, we contacted you about a Joint Terrorism Taskforce (JTTF) training in Tidewater, Va., which featured notorious Islamophobe Robert Spencer. In a letter responding to our detailed concerns demonstrating Spencer's connection to hate groups, FBI Special Agent in Charge Alex Turner said, '[Spencer] was invited because of his reputation as a best-selling author.'
"We were encouraged by a Washington Post article last December reporting that your agency has declined to use 'self-described experts whose extremist views are considered inaccurate and harmful.'
"However, in July 2011, it came to light that a training used within the department asserted that Islam 'transforms [a] country's culture into 7th-century Arabian ways.'
"Today, an article by Spencer Ackerman again demonstrates recent Islamophobic training being offered to your personnel, in this case by an individual employed by the agency as an intelligence analyst. Before being employed by the FBI, Mr. William Gawthrop, the analyst in question, had asserted his belief that 'Muhammad's mindset is a source for terrorism.'
"CAIR believes it is reasonable to question how a person with such a hostile view of an entire world religion could be placed in a position of responsibility that enables him to spread those views to other agents.
"We request that you take swift action to prohibit the use of biased trainers and training materials in the education of your agents. We believe that objective and factual information will produce agents who can protect our nation. Biased training not only results in wasted resources, but reflects badly on the agency as a whole."
In July, CAIR called on the CIA not to use one of the Islamophobic counter-terror trainers who were exposed on NPR for allegedly smearing a respected Ohio Muslim.
SEE: CAIR Asks CIA to Drop Islamophobic Trainer
CNN recently aired a two-part series exposing DHS-funded "ex-terrorist" trainer Walid Shoebat as an anti-Islam fraud.
Video: CNN Exposes Walid Shoebat's Terror Training Scam (CAIR)
CAIR has in the past called on the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security, 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.
SEE: CAIR Asks Sec. Napolitano to Probe Use of Islamophobic Trainers
Video: CAIR Decries Anti-Muslim Police Trainers
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: Muslim-Basher Trains U.S. Military Personnel in Kentucky
Active Anti-Muslim Groups
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
Earlier this year, CAIR's New York chapter (CAIR-NY) 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 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)
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
In June, CAIR and the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender released a report that documents growing Islamophobia in the United States and offers recommendations about how to challenge the troubling phenomenon.
SEE: Same Hate, New Target
Video: News Conference Announcing Release of Islamophobia Report
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.
Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook
Subscribe to CAIR's E-Mail List
Subscribe to CAIR's Twitter Feed
Subscribe to CAIR's YouTube Channel
CONTACT: CAIR Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, 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