Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, July 2011
Islamophobia in the US, July 18, 2011:
CIA Uses Islamophobic Trainer John Guandolo Who Was Exposed by NPR for Smearing an Ohio Muslim
Herman Cain: Communities Have Right to Ban Mosques (CAIR)
Tenn. Mosque Opponents Caution Against Groundbreaking
Georgia Tea Party Holds Anti-Islam Event
WA Muslim Border Protest: 'We're Asking for Equal Treatment'
Maine Al-Jazeera Incident Shows Islamophobia Alive in U.S.
CAIR Asks CIA to Drop Islamophobic Trainer exposed by NPR for smearing Ohio Muslim scheduled to lecture at agency
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/18/11) --
A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on the CIA not to use one of the Islamophobic counter-terror trainers who were exposed this morning on National Public Radio (NPR) for allegedly smearing a respected Ohio Muslim.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also asked the CIA to conduct an agency-wide investigation of the use of taxpayer funds for outside trainers who offer stereotypical and inaccurate information about Muslims and Islam.
An NPR report this morning detailed how an Ohio Muslim was falsely associated with terrorist groups by John Guandolo, vice president of Virginia-based Strategic Engagement Group, Inc.
NPR reported: "Nearly a dozen sources contacted by NPR in the intelligence community, the FBI and at the Department of Homeland Security said [the Ohio Muslim] has no links to terrorists or terrorism. They said the accusations against him are unfounded."
The NPR report noted that one of the Ohio event trainers is scheduled to hold a similar session in August for the CIA.
"It is vitally important that CIA agents carry out their work protecting our nation based on real security threats, not on inaccurate and agenda-driven Islamophobic rhetoric," wrote CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Awad noted that CNN recently aired a two-part series exposing an "ex-terrorist" trainer, Walid Shoebat, as an anti-Islam fraud.
In May, CAIR asked Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to conduct an agency-wide investigation of the use of outside trainers who offer hostile, stereotypical and grossly inaccurate information about Muslims and Islam to the nation's security personnel.
CAIR has in the past called on the Obama administration, 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 and 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 recent 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.
Washington Monthly magazine also published a major investigative article showing similar anti-Islam attitudes by private trainers of law enforcement agencies.
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.
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.
Last month, 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.
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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