(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/18/2014) -- The Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) said today that several police departments in that state now say they will not take part in an Islamophobic training of county prosecutors and law enforcement personnel by conspiracy theorist John Guandolo scheduled for Friday in Tempe.
In a meeting last night with Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, the sponsor of the Islamophobic training, representatives of CAIR-AZ and state police departments, and leaders of the Arizona Muslim community discussed Guandolo's false claims such as his recent statement that state Muslim leaders are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and that the current CIA director is a Muslim "agent."
Video: Islamophobic Law Enforcement Trainer John Guandolo Smears AZ Muslim Leaders (CAIR)
At that meeting and through other sources, CAIR-AZ has learned that a number of police departments have decided not to send officers to Guandolo's training.
CAIR recently called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect the civil rights of Arizona Muslims after Montgomery refused to cancel the training session.
"We thank those police departments that have withdrawn support for this agenda-driven training and hope leaders of other law enforcement agencies will follow that example," said CAIR-AZ President Imraan Siddiqi. "Any attorney seeking fair treatment for a Muslim client will now have to take into consideration the potential bias of prosecutors or law enforcement officials who absorb John Guandolo's Islamophobic conspiracy theories."
He thanked the broad coalition of Muslim and interfaith leaders who have come together to stand against Guandolo's biased training.
Siddiqi added: "If this training goes forward, we will urge attorneys to challenge the bias of officers and prosecutors whose action towards Muslims would be in question. Information from this training would necessarily affect decisions to stop, investigate, arrest, and charge Muslims. Pretrial and trial tactics, including constitutional challenges to stops, searches and arrests, and requests for change of venue, should be considered by attorneys for Muslim clients."
Siddiqi noted that Clare Lopez, one of the training session's other presenters, has claimed that "when people in other bona fide religions follow their doctrines they become better people -- Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Jews. When Muslims follow their doctrine, they become jihadists."
In August, CAIR joined a coalition of 75 groups urging the Obama administration to take "immediate action to end the use of anti-Muslim training materials and address anti-Muslim conduct exhibited by agencies throughout the federal government."
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that tracks hate groups in America, describes Guandolo as "a disreputable character, who regularly attacks the U.S. government, claims that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency is a secret Muslim agent for the Saudi government and says that American Muslims 'do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.'"
In February of this year, Virginia's Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy rescinded its earlier approval of in-service training credits for state law enforcement scheduled to attend a training Guandolo was conducting in Culpeper, Va., after being made aware of his anti-Islam rhetoric.
In May, a sheriff in Kansas decided not to partner with a citizens group sponsoring a Guandolo training after being informed of his conspiracy theories. When a journalist at Kansas' Wichita Eagle covered the controversy, Guandolo accused the reporter of material support of terrorism.
Guandolo left the FBI shortly after reports surfaced that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a key witness in a corruption trial targeting a member of Congress.
Earlier this year, Major General Tony Cucolo, Commandant of the US Army War College, informed CAIR in an email: "Mr. Guandolo's claim (in print) that he teaches at the Army War College and any other references (e.g., online) identifying him as an adjunct instructor here are simply untrue."
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.
- END -