(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/21/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and other law enforcement agencies in that state to investigate whether any officers will attend a training conference later this month featuring notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Ryan Mauro, who promotes the debunked “Muslim no-go-zones” myth.
Mauro, who works for the anti-Muslim Clarion Project (formerly the Clarion Fund), is a featured speaker at the New York Tactical Officers Association’s Tactical Conference to be held April 26-28 in Verona, N.Y. One of his presentations is focused on “The Threat of Islamic Extremism in America and New York State.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center says Mauro “has promoted the false narrative of ‘no-go zones’ for non-Muslims in Europe. Mauro also told Fox News host Megyn Kelly that there are growing Muslim enclaves in the U.S. where gangs of Islamic extremists are ‘patrolling’ neighborhoods and enforcing the tenants (sic) of Shariah law.”
Mauro has also claimed that the “Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the highest echelons of the Republican Party, as well as the Department of Homeland Security.”
The Clarion Project has been criticized for producing Islamophobic material, including propaganda films like “Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West,” which Think Progress says was the first installment of "Clarion's ongoing production of Islamophobic films." The St. Petersburg Times revealed ties between the film's distributors and the Israel-based group Aish HaTorah.
Another Clarion Project propaganda film, "The Third Jihad," depicts Muslims as inherently violent and seeking world domination. Following revelations that the film was shown as part of training at the NYPD, then Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called it "wacky" and "objectionable."
Clarion Project board members have included Frank Gaffney, one of the nation’s most notorious Islamophobes, who has promoted reviving the McCarthy-like House Un-American Activities Committee.
In a letter to New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in part:
“As the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, first let me thank you for standing in support of the Muslim community after recent Islamophobic comments made by GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Your remarks were appreciated during a time when American Muslim feel besieged by anti-Muslim rhetoric and bias incidents. . .
The information above clearly demonstrates that any representative of the Clarion Project falls well short of reasonable standards, such as the guiding principles for all training conducted or funded by the Department of Justice as outlined by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole on March 20, 2012.
“Similarly, Mauro’s resume disqualifies him as a subject matter expert in light of the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training Guidance and Best Practices,’ which covers counterterrorism training.
“We urge you to ensure that NYPD personnel are warned of the conspiracy theories promoted by the featured speaker, that no taxpayer dollars go to pay for attendance and that any officer who attends in his or her private capacity does not receive continuing education credit.”
Backgrounder on Anti-Muslim Police Training:
• Last year, CAIR similarly asked police departments in the Denver, Colo., area to investigate whether any of their officers would attend training offered by the notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist John Guandolo, who claims the CIA director is a secret Muslim agent.
• Also last year, CAIR welcomed the withdrawal of an FBI representative from an event in Texas that was initially sponsored by the anti-Muslim hate group ACT! for America and featured Guandolo.
• CAIR’s New Jersey chapter welcomed an announcement by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office that it will issue new guidelines on police training to all 21 county prosecutors after the Muslim civil rights organization challenged a training program featuring notorious Islamophobe Walid Shoebat, who has called Islam "the devil."
• In 2014, 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.
• Also in 2014, 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.
Several years ago, following calls for reform by CAIR and other groups after revelations of apparently widespread anti-Muslim bias in the training of law enforcement, security and military personnel nationwide, the Obama administration removed biased and inaccurate materials about Islam from federal trainings.
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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