Muslim civil rights group, community leaders meet with Culpeper County sheriff
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/21/14) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on Virginia's Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to withdraw its accreditation for a three-day training program on "Jihadi Networks in America" that will be offered next week by John Guandolo, a notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist.
CAIR said an article in a local newspaper noted that "the training will count toward credits for the Department of Criminal Justice Services and that deputies need to attend 40 hours a year of training."
In a letter sent today to DCJS Director Garth Wheeler, CAIR outlined concerns about Guandolo's history of anti-Muslim bigotry, including his bizarre claim that the current CIA director is a secret Muslim, and stated: "We respectfully request that the Department of Criminal Justice Services withdraw its accreditation for this hate-filled training program." Wheeler responded by saying that he would look into the matter.
A similar letter was sent to Mike Harvey, executive director of the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy, the agency that actually approved the DCJS accreditation.
"Virginia's Department of Criminal Justice Services should not provide accreditation to an anti-Muslim program any more than it would accredit a presentation by the Ku Klux Klan or other hate groups," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "The Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy should immediately withdraw its DCJS accreditation of this hate-promoting program."
Earlier today, representatives of the Muslim community met with Culpeper County Sheriff Scott H. Jenkins. Muslim participants in the meeting say the sheriff displayed goodwill and proposed several steps that Muslims agree could alleviate their concerns. CAIR and the local Muslim leaders will monitor developments over the few days.
Virginia State Police officers and other state agencies told CAIR that they will not send officers to the training.
Background on John Guandolo's Anti-Muslim Bigotry:
Guandolo detailed his bizarre claim about the CIA director's alleged conversion to Islam in an interview with another notorious Islamophobe, Robert Spencer.
Earlier today, the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups in America, added details to its concerns about Guandolo.
Guandolo also asserts that American Muslims "do not have a First Amendment right to do anything," refers to America's mosques and Islamic centers as "barracks" and falsely claims "it is a permanent command in Islam for Muslims to hate and despise Jews and Christians."
Additionally, an article published by the Tennessean on February 15, 2012, reports Guandolo's belief that mosques are "front organizations for the Muslim Brotherhood with no right to exist."
During a 2012 anti-Muslim training in Tennessee, Guandolo was videoed shoving a local news camera that attempted to record the training. He is linked to one of nation's the most vicious anti-Muslim groups, ACT! for America.
SEE: ACT! for America to Launch Anti-Muslim Website for Law Enforcement
CAIR Islamophobia Backgrounder: ACT! for America and 'Brigitte Gabriel'
Following calls for reform by CAIR and other groups following 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.
An 80-page report by Political Research Associates (PRA), titled "Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security," 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 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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