(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/3/17) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed a decision by the Mesa Police Department in Mesa, Ariz., that an upcoming “training” by notorious Islamophobe and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist John Guandolo will be the “last time” for such an event.
CAIR says Guandolo’s hate group Understanding the Threat (UTT) is scheduled to hold the law enforcement training May 16-18 in Mesa, Ariz., at the invitation of the Arizona Police Association (APA). The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization urged the Mesa Police Department not to host Guandolo’s “training.”
In a response sent to CAIR today, Interim Mesa Police Chief Michael J. Dvorak said the event was made possible “through a grant provided by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.” He said the Mesa Police Department “is not participating as a host, sponsor or monetary contributor.”
He noted: “I have directed our staff to explore other training opportunities in similar genres so our peace officers can have a comprehensive view of these topics. Thus, this will be the last time this specific training will be utilizing our training facility as we intend to move forward with other training opportunities.”
Among his many bizarre and Islamophobic claims, Guandolo has falsely stated U.S. mosques are planning armed attacks on law enforcement authorities and churches, that the Black Lives Matter movement is funded by “enemies of the United States,” that when a Delaware Imam (Islamic religious leader) touched his nose during the pledge of allegiance before a legislative session it was part of “civilizational jihad,” that former CIA Director John Brennan was a secret Muslim, that Muslims are “obligated” to lie, and that it is “unprofessional” for officials to seek information about Islam from Islamic religious leaders (imams).
CAIR Islamophobia Monitor: John Guandolo
CAIR recently called on the APA to cancel the training because Guandolo is putting local Muslim communities at risk by making the false claim recently that, “Mosques/Islamic Centers are organizing for armed confrontation with law enforcement, shoring up physical defenses where they see likely confrontation and increasing their pre-attack surveillances of churches and other targets.”
In response to CAIR’s concerns, APA Executive Director Levi Bolton apparently attempted to intimidate a CAIR representative with a bizarre request that he “complete sworn deposition here in Arizona” and “voluntarily report to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.” Bolton reportedly has no relationship with that office.
Backgrounder on Islamophobe John Guandolo:
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.'"
According to the SPLC, “Guandolo works closely with ACT! for America, the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the country.” ACT for America’s anti-Muslim bigotry was highlighted recently in a Washington Post exposé.
Last year, a Texas college canceled a similar event. The college’s decision came following a request by CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter.
In 2015, 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.
Virginia’s Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy rescinded its 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.
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.
A number of Arizona police departments decided not to send officers to one of Guandolo’s trainings.
Guandolo left the FBI shortly after reports surfaced that he had allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with a key witness in a corruption trial targeting a member of Congress. In addition he is documented as having falsified his credentials and work experience.
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.”
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
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.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
- END –