(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/20/2010) — A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to review Justice Department policies on the reported use of anti-Muslim extremists to train counterterrorism officials nationwide.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said an investigative report on post-9/11 government surveillance published in today’s Washington Post states: “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)
The Post‘s report cites cases of individuals who lack formal training “teaching classes on terrorism and Islam to law enforcement officers all over the country.” One such trainer tells all his students that Muslims in the United States “want to impose sharia law here.”
Another trainer, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, told the Post he warns officers that “you need to look at the entire pool of Muslims in a community.” He recommends that law enforcement authorities “monitor Muslim student groups and local mosques and, if possible, tap their phones.”
The Post also noted that the Center for Security Policy, a right-wing think tank that recently published an inflammatory report targeting American Muslims, has spoken to many law enforcement forums.
According to the Post: “Government terrorism experts call the views expressed in the center’s book inaccurate and counterproductive.”
“The use of ill-informed and agenda-driven ‘experts’ will inevitably result in law enforcement practices that are based on misinformation, not on our nation’s legitimate security needs,” wrote CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a letter to Attorney General Holder.
He said the attorney general recently told American Muslims that “law enforcement has an obligation to ensure that members of every religious community enjoy the ability to worship … free from intimidation, violence or suspicion.”
SEE: Holder Calls Terrorism Sting Operations ‘Essential’ (NY Times)
“Those who view American Muslims as a suspect community should not be training local, state or federal law enforcement agencies,” said Awad.
He added that another recent investigative report outlined what the writer termed the “Great Islamophobic Crusade” by a growing network of groups and individuals “obsessively fixated on the supposed spread of Muslim influence in America.”
A coalition of Muslim, Sikh, Asian-American, and other civil liberties groups recently called on FBI Director Robert Mueller to explain why Robert Spencer, a leader of an anti-Islam hate group, was invited to train state and federal law enforcement officers.
In its letter to Mueller, the coalition outlined Spencer’s bigoted views on Islam and Muslims, including Spencer’s reference to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a “con man.”
SEE: Coalition Letter to Director Mueller
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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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com