(ATLANTA, GA – 9/23/2019) — More than 120 students, activists, and community members attended “Atlanta Out of GILEE,” a town hall meeting at the Atlanta University Center regarding the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), an Islamophobic police exchange program. Since 1992, the program has arranged for Georgia law enforcement officials to engage in training with Israel, China, Egypt, and other foreign human rights violators.
During the town hall at the Robert Woodruff Library, which was co-hosted by CAIR-Georgia, Black Lives Matter Atlanta, Jewish Voice for Peace-Atlanta, and Project South, speakers discussed GILEE’s history of spreading Islamophobia, whitewashing the Israeli government’s oppression of Palestinians, teaching police officials dangerous tactics, and partnering with far-right extremists like Sebastian Gorka.
In a statement, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:
“The Georgia International Law Enforcement exchange was founded by an anti-Muslim bigot, teaches anti-Muslim bigotry and works with anti-Muslim bigots. To make matters worse, this biased and bigoted program arranges for Georgia law enforcement officers to learn about border policing, urban policing and mass surveillance from governments that regularly brutalize innocent people.
“Educating the broader public about GILEE is the first step toward ending it, especially in Atlanta. African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and other communities that bear the brunt of police brutality and government overreach must stand united in demanding the Atlanta Police Department end its involvement in this program.”
Among other racist and bigoted remarks, GILEE Founding Director Robert Friedmann, an anti-Palestinian activist with ties to the Israeli Embassy to the United States, has claimed:
- “The problem is, because of the First Amendment, the FBI won’t go into mosques.”
- “. . .from within Islamic sources, and I’m talking about the leadership, varied as it is, there has not been a single unequivocal condemnation of September 11th.”
- “Meanwhile self-styled Arab-American advocacy groups continue to support terror while focusing their efforts on mounting frivolous complaints about violations of their “rights.”
- “The ”˜silent majority’ of Muslims and their various advocacy groups have not yet broken their silence about terrorism, jihad and their attitude to the West.”
- “There is no Islamophobia. There is knife-o-phobia.”
GILEE’s foreign training partners include various nations that engage in human rights violations:
- China, where a surveillance state imprisons one million Uighyur Muslims in concentration camps.
- Egypt, where the police have opened fire on protesters, killing nearly 1,000 demonstrators in a single day, tortured dissidents, and subjected female protesters to “virginity tests.”
- Hungary, where Jewish activists are harassed and threatened by a far-right government that has sought to whitewash Hungary’s World War II collaboration with Nazi Germany.
- Israel, GILEE’s original and primary partner, whose military and police forces subject millions of Palestinians to an illegal occupation, engage in racial profiling, and open fire on unarmed protesters, among other human rights abuses.
- Uzbekistan, which has raided churches, arrested women for wearing hijabs, used forced labor in cotton fields as punishment, and subjected men accused of engaging in same-sex activity to “rectal examinations.”
Under the guise of teaching “urban policing” and “counter-terrorism,” GILEE has taught that officers should inspire fear by “racking” their firearms when they unholster them, flash their vehicle’s blue lights when patrolling neighborhoods, and limit free speech by targeting “incitement.”
GILEE has also published politically extreme articles that advocate for the Iraq War, call for bombing Iran, smear Arab-Americans, and slander former president Jimmy Carter: condemning him as “one of the worst presidents,” arguing he should have never received a Nobel Peace Prize, calling him and other anti-war activists “appeasers,” and calling for him to be labeled a “supporter of genocide.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-GA Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, email@example.com; CAIR-GA Communications Director Sawsan Selim, firstname.lastname@example.org