Law enforcement, prosecutors to be trained by conspiracy theorist John Guandolo who claims CIA director is 'secret Muslim,' Arizona Muslim leaders are Muslim Brotherhood members
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/15/2014) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect the civil rights of Arizona Muslims after a county attorney in that state refused to cancel a training session for prosecutors and law enforcement personnel featuring anti-Islam conspiracy theorist John Guandolo.
Guandolo will offer that training, which is sponsored by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, on September 19 in Tempe, Ariz.
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CAIR says Guandolo's conspiracy theories, including claims that respected Arizona Muslim leaders are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and that the current CIA director is a Muslim "agent," will prevent local Muslims who come in contact with the justice system from being treated fairly.
"Any prosecutor or police officer whose view of the world has been colored by John Guandolo's Islamophobia and conspiracy theories would inevitably view every Arizona Muslim with suspicion," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "The Department of Justice should intervene to prevent the civil rights of Arizona Muslims from being negatively impacted in the courts and in interactions with law enforcement."
CAIR's request to the DOJ comes as Attorney General Eric Holder today announced a strategy designed to disrupt Americans from joining terrorist groups.
"Anti-Muslim extremism is never the answer to legitimate concerns about those who might adopt extremist religious views," said Hooper.
"Sadly, this continues a disturbing trend by Maricopa County of promoting discriminatory practices, such as the racial profiling of Latinos, which was deemed unconstitutional," said Imraan Siddiqi, president of CAIR's Arizona chapter. "We have already seen an upswing in cases of religious questioning at the border, which could certainly be a result of biased law enforcement trainings such as this."
In August, CAIR joined a coalition of 75 groups urging the Obama administration to take "immediate action to end the use of anti-Muslim training materials and address anti-Muslim conduct exhibited by agencies throughout the federal government."
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.'"
In February of this year, 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.
In May, 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.
Guandolo left the FBI shortly after reports surfaced that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a key witness in a corruption trial targeting a member of Congress.
Earlier this year, 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."
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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