January 17th, 2011 14:30 EST
CAIR Asks Defense Department Not to Use Anti-Muslim Extremists to Train Military Personnel
A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is again asking the Defense Department not to use anti-Muslim extremists to train military personnel.
That renewed request by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) comes after Robert Spencer, one of the nation`s most notorious Islamophobes, published a post on his blog claiming he trained members of the "military intelligence community" on Friday. The insignia in the photographs Spencer posted on his hate site appear to correspond to those of the 149th Brigade of the 35th Infantry Division based in Louisville, Ky.
Spencer is co-founder of an anti-Islam hate group called Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), which was the main opponent of the planned Park51 Islamic community center in New York City. SIOA is an outgrowth of a similar group in Europe that seeks to block the construction of mosques on that continent. SIOA`s sister organization, Stop the Islamization of Europe, "considers Islamophobia to be the height of common sense."
The independent national media watch group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) identified Spencer as one of "Islamophobia`s Dirty Dozen" who systematically "spread fear, bigotry, and misinformation." In its report, FAIR said, "By selectively ignoring inconvenient Islamic texts and commentaries, Spencer concludes that Islam is innately extremist and violent."
SEE: FAIR Unmasks the Smearcasters - Robert Spencer
A coalition of Muslim, Sikh, Asian-American, and other civil liberties groups recently called on FBI Director Robert Mueller to explain why Spencer was invited to train state and federal law enforcement officers. The letter noted that Spencer has referred to Islam`s Prophet Muhammad as a "con man."
SEE: Coalition Letter to Director Mueller
"Our nation`s military and intelligence officials deserve accurate and balanced information about Islam and Muslims, not extremist polemics," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Using trainers with track records of anti-Muslim bias is counterproductive to our nation`s security and sends our troops overseas equipped with flawed information."
He said such actions by government officials only serve to alienate ordinary American Muslims and send the wrong message to security and military trainees. "It is similar to having the KKK or neo-Nazis train military personnel on issues related to the Jewish or African-American communities," said Hooper.
Hooper noted that CAIR made a similar request of counterterrorism and military leaders not to employ Muslim-bashers as trainers following a Washington Post investigative report on post-9/11 government surveillance, which stated: "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)
Video: CAIR Decries Anti-Muslim Police Trainers
Islam-Bashing Bigots Train Counterterrorism Agents
Last year, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) acknowledged that an anti-Islam film should not have been used in training offered to security personnel by that military law enforcement agency.
CAIR contacted NCIS after receiving a report that a three-day NCIS surveillance detection course at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., included the viewing of a propagandistic anti-Islam film.
SEE: CAIR Seeks Probe of Anti-Islam Bias in Military Training
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.