Friday, July 13, 2012

Expert Gives Florida Police Anti-Muslim Training, Claims Civil Rights Group

By Claire Gordon | AOL | July 13, 2012 | [Original Article]

"Counterterrorism in the U.S. is traditionally the job of the FBI. But since 9/11, increasing numbers of state and local police have undergone training in spotting and catching terrorists, often funded by federal grants. Muslim groups are now concerned that some of the counterterrorism experts instructing our nation's police are unqualified and bigoted, spreading stereotypes about Muslims that ultimately make our country less safe.

One of those experts is Sam Kharoba, president of the Florida-based Counter Terrorism Operations Center. Through an open information request, the Council on American-Islam Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization, found that Kharoba had conducted at least 21 separate trainings in Florida between 2005 and 2011, many of them sponsored and advertised by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

A letter sent Wednesday, co-signed by 18 other Muslim organizations and a half-dozen Florida mosques, as well as non-Muslim advocacy groups, asked FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey to sever the department's ties with Kharoba; to hire "someone with appropriate credentials and accurate subject matter content" to re-educate the officers who received his training; and to adopt a vetting procedure for counterterrorism experts who train police...

...Kharoba is a Christian, but was born in majority Muslim Jordan. "That's like saying any American who lives in America is qualified to teach about Christianity," says Hassan Shibly, the executive director of CAIR's Florida chapter.

Shibly believes that Kharoba's teachings result in more police profiling of Muslims. "We've had so many complaints from local Muslims who've been praying, and stopped and questioned," he says. "and asked what hand he wears his watch on. This guy teaches that if you wear a watch on your right hand you're a jihadist."...

...Critics of the training fear that it will discourage American Muslims from coming to police officers and agents with valuable leads, and cooperating with investigations.

FBI Director Robert Mueller has said on record that the cooperation of Muslim communities is "tremendously important" and that revelations, such as the one about offensive training materials, "set us back.""

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