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Washington, U.S.A. — On Wednesday, July 11, the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations will hold news conferences in Tampa and Pembroke Pines to release a letter from a coalition of Muslim organizations that asks the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to address its repeated use of a notorious anti-Muslim bigot as a counterterrorism trainer.
At the news conferences, CAIR-FL will release a letter sent to the FDLE requesting that the department no longer use Sam Kharoba of the Counter Terrorism Operations Center (CTOC) as a trainer on issues related to Islam and Muslims.
The coalition’s letter asserts that Kharoba’s training materials on Islam are riddled with inaccuracies, sweeping generalizations and stereotypes, that he is unqualified as a subject matter expert on either Islam or countering violent extremism, and that his training has elicited disturbingly prejudiced responses from trainees.
That letter also asks that officers who received Kharoba’s biased training be given accurate and unbiased retraining by credible experts and that the FDLE adopt a policy ensuring that those offering counterterrorism training be vetted for their academic credentials, operational experience and accuracy of course content.
Documents obtained by CAIR-FL reveal at least 21 separate trainings conducted by Kharoba in Florida from 2005-2012. In many cases, these trainings were sanctioned by the FDLE.
The documents were obtained through a nationwide effort in which CAIR chapters filed 87 separate public records requests about possible Islamophobic training of local, state and national law enforcement personnel.
Kharoba’s main training manual, “A Law Enforcement Guide to Understanding Islamist Terrorism,” combines vile accusations against Islam, sweeping generalizations targeting all Muslims and factual inaccuracies, according to CAIR.
About the manual, the coalition letter states: “Objective readers of this material will walk away with a clear impression that Al-Qaeda and its ideological allies are representative of mainstream Islam and that all Muslims lie as a matter of routine.”
The first chapter of Kharoba’s training manual attacks the entire religion of Islam and attempts to prove, through selective evidence, that it is inherently violent. He writes: “Most of us have heard statements similar to ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ and that ‘Muslim radicals hijacked, twisted and altered Islam to justify their Jihad against non-Muslims.’ This book will provide definitive proof contradicting these statements and allegations.”
In its 2011 investigative report, “How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam,” Washington Monthly quoted Kharoba: “‘When I look at the life of Muhammad, I get a very nasty image,’ said Kharoba. . .’And that is just to start off with. Anyone who says that Islam is a religion of peace,’ he continued, ‘is either ignorant or flat out lying.’”
CAIR also recently called on the Department of Defense to dismiss an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, who taught fellow officers that only a “total war” on Islam would protect America, that they should use “Hiroshima” tactics, target civilian populations, and abandon the Geneva Conventions. The instructor of that course was later relieved of his teaching duties.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization has also called on the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security and Congress to provide oversight for apparently widespread anti-Muslim bias in the training of law enforcement, security and military personnel nationwide.
An 80-page report by Political Research Associates (PRA), titled “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security,” details a systemic failure to regulate content in counterterrorism 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.