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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2010
4:32 PM

CONTACT: Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

Coalition Concerned that Anti-Islam Leader Trained FBI

Groups Seek Response From FBI Director Mueller on Invitation to Prominent Islamophobe

WASHINGTON - August 3 - A coalition of Muslim, Sikh, Asian-American, and other civil liberties groups* today sent an open letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller seeking an explanation of why a leader of an anti-Islam hate group was recently invited to train state and federal law enforcement officers.

Robert Spencer, co-founder of the hate group Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), claimed in a blog post that he "gave two two-hour seminars on the belief-system of Islamic jihadists to the Tidewater Joint Terrorism Task Force." Those attending the training reportedly included FBI agents.

In its letter to Mueller, the coalition outlined Spencer's bigoted views on Islam and Muslims, including referring to Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a "con man."

SEE: Coalition Letter to Director Mueller

The letter cited the independent national media watch group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), which 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

The coalition's letter also noted that Spencer joined with hate-blogger Pamela Geller to found a new organization named Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA):

"SIOA has come to prominence through shrill opposition to the building of American mosques, anti-Islam bus and taxi advertising campaigns, support for European far-right groups and Islamophobes such as the English Defence League and Geert Wilders, and bigoted anti-Islam statements by its co-leader, Pamela Geller.

"Geller has claimed that 'Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by Islam' and offered rhetorical support to both accused Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and slain Apartheid-era leader Eugene Terre'blanche."

SIOA is an outgrowth of a similar group in Europe that seeks to block the construction of mosques. That group, Stop the Islamization of Europe, "considers Islamophobia to be the height of common sense."

SEE: SIOA is an Anti-Muslim Hate Group Fox Opens Its Airwaves to Anti-Muslim Activist Geller

The United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant SIOA a trademark because: "The applied-for mark refers to Muslims in a disparaging manner because by definition it implies that conversion or conformity to Islam is something that needs to be stopped or caused to cease."

Spencer also co-authored, with Geller, the recently-published book, "The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America," which sounds a "wake-up call for Americans to stop the Obama administration from limiting our hard-won freedoms, silencing our democratic voices, and irreparably harming America for generations to come."

The conclusion of the coalition's letter to Director Mueller states:

"Mr. Spencer is entitled to his radical views and associations. We strongly believe that such plainly bigoted views, and those who hold them, should be relegated to the fringe of our nation's discourse, not given a veneer of legitimacy by being invited to train the institutions and individuals charged with protecting our nation from violent extremists.

"We hope to distribute your response to our respective constituencies in order to alleviate grassroots concerns regarding individuals and groups with clear anti-Muslim motivations being used as trainers for our nation's law enforcement."

*Signatories to the letter to Mueller include:

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Defending Dissent Foundation
Islamic Shura Council of Southern California
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

MAS Freedom
Muslim Advocates
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Sikh Coalition
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

###

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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