The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726,

Coalition Concerned that Anti-Islam Leader Trained FBI

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


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

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

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

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

The conclusion of the coalition's letter to Director Mueller

"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)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

(202) 488-8787