For Immediate Release
CAIR Asks Virginia Sheriff to Drop Sponsorship of Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Seminar
WASHINGTON - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on a Virginia law enforcement agency to drop its sponsorship of an upcoming seminar featuring a representative of an anti-Muslim hate group, the leader of which claims the CIA director is a "secret Muslim."
CAIR says the Greene County Sheriff's Office is hosting a November 5 "Understanding the Threat" seminar billed as "a very interesting and informative class on the Muslim religion" and presented by an employee of notorious Islamophobe and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist John Guandolo. "Understanding the Threat" is a presentation normally offered by Guandolo himself.
Anti-Muslim anti-immigrant activist Suzanne Shattuck, who has called for the deportation of American Muslims, will also speak at the event.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that tracks hate groups in America, describes Guandolo as "a disreputable character, who regularly attacks the U.S. government, claims that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency is a secret Muslim agent for the Saudi government and says that American Muslims 'do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.'"
CAIR Islamophobia Monitor: John Guandolo
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Virginia's Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy once rescinded its approval of in-service training credits for state law enforcement scheduled to attend a training Guandolo was conducting in Culpeper, Va., after being made aware of his anti-Islam rhetoric.
Major General Tony Cucolo, Commandant of the US Army War College, informed CAIR in an email: "Mr. Guandolo's claim (in print) that he teaches at the Army War College and any other references (e.g., online) identifying him as an adjunct instructor here are simply untrue."
In a letter to Greene County Sheriff Steven S. Smith, CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor wrote in part:
"Everyone, even anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigots, have the First Amendment right to spew their hatred and conspiracy theories, but that bigotry should not have the implicit endorsement of a law enforcement agency. Let these individuals pay for their own private speaking venue and be ignored, as they deserve."
"The sponsorship of this event by the sheriff's office sends the message to members of the local Muslim community that they may not be protected against the growing number of hate incidents targeting Muslims nationwide due to rising Islamophobia."
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Last month, CAIR questioned whether taxpayer dollars were being used to pay for a similar event sponsored by the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office in Culpeper, Va.
In June of this year, a Texas college canceled another Guandolo event. The college's decision came following a request by CAIR's Dallas-Fort Work chapter.
SEE: Texas College Cancels Controversial Law Enforcement Training Event Led by 'Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theorist'
Ex-FBI Agent John Guandolo to Host Anti-Muslim Training at Texas College
CAIR-Dallas Asks College to Cancel Law Enforcement 'Training' by Islamophobe John Guandolo
Backgrounder on Islamophobe John Guandolo:
Last year, CAIR welcomed the withdrawal of an FBI representative from an event in Texas that was initially sponsored by the anti-Muslim hate group ACT! for America and featured Guandolo.
A sheriff in Kansas decided not to partner with a citizens group sponsoring a Guandolo training after being informed of his conspiracy theories. When a journalist at Kansas' Wichita Eagle covered the controversy, Guandolo accused the reporter of material support of terrorism.
A number of Arizona police departments decided not to send officers to one of Guandolo's trainings.
Guandolo left the FBI shortly after reports surfaced that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a key witness in a corruption trial targeting a member of Congress.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
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.