It really defies logic that people with clear anti-Muslim bias purport themselves as being “experts on Islam” and teach courses to law enforcement agencies about counter-terrorism. The latest of these is John Guandolo, who is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “notorious Muslim-basher and conspiracy theorist.”
Yet, he is not the only one. Others include Sam Kharoba and Walid Shoebat, the latter which said “All Islamic organizations in America should be the No. 1 enemy. All of them.” Omar Sacirbey, a Boston-based reporter for the Religion News Service, has done some excellent reporting about this and explains how this occurred:
After 9/11, several anti-Muslim activists emerged, speaking about Islam to audiences at churches, synagogues, political organizations and universities. With the nation focused on homeland security, many anti-Muslim speakers began offering their courses to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies– most which were paid for with taxpayer-funded government grants. Nearly 13 years later, these speakers continue to make money by training law enforcement officers, despite a history of rhetoric that seems to undermine their credibility.
How can this be possible?
As a lung specialist, I have treated dozens of patients with Asthma, a lung condition that can cause serious illness and even death. If there was ever a lung specialist who had a personal belief that Asthma was not a real disease and “in the patient’s head,” would that person be a credible consultant for patients with this condition? Would it be appropriate for him to see patients with Asthma, or even give lectures on the dangers of Asthma?
Of course not. Yet, when it comes to Islam, even this basic requirement – namely, that the “expert” should not have anti-Muslim bias – does not apply. Still, there has to be a sense on the part of the American public that it is not right for someone to be considered an “expert” on Islam while harboring clear anti-Muslim bias.
If there ever was a leader of the KKK who claimed to be an expert on African-American studies, or a member of the Nazi party who claimed to be an expert on Jewish studies, these people would be laughed off as frauds and charlatans. So, too, should be those who have clear anti-Islam bias and claim to be “experts” on Islam.
Not only do these “experts” continue to spread falsehoods and misconceptions about Islam, they are liable to put the public’s safety in jeopardy.
The consequences, critics add, go beyond political incorrectness and include undermining public safety and obscuring real dangers as police officers chase bad leads based on profiling.
Case in point: the NYPD, who spied on the New York Muslim community. After more than six years of spying, as well as thousands of dollars of spending, no leads were discovered.
In a June 28 deposition, part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said none of the conversations the officers overheard ever led to a case. “Related to Demographics,” Galati testified that information that has come in “has not commenced an investigation.”
These so-called “experts” cast a suspicious pall upon an entire law-abiding, loyal community of the United States, leading law-enforcement to do the same.
Law-enforcement should be working with the Muslim community instead of spying on it to help make our country safe. In fact, as outlined by a report by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim community in America has been essential in disrupting several terror plots.
These so-called “experts” can hate Islam all they want; it is their prerogative as free citizens of our country to do so. As Americans, they have the right to say all they want about Islam, though I strongly disagree with their views.
Yet, that does not give them the right to teach others misinformation about Islam, especially our law-enforcement officers. Not only does this tear at the fabric of our unity as a people, it does our great nation and her great people a tremendous disservice.