Department of Homeland Security-funded counterterror trainings smear Muslims
Resource type: News
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PRA’s groundbreaking exposé of how tax dollars fund anti-Muslim trainings for police and counterterrorism personnel won the attention of news outlets and policy makers at its release this spring. We’ve been keeping the pressure on the Department of Homeland Security to stop funding flawed and bigoted training courses and in the last week our efforts have gotten a boost from CNN and National Public Radio.
NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston, one of the first to report on PRA’s findings , broadcast a “Morning Edition” story this week about a counterterrorism training in Ohio that smeared a Jordanian-American professor with accusations of links to terrorism. NPR reports that the professor had worked with the Department of Homeland Security on a highly effective outreach program to the Muslim community. The only “evidence” the trainer, former FBI agent and ex-Marine John Guandolo , gave NPR for singling out the professor was a photograph of the man with members of a Muslim-American civil rights organization.
Last week, CNN’s Anderson Cooper ran a hard hitting, two-part investigative story on one of the worst of these self-appointed “counterterrorism trainers,” Walid Shoebat. Shoebat claims to be a former Islamic terrorist who later converted to Christianity–a résumé he says gives him special knowledge regarding Islam and the terrorist threat. He concludes that Islam “is of the devil.” (See our report, Manufacturing the Muslim Menace for a profile of Shoebat ) PRA directed CNN producers to a DHS-funded conference in South Dakota where Shoebat was scheduled to speak. AC360 sent a team and also dug into Shoebat’s claims to have been a terrorist. They found no evidence for Shoebat’s story, but reveal that he has made a lucrative business of defaming Islam and Muslims. Check out their investigation, “‘Ex-terrorist’ rakes in homeland security bucks.”
PRA has called for a General Accounting Office investigation of federal counterterrorism training grants. Our thanks to NPR and CNN for keeping this story alive. For more on PRA’s investigation into taxpayer funded anti-Muslim training, click here.
PRA is an Atlantic grantee.
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