Think tank says millions of tax payer dollars are spent spreading anti-Muslim myths
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On the eve of controversial congressional hearings on “Radicalization in the American Muslim Community,” an increasing number of advocacy groups are warning about the rise in Islamophobia and discrimination against US Muslims. And some of the people espousing these sentiments could be supported by taxpayer dollars. According to a nine-month-long investigation by the progressive think tank Political Research Associates, millions of dollars in counterterrorism funding is being spent disseminating anti-Islamic myths.
In a teleconference today, author of the 80-page report Thomas Cincotta described some of the material used in law enforcement trainings:
“When participants in a course are required to read a book that says, ‘Terrorist acts may increase or decrease over time but Islam remains permanently hostile,’ training crosses a line when Islamic law texts are used to argue that violent Jihad is a core tenet of the religion and an obligation of every practicing Muslim.”
The report highlights a case in Henderson, Nevada, where police arrested a group of Muslim men who were simply praying in a gas station parking lot. One officer involved suggested his response was based on classes he had gone to.
The investigation looked at three major companies providing counterterrorism training, the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association, the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies and Security Solutions International, and the people involved in teaching law enforcement. One of them is Walid Phares, who appears frequently on Fox, CNN and NBC. In his book Future Jihad, Phares writes “Almost all mosques, educational centers, and socioeconomic institutions fall into their hands. After pressure from rights groups, Congressmember King removed Phares from the witness list for Thursday’s hearing, but said he might call him to testify in the future and vowed to continue consulting him for advice.
On the eve of King hearing, Muslim Americans promote cultural and religious understanding
Congressmember Peter King’s hearing has been widely criticized by civil rights and Muslim groups as an unfair attack on Muslim Americans that encourages prejudice, and some have compared it to McCarthy-era hearings and the attack on Japanese Americans following World War II. One group trying to counter the anti-Muslim assault is My Faith My Voice. They have curated videos of ordinary Muslims to help promote understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans:
“Hi America, I’m Rabiah Ahmed and I’m the proudest Detroiter you’ll ever meet. In recent weeks a lot of people have been telling you what to think about Muslims, they say you should fear me, but the truth is I don’t want to impose my religion on you. Islam teaches me to respect all religions.”
FSRN spoke with Rabiah Ahmed, who’s also a co-founder of My Faith My Voice.