Spencer Ackerman reports that materials from an elective training course for FBI counterterrorism agents treat all Muslims as potential radicals and Islam as the enemy:
The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”
Echoing the theological assessments put forth by Osama bin Laden and professional Islamophobes who agree that terrorism is the “correct” interpretation of Islam, one of the briefings states that “There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology….The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.” The briefing materials aren’t old either—Ackerman reports that one of the briefings took place last March.
That was the same month that—following a Washington Monthly investigation that showed an unknown amount of federal funds were paying for “counterterrorism training” for law enforcement conducted by professional Islamophobes, including sources cited by alleged anti-Muslim Olso terrorist Anders Breivik—Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers on the qualifications standards for trainers. They reiterated that call on Monday with another letter noting that, “Since Muslim Americans are our main allies in the fight against violent Islamist extremism domestically, any training that implies otherwise is both inaccurate and counterproductive.” Lieberman and Collins are hardly mushy liberals—earlier this year the committee released a report blaming the failure to recognize Nidal Malik Hasan as a threat prior to the Ft. Hood shootings in part on “political correctness.”
Whether the administration responds or not, Lieberman and Collins have asked the GAO to look into the matter. As Ackerman’s report suggests, the government’s Islamophobia problem is anything but past tense—and it’s one that could seriously damage the government’s ability to gather information and prevent future acts of terrorism.