The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for a change of speakers at a police training program scheduled to begin tomorrow in Alexandria. John Guandolo is one of the presenters at a three day training even hosted by the District Attorney’s Office. CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw says Guandolo is a discredited former FBI agent who promotes anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.
“His training is not going to save lives. It’s going to endanger the Muslim community by painting all Muslims as being possible terrorist threats,” McCaw said.
McCaw says Guandolo is diverting police resources away from the real threats in local communities by portraying all Muslims as potential terrorists. He says perpetuating these kinds of stereotypes is dangerous.
“He says mosques are barracks. He doesn’t believe Muslims have First Amendment rights. This is not a man who should be training our law enforcement officers, who are supposed to protect all citizens, including Muslim-American citizens,” McCaw said.
Rapides Parish District Attorney Phillip Terrell says there are no plans to remove Guandolo as a speaker. He says the educational seminar is sponsored by law enforcement agencies across the country. He says terrorism is a real threat, and police need training like this to know how to handle potential attacks.
“It’s a training seminar to help law enforcement understand the investigative tools that are available, how these people think, how they operate. It’s not directed at any law abiding citizen,” Terrell said.
Terrell says police also hold training exercises on how to deal with biker clubs and local gangs, but that doesn’t mean they single out everyone on a Harley. He says the seminar isn’t directed at anyone but criminals.
“Look, if you don’t break the law, you don’t have a problem. This is not about any group of people other than the bad guys, pure and simple,” Terrell said.