White Plains: Protesters denounce Geller’s ads as Islamophobic

White Plains MTA Protest
Photo credit: Angela Gaul | Frank Brodhead of Hastings and French Conway of Dobbs Ferry hold up signs calling for an end to Islamophobia during a rally and press conference in downtown White Plains. (Sept. 6, 2012)

It’s nice to be reminded of the many people of good will, who recognize a hate campaign for what it is and stand up for the rights of all their fellow citizens, including Muslims.

Protesters denounce Metro North ads as Islamophobic, call on MTA to rethink campaign

lohud.com, Journal News

WHITE PLAINS — As supporters held up signs protesting Islamophobia, a coalition of community leaders and residents gathered downtown Thursday to denounce anti-Muslim advertisements posted at Metro-North stations throughout Westchester County.

The coalition revealed its plan to counter the anti-Islamic campaign, calling on Metro-North to distance itself from the advertisement and donate revenue earned from its publication to an organization that combats extremism.

Paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative — a group led by Pamela Geller — the ads associate the religion of Islam with 19,250 terrorist attacks carried out by extremists since Sept 11, 2001. Printed in large block lettering on a dark background, an asterisk denotes that number is rising, and a slogan below reads: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

“The bigotry and hate this ad directs at Muslims and Islam is totally unacceptable in Westchester or anywhere else,” said Priscilla Read, a community activist who helped organize the event. “Our purpose is to raise awareness about what this ad represents, and mobilize action in support of our Muslim neighbors.”

Geller told The Journal News the advertisments highlight the reality and magnitude of Islamic jihad and the mainstream media’s cover-up of it.

Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to publicly denounce the signs, suggesting a disclaimer be placed on Metro-North platforms saying the agency does not support the advertisement.

Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North Railroad, said it does not endorse the viewpoint expressed in the ad but refrains from banning advertising based on its message. Anders added that the railroad relies on advertising to generate revenue. MTA chairman and CEO, Joseph Lhota, has indicated the agency will discuss its policies on political ads later this month.

“When I first saw the word Islamorealism, I thought, ‘Hey, maybe these people actually met some Muslims,’” said Rev. Gawain de Leeuw of St. Bartholomew’s Church in White Plains. “But I know these people. I know they are opportunists who seek to prey on the fears and worries of hard-working Americans. But what they don’t know is that this will not work. Toleration is a part of our American DNA from the very beginning.”

Related Stories:

Pam & Bob: Welcome to the Bay, Where We Don’t Tolerate Hate

Mondoweiss: Another Morphing Muni ad and a Hat Tip to Ayn Rand

TheReligionOfPeace.com: Working to Streamline the American Empire’s “War on Terror”

Florida Law Enforcement Comes Under Scrutiny For Repeatedly Using Anti-Islam Trainer

(Via IslamophobiaToday.com)

Florida law enforcement comes under scrutiny for repeatedly using anti-Islam trainer

by 

Sam Kharoba fancies himself an “expert” on terrorism. The Jordanian-born Kharoba, a Christian, believes the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, is a “pedophile, a serial killer, a rapist.” And he’s teaching the police officers of Florida, where he is based, these claims in courses on Islam and terrorism.

But a coalition of 30 Muslim organizations is now raising the heat on Kharoba and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). A detailed letter sent this month to the FDLE commissioner outlines Kharoba’s anti-Muslim statements and demands that “Kharoba be removed from your approved list of trainers and not be approved to train anyone associated with the FDLE.”

The letter comes after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida obtained public records documenting the training given by Kharoba. According to the group, Kharoba has trained police officers in Florida at least 21 times from 2005-2012. The letter also states that “Kharoba has neither the academic nor the operational background to qualify as a subject matter expert on either Islam or countering violent extremism.”

The revelations about Kharoba’s trainings, paid for with taxpayer money, come over a year after a lengthy Washington Monthly expose of Kharoba and the larger industry of self-styled “experts” on terrorism that defame Islam and Muslims. Among Kharoba’s outrageous statements that the outlet highlighted:

When you have a Muslim that wears a headband, regardless of color or insignia, basically what that is telling you is ‘I am willing to be a martyr.’

Islam is a highly violent radical religion that mandates that all of the earth must be Muslim.

Anyone who says that Islam is a religion of peace, is either ignorant or flat out lying.

The best way to handle these people is what I call legal harassment

The FDLE is reviewing the Muslim coalition’s concerns, but a spokeswoman also told a Florida newspaper that “We have utilized [Kharoba] in the past as a counter-terrorism instructor and received positive feedback on those taking the course, no complaints.”

The letter highlights some damning features of that feedback. One law enforcement agent said that, after taking Kharoba’s class, he or she was “going to make sure we have completed survey of existing ME/Muslim population and have a clearer understanding of their properties.” Another said: “This can be very useful knowing that Shiite is more radical than Sunni.”

A FDLE public information officer, Keith Kameg, offered no new information in a brief interview, saying that the department is “reviewing” the coalition’s concerns and that they have received “positive feedback” from officers who had trained under Kharoba.

Questions have also been raised about Kharoba’s credentials. As Florida journalist Cristela Guerra recently wrote, Kharoba has “no official certification in counterterrorism or degree in Middle Eastern studies, let alone experience in the military or law enforcement…Kharoba bases his qualifications on his life experience in Amman, Jordan.” Guerra also reported that while a spokeswoman for Florida law enforcement “emphasized [that] Kharoba is not certified in counterterrorism training,” he was allowed to teach because he was “granted an exception to work in FDLE-sanctioned training centers.”

Kharoba was also the subject of a 2005 complaint filed by a Muslim law enforcement officer with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The commission found that “the instructor made numerous statements and comments offensive to complainant based on his religion (Muslim).”

Nezar Hamze, the executive director of CAIR’s Florida branch, said that a meeting with Florida law enforcement officials over this issue will likely be held after Ramadan.