Spencer Ally, John Guandolo’s anti-Muslim “terrorism” presentation Canceled

Guandolo-training

Virginia Police Academy Nixes ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training’ Taught By Anti-Muslim Activist

After persistent community pressure the Virginia Police Academy dropped Islamophobe John Guandolo, an affiliate of ACT! For America, from conducting his so-called ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training.’

Virginia Police Academy Nixes ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training’ Taught By Anti-Muslim Activist

BY IAN MILLHISER

The Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy announced on Monday that it would no longer sponsor a course for law enforcement officers which was ostensibly focused on counterterrorism, but which would have been taught by an anti-Muslim activist with a history of spreading conspiracy theories. A brief press release from the academy announces that “[a]fter careful consideration and consultation with other law enforcement agencies and academies, having firsthand knowledge of this training, the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy will no longer be offering Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services in-service training credit for the upcoming seminar ‘Understanding and Investigating Jihadi Networks in America.’”

The training was to be hosted by the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office. Late last week, Sheriff Scott Jenkins said that he does not plan to cancel the training session, despite outcry from civil rights groups that the event features an anti-Islamic speaker. According to a letter from 15 civil rights organizations and religious interest groups, John Guandolo, a former FBI agent and the featured speaker at the training event, “is closely affiliated with ACT! for America, a known anti-Muslim hate group, and he makes baseless, irresponsible and dangerous statements revealing his animus about the American Muslim community” — including claiming that “American Muslims ‘do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.‘”

Though the training may still go on without accreditation, Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations told ThinkProgress that he is satisfied that it will not be attended now that the academy has pulled its sponsorship, adding that law enforcement officers attend these kinds of seminars because they require continuing education credits — but they will no longer receive those credits following the academy’s decision. In Hooper’s words, “why would people show up for three days if they don’t get credit?”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Guandolo accused Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan of bringing “known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government and into advisory positions,” and claimed that Brennan did so because he “converted to Islam when he served in an official capacity” in Saudi Arabia. Weeks later, Guandolo expanded this conspiracy to include President Obama, claiming that the president has “made a significant effort to protect known members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood inside this government.”

In 2009, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Guandolo resigned from the FBI in 2008 before the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility could question him regarding allegations that he had “an intimate relationship with a confidential source.” According to a court filing by the federal government, a “cooperating witness” in the investigation against former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) told FBI agents that “she had sexual relations with now-former FBI agent John Guandolo during the time that Mr. Guandolo served in an undercover capacity as her driver during the pro-active phase of this investigation.”

On Saturday, the Roanoke Times reported that Sheriff Jenkins plans to move forward with the training regardless of concerns over Guandolo. As of this writing, the Culpeper County Sheriff’s office has not responded to an inquiry from ThinkProgress asking if they have changed their mind.

Fox News Reignites Islamophobic Campaign Against The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

Yup, Fox is really trying to dredge this “issue” up again.

Fox News Reignites Islamophobic Campaign Against The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

By Hamed Aleaziz on Dec 10, 2012, ThinkProgress

Fox News is again trying to drum up “controversy” around the Park51 Islamic community center in Manhattan. On Sunday, Fox Nation re-published a New York Post article claiming that “community programs” no longer exist at Park51, just Muslims praying. From there, Fox and Friends discussed the latest “development” on Park51. “It’s all pray and no play,” host Gretchen Carlson said and complained that the center isn’t hosting community programs and is instead attracting Muslims for prayer. Noted Islamophobe Donald Trump cited the oft-repeated far-right claim that Muslims built the community center to celebrate victory on 9/11:

GRETCHEN CARLSON: It’s all pray and no play. The controversial Ground Zero Mosque was supposed to be a cultural center, but it turns out it’s now an empty space with no community programs. Dozens of worshipers gather at the site for prayer services, but that’s pretty much the only activity in the building aside from a small martial arts class.

BRIAN KILMEADE: … Donald, do you want to finance the mosque downtown?

STEVE DOOCY: The Mosque-erade

DONALD TRUMP: No, I don’t think so, I’d certainly buy the site. But I don’t think it’s an appropriate use of the site. A lot of people don’t. You know, in the Arab world, when they have victory, they like to build a Mosque at that site. It’s very strongly out there. I think this is a terrible idea. It shouldn’t be done and let’s see what happens…

Watch it:

Fox is recycling rhetoric from more than two years ago when anti-Islam activists like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer led an all-out war in their attempt to prevent the cultural center from opening. At the time, Fox News became a major broadcaster of their Islamophobicagenda. Back then, Fox gave anti-Islam activists a platform to make their virulent attacks against the proposed Park51 community center.

Multiple news organizations, like the Washington Post, debunked the fearmongering, pointing out that the “stated point of the project is creating a world where Jews, Christians and Muslims connect again in a way that builds mutual understanding and respect. This is precisely the opposite goal of the 9/11 terrorists.” Conservatives like Orrin Hatch supported Park51. And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke up in favor of the center as well, saying that freedom of religion should be tolerated.

As far as Fox’s new angle goes, it’s hardly a new development that the center serves as a place of worship; it was always slated to provide a home for Muslim worshipers in Manhattan. And the lack of cultural events likely has more to do with the center’s perceived financial issues than with a sinister plot: last year, a rental dispute between the center and its landlord went to court.

But unlike two years ago, the center faces no legal hurdles from the city to continue operating in the site. New York City’s Landmark Preservation Commission approved the center in 2010 and Mayor Bloomberg agreed. Park51 opened up last year without protests and little to no fanfare.

Police Remove Muslim Women From Pam Geller’s ‘Human Rights Conference’

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer only preach to their minions, and anyone else is not accepted.

Police Remove Muslim Women From Pam Geller’s ‘Human Rights Conference’

By Eli Clifton on Apr 30, 2012 at 9:30 am, ThinkProgress

Yesterday in Dearborn, Michigan, noted anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer hosted a conference promising to advocate for “human rights” in one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. Geller, writing on her blog on Sunday, warned, “We will meet fierce resistance by Islamic supremacists who will do anything, say anything to impose the sharia and whitewash the oppression, subjugation and slaughter of women under Islamic law.”

But surprisingly, Muslim women found themselves denied entry to the conference and, after patiently waiting in the corridor after being told to wait, were removed from the Hyatt Hotel by the Dearborn Police Department and Hyatt security.

Several of the young women commented that they shared a similar appearance with Jessica Mokdad, the young women who Geller and Spencer claim was murdered in an “honor killing” (a conclusion not shared by Mokdad’s family or Michigan prosecutors).

ThinkProgress attempted to attend the event and was turned away, and eventually removed from the Hyatt by the police, along with the young women. One of the women commented, “I tried emailing [Pamela Geller to register] and I literally couldn’t get any kind of response back.” That comment seems to contradict Geller’s claim that she wants to help Muslim women and that the conference was in defense of the human rights of Muslim women.

Another woman who tried to attend the conference told ThinkProgress:

Coming in, I was asking where the human rights conference is. [Hyatt Security and Dearborn Police] were like, ‘what are you talking about?’ I’m like, ‘the human rights conference on the second floor.’ They were like, ‘the anti-Islam conference?’ That’s what they’re calling it now.

And another woman expressed surprise that Geller, who has asked to hear from more Muslim voices on human rights issues, was denying Muslims access to her event. “I watched an interview with her […] and she said, ‘Where are the Muslims?’ Well, we’re here!” Watch it (police arrive to escort the women off the Hyatt premises at 3:58):

Pamela Geller emailed ThinkProgress, “They didn’t register. We’ve been announcing for weeks that only registered attendees would be admitted.”

Geller and Spencer play prominent roles in the Islamophobia “echo chamber,” as detailed in the Center for American Progress’s report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”