Why are Boston Transit Police Studying Islam?
While reading the February/March 2010 issue of the industry magazine Counter Terrorist (a publication of Security Solutions International), I came across a troubling advertisement.
On May 10-12, 2010, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is sponsoring a three-day seminar in
The MBTA is promoting a discriminatory seminar, led by SSI Security Solutions International, which raises concerns about whether such training is counter-productive, promotes racial and religious profiling, and makes local residents less safe. Why is the cash-strapped MBTA using limited funds to study the political or religious motives of potential terrorists? Is this the best way to keep T riders safe? How will this training affect religious and ethnic/racial bias among intelligence officials and the police?
The course content, according to the advertisement, includes “Arab naming conventions,” “Women in Islam and Female Suicide Bombers,” and “The Legal wing of Jihad in
This course promotes thinly-disguised Islamophobia that harkens back to McCarthyistic witch hunts for communist front organizations. It has nothing to do with effective law enforcement. Indoctrinating metro
Security Solutions International is a Miami-based company founded in 2004  that bills itself as a frontline defense against the threat of “radical Islam” and prime provider of “homeland security training” to a range of clients, including local police forces, corporations, and federal agencies.  Employing alarmist rhetoric about Islamic groups’ purported existential threat to the
According to the bio of SSI’s CEO, Solomon Bradman, he formerly managed “Diplomat Trading, a multi-million dollar exporter of Electronic Equipment specializing in Central America, South America and the
SSI lists two products that are presumably provided to people who sign up to be SSI “Patriot Partners”: the Counter Terrorist newsletter, an SSI publication that claims to keep readers “up-to-date with developments, technologies, successes and … failures in the global struggle against Islamofascism”; and “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War against the West,” a controversial film described as “hate propaganda” by some critics and distributed by the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit organization closely linked to both the U.S. and Israeli right-wing. 
Among the activities SSI advertises on its website are a training course for law enforcement agencies that is entitled “The Islamic Jihadist Threat” and a Department of Homeland Security-funded training program in
The course has been harshly criticized. In 2008, for example, the
In August 2009, Political Research Associates attended a two-hour presentation by
Det. Ashabi provided a window into the mindset of some counter terrorism specialists who believe that there are no good Muslims, only bad ones. Ashabi contends that the Muslim Brotherhood aims “to destroy Western civilization from within, through subversive means, legal, political and non-terrorist means, and by changing laws and
However, with those criminal cases, Ashabi lumps in “on-going threats of lawsuits against police and other law enforcement agencies that offer counter terrorism and race awareness training programs (alleging racial, religious profiling) as means of intimidating police departments to stop training programs.” He cited the July 2009 case (above) of the Seattle Police Department taking criticism from CAIR over its race awareness program. PRA’s investigator, Mary Fischer, observed, “It’s Ashabi’s belief that CAIR is a serious threat to
So, the MBTA is sponsoring a seminar which views as suspect Muslim-Americans’ participation in the democratic political process. We need to tell MBTA officials that the public does not approve of this religious prejudice. This is not the first time that MBTA has partnered with SSI. In August 2009, PRA requested records related to a similar course held in
* UPDATE: In response to community concerns, the MBTA canceled its sponsorship of the seminar run by Security Solutions International on March 31, 2010.
1. Market Wire, “
2. See Security Solutions International website.
3. SSI, “Patriot Partners,” (accessed September 28, 2009)
4. SSI, “Corporate Officers,” (accessed September 28, 2009)
5. SSI, “Patriot Partners,” (accessed September 28, 2009)
6. SSI, “The Islamic Jihadist Threat,” (accessed October 1, 2009)
7. Janet I. Tu, “Does Course on Islam Give law Enforcers Wrong Idea?”
Information for this posting also comes from Right Web, a project of Political Research Associates, http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/bradman_solomon