PRA’s groundbreaking exposé of how tax dollars fund anti-Muslim trainings for police and counterterrorism personnel won the attention of news outlets and policy makers at its release this spring. We’ve been keeping the pressure on the Department of Homeland Security to stop funding flawed and bigoted training courses and in the last week our efforts have gotten a boost from CNN and National Public Radio.
NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston, one of the first to report on PRA's findings, broadcast a “Morning Edition” story this week about a counterterrorism training in Ohio that smeared a Jordanian-American professor with accusations of links to terrorism. NPR reports that the professor had worked with the Department of Homeland Security on a highly effective outreach program to the Muslim community. The only “evidence” the trainer, former FBI agent and ex- Marine John Guandolo, gave NPR for singling out the professor was a photograph of the man with members of a Muslim-American civil rights organization.
John Guandolo is a 1989 graduate of the
SEG’s specialty – so-called “unconstrained analysis” – draws on a catch phrase that has cropped up in Islamophobic parlance. “Unconstrained analysis” functions as shorthand for analysis that is not constrained by respect for Muslim Americans’ voices and concerns. Nor is it constrained by the reality millions upon millions of followers of Islam do not experience or relate to the narrow-minded, bigoted interpretation of Islam promoted by so-called counter-terrorism experts who view warfare against non-Muslims as a central tenet of Islamic teachings and law. Whereas explicit calls for racial and religious profiling could result in “experts” being shunned in official circles, it’s critical that watchdogs in government recognize the codewords that could justify profiling or discrimination.
Guandolo focuses on the Muslim Brotherhood and its alleged activity in the
A number of experts on the Muslim Brotherhood have debunked the conspiracy theory voiced by Guandolo. For instance, Nathan Brown, a
During the same hearing, Tarek Masoud, a
Setting aside basic problems such as selective reading, Guandolo’s analysis also suffers largely as a result of its paranoid associative tactics. In one example, which was highly publicized by NPR, Guandolo falsely accused Omar al-Omari, a 59-year-old Jordanian college professor who is an American citizen and has lived in
Fortunately, since Guandolo can play guilt-by-association, so can his critics. Guandolo’s partner at SEG is Stephen Coughlin, a right-wing proponent of the thesis that Islam is inherently violent and Muslims are our enemies. Along with Coughlin, Guandolo also co-authored a report at the Center for Security Policy with other Islamophobic activists Frank Gaffney, Clare Lopez, and David Yerushalmi called “Shariah: The Threat to
Special thanks to PRA intern Ryan Katz for his work researching and drafting this post.
Sites on John Guandolo:
On the Guandolo scandal: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/individuals/john-guandolo
On the Guandolo scandal: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/09/the_strange_case_of_the_philandering_fbi_agent.php
http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/guandolo/0018504 - Great article on Guandolo by Sheila Musaji on theamericanmuslim.org
The Muslim Brotherhood in America Part I: http://bigpeace.com/jguandolo/2011/03/02/the-muslim-brotherhood-in-america-part-i-understanding-the-threat/
The Muslim Brotherhood in America Part II: http://bigpeace.com/jguandolo/2011/03/06/the-muslim-brotherhood-in-america-part-ii-mb-history-their-arrival-in-america/
The Muslim Brotherhood in America Part III: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42562
The Muslim Brotherhood in America Part IV: http://bigpeace.com/jguandolo/2011/04/10/the-muslim-brotherhood-in-america-part-iv-crossing-the-bridge-the-implications-of-the-holy-land-foundation-trial-part-1/
“The Islamists Battle Plan” featuring both Coughlin and Guandolo: http://bigpeace.com/smandel/2010/12/17/the-islamists-battle-plan/
 Guandolo, John. “The Muslim Brotherhood in America Part I – Understanding the Threat.” http://bigpeace.com/jguandolo/2011/03/02/the-muslim-brotherhood-in-america-part-i-understanding-the-threat/
 Guandolo, John. “The Muslim Brotherhood in America Part IV – Crossing the Bridge: The Implications of the Holy Land Foundation.” http://bigpeace.com/jguandolo/2011/04/10/the-muslim-brotherhood-in-america-part-iv-crossing-the-bridge-the-implications-of-the-holy-land-foundation-trial-part-1/
 Musaji, Sheila. “John Guandolo, terrorism ‘expert.’” http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/guandolo/0018504
 “Open Hearing on the Muslim Brotherhood,” House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, and Analysis, hearing chaired by U.S. Representative Sue Myrick (April 13, 2011). http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/TheMusli (see video at 1:29:40).
 Temple-Raston, Dina. “Terrorism Training Casts Pall Over Muslim Employee.” http://www.npr.org/2011/07/18/137712352/terrorism-training-casts-pall-over-muslim-employee
 Ibid. Musaji.