According to Slate,1 Department of Homeland Security has doled out more than $300 million since 9/11 to at least eight prestigious U.S. universities to support “centers of excellence” including the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), and the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER). Since 9/11, more than 200 colleges have created homeland-security degree and certificate programs. According to Slate, another 144 have added emergency management2 programs “with a terrorism bent” focused on narrow topics like “the psyche of terrorists.”
Among such centers, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security,3 funded by DHS and FEMA, offers a free, ready-made curriculum to more than 130 universities. The Naval Post Graduate School’s curriculum4 has also been especially popular. Slate notes a number of “disaffected Bush Administration officials” involved in this influential sector. The last time such a substantive academic shift took place on college campuses was the creation of African-American and women’s studies departments in the 1960s and ’70s.5
The NYPD’s acknowledged 2011 “one-off” training does not seem to have been an anomaly. A Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) surveillance detection course at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., allegedly included the viewing of a propagandistic anti-Islam film that features notorious Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes,Nonie Darwish, and Walid Shoebat, and promoted the theme “that “Islam is synonymous with Nazism.”6
Law enforcement is an enormous market. According to PRA’s Thomas Cincotta, “the domestic security apparatus is estimated to employ 854,000 individuals. Another 800,000 or more police, sheriff or tribal law enforcement and emergency personnel are being mobilized to respond to terrorism threats both real and perceived” across the nation. He documents in chilling detail how some trainers troll this space to spread hateful distortions about Islam, operating with no professional standards and little accountability.7
Cincotta reports how in 2009 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) worked without tracking how counterrorism training grants were being used and had no way to even measure if attendance at such meetings or conferences was “mission-critical.”8 Similarly, in a Washington Monthly article,9 Meg Stallcup and Jonathan Craze documented the bewildering bureaucratic tangle that hinders oversight.
With accountability so compromised, the politicization of intelligence-related training has continued unchecked– possibly also degrading standards at more established intelligence related institutes from Monterrey to West Point.10
Nonetheless, Muslim community efforts are largely reactive and under-resourced, often dependent on volunteer-led campaigns. Muslim donors and foundations continue to be scared away from donating to certain Muslim charities and social service organizations.11 Over 246 Muslim organizations and individuals were slapped with the stigmatizing and confusing designation “Unindicted Co-Conspirator” following the Holyland Foundation trials, a move that has been criticized by civil liberties groups.12 There is a profound impact on struggling organizations when donors are advised by risk management consultants to stay away from any potential controversy.
- http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cair-seeks-probe-of-anti-islam-bias-in-military-training-88935352.html, http://www.islamophobiatoday.com/2011/06/01/pat-robertson-fighting-muslims-is-just-like-fighting-nazis/
- http://www.publiceye.org/liberty/training/Muslim_Menace_Complete.pdf p. 14
- http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Appeals_Court_Holds_Closed_Door_Proceedings_Challenge_NAIT_Listing_Unindicted_Co-conspirator, http://www.aclu.org/nationalsecurity/designating-non-profits-terrorist-organizations-without-due-process-undermines-sec