Manufacturing the Muslim Menace

Private Firms, Public Servants, & the Threat to Rights and Security

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Opposition to the Park51 community center exposed disturbing levels of Islamophobia in public discourse. Source: Flickr, Asterix611 

The product of PRA’s comprehensive, nine-month investigation, Manufacturing the Muslim Menace (pdf) details a systemic failure to regulate content in nationwide counter-terrorism training.

As local, state, and federal law enforcement coordinated after 9/11 to gather and share intelligence, they created a market for a private counter-terrorism training industry. The report by Thom Cincotta, author of Platform for Prejudice, illuminates how government agencies have failed to regulate the content and quality of these trainings.

As a consequence, some private sector speakers and trainers have been teaching public servants to fear Islam — including claiming, “Islam is a revolution and is intent to destroy all other systems. They want to expand, like Nazism.”

Since PRA released its report, public officials have joined the call for more effective oversight of these trainers. In March of 2011, Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins wrote to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to call attention to “recent reports that state and local law enforcement agencies are being trained by individuals who not only do not understand the ideology of violent Islamist extremism but also cast aspersions on a wide swath of ordinary Americans merely because of their religious affiliation.”

Furthermore, in November of 2011, the White House ordered a full review of counter-terrorism training material in response to media reports that existing practices were promoting Islamophobia.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the military’s highest-ranking officer, also ordered a review of the military’s training programs in April of 2012.

Download the PDF