Chicago Tribune: Police training called 'anti-Muslim' canceled

Amid protests from a Muslim civil liberties group, local police training officials have called off an anti-terrorism course for officers scheduled for Monday in Lombard that was to have been taught by an instructor the group regards as anti-Muslim.

The class was canceled this morning after the head of the agency in charge of police training statewide asked the local training agency, North East Multi-Regional Training, not to use the instructor until the state agency investigates his curriculum, said Phil Brankin, director of the local organization. Brankin said Kevin McClain, executive director of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, said the trainer and course would not be used statewide until the investigation concludes.

McClain could not be reached for comment.

The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations had called for the cancellation of the class, “Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy,” arguing instructor Sam Kharoba is unqualified to teach about Islam and has depicted the religion as inherently violent.

“Counter-terrorism training is too important to be left to those who promote a bigoted political or religious agenda,” CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said in a news release. “Our state’s law enforcement agencies should work with credible leaders of the Muslim community to address any issues related to Islam.”

Kharoba could not be reached for comment. This is not the first controversy to erupt around the instructor. Last year, CAIR and other Muslim groups asked Florida law enforcement officials to stop employing him as a trainer. Before that, he was profiled in a Washington Monthly magazine article titled “How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam.”

Brankin said he had examined Kharoba’s work and believed his conclusions to be based on credible research, even if CAIR finds his message offensive.

“I’m confident that (the state agency’s) review will find nothing wrong with the curriculum or the instructor,” he said.

Similar classes were scheduled in Highland Park and Elmhurst, but they were canceled last month for lack of sufficient enrollment.