As of September 20, 2011, the FBI released a statement for “a comprehensive review of all training and reference materials that relate in any way to religion or culture.” A leak by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Asian Law Caucus in July revealed FBI training materials that were Islamophobic in nature.
According to Wired.com, a PowerPoint presentation deemed crucial by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit, included Muslims engaging in “circumcision rituals” and that Islam transforms a nation’s culture to “7th century Arabian ways.” What was particularly concerning about this presentation was the recommended reading list, which featured Robert Spencer’s book The Truth About Mohammad: the Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.
The most recent training materials revealed that “main stream” American Muslims are cast as “terrorist sympathizers,” while Prophet Mohammed is defined as a “cult leader” of an “orthodox” religion. According to the FBI’s training program, the more devout these Muslim Americans are, the more they are likely to be “violent.”
A very rudimentary graph, featured in the presentation, illustrates the connection between piety and violence indicating that Christianity and Judaism have become less violent since their founding, but Islam has consistently remained as violent as it supposedly was in the early 7th century. The graph is completely inaccurate and serves no factual purpose.
William Gawthrop, an FBI intelligence analyst, who joined the Bureau in 2006, conducted these counter-terrorism presentations. In an interview with WorldNetDaily, he claimed that “[Prophet] Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism.” WorldNetDaily, a conservative propaganda website, brought about the conspiracy theory that denies President Barak Obama’s American citizenship.
Recently, the FBI has turned to the Army’s Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) to filter through and eliminate harmful FBI training materials. According to Wired.com, the CTC uses rigorous and practical scholarship on terrorist issues and is considered the ultimate source of information about counter-terrorism.
Contrary to Gawthrop, CTC researchers pride themselves on using accurate scholarship. “At CTC, there’s an ethos of education,” said Brian Fishman, a former research director. “When you have that, you inherently recognize that you need to illustrate that, for example, the practice of Islam around the world isn’t monolithic.”
Although the FBI has called on the CTC to scour their training curriculum and remove objectionable education materials, they have not been clear on whether a new curriculum will be implemented by the CTC.