Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2012
Islamophobia in the U.S.
Florida law enforcement comes under scrutiny for repeatedly using anti-Islam trainer Sam Kharoba
Mondoweiss.net, by Alex Kane on July 24, 2012
Sam Kharoba fancies himself an “expert” on terrorism. The Jordanian-born Kharoba, a Christian, (teaches bad things about) the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad. And he’s teaching the police officers of Florida, where he is based, these claims in courses on Islam and terrorism.
But a coalition of 30 Muslim organizations is now raising the heat on Kharoba and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). A detailed letter sent this month to the FDLE commissioner outlines Kharoba’s anti-Muslim statements and demands that “Kharoba be removed from your approved list of trainers and not be approved to train anyone associated with the FDLE.”
The letter comes after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida obtained public records documenting the training given by Kharoba. According to the group, Kharoba has trained police officers in Florida at least 21 times from 2005-2012. The letter also states that “Kharoba has neither the academic nor the operational background to qualify as a subject matter expert on either Islam or countering violent extremism.”
The revelations about Kharoba’s trainings, paid for with taxpayer money, come over a year after a lengthy Washington Monthly expose of Kharoba and the larger industry of self-styled “experts” on terrorism that defame Islam and Muslims. Among Kharoba’s outrageous statements that the outlet highlighted:
When you have a Muslim that wears a headband, regardless of color or insignia, basically what that is telling you is ‘I am willing to be a martyr.’
Islam is a highly violent radical religion that mandates that all of the earth must be Muslim.
Anyone who says that Islam is a religion of peace, is either ignorant or flat out lying.
The best way to handle these people is what I call legal harassment
The FDLE is reviewing the Muslim coalition’s concerns, but a spokeswoman also told a Florida newspaper that “We have utilized [Kharoba] in the past as a counter-terrorism instructor and received positive feedback on those taking the course, no complaints.”
The letter highlights some damning features of that feedback. One law enforcement agent said that, after taking Kharoba’s class, he or she was “going to make sure we have completed survey of existing ME/Muslim population and have a clearer understanding of their properties.” Another said: “This can be very useful knowing that Shiite is more radical than Sunni.”
A FDLE public information officer, Keith Kameg, offered no new information in a brief interview, saying that the department is “reviewing” the coalition’s concerns and that they have received “positive feedback” from officers who had trained under Kharoba.
Questions have also been raised about Kharoba’s credentials. As Florida journalist Cristela Guerra recently wrote, Kharoba has “no official certification in counterterrorism or degree in Middle Eastern studies, let alone experience in the military or law enforcement...Kharoba bases his qualifications on his life experience in Amman, Jordan.” Guerra also reported that while a spokeswoman for Florida law enforcement “emphasized [that] Kharoba is not certified in counterterrorism training,” he was allowed to teach because he was “granted an exception to work in FDLE-sanctioned training centers.”
Kharoba was also the subject of a 2005 complaint filed by a Muslim law enforcement officer with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The commission found that “the instructor made numerous statements and comments offensive to complainant based on his religion (Muslim).”
Nezar Hamze, the executive director of CAIR’s Florida branch, said that a meeting with Florida law enforcement officials over this issue will likely be held after Ramadan.http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/florida-law-enforcement-comes-under-scrutiny-for-repeatedly-using-anti-islam-trainer.html
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