State Journal Register: Undersheriff apologizes to Muslims for terror drill

Feature 231IRVING — A Montgomery County sheriff’s official has apologized for making a fake mosque the focus of an emergency preparedness drill.

On Friday, the Council on American-Islamic Relationsthanked Undersheriff Rick Robbins for his apology.

Robbins helped plan the May 1 exercise in Irving, which designated a recovery center as “Irving Mosque,” where suspected terrorists had set off explosives, taken hostages and released nerve gas. Nearly 30 government agencies participated in the drill.

CAIR said the drill wrongly stereotyped Islamic houses of worship as security threats.

“I apologize for the message that was received by many. After reviewing statements made regarding the use of the word ‘mosque,’ I understand the misuse of the word,” Undersheriff Rick Robbins told the Hillsboro Journal-News in a story published Thursday.

Robbins also spoke by phone with Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR’s Chicago chapter.

Robbins declined to comment further Friday.

Rehab thanked the sheriff’s office for its prompt response.

“The whole point of objecting was never to really grill someone or demonize them. It was really meant to educate the agency and the person on the issue of religious bias and how to avoid it,” Rehab said.

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