Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky defended the Muslim community yesterday during the questioning of FBI Director Robert Mueller by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
In her questioning, Rep. Schakowsky focused on allegations that some FBI agents have been trained to view mainstream American Muslims with suspicion and to view the faith of Islam itself as the source of terrorism and extremism.
Director Mueller admitted that the FBI training in question did contain “inappropriate offensive content” and pledged to perform a ‘top to bottom’ review of FBI counterterrorism training.
Rep. Schakowsky said to Director Mueller:
“I am concerned, like 27 human rights and civil rights groups that wrote you a letter, about some of the FBI training dealing with the Muslim community and home-grown terrorism. And I know that there was a training — a bureau training in Quantico and counterterrorism agents were shown a chart — you’ve probably seen it, but here are copies of it — that talked about how increased religiosity, adherence by pious and devoted, that became less violent as people of the Jewish faith or Christians got more religious.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: CAIR was a signatory to the letter referenced above.]
“But it shows that people who support the Koran, the more religious they get, the more violent they are. That was the training that went on there. And I — I understand that there’s been trainings where the Prophet Mohammed has — has actually been called a cult leader and that Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than, quote, ‘funding mechanism for combat.’
“I know that you have said that this was an aberration, but who is watching the store? Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, warned that law enforcement lacks meaningful standards to prevent anti-Islamic material from seeping into counterterrorism.
“My concern is that we’re not looking at criminal behavior. We’re not looking at violent behavior. But we’re focusing on religious practices and that this is evident, and I could cite other evidence — I want to give you a chance to answer, though — of training materials and written materials of the FBI that describe people who, you know, wear Muslim clothing, et cetera, as being signals that they may be violent.
“And I’d like you to — to comment on this. This is something that we need, I believe, to worry about in this country, that values — religious freedom and the freedom to practice religion.”
Director Mueller responded in part:
“We have undertaken a review from top to bottom of our counterterrorism training. I think these are isolated incidents. And in the course of that review, we’ve had outreach to academicians and others to assist us in reviewing the materials and assuring that that offensive — that offensive content is not — does not appear.”
CAIR has in the past called on the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and Congress to provide oversight for apparently widespread anti-Muslim bias in the training of law enforcement, security and military personnel nationwide.