Washington, DC – Today, Muslim Advocates, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Western States Center and the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign called on a Texas agency to rescind the law enforcement accreditation it provided for a training conducted in San Angelo on May 4 by well-known conspiracy theorist and anti-Muslim zealot, John Guandolo.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), a state regulatory agency, offered accreditation for the training as a continuing education course for police despite the fact that law enforcement agencies in Virginia, Kansas, and Ohio, have cancelled or declined to endorse such trainings due to Guandolo’s bigoted views.
In addition to the joint letter urging TCOLE to rescind accreditation for the training, Muslim Advocates submitted a public records request under the Texas Public Information Act for any materials and correspondence about the training itself and records of its attendees.
“These discriminatory trainings greatly undermine the ability of law enforcement to do their jobs,” said Juvaria Khan, staff attorney for Muslim Advocates. “Guandolo’s trainings are filled with lies, errors, and conspiracy theories. Anybody who cares about the rule of law in Texas should be deeply concerned that this is what the state is endorsing.”
As the joint letter to TCOLE states, “Guandolo’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and ‘teachings’ disparage the faith of millions of Americans and promote biased policing that discriminatorily targets individuals and communities based on religion and ethnicity—not on evidence of actual wrongdoing.
Guandolo’s long and well-documented history of spreading anti-Muslim sentiment make him woefully unsuited to conduct any training that satisfies TCOLE’s accreditation standards. Throughout his career, Guandolo has purported that:
- Muslim groups intend to ‘overthrow America and establish Islamic law;’
- All U.S.-based Muslim organizations ‘share the same ideology as ISIS;’
- That ‘Islam is a barbaric and evil system,” and that “the civilized world knows Islam is the problem;’
- That there is no such thing as a peaceful ‘version’ of Islam, and that those who believe Islam is a religion of peace are ‘psychotically disconnected from reality;’
- That Muslim Student Associations at colleges and universities around the country are ‘points of recruitment in America for the Muslim Brotherhood and jihad;’
- That Muslims ‘do not have a First Amendment right to do anything,’ and that mosques should ‘not [be] afforded the same legal rights’ as churches;
- That mosques in the U.S. are akin to foreign military bases on American soil, and that the vast majority of mosques in the country should be shut down and their leaders arrested; and
- In recent months, Mr. Guandolo has repeatedly claimed—despite the FBI’s conclusion to the contrary —that the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre that killed nearly 60 people and injured hundreds more was ‘a jihadi operation.’
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.