Islamist Propaganda – at taxpayers expense
Following September 11, 2001 corporations and government organizations stepped up training programs to educate employees regarding Islam and the American Muslim communities. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), along with local affiliated groups, quickly pushed for inclusion to place sympathetic individuals on advisory boards. The selling point being that only “good” Muslims can provide guidance on how to counter the threat posed by ”bad” Muslims.
For law enforcement and security entities, there was a move on the other side the spectrum to provide operational training to help personnel recognize and deal with extremist threats. These programs were presented by a variety of sources and usually included a level of profiling that many American Muslim leaders found offensive. Pushing the “political correctness buttons”, CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) campaigned to have any training/educational items they deemed offensive purged and replaced with programs they endorsed.
The Islamists encountered a “bump” in the road around 2007-2008 when the FBI brass finally realized they had a slight problem. CAIR had been identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding case. It’s simply bad PR to have the U.S. Government’s lead law enforcement agency knocking elbows with a group funding the likes of Hamas.
By the fall of 2008, FBI headquarters had cut all ties with CAIR and instructed field offices to do the same. Then FBI director Mueller reaffirmed the ban on working with CAIR during congressional testimony in 2011. It appears Mueller’s orders to “cease and desist” relations with CAIR were apparently not followed by all offices and an Inspector General (IG) investigation was initiated in 2012.
Director Mueller was working another agenda as well. On February 8, 2012 he met secretly with a number of Islamist groups to advise them that the FBI had removed several hundred pages of documents that might be deemed“offensive” to Muslims. As reported by Patrick Poole in the www.theblaze.com, Mueller’s meeting appears to be only part of push by the Obama administration to appease Islamic outreach groups – the effort was government wide. According to Poole’s article:
Among other “don’ts” declared by DHS was this warning:
Don’t use training that relies on fear or conspiracies to motivate law enforcement. Don’t use training premised on theories with little or no evidence to support them. Examples (from the report “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace”) of unsubstantiated theories include…Mainstream Muslim organizations are fronts for Islamic political organizations who true desire is to establish Sharia law in America.
(I strongly recommend reading Poole’s article for an eye-opening account of the level of appeasement the U.S. government is willing go to.)
The above makes it clear that Islamists made significant inroads to influence U.S. national policy decisions by simply feeding on the politically correct fears of western society. The added benefit – a trickle down effect to state and local agencies that are coerced to follow federal policies/trends in order to enjoy the fruits of federal grants. By removing training that might be offensive to Muslims, the only option left would be training that Muslims don’t find offensive. In other words, only training that the Islamists approve.
Placing an emphasis on cultural awareness, a play has been made towards agency heads and program managers to promote”safe” and “politically correct” training – basically, content that they’d like to hear instead of content they need to hear. Still, the stigma of the terror funding label applied to CAIR and associated groups presents a difficult sell to have recognized Islamist groups present such training. Socially attractive and non-threatening solution are needed.
Enter Connecting Cultures, LLC (www.connecting-cultures.net) …
With a move away from anti-terror themed awareness towards a “we are the world” mentality for many organizations, this company has managed to fill the vacuum created with the purge of many of the training programs found to be offensive to Muslims. Promoted as a GSA approved contractor, the Justice Department features some of their publications on it’s website. According to the Connecting Cultures website, their list of clients, include:
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Federal Judicial Center
DC Federal Court
Food and Drug Administration
Foreign Agricultural Service
Foreign Service Institute
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Air Force Academy
U.S. Marines Law Enforcement
Transportation Security Administration
Michigan National Guard
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The flyer for an upcoming course in Florida, titled, “Understanding Muslim Diversity: Effective Engagement with Muslims” includes this endorsement:
This training has been vetted and approved
by the office of the US Attorney General and
delivered to all US Attorneys and thousands
of Law Enforcement Officers, military person-
nel across the nation
Connecting Cultures has made a concentrated move to step up services to “first-responders” (i.e. local law enforcement). Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice features one of their videos on their website, entitled, “The First 3 to 5 seconds: Understanding Arab and Muslim Americans”. Promoted as roll-call/officer safety training material it opens with a traffic stop of a stereo-typical middle-eastern looking male. The film then moves on to how Arabs are not stereo-typical and can be found in all communities and walks of life. Despite this, the film then highlights how Arabs and Muslims should be dealt with special cultural sensitivity to alleviate their fears of law enforcement.
It’s hard not to shake the feeling that the film is striving to instill an appeasement mentality on the street level cop.
Special note should be taken of the film’s credits. It was produced with Department of Justice funding under the Community Oriented Policing Services Program (COPS). It also includes a special thanks to Iman Jahari Abdul-Malik, Outreach Director, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center. The Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center is located in Falls Church, VA, The Department of Treasury’s Enforcement Communications System (TECS) records note that Dar al-Hijrah “is a mosque operating as a front for Hamas operatives in U.S.,” “is associated with Islamic extremists,” “has been under numerous investigations for financing and proving aid and comfort to bad orgs and members,” has “been linked to numerous individuals linked to terrorism financing,” and “has also been associated with encouraging fraudulent marriages”. Abdul-Malik has publicly defended known Al Qaeda and Hamas members as well as stating his desire to make Islam the predominate religion in the United States.
Connecting Cultures is run by Lobna Ismail (also known as “Luby”), and was featured in Creeping Sharia when it partnered in 2012 with the Muslim Students Association and DOJ to host a workshop entitled, “Combating Islamophobia: Truths and Myths about Islam.” in Huntsville, AL. The company’s website front page features a slick video titled, “A Land Called Paradise” – artfully produced with closing credits showing the MAS Media Foundation – a division of the Muslim American Society (MAS). MAS was identified in a Hudson Institute report, as a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and closely tied to the Egyptian organization.
The website also includes a link to The Islamic Society for North America (ISNA), described as “an association of Muslim organizations and individuals to present Islam and foster positive relations.” What it does not include are the documented ties ISNA has with the Muslim Brotherhood as well as sharing the distinction of unindicted co-conspirator status with CAIR in regards to terror funding. Of special note is that one of ISNA’s co-founders is convicted terror supporter, Sami Al-Arian.
Additional Connecting Cultures Staff …
Alexander Kronemer – a film producer, lecture, Muslim convert and Lobna Ismail’s husband. Kronumer’s films naturally have a very postive view towards Islam and are used in Connecting Cultures presentations. His company, Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) is supported by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and claims status as a 501(c3) non-profit, chaired by Safi Qureshey.
In an 2011 article by :
Unity Productions Foundation is behind a long list of Islamic propaganda films, including the aforementioned “Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet,” as well as “Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain,”
UPF’s movies were stocked with radical clerics like Anwar Al-Awlaki, Zaid Shakir and the aforementioned Hamza Yusuf Hanson, many of whom spoke off-screen of making war against America.
Jean Abinader – affiliated with the Moroccan American Center (MAC) and the Arab American Institute, in an April 3, 2003 speech at the University of Buffalo stated:
“Sept. 11 dispelled America’s superficial optimism that all is well with the world and that the U.S. is universally admired … It brought home the reality that there are some basic problems with American foreign policy and challenges to our domestic policy as well.”
The Connecting Cultures website states, “For the last twenty years, Connecting Cultures has delivered expert trainings on religious and cultural diversity – specializing in Arab, Muslim and American cultures.” The irony is that based on guidelines published by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), none of the Connecting Cultures staff meets the criteria of being Islamic subject matter experts:
For the purposes of our study’s research focus, an expert on Islam is defined as an individual who has formal academic qualifications in Islamic Studies from an accredited institute of higher education in the West or those institutes of higher education in Muslim-majority countries that rank among the world’s top 500 universities. In order to be classified as “expert”, as defined above, one’s credentials must also be publicly verifiable.
– Not Qualified: Exposing the Deception behind America’s Top 25 Pseudo Experts on Islam
Apparently expert credentials are only required to challenge the Islamists – not to promote their agenda. The American taxpayer’s dollars hard at work.
COMMENTS/ANALYSIS: Another player in the Muslim cultural awareness arena is the World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE). This group apparently has no ties to Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups. There is some confusion in that WORDE is promoting what they call The Montgomery County Model – a partnership with the Montgomery County Maryland Police Department in developing a new, community based-model to increase public safety. If you viewed the Connecting Cultures DOJ/COPS funded film, you’ll note that the Montgomery County Police Department was the featured agency. I read one source that indicated the film was produced several years back. If so, one can only hope that the Montgomery County PD learned from their mistakes. Can’t say the same for Homeland Security and DOJ.