Penn. Muslims Seek ‘Balance’ in Police Training on Islam

CAIR-PA concerned that class offers ‘stereotypical’ view of Muslims

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 4/25/08) – The Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) today called on police training officials in that state to offer a Muslim perspective in a Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission (MPOETC) class on Islam.

CAIR-PA is also seeking clarification of the content of MPOETC’s mandatory in-service training class called “Radical Islam: A Law Enforcement Primer” because of concerns that the class may present stereotypical views of Islam and Muslims.

SEE: 08-202 – Radical Islam: A Law Enforcement Primer

A recent commentary in the Allentown Morning Call newspaper (“Pennsylvania’s police prepare for radical Islam”) reports that the course includes such topics as the Prophet “Muhammad’s Doctrines of War” and the concept of the “‘Call to Islam,’ a prerequisite to a Muslim attack on a nation of infidel enemies.”

SEE: Pennsylvania’s Police Prepare for Radical Islam (Morning Call),0,1132649.story

In a letter to MPOETC Training director Rudy M. Grubesky, CAIR-PA Civil Rights Director Justin Peyton wrote in part:

“We are concerned that this course may provide inaccurate, incomplete or stereotypical information about Islam to state law enforcement officers and could serve to reinforce negative stereotypes of Muslims and Islam. The promotion of such stereotypes could negatively impact the daily interactions of law enforcement officers with members of the Pennsylvania Muslim community.

“While CAIR applauds MPOETC’s effort to educate police officers about the potential threats posed to American society by extremist individuals and groups, we would like to emphasize that the violent ideologies those individuals falsely attribute to Islam are not characteristic of the American Muslim experience.

“As FBI Director Robert Mueller stated at a congressional hearing just yesterday: ‘And every opportunity I have, I re-affirm the fact that 99.9 percent of Muslim-Americans or Sikh-Americans, Arab-Americans are every bit as patriotic as anybody else in this room, and that many of our cases are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States.'”

The letter also offered assistance in providing a balanced and accurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims to Pennsylvania police officers by providing access to “respected mainstream Islamic scholars and community leaders.” Peyton wrote that CAIR offices nationwide have already offered such training to local, state and national law enforcement agencies.

Grubesky today responded to CAIR-PA’s letter, saying: “I will follow our usual procedures to ensure that you will receive our full and complete response to your concerns.”

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