Lieberman, Collins: If Obama Won’t Do Something About Anti-Muslim Counterterrorism Training, We Will

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September 12, 2011 2:05 p.m.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) aren’t messing around when it comes to stopping federal dollars from flowing to anti-Muslim terrorism training. In a letter to Obama on Tuesday, the duo said that if the administration can’t develop criteria to keep bigoted information out of counter-terrorism training, they’ll “consider drafting a legislative mandate or even imposing standards by statute.”“An initial review by our staff reveals that agencies providing grants to state and local law enforcement lack meaningful standards for counter-terrorism curriculum and an adequate vetting process for individual trainers,” Lieberman and Collins wrote.

“In addition, state and local law enforcement often have little to no guidance from the federal government on what counter-terrorism training should entail,” they write. “The result has often been cases of trainers spewing inaccurate or even bigoted information to state and local law enforcement personnel, stigmatizing Muslim-Americans generally, and in effect, lending support to the false narrative that we are ‘at war’ with Islam.”

“As we have previously stated in letters to this administration, we have serious concerns that improper training may not be isolated occurrences and could be detrimental to our efforts to confront homegrown terrorism,” they write. “Since Muslim Americans are our main allies in the fight against violent Islamist extremism domestically, any training that implies otherwise is both inaccurate and counterproductive.”

Read the full letter here (PDF).

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