The group that hired an anti-Muslim training organization to teach part of a seminar to police officers in Tennessee is defending itself against subsequent criticism by arguing that the media should really be focusing on Muslim groups like CAIR and ISNA that are trying to “infiltrate every phase of our society at every level” in order to “alter the mindset and agendas of our society for the overthrow of our Constitution and the implementation of Sharia Islamic Law.”
TPM Last week, the Tennessee Freedom Coalition released a defense of the seminar, in response to complaints from groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, and various other Islamic groups.
The blog post, written by TFC board member Jonna Bianco, explains that it is in response to those complaints and members of the media “that simply can’t seem to get their facts straight or the truth reported accurately.”
Earlier this week, a number of police officers in Murfreesboro, Tennessee attended a training seminar that was taught by John Guandolo of the Virginia-based Strategic Engagement Group (SEG). Guandolo has claimed, among other things, that Muslims should not get First Amendment rights, and in the seminar described how Islamic centers could be potential military compounds.
“This training is based on facts, court documents, and incontrovertible evidence,” Bianco writes in the statement. “This program does not contain any information which could be remotely construed as hate speech nor is any information provided or presented not accurate and true.”
But, Bianco continues, some of the information provided is “not popular.”
“These Islamic organizations simply rely upon their repeated threats and pressures of the local and national media and their political influence,” Bianco continues, “brought about by their financial contributions and fund raisers for various politicians over the past several years to try and discredit anyone who speaks out against Islam, their intentions, goals and objectives by calling them Islamophobists, bigots, racists, etc.”
The real threat, Bianco says, is not what SEG presented, but is in fact the influence CAIR and ISNA have in our society:
If you go to both of these groups’ own websites, you will clearly see their goals and objectives outlined for public view of their intent to infiltrate every phase of our society at every level, including but not limited to our education system beginning with our elementary schools under the guise of “cultural education” clear through to our Universities via their Muslim Students Associations, to government and political offices, law enforcement agencies on all fronts including local, state and federal; all for the purpose and with the clear intent to alter the mindset and agendas of our society for the overthrow of our Constitution and the implementation of Sharia Islamic Law.
“Islam believes that Shariah Law supersedes the U.S. Constitution and all must submit to Islam or pay the price,” Bianco writes, “which in most cases the ultimate price is death if you choose to not submit to Islam.”
The Tennessee Freedom Coalition is no stranger to hosting Islamophobe-friendly events. It once played host to anti-Islam Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders, who spoke at a free barbecue lunch. “I compare Islam not with Christianity and Judaism. I compare Islam with fascism and communism,” Wilders said at the event.
And the Executive Director of the TFC, Lou Ann Zelenik, made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2010, and used her opposition to the controversial plans to build a mosque in Murfreesboro as a central tenet of her campaign.
Guandolo himself is a former FBI agent who became as a speaker about the threat of Islamic terrorism, and he and SEG have run a number of these kinds of seminars in the past few years.