The problem of Islamophobia among U.S. police forces is well-documented: The Associated Press reported back in February that the Boston Police Department “swept up the posts of people using the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter and a lawmaker’s Facebook update about racial inequality” in monitoring social media and, just last week, a former police officer at the San Jose Police Department alleged “continuous harassment and discrimination based upon his race, national origin, and religion.”
The latest incident: The Texas Tribune reported today that John Guandolo—an ex-FBI agent and raging Islamophobe who’s tweeted images of TSA agents with beards to allege they’re “jihadists”—was brought in to conduct trainings on terrorism for Texas police officers.
From the newspaper:
Earlier this month in San Angelo, the anti-Islam Guandolo conducted one of his day-long seminars, “Understanding the Jihadi Threat to America.” A flier for the program said it would put “terrorist attacks into perspective” and “identify specific jihadi threats in Texas.”
The program — which Muslim advocacy groups say promotes racial and ethnic profiling — qualified as continuing education for Texas law enforcement officers, who must take 40 such hours every two years.
According to the Tribune, Guandolo started his training company “as a way to combat what he believes is an attempt by Muslim groups to overthrow the U.S. government and implement Islamic law.” Guandolo is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-Muslim activist.” On Monday, the hate group-tracking law center and Muslim Advocates sent a letter to the Texas state agency that oversees officer training asking them to rescind the credit hours earned for attending Guandolo’s session, the Tribune reported.
Guandolo has a shocking record. He is a former FBI agent, but resigned in 2009 after having an affair with a key FBI witness he was tasked with protecting, only to later solicit a $75,000 donation for “an anti-terrorism group” from the same woman, according to the SPLC. As the organization also documented, he has previously claimed mosques “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything,” that the Muslim Student Association exists to “recruit jihadis,” and that Muslim Americans have purchased convenience stores in preparation for “a jihad here in the United States.”
In March, Guandolo was rebuked by Southwest Airlines for tweeting a picture of a TSA agent with a beard.
Guandolo apparently makes quite a habit of this: He deleted the offending tweet in this instance, but several others along the same lines remain up. Guandolo also has a habit of tagging prominent conservatives and politicians, like Steven Crowder and, uh, Donald Trump, who I am sure will see his tweets and get right on that.
According to the Tribune, Guandolo’s website contains a video where he claims “suit-wearing jihadis come after us all the time,” among other bizarre, expressly anti-Islam videos across the internet.
Texas has something of a bad reputation on this front: Conservative fear-mongering about Sharia law creeping into the U.S. often finds a sympathetic audience in Texas. This would seem to be supported by the fact that the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement sent an observer to one of Guandolo’s trainings in response to criticisms about their content, and ruled that they “observed no concerning material that would cause reason to deny continuing education hours for law enforcement attendees,” according to the Tribune.
Good job, Texas!