Saturday, September 17, 2011

FBI: Muhammad a "Cult Leader"

The NY Times reports that in its training materials, the FBI refers to the prophet Muhammad as a "cult leader."

In a training segment called “Militancy Considerations,” posted on Wired’s Web site, a chart correlated a steady level of violence with “adherence by pious and devout” to the Koran. In contrast, the chart showed violence decreasing with “adherence by pious and devout” to the Bible or to the Torah.

A PowerPoint presentation titled “Strategic Themes and Drivers in Islamic Law” described Muhammad as a “businessman,” a “cult leader for a small inner circle” and a “religious leader with political ambitions.” The Prophet, the presentation said, “ordered the assassinations and executions of critics” and “employed torture to extract information.”

In a statement posted on its Web site on Friday, the F.B.I. said the training material “does not reflect the views of the F.B.I. and is not consistent with the overall instruction provided to F.B.I. personnel.”

The material was presented only once, in April, to an audience of 37 agents at the Northern Virginia Resident Agency, according to the F.B.I., “and was quickly discontinued because it was inconsistent with F.B.I. standards on this topic.”

In the statement, the agency said that “as of August 2011, the individual who delivered the presentation no longer provides training on behalf of the F.B.I.”

“These corrective measures were made before recent media attention was given to this topic,” the agency said.

Earlier this year, the F.B.I. came under fire for the use of a counterterrorism manual that described Islam as transforming a country’s culture “into seventh-century Arabian ways.” The agency was also criticized last year for inviting Robert Spencer, a blogger and author whose work is widely perceived as hostile to Islam, to speak to a joint terrorism task force.

“This isn’t a revelation to us,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group in Washington. “We’ve been dealing with this issue for quite some time now.”

He added, “There’s a problem with the use of anti-Islamic trainers and Islamophobic materials.”

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