The Lookout

Report: FBI training materials say ordinary Muslims are violent

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

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FBI training materials (Obtained by Wired)

As recently as last March, the FBI taught its agents that mainstream Muslims are likely to be violent and radical, according to training materials obtained by Wired's Spencer Ackerman.

The training materials portray "the Islamic practice of giving charity as no more than a 'funding mechanism for combat,'" and feature a chart that shows that "devout" Muslims are violent.

Ackerman writes that FBI whistleblowers passed along the materials to him because they thought the focus on religion instead of other signs of terrorism--such as stockpiling weapons--was the wrong approach. The whistleblowers also worried that the FBI was spreading the same message preached by Al Qaeda--that devout followers of Islam must be violent.

"Teaching counterterrorism operatives about obscure aspects of Islam without context, without objectivity, and without covering other non-religious drivers of dangerous behavior is no way to stop actual terrorists," Robert McFadden, formerly of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, told Ackerman.

FBI spokesman Christopher Allen told Yahoo! News that these training materials are no longer in use.

"This particular training segment was conducted six months ago, one time only, at Quantico and was quickly discontinued. The instructor who conducted that training block no longer provides training on behalf of the FBI," Anderson said. "Policy changes have been underway to better ensure that all training is consistent with FBI standards. These changes will help develop appropriate training content for new agent training and continuing education for all employees, as well as introduce a robust consultative element from experts outside the FBI."

In July, Ackerman obtained FBI training materials that said the practice of Islam "transforms" a country into a 7th-century way of life. The materials taught that the "Arabic mind" is "swayed more by words than ideas and more by ideas than facts."

Just last month, the Associated Press uncovered that CIA agents helped the New York Police Department spy on Muslims communities by sending informants into area mosques before there had been any evidence of criminal activity. The CIA is now investigating the collaboration to see if it violated the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religion.

Read the whole story on the training materials here.

Update: A comment from FBI spokesman Christopher Allen has been added to this story.

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