The leader of an Oklahoma Islamic group said Monday that a law enforcement training council is being used to promote anti-Muslim speakers.
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, asked that anti-Muslim speakers who are scheduled to speak Friday at the Legislative Counterterrorism Caucus-sponsored seminar in the House chamber be dropped.
Attendees at the seminar can obtain seven hours of Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training credit, according to a news release from Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, chairman of the caucus.
The seminar is titled “Iran, Hezbollah and the Drug Cartels: Counterterrorism Considerations.”
The scheduled speakers include retired Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin; Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy think tank and a columnist at the Washington Times; and Clare M. Lopez, who works for Gaffney.
Soltani said the speakers have obvious anti-Muslim biases. He sent a letter to CLEET asking that the speakers be dropped.
CLEET Executive Director Steve Emmons said the training is not sponsored by his organization but confirmed that those in attendance can receive seven hours of credit toward the 25 training hours required each year for police officers.
CLEET does not have the manpower to review the materials that are being offered, he said.
“Yes, we could turn them down,” Emmons said. “I don’t know if any have been turned down off the top of my head.” He said his organization is caught in the middle.
“We have no indication there is going to be anything anti-Muslim based on anything other than what CAIR said,” Emmons said.
Bennett did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
“It is definitely concerning and a little shocking that anyone can offer training on any subject whether they are credible or not,” Soltani said.
Such an important subject shouldn’t be a propaganda tool for anti-Muslim extremists, he added.
“Our state’s law enforcement personnel should be trained by credible and objective subject-matter experts, not extremists with an Islamphobic agenda to promote,” Soltani said.
Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, a member of the Counterterrorism Caucus, said, “I don’t know whether any of those people are anti-Muslim,” adding that he was not aware of the allegations made by CAIR.
Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia, a member of the Counterterrorism Caucus, said the speakers are well-qualified to speak on the subject, adding that Muslim-friendly groups are influencing the federal government at the highest level.