Documents Obtained by Judicial Watch Reveal FBI Training Curricula Purged of Material Deemed “Offensive” to Muslims
JUNE 03, 2013
FBI Removed Reference Linking Muslim Brotherhood to Terrorism: “unsuitable in the current political context”
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch has released hundreds of pages of FBI memos and other documents revealing that, in 2012, the agency purged its anti-terrorism training curricula of material determined by an undisclosed group of “Subject Matter Experts” (SME) to be “offensive” to Muslims. The excised material included references linking the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorism, tying al Qaeda to the 1993 World Trade Center and Khobar Towers bombings, and suggesting that “young male immigrants of Middle Eastern appearance … may fit the terrorist profile best.”
Judicial Watch obtained the materials on January 15 and on April 16, 2013, pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on July 18, 2012 (Judicial Watch v. Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01183)). The original FOIA request was made on March 7, 2012. It sought access to records detailing a February 8, 2012, meeting between FBI Director Robert Mueller and various Islamic organizations. The FOIA request also asked for “any and all records setting criteria or guidelines for FBI curricula on Islam or records identifying potentially offensive material within the FBI curricula on Islam,” as well as any directives to withdraw FBI presentations and curricula on Islam.
During the February 8 meeting, Mueller reportedly assured the Islamic groups in attendance that the agency had ordered the removal of presentations and curricula on Islam from FBI offices around the country that were deemed “offensive.” As reported by NPR: “The FBI has completed a review of offensive training material and has purged 876 pages and 392 presentations, according to a briefing provided to lawmakers.”
Documents obtained by the Judicial Watch FOIA request revealed that among the reasons given by the FBI’s SME for purging “offensive” training documents were:
- “Article is highly inflammatory and inaccurately argues the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization.”
- “Page 13 inaccurately states that AQ [al Qaeda] is responsible for the bombing of the Khobar Towers and that AQ is ‘clearly linked’ to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.”
- “The overall tenor of the presentation is too informal in the current political context.”
- “The Qur’an is not the teachings of the Prophet, but the revealed word of God.”
- “Remove references to mosques specifically as a radicalization incubator.”
- “Remove sweeping generality of ‘Those who fit the terrorist profile best (for the present at least) are young male immigrants of Middle Eastern appearance’”
- “author seems to conflate ‘Islamic militancy’ with ‘terrorism’ and needs to define the difference and use it in their analysis”
In its May 22, 2013, article on some of the Judicial Watch revelations, The Washington Examiner reported, “While the Muslim Brotherhood is not on the U.S. State Department’s official list of international terrorist organizations, some of its offshoots, including the Palestinian group Hamas, are.” Ironically, FBI Director Mueller, who ordered the purge of “offensive” material – including the exoneration of the Muslim Brotherhood – has described the organization as a group that supports terrorism in the US and overseas.
“The FBI is rewriting history in order to help al Qaeda. This shows that the law enforcement agency is in need of serious top-to-bottom reform. As we recently learned from the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, the country is less safe when we allow radical Muslim organizations to tell the FBI how to train its agents and do its job,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The FBI’s purge of so called ‘offensive’ material is political correctness run amok, and it puts the nation at risk. The Obama administration needs to stop putting the tender sensibilities of radical Islamists above the safety of the American people.”
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