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Muslim advocacy group objects to anti-terrorism trainer here

Ahmed Rehab (pictured 2012) is executive director Council American-Islamic Relations-Chicago.  |  Sun Times files

Ahmed Rehab (pictured in 2012) is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago. | Sun Times files

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Updated: September 17, 2013 8:26AM



A Chicago Muslim advocacy group is calling on the Illinois Terrorism Task Force and others involved with law enforcement training here to drop Sam Kharoba from an anti-terrorism training program, dubbing him “a notorious anti-Muslim bigot.”

An organization involved in the training scheduled for Lombard on Monday denied the accusation, saying “There’s nothing that is anti-Islamic in his material. “

The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations disagrees.

“Kharoba’s training materials on Islam are riddled with inaccuracies, sweeping generalizations and stereotypes,” chapter officials contend.

“His on-the-record statements are indisputably anti-Muslim and anti-Islam, therefore casting his objectivity and professionalism in severe doubt,” said Ahmed Rehab, the chapter’s executive director.

“When you have somebody who says ‘Islam is a highly violent, radical religion that mandates that all of the earth must be Muslim’ or ‘Anyone who says that Islam is a religion of peace is either ignorant or flat out lying,’ he is committing the cardinal sin of convoluting terrorism with Islam. He’s not saying here is what would be suspicious, terroristic behavior or tendencies. He’s saying all 2 billion Muslims in the world, including all Muslims living in the U.S., in Chicago … whatever, all of them are problematic.

“It’s hideous.”

Kharoba could not be reached for comment.

He is scheduled to do the training program for the academy of North East Multi Regional Training [NEMRT]. The Illinois Terrorism Task Force is funding the training through the Executive Institute of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, according to the task force.

Kharoba has provided training to law enforcement officers here several times in the past, said Phil Brankin, director of NEMRT.

“I’ve looked at his curriculum,” Brankin said. “I’ve looked at what he teaches, there’s nothing that is bigoted. There’s nothing that is anti-Islamic in his material. He is not a bigot. He is not anti-Islamic.”

But Kharoba’s training would hurt anti-terrorism efforts and promote bigotry and hate among law enforcement, Rehab contended, adding Kharoba’s training drew criticism from Florida representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations when he trained there.

A commission in Florida reviewed the council’s complaints and dismissed them, seeing no grounds for action, Brankin said.

The Illinois Terrorism Task Force is not involved in the hiring of individual trainers, spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said in an email statement.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board did not respond to requests for comment.

Email: fknowles@suntimes.com

Twitter: @KnowlesFran



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