Terror task-force trainer’s class canceled after group calls him ‘bigot’
BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Religion Reporter August 19, 2013 6:14PM
Ahmed Rehab (pictured in 2012) is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago. | Sun Times files
Updated: September 21, 2013 6:19AM
A state law-enforcement board and Lombard officials canceled plans for anti-terrorism trainer Sam Kharoba to teach a class Monday after a Muslim advocacy group labeled him a “Muslim bigot” and claimed he would be “promoting hate.”
The class was canceled pending a review, said Kevin McClain, executive director of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, which has authority over police training.
The board is “looking into his credentials and the content of the course to see whether it is inappropriate,” McClain said.
Kharoba had been scheduled to teach a class of 28 law-enforcement officers from police departments throughout the Chicago metropolitan area for the North East Multi-Regional Training Inc., said Phil Brankin, director.
The class won’t be rescheduled “until we can review it and we can OK it,” McClain said.
Kharoba could not be reached for comment. But he told the Associated Press that he has taught tens of thousands of law-enforcement officers, including Muslims, and received only positive feedback.
Last week, the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on those involved with law-enforcement training here to drop Kharoba as a trainer. The group contends that “Kharoba’s training materials on Islam are riddled with inaccuracies, sweeping generalizations and stereotypes,” that are anti-Muslim and anti-Islam.
After issues with the trainer were brought to his attention, Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio said he met with Lombard’s police chief.
“Once I learned of the content in past training sessions that this particular trainer had given, I was extremely uncomfortable with it,” Giagnorio said. “In Lombard, we have a really diversified community and a growing Muslim population. They are very involved in the community and getting more involved, and we felt like we couldn’t support something like this being held in the village of Lombard.”
Giagnorio added that he strongly supports the review “to really see what’s being said and what was going on in that class.”
Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago, welcomed cancellation of the class, but he noted that North East Multi-Regional Training continues to support Kharoba.
Brankin has maintained that Kharoba and his curriculum are not anti-Muslim or bigoted. On Monday, he said he expects the review to show that.
Brankin said last week that he has offered to let CAIR representatives run a class and teach police officers their point of view.
CAIR-Chicago wants to work with representatives from the governor’s office “to ensure that there are standards in place to scrutinize the qualification and expertise of trainers on the subject matter,” Rehab said. “We are willing to work with NEMRT to suggest qualified experts on Islam who enjoy credibility within the American Muslim community.”