Lakewood, NJ – The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office will issue new guidelines on police training after “perhaps the nation’s most notorious Islamophobe” was tapped to lead a counter-terrorism seminar for law enforcement in Ocean County last week.
“The private training program that took place in Ocean County last week clearly was not appropriate training and is not the type of training we want our police officers attending,” said Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for Acting Attorney General John Jay Hoffman. The guidelines will be sent to all 21 county prosecutors, who are the chief law enforcement official in each county.
On Nov. 2, Walid Shoebat, a Palestinian-American who bills himself as a former Muslim terrorist turned Christian, spoke to more than 60 law enforcement officers for three hours about his views on Islam. The in-service training session was arranged by a private police vendor at a cost of $109 per officer and sponsored through the Ocean County Police Academy, which is under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy and a deputy state attorney general sat in on the “Know Your Enemy” class after objections were made by the New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in advance of the session. Mastronardy said he received hundreds of emails both in support and in opposition to Shoebat, in the days before the appearance. But he did not pull the plug on the session.
Shoebat, whose biography as a former terrorist has been discredited by prominent news media and other organizations, asserts in his 2013 book, “The Case For Islamophobia: Jihad by the Word; America’s Final Warning,” that fear of Islam is a rational phobia. He website and social media posts are filled with both anti-Islam and anti-gay missives.
During his presentation in Lakewood, Shoebat told officers that they should be actively monitoring Muslims in their communities. He advised the class that they ought to be suspicious of any Muslim taking a martial arts class as this person may be in training to be a terrorist, Mastronardy said.
Read more at The Asbury Park Press.