An Act To Protect First Responders Fighting Terrorism
by Jerry Gordon (July-Aug. 2008)
The mainstream media has copped out on an important story that, post 9/11, is a threat to the counterterrorism effort. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Muslim Brotherhood (MB) front groups, cited by the U.S. Justice Department as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation case to be retried in the Dallas Federal District Court in September, have thwarted federal, state and local counterterrorism training by objecting to it as ‘racist’ or as ‘religious hate’ and in many cases forcing discontinuation of such training. The result has been workplace harrassment of the important first responders charged with protecting us. Federal agencies like the FBI and DHS and local police departments in Los Angeles, New York, and Fairfax County Virginia have been intimidated by false charges by these MB groups. In some instances they have been forced under threat of civil law suits to abandon counterterrorism training. The result is that our front line in the war against radical Islamic groups looks like a deer frozen in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. Worse yet, we are allowing the MB front groups to get away with this under the guise of ‘hate speech, religious profiling, civil rights’ and obsessive political correctness by federal, state and local political leaders and the department heads of these front line first responder agencies.
They have been forced to discontinue important intelligence gathering ‘community mapping’ programs, such as the one abandoned in November, 2007 under pressure from MB front groups by the LAPD. The NYPD’s undercover work in the large Muslim community has also been objected to by these MB front groups. Moreover, a Muslim officer in the NYPD has filed a civil action against a prominent counterterrorism consultant alleging ‘religious bias and hate’ seeking his removal from training sessions. When the NYPD intelligence unit reported in August, 2007 on ‘home grown’ terrorist threats, CAIR immediately issued a press release strenuously objected to its findings, as noted in this New York Times Cityroom blog post:
American Muslims and their institutions have been working closely with law enforcement officials nationwide on proactive measures to keep our country safe and secure. Muslims are working every day to build a more secure America.
In 2003, CAIR participated in a joint news conference with the FBI in Florida to urge the public to come forward with information about a terror suspect. In 2005, CAIR coordinated the release of a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, that stated in part: ‘All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam. . .It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence. . .It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.’
By promoting stereotypes and unwarranted suspicions, the report’s authors encourage marginalization of and hostility toward the American Muslim community.
The track record of CAIR belies these representations. In their Orwellian doublespeak, CAIR and the MB fronts have done everything to intimidate first responder counterterrorism efforts.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, a police officer and Afghan Muslim refugee Sgt. Weiss Rasool was found to have violated the FBI’s NCIC data base more than 15 times to see if a Taliban friendly Imam was being tracked. CAIR intervened and Sgt. Rasool was given the equivalent of a slap on the wrist, returned to work with full pay, despite adverse information in his personnel file that should have resulted in his dismissal from the force. More damaging is the fact that Sgt. Rasool’s complaint about religious biases in the Higgins counterterrorism course given to fellow Fairfax County police officers, resulted in its discontinuation. In its place, CAIR has provided ‘diversity and cultural training’.
Rasool’s action in Fairfax County, Virginia was not an isolated instance. Investors Business Daily cited the case of Rochester, New York 911 emergency services operator, Nadire P. Zanelaj:
In the latest example, a former city 911 operator faces multiple felony counts for allegedly searching the names of friends and relatives on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.
Nadire P. Zenelaj, an ethnic Albanian, says she’s being singled out because she is Muslim. “I feel they targeted me because of my religion,” she said.
No, she was investigated for looking up classified information on her confederates. At least one of the 227 names she checked was on the terrorist watch list, according to Rochester, N.Y., police.
Then there is the bizarre case of a Muslim employee of the US DHS who poised similar objections on ‘religious discrimination’ grounds to a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) counterterrorism program. His compliant resulted in the removal of the alleged offending counterterrorism program, and as a result of an EEOC administrative law judge ruling, he received ‘damages’ compensation. Read this account by Janet Levy from a FrontPage Magazine article on the topic of The Erosion of Free Speech: the Global Islamist Attack:
Another instance of DHS curtailment and accommodation of Muslims, occurred when Muhammad Rana, a Pakistani Muslim and new DHS hire was being trained as an adjudication officer at the agency’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Rana participated in a seven week training course in which he claimed to have faced discrimination based on his religion and national origin. In a March 2005 complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Rana said the instructional content of his classes contained “disparaging and factually inaccurate information about the Islamic faith and the Arabic people.” His in-class protests apparently prompted an instructor to recommend that Rana be investigated for possible terrorist ties. An administrative law judge ruling found that Rana had been subject to a hostile work environment and ordered $50,000 in compensatory damages, $6,195 in missed overtime, reimbursement for medical and prescription medication costs incurred as a result of the hostile work environment and, most significantly, the removal and DHS memoranda regarding Rana’s potential ties to terrorist organizations. Ultimately, the course in question was discontinued by the DHS.
This dilemma that federal agents, state and local law officers and other first responders face is compounded by outreach to MB front groups by heads of their agencies. We have witnessed FBI Director Mueller, assistant and regional directors speaking before and holding dialogue sessions with MB front groups in New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles.
The Department of Homeland Security, Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties head, Daniel W. Sutherland has engaged in such dialogues with MB groups and recruited DHS agents like Muhammad Rana. He has been deeply involved in changing the official government lexicon to expunge it of terms like ‘Jihad and Islamism.’ Charlie Allen, ex-CIA clandestine service officer and head of DHS intelligence, has been vigorous in purging these terms in referring to the war against radical Islamic terrorism.
Charles Allen in a Financial Times interview said, “[It] has nothing to do with political correctness. It is interpreted in the Muslim world as a war on Islam and we don’t need this.”
This official obsession with political correctness and adherence to MB front group demands is also reflected at the local level.
In fact, Col. Rohrer was a featured speaker at the November 2006 CAIR national annual fundraising dinner, which raised more than $600,000 for the terror-linked group. Col. Rohrer delivered a message professing tolerance and understanding for CAIR’s mission:
As we go forward, let us choose to make a difference and embrace a vision of peace and unity and hope. And let us choose for us and our children hope over fear, caring over indifference, tolerance over intolerance, acceptance over prejudice, and understanding over ignorance.
Rohrer also praised CAIR for “helping police departments to better understand the Muslim community,” though as was reported last year by the Washington Times, CAIR’s membership in 2006 had plummeted to fewer than 1,700 members nationwide and thus is hardly representative of the Muslim community; nor can it remotely claim to speak on its behalf.
Additionally, Rohrer and Fairfax County Supervisor Connelly organized and attended a “community forum” on January 25, 2005, in response to CAIR’s concerns about police enforcement of immigration laws. According to a CAIR press release, Connelly assured attendees that “Fairfax County police officers are not an arm of federal immigration enforcement agencies.” Col. Rohrer had ensured that representatives from the Fairfax Police Internal Affairs Division were present at the CAIR “forum.” Two months later on March 29, CAIR conducted “diversity and sensitivity” training for the staff of the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
She cited the Muslim Brotherhood as the "prime example" of the spectrum of Islamist groups that, while differing in tactics, agree on their final goal: a world dominated by Islamic law, or Shariah. As such, Ms. Baran pointed out that there were inherent problems with the outreach policies of various government agencies. She specifically cited sensitivity training for the FBI run by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as "completely self-defeating" as FBI agents might be taught to be overly sensitive and may avoid asking certain questions during investigations that they should be asking.
So what is the solution to this MB intimidation bulldozer directed at our first responder community in America? It is a federal law to cut off the threats of civll complaints and lawsuits by MB fronts aimed at counterterrorism agents.
ACT! for America has been designated as the lead group in the Victory Coalition to draft a proposed House bill with the short title; "Protecting American First Responders Fighting Terrorism Act of 2008."
This proposal arose from an encounter with local police in Fairfax County, Virginia who reached out to Act! for America for assistance when CAIR intervened in a police matter. The case involved a local Muslim doctor detained on a traffic infraction that lead to the filing of drug charges and a complaint filed by the national counsel of CAIR. That matter was chronicled by Patrick Poole in an article in Pajamas Media. Poole noted in conclusion:
As a regular consultant to police agencies on counterterrorism issues, I can attest to the immense pressure that police and other first responders are constantly under without having to deal with bogus claims of religious discrimination and self-serving demands to institute CAIR’s own “diversity and sensitivity” training programs. If the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division wishes to look into these matters, as CAIR has demanded in Abbasi’s case, perhaps it should begin by examining the hostile work environment for police officers created by CAIR’s constant, yet continually baseless, grievance-mongering.
Poole is correct in this observation, because at federal, state and local levels, CAIR and other MB front organizations have fostered workplace harassment by filing frivolous civil complaints. These have hobbled first responders from protecting Americans against the threat of radical Muslim groups. Through threats of civil litigation these MB groups have shut down counterterrorism training programs for first responders at both the federal and local levels. In its place, the MB front groups have created 'diversity' programs and negotiated the delivery of them under threat of litigation to often confused and unwary first responders.
Act! for America and the Victory Coalition believe that a national measure is urgently required to stop the harassment of first responders in carrying out their lawful responsibilities in protecting fellow citizens against acts of terrorism.
That is the background and purpose of the proposed national legislation.
The bill is modeled after H.R. 1640 introduced in March 2007 to address the problems associated with protecting airline passengers, as in the 'six flying imams' case, who reported suspicious behavior on airline flights. The measure known as the “John Doe” law became an amendment to a Transportation bill that was resoundingly passed by the House. In August, 2007, the ‘six flying Imams’ filed a motion in Federal Court in Minneapolis dismissing the airline passengers from their suit, leaving US Airways as the defendant. Subsequently, ‘the six flying imams’ filed motions in Federal Magistrates Court in Minneapolis and were granted rights of limited discovery in its case against US Airways. The plaintiffs recently requested as part of a limited grant of discovery a backlog of 10 years of alleged complaints from US Airways, which objected on grounds of the post-9/11 security requirements.
The essence of the proposed measure for protection of first responders is contained in Section 2 below. The proposal: (1) provides for a shield for first responders against civil liability complaints by MB front groups, identified by the US Department of Justice as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial with ties to and providing financial support to designated foreign terrorist organizations under US CODE: Title 8,1189; (2) defines workplace harassment and identifies applicable federal, state and local first responder agencies.
The proposed bill, after appropriate revision, should garner the widest possible support from the first responder benevolent, fraternal and union groups across America. This should not go unnoticed by responsible Members of Congress. We would hope that a version of "Protecting American First Responders Fighting Terrorism Act of 2008" might be afforded a serious hearing by both Senate and House Homeland Security Committees and be enacted. This may help protect all Americans from Islamic terrorism.
SECTION 2. LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR AMERICAN FIRST RESPONDERS AGAINST FRIVOLOUS CIVIL ACTIONS WHILE FIGHTING TERRORISTS
(a) In General – A first responder, as defined herein, shall not be liable for any injury or damages related to the filing by a third party group, known to be consorting with or providing support to foreign terrorist organizations as defined and designated by the U.S. State Department under US CODE: Title 8,1189 that constitutes workplace harassment.
(b) Workplace Harassment – For purposes of this section, the term ‘workplace harrassment’ shall constitute the filing of any frivolous civil action or complaint by third party groups, known to be consorting with or providing support for foreign terrorist organizations as designated under US CODE: Title 8,1189, that interferes with or disrupts investigations by first responders that arises from and out of the ordinary and lawful conduct of their duties and authorities as defined under federal, state and local employment laws, statutes and ordnances.
(c) First responders – For purposes of this section first responders are defined as federal, state and local agents of law enforcement, prosecution, border patrols, immigration, transportation security, fire protection and emergency services agencies.
(i) Federal. Applicable federal agencies include: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and constituent agencies, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco, U.S. Marshals Service, US Border Patrol, U.S. Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Custom Enforcement, U.S. Capitol Police, U.S. Forest Service Police, U.S. Park Police, U.S. Coast Guard, Intelligence and Criminal Investigation Divisions of the uniformed Armed Services of the U.S. and all other applicable first responder agencies as defined under this Act;
(ii) State. Applicable state agencies include: State or Commonwealth attorneys, State Police, State Bureaus of Investigation, State Parks Commission Police, State federalized National Guard personnel, uniformed officers of State Wildlife Fish and Game Commissions, and all applicable first responder agencies as defined under this Act;
(iii) Local. Applicable local agencies include: County and municipal district attorneys, county sheriff’s departments, municipal police departments, county and municipal fire departments, county and municipal emergency service departments and contractors and all applicable first responder agencies as defined under this Act.
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