Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department Trained on Islam at Tennessee Freedom Coalition-Hosted Event

From the website of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition (link added):

The Tennessee Freedom Coalition is proud to announce an event coming your way in February!

We will be hosting the Strategic Engagement Group in Murfreesboro at the World Outreach Church for an evening event, “Understanding the Threat to America… Speakers for this event are EJ Kimball and Fred G[r]andy.

(I blogged on Grandy’s “Delta Airlines shariah” conspiracy theory here.)

So far so unremarkable: the TFC hosted an anti-shariah event in November, and SEG is known for its views on Islam as a grand conspiracy; its website warns of “The Global Islamic Movement”, which

includes the fifty-seven member states of the Organisation (sic) of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (formerly “Organization of the Islamic Conference”), Islamic Jihadi organizations like al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood (Arabic: Ikhwan). Each of these entities has declared openly, in official documents (i.e. factual/evidentiary), their commitment to the Movement’s shared dream of a Global Islamic State (AKA worldwide “Caliphate”) governed by Islamic Law.

However, the Tennessean has further details about the training event:

A former FBI agent who has claimed that Nashville’s mosques have no legal right to exist is training the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department about Islam and the threats of terrorism.

John Guandolo, a former FBI agent and vice president of the Arlington, Va.-based Strategic Engagement Group, is leading training being held at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro.

Guandolo featured in an NPR story in July about improper anti-terror training in Ohio. He was also profiled by Right Wing Watch back in 2009, after he made an appearance on a radio show hosted by David Barton. Barton introduced Guandolo as “the guy who briefed the FBI on terrorism and radical Islamic terrorism” until “so many Islamic folks worked their way into the FBI” and “got him thrown out”; Right Wing Watch, however, quotes a 2009 article from the The Times-Picayune which explains that Guandolo in fact left the FBI following an “intimate relationship” with a government witness he was supposed to be protecting, leading to the collapse of a corruption case.

The TFC also has a  blurb for the training event:

Tennessee Freedom Coalition is announcing an evening training program by The Strategic Engagement Group (SEG) entitled “Understanding the Threat to America”. This program has been presented to law enforcement, military, National Guard, intelligence professionals, prosecutors, and legislators.  This program is the premier training program in the United States in detailing terrorism matters, the nature of how the threats operate at the local and state level, the identity of front organizations, the doctrine the enemy uses, and strategies local, state and federal agencies can use to engage and defeat these threats.

An endorsement of SEG follows,

signed by former leaders in the Intelligence Community to include: Director, Central Intelligence; Director, Defense Intelligence Agency; Inspector General, Department of Defense; and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence…

Curiously, no names are given, but the SEG website has further details. Three of the men are Lt. Gen. Harry Soyster, Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin (previously blogged here), and R. James Woolsey.

Incidentally, the Tennessee Freedom Coalition also has links with two British groups. These are the UK Christian-Right lobby group Christian Concern, and the English Defence League. Further details here.

UPDATE: A report from WSMV adds the detail that

Guandolo talked about Hamas and its plan to destroy Western civilization from within, and spoke of Islamic centers as potential military compounds.

UPDATE 2: The Digital News Journal has a follow-up, noting “a class schedule submitted by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s office to the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission”:

…Titled “Understanding the Threat to America,” the course claims that all Muslims are required to wage war against non-believers.

“Under Islamic Law, non-Muslims must ultimately convert or submit to Islam or be killed,” the curriculum claims.

…Kimball said the presentation is only meant to be the start of an officer’s research into the subject.

…Lou Ann Zelenik, of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, which paid for this week’s training, said law enforcement officials need to know the truth about Islam and terrorism.

“We don’t need political correctness when it comes to the training our police and sheriffs,” she said. “This is accurate information. It’s not part of any agenda.”

Zelenik said her coalition introduced Strategic Engagement Group to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. This week’s training is the second time SEG has trained Rutherford County deputies, she said.

UPDATE 3: As others have noted, the World Outreach Church and its pastor were in the news in 2010:

A plan to build an Islamic community center in the middle-Tennessee town of Murfreesboro sparked an eruption of ugly criticism on Thursday from some residents who don’t want a mosque built in their backyard.

More than 600 people turned out for a meeting of the Rutherford County Commission Thursday night, with some sharing their opposition in public comments that at times turned intolerant.

“We have a duty to investigate anyone under the banner of Islam,” Allen Jackson, the pastor of World Outreach Church, said at the meeting.

The church was founded in 1980 by Allen’s parents, George and Betty Jackson. The elder Jacksons were associates of Derek Prince, and are currently directors of Derek Prince Israel; Prince, who resided for much of his life in Israel, was a British neo-Pentecostal revivalist who emphasized Christian Zionism and spiritual warfare against demonic entities. According to Prince:

I believe Islam is the scepter of wickedness if ever there was a scepter of wickedness. And I can’t tell you how many times I declare into the air the scepter of wickedness shall not remain over the land allotted to the righteous. And I believe every time I say it the forces of darkness begin to reel back before the authority of scripture uttered in faith. 

Allen Jackson is himself close to the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem; ICEJ events have been held at WOC, and the ICEJ’s Rev. Malcolm Hedding is a member of WOC’s pastoral staff.

3 Responses

  1. Somebody ought to accuse a few of these folks of false advertising. I just get the image of a lot of old church ladies being ushered into to pews to hear what these supposed experts have to say–and being fed a lot of BS.

  2. [...] and Lennon are also friendly with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition’s Andy Miller (the TFC was in the news recently after arranging for local police to be trained in Islam at an evangelical church in Murfreesboro; [...]

  3. [...] November’s anti-Islam “Preserving Freedom” Conference, which the TFC sponsored. In February, the TFC was in the news after arranging for local police to receive problematic training in Islam [...]

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