Last updated at 6:43 PM on 15th September 2011
The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that ‘mainstream’ Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathisers and that the more devout a Muslim the more likely they are to be violent.
According to documents leaked by an FBI whistleblower, agents have also been instructed that the Islamic practice of giving charity is a ‘funding mechanism for combat’ and that the Prophet Mohammed was a ‘cult leader’.
The programme even featured a graph showing a sliding scale of Koran-inspired violence.
The materials read: ‘The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe, they are mainstream.’
The instructional presentation adds: ‘Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed. Any war against non-believers is justified’ under Muslim law; a ‘moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah’.
The excerpts from dozens of pages of the FBI training manual on Islam was given to Wired by an FBI employee who was unhappy with the programme’s documents.
In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity.
The revelations have been slammed by former FBI members as both discriminatory and ineffective.
Recently retired US Navy ‘al-Qaeda hunter’ Robert McFadden told Wired: ‘Teaching counter-terrorism operatives about obscure aspects of Islam without context, without objectivity, and without covering other non-religious drivers of dangerous behaviour is no way to stop actual terrorists.’
The FBI says the materials are a ‘rudimentary version’ that has since been replaced, however, some of the material was used as recently as March of this year.
The news comes as the CIA investigates its Muslim spying programme, which ‘dispatched undercover officers into ethnic communities to monitor daily life and scrutinized more than 250 mosques and Muslim student groups in the years after the September 11 terrorist attacks’ that some say invaded Muslims’ privacy.
U.S. Muslim civil rights groups claim they are being targeted in their places of worship.
Former FBI agent Mike German, who is now with the American Civil Liberties Union, told Wired the leaked documents could possibly explain this increased presence.
He said: ‘Seeing the materials FBI agents are being trained with certainly helps explain why we’ve seen so many inappropriate FBI surveillance operations broadly targeting the Muslim-American community.’
It has also been claimed that by focusing on these ‘devout Muslims’ they are missing the real indicators of extremist Muslim criminal activity and so playing into al-Qaeda’s hands.
On Tuesday, the leaders of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, warned that law enforcement lacks ‘meaningful standards’ to prevent anti-Islam material from seeping into counterterrorism training, according to Wired.
Some FBI veterans suspect the increased pressure on American Muslims has a lot to do with the kind of training that Quantico offers.
The documents could also increase tensions between Islam and the FBI.
‘Depicting Islam as inseparable from political violence is exactly the narrative al-Qaeda spins,’ Wired reports. ‘As is the related idea that America and Islam are necessarily in conflict.’