GUEST COLUMN: Sheriff should be ashamed of anti-terrorism training
It would take a fourth-grader three minutes and the Internet to learn all anyone needs to know about the overt Islamophobia vehemently preached by the group “Strategic Engagement” at World Outreach Church as purported training recently for some Rutherford County Sheriff’s deputies and at least one MPD officer.
For Sheriff Robert Arnold to claim ignorance of that is either so naive as to challenge his professional qualifications or so disingenuous as to question his continued value to our community. Analogizing learning about religious freedom and tolerance along with anti-terrorism to CPR is childish. The national concerns about terrorism have existed for well over a decade and to claim there are limited sources for instruction is simply not true. The United States Department of Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center, for but two examples, have a wealth of material and are infinitely better suited to address the needs and concerns of Rutherford County.
The brazen lack of sensitivity exhibited by Sheriff Arnold given this county’s international reputation as a hotbed of Islamophobia serves only to seal the fate of that reputation. This is nothing more than state-sponsored terrorism itself — YOUR tax dollars going to pay for teaching your sheriff’s deputies how to fear, mistrust, misjudge, stereotype and castigate “others.” And based upon what?
The ONLY terrorism in this county are those criminal acts perpetrated against our Muslim community, acts, must I remind you, that have yet to be solved by the Sheriff’s Department. I’d suggest that our community would be better served by diversity, not hate, training. If this “church” (What’s its name? “World Hate-reach”?) is so Christian, where is its “Christian” message: “Love your neighbor as yourself”? Can you say hypocrisy?
Sheriff Arnold’s lack of clarity and good judgment, and refusal to accept responsibility for it, should be disturbing to everyone.
John M. Green is a resident of West Northfield Boulevard in Murfreesboro.