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Georgia Cop Goes To Israel For “Counter-Terrorism” Training: Freaks Out When He Hears “Allahu Akbar” At Mosque

8 July 2014 36 Comments Email This Post Email This Post


Georgia Cop Goes To Israel For “Counter-Terrorism” Training: Freaks Out When He Hears “Allahu Akbar” At Mosque

Receiving counter-terrorism training in a country that illegally occupies, detains, tortures and collectively punishes Palestinians. Doubtful that during training he would learn any of that but oh, he did pick up this gem,

Law enforcement in Israel, Stevens said, “love American police.”

“… I think they are enthralled with the TV. The exchange program, they also send a delegation from Israel to here, and they do a lot of counternarcotics. We are not as in depth and in intel in terrorism as they are, and they are not as in depth in narcotics as we are,” he said. “… Wherever you go, a ringtone is always ‘Hawaii Five-O,’ SWAT team, some kind of ‘Cops’ theme. … We had a couple days we had to go in our regular uniform, and it felt like you are a rock star because everyone wants to come up to you and take pictures with an American police officer.”

Describing the experience as “surreal,” he said there also were moments of tension.

“ I think just being up on the Lebanese border was really surreal because here you are, Lebanon, Syria and here’s these big wars and they still have a lot of terrorism on the border. … While we were there, they bombed the border, so that was surreal. It was so beautiful, so lush and people were so great, but it’s so volatile,” Stevens said. “We went to the Temple of the Mount where the mosque is in Jerusalem, and as soon as you walk into the courtyard, you have a lot of Muslim subgroups in the courtyard. This is a very huge courtyard and is sacred by the Muslims and by Jews. As soon as you walk in, they just start chanting, ‘Allah Akbar.’ It really puts you on edge.

Read more: The Daily Tribune News – Cartersville resident receives counterterrorism training in Israel


  1. fucking xenophobic clown

  2. fucking xenophobic clown

  3. It’s disgusting that there’s this Pavlovian reaction.

  4. that isn’t racist, xenophobic, etc

  5. americans are stupid.simple

  6. americans are stupid.simple

  7. and this is why I don’t trust cops

  8. Indoctrination works, go figure…

  9. Our cops are now taking lessons from Israel … Americans didn’t want to believe it and now it will be at their doorsteps. #freePalestine

  10. glad this page is on the right side of palestine

  11. glad this page is on the right side of palestine

  12. When I worked in midtown NYC, there used to be a few Muslim police officers who would also frequent the same halal food cart. That gave me hope.

    While I know intellectually that not all police officers are of a type, this post really puts a dent in my trust in public safety officers. That and the increasing militarization of police in the US

  13. Did anyone bother to tell him that’s how they pray, whether he is listening or not?

  14. Yes, how dare people chant “God is great” inside a f**king church.

  15. Yes, how dare people chant “God is great” inside a f**king church.

  16. Idiot!

  17. He doesn’t believe God is the greatest??

  18. Lol, someone invite him to the Eid takbir when Ramadan is over. 🙂

  19. Lol, someone invite him to the Eid takbir when Ramadan is over. 🙂

  20. I thought ‘god is great’ would be a good thing to hear, it is how arab christians would say it unless they were specifically referring to jesus.

  21. I thought ‘god is great’ would be a good thing to hear, it is how arab christians would say it unless they were specifically referring to jesus.

  22. I remember when John McCain (of all people) described “Allahu Akbar” as being the equivalent of a Christian saying “Thank God”.

    It is. But I am under the impression it’s also the equivalent of “Oh my God!” in shock–which is why you hear it A LOT in war. This is evidenced by a Syrian soldier I witnessed in a video screaming “Allahu Akbar!” (and he did not sound happy) when a tank he was marching with, fighting rebels, got nailed by an RPG. One does not say “Thank God” to a situation where your buddy probably just died. But you might say “God is Great” (a more direct translation) because he is at God’s mercy.

    Someone correct me if you believe me to be misunderstanding this, or confirm if I have it about right.

    Point is, Allahu Akbar isn’t a war chant. I don’t see people shitting bricks when someone says ‘OMG’.

  23. Just another redneck tool that believes all Muslims are terrorists, what an ass clown.

  24. Just another redneck tool that believes all Muslims are terrorists, what an ass clown.

  25. If he thinks *that’s* scary, imagine how he’d feel meeting God Himself.

  26. I think some diversity training/education is definitely in order. Allahu Akbar is not a battle cry. *smh*

  27. If someone shouting “Allahu Akbar” is consider as “dangerous” so does “Hallelujah” and “Thank God”

  28. One hell of a lot of sneer and condemnation of this man, here. Anyone think that perhaps he might have been reacting in a visceral way to the fact that “Allahu Akbar” is *precisely* the phrase that extremists have cried just before committing atrocities like the Ft. Hood Massacre. of beheadings of their so called enemies, and as late as May 30th of this year by Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki?….yeah, “the American”, from Florida.

    A reaction to this phrase isn’t ignorant, even if phobic, on this man’s part especially in light of his profession as a counterterrorist. It’s a sad fact that this reverent phrase has been connected to terrorism in this day and age…by terrorists, not those who work in counter terrorism, as this man does, or by the faithful themselves.

    Granted, the phrase was never intended to be cause for alarm in any way, but in a region where mosques have been bombed by extremists, it would be uncharacteristic and unwise for someone in his profession to not be both alert and aware at all times, even in a house of worship. To also be reminded upon hearing this phrase, even when in worship, that those who make blasphemous use of this phrase frequently do so preceding an act of violence.

    How about putting the condemnation where it really belongs, upon those who have taken the name of God in vain, dragging it through mud and blood instead of upholding this beautiful phrase as the reverent call to worship and profession of faith that it should be?

    Maybe this man deserves the opportunity to be desensitized to the mountain of negative conditioning that extremism has created around the religion of Islam and a chance to become better acquainted with those who use this phrase in worship the way it is intended. Walk a mile in his shoes and ask yourself how you might react in unfamiliar circumstances.

  29. Actually, Ann Pierce, there has been a lot of effort on the part of those in the hate industry to instill the idea that the phrase, “Allahu Akbar” has something to do with violence and killing. Wafa Sultan, in her book, “A God Who Hates”, stated baldly that “Allahu Akbar” was something Muslims shouted when they were going to kill someone. (She did not include a translation of the phrase.) This may come as a surprise to those who repeat this phrase when they pray five times a day.

    Other hate marketers like Brigitte Gabriel have made similar claims and have attempted to demonize other Arabic phrases like the Arabic for, “In the name of God” as “war cries”. If the man in the article got his “training” (conditioning?) in Israel, he might need some deprogramming to bring him back to reality.

  30. In reply, Linda Zachri, it doesn’t surprise me that there are people (2 that you mention) who have capitalized upon the fact that this phrase has been shouted, more than once, by extremists before committing an act of violence. My point, and I did try to make it clearly, is that someone working in the field of counterterrorism could be expected know of this connection and upon hearing the phrase, even in a house of worship, might reasonably call this unpleasant past connection to mind. Noting too that the man said his reaction was “on edge” as opposed to “freaks out” and I see a significant difference between the two. I would imagine someone in this field is “on edge” whenever actively working in field conditions or in training. My guess would be that “freaking out” is probably not a characteristic reaction of someone working in this particular branch of law enforcement. The headline seems inflammatory to me as it’s a misrepresentation.

    This gentleman appears to have come to Israel from the United States to further his training, but I think that someone training in the field of counterterrorism, coming from elsewhere, would be equally familiar with the details of past acts of terror, including knowledge of extremists having shouted Allahu Akbar in connection with attack. That doesn’t mean that someone in this field wouldn’t also know the meaning and reverence intended in this phrase and of its religious significance to Muslims.

    Honestly, who wouldn’t think that it was very sad, most especially Muslims who work in counterterrorism, that the words Allahu Akbar would ever be used by someone in connection with an act of violence? Yet, a counterterrorist’s training and state of preparedness would require that he or she remain constantly vigilant to anything that would relate to past examples of language, targets and methods of causing destruction that have been favored by extremists in the past, even in a house of worship. Especially so, I would think, when on the job or in training in a climate rife with tension as in the Middle East, today. “on edge.”

    What I’m trying to say is that I don’t believe this man’s reaction was so unusual, and certainly not intended to be cause for offense, considering that his occupation and training is in the field of counterterrorism. I think it’s fair to ask that before we criticize someone for voicing an honest, if regrettable reaction, we remember that he’s one of those who, if intelligence fails and an attack does occur, are expected to be among the first responders to arrive at the scene.

    One of those who are most frequently listed among the casualties as well because past experience tells us that terrorists frequently plant a second device, in the case of a bombing, designed to kill those who are first on the scene hoping to aid and rescue any survivors.

    I’m not condemning anyone here, either. Just saying that if someone makes this level of commitment to put his or her life on the line and to run toward danger if necessary, devoting their professional lives to preventing further acts of terror and the loss of innocent lives to terrorism, that we consider being less quick to condemn or criticize reactions of this kind. These people aren’t those who made the decision to connect the phrase Allahu Akbar to an act of terror. That would be the terrorists that a counterterrorist works to eliminate. Perhaps we could put ourselves in this man’s place and ask how we might respond under similar circumstances given his training and profession.

  31. Ann, despite the verbosity of your response, it seems that you either did not understand what I was saying, or your innocent nature simply will not accept the idea that there are people who will lie to make money and a name for themselves. Despite the assertion of Brigitte Gabriel (she of the many aliases), I have never heard of any situation (nor can I imagine one) in which someone says “In the name of God, the Bountiful and Merciful” (Bismillah hirrahman nirrahim) before doing an act of violence. Nor is it some form of Harry Potter acquisition incantation as Jon Stewart suggests, tongue in cheek. In addition, the passage in Wafa Sultan’s book in which she “translates” Allahu Akbar in a footnote only as “…something Muslims say when they are going to kill someone…” Is probably a fabrication, since according to other sources, like the World Political Yearbook, a professor was assassinated at about the time Wafa relates, but the incident took place off campus (not in a classroom in front of students) and it is highly unlikely that she witnessed it. So where are all these extremists shouting, “God is great” and “In the name of God, the bountiful and merciful”? Probably more in the heads of propagandists than in real life – and if the young man in question was “trained” (programmed?) in Israel, he may well be reacting more to what he was taught than what he experienced. In fact, I have seen tapes of American servicemen questioning people they thought were suspect and using the phrase “Allahu Akbar” (grotesquely mispronounced) in their interrogation, in a way that indicated they hadn’t a clue as to what it meant or who usually said it.
    If someone is repeatedly told in a session of intensive training that a phrase like, “Allahu Albar” is connected with violence – and given no other information – it would be quite reasonable for him to feel “on edge” upon entering a mosque because this phrase is part of regular daily prayers and he would be certain to hear it. However, his reaction might not necessarily have anything to do with reality, and might have more to do with an induced prejudice. If you do not think this is possible, consider the fact that both Gabriel and other professional Islamophobes, like “Walid” Shoebat, have actually been paid hefty fees to serve as “consultants” for law enforcement agencies and some factions of the American Military.

  32. Ann – the bloke went to Israel for his training. I do not think I am out of line if I suspect it might have contained some anti-Muslim (read: anti-Arab) programming, given the current situation and the influence of the right wing in that country – and yours. I do not dispute that the policeman in question had an “honest reaction”, but I do have some reservations about how he may have acquired it. Was it actual experience or was it the result of deliberate conditioning? Believe it or not, once in a while I do watch news channels and I am aware that the cry of “Allahu Akbar” has been used as a battle cry – although, I am positive that “Bismillah” has never been used that way. The idea that the latter phrase would be used so is actually rather comical – which was why it was fodder for Jon Stewart – but Brigitte Gabriel was obviously counting on enough ignorance and paranoia on the part of her audience to be able to carry off her assertion. Someone who had truly become informed about Muslims and Islamic culture could also be expected to be aware of context and to understand where the phrase, “Allahu Akbar” would be quite normal and highly unlikely to be associated with violence. On the other hand, a person given some “quickie” courses in “counter terrorism” (we do not know what his courses consisted of or if the man really had first hand experience – after all, he was an American policeman, not a soldier recovering from a tour of duty in Lebanon or anywhere else) – hmmmmmm. I have seen for myself what kinds of misconceptions about Islamic countries can arise as a result of this kind of “training”, and I am no fan of conspiracy theories.

  33. Ann, if you really want to get a two-way dialogue going here, you might reconsider writing super long posts that only a lawyer would love (or want to read.) I will confine myself to answering the question at the beginning – about why I would assume the policeman got biased training in Israel. The answer is very simple, and has been commented on by earlier posters. More competent training would not have hin automatically accociating terrorism with a simple phrase that is a normal part of prayer. There is no particular reason hw should be “on edge” if he had been competently trained, nor can his reaction be explained away by some version of PTSD – he was no traumatized soldier. I would strongly suggest that the policeman’s reaction to “Allahu Akbar” was induced. If you think the Israeli government never indulges in propaganda, as my grandfather would say, I’ve got a piece of land I’d like to show you. As for where counterterrorism training is offered, I personally know a very competent Canadian who has helped with this kind of training in the States. You are right, in the case of the policeman’s trip to Israel, a lot of money would have been put out – whether this is money well spent is up for debate, given the fact that a lot of money has also been spent on phony ex-terrorist consultants by some law enforcement agencies in your country, and saying the policeman could have been an ex serviceman is a red herring. Did he say or suggest that his reaction came from an earlier time?

  34. Ann – re. Your opening statement: “Your post is chock full of assumptions…”
    Lady, you took the words right out of my mouth. By the way, you might want to check out the earlier posts (by other people) on the subject.
    (By the way, the friend I mentioned is Muslim and had the experience of infiltrating, and subsequently, blowing the cover off a terrorist cadre. This is not a “good story,” it is actually well documented. He is currently working on his PhD in the field of Criminology – these are some of the reasons why his services have been in demand.)

    In reality, neither of us has inside information on the quality of that American policeman’s training, but his own words have led some of the people on this thread, including myself, to wonder about it. The fact that it took place in Israel is no automatic guarantee. I reserve the right to ask questions and play the devil’s advocate.

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