A police counterterrorism training seminar scheduled for Monday in Lombard was reportedly canceled Friday following objections from an Islamic group who have called the main presenter an “anti-Muslim bigot.”
The North Aurora-based North East Multi-Regional Training group had scheduled the training session with Sam Kharoba next week at Lombard’s village hall, but officials from the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced that the session was canceled after they lobbied Lombard officials.
In a news release, CAIR-Chicago thanked Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio “for his commitment to high standards of training,” and the role played by local activist Moon Khan in bringing the matter to the attention of Lombard officials.
When reached by phone Friday afternoon, Kharoba, director of the Cape Coral, Fla.-based Counter Terrorism Operations Center, said he was unaware Monday’s training session had been canceled. He declined to provide additional comment.
Sessions in Elmhurst and Highland Park were canceled last week because of low enrollment.
CAIR-Chicago has objected to Kharoba because of statements he made in 2011 to Washington Monthly. The publication quoted him as saying, “Anyone who says that Islam is a religion of peace is either ignorant or flat out lying,” and that he gets “a very nasty image” when he “look(s) at the life of Muhammad.”
In an article in Friday’s Daily Herald, NEMRT Director Phil Brankin stood by Kharoba and the training class.
“We’re satisfied that what he teaches is accurate,” Brankin said. “He is a good teacher and, if CAIR feels otherwise, they are more than capable of running training programs for law enforcement that they feel represent their view.”
For more on this developing story, read Saturday’s Daily Herald.