Ever since he left the FBI in a scandalous uproar in 2008, John Guandolo has made a name for himself among right-wing conspiracy theorists, especially through his special “training” programs, which he gives to law enforcement throughout the country about the so-called dangers of Islam. This month, he’s set to give one of those training sessions to members of the Tarrant County Republican Party a few days before their vote on whether to oust one member who is a Muslim and one who is married to a Muslim.
An email about the event obtained by several news outlets detailed a six-hour training program that will be held at a secret location on Dec. 29 because, as the email states, “We need to know the truth before Jan. 10.”
That’s the date when the party will vote on whether to oust Shahid Shafi, a Muslim and trauma surgeon, and Lisa Grimaldi Abdulkareem, a precinct chairwoman who is married to a Muslim.
Other reasons for the event included in the email were, “Because Europe is presently falling to Islam,” and “Because through deceit, infiltration, conquering from within, domination and control; and we are losing Tarrant County; Just like Dearborn, Mi. was lost.”
Although Guandolo has made enough bizarre statements about Islam to fill a book, some of his more prominent assertions include saying that, “It’s obligatory for [Muslims] to lie to non-Muslims” and, following the election of the first Muslim women to Congress last month, declaring that only Christians should be allowed to hold public office.
Now, the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on the Tarrant County Republican Party to cancel the private event.
“Given Guandolo’s history of anti-Muslim bigotry, this training will inevitably incite hatred of Islam and Muslims,” said CAIR-DFW executive director Ekram Haque in a public statement. “We urge the Tarrant County Republican Party to cancel the event and call on Texas GOP leaders to repudiate this merchant of hate and his bigoted message.”
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But the chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party said the event was not authorized by the executive committee and that the party has no control over the event.
“It’s not a part of the Tarrant County Republican Party headquarters that’s doing this. … I have no control over that event,” he said. “I do not support or recommend anyone go to the event.”
According to the chairman and the email, the architects behind the event are Republican precinct chairs Dale Attebery and Dorrie O’Brien, who both declined requests for comment.
But prominent Texas Republicans are trying to distinguish themselves and the party from members trying to oust Shafi. Land Commissioner George P. Bush tweeted the he "urge[s] the Tarrant County GOP to stop this attempt to remove a hardworking county party official based on religious beliefs. We must move towards a more inclusive Republican Party and stop tearing down our own if we are to keep Texas red.” The Republican Party of Texas even made a resolution urging the Tarrant County Republican Party Executive Committee to stand by Shafi and “recognize the contributions of Republicans of every faith.”