John Guandolo, owner of UnderstandingTheThreat.com, tells anyone who will listen that Muslims are trying to take over the world.
He's having trouble lately finding people who will listen. But it sounds like he found a welcoming audience in northern Minnesota.
As a former FBI agent who once worked in the Washington, D.C. bureau’s counterterrorism division, Guandolo appears almost legit when he offers to train local police and government agencies on recognizing extremism. But then he opens his mouth.
Guandolo’s “expertise” consists of recapping the same generic gripes that bigots have always had against living alongside Muslims: They want places to pray during the day. They wash their feet a lot. They eat halal foods.
All this, Guandolo insists, are signs that Muslims are trying to force Shariah law down everybody else’s throats.
Guandolo was scheduled to appear Tuesday night at Bagley High School, a public school in Bagley, Minnesota. In previous years, this same school has hosted anti-Muslim personality Usama Dakdok after being threatened with free speech lawsuits from certain community organizers who wanted to hear him.
In most places where Guandolo tries to speak, he’s learning his credibility is already compromised.His claims that the director of the CIA is a secret spy for the Saudi government, and that American Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything” have been enough to make reasonable people stay their distance.
It’s also now widely known that he only resigned from the FBI in 2008 after having an affair with a confidential source and jeopardizing an investigation.
In response, a Dallas college this year canceled his law enforcement event. A Virginia criminal justice academy rescinded accreditation for his training. A Kansas sheriff and various Arizona police departments turned their backs as well.
In an email to the Star Tribune on Tuesday, Guandolo said he'd be there, despite calls for them to cancel the talk.
“Islamophobes like John Guandolo have the right to spew their misinformation and bigotry, but they don’t have the right to do it using a taxpayer-funded academic institution as a platform,” says Jaylani Hussein, head of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “The perception that the high school may be endorsing Guandolo’s anti-Muslim bigotry could lead to a hostile learning environment for Muslim and other minority students.”
Bagley High School did not respond to requests for comment about Guandolo’s event. Not even to say if it happened or not.