12:38pm

Thu February 16, 2012
A Story You Heard First on WMOT

Sheriff's Training Doesn't Follow DHS Guidelines

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  (WMOT)  --  A terrorism training seminar sponsored by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office this week doesn’t appear to follow guidelines for such training as set out by the Department of Homeland Security.

In a best practices brief produced by DHS and the National Counterterrorism Center, it states that terror training should "focus on behavior, not appearance or membership in particular ethnic or religious communities."

But on its website, the company providing this week’s training, Strategic Engagement Group of Virginia, repeatedly sites a global Islamic conspiracy to undermine the U.S. Constitution and subjugate the American people as its exclusive focus.

This week’s training was paid for by the Tennessee Freedom Coalition. The Coalition and its President, Lou Ann Zelenik are outspoken opponents of efforts by the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to build a new Mosque. In an interview with the Tennessean out this morning, Zelnick decries political correctness and insists the training “is not part of any agenda.”

Dr. Saleh Sbenaty, a frequent spokesman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is clearly frustrated by this latest development.

"What's the end of it? You know, it's just... We are American citizens. We are productive members of this community. Why is this going on for so long?  Enough is enough."

In addition to deputies from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, this week’s terrorism training was also attended by officers from the Murfreesboro, Smyrna and LaVergne Police Departments.