On March 8, Georgia’s Barrow County Sheriff’s Office is sponsoring a course titled “Islam in America" presented by David Bores, an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who has a history of giving problematic seminars.
Bores, a former Woodstock, Georgia police chief, will lead the eight-hour course, which is open to local law enforcement as well as the public. Bores is advertised as being a certified instructor with the Georgia Peace Officer Standards Training (P.O.S.T.) Council. He also serves on other law enforcement agency boards and is currently listed as the director of intelligence at The Defender Group, LLC, an Atlanta-based, for-hire armed security group. However, as a self-styled expert on Islam, Bores’ seminars are based in anti-Muslim rhetoric and conspiracy theories.
Concerns about the upcoming course and Bores being booked in an official capacity to train law enforcement were first raised by the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). More so, as a P.O.S.T.-certified instructor, officers who attend Bores’ courses are eligible to receive credit.
Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR Georgia, told Hatewatch Bores’ lack of academic training in Islam and penchant for promoting dangerous speech “discredits him from training law enforcement.” He added that whether it was intentional or not, the Barrow County Sheriff Office is essentially “legitimizing anti-Muslim bigotry” by hosting Bores.
“Law enforcement officers must learn to protect and serve all Georgians and people of all faiths,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s organization released a 19-page report on Bores and his egregious rhetoric. The CAIR chapter also submitted a letter to Ken Vance, executive director of Georgia’s P.O.S.T. Council, seeking clarification on Bores’ qualifications to teach a state-approved course on Islam. In addition to law enforcement trainings, Bores is also regularly invited to speak at conservative events in and around Georgia.
Despite concerns about Bores, Sheriff Jud Smith has doubled down on the training. Smith told Hatewatch he attended one of Bores’ courses earlier this year and noted that he claims he is not about talking about all Muslims.
“He’s not saying that every Muslim and everybody that practices Islam is a violent person and they want to take over the world and they want to enact sharia and take over the country,” he told Hatewatch.
When asked about various quotes Bores has said over the years, such as conflating Islam with pedophilia, Smith admitted they were “polarizing” but said, “I can’t control what that man said.”
“His opinion is his opinion,” he added.
Footage of Bores’ speeches indicates he does include such a caveat. However, he seemingly does very little to differentiate between the two. Instead, he frames the religion of Islam as being the driving force behind violence and subversion. During a 2012 event hosted by the Rockdale County Young Republicans, Bores began his speech by stating, “We’re here to talk about another bad topic: Islam.” Later in that speech, he lamented that the “First Amendment shelters all of Islam and it should not."
This rhetoric appears to be prevalent in his law enforcement trainings as well. In the syllabus of a 2013 training Bores gave to the Dawson County Sheriff's Office, he wrote law enforcement is in a “uniquely difficult situation” when dealing with Muslims “because Islam is a widely recognized and practiced religion, many believe we must automatically grant to it all the rights and privileges offered to other expressions of worship, lest we be accused of being politically incorrect, of being intolerant of multi-cultural beliefs, or worse, of being labeled Islamophobic.”
The course also promised to give officers the knowledge of how to “effectively deal with the various Islamic threats to subvert our Constitution.”
Smith was adamant to tell Hatewatch that his department has hosted trainings on various extremist groups. He said his deputies have received training on groups ranging from outlaw motorcycle gangs to neo-Nazis to the Black Panther party.
But during a March 5 press conference, Mitchell said it was not the topic of Muslim extremists that is the issue but rather Bores’ anti-Islam bias and lack of formal education on Islamic theology.
“It is perfectly okay to receive training related with any sort of extremist group, that is fine,” Mitchell stated. “But the training has to be by someone educated, by someone non-bias, by someone who is not a bigot.”
One of the topics Bores’ upcoming course will cover is “the Grand Jihad to eliminate America by terrorist acts and subversive acts under the Muslim Brotherhood.” Asserting that Muslims are actively striving to other throw the U.S. by stealthy means is common conspiracy theory among the anti-Muslim movement in America.
Bores has associated with national anti-Muslim groups known for propagating such conspiracy theories.
In 2015, Bores spoke at a “national security” event in South Carolina sponsored by the anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy (CSP). During the event, he told the crowd mosques in America are "far more than houses of worship" and to “think of them as a local national guard armory” and "incubators for jihad."
Frank Gaffney, CSP’s founder and president who was moderating the event, told the crowd he found it “very inspiring" to know that Bores is out there training law enforcement.
During the event, Bores shared the stage with disgraced former FBI agent turned anti-Muslim conspiracist John Guandolo, who runs the hate group Understanding the Threat. Guandolo is another anti-Muslim figure who regularly trains law enforcement across the country.
“Islam in America” is scheduled to take place at the Barrow County Sheriff Offices’ training auditorium.