Anti-Muslim activist John Guandolo recently caused an uproar on social media after he tweeted a picture of an unsuspecting Southwest Airlines employee and accused them of being a “sharia-adherent” Muslim.
Guandolo, a disgraced former FBI agent who now provides anti-Muslim training courses to law enforcement and civilians, was traveling to speak at the Western Conservative Conference in Phoenix when he encountered a bearded employee of the airline.
He snapped a picture of the employee and posted it with the caption: "I wish this were shocking...a sharia adherent muslim (aka jihadi) at my plane," he tweeted on March 23 with the accompanying hashtag "#shariakills."
The tweet, which has since been deleted, sparked enough outrage online that Southwest responded on Twitter, calling Guandolo’s post “cruel and inappropriate.”
In the post, Guandolo tagged President Donald Trump and newly appointed National Security Advisor John Bolton along with the Department of Homeland Security. Despite Guandolo’s penchant for espousing anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and rhetoric, he is often invited to speak at events featuring mainstream political and public figures.
In 2015, Guandolo spoke alongside Bolton — who he tagged in the inflammatory tweet — at an event in South Carolina sponsored by Frank Gaffney and his anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy. Gaffney is a close ally of Guandolo’s and regularly features him on his program, “Secure Freedom Radio.”
On March 24, Guandolo was one of the speakers at the Western Conservative Conference alongside U.S. Reps. Dave Brat, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar. Jeff DeWit, Arizona’s state treasurer and Trump’s recently appointed chief financial officer of NASA, also spoke and helped organize the event.
This is not the first time Guandolo has taken pictures of unsuspecting airport employees and accused them of being “jihadis.” Last year, Right Wing Watch reported a similar instance of him tweeting pictures of TSA employees at LaGuardia Airport that he thought looked to be Muslim.
“Am I the only 1 who sees a problem w/ Terrorists (jihadis/sharia adherent muslims) ‘protecting’ us,” he wrote in one post.
Guandolo is close to others in the organized anti-Muslim movement, including Brigitte Gabriel, founder and president of ACT for America. Guandolo spoke at ACT’s 2013 national conference and worked with the anti-Muslim hate group to launch a web tool for law enforcement. Gabriel made headlines last year when, after boasting of having ties to officials in the Trump administration, announced she had a visit with the White House. She was also reportedly dining with Trump and others last year at Mar-a-Lago the day the president ordered an airstrike against Syria.
Guandolo has a history of falsely accusing individuals of being converts to Islam or agents of the Muslim Brotherhood, a foreign political entity the former FBI agent and his cohorts believe are working to overthrow the U.S. government.
In 2013, he accused CIA Director John Brennan of being a secret Muslim convert. Last year, he got in a physical altercation with a Minnesota sheriff at a law enforcement conference in Reno, Nevada. The altercation, which later led to a restraining order against Guandolo, stemmed from him accusing Sheriff Richard Stanek of working “with jihadis in the community.” The charges against Guandolo have since been dropped.