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Anti-Muslim group leader to pay $600k in damages

25th Oct 2019

Elham Asaad Buaras

The leader of an anti-Muslim hate group was forced to pay $600,000 in damages last month for assaulting a former county sheriff after he voiced concerns about his anti-Muslim propaganda.

John Guandolo, Founder and Leader of the Dallas-based Understanding the Threat (UTT), punched then-Hennepin (Minnesota) County Sheriff Richard Stanek in the face at the National Sheriffs Association convention in Reno, Nevada, on June 2017.
After hearing about Stanek’s concerns, Guandolo assaulted the former sheriff, causing “great bodily injury.” Stanek received medical attention and “has not fully recovered,” according to the suit sat in Dallas.

Stanek was awarded for his injuries on September 20 following an eight-day trial and two days of deliberations. In August a Minnesota judge granted Stanek a restraining order against Guandolo.

“Sheriff Stanek had the courage to stand up to hatred, and we are gratified that a Dallas jury backed him up. We are satisfied with the jury’s verdict,” said lead trial counsel Peter Kraus of Waters & Kraus.

Guandolo, through his consulting company UTT, trains community groups and law enforcement about the threat of radical “Islamic” terrorists, but many organisations, including the Southern Poverty Law centre, brand UTT as an anti-Muslim hate group because of its gross stereotyping of religiously observant Muslims as “Jihadis” or terrorists.

Guandolo had been publicly critical of Sheriff Stanek’s pioneering counter-terrorism outreach efforts to the Somalian Muslim community in Minneapolis. Guandolo violently pushed and punched Stanek, who was recovering from major neck surgery at the time of the assault, significantly worsening the Sheriff’s neck injuries.

“I felt it was important to stand up to John Guandolo and Understanding the Threat and their agenda of intolerance,” explained Stanek.

“We should always be able to engage in civil discourse, even the most difficult or sensitive topics without resorting to violence. I am grateful to my excellent counsel and the judge and jury in this case for helping me prove this point.”

Guandolo, a former FBI agent turned consultant and speaker, has previously expressed the belief that all Muslims are terrorists, and his Twitter account has been suspended for pushing a conspiracy theory that Democrats were behind an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue last year.

On March 23 he snapped a photo of a bearded airline employee and tweeted with the caption ‘I wish this were [sic] shocking…a sharia adherent Muslim (aka jihadi) at my plane, #shariakills.’

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