A speaker at a Homeland Security conference in Rapid City whose remarks about Muslims sparked controversy earlier this month was paid $5,000 plus expenses for his appearance.
The Rapid City Journal originally requested the fee amount immediately after the May 11 event, but Alexa White, assistant coordinator of Rapid City-Pennington County Emergency Management, denied the request. The Journal subsequently filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act with White, who released the fee information May 19.
The speaker, Walid Shoebat, is an author and professional speaker who says he is a former terrorist in the Palestine Liberation Organization. Now converted to Christianity, Shoebat says that terrorism is inherent in Islam.
His appearance at a state-sponsored conference attended by law enforcement was criticized by local Muslims and by national organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Shoebat spoke at the 2011 South Dakota Homeland Security Conference in Rapid City on May 11. He also spoke at the South Dakota Homeland Security Conference the previous year.
Update: See “CAIR asks Napolitano to probe use of Islamophobic trainers”, CAIR press release 23 May 2011
Further update: See Justin Elliott, “Dubious Muslim-bashing ‘expert’ hired to train cops”, Salon, 24 May 2011