Politics & Policy

Broward County Sheriff’s Office Oversaw Concealed-Carry Training for Mosque-Goers

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks at a news conference in Parkland, Fla., February 15, 2018. (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)
Sheriff Scott Israel said he opposes arming teachers in schools, however.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office oversaw a training session led by one of its deputies to teach mosque-goers how to carry a concealed weapon.

Sheriff Scott Israel officially oversaw the side job of Deputy Nezar Hamze, a Muslim American, as regional operations director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), according to documents obtained by National Review from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Israel had a representative sign for him on the form that gave Hamze permission to work for CAIR.

A substantial element of Hamze’s position at CAIR involved teaching Muslim Americans about civil rights, safety and security. In 2015, the deputy held a training session at a Florida mosque and demonstrated how to respond to an active shooter situation with a concealed firearm.

“You’re able to conceal in this state. It’s your Second Amendment right,” Hamze told the crowd of mosque-goers. “So I want to go over some things with you regarding your right to return fire, because it’s important, and we need to know our rights, and that’s what my job is, to make sure you know your rights.”

“Nezar has served the Florida Muslim community as a leader who has focused on Civil Rights, Safety and Security, countering the narrative of violent extremists and terrorist organizations,” Hamze’s CAIR profile states.

Sheriff Scott Israel said he is against arming teachers to defend against a school shooting, a proposal backed by President Trump after last month’s tragedy.

“I don’t believe teachers should be armed. I believe teachers should teach,” Israel said Feb. 21 during a CNN town hall.

The sheriff was enthusiastic about and even involved in his deputy’s work with CAIR, appearing with Hamze at a mosque where he declared it “an absolute honor” to speak to the mosque-goers during Ramadan.

Sheriff Israel has come under fire for the behavior of four of his deputies who responded to the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The officers remained outside, hiding behind their vehicles as bullets sprayed inside the school, killing 17. Israel said he will not resign despite the heavy criticism being leveled at him.