(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/12/2015) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released a brief on "countering violent extremism" (CVE) in advance of a White House summit on that issue planned for February 18. In its brief, CAIR questions whether such a program is an effective use of public resources.
CAIR's brief states in part:
"While we are united with the government in our desire to protect our nation's security and liberties, we are not convinced that government-led Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs, such as the initiative announced in September 2014, are the most effective use of public resources."
After detailing a number of concerns the Muslim civil liberties group has about the development of the current CVE initiative, the brief then notes:
"Despite overwhelming evidence that American Muslims are committed to the national good, the U.S. government still frames its relationship with American Muslims through a securitized lens. Such an approach stigmatizes the whole community. Abandoning this lens is not a position adopted by solely civil society groups representing American Muslims. In 2013, for instance, Rand Corporation recommended that we should 'reduce the national security focus of countering violent extremism where possible.'
"The American Muslim community has an excellent track record of reporting criminal behavior. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller once told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that 'many of our cases are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States.'
"To be effective, any conversation related to CVE should include a discussion of overbroad surveillance by the NSA and FBI, use of informants in places of worship and other community gathering places without evidence of wrongdoing, and other problematic law enforcement tactics. This discussion must also include America's foreign policy."
In December, 27 civil liberties and Muslim community organizations delivered a letter to the administration raising concerns about potential impacts on religious exercise and political expression, improper characterizations of Muslims as a suspect community and CVE's relationship to abusive counterterrorism practices. To date, the administration has not responded to that letter.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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