(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/1/2016) – Â A coalition of civil liberties and human services organizations today announced that it has sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson outlining concerns about DHSâ€™s Fiscal Year 2016 Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grant Program.
In the letter, the groups wrote in part:
â€œWe believe that the Grant Program will have a potential negative impact on free religious exercise and political expression, cause the probable stigmatization of community members as a result of the reframing of routine programming and mental health and social services as CVE, and lead to the possible loss of organizational independence and autonomy. These consequences do not justify the anticipated short-term benefit which government agencies, nonprofit institutions, and institutes of higher education would accrue from an infusion of Grant Program funding.
â€œIn light of the Muslim-focused approach of the CVE program observed to date, the Grant Program also provides ill-advised and out-of-touch political officials and media with additional pretext to increase fear-mongering about American Muslim communities.
â€œAccordingly, none of the undersigned organizations, their local chapters, or affiliates intend to apply for funds under the Grant Program.â€
â€œWhile the CVE grants offer many groups a much needed opportunity of funding, the price tag on these particular grants is very high,â€ said CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor.
Saylor added: Â â€œAs Americans, we are united in a desire to ensure our nationâ€™s security in the face of violent extremists. This unity does not mean that Americans should embrace ill-advised policy.â€
Groups signing the letter include:
- Access California Services
- Access of WNY, INC.
- American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
- Arab American Action Network (AAAN)
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Asian Law Caucus
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
- Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation
- Californians Aware
- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- Fight for the Future
- Islamic Circle of North America
- ICNA Council for Social Justice
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Restore The Fourth
- The Sikh Coalition
- South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
- South Asian Helpline & Referral Agency (SAHARA)
- U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
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.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
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CONTACT: Â CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-384-8857; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org