USIP Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States releases "A New Approach"

March 6, 2019

As the humanitarian and financial costs of terrorism continue to increase, the United States Institute for Peace’s (USIP) Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States has issued a new report calling on Congress and all Americans to adopt a bold new paradigm to prevent vulnerabilities and foster peace. The report, Extremism in Fragile States: A New Approach, shifts the focus to prevention. “If we can mitigate the underlying conditions that allow extremism to emerge and spread in these states, the United States will be closer to breaking out of the costly cycle of perpetual crisis response, pushing back against the growing threat of extremism, and positioning itself effectively for strategic engagement with its competitors,” USIP said. (Read more.)

The Globalization of Countering Violent Extremism Policies

October 10, 2018

Transnational Institute’s March 2018 report, The Globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism Policies, Undermining Human Rights, Instrumentalizing Civil Society, which includes a foreword by United Nations Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, analyzes the globalization of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) policies and their institutionalization within three international bodies in particular: the European Union, the United Nations, and the Global Counterterrorism Forum. Researchers Arun Kundnani and Ben Hayes argue that the most problematic practices of CVE frameworks are being globalized. These deeply flawed and controversial elements include the vague and undefined terminology, racial and religious profiling, intrusions into privacy, and lack of transparency from policymakers. When the current CVE policies are stripped of sanitized rhetoric it is clear that these policies operate on surveillance and censorship. As a result, CVE policies shrink the space for civil society.

ICRC Resource on CVE

May 29, 2018

This Guidance Note from the International Committee of the Red Cross is intended to provide a common understanding across the Movement of the Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) global political agenda and to offer practical guidance. It is not intended to influence P/CVE policies or provide a definition of "violent extremism," nor is it a guide on how to develop P/CVE programs. 

Access the Guidance Note: The "Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism" Approach: A Guidance Note for National Societies 

Abstract: Can Political Violence be Reduced via Economic Interventions?

April 4, 2018

The primary goal of a study conducted by Mercy Corps was to test the possible causality between young people’s improved economic outcomes and their support for political violence -- defined as “violence targeted primarily at the state." 

The study, Can Economic Interventions Reduce Violence?, examined young people’s economic conditions, psychosocial well-being, and perceptions of government to see how interventions may reduce willingness to support armed opposition groups (AOGs). The research focused on youth in the Kandahar Province (second largest city in Afghanistan), afflicted by high unemployment rates and violence. Though the provincial government maintains control of Kandahar and neighboring districts, AOGs, such as the Taliban, still have a strong influence in the area.

Sorry, No More Chances for CVE

In a July 18 Letter to the Editor published in Just Security, the Charity & Security Network outlines the many problems with domestic countering violent extremism (CVE) programs to date. The letter explains that among the wide array of CVE detractors, not all oppose CVE for the same reasons. C&SN believes that domestic CVE programs have been irrevocably tainted by their relationship with law enforcement, which has primarily targeted Muslim communities with surveillance, entrapment and prosecution rather than rehabilitation, at the expense of civil liberties. While CVE has focused largely on individuals deemed "radicalized" or espousing "extremist" views without evidence of violence, the letter notes, "there is wide agreement among academics that there is no credible way to predict who will become a terrorist. Without such data, it's possible that these practices may have even backfired, and could have contributed to turning some young people towards violent extremism." 

Read the letter

Brennan Center Report Examines CVE in the Trump Era

May 11, 2017

Although Trump's hostility towards Muslims has been well-documented in the press, countering violent extremism programs initiated during the Obama administration, while couched in neutral terms, set the stage for a focus xclusively on Muslims. 

This, despite the fact that empirical data show that violence from far right movements results in at least as many fatalities in the U.S. as attacks inspried by al Qaeda or the Islamic State, notes a March 2017 report from the Brennan Center for Justice, Countering Violent Extremism. In addition to stigmatizing Muslim communities as inherently suspect, it also creates serious risks of flagging innocuous activity as pre-terrorism and suppressing religious observance and speech, the report explains. "These flaws are only exacerbated when CVE programs are run by an administration that is overtly hostile towards Muslims, and that includes within its highest ranks individuals known for their frequent and public denunciations of a faith that is practiced by 1.6 billion people around the world," the report states. 

The report asserts that future CVE programs are unlikely to achieve security benefits, and meanwhile carry the risk of "damaging critical relationships between law enforcement and Muslim communities, further undermining the goal of preventing terrorism." As such, the report recommends a shift towards a framework that sees American Muslims as a source of strength rather than suspicion. 

Read the full report

C&SN Joins 80 Organizations to Speak Out for Muslim Civil Society

Charity & Security Network has joined 80 other organizations in a statement expressing concern about the potential harm to Muslim civil society if the Muslim Brotherhood is designated as a terrorist organization. 

The statement, signed by civil, human rights and faith-based groups, warns that such a designation could "lead to the stigmatization and targeting of American Muslim civil society, including non-profits, charities, religious organizations, and activists." The statement notes that numerous scholars and national security and foreign policy experts from across the political spectrum have voiced concern regarding the validity of such a designation. A designation, the statement continues, would continue the current smear campaigns again prominent American Muslims and organizations using "six degrees of separation" accusations. 

Read the full statement